Late entry for August 5.
I think I’m getting *entirely* too familiar with Interstate 10. I knew I had a long drive ahead of me, so I left the Stalker family farm about 9 AM (EDT). I was counting on the time change to give me a little bit of flexibility on my drive to Austin (about 850 miles), but it still took for-EV-er. At least I got one of my missing hours back…
With that much Interstate time on my hands, I managed to come up with some ruminations, to wit:
1. I found the time limit for my electric cooler. It has a battery-level sensor, and it’ll shut itself off when the battery’s charge drops below a certain level. This is to prevent the cooler from draining your car’s battery too low. The limit, apparently, is somewhere around 36 hours. I parked the truck Friday night, and the cooler had shut itself off by Sunday afternoon when I went to visit the Garlits Drag-racing Museum.
2. As I drove west, I passed signs for places I used to frequent when I was stationed at Eglin AFB: DeFuniak Springs, Crestview, Niceville, Destin… I met and married my first wife at Eglin, and we created three wonderful daughters. I’m very pleased to say that they all get along with me. It wasn’t always that way.
3. Farther west, in Mississippi, I saw signs for Keesler AFB. I was never stationed there, but my good friend Bilbo (he of Bilbo’s Random Thoughts fame – http://bilbosrandomthoughts.blogspot.com/) was, and at approximately the same time as I was stationed at Eglin. What with our new careers, and our young families, we never managed to get together during those years. I dunno – that might be a good thing. 😉
4. Not a rumination, but an observation: I rolled past the 7,000-mile mark – *way* past it – on this day’s journey.
5. The previous time I had traveled this way, I actually skipped the early hours of the I-10 drive and took US 98 instead. On that trip (April 2013), I stopped and visited the Air Force Armament Museum at Eglin (http://www.afarmamentmuseum.com/); the National Naval Aviation Museum at NAS Pensacola (http://www.navalaviationmuseum.org/); and the USS Alabama (http://www.ussalabama.com/), which is berthed in Mobile Bay and is visible from the highway. On this trip, though, I needed to make time, so I skipped all the touristy stuff.
6. I didn’t – couldn’t – skip the 18-mile-long causeway on I-10 in Louisiana. The speed limit is 65, but for several miles we were all doing about 35 as two lanes merged into one to get past a moving “situation.” I saw the culprit just as it was exiting the causeway; it turned out to be a truck followed by a police cruiser. I assume that the truck was having some kind of mechanical problems, but that could be in error. I didn’t see any smoke or smell anything burning as I drove past, but that doesn’t mean anything, either.
I left I-10 for I-610 in Houston, and then took US 290 west to Austin. Even though much of 290 is *not* limited access, I was going almost as fast there as I had been on I-10. I guess Texas sets even 2-lane rural speed limits high so you can actually *get* somewhere without it taking two forevers. One forever is long enough. I arrived in Austin shortly before ten PM (local time) after a 14-hour drive, and called my friend who lives there. We agreed that he would come get me for breakfast the next morning.
Sleep – what a wonderful thing!