Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Trapped in Texas

Wednesday, March 11, 2009--

8:30 am: Begin to pack car.

11:00 am: Finished packing car. Departed Monroe, Louisiana, for Sweetwater, Texas.

11:04 am: Stopped in Wal-Mart to buy the following-- a USB cable for my phone; disposable litter boxes for cats; a cat carrier that Lulu can't unzip, unfasten, or otherwise let herself out of. (None of which we found.)

11:15 am: Jennifer actually pumped her own gas.

11:19 am: Back on I-20, headed for Texas.

12:30 pm: Arrive in Gibsland--daffodil capital of Louisiana--to visit the Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum and death site. Only to find that the museum was closed for the day because the museum director had a doctor's appointment.

12:35 pm: Visited the Authentic Bonnie and Clyde Museum, right next door to the Ambush Museum.

12:40 pm: Made reservation at La Quinta Inn in Sweetwater, Texas, (where I was planning to do research on a new novel), and were informed that tomorrow is the 51st Annual Sweetwater Jaycees World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-Up. (

12:45 pm: Back on the interstate looking for Targets and Cracker Barrels.

Sometime in the early afternoon: Stopped at Cracker Barrel to buy four bags of malted milk balls.

Ten minutes later: We entered Texas and it started to rain and the temperature dropped 35 degrees. (Apparently there's been a drought in Texas and they desperately need this rain. We think they could have waited at least till Friday.) (For the record, cats do not like rain or windshield wipers or passing trucks.)

Several hours later: We can hardly see for the rain. Still looking for Targets. Found a PetSmart and Office Depot and stopped to buy USB cable (so we can post these pictures. You better enjoy every one of them.), pink maximum security cat carrier, and litter boxes. While Penny stays in the car to keep Lulu from escaping (the boy cats are too terrified of the rain and the windshield wipers to even think about getting away), Jennifer fights through monsoon-like conditions to reach Office Depot and PetSmart. She returns to car 30 minutes later, completely drenched with umbrella blown inside out, triumphantly clutching a USB device and a pink maximum security cat carrier. We return to the interstate.

Five minutes later: Wind and rain accelerate to hurricane force. We begin to doubt that we can drive the remaining 240 miles to Sweetwater and we despair that we would ever get out of Texas.

Ten minutes later: We reluctantly decide to take shelter at the La Quinta Inn in Weatherford, Texas, where Jennifer assembles industrial strength pink cat carrier in front seat of overstuffed Beetle while Penny--hair askew, clothes bedraggled--makes her way in to plead for shelter from the storm. Along with every other traveler on the I-20.

Two minutes later: We load half the car on to two separate luggage carts, including Satchmo (who begins howling and growling at the top of his lungs, terrifying children and adults huddled in the lobby), Rumi (trembling quietly), and Lulu (trying to take the hinges off her new cat carrier).

Fifteen minutes later: Penny carries on brief flirtation in elevator with robust but elderly gentleman who assists with the luggage cart which is careening wildly out of control due to being excessively overloaded.

Bedtime: Still raining. We reconfigure our trip plans, figuring out that we will need to travel 14-15 hours each of the remaining days in order to make it to LA by Saturday. Basically, we're hoping to get out of Texas by Easter time.

So as the day comes to a close, Rumi is curled up under Jennifer's legs, Lulu is twirling and purring and rolling around on the bed, and Satchmo is hiding.

Tomorrow's goal: Travel for 600 miles so we can get the hell out of Texas. Also-- visit the WASP Museum and attend the Rattlesnake Round-up in Sweetwater.

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