Saturday, February 5, 2011

Finally warming up

We are at the American Red Cross Disaster Services Technology Maintenance Center (DSMC) in Austin, Texas. We're here because it was only a short diversion from the shortest route to Killeen, we wanted to have dinner with our friend Paul to commiserate about the loss of his cat a couple weeks ago, and Louise needed to exchange her Red Cross laptop for a fresh one.

We've spent lots of time here in the past, teaching classes, helping maintain the equipment, and working on various projects. So we knew there is a receptacle here as well, and we needed the power. Once upon a time we used to be able to park here for however long we needed while working at the facility, but the landlord put a stop to that. However for a single Friday night, we asked and were granted permission to park. I am told it got down to 16° last night, and this morning we had enough coolant dribbles and air leaks to confirm that, so we were glad to have the power to run the heaters.

Yesterday's drive was remarkably uneventful. Notwithstanding apocalyptic predictions for Houston, by the time we arrived there after 2pm the chaos was over and done, and we did not encounter any precipitation at all, let alone the dreaded "ice pellets." To be fair, we delayed our departure from Beaumont until noon, when the dire travel warnings expired. We did observe ice on many of the bridges, but the wheel tracks in the travel lanes were clear and we had no problems.

We found Tollway 8 completely shut down when we arrived, though, and we had planned to take that around the north end of the city to get from 90 to 290. The frontage roads were open and flowing well, however, so it was not a huge problem. Louise has family not far from where 290 crosses the outer beltway, 6, and we stopped for an hour or so visit at a Starbucks near them -- not anyone's first choice, but we all had gift cards to use up and it had a large parking lot. It was a nice, if brief, visit, but we really needed to get back on the road to make Austin by nightfall; as it was, we arrived here about five minutes after sunset. The tollway closure probably ate about 20 minutes of our visit on the front end.

We had a nice dinner with Paul last night at local favorite Trudy's, although we ended up eating at a corner of the bar. It's a popular place, we were famished, and the wait for a table was an hour and a half. I'm sorry we did not get a chance to say hello to any of our other friends here at the DSMC, but we did arrive after 6 on a Friday night.

Today we have just a couple hour's drive to Killeen. The sun is shining and it is warming up nicely, so we will wait until the afternoon to unplug and get on our way. We have one stop to make, to stock up on pet food, before we roll out of Austin. Tomorrow we should be on our way to DC, assuming the air travel morass from yesterday's storm has sorted itself out.

1 comment:

  1. Love the pet pictures you've been posting lately!


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