On the Road Again
So I went on a little trip
Back in October, I had a wedding to go to in Texas. I arrived a few weeks early so I could visit my friends in the area.
This month, I did the same thing. This time, Moira Greyland was getting married. If you don’t know who she is, she’s the daughter of Marion Zimmer Bradley. If you don’t know who that is… You don’t want to know. If you want to know anyway, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Luckily, unlike last time, none of the people I came to see died on me. Yay! Instead, several were at LibertyCon, over in Tennessee. So… Yay? Funny thing is, I had friends who couldn’t make Liberty, so I could have gone there, let my wife play with those folks, and took our time getting to Texas. Oh well.
Anyway, the last time I did this, people wanted my thoughts on the matter of traveling all over. Since I neglected to write that up, I decided to get onto it now while I was on the road.
General observation: by and large, everyone is friendly out in America. Everyone’s strangely polite, up to and including “How are you doing?” asked of total strangers. So that’s interesting.
There is also a general distain for Joe Biden. Start a chant at any gas station of “Let’s go Brandon,” you will universally get the rest of the line in almost automatic refrain. And that was just in New Jersey. You can imagine what the rest of the path from New York to Texas was like.
As much as I would like to move down to Texas, the current stock market, among other personal considerations, have made that impossible. So please stop asking. I am perfectly safe in New York City, for multiple reasons.
Did I ever mention my family has a background in chemistry?
Moving right along…
Everyone seems downright pleasant. Though I will admit, the few malicious drivers I came across all drove very nice, fancy cars, proving that BMW will only sell cars to outright bastards, no matter the state.
Arkansas: It’s… empty. It’s very empty. There’s Little Rock, but… yikes. The rusty looking bridges are disconcerting. There’s also “West Memphis,” which apparently grew out of Memphis Tennessee.
Tennessee is nice enough. Nashville looks like a bloody tourist trap, and the hotels are priced appropriately. Beautiful country though. And they’re as happy with Alvin York as Texas is with Audie Murphy.
And Texas. Ah, Texas, where the heat is near blistering, but who cares? There isn’t any humidity! Yes, the car can bake if you do it wrong, but aside from that, the temperature is fine… especially since air conditioning is everywhere. The homes are nice, the new construction is beautiful, the old construction isn’t bad either. The roads are interesting—Dallas has similar concrete spaghetti highways to LA, only Dallas doesn’t seem to have any of the traffic snarls. Though I note that when the sun goes down, the drivers become aggressive.
Since we like discovering new stuff, my wife and I looked at local stores. The Walmart superstores are impressive, and I haven’t seen a single example of “The People of Walmart.” The grocery section is as big as my local grocery, and there’s the other 3/4s of the store.
I discovered a place called H-E-B. It’s very nice, and I walked away with about five pounds of coffee from there, as well as other things. I have discovered pork rinds, and they go well with my keto diet. Yay! Now all they need to come in flavors other than BBQ. Sour Cream and Onion, perhaps.
Kroger is … interesting. Their overstuffed shelves have great variety, but the prices could have been better. It could have just been me. My wife tried to buy some spices unique to the region, but they hassled her about not being a member, and she gave up. That’s odd, I don’t recall it being member’s only like CostCo.
Speaking of members only, I’ve finally been to a Sam’s Club… it’s a CostCo. I don’t know how much of the differences in content is regional and how much is a difference between Sam’s Club and CostCo. But it was nice.
The food was good. While I will never join the cult of Whattaburger, it’s probably the best burger I’ve ever had produced by a chain.
Now, I will admit that there is something strange about Texas. There seems to be little south of DFW. Everything seems to be up north. The gun shops south of DFW seemed a little sketchy. North, they had some reasonable places and reasonable prices.
One of the things my wife and I wanted to see was called Bucc-ee’s (pronounced Bucky’s). It’s a “convenience store” the size of my local grocery.
And it was nice to go to a church with no masks, and access to holy water … and a good sermon … and a mass in Latin. It’s called Mater Dei, in Irving.
Oh, yes, my wife ended up making a massive rosary for Moira and her husband.
This is the cross for it.
The day of the wedding… well, I was told to wear blue.
I wore blue.
The day after, my wife decided to stay in Texas: my wife spent her summers on her grandmother’s farm, so she’s going to help the newlyweds set up one of their own. She’s also going to spent some time with friends who didn’t get a chance to see us. It was tempting for me to stay behind, but I wanted to actually get back to work … also, I had my mother with us. She wanted to see Texas, and then go home. I couldn’t exactly put her on a plane for… sigh … reasons.
So, I’m back in New York, my wife in Texas, and probably for two months. If I am a guest at FenCon, I’ll stop by and pick her up. If I’m a guest at DragonCon, she’ll get a flight to Atlanta, and we can drive back.
Worst case scenario, she flies back to New York and I pick her up at LaGuardia airport.
Meanwhile, I’ll finish the nest three books… okay, maybe the next five.
By the way, my next book, Lightbringer, is coming out soon. You may want to pre-order it.
Be well all.
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