Saturday, October 3, 2015

Notes From My Road Trip

First, I found this in the McAllen Monitor the day after the shooting in Oregon.  The front page is a story related to Dia de los Muertos and down in the bottom right hand corner a small blurb about the mass shooting.

It was a good week but I'm glad to be here at home writing the blog.   Monday afternoon was the drive to McAllen.  I went in the afternoon and waited on the bridge for an hour.  Great border guard, didn't detain me and off I went.  I had a reservation at the Victoria Palms Rv Park and Hotel.  It's well-located and reasonable in price.   

Tuesday I went to the office to load up materials, boxes and boxes of books.  Filled up with gas and headed for Port LaVaca.   Good hotel, good food and a good sleep.   Worked in LaVaca on Wednesday with a group of 100 students who were great kids.  Either they're farm families or their parents work for Alcoa or the refineries.   Texas kids have Texas names such as; Zane, Sage, Gage, Brook, Chase, and Koo.   

Headed out for El Campo which was an hour away.   I took the counselor's cue and headed for the backroads and it was a pretty sight.  I didn't take any pictures as I was too tired and wanted to take a quick nap.   Found the hotel right away.  Small town of about 12,000 mostly run down and forgotten.  Some nice areas around the downtown section.   Thursday I was at the school with another group of 100.  Best students ever and we hit it off.   I was expecting mostly Hispanics but it was an even mix of whites and blacks.  Again, heaving in farming and cattle.  The counselor dragged me over to meet a student.  She said, "Mr. Bauer meet Bauer".   I said, "oh, so your a Bauer too".   "Nope, my first name is Bauer".   His parents used his mother's maiden name as his first name.  Good kid and we hit it off.

Long, long drive back to McAllen that night.  Almost five hours.   

1) Cops follow me on the highway.  One policeman followed me for 10 miles with only one car length between us.  We even passed a semi that had some type of explosion and smoke was pouring out of the engine like it was on fire.  He continued to follow me before turning back.

2) In Falfurrias the same thing happened again.  This time before turning off, he passed me and nodded his head.

3)  When you go to pass a car on the left, the one that is a quarter of a mile away speeds up.

4) I've said this before.  In McAllen, they drove slow on city streets.  They have streets that are 45, 50 and 55 mph zones and they drive like snails.   OTOH, on the highway through the valley they drive like nuts going 80 and 85.   I think it is because there are so many illegals.  A new strategy is to keep Border Patrols close to city police so that when a stop is made they can try and catch them.  Very illegal.

5) I now send my reports via USPS in a $5.75 overnight envelope with a tracking number.  I got to the post office before 8 a.m. so I could head home.  They don't open until 9 a.m. and then the clerks take an additional ten minutes to set up.  Wow, things have changed.  There was a line all the way through the building.  There is a postal workers union, right?

Rvs rock and I say that from experience.  Hotels are mediocre.  They could do so much better.  These are not five star but ones in the $100 range.   Still quite a bit for an eight hour sleep.  The hot breakfasts they advertise suck, the carpets are usually dirty and well I could go on.  But that's what I do and until I can drag along the travel trailer that's how it will be.

So, Tuesday I fly from McAllen to Dallas to do this all over again.   Kaufman, Tx and Corpus Christi.

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