I traveled to see my relative Rex last weekend, right after my birthday. Since it had been a while since I'd done a road trip, and since sometimes I like having nothing to do with aviation on my days off, I opted to drive rather than fly. I got off to a late start but I figured I'd be there in plenty of time for dinner. WRONG! About halfway there I got caught up in a traffic jam and had to wait in stop and go traffic for about an hour. I kept Rex informed via cellphone of my progress, and he ended up waiting on me even though it was late, so we got to enjoy a nice meal at Applebee's around 9 P.M. (That traffic jam, along with some other delays I encountered earlier, slowed me down by about two hours.)
The weekend went pretty well after that. We had a Denny's breakfast Saturday; and I was on my own for lunch since Rex and his sister were entertaining some people there. I called an old friend of mine I worked with back when I lived in New Mexico and he was working, but wanted to meet after work around 2 P.M. for a late lunch. That was fine with me since I'd had a big breakfast, but I had some time to kill, so I headed over to Barnes & Noble with my laptop.
While driving through the parking lot, I noticed people pushing a small car over through the lot. I parked and got out to see if I could help...the car turned out to be a VERY old, beat up Honda Civic. The driver of the car was Hispanic and there were three kids in the back seat. (To his credit, the baby was in a car seat.) There was a teenage girl in the front seat, I hope it wasn't his wife since she looked like she was about 18 or younger but I didn't ask. Anyhow, he had a flat tire, and I looked in my trunk, but the wrench I had didn't fit his tire. He didn't speak the best English, either, although the teenage girl did (she was not Hispanic.) He had a socket that fit the tire but no wrench. I felt rather sorry for them (even though the car barely looked roadworthy) so I decided to call my roadside assistance program that I subscribe to through my cellphone carrier. This was technically a violation of the rules of that program, but I don't use it much either.
The roadside assistance guy showed up faster than they said he would (on the phone I was told it would be about an hour) so I left the B&N Cafe without ever sitting down to go meet him. He was able to fashion a tool to take off the bad tire with some things in his car. The spare tire looked fine, but the tire they replaced was in HORRIBLE shape...it wasn't just bald; on one side it was worn down to the point you could see metal. Also, we found out after the tire was changed that the starter on the car was shot and they needed a push to get started, which the roadside assistance guy did (I would have helped out but there was a slight downhill slope so he managed it by himself.) The driver of the old, beat-up car did thank me, as did some mall security guards who had been observing the goings on.
I told the roadside assistance guy that I didn't really know the people in the car, but that I had felt really sorry for them. He said that it was a technical violation of the rules, but he understood; he also said that if there hadn't been kids in the car, he probably wouldn't have changed the tire since the car was in such bad shape. I went ahead and signed the receipt after he got whatever claim number he needed to get compensated for coming out. All in all, it was a nice good Samaritan moment, although I hope the driver of that Civic doesn't keep driving his family around in it. I know one thing; there is no way his car would get an inspection sticker to be registered in the state it's in, and Texas requires one of those every year.
After that fiasco, it was after 1 P.M., so I decided to head on to the restaurant. Russ had picked the place, which I had never heard of...turns out it was a barbecue place called Bone Daddy's which was basically barbecue with a Hooter's flair. (The waitresses were all VERY nice looking and wore skimpy outfits.) I messed around with my laptop until Russ arrived, and we had a nice leisurely lunch and BS session. The barbecue was excellent.
The rest of the weekend was pretty quiet; sometimes it's just nice to talk and catch up on things. Rex and I may travel somewhere in December; not sure or not at this point but updates will be posted when/if the trip happens. My drive back home was less eventful than my drive out, which was fortunate since I had to work in the afternoon, but it did rain the whole way. There had been a lot of lightning the previous night, and that was all moved through, but the lingering rain kept up for my entire drive.
Also, I almost lost my phone as I was driving off, but I realized it was missing and turned around when I was only about 1/2 mile out. Someone had put the phone on a ledge, so it hadn't gotten wet either, which was a very good thing...and I will definitely be more careful with my phone in the future. It's funny how important mobile phones have become in recent years...I didn't even own one until 2001, and now it's the only phone I have, plus I use it for many other things (alarm clock, appointments, Google Maps for directions, etc.) I'm very glad the phone was safe.