US Road Trip Epilog: 14th July 2005

In the morning I'm awaken by the sound of cars skidding and horns blaring on the Interstate outside.

Outside the Holiday Inn Express in Tulsa
Outside the Holiday Inn Express in Tulsa. A truck carrying waste paper has managed to lose much of it on the road, causing chaos. More effective than any alarm call, that's for sure.

While waiting for my co-pilot to remember how to tie his shoelaces and find his way out of his motel room I have some time to plan the day ahead. The original plan had been to stay well clear of Dallas / Fort Worth but after an email from Jim Cannon I phoned a place around there who could supply the (hopefully missing-link) in the faulty aircon system in the car. Time for a change of route.

Highway 377 over one of many narrow bridges
Highway 377 over one of many narrow bridges.

There's no point relying on the navigator today, and I can't help thinking I should've traded him for Max the Moose last week. At least Max wouldn't still be on Tulsa Time for most of the 300 miles and 7 hours. Luckily it's a fairly straightforward route - a bit west on Interstate 44 before joining Highway 377 south into Texas and the Interstates of the Dallas / Fort Worth area.

The I-35W around Fort Worth
The I-35W at a standstill, in both directions, around Fort Worth.

The late afternoon traffic on Interstate 35W around Fort Worth is no fun - heat around 100° F, roadworks with stationary traffic, and enough aggressive driving when moving to make the M25 around London look like a school for beginners. After a bit of wasted time - my fault for not writing-down the exact address - we find Old Air Products and I can buy the receiver drier thingamajig that should get the aircon working properly.

The time spent on the internet this morning was not wasted, as I know that many of the motels around here are fully-booked but the Howard Johnson's isn't. A few more junctions down the I-35W and Alex can run off and hide from the world in his room and I can disappear into the cocktail lounge (it's a bar, really) attached to the hotel and attempt to drown myself in $1.50 bottles of Coors Light.

Ever wondered what the job of a 'lineman' is? I thought I did - something to do with railroads - until I started taking to Robert and his wife Joleanne in the bar. What a really nice couple, and I now have a much better idea of what it must be like to work around ¼ million volts when a few hundred feet up in the air, and what can happen when things go wrong. Yes, the job of lineman all about high-power cross-country electricity pylons. Wichita Lineman, always one of my favourite songs, will have added meaning now.

US Road Trip Epilog: 15th July 2005 >