—— Converted from outline form: 2013-9-19 ——
Monique’s dogs barked me awake in the morning and then joined me on the couch. I got up and took a very cold shower because I had gotten the handles switched. Folded my laundry and then went out to get some great Mexican food – Beef Puffy Tacos. Monique needed to go to work at 11, so she dropped me off at the bus station before then.
There was a bit of confusion and I wasn’t sure how to interpret instructions from a guy who spoke indecipherable English. I got in line long after I should have because I wasn’t sure where and when the bus was going. Then I asked the guy what gate I had to be at and he said the bus was already loading, which was a WTF moment.
Anyhow, got on and sat next to a guy with a cowboy hat, which was totally Texas to me. I slept for a bit. Then the cowboy answered his cellphone and chatted for a while. He mentioned something interesting and the people in the seats in front of us started chatting to him. I jumped into the conversation when appropriate and we all started a nice little party on the Greyhound (which happens quite often actually). We talked about Texas stuff, military stuff, and all sorts of things that made up a good time between the many rest stops between San Antonio and El Paso. The cowboy was a guy named Sam, and happened to be Jewish, and a woman in front of my looked like a teacher I had at one time (Mrs. Barth).
[lost memory] I wrote down that we crashed in the middle of nowhere, but I don’t remember crashing at all. It was a desert area, and there was a beautiful sunset and clouds. I guess we got back on the bus and continued. Sam started to play some kind of bowling game on his cell phone and he was very good with it. At some point I observed the time zone changing too (I’m guessing this was on a cell phone’s clock).
We made a long stop to get some food (which happened to be Wendy’s), and then finally made it to El Paso in the evening. El Paso was a whole lot larger than I thought it was going to be. I got off the bus, said goodbye to Sam The Jewish Cowboy, and met up with my dad and one of my distant cousins.
To fill people in: Once the car was stolen in New Orleans, my family and I formulated a new plan where I would take the Greyhound bus to El Paso, and meanwhile my dad would drive his Jeep Grand Cherokee down from the Bay Area to meet up with me. Then we would drive together to Santa Fe to meet up with my mom, we would spend some time there, and then they would fly home and I would drive my dad’s car the rest of the trip.
So at this point we went to my cousin Arlene’s house. Arlene had many health issues in her life, and wasn’t doing so well. I didn’t, and still don’t know that side of my family too well, but Arlene has passed away since. That might have even been the last time I saw her. Anyhow, we talked a bit and I played with their two dogs Brisket and Brownie (or maybe we ate brisket and had brownies… the trip outline is unclear). But anyhow, we had decided that instead of burdening them with our presence we would stay in a hotel, so we said goodbye and headed to La Quinta, an I watched Family Guy and Futurama with my dad before sleeping.
My dad keeps a very detailed journal, much more than my own, and he was kind enough to give me his records of the day:
Wed, 14 Jul Hot with afternoon thunderstorm buildup.
Ben takes Greyhound bus to El Paso at 1:00 p.m. this afternoon. Arrives at 10:35 p.m. I drove to El Paso and visited with the Hutmans, Arlene, Mark and Patty.
I had breakfast with Nat and Eloise and left about 9 a.m. and drove East out of Phoenix on Hwy 60 to Globe (past the big open pit copper mines. This was where Lenny went to high school). At Globe I refueled ($1.79) and took Hwy 70 to where it met I-10 again at Lordsberg. Hwy 70 was all 2-lane but mostly straight and almost no traffic. I cruised at 75 most of the way.
I stayed on I-10 to El Paso, stopping at Deming for lunch at Denny’s. I called the Hutmans from there and got directions from Mark. I arrived at the Hutmans at 4:30, Arlene walked out to the living room to show strength but she’s essentially bed-ridden. Patty had a women’s dinner so Mark and I went by the LaQuinta to get a room and then to the Great American Stake House where I had brisket, way too much so I brought some back for Ben. While waiting for Ben to arrive, Arlene and I talked for over 2 hours catching up on family gossip.
Mark and I picked Ben up at 11 in the center of town Greyhound bus station, complete with a drunk and hooker. I immediately called Carol and handed the phone to Ben, she was finally relieved that Ben was indeed safe and sound. He did seem to handle himself well with a little bit of swagger. We brought Ben back to the Hutmans and visited with Arlene a little bit and then he had my leftovers and we went to the LaQuinta.
(Apparently Brisket and Brownie were references to food eaten, not the dogs’ names)