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1998-07-07 - 10:47:28

Houston

MONDAY, JULY 6, SUGAR LAND, TEX. — MADROAD DRIVING — Indeed. Roughly 16 hours and 1,100 miles from Knoxville, Tenn., here I am at Meg’s in Texas. I pushed myself through six states — three of them new to me — across three interstates to make it here at just about exactly midnight after leaving the Hoffmans’ at 8:05 a.m. Central Time. My ears ring from all the wind and I showered before going to bed to get all that driving sweat off me. This will certainly be the longest stretch of the trip — I made it with little strain, but I was annoyed and rushing the last 80 miles from Beaumont. My legs ache along with my ears and I’m adjusting my plans to stay in Texas longer before having to do the 600 miles from Austin to El Paso — and I might spend a night in El Paso rather than trying for Silver City. We’ll see — But I’ve done it, and I now know I can. Ugh ...

To get to Meg’s — not for much longer; they’re moving to San Francisco — you turn into a new development with a huge — or so — lake in the middle. After driving around the lake and to the end of two roads, you go through the gates — if they’re open or you have the code. Inside, houses are still being put up but you come to their house on the corner, big but not immensely so and sitting rather close to the street with the driveway and garage right out front before you turn the corner. High ceilings everywhere inside, including the large front-door entryway with the high windows. Pristine rooms — including bathrooms — so that you’re afraid to touch doors, walls, floors, carpets even. (There are shock mats for the couch to keep the dogs off.) Meg’s car’s around front, so mine doesn’t look too bad in the driveway. The air conditioning is pumping — it’s cold in here — and I’m sleeping in a bed (there’s also a dresser in the room) that was given to the Kings by Gov. John E. Dewey (Thruway) from when they were neighbors in Michigan. Nice life.

So Houston — the first “exotic” (new to me) stop on this excursion. We’ll see what the days hold. Texas should be fun — probably a week here, San Antone, Austin, then goodbye for a LONG time — and never again entering by car.

Sooooooo tired ... Only this tonight (filled in lines):

Baton Rouge sunset,
Orange fire reflected
In the roadside swamp.

TUESDAY, JULY 7, SUGAR LAND — So named because it’s home to Imperial Sugar — and I saw it, from afar (the factory). Saw where Charles Barkley and Mario Elie live, also Colts’ Blackman and an NHLer. Caught matinee of Dr. Doolittle and evening show with Meg, Andy and John. Meg, 12 years older than Andy, is so cute with her brother, mothering him often because she loves him — and her suggestions will probably go further than if they came from a parent. Great parents, they have, both pleasant to talk with as we watched the All-Star Game waiting for Meg to return from Spanish.

When I got downstairs this morning, Meg was making breakfast and talking to the exterminator about the crickets — Actually I had been down earlier and I introduced myself to Andy and he asked if I was the bug man — HA! HA!

Talked with Heather and Brad, Barbour and Christine today and ironed out much of the next week — Courtenay wasn’t home but called back and I’ll talk to her tomorrow. Can’t wait for Austin, but one of the first things Heather told me was, “Guess who’s coming this weekend!” I couldn’t, so, “Dougie!” “Great!” I said.

Houston — Texas, really — is HOT. It’s not anything I haven’t felt before, but it’s new for me this summer. The Kings’ AC sure feels great. I’ll bear it this week, but I’ll be glad to head West and leave the humidity behind for the dry heat.

Hot day in Houston,
Bright, sun-reflecting concrete
Make it still hotter.

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