God bless Texas

I’m finally back from my Texas trip. I was only there for a few days, and most of that was filled with business meetings and training.

I wish I would have had more time. I know a ton of people in Texas, and was only able to visit one of my friends. If I had another month I still probably wouldn’t have been able to see everybody I know down there. One of these days I’m going to plan on spending a lot more time down there. I need to meet Matt and Johnny Guest. I need to go on a ride along with Lawdog (and I will take copious notes), and I need to just loaf on a porch in Terlingua.

After picking up my piece of crap rental car (more on that later), I was able to go up to Georgetown, where I got a tour of STI. I haven’t been a nefarious arms dealer for nearly half a year now, but I used to do a ton of business with STI, and they were always my favorite bunch to deal with in the business. I got to see how their guns are made, and it is simply awesome. Using giant war machines forged in the fires of Mordor, 1911s are carved from giant blocks of steel, and then polished to perfection. Yeah, I was pretty geeked out.

Then I got to hang out with my buddy, Rabbit, in Hutto. (Go Hippos!). He treated me to a chicken-fried rib-eye steak. He knew that I was only in Texas for a short time, so he needed to feed me something that just screamed Texas, and what better way to do that than to take the very best part of the cow, batter it, fry it, and then smother it in gravy? Yes, it was as good as it sounds.  

Rabbit and his family are good people. Anybody who has built a 16-foot, fully-articulated, Mexican-wrestler puppet, and who then flew it off of a 30 foot cliff while dressed as a lemming has to be pretty damn cool. And no, I didn’t make any of that up.

Then it was back to San Antonio, where I got hopelessly lost. I didn’t know you could put that many different freeways into one area. I’m from Utah. We have one. Anyway, I was caught behind an accident, routed off the freeway, through the city, and onto, what I thought, was the same freeway. Turned out it was a different one, (that still headed in the same direction). But it was cool to drive around San Antonio for awhile, as it is a very pretty town.

The training was good, and that night I went down to the Riverwalk for dinner, where I ate at Boudrouxs and had the best guacamole I’ve ever had. The Riverwalk is the most interesting downtown I’ve seen. You take the stairs down from the street, and then you can walk along the river that flows through San Antonio.  It has atmosphere.

I hit the Tea Party. Like I said in the last post, everyone was friendly, cordial, upbeat, and sick and tired of being treated like mushrooms. Maybe my opinion of Texas has been skewed because I was surrounded by like-minded people, but I’ll keep it that way, thanks.

The Alamo is a lot smaller than I imagined. I hear everybody says that though. It just illustrates how hard the Texans fought, because that is not what I would consider a super defensible fort.

Overall, I loved Texas. I look forward to going back.

The only downside of the trip was the rental. On the rental car, it is almost worthy of its own post. I signed up for a full size car. At 6’6”, I only fit in about half of the compact cars out there. (the Ford Focus is surprisingly roomy), so to be safe, I went up a size. According to the webpage, this size were things like Chevy Impalas or Dodge Chargers. Okay, I was cool with that.

So when I get there, they bring out this absurd looking little pseudo-minivan with great big wheel wells and little square windows. It is a Chevy HHR. Imagine a PT-Cruiser had a bastard love child with a retarded minivan, and the fact this thing exists just shows why Chevy needed bailout money.

If I put the seat back far enough so that I could drive, I couldn’t see out the driver side window. This thing doesn’t just have blind spots. It has blind spots that you could park the USS Enterprise in.  The window is so high up that you can’t comfortably put your arm out it when the window is rolled down, not that you could anyway, since the door locks are pointy things designed to stab you in the elbow if you try. (Rabbit pointed out that Chevy should have went the distance and just sharpened them). I have been in armored fighting vehicles that have better visibility.

Since the whole thing was designed by morons, they also made the speedometer dumb. It is small, and it goes 60 dot dot dot 80. That’s fine, except the speed limit in Texas in 70, and the needle is bigger than the dots, so you know that you are going approximately somewhere between 60 and 80. I was waiting to get pulled over, and the cop would ask “Do you know how fast you were going?” and I could honestly answer, “No, officer, look at this stupid thing!”

When I dropped the cursed HHR back to Enterprise, the young woman there asked me how was the car. I told her that it absolutely sucked. She said, “Blind spots, right?” Apparently I’m not the only one that hated this ridiculous thing.

8 Responses

  1. My girlfriend is looking to replace her 12 year old Explorer, and her Dad stumbled across a used HHR being sold by someone down the road. So I had the misfortune to be involved in a test drive of one of these things.

    I definitely agree with you that this is proof of why the American car companies are nose diving. I’m 5’11”, and my head almost touched the roof. Space is limited, and storage even more so. Despite the amount of room between the front seats, the only storage compartment available is on the dashboard. On top of that, the window controls are on the center console…..around ankle high. My girlfriend (5’4″) couldn’t reach the window controls without leaning so far down that she couldn’t see out the windshield.

    There’s a reason why foreign car makers don’t need 20-30 different models. It’s far more effective to make a few models well than to shotgun with a crapload of models that all suck.

  2. The PT Ripoff claims another victim. Sic transit gloria the bow tie.

    I’m with you and Laughingdog on the headroom thing. I’m 6’0″ and a fraction, but I like to wear a fedora pretty much all the time. I am weary of knocking my hat off getting in and out of the car. Any and every car.

  3. Glad you enjoyed your trip to our fine state, Mr. Correia. Watch out if you go to Dallas-Ft. Worth, though. I think there are about eight different freeways going into it, three of which converge in downtown Dallas. ;-)

  4. Buiving in the world ddy, I think you miss the point. We’re living in the world lKurt Vonnegut described in “Harrison Bergeron”. All allowances are made to teh smallest – be it in brain, soul, or dimension. If you can reach (albeit at ruinous cost) you must be MADE to reach, so that the preteens stealing the car won’t be inconvenienced, or even (heaven forfend) kill someone because it was “out of reach”. Countertops are too low, so as to allow those 3 SDs away from mean height not to be inconvenienced. Every damn rake handle is 10″ too short for a man of my height (6’1″, roughly median for adult males in the USA)

  5. First sentance should begin “Buddy< I think you miss the point…” New unit, forgot to disable the damntouchpad.

  6. And yet, 6’5″ 250# me fits into our Jetta with just a wee bit of compression, so, it is possible to build small cars that hold big guys…

  7. You just HAD to come to San Antonio during the week I was in Levelland (outside Lubbock) on bidness!

    Well, I’m glad you enjoyed it. If you get back this way sometime, give us a hollar. I’ll show you where the locals eat:)

    tweaker

  8. Sounds like a pretty good time, Larry. Aside from the HHR.

    JC, I completely disagree. Most firearms stocks are a minimum of 1 1/4″ too long for me. Male shirts are typically made for someone 5″ or taller than me. Those are just two easy and quick examples…

    John

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