Happy Monday morning all:

Weekly wisdom:

“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” Oprah Winfrey

Now, I best put on the coffee – my first attempt in Austin and with a new brand of coffee and a pot I’ve never used — then a few of the week’s events.

A heavenly ride – is what we had for phase one of our travels. Having seen the “Picture of the Week” also means that the cat is out of the bag, yup, we rode Megabus from Cincinnati to Austin, Texas.

Marcia planted herself in a spacious seat and got busy with some knitting. I went up front and chatted with the driver – an Italian guy who runs a catering business on the side. Smooth, quiet, and comfortable we rolled as fast as most cars.

The one nutty part of the trip was a 9-hour delay in Knoxville, TN, our first stop.

Actually, that stop became the best part of the trip. A little smoozing with security guys at the Knoxville transit center and they agreed to hold our luggage in their office. Next came a hop on the free trolley service Knoxville has in place. Moments later we were at the town’s Visitors Center.

Based on recommendations we walked two blocks and bought a pair of movie tickets at their downtown theater (saw Oz); then walked back taking in the sights and sounds of the great little city. Finally we ended up at a pub for a taste of a local beer and a half sandwich. A little shopping followed and after the movie off to an eatery in the city’s Market Square area. We selected a place serving only food locally grown and were not disappointed.

Through the night – was our run to Memphis, TN. However, the city of Memphis we found less than desirable. Our three hour layover at the city’s transit center is located in a derelict area near Memphis’ Pyramid. No restaurants to enjoy some breakfast; a major disappointment since we promised ourselves exactly that. No place to walk to and facilities matching the worst I’ve experienced in any third world nation.

Marcia asked me to give a rest-room verdict. I went to wash my hands at the only working sink with soap retrieved through the missing lid on the soap container. While there I could hear rap music coming from a stall and someone ‘singing’ along between grunts. My input caused Marcia to head for the Shell station across the street as soon as it opened at Eight AM.

Non Stop and I mean NON – we roared to Dallas, TX. Actually, we did have a 15 minute pause in Texarcana next door to a Popeye restaurant. Guess what we ate that afternoon?

I had begun to notice that mile after mile of riding had Marcia exhibit a distinct lessening of enthusiasm about the travel we had embarked on; her love of express bus travel was quickly dissipating.

Marcia overheard the driver talking to the driver of a northbound bus that also stopped there that our bus’ fuel gauge had just entered the nasty red zone, would this be an issue? The other driver assured her that since Dallas was only 195 miles away we should be fine – head winds and all. Luckily, he proved to be correct in his assessment.

South by Southwest – is the nationally advertised music and interactive media festival that has Austin hopping this week. Our leg from Dallas to Austin (three hours) was filled with many college aged folk also heading to our destination.

Marcia heard a girl who had flown in to Dallas from Minnesota and was now taking the bus to Austin telling her seatmate that band member friends had alerted her to the fact that, totally without any hoopla, the Smashing Pumpkins would be in town. The excitement mounted. Kirstin got us tickets to see the Rodeo on Wednesday, and at that the same time we’d be seeing the band Alabama Shakes – which I enjoy immensely. Yeah!

Little guys quickly growing up – It was so good to finally see Derek and Kellen after a year and a half – Vince and Kirstin too! They actually were gracious enough to note that Oma and I really hadn’t aged that much. I suspect that they thought a pair of walkers would be unloaded before the two of us would emerge from the bus.

Their new life away from Florida is a huge plus. I’ll publish some photos next weekend. But, yesterday it was a serious “sleeping in” morning. Vince and the boys and I went on a bike ride that ended up at their local community park and pool.

Later Vince and I drove to get a small repair made on Kellen’s bike. In a two block area were three bicycle shops. The one where we ended up was, without doubt, the largest independent bicycle shop I’d set foot in. While we were waiting we did a little wandering around. Every thing from $649.00 ‘cruiser’ bikes to serious Cervelo road bikes with their $9,999.99 price tags. However, as someone who earlier on did some serious tour riding, it was the S-Works sprint bike designed by the McLaren group that caught my eye. It sat, very unoprusively in one of the aisles. I did take a peek at the small price tag affixed to the handle bar; $18,999.00 – WOW! Some serious sticker shock!

Fini –Make it a great week everyone. Shortly we are off to do some spelunking.

Cheers,
Dirk

2 Responses to “The Wheels on the Bus go……….”
  1. Marlene Says:

    So glad to hear you are at your destination! Enjoy your time in Austin and sayHi to all the Briones’ from us!

  2. Pieter Says:

    Loved this post – thanks for the update – say hello to the gang