Welcome to Part 2! If you missed part 1, see it here.
My time in the back seat was not pleasant in any sense of the word. I was overwhelmed with the smell of Eric’s farts, the stench of one particular Scott Ramer, and the fact that I was crammed into a space about five cubic feet short of what would be comfortable for a full grown male of my size. Exhausted from having spent the previous three days moving out of my apartment and working 10 hour days at COSI, I tried to grab a few minutes of decent sleep. Try as I might, I was extremely unsuccessful, gaining only about 20 minutes of uneasy rest.
A few pit stops later and it was my turn to sit shotgun with Eric. We had made quite a bit of progress with five of us driving around the clock. As the sun rose, we hit Arkansas. It was a very harrowing experience, sitting shotgun with a man like Eric behind the wheel. He was confident in his driving abilities, I was not. Several times, he veered into the rumble strip as he casually nodded off or decided that paying attention to the road was not in his best interest. I started to wonder if we’d make it there alive, one thing was for sure – we’d certainly die trying.
Another switch of drivers, and we were passing through Missouri. Mouse awoke me from my horrible nightmarish slumber by screaming frantically. Being an electrical engineer, he thought it was extremely exciting for me to be passing through a city the namesake of my major. “DOUBLE E, DOUBLE E MISSOURI,” he screamed, very excited. I yelled back in the excitement of the moment, and I can assure you that the very same thing happened on the way home.
As we arrived in Texas, we began to see what the rest of the trip would be like. Endless fields of nothing but fat cattle, much like the population of Texas. This is precisely what we encountered as we entered and explored the city of Austin. We arrived at the hotel and we were greeted by a rather attractive young lady who checked us in. Mouse made the typical small talk he is so utterly famous for, taunting the young girl. She didn’t seem to mind all that much, just smiled and nodded while causally checking out the rest of the crew. We went and checked out the hotel room Mouse had gotten for us. Two queens and a floor. The floor would become a vital part of Eric’s life in the next few days.
Eric had to take a dump, which is no surprise for anyone that knows him. Twenty minutes later, we go back to the desk and ask the girl for a good restaurant we were can get some good ol’ Texan beef. She seemed delighted to talk to us again and pointed us in the direction of some steakeries. The five of us piled back into the car and began another adventure. The road system within Austin is certainly something to be weary of. The Texans know the roads well, but they don’t give directions well. The steakhouse we had decided on was on the same street we had come in off the highway.
We couldn’t get back to this road because the path to the hotel is one way. So, we set off on another one-way street in an attempt to find a place to cut across the freeway, the only thing between dinner and us. I felt like we were on a hunt for the wild buffalo. The same road ran on either side of the freeway, but in opposite directions. We had a to find a path to the other side of the freeway. Easier said than done. No U-turns were allowed or possible because of the freeway separating the two sides of the road. We found several small streets connecting the two sides, but we were not able to take them for various ridiculous reasons. Finally, we approached a large six-lane road. Five grown men, small car, four lanes, and fast traffic. Mouse gunned the engine and she roared to life. Roared much in the same way a two-cycle weed whacker does. Honking horns and middle fingers erupted in the flurry of traffic as we suddenly darted out. It is astonishing how much of your life and flash in front of you in just a few seconds. We cut across the traffic, ignoring the pissed off Texans, and slammed the car into the turn lane. We had made it. Barely. We waited for our signal and flew down the proper side of the road.
We arrived at the eatery and got our table after Mouse sweet talked the hostess. The waitress arrived and suggested some wine; Mouse and Jared jumped the thought of sweet liquor dripping down their gullets. Mouse found that he and waitress shared a common interest in wine. He chatted her up every time she came back to serve us. This place, along with every other in Texas, was famous for their prime rib. We all received a small sampling of the goods. Not bad, but I’ve still had better in Ohio. We took our time eating and drinking. Dessert was had and I drank several green teas. The check came and unfortunately for Mouse, the waitress’s number was not at the bottom. We ventured back to the hotel so Eric could drop another deuce.