Saturday, March 24, 2007

Notes From The Road (I-35 Triangle Edition)

It's been quite a few years since I've done a Notes from the Road post for a trip to Waco. Perhaps that's because not much has changed since the last time, or maybe I had other stuff to talk about. At any rate, here's a collection of random thoughts, for the low, low price of free:
  • A long time ago, I saw a truck trailer parked in a truck stop parking lot near Hillsboro; its sign read "Bread of Life Mobile Ministry." Four years later, it's still there; does it still qualify as "mobile" anymore? It also has a counterpart about twenty miles down the road that doesn't appear to have moved in a while now either. (And have I blogged about this already?)

  • Allow me a Restau-Rantlet here: I don't eat at Mickey D's very often, but on these Waco trips, I tend to have a hankering for McGriddles for breakfast. This time, since I was done with my business on campus the night before, I decided to avoid the downtown outlet (which tends to not be too clean and often has an over-concentration of homeless people) and go for one a few miles up the road. Arriving at 10:15 (breakfast goes till 10:30), I figured I had plenty of time, so you can imagine my dismay when the manager-looking person switched the menu board over to lunch at 10:22 and told her cashier (the onlhy one working in a pretty crowded restaurant) that there would be no more breakfast after the next people in line...who were the ones right in front of me. I didn't raise a fuss, but you'd better believe that I won't be back to that store, and someone's getting an email from me. And someone buy that manager a watch...

  • After all that, I ended up with a better breakfast anyway, at the Czech Stop...which still doesn't accept checks. Heh.

  • I ended up making a third stop, at the Hillsboro Starbucks that used to be a Burger King. I've always been intrigued by how big it must be, but when I stopped there, I noticed it was pretty much regular-sized; it turns out that they're only using the front half of the building, and the back part is still for lease.

  • My trip back would take me through an unusual part of the I-35 triangle, as I was headed to Ft. Worth to hear one of my schools play at the TCU Jazz Festival. That put my gas stop in Itasca, just north of the split on 35W. Itasca is home to the Wampus Cats, perhaps my favorite high school mascot of all time, and the gas station where I stopped had a statue of the cat in its parking lot. Of course, I got a picture, which will be posted once I figure out how to get photos off a RAZR using a Mac.

  • Why I'm glad I'm a teacher, part 1: While in Waco, I got to visit with a former student of mine who's about to graduate with a business degree. He's stayed in jazz band this whole time, though, and is even taking an improv class this semester. I don't see him stopping playing anytime soon, and that's what we music educators try to do--instill a love of music in everyone, no matter what profession they pursue.

  • Why I'm glad I'm a teacher, part 2: Getting to hear my protege take muitiple solos and quote some of my own signature licks on multiple occasions. Imitation truly is the sincerest form of flattery...

  • I read the story in the paper today about how Carrollton is finally going to paint that ugly rainbow-colored grain elevator that's been a source of civic embarrassment for years now. On my way home, I could see it from miles away on the George Bush, and I totally agree that a more normal color will be a big improvement.

  • Finally, a few miles later on the George Bush, there was a sign that said LANES CLOSED MON THUR FRI. I'm sure they really meant Monday THRU Friday, but, as it read, it made me wonder what kind of a cushy job it was when the construction workers got Tuesdays and Wednesdays off.
And the trip is not likely to be over yet; I'm probably headed back to TCU to see the concert with Andy Martin tonight. Just call me a drivin' fool...

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "The Texas Motor Speedway is over that way, dude."--Me, to the driver of a car who passed me going about 90 in north Ft. Worth. (Of course, he couldn't hear me; I wonder how many more road-rage incidents would occur if the other drivers actually knew what we were saying about them...)

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