05/22/06 to 05/28/06
Monday morning we headed Southwest to Atlanta.  We stopped to talk with
one of my ex bosses from Hantover, since I'm still trying to beg a job from
them.  After going over all the recent gossip, Richard and I left just in time to hit
Atlanta rush hour traffic.  The Samurai zoomed through the city in the HOV
(carpool) lane and on towards Alabama.  We camped that night in an
Alabama state park near Auburn.  Surprisingly it didn't rain on us,.  Even if it
had been raining, I'm not sure we would have gotten wet under all those trees.  
We got up early Tuesday morning, 5-23, for a long day of driving.  We decided to
take a detour off of highway 10 to go to the Mississippi beach.  We drove down to
190, but couldn't proceed West because the bridge was out.  (Wouldn't you think
they could put a sign up about that before we exited the highway?)  So we went back
up to 10, West some more, then back down to 190.  We finally got to the beach.
Have I mentioned before that the Samurai doesn't have air conditioning?  The
weather had finally turned hot in Atlanta and we had been driving in the HOT car all
morning, so we were glad to hit the beach and wade a bit.  However, we were
shocked at the devastation everywhere.  Not only had the bridge been out, but we
figured out why there wasn't a sign on the highway.  There weren't signs anywhere!  
People had handmade street signs nailed to dead trees.  Every 5th or 6th building
was being rebuilt, but the rest were gutted, crumbled, or otherwise destroyed.  We
had been in Biloxi in April of 04 and saw places we remembered.  The building
where we bought Richard's hat was still standing, but barely.  It was a two story
building, all the windows were broken and the concrete pillars that were holding up
the second story were barely there.  We saw the sign for the Olive Garden where
we had eaten, but the building was completely gone.  Very little rebuilding was
going on, and at least a third of the lots were for sale.  Most of what was getting
rebuilt were condos.  Big signs up for pre-construction prices.  Tempting...
After turning around again because another bridge was out, and following
homemade signs back to highway 10, we were on our way again, into Louisianna.  
It was too early to stop when we passed the first two state campgrounds, so we
headed on.  Under my lead foot, she purred like a kitten, going an amazing 70
miles per hour as we crossed the state of Louisianna.  When we got to the
campground on the West side of the state, it was still closed for the year!  So, we
had no choice but to drive on into Texas in the dark.  We were so thankful to cross
the state line and be "home."  We sputtered (Richard was driving again) along into
the Lake Houston State Park for the night.  It was hot and muggy, the raccoons got
into our cooler and stole my string cheese and an apple, but we got up early
Wednesday morning anyway, with big plans to stop and see more cows and be
home by supper time.  Unfortunately, the Samurai had different plans.  We
sputtered along as far as we could, and finally came to rest at a gas station in the
middle-of-nowhere-North-of-Houston Texas.  We borrowed a phone book, and
called Enterprise for a pick up (amazingly, they only had to drive 15 miles to come
get us, but we waited 2 hours while they waited for a car to be returned.)  We left
the Samurai at the gas station and drove the remaining 350 miles home (only 5
and a half hours!)
First thing we did was let our girls out.  They were so happy we were home.  The
stupid horny toad wasn't.  The girls were ignoring him, but he was up on his skinny
little legs in a big bad defensive pose that really cracked us up.
See him, there
in the middle?

-------------->
Thursday morning, 6:00 AM, we left good ole Rancho Cielo, me in the rental car,
Richard in the truck, for the long 5 and a half hour drive all the way back to the gas
station in Plantersville.  We returned the car, hooked the Samurai on behind the
truck, and got back on track, on our way to see some cows.  
This towing thing sure is getting to be a bad habit.  She's been on a regular tow
truck, a flatbed truck, and now the poor-man's way, behind a regular old truck.  
There aren't any more ways to tow a vehicle are there?  Maybe we're in the clear
(if we ever get her running again.)

These are Dexters, not Jersey's.  They have a more consistent small size, and are
almost as cute.
After a really long day, we were back home, but not for long.  Friday we had to drive
to San Angelo (about an hour) to get my car from the airport.  Saturday we went to
Fredericksburg to check in on Granny and Grandpa, but today, we finally feel like
we're home.  We went to the potluck lunch in town, then went to Mike and Marsha's
house to pick out the kitten they had promised me.  I think I picked a boy.  He is
supposed to be a guard cat for the chickens.  He isn't too sure about his new role,
but he's working on it.  We named him Wrangler (as in Chicken Wrangler) but we've
also called him Tom and Junior, so you'll just have to wait and see what the official
name ends up being.  See what a good job he is doing already?
Since we were sitting in the chicken coop to monitor the cat-chicken interactions
Rachel (our not-supposed-to-be-a-rooster rooster) got cozy on my lap.
I also got some good video of Lorraine.  See, all chickens pant, which some
people don't believe when I tell them, but Lorraine pants like crazy.  She gets her
tongue going and looks ridiculous.  Thought you might like to see it.  Does this
prove it's hot here or what?
So, that's it.  Back in Texas, playing with our chickens and our guard cat.  We
couldn't be happier, and I have vowed no more adventures!!  Well, at least not
for a while anyway...