19.07.2010 - 19.07.2010 38 °C
Big two day drive on today from Dallas to Boulder, Colorado. My plan - to crash for the night in Amarillo in north western Texas then make my way on to Colorado. Easy enough right?
Well I was sent a huge test this morning. I got up, got to the airport to pick up my car or so I thought. Money hasn't been running tight, but I having been managing it well in terms of moving it between accounts and making sure my credit card is kept clear. A credit card in needed to hire a card here. Well disaster struck today. I got to the rental desk and the priced was doubled because I'm under 25 (this is the first time this has happened), there's no way I'm paying the new price so I go and check out some other desks. "What's your job Sir?" "I'm a barrister." "Well Sir, you qualify for a UK Government discount." "I do?!" Fine, yes? Well no. The time came for my credit card to be swiped and it was - except it was followed by those seven deadly words, "I'm sorry Sir, your card was declined." This was not good. I had clearly hit my limit. Debit card? Not accepted for under 25s. I was now stranded at Dallas International Airport. "I know," I thought, "I'll call my bank and they can work something out." So, after exchanging a $10 into quarters I found a pay phone and dialed the number. Rejected. What? This time I try with my credit card, of course also rejected. I called the operator to find out how much the call to my bank would cost -"$48.75." Oh no. This was not good, there was no way I was paying that, let alone be able to pay it. I found a chair just to sit down and compose my thoughts and think of a way out of this mess. I ended up jumping on a bus to the international terminal, eventually found an international calling card machine and was able to get through to my bank. "What's your profession Mr O'Grady?" "Barrister." "You are eligible for a doubling of your credit limit." "Wonderful, thank you, you just got me out of Dallas."
About half an hour later I picked up my new car, an Oklahoma plated Hyundai Accent. The scenery on the way to Texas' north western corner resembled what I can only imagine scorched earth looks like - mostly flat, black and gold sun burnt fields. I was on the road pretty much all day and got into Amarillo at about 7.30pm. You only know you've hit Amarillo when you begin to see the endless roadside signs advertising motels. I found mine, pretty much a bargain and it turned out to be the most luxurious place I've stayed. I should mention that from about 100 miles out of Amarillo signs begin appearing saying, "Free 72oz steak." Let me explain. A grill here in Amarillo gives you a 72oz steak for free provided you can eat it and all the sides that come with it, in an hour. If you can't - you pay $72. I declined. Instead I thought I'd hit the 'Cadillac Ranch'. I didn't really know what it was other than that it is a piece of art in a field somewhere, where a number of cadillacs and half buried in the ground and people visit them to spray pain them. "That'll make a great photo in the day's dying light," was my thought. And it would have been great were it not for the fact that I got horrendously lost on Route 66 and the 15 minute journey took me 45. Well I eventually got there, I sped the 200m from the field entrance and began snapping away. Then I heard it. "Zeeep," "zeep." "Oh no." You see that noise was mosquitos. I had run into a swarm of them and this was not good news. To explain how many there were - I slapped my leg, normally you'd get nothing, in this field 5 blotches of blood appeared where the parasites were. Time to go! So as quick as I had made my way down I was out. I'll be back tomorrow though before I leave for Colorado.
Another early start tomorrow as I'll be bidding farewell to the Lone Star State!