Thursday, October 10, 2019

If you plan it they will come... day fourteen

Thursday October 10th

Rather than make our own breakfast we decided to try out the ubiquitous Waffle House. The nearest one was about 30 minutes west of our starting point so we didn't have to wait too long.

On the way to Waffle House... renovation debris in front of a lot of houses!
The drive was uneventful but we did notice that in one stretch of the highway there were piles of what appeared to be garbage stacked in front of a lot of houses, some of which looked like remnants of renovation projects. Got us wondering if there was some kind of incentive to do renovations at this time of year or if there had been some kind of garbage strike. We learned that there this was the aftermath of a severe storm causing widespread flooding that had passed through the area a couple of weeks prior to our visit.

Waffle House, Winnie TX. The Festiva and the RV are at the back of the parking lot.
Anyway... back to the Waffle House...  the service was wonderful which made up for the lackluster food, which was best described as "OK". As we made our way across the parking lot there were a couple of gentlemen admiring the Festiva. It turns out that one of them had raced and worked on quite a number of Festivas over the years and was very interested in ours, especially when I lifted the hood! Once we got off the topic of cars they asked where we were headed and one of the first things they said is "you have to go to Buc-ees"! A couple of things they recommended to enjoy while at Buc-ee's was their brisket and their root beer. Seemed like a couple of odd things to try at a gas station but we decided that we would give it a shot.

When first planning this trip we had included a stop in Waco TX which is home to the HGTV show Fixer Upper. Considering that the weather was very hot (37ºC/99ºF) and the A/C wasn't working on the car we decided to cut that out of the day. This reduced our driving time down to 4½ hours from 7 hours!

After filling up with gas we headed westward again for the three hour trip to our chosen Buc-ee's! Seeing as our aim was to reduce driving time as much as possible we stuck to I-10 for the run into San Antonio. This took us through Houston TX which went very smoothly as we didn't have to make any exits and traffic was flowing very nicely.

Bridges galore! On the I-10 through Houston TX.
On the way to Buc-ee's. I-10 west of Houston.
We arrive at Buc-ee's and were glad to get out and stretch our legs. This place lived up to the description our new friends at the Waffle House had given us. The whole facility was clean and well maintained inside and out. There are quite a few interesting things about Buc-ee's but there are two in particular that stuck in our mind. The first is that semis are not allowed on site and secondly that the staff there is well paid. The posted starting wage was about $15.00 per hour and it went up from there. That starting wage is about double the minimum wage in the area. A friend that is familiar with Buc-ee's calls it "the Wal-Mart of truckstops".

Ready for root beer

Festiva and the RV at Buc-ee's #17

Andrew decided to try the brisket and said it lived up to expectations. The root beer, which was very cheap, was also a hit! We filled up again and continued our trek westward. Sharon and I turned on to the interstate and ended up stuck in traffic due to one lane being shut down for quite a distance. We got a text from Andrew saying they were just passing an exit ten miles ahead of us and we couldn't figure out how they got so far in front of us. We figured out that I had missed a notification on the Garmin about a detour to get around the lane closure. Andrew did see the notice and took the quicker route!

On the I-10 going nowhere. Don't worry about the oil pressure... the car was shut off while we waited!

They were now close to half an hour ahead of us so we decided we would rendezvous at a mall close to our hotel and enjoy some air conditioning... remember it was 37ºC outside!

Other than being hot, we made it to San Antonio without any issues except one. The car had started to run roughly. If the revs were kept up around 3000rpm it would smooth out a bit but below that there was a definite miss. We put this down to the engine running a bit warmer than usual and didn't think too much more about it. Fortunately we were able to maintain highway speeds  and keep good time.

We caught up with Andrew and Phyllis at the Ingram Park Mall and decided to hang out there for a bit. Phyllis and Sharon went shopping, Andrew and I sat in wi-fi to catch up on things and grab a coffee. It wasn't long before getting called by our wives to meet them at  Beall's store which was closing out. Clothes were on sale from 70-90% off so we took advantage of the deals; I think we left with four or five large bags!

We took our loot and headed to our hotel, the Best Western Ingram Park Inn. Sharon and I had a room booked for two nights and the hotel allowed Andrew and Phyllis to park the RV on site and also to plug in. There was a Chinese buffet style restaurant within walking distance of the hotel so we went there for supper. Afterwards we headed back to the hotel to iron out details for our day in San Antonio. Sharon and Phyllis took advantage of the hotel's pool and then we settled in for the night. 

Our route for the day


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