My Texas host wasn’t available until 11:30 PM and with only a 4 hour drive to Dallas I had to kill eight hours after waking up to arrive at a reasonable time which I thought would be easy in that I was visiting a national park. Â I was sadly mistaken. Â Hot Springs National Park does have some wooded areas to it but these seem almost ancillary, the purpose of the park is to preserve the hydrology that provides hot mineral water to the historic bath houses, something I have little to no interest in experiencing. Â I took the tour of the park proper and there was really nothing of note.
They had a lovely observation tower that one could climb and look from for a mere $8.
I blew through the park in under an hour despite my best efforts so had to find a way to kill 7 hours, it required some creativity; every time I saw a brown landmark sign, I did my patriotic duty and pulled over. Â These detours included:
- Army Corps of Engineer Dam Education Area
- Recreation Zone 7
- Arkansas Reservoir Museum
- Texas Cotton Museum
- Mary Puddin’s, the world’s largest independent chocolatier (a claim that makes no sense)
- Texas Veterans’ Highway Monument
This only killed six of the eight hours but I received additional assistance from having to take an impromptu stop for some flash flooding on I-30 W but even this and my attempt to keep to the speed limit still had me in Dallas two hours before I could actually do anything. Â I pulled into a Starbucks for some free (if you’re using a iPhone) wifi and proceeded to spend the next 45 minutes using my MiFi to try to learn how to fake out the network so my laptop could mask itself as a phone through dicking with user agent options. Â My host shot me a message that I could meet his at his restaurant for some free food (woot) so I drove across Dallas to exercise this option. Â Dallas doesn’t have streets so much as a network of boulevards with double turning lanes, four or five across expressways and multiple ways of exiting and entering tollways. Â Even on a Friday evening, the combination of quickly moving traffic and tight turns allowed Wanda the Wonderbrick to navigate wonderfully and I’m tempted to return just so I can tool around more.
In front of my host’s restaurant as I readied myself to change in a nearby convenience store I received a text message from a team mate that in effect said “we’re under attack”. Â Boo. Â I pulled into a no parking lane, pulled out my laptop, connected it to my giant portable battery, plugged in the mouse, connected to the MiFi, put on my headset and set to work. Â I got a lot of strange looks from passersby who stared at me like I was either the world’s fattest spook or some sort of UAV coordinator on vacation. Â A nice policeman told me to move my car so I wrapped things up and having missed my restaurant window, shot gleefully across Dallas to meet my host.
Dallas/Sensei is both a Scouter and highly kinetic and meeting him in person was revealing.
He has joint custody with his ex-fiancÃ©eÂ of his cat, Muffin, the most resigned cat I’ve ever met. Â Normally, I’d describe such an animal as lazy, calm, or docile but the blank knowing stare of this cat bordered on nihilism.
I wonder if any other animals have the ability to present this type of ennui.