Thursday, June 26
Today's Mileage/Total Mileage: 404 mi (650km)/4601 mi (7404 km)
In the end, it's amazing that we broke 400 miles today.
We broke camp around 9:30 and hit the road. Our plans today were rather open. We did have a reservation in Beaumont, Texas (city motto: the last place of civilization in Texas), but it was at a place where we had to use our tent. Since that was impossible, we'd cancelled the reservation. Which kind of left us lacking in options, as there were no campgrounds in that area with any kind of cabins, or any other cities in any kind of proximity.
After consulting the books, we discovered a campground about 100 miles into Louisiana. So, we figured we could go to Beaumont & get a hotel room, or we could drive all the way to LA, and get the standard cabin we were used to - and have a bit shorter drive the next day.
As we were coasting into Houston (city motto: If you can see it off the freeway and wanted to go there, you should have gotten off at the last exit. Stinks to be you.) the skies completely opened up.
Now, we are from Florida. We are used to heavy rainstorms. This ranked right up there with the bad ones - the ones where you can barely see the lines on the road in front of you. For a while, we were okay; we'd be in it for a while, but then we'd drive back into the sunshine.
Except, Houston traffic being what it is, the storm would catch us everytime we slowed down. Kind of annoying. And then we heard the little voice from the backseat:
"Mommy, I have to go potty."
Bug is not prone to exaggeration. Or advance warning.
So now, in addition to crazy drivers & blinding rain, we needed to find an (indoor) restroom. And then somehow manever through all the construction to actually FIND the exit ramp. Finally, we noticed a Target & a shopping mall that not only had restrooms but a Chick-fil-a (meaning we are now near the East Coast again!).
We let the kids "play" (read: without the quarters) in the arcade for quite awhile too as we waited for the storm to let up. One of their favorites was this horse-riding game.
Anyways, around 2:30 we decided that we really needed to go. The rain was quieter, and we definitely wanted to be out of there before rush hour.
After breaking out of Houston, we were merrily cruising along amongst the sprinkles when
a rock smashed into the windshield.
It was a little rock, but it was loud and managed to chip the windshield. Immediately, all the horror stories I'd ever heard about a chip spreading & your windshield turning into powder began running through my head. We were close to Beaumont, so we knew we really did need to stop to repair it, but where? Wait, Husband said, we have AAA - call them!
I swear I am not making up the following conversation.
After maneuvering through several voice prompts, one of which asked me to input my membership number, I finally got ahold of a real person:
Jaime: Hi, I'm driving down I-10, just west of Beaumont Texas, and our windshield is cracked. I was hoping for a glass-repair...
AAA person: (interrupting, I might add) I have to transfer you over to Claims.
** cue hold music **
AAA person: This is ****. What seems to be the problem?
Jaime: Hi, I'm in Beaumont, TX, and our windshield is cracked. I was hoping to get a recommendation for a glass-repair shop.
AAA: I'll need your card number before we can do anything
J: Oh, I entered it earlier on the voice prompts...
AAA: There's nothing here on the screen. Are you going to tell me what it is or not?
J: It's 429 -
AAA: (cutting me off) That's your membership number. I need your insurance number.
J: We don't have insurance with you.
AAA: Then I can't help you.
J: But doesn't AAA make a list of recommended service providers available to their members?
AAA: Only to our members with insurance.
AAA: You might as well just go look in the yellow pages.
J: I really don't want to do that - I have no idea who would be legitamate in a strange town.
AAA: Well, that's the best you're going to get from this phone call.
J: (eyes about falling out of my head) ???!!!
AAA: You can always call your ACTUAL insurance provider and have them recommend someone.
J: Well, that would have been the better answer earlier!
Which is what we did. And the lovely representative figured out where we were (because we've been driving this entire time), called around to find a place that was open and could take us then.
Around 4:30, car fixed, we jumped right back on the road.... into a traffic jam. Thankfully we'd just put the DVD player in, so the kids were entertained for the next hour and a half.
Finally (!!) we reached the campground in Louisiana at 7:30 - just minutes before they closed. We settled in amongst the crickets & mosquitos and crashed.