A rainy Saturday morning in Houston...perfect time and weather for a Metro ride. It has been ages since I have had a bus adventure, so I thought I'd head to the Heights for coffee and a Chinese New Year shindig. As soon as I approached my first bus stop, I saw a nicely clad man with all of his teeth holding a sign. Not your usual Westheimer panhandler, so I thought I'd find out his story. His name is Doug, and he shared with me that he has a business degree from Columbia University. His 14 year old son was at home watching t.v. as Daddy Doug was trying to make the rent. Doug had recently lost his job, so he decided that the River Oaks area was the place to be to make a little money. What an entrepreneur!Next weekend, I'm making a sign that reads Help A Teacher Out; Thanks To Rick Perry Budget Cuts, I Can't Afford Quality Sushi!. Rode the #81 to catch the #27. As soon as I approached the bus stop, I saw Crazy Crocs mumbling to himself and smoking a cigarette. I didn't take his picture merely because he scares me to death. Crazy Crocs is a 50ish white dude that has few teeth and smells of pee, but sports a really rockin' pair of black crocs. He got upset at his imaginary friend and wondered off at the same time a different looney came over to talk to me. Polo Bitch kept telling me that he has lived in his house for 35 years and that he has a lot of broken bones. Then he would laugh and tell me that he knew he was a bitch with his Polo shirt and Steve Madden shoes. Really? Where the hell is the bus? Another fresh smelling young man started telling me that waiting for the bus would be much more fun if we had a joint... I don't think so.The bus finally arrived and we learned that it had been rear ended by a car. The wreck made for a bus load of unhappy people, many of which were going to be late for their parenting class. One man told me that he didn't need anymore trouble out of Child Protective Services. I failed to ask him why he was in trouble with CPS to begin with because he began bending my ear about how some crack ho in the class wanted to have a baby with him. She is 24 with 5 kids. Stop! I want to get off! I finally made it to the Heights. After my exciting bus riding morning, I enjoyed a latte and omelet at Heights Ashbury Coffeehouse. Glenna Allen was playing the guitar and singing songs about sex, love and murder. Does life get any better than this? After breakfast, I had a noneventful day strolling and shopping. I got slightly excited when I spotted a trash can that said Bitch In! Unfortunately someone had turned the P into a B.Creativity is alive and well on 19th street. I waited an hour for #26 back to Montrose.No good stories on the return trip, but lots of time to contemplate my new panhandling sign.
After a fun night in Park City, Utah, I headed north. When I decided to take a vacation to the Utah/Idaho area, I had two ultimate must-see destinations on my list of places to experience: Napoleon Dynamite's filming location and the Idaho Potato Museum. First stop, Preston, ID, home of the flippin' sweet tater tots. Preston is off the beaten path in southeastern Idaho close to the Utah border. Beautiful country with lots of chicken farms. I really expected to see Napoleon Dynamite billboards, or signs, or something when I drove in to Preston, but there was zilch. I stopped at the local gas station and asked the nice Prestonite at the counter if they had any N.D. maps for sale. She turned and screamed to Rita that a tourist needed Dynamite info. Rita told me to go to the local Mormon bookstore for a map. So I headed to the Preston Citizen.
With map in hand, I set out on my N.D. adventure. Everything in Preston is old and clean. I stopped first at the bowling alley, and was giddy with excitement remembering that N.D. had a bowling style similar to mine; then to the high school; then to my personal favorite the tetherball playground. The tetherball scenes were shot at the elementary school, so I had to rely on my handy $1 N.D. map to get me there. There was a school bus idling nearby, and the lady busdriver watched me like I might be a child molester as I jumped out of my jeep and squealed with delight at the sight of the tetherball pole. Her eyes never left me as I took a zillion pictures of the playground. That was fun, next! I got out in front of Perdo's house so I could stand on the sidewalk where N.D. and Pedro performed their sweet bicycle jumps. On my tour around town, I seldom saw any residents. I guess they go on their Mormon missions during August or something. I saved Napoleon's house for last since it was a couple of miles outside of town. I took pictures from my jeep since there were dogs barking and a teenage boy staring at me from inside the house. What! No Tina?!?! I drove back and forth in front of the house like a stalker trying to catch a glimpse of my favorite llama but to no avail. What a fabulous road trip. I encourage everyone to visit Preston, Id, and take the self-guided N.D. tour. What a dream come true. If this was so magical, what will the Idaho Potato Museum be like? Next blog I will report my spud findings and give the low-down on delicious Idaho breweries.
School will be starting soon, and I haven't had a real vacation yet since I have no $$$. Have Mastercard, will travel, so I pulled out the map and decided to go west young woman. Utah was a cheap flight, and right next door to Preston, Idaho, the home of Napoleon Dynamite, so I decided that Idaho would be my final destination.
A firm believer in getting by with a little help from my friends, I boarded the plane already high on hydrocodone. I had busted my ass at the bowling alley the day before, resulting in my right arm being placed in a splint to help alleviate the pain. The brilliant doctor gave me a prescription for Celebrex(?) which I said to hell with since I knew my biker/baby boomer friends would have better pain killers for my trip. Definitely better living through modern chemistry. But no amount of drugs could save me from the one year old and her pregnant mommy sitting next to me for the three hour flight. OMG...where's my pills? I survived the flight, barely, then it was off to explore beautiful Salt Lake City. Of course, I knew that SLC was Mormon Town, but I wasn't prepared for an episode of Sister Wives. Everyone was white with at least five kids. No one spoke, they just S...T...A...R....E...D at you. I can't remember the last time I felt soooooo uncomfortable. I called a friend of mine who warned me that the Mormons were going to take over the world, and to get out of Utah as fast as I could. I think she's on to something, so the next day I hightailed it over to Park City. Upon arrival, I immediately found a place at the bar at the Wasatch Brewery. Susie and Kevin the bartenders and Brady the realtor told me that SLC was freakville and Park City was the place to be. So true! Brady told me that even ex-porn star, Harry Reems, lived a semi-peaceful existence in Park City. This town rocked. Beer was good and people were friendly. All tanked up on beer, I decided I needed some whiskey to take my pills with. The High West Distillery was my next perch. Amanda was my gracious bartender. She was originally from North Carolina but had been in Park City for about ten years. She, too, was a little afraid of SLC, and had noticed that those people have a staring problem. She was great fun, and told me that she really liked her marijuana. I can't remember how the subject even came up, but I do remember Amanda was positively giddy when discussing this topic with me.
Enough of Utah, so next day onward to Idaho the birthplace of Sarah Palin. I highly recommend Park City for a fun vacation. Go see Temple Square in Stare Lake City, then get out of town as quickly as possible. Next blog will be about flippin' sweet tater tot country...I LOVE IDAHO!!!
After a laughter filled night drinking wine and Facebook stalking with my friend Nat the Horny Toad, I decided to be civic minded today and ride METRO for a few hours.I chose the #27 bus because it makes a loop around Houston much like 610 does but on a smaller scale. I boarded the luxury liner at Shepherd and Westheimer. As the bus stopped to pick me up, I snapped a picture of this beauty for my blog. The bus driver and an official looking METRO guy thought it was funny that I was taking pictures. I told them that I was whitegirlridingthebus, and that I had to document my journey. Whatever lady, take a seat! I sat behind a man who had fingernails that could give Howard Hughes a run for his money. Gross! He occasionally would put his hands in the air and perform some Black Swan-type moves. Too bad he got off at 11th street. Fingernail Man was the only crazy to board the bus during my two and a half hour tour. Boring until we got to Cavalcade. Finally the seedy part of H-town. Still only a few drunks walking the side streets. We continued on to Lockwood, when the official looking METRO guy asked me if this was my first time riding the bus.Duh, I'm a pro at this. His name is Marty, and he was on #27 training the new driver, Mr. Decker. Marty is a single parent raising a 9 year old son. Bless him! He starting working for METRO in 1980 and showed me a picture to prove it. Marty left METRO to work for Nabisco, but returned to METRO twelve years ago. He is the nicest, most helpful employee I've ever dealt with. Marty told me all about the Clinton/Wayside community, and even showed me where the new tracks for the rail were being laid. I was sad to see Marty and Mr. Decker get off at the Magnolia Transit Center. We all had to change buses, and a fellow rider named Cynthia helped me out. Hell No! I couldn't take her picture but she was charming all the same. The route took us all over Houston's back forty which is largely industrial until we hit the med center. It was a non-eventful two and a half hours, so I will go back to walking and riding the bus downtown. I hope to visit with my main man METRO Marty again in the future. If you've got three hours to spare, I highly recommend (yawn) riding the Inner Loop Crosstown #27.
Suffering from post-4th of July holiday blues syndrome, I decided that a nice ride on Metro would make me feel better. Boy did it! As I waited on the #81/#82 at Westheimer and Weslayan, I conversed with an urban street dweller named Curtis. I had to pay close attention to him when he spoke since he was missing all but six of his teeth. Curtis used to be a professional wrestler in South Carolina thirty years ago until his heart attack. He had that damn attack because he weighed 305 lbs. Curtis told me that Nutrisystem didn't work worth shit, so he just started walking and riding a bike (sometimes he was forced to steal a bike if someone stole his first). Exercise and living on the streets are the keys to effective weight loss. Note taken. Curtis is a man of faith, and shared with me his belief that Jesus saw to it that people would give him money in his empty Whataburger cup. You gotta love a positive thinker.
Off to my destination in The Heights: Heights Ashbury Coffeehouse. I had read about this hip, new establishment, and wanted to check it out. And I was not disappointed! The owner is Katy Whelan, and she has created a warm, groovy atmosphere for all to enjoy. My latte and breakfast taco were both wonderful, but the best thing about Heights Ashbury is the people. Katy opened this place about 3 months ago with the hope of making it a gathering place for music, coffee, poetry readings and other fun things. She definitely achieved her goal. As I enjoyed the local musical talent, I got to know Katy's boyfriend, Charlie. I liked him the minute he said he was from the Dallas area, but liked Houston much better than the Big D. Go Houston! Charlie is a photographer and beer connoisseur. Now that's a winning combination! He was so friendly that I would have bought a polaroid from him if he had pulled one out. Heights Ashbury is definitely on my list of favorite Houston coffeehouses, and I look forward to a return visit.
Time to head home. While waiting on the #26, a handsome hispanic youth with gang tattoos on his neck came up and asked me if the bus had come yet. I told him no, that it would be coming in a few minutes. He started talking about a nap, a chicken, and his mother, so I inconspicuously put my hand on my taser in my bus bag. As the bus approached, this confused lad told me "that Mexican lady across the street LIED TO ME!!! The bus hadn't come yet!" He was highly agitated about this so I kiddingly replied "you can always trust a gringa". Right when I thought I was going to get shanked, he replied "thank you ma'am". Sometimes the scariest looking/acting people end up being the nicest. Coffee and new experiences make for a memorable Sunday!
Finally summer is here. That means road trip time and hopefully good blog material. The weirdest place I know on planet earth is Eureka Springs, Arkansas, so what better place to go and write home about.
My sister, Lila, and I left her palatial estate in Gravel Ridge for our Eureka adventure Saturday morning. Shortly into our trip, we encountered two donkeys pleasuring each other in a pasture by the side of the road. What fun! Before you could say "ass-lickin'" we had passed these passionate lovers and I had been too exhilaratingly shocked to take pictures.Damn it! I had a feeling this was going to be a fun trip.
We stopped for gas in Clinton where we were surprised to see a shoeless woman in the restroom. Lila and I snickered and pointed then ran back to the safety of my Jeep. I love Arkansas! Onward to Eureka. We arrived without further incident and checked into our hotel. We were informed that there was a National Scion Convention headquartered at the hotel, and they had already warned those young people in their souped-up nissans to shut the hell up. OK, maybe we will make some new friends... Eureka is a great place to walk, shop and people-watch. After browsing the Rowdy Beaver and other fine establishments, we decided it was 5pm somewhere and hunted for a local watering hole. We by chance found a scary bar called Rogue's Manor. The bar was dimly lit and you had a full view of the rock and springs underground that made Eureka famous. Our bartender was Stella who was originally from Conway, but has been in Eureka Springs for 12 years. She is married to the local tattoo artist. Stella showed us her husband's latest masterpiece on her arm. It was a zombie Elizabeth Taylor. I must say it creeped me out a little because I always think of Liz in Giant!, not as a decomposed monster. I'll have another tequila with a beer chaser please!!! Stella's tats were beautifully done, but they really contributed to my heavy drinking while we were at Rogue's. To top off my drunken paranoia, Stella told us that she often sees the ghost of Dr.Car and his dead cat at night. Yikes! Eureka is full of ghosts and it never fails to make my neck hairs rise when told about a ghost sighting. I took Stella's picture, then I saw there was a ghostly orb in it. I decided if I kept drinking it would make it all go away...no such luck. Lila and I made it back to the hotel in one piece where the Scion Asylum Car Show was in full swing. I passed out with my 38 close by.
Sunday morning came quickly. I went outside to investigate the Asylum fanatics. A very surly beast from Dallas told me that Scion owners get together once a year to show off their cars. One chulo drove 2200 miles to be there. This calls for another day of drinking I do believe. Lila and I ate, shopped then heard a live band and headed towards it. It was at the New Delhi bar and restaurant. The band was Rachel and the Holy Rollers, and they were set up outside on the patio. We found a table next to a lady with a basket full of prescription meds in front of her. Lila asked her what happened to her and she put her drink and cigarette down momentarily to reply that she had fallen off the sidewalk and broke her foot. She was feeling no pain so we all kicked back to clap along to Rachel's church service. Most of the band's songs praised Jesus, so I suppose this is considered Sunday morning religion the Eureka way. Eddie the Jewelry Maker stopped by to show us his latest creations. He had a cool bracelet made out of copper wire. Too bad I didn't have $150 or that sucker would have been mine. As Eddie showed us how he made his jewelry, he told us that his family was the first anglo family to migrate to this area in 1823. He had some incredible stories, so next time I'm going to buy some of his wares so maybe he can go see a dentist...
Alas the service was over and it was time to leave. Fun times are always had in Eureka. It is obvious why this place is lovingly referred to as Eufreaka. Looking forward to my next road trip here to buy jewelry and attend Sunday morning worship and see some local ghosts. Next week, Houston PRIDE!!!
Still not being able to quite kill the pneumonia that is roosting in my right lung, I decided that maybe walking thousands of miles around the Reliant Stadium grounds might be exactly what the doctor forgot to order for me. I set off on my bus ride, where we were packed in like sardines, listening to an elderly gentleman scream for 5 miles about everything that was wrong with America today. He wouldn't shut up because I kept interjecting loudly AMEN! every quarter mile. That was fun. Now, off to the rail where I showed a nice lady next to me my cool taser. She was impressed and wanted to know where she could get one. I told her that I was going to buy a bunch of them and sell them on the rail platforms during morning rush hour. She promised she would be my first customer.
Once I got to Reliant, I had to walk FOREVER to get to the drunkfest. Lordy; next time I'll wear Depends and bring an inhaler. Finally I found it, and I knew it was big, but not this stinkin' big. Have we had an influx of asian cowboys recently? Even when I was sober, I saw tons of asians in boots and little shorts.But, I was happy to see that all nationalities enjoy partaking of the Cook-off. It took a few hours, but I eventually found Dirt Road, which is the BEST DAMN BBQ COOK-OFF TEAM EVER. I am biased since this spot belongs to my good friend, Kathy Oxspring and her husband,Bart. It felt good to sit down and drink, and drink,and drink. I talked to the Oxsprings friends, Jay &Kelly Jones. Kelly is a realtor(I think) and Jay kept telling me to buy Jones Oil so I assume he is Jones Oil. Jay's family is from the great state of Arkansas. WooooPigSoooiiieee!!! We swapped Clinton stories ( his mom dated him and I almost slept with him). I had a great time at Dirt Road. More beers later, Kathy's friends, Derrick,Delane and Ryan came by. They were all cute, young and perky, so I guessed we bored them so they left. By the time the sun set, Kathy and friends departed and I stayed to make sure that all the beer didn't go to waste. The band was playing and I talked to many drunken interesting people that I can barely remember. I stumbled around the cook-off looking for my partying friend Lizette, but to no avail. I thought I spotted her half-clad on the mechanical bull...could it have been? Too much fun for one night, but I will definitely put Rodeo Cook-off on my things to do next year. Now I see why they call it the World's Biggest BBQ Cook-off. They should really add Drunkfest to the title ...
Started riding public transportation in Toronto in 05-06. Loved it since it teaches us that 4 letter word: WAIT. Starting riding Houston Metro 3 years ago. Everyone said I was crazy and would be murdered soon. Decided to blog about being a college educated, almost middle aged white chick riding an urban public bus.