June 6th 2019: We were on our way to Patsy & Lonnie's 50th Wedding Anniversary in Tallahassee. Everything had gone according to plan until we got to El Paso, where we had been knocked back six hours from being on schedule. We wouldn't know until we got to Houston how bad it would be, but it didn't look good for getting there on time.
Nothing to do but read and watch the miles go by. My impression of Texas is lots of windmills along the tops of those bluffs over there on our right.
To make a long story short, when we got to Houston it was clear that Greyhound wasn't going to get us there in time. No problem, there was a car rental place right across the street. We signed up for a one way rental to Tallahassee. After committing to a few hundred dollars for wheels we were on our way again, with the odds being good that we would still make the party.
This was the cheapest gas I took a picture of on the trip, but I think I saw $2.149 once.
Unfortunately, gas was a bit more when we stopped at this travel plaza in Iowa, Louisiana.
We took turns driving for two hours each. Since Virginia had just ended her shift it was my turn. This was the odometer when I took over.
The bridge over the mighty Mississippi was a notable moment.
Unfortunately, this is the place I got food poisoning. I didn't know it at the time. The guy gave me fair warning though. He said "We just leave those out so it looks like we're offering them. Nobody gets one." He wouldn't take my money for it. That should have been a clue. I just snarfed up their left over hot dog like it was food. Started regretting it a few hours later though.
Whatever. We got to Tallahassee fairly late, but not too late. Turns out my brother and sister were both already there with their families. We hung out and traded "Good to see you!" plesantries and news for a while, and then went up to bed. Unfortunately, that's when the food poisoning kicked in. Spent some time pleading with ralph over the toilet before I could lay down to sleep.
The next morning we hung out in the hotel dining area like it was our kitchen, eating waffles and their steam table food. Patsy and Lonnie joined us after a while, and then they planned the day. Since I was alternating between throwing up and squirting diarrhea, I stayed in the room while they went sight seeing.
Virginia took lots of pictures of the sight seeing trip. This was the most dramatic one.
For me it was about saving my energy for the evening. Turned out great. The 50th Wedding Anniversary party was at Patsy's (She goes by Trish nowadays) friend Pat's house, a truly beautiful place. Most of the guests were coworkers and old friends, mostly from the Tallahassee area. There were a few other guests that had traveled to get there, but mostly from the area between DC and the Carolinas. A fair number of the guests were part of the Florida archaeology scene, where Lonnie is quite active. I vividly remember sitting across from a couple of guys that had worked together twenty or thirty years ago and had lots of catching up to do. I gather there were lots of conversations like that one there. The food was good, and there was plenty of it. I was still dealing with gastric distress so I didn't eat much. Had a great time anyhow.
The lady on the left in this picture was the only one we met that went to both Patsy's wedding and the 50th Anniversary Party.
When we got back to the hotel we weren't ready for bed yet so we hung out in the lobby again. After a while we took a bunch of pictures together. Here are some of the best ones.
The next morning we hung out in the hotel dining area like it was our kitchen again. The plan was to check out when Lal and his brood had to head for the airport. Then Patsy & Lonnie and the rest of us would do some sight seeing until Tonia and her brood had to hit the road going back to Georgia. Then Patsy & Lonnie would take us to the Greyhound station in time for our bus back to California.
So Patsy & Lonnie and Tonia & Co. and Virginia and I took in the Alapache civic center and Mission San Luis. We got to the Big House, the center of public life for the Apalache. It was interesting, but about then a lightning warning sounded so we had to go back to the museum. Not long after that Tonia and her kids went back to Georgia.
I wanted to take a picture with the State Seal, but Patsy and Lonnie didn't know where one of those was built into the architecture. Instead they took us to Patsy's favorite sculpture near the State Capitol. It was titled "Florida's Finest" and attributed to W. Stanley Proctor, according to the April 9, 1998 dedication plaque nearby.
Then they showed us these Indian Mounds in another park nearby.
Probably people were standing at the top of this hill looking out over the neighborhood long before Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
Then we went over to Patsy and Lonnies and hung out for an hour or two. Lonnie explained that many years ago he had developed a tradition of bringing home another fun mask every time they went somewhere else. It was kind of fun looking for something in different places. After a while people would visit and see his masks and then they started bringing more of them from other places. He got to the point where he simply had way too many. Now he just limits it to the batch on the wall behind them. The rest are in boxes, and he no longer accepts more.
Patsy showed Virginia the books she had written for family. The only one I'd known about was the one she wrote for her father. There was lots of research in that one, including stuff like a picture of his bomber after it was shot down in WW II, aquired from who knows where. That one she updates before printing another copy, which happens every now and then for one reason or another. She also had ones about her kid and a few others. They were really nice and professionally printed scrapbooks.
It seemed like the time was all gone too soon, even though it was almost midnight by the time we got to the Greyhound station.
Once again, we were delayed in El Paso. By the time we got to Phoenix it was almost embarrassing how obvious it was that we were going to miss our connection in LA.
They reticketed us on the next bus to San Francisco. Unfortunately, they couldn't find a driver and that got delayed and delayed some more.
About 9 AM Virginia decided she was done waiting for Greyhound to get their act together. She got out her phone and figured out that Amtrak had a train bound for the bay from a station about a mile away. She abandoned the line and headed for it. I kept waiting. Soon enough after that I was on this bus to San Jose.
It was nice to see lots of water in the lake between Gilroy and I-5 on 152.