June 2nd 1981

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 1

Bob’s birthday today – happy birthday, Bob.  Woke up nice ‘n early and shot off into Houston.  Much to our amazement, and aided considerably by the city map in our atlas, we were able to find the AACON office with no trouble at all – in fact, we were a little early.  His office was much smaller than NY’s – just two rooms, and he didn’t seem to be overworked.  We filled out the forms again, tho’ this time provided with some coffee, and then received our instructions for picking up the pick-up.  Once again, no trouble, but when we got to the car – oh dear. 

The guy there – it was a motor recovery company – said it was a death trap, and he was right.  The exterior was fine, but inside there were wires hanging loose, and trying to drive it was impossible – the steering and brakes were appalling, the two front tyres were bald, and to start it involved grabbing a little mechanism on the end of some of the wires, and pushing that while turning the key.  We rang up AACON, then took the car back.  He fixed us up with a car to Denver (ho hum – still no SF) – an old 66 Merc.  We collected it from a nearby car park – it took a while to find it, and we weren’t sure it was the right car even when the keys fitted – it was still full of little things: change, a Frisbee, etc – strange. 

Next stop was to drop the Merc off at Hobby airport – we were going to fly back from Brownsville on a cheap flight.  Val followed me out there, and made me angry by keeping too far back, and letting other cars get between us.  We dropped the Merc at a $2.50 a day car park and set off for Corpus Christi, where we had an address, a friend of Nige.  Val was pissed off – she’d wanted to see NASA – till we realised we could do that on return.  Arrived in CC and bought a town map – eventually (after one or two false starts) finding the address.  However, very big disappointment, no Paul Willis – pissed off we were.  Cheered ourselves up a bit with some Mexican food – a bit bland, then a short drive and camped in a rest area – surprise, surprise.

All a bit confusing, temporarily being in charge of two cars, even though one of them turned out to be undriveable, and had to be switched for a Merc, destination also switched to Denver.  And Paul was another of our contacts from home, but really very remote – we just had a name and an (invalid) address, had never met him.  Bob, by the way, is my older brother.

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