Friday, February 6, 2009

Houston / Lafayette / Atmore

After spending the night in Riviera, TX I headed east to Houston. Texas near the Gulf Coast is incredibly flat. When the rain falls I imagine that someone has to tell the water which way to drain off, it's that flat.

Arrived in Houston during the afternoon and headed directly for Gulf Coast BMW for an over due oil change and a new back tire. The folks at Gulf Coast had been great on my way south. I called from the road and paid for oil and a spare head light bulb, and they agreed to leave the parts out back. This time they squeezed me into their tight schedule. Greg the owner checked to make sure everything was attended to, Rick the service manager and Chris the technician were all great. I had problems getting on their wireless network. No problem, a USB network card was offer by a clerk. That didn't work, so she let me plug directly into their network. If you are passing through Houston, this is the place to stop for service. I had been carrying spare rear wheel brake pads with me during the whole trip. With the rear wheel off I thought it would be a good time to replace the brake pads. When Chris tried to install my parts it turned out that the pads I bought months ago were the wrong size. I will make it home with the brake pads, but it kills me to know that I have have been packing the wrong part for ~10,000 miles.

I stayed in Houston with my WorldVistA colleague and friend, David Whitten, had a tasty Itailian dinner, then we visited Ignacio Valdez, where we talked about new developments in the VistA community late into the eventing. The next morning, after a teleconference with Rob Tweed in England and K.S. Bhaskar in Malvern, PA, I hit the road for Lafayette, LA.

As I crossed the state line in Louisiana the temperature dropped 10 degree in a matter of minutes. I not exactly sure how cold it was, but by the time I reached my friend Adrian's I was shivering. I was hoping to cover more miles that day, but when he offered to put me up for the night, to which I gladly agreed. Adrian and his wife Danielle are the pinicale of southern hospitality. He has openned his home to me twice on my trip. This time I got me meet their sons, Dominic and Julian.
Thursday I reached Atmore, AL, (about 1.5 hours south of Montgomery, Al) and had to stop for the night to join the WorldVistA leadership tele-conference call. It was dark and getting cold, so stopping at 7:00 PM wasn't such a bad idea. I'm now waiting for the frost to melt on the motorcycle and will head to Hendersonville, NC to visit Kevin and Karilea.

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