We got up this morning and had breakfast at the hotel. It was one of those included breakfasts. Usually they’re pretty decent. This wasn’t too bad. But one item on the menu was quite interesting. In the corner on the counter was a self-press waffle iron. My mother-in-law, Wilma, went for one. The unique thing is that the waffle was in the shape of Texas. They do love their state shape here. While she was eating it I looked down and noticed something off-kilter. Her waffle was upside down. “Wilma, have I not had enough coffee or is Dallas now way west of El Paso?” I asked. “Both, dear,” came her reply. We both laughed.
We then went to mass at a rockin’ 70’s style Catholic parish complete with 70’s style Catholic worship music. The only thing missing was the opening number to Godspell. I take that back. That might have made this thing halfway worthwhile. Then it was off to another 70’s type of Catholic church — 1770’s! We set out to visit some of the historic mission churches along the San Antonio River. They were beautiful. Should have gone to mass here but we never would have made it in time.
Before leaving town we had lunch in the Mercado (the Market) downtown. A lovely restaurant called Mi Tierra served as our backdrop. I ordered a liter-sized margarita. Hey, I was only thinking of our waitress. I didn’t want her to have to keep coming back. And finally, our birthday weekend drawing down, we loaded ourselves into the minivan and headed north on I-35. My wife drove for the first hour or so, then Wilma took over. Here’s where it got real interesting!
As we once again approached the town of West and the sun had just set and the other passengers in the vehicle were just waking up from long naps we rolled right over something on the roadway. After a minute (and no discernible change in the drive of the car) we noticed the truck in front put his flashers on and pull over. My guess is that he shed one of the 18 wheels he was rolling on and we drove over the remnants. I asked Wilma to pull off at the next exit so I could inspect the car. It turned out to be the exit for the Czech Stop, a convenience store/bakery on the northbound service road known for its kolaches (Czech pastries). We always stop there although this time we weren’t really planning it. And just as we pulled into a parking space the car started smoking. Steam poured out from under the hood. Not knowing what was happening I instructed everyone to “run away! Run away!” After I came to my senses we regrouped. Karla tried to figure out towing options while I walked the kids next door to the Sonic for a bit to eat. Ultimately, after hanging around this place for about two hours, my wife and I had driven the car the 6/10 of a mile into a garage in town (away from the highway), walked back along the scariest, darkest stretch of lonely road known to man, and managed to get her brother to come down from Dallas to retrieve us. The minivan stayed behind for repairs. At around 11PM we pulled in and our long weekend was over. Oy. Fun times.