Monday, 10 May 2010


Breakfast on a 3 egg “Ultimate Omelette” in a branch of “Denny’s”. Very attentive waitress who
asked if I wanted hash browns or grits. Ever the questing type, I decided on grits.
You may remember from AA1 when I tried biscuits and gravy which turned out to be a scone covered in white slop. What did grits hold in store?
“What ARE grits exactly?”
“Erm, not exactly sure…..corn I think….. If you don’t like ‘em I’ll get you hash browns instead.”
Ultimate Omelette, orange juice and a gallon of coffee were excellent. Grits…well having had a quick internet search, it appears the ones I was served were in fact the more refined kind. The proper Texan cowboy variety is a lot coarser and probably akin to eating slightly damp gravel.
The ones I had were a bit like semolina or even porridge. Frankly, if I never have grits again I am not going to be too fussed.
Ever the Brit though:
“How d’ya like ya grits?”
“Mmm. Lovely thanks”. (Blurtle!)
I think adding salsa and peppers to ones breakfast eggs does have a lot going for it.

Hot, humid and overcast. However, down came the roof and we were off.
It has got to the point where I am beginning to lose track of what things look like. Also, where I have been. Most of the motels have started to look the same.

Back on to the I-35. Overtake, undertake, tailgate, brake. Undertake, overtake, tailgate, brake.
Overta….. Hang on, this is stupid. I am supposed to be enjoying this.
Around Austin I had had enough and decided the open road called. So headed west to Fredericksburg which looked a nice town and I carried on toMountain Home.

Interestingly for me this part of Texas had a different flavour to it to the part I drove through last time which was mainly arid desert. This time I was in hill country with its Yucca and its Oak and cactus. Once more the smells as much as the views seduced me.
Also the radio had a whole lot more interesting selection on offer for much of the time I was tuned in. Cue very deep voice: “Real Country KNRH 92.3 (fx; whiplash) The Ranch” Never failed to make me laugh when that jingle came on.

The highway once more was nearly deserted which is just what I needed. Miles of fences with “No trespassing” signs and billboards advertising “Exotic Hunts”. I had visions of middle aged men chasing topless women around the range with rifles as they kept stopping and bending down without bending their knees, and holding one finger to their lips with a wide eyes stare. Pretty much a Benny Hill routine really. Think it was a different kind of hunt. Though frankly to these eyes rather less appealing.
This was ranching country and occasionally I passed a herd of Longhorn cattle not doing much in the heat.
At the traffic lights near Leaky (LAY KEY according to KBNU the KB Radio Ranch.)
As I was waiting for the lights to change, a huge pick-up truck of the type seen so often around these parts, drew up waiting to turn left. With an ear splitting “Clang”, another pick-up slammed into the back of it. The lights changed and - noting no injuries - I sailed away.
Not long after that “Three Wooden Crosses”, a Randy Travis song, came on the radio telling the tale of a Farmer, a Teacher, a Preacher and a Hooker involved in a coach crash. You can be sure that will turn up as part of “Lester’s Library” if I can track it down.

Reached Uvalde. (You-Vald-Ee.) Thanks KBNU! It was about 5 and decided that was enough for the day. Temperature had reached nearly 100f.
At last I knew my sandals would come in handy. Thank heavens I didn’t have any socks or anything silly like that. I had been sporting shorts all day. This may explain the breathtaking display of hawks. Or were they buzzards? Possibly vultures that seemed to be forever around the car gliding with the thermals. Found a motel, opened the door and was turned to ice in an instant by the over-active air conditioning.
Once I had paid they handed me the receipt and returned my driving licence, they gave me a TV remote with the number of the room etched into the plastic.
Never seen that before. There was a crime just waiting to happen.
What would Ironside make of it?
“Seems they want to control the world via our TV screens….check every truck crossing into Mexico…my guess is that you will find them packed with remotes. Get onto it, Mark”
“Dullsville chief” .

After a day in the saddle a cowboy needs a drink so it was time to try and find a bar.
“There’s one just down the street next to the diner”
First I had to cross the street. The US equivalent of the Pelican crossing (in a country wedded to the car) has a very low priority when a pedestrian is trying to cross the highway. I pressed the button and nothing happened for fully five minutes. I then got the “WALK” sign which more or less immediately vanished to be replaced by the big red hand of “NO”. By that time I was hardly more than a few feet across the crossing.
Into the gas station for a newspaper, the woman in front of me was buying some headache tablets. She then got into a Jaguar and drove off.
Saw her two minutes later next door at “Lunkers Grill”.

“Hi just seen you at the gas station”
“Ah, a good British car”
“I love it, would not part with it for the world”
“Er, is there a bar round here?”
“Right here” she said pointing at a door marked ”Private members club”
“Um er um….” I was in full on Derek Nimmo by this point.
How would I explain to the Dark Lady that I had been in a strip club…or worse???
“I work here. It’s $3 to join. It’s the way it works round here”
Then I remembered that bar in Minnesota in 2008 where I had to pay to go in. You may recall the woman who worked there wore tiny hot pants and her name was Tiffany.
“What’s your name?”
“I’m Tiffany”
Both women were probably in their early twenties so that would tie in with the career success of “I think we’re alone now” Tiffany from 1987.
“Just need your photo ID”
I needed to go back to the motel to collect my passport.
I could see it from outside the bar.
It took half-an-hour to cross the highway.
In I went. It was dark very dark. In the gloom I saw a row of cowboy hats at the bar with men sitting underneath. Doing what men in US bars do. Watching the game on TV.
“Hi, I’m Daniel,” said one of the hats beneath which protruded an outstretched hand.
$3 later and I was a temporary member of the “Lunker Peabucket Club”
Two beers in and hunger rang so I ventured next door into Lunker’s Grill.
There was catfish on the table with green beans and home fries.
Another couple of beers and out into the dusk.
The street was deserted. Why couldn’t they have done that earlier?
To see the map of my journey so far, click here
And don't forget to add me on Twitter and Audioboo, both @alexthedarklord, for regular updates as events take place.


  1. If you take a look at my blog - - you'll see Brits'n'grits just don't mix! Great blog - enjoying travelling with you!

  2. Oh Alex, to Fredericksburg (and not against the clock) you didn't go the extra mile to Luchenbach? you missed something rather special. Willie drops by in his pick-up (what else?) from time to time, and holds an impromtu session by the fire just outside the smart hall where people come for the reception after the wedding. And then EVERYONE leaves the 'posh' do with a 'posh' band to listen to the master! Never mind, make it an absolute diversion for AA4!! Promise me? Best ~ CW

  3. You are much braver than me eating those grits. They sound revolting!
    Oh no, the thought of seeing Alex in shorts and sandals. Hope the shorts are not from the pound shop and fall apart like the sandals did! Arghhhhh. Photo required so us members of the Alex Lester FANG club can have a laugh.
    Happy birthday! Behave.