Quilting Adventures Spring Seminar: Day 5: 15 March 2013

16 03 2013

My very long day started early when I woke up at 6:00 am having not gone to sleep until well after 1:30 am. Those who were left had our last meal at the T Bar M Resort (scrambled eggs, tortillas, grated cheese, hot sauce, plus all the cereals, fruits, juices, etc.).

Those in Velda’s class a critique of their work done by Velda. I was second to be critiqued as I had to leave for the long (4+ hours) drive back to Dallas. Then it was hugs and goodbyes all round and I left my quilting buddies — new and old — to find Kim and Deb and bid them farewell too. I sincerely hope I’ll be back.

First stop was to fuel up — the drive down from Dallas took a half tank, so I wasn’t going to risk it on the way back. Then it was on to Austin. I’d been warned several times that Austin traffic is horrendous, especially as SXSW and spring break are both on at the moment. The traffic was flowing smoothly heading north on Interstate 35 and I cleared downtown Austin without any problems, but those heading south were in a car park on the interstate. The radio traffic report said there had been an accident on the upper deck of the interstate as it passes by downtown Austin. The traffic heading south was banked up almost to Round Rock, and the frontage roads were equally as packed with people trying to avoid the interstate. And it wasn’t even noon.

I had a couple of stops on my drive to Dallas. First was Jerry’s Artarama store just north of Austin. Wow! What a place!!!! It was a HUGE art supplies store. I found the brands on pencils and markers I was looking for plus a couple of other bits and pieces, then wandered over to the Office Depot store across the car park. There’s just something about stationery stores…

Getting back on to the interstate was difficult as I had to cross three lanes of exit ramp/frontage road traffic, all banked up because of the traffic holdup a little further south ( which I wasn’t aware of at the time). But the car and I got out unscathed… it’s amazing what a courteous wave can do!

There was quite a bit of construction between Austin and Waco, though it didn’t impede the traffic flow too much. I pulled in to a Best Buy to look for a couple of things, which they didn’t have, then got back on the road again. The weather was just perfect for driving. About 80F outside, clear sunny skies, dry roads.

A couple of observations from the drive:

  • Seen on a billboard: Lonely billboard. Looking for a new relationship. [Clever!]
  • Seen on several billboards: Stessed? Questions? cowboyfaith.org
  • US drivers are invariably polite about indicating and getting over once they’ve passed. I encountered some exceptions, but overall I like driving in the US as you don’t get the road rage you see in Perth, in particular. They do like to tailgate at speed, though, so I guess it’s no wonder there are several signs saying there have already been 436 road deaths in Texas alone so far this year.

My final fuel stop was close to DFW airport. Then I was at the rental car centre there, and on the bus to my terminal… and very soon on the same bus back to the rental car centre! Why? Because I couldn’t find my phone in my bag!!!! And suspected I’d left it in the car. When I’d grabbed my bag from the front seat, I assumed the phone was in it as I remember taking it off the charger and putting the charger in the bag.

My phone had been plugged into the car’s power for drive from New Braunfels back to DFW. Close to DFW, I removed the portable Bluetooth device from the windshield, and the power cord from the cigarette lighter. I also put the phone (I thought) with those two things in my bag… But obviously I didn’t. I must’ve just left the phone on the passenger seat and it slipped under the rental car map. When I got to the rental car return place, I just grabbed my bag and water bottle from the passenger seat and left the map. And the phone. I was on the bus ride from the rental car centre to the terminal when I went to check my mail. No phone. I hunted through my bag about four times, and checked my carry-on too, while silently freaking out! Then I stayed on the bus and returned to the rental car centre. All that took about 30 mins. While waiting in line at the Budget counter I asked the guy behind me to call my phone #, in case it WAS in my carry-on or handbag. No sound. He then sent the phone a text message saying that it was mine and that I’d lost it and would the finder please return it to the Budget counter. Meantime, the lady behind the counter was now free and I said that I thought I’d left the phone in the car about 40 mins ago when returning it. I gave her the receipt from the rental (the car make, model and rego was on that) and the phone # so she could call it. She found it and returned it to me. She said it had slipped in the groove between the seat base and back…

I gave her a BIG hug and sent the good samaritan guy a text message thanking him for trying to find the phone for me too. (Cherrie — I think the phone loss was part of the ‘can’t find my phone’ episode from yesterday 😉 )

After all that running around, I finally got to Terminal D (international) at 5:30 pm. The Qantas check-in opened at 6:00 pm so I was all checked in and through security and into the elevator for the Qantas Lounge by 6:08 pm! I’d like to see you try THAT at LAX!!

I’ve now had a shower and a bite to eat (I didn’t have lunch today), and a wine, and am writing this as one of the last things I’ll do on this trip to the US. It’s been fun, but now I have to get back to work and my normal life 😉

One final thing… one of the ladies gave me an unpicker to see if I could take it through security and unpick my stitching on the plane. I had it in my handbag and it went through the X-ray scanner without question. That said, it was one with a very short shaft and point (maybe an inch long) and a long handle.

See also: