Stuck

Three things I've learned about Greenville, TX:
1. The county in which it sits used to be the cotton capital of the world.
2. A banner once hung stating, "Welcome to Greenville, The Blackest Land. The Whitest People." Huh?
3. Ben Kweller is from here. 
(sources: Wikipedia, NPR)

So we've had our first (and hopefully last) breakdown. We'll be staying in the Walmart parking lot in Greenville, TX until at least Thursday, possibly Friday. 

We left the Texarkana Starbucks yesterday afternoon and made our way to the bomb-ass Olive Garden on the other side of the highway. I don't think anyone has ever worked so hard to get to an Olive Garden. The Winnebago kept wanting to stall on us, we were stuck in heaps of traffic AND we had to go uphill. Oh God.We're stuck at a red light and Pete's revving the engine to keep the thing from dying and subsequently pissing a bunch of people off. Well, we make it over the hill and across the highway. We're not exactly sure where the left turn is to get to the Olive Garden, so Pete takes the first left he sees. I start screaming at him because I thought this turn was for the I-30 on ramp only. "Why the hell did you do that!?" Meanwhile, Pete's describing his stress level in less-than-friendly words and suddenly: a right turn into Olive Garden. It was like entering the Pearly White Gates.

We hit up that Olive Garden like we hadn't eaten in weeks. We hadn't had breakfast that morning, so we basically starved ourselves for some unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks. But first, wine (mmm...chianti)! We figured we we'd splurge on some alcohol if we were gonna be stingy on our food bill. After all, we didn't want our waiter to treat us like crap since we were gonna make him work for the cheapest thing on the menu. We met Mark Alex, our beverage man, first. I would have liked him solely because he brought me my wine, but on top of that, he was super cool. We told him we were in route to Austin in a Winnebago, which seemed to strike a jealous chord in him. He said he would love to move to Austin and do kind of the same thing we are. If you're reading Mark Alex, it's super easy and definitely fun, even if you get stranded in boo-foo Texas. 

We had an equally awesome waiter named Jerry (Hi Jerry!!). He really hooked us up with a fabulous meal and a truly good time, not something you really expect or even care about when you order the unlimited soup, salad and breadstick deal at a national Italian restaurant chain. Somebody give him a raise! We devoured 2 1/2 baskets of breadsticks, one bowl of salad, and 5 bowls of soup between the two of us. Wow, full. 

So we leave Olive Garden and it's seriously getting late. The sun is going to set soon and we have to get to Greenville (where the next convenient 24 hour Walmart is located) before dark, otherwise we have to turn our lights on, risking a serious drain on our battery. 

Come on solar panels!!
Well, it gets dark. And we turn those freaking lights on. And it's terrifying. Things are rattling. The gauges are acting funny. Holy crap we're gonna get stuck on the side of the road! 

Except we don't. We seriously get to Walmart in the knick of time. Later, we try to turn the Lesharo on again, and nothing. Looks like we're stuck. We decide that in the morning, when the auto service section opens, we'll bring both our batteries in to get charged, and surely we'll make it to Austin!

We traipse around Walmart for awhile, admiring the crazies that institution sucks in. We make a pee pit stop and then back to the Lesharo to party: uno, radio and vegetables. Rock on. I pass out early, again, despite trying to stay up until 1am to catch the lunar eclipse.

We sleep through this rare cosmic event, for the most part. I get up at 3:30am with an incredible need to urinate. Pete comes with me and we look up to a mildly overcast sky to see a shadowed moon. Huzzah! We caught it. I'll be sure to catch the next one in 2094. 

So last night was legitimately warm. I was hot even. I think it's time to start downsizing the bedding for springtime weather. We wake and go into Walmart to see about charging our batteries. Problem. We have yellow top Optima batteries requiring a trickle charge, which Walmart doesn't have the means to perform. Well,  decision time. Pete calls the Winnebago parts people to see if we can get an alternator shipped to a random business address for us to pick up. They can, and now we have to find said random business. Walmart's out; too big. Payless Shoes? No, that's weird. How about National Tire and Battery across the street? Sweet. Brian, the service manager, was totally friendly and compensating. We got the part ordered and now we just wait until it arrives on Thursday. 

In other news, Pete's a winner! In our own contest: he became the first to poop in the Winnebago! Congrats Pete! In a close second, Kara. Honestly, it's an extremely pleasant experience taking a dump in your own home, listening to cars go by. Of course, we don't have any water hook-ups yet so we're using trash bags with newspaper. Disturbing, yes. Hilarious, of course. 

The throne.
Also, in rub-it-in-your-face news: it was 80 degrees here today. We enjoyed t-shirts, tank tops and rolled up pants. We sipped on rum and cokes and napped with the door open to a delightful breeze. I can get used to this no-winter thing for sure.



Now that it's getting warmer, we also needed to change the oil in the Lesharo. Our oil change turned into a covert operation in the back of the Walmart parking lot, dodging security or anyone else that looks official:

Not obvious at all.
More recently, we've been negotiating extremely non-pedestrian-friendly territory. To get to this Starbucks, we made an extremely terrifying journey walking on a guard rail over a highway. The guard rail was only two feet high, so the chance of falling down onto a semi whipping by below seemed pretty high. We'll have to cross back over here in a few minutes. Scary...

Once (and if) we make it back over, we'll hit up Jersey's Bar and Grill. We stopped their for a drink after ordering our alternator earlier- a celebratory-type thing. We gotta go back for some more $2 drafts of Texas' own  Ziegenbock. Here's to Greenville! The Blackest Land? The Whitest People?