Southwest trek travel blog

Vivian and her second cousin, Michael O'Brien

On the fourth day of our trip we visited with my cousins in Tennessee. Today, we had lunch with Vivian’s cousin in Houston, Texas.

Michael O’Brien is Vivian’s second cousin. The only time I met him was when he and his parents, brother and sister attended Vivian’s and my wedding 44 years ago. At the time his family lived in Gulph, Ontario, Canada. We lost touch after that. But thanks to Facebook, we reconnected with Michael about a year ago.

Since we would be driving through Houston, Vivian gave him a call. Michael was thrilled to met us for lunch. Lunch turned into a three-hour sit-down where we swapped family stories, poured over old photos, and basically got caught up on the last 44 years. It was a wonderful time and we all hope to meet again.

Driving to Houston from San Antonio, we chugged east along I-10. Do you read the billboards lining the highway as you drive? Many of them advertise upcoming gas stations. Occasionally a station will have a series of billboards touting its services – gas, food, souvenirs. Along I-10 there is a station, Buc-ees the beaver truck stop, that touts its restrooms with signs that read “Stop doing the pee dance,” and “Your throne awaits.” It is a chance to chuckle on an otherwise boring drive.

We rolled into the Houston area about 11 a.m. and immediately knew we were in a major city – multi-lane highways, lanes that suddenly became exit only forcing you to move over, cars darting in and out of traffic, confusing interchanges. We saw two pickup trucks in front of us move into the same lane from opposite sides at the same time. They came within inches of colliding before one broke away. At 65 miles an hour, I don’t know if I would have been able to stop had they collided.

We met Michael in a suburb north of Houston. Fortunately, he knew a way we could get back to I-10 east of the city without having to go back into the traffic maze. It saved me having white knuckles driving to Beaumont where we stopped for the night.

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