Friday, March 09, 2007

Texas Hell Week day 2: Flens, power shopping, vacation

It's really starting to feel like a vacation. Great weather, friendly people, leisurely schedule, no stress. Sascha's iPod has been great to have along - it really helps to pass the miles listening to good music. Last night we stayed in Oklahoma City at a Super 8 done up in a faux Swiss chalet style from the '70s, but in great condition. If you think about it for a bit, it's funny that a motel can try to evoke a Swiss chalet, a few feet from the freeway, with a huge cellular tower behind it, and a big paved parking lot.
__Looks like EclectChick is sad that she couldn't come with is after all, but she's with is in spirit doing her own Hell Week back in Minnesota! Although it looks like the weather's been quite a bit nicer than it's been lately in MN, it's not quite like sitting in a beer garden in shorts!
__Speaking of which, we were already compiling a list of items we forgot or otherwise needed and would have to get at the only shopping near Fredericksburg: a Wal-Mart. I am not a big fan of Wal-Mart, which could be another post/rant entirely, but I'll let it go for now. However, once Sascha realized she only had some chunky Doc Martens to wear all week and no sandals, Wal-Mart was clearly not going to be good enough. I'd forgotten shorts, and it's very hard to find my size at Wal-Mart type stores, so I was happy to go along with her quest for an outlet mall on the way. We found one in Galveston, and fortunately she doesn't shop like a girl. We were in and out of a few stores in an hour and on our way again. I can't feel like too much of a dork for forgetting my shorts because not only did Sascha forget her sandals, but after we unpacked in Fredericksburg, she found that she had packed them after all! Plus she forgot her special pillow in the chalet! Poor girl is as bad as I am in the morning before her coffee.
__We rolled into Fredericksburg with a few hours of daylight left, so we checked in with the Hell Week organizers, and then checked into the Days Inn. This hotel is awesome! A little suite with microwave, refrigerator, two beds and a pullout for the same price as most other hotels in the area. The innkeeper is very friendly, and his daughter even made all of us Hell Weekers little goodie bags with her own artwork and filled with candy bars, snacks and a little baggie of dried fruit! How cool is that? Be sure to check them out if you're in Fredericksburg.
__After settling in, we rolled into town for dinner and to test out Sascha's pimp new Orbea on the road for the first time before the ride tomorrow. We ate at a German restaurant, and I almost flipped out when I turned to the beer menu: they had Flensburger!!!!!!!!!! When I lived in Hamburg, Germany, this was my favorite beer for several reasons. First, there's the undeniably cool bottles they come in - an old-fashioned ceramic stopper with a wire retainer. The trick is to push on the wire with your thumbs just so, and the rubber-lined ceramic top will pop off with a nice >plurp< sound! Also, it's good beer, and it often figures into a hilarious German comic strip. Unfortunately, the waitress brought out the beer pre-plurped, but they brought out the wrong kind (dunkel instead of pilsener), so I got to plurp my own bottle when they brought out the right kind! Some yummy wurst, sauerkraut, cabbage and apfel strudel later, and Steven was one happy camper! Sascha was looking at me funny as I gushed over a funny-looking bottle of beer and unhealthy grub, but I was in heaven. We rolled back up to the hotel (fortunately I remembered to bring some lights) in the balmy weather, and all was good.
__Tomorrow: on the bike!