Friday, March 2, 2012

Rockin' in Little Rock Today

A very uneventful drive brought me to Little Rock, Arkansas today, although it did take a couple of McDonald's stops to finally get that desperately needed Latte.  The first feasible McDonald's was in Porter, but I decided it was too soon, so I pressed on to Livingston, which I shall rename "Living Hell."   As soon as I saw the empty school bus in the parking lot and the long line of cars in the drive-through, I should have just kept on going.  But, no, I pulled into a parking spot, thinking that often at this hour of the morning drive-thru's are busy.  Besides, I needed to use the ladies room.  I had to fight my way in the door and squeeze past dozens of high school kids who were mobbing the order counter and apparently overwhelming the staff.

Okay...on to plan B.  The good news is that I drive or ride US 59 so often that I pretty much know where to find gas and food.  I knew that the next McDonald's would be on the south side of Lufkin, on the right side of the road, just past a Shell gas station.   Ahhhh!!   Perfection!!

Of course, the downside to consuming a large latte - or any other beverage for that matter - becomes evident within an hour.  Good thing I'm in the SUV and not on the motorcycle. 
The drive up 59 to I-30 and on to Little Rock was smooth and the weather was stellar.  I found myself pulling off the interstate and into downtown by 1:30 PM.  Checked into the hotel, I walked next door to the convention center where the fitness expo was being held.   I picked up my race packet and browsed the merchandise.  I was impressed at the relative size of the expo, a good indicator of the success and participation of the race itself. 

Browsing done, I went back to the hotel, had a light lunch and asked the waitress if there was a place within walking distance where I could pick up some snacks to have in my room for the weekend.  She sent me a few blocks down the street to a little cafe/market called 4Square.  Adorable!  The sweet woman behind the counter told me that her husband runs the 1/2 marathon and that the shop would be open at 6 AM on race day morning.  I noted that they had stocked some GU products near the cash register and had a bin filled with perfect bananas and another filled with bagels.  Smart marketing and I made comments to this effect to the woman behind the counter; no doubt she and her husband are the owners. 

My sweets and other items purchased, I headed back to the hotel to return a call to MTF friend Russ Dickerson, and we had a long chat about another fellow MTF member, Bill Ouellette, who was attempting an extreme IBA Waffle House ride:  A 50 WH SS1000.  I quickly got my laptop booted up and logged into Bill's SPOT page so that I could discuss his progress with Russ in "real time" since he wasn't in front of a computer at the time of our call.  Russ and I talked about Bill's route, conjectured on his arrival time back into the Atlanta area, and worried about the band of severe weather on a collision course with Bill's route.  I wish Bill God-speed and hope he somehow manages to skirt this severe weather - weather that has spawned over 70 tornadoes today - to successfully complete this ride and make it safely home.

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