Notes From the Field

summer can pog mo thoin

For a few days in the early part of August I was in the greater Dallas – Ft. Worth metroplex. That sounds a little grandiose, when truly I was always within about 15 minutes of the DFW airport. I was there on business.

Part of business is always in the rentals and the hotels. I’ve spent some time cultivating my relationships with vehicle rental vendors (the big ones) and hotel chains (pretty much all of them). I try to be a reasonable customer, ask for things that are in the standard offerings and generally not cause trouble for the sake of causing trouble.

But this last time I… I was just blown away by what the car agency gave me to drive around and considered representative of their catalog. It was barely even a car. Toyota makes these things, and to be fair I have no idea what the model year was…but I’m not sure its safe or logical to allow people to buy cars that don’t have some basic keyless operation or mirror adjustment from the pilot compartment. I mean, how much could that really reduce the cost of manufacture?

What does that mean, really? I’m a regular guy, alone in an airport rental agency garage at midnight trying to manually adjust the mirrors on a car I have to crawl into and out of. I’m in a parking lot I’ve never seen before taking pictures of landmarks so I can figure out where I parked because I can’t make the damn thing go ‘beep’. “Hey man, somebody stole your battrey [SIC].”

As if to fly in the face of sensibility, this thing has a macho stereo installed. Bluetooth, satellite, all the bells and whistles. At least I can stream my Spotify to it while I’m putting down the highway, and take a critical call hands-free.

I had some whiplash from that one.

Otherwise, it was a reasonably comfortable sitting position for the drive. That is, though tiny and maybe a bit cramped in the cockpit, I was able to drive around without back spasms or my legs falling asleep.

 

On another note, I really like complicated highway interchanges. Texas has some great ones – the only thing they lack, really, is enormous visibility-hindering embankments and mountainous terrain. here’s a peek:

190 location map

The thing in red is the 190 Tollway. The rest is the greater metropolitan area. From this view it seems reasonable. Swiped from TexasFreeway.com

DFW metroplex at night. From this view you get a feel for how big the area is. It’s big. Like, really big. Swiped from TexasFreeway.com

35e & 440c Dallas

 

Here’s the 35E and the 440C interchange. What the actual fuck happened here? It doesn’t look all that complex from this angle, but try it from the ground, with a GPS telling you to “…bear left…”

Clipped from Google Maps.

183&360

 

 

 

 

183 and 360…whee, I’m flying! Actually not too complicated. Fun, though.

Clipped from Google Maps.

high five Dalals

 

 

 

 

 

The High Five – looks simple enough. Just try to get to Fry’s Electronics northeast of this madness.

Clipped from Google Maps.

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway…highway driving is pretty entertaining to me when I’m not under pressure to be somewhere at a particular time. Otherwise it gets to be a lot of WTF moments and goddammit moments.

 

As a final note, the heat and humidity in this part of the USA is crap. Texas, go get better heat and humidity settings.