I rolled into Bastrop, TX friday morning... I had pushed it. I doubted the hotel would have my room ready at 11am but I decided to stop by and check. Sure enough the room was ready and I was able to check in. I was still dressed for driving... meaning I was wearing sloppy beat up cargo shorts... a t-shirt of some form or another... and generally looked like crap. It took a few trips to get all the stuff up to the room... because I had to setup for the ATF show later that night so I had a little more stuff with me than I normally would.
I had just gotten the laptop setup and was checking the internet connection when the hotel phone rang. Why the hell would the hotel phone ring? Irritated... I walked over and grabbed it.
"Ummmm this is the front desk... ... you have a lot of... guests down here."
oh for fucks sake...
"ok... I'll be right down."
I grabbed the room key and headed downstairs. Sure enough... the ambush team was there in the lobby. I recognized my assailants instantly. Difster and Clint stand out. I don't remember a lot about this ambush... other than the fact that I am certain I gave someone a hug. There were several of them there... and I hadn't noticed it at the time but Difster's young son was there to... which was an awkward realization after I had dropped a few f-bombs and questioned everyone's sexual preferences in various ways.
Apparently they were kidnapping me for lunch. That was fine with me but I wasn't ready for that quite yet. I had left a bunch of stuff up in the room. I headed back up... changed... strapped on the Steyr as always... and headed back down.
We went off to a little tex-mex steak place that was near by. No one had eaten there before... which was bizarre to me. Difster doesn't eat out much? Apparently he prefers to eat his mexican at home. Things were comfortable though... it was like meeting old friends. The only really strange moment was when the waitress came for our drink orders... and Clint ordered un-sweet tea like some God Hating Communist... everyone ordered something like... sweet tea or water with lemon or some crap. I felt like I was out to lunch with my wife's friends. I looked at them like they were all insane and got a beer. What the hell is wrong with you people?
Then things got worse.. as the guys looked through their menus trying to decide what to order. This was greatly confusing to me. The steak page was fairly easy to find and it just doesn't take that long to decide between sirloin or ribeye or t-bone. And yet... here they were... thumbing though like they were lost.
While I took this as a bad omen everything worked out ok... even though Difster ordered his steak burned. I was taken aback by this at first but when I remembered he arrived in Texas via California and Minnesota it made more sense. Everything was excellent... even though it was more than a little awkward when Clint order Tofu.
It turned out to be an excellent meal... improved by the fact that I was able to put Clint on the spot by asking him to bless it. To my dismay he handled the prayer with grace enthusiam and class...
Finishing up there is was time to ride down to Larry's place. The ride was plenty comfortable as Larry's little boy was peppering me with questions and tales from Minecraft and Five Nights at Freddies. Given that I have 3 boys between the ages of 8 and 12 I am used to that. Once at Larrys I got to meet his lovely wife and we just hung out for a while until Auto_Matthew showed up. He's not at all what you would expect. Imagine a 6'1" 150 pound red neck Charlie Brown. He looks like he's about 20... but he's not.
Not long after Matthew arrived Zack pulled out this board game he invented and was currently trying to market. He spent the next 45 minutes explaining the rules to us... which are about as simple as nuclear physics... and then reminded us that his was the most simple version of the game.
We played the game.. which had something to do with Gods and Empowerment cards... and... I realized if we didn't stop playing soon we'd all revert back to virgins. Thankfully before that happened I looked up at the clock and realized it was time to head to the airport to pick up the Mad Fin... Marrku... his own self.
We split up... me and larry heading to the airport... the rest of the guys heading to The Mean Eyed Cat for Puppypalooza. Oh the way... Larry got a text from Marrku:
"I am in the shit. Plane broke. Stuck in detroit."
Well that certainly had to suck. After some quick googling around Larry found that the plane wouldn't be landing to much much later... so we turned around and headed for the Mean Eyed Cat. about 10 of the ilk were already standing around in the patio area when we got there... and we basically showed up and took the place over.
Puppypalooza was a blast. Farmer Tom and his wife showed up... STG... DeanHall and Lulabell showed up and kept it from being a total pickle party. I couldn't even begin to name everyone that showed up there. I counted over 30 at one point. We got to meet a lot of folks from the blog world... but the best thing was the three lurkers that showed up. One was a Shannon... and she'd been lurking at Vox's for a long... long time. She knew all of us and knew all the old stories and was a real kick to have around... but the other two lurkers... they sort of showed up and said hi... told us they were lurkers... and then... well... They lurked. They basically sat at a table and really didn't talk to anyone unless someone forced them to.
yep... you read that right.
We had real life lurkers.
A great time was had but it passed far to quickly. I realized I had to get back to fire up the ATF show.. and someone was gonna have to get to the airport to get Marrku.
To Be Continued...