Sharkbait and the Hockey Game: Part 1

Posted: October 10, 2011 in Hockey, Sports, Travel

Much Needed Heavy Rain on the Wrong Day

I woke up early Sunday morning to a loud boom of thunder and much needed rain pouring down in South Texas. While I was grateful to see this heavy rain (something we haven’t seen in South Texas in a long time), I had plans to travel to Houston to hang out with a friend of mine from Iowa who was temporarily working near Houston. We also had plans to attend a hockey game at the Toyota Center that afternoon. This would be my first time attending an American Hockey League game, so I didn’t want to let a little rain get in the way. While traveling in rain was not something I particularly wanted to do, my friend was only going to have Sunday off (he had just worked 90 hours in one week) and probably wouldn’t get another day off before having to head back to Iowa. So, after eating breakfast, I grabbed my umbrella and portable GPS unit, and then quickly got in my car.

The heavy rain had already passed through town, so after plugging in the address to the hotel that my friend was staying at just north of Houston, I started my three-hour long journey. The first forty-five minutes of travel in the rain wasn’t too bad, but then I apparently caught up with the very heavy rain in between two towns. The rain was so bad I couldn’t see ten feet in front of my car. This road trip was going swell. Through the heavy rain I spotted a vehicle with bright flashing yellow lights, which turned out to be the end of a caravan of trucks shipping concrete highway barriers. The only thing I could see clearly was the flashing hazard lights on the vehicle in front of me as I traveled on the highway at a cruising speed of about 45 miles per hour. After driving several miles like this, using the flashing yellow lights as a guide (and praying I didn’t follow those lights into a ditch), I decided to leave the highway and take a detour through a small town to relieve a bit of the stress that I was dealing with driving in the thunder storm.

Fighting With My GPS

At a red light the cradle holding my GPS unit lost suction from the windshield it was affixed to. I rolled my eyes as the GPS unit dropped onto my dash. Just great! This is the last thing I needed to happen while driving through Houston. I pulled over and parked my car onto a vacant lot, where a gas station apparently used to occupy, and reaffixed my GPS unit to the windshield. As the heavy rain dissipated to a light rain, I continued my travels. It wasn’t too long before I caught up to the storm that obviously traveled in the same direction I was. While I dealt with the heavy rain, the GPS unit fell off the window again. Argh! I didn’t need the damn thing right now anyway. I know how to get to Houston. So, I just grabbed the GPS unit and tossed it onto the front passenger seat and continued my exciting trip to Houston.

I eventually made it through the sudden Texas monsoon and enjoyed rain free travel about forty-five minutes into my trip. I needed to a answer a nature call and I was getting close to the next city, so I took a short pit stop at a gas station. By the time I got back into my car the rain had started up again. Wow! That storm was really moving fast! While the rain pounded my car, I pondered the situation with my GPS unit before getting on the road again. The GPS unit is one of those units that has voice navigation, so I didn’t necessarily need to see the actual screen, so I just set the unit in front my gear shift where I could just glance at the screen if I needed to. It was good enough. I made a mental note to get a better GPS cradle.

Torrential Rain in North Houston

I only drove about ten minutes before the rain stopped again. I sighed a breath of relief as I entered Houston with no rain, but it was too good to be true. In North Houston I drove into another storm just as bad if not worse than the one I hit earlier. Driving in Houston was challenging enough since I’ve only dared to drive there a few times in my life, but each prior time I didn’t have to deal with torrential rain. Even with the heavy rain, a few idiots on the road still drove like… well, idiots. The sane people were driving about 35 to 45 miles per hour in the heavy rain, while the complete morons were flying by at over 70 miles per hour and cutting through traffic. It’s amazing I didn’t see any accidents while driving through Houston. The only good thing about this whole experience was the fact that traffic was relatively light for the fourth largest city in the United States. Without my GPS unit and the excellent signs and road markings, there’s no telling where I would have ended up.

I eventually made it to my destination safely and in one piece around one o’clock in the afternoon. My friend waited patiently in the hotel lobby north of Houston. We had lunch with one of his coworkers at The Outback after the rain let up a bit and enjoyed some socializing and catching up while savoring the freshly cooked steaks and baked potatoes. After lunch, it was time to make the trip to the Toyota Center in downtown Houston. I found the Toyota Center on my GPS, selected it, and hit GO.

With my seatbelt fastened and my GPS set, it was time for more exciting driving to downtown Houston and attending the opening day Houston Aeros AHL hockey game. But that, my friends, is another story.

  1. eden baylee says:

    Ok, you survived GPS and rain, but will you survive the hockey game? (insert music here )



  2. danniehill says:

    Hi Sharky. Glad to hear you finally got some rain. When I’m in the States I have to have one of those GPS things. They are great until you do something not to their liking and then it drives me crazy.

    I drive in Houston all the time- that’s where I live when not in Thailand. It is kind of crazy in a polite sort of way.

    Great post can’t wait for the Hockey story!


    • Hey, Dannie. It’s always a pleasure seeing you stop by my virtual world in cyberspace. GPS units are great, but they do get annoying sometimes when you don’t set them up just right and they take you through ridiculous routes when you could have just gone straight. I’ve had that happen a few times. LOL!

      As much of a nightmare it was to drive in the torrential rain, I really enjoyed my trip to Houston… even driving in traffic. I’m actually one of those who enjoys getting behind the wheel, so the freeways themselves didn’t bother me. It reminded me of the days living in Austin (although Austin wasn’t quite as hectic).

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post.