BBQ and lonely roads

Rise and shine Matthew, welcome to an Austin monsoon. Wednesday morning I was woken by some pretty intense thunder claps and some ugly rain. I was supposed to start the day of with the legendary Franklin’s BBQ in Austin. Supposedly the best BBQ place in America with lines that last for hours. Was the rain going to stop me from getting this tasty smoked treat? Fuck fucking no. I packed my shit and headed to the traffic packed highway, GPS gave me a short cut but still took me 40 minutes to drive 3 miles. I made it, parked, and hopped in the large line.

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Franklin’s realizes the line is a bit intense and they provide lawn chairs and umbrellas for the people waiting. They also come around with samples, ask how you’re doing, make sure they have enough meat for your order and serve drinks. I bought myself a Lone Star and one for the gentleman in front of me who had no cash. BBQ karma. The owner assured no line cutting was allowed and told a story that Kanye West tried to cut but they sent him back to his limo, sorry Yeezy.

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I befriended the couple behind me in line, Tim and Clarissa (I’m hoping I’m remembering their names right, if not, sorry guys). We chatted for the whole 2.5 hour wait and once I got to the front of the line I met a crew of Boston guys. One was a student at Northeastern (one block from my alma mater, MassArt) and the other went to BC (less than a mile from my apartment in Brighton). They were stoked to see another Bostonian (good call on the hat Ethan) and I was stoked too because the girl with them was one I had been admiring during the whole line. She was Quite fetching but I had BBQ on my mind and couldn’t be ogling random women. I ordered my food; quarter rack of ribs, half pound of brisket and a pulled pork sandwich (the sandwich is about to be my breakfast).

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Tim and Clarissa asked if I wanted to eat with them and I jumped at the chance to continue human contact (apparently I’m not the lone cold-hearted cowboy I once thought, I’m more of a raconteur and that requires an audience). We all dug in to the pile of meat and I must say it was in fact the best BBQ I’ve ever tasted and one of the best meals of my life. Thanks Jamie for the gift card (no the cold ya jerk).

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After I was full, I packed my left overs, said good bye to my new friends then hit the road. It’s important to note that at this time it is 2pm and the leg ahead of me is all the way through Texas and about 9 hours of travel. Some of you who have done that route while driving cross-country would also cringe because driving across Texas is an asshole of a trip. It’s just empty roads and nothing around those roads. On these empty roads I had an existential crisis or five, listened to a book, listened to a podcast that discussed death (which didn’t help) then I put on some comedy albums and that cheered me up a bit. While in Texas I drove though a large wind farm, which was ominously beautiful, it looked like thousands of giants doing a synchronized dance to the melody of the gentle wind, like a flash mob of confused old people trying to be hip.

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The sun was all the way down around 7:30 pm, while watching it set over the horizon was lovely, I still had 3 more hours to drive in the dark. One of the cool things about driving in the pitch black while in the middle of nowhere are the stars, the sky was filled. I tried to look out my window a few times but almost hit some small animal in the road and to decided to focus.

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I was roughly 100 miles from my destination, Roswell New Mexico when my gas was looking pretty low. No big deal right? There must be a ton of gas stations on that road, FUCKING NOPE! there was nothing. I was counting the miles, when I had 50 left and the gas light went on, I didn’t freak out too hard. When there still was nothing over the horizon, I freaked out. The little hand was now BELOW the E and I had 18 miles to go. Come on Wolf (car’s nickname in case you forgot, but how could you) you can do this. The idea of running out of gas around 10pm in the middle of nowhere, only a few miles where a UFO allegedly crash landed over 60 years ago was getting to me. Panic ensued and this is where most would pray to god but that’s not my cup of tea so adjusted my Sox hat, kept the RPMs steady and put all my faith in the mighty Wolf. We made it, barely.

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I gassed up and got some beer, finally I can relax in my hotel. I drank about half of one beer, watched the Always Sunny in Philadelphia season finale and crashed hard. It is currently 8:30 in the morning here in Roswell, today I’ll be checking out the UFO museum then hitting the road to the Grand Canyon. Thanks for reading folks!

Keep Smiling (even when you’re almost abducted by aliens on a lonely New Mexico road).

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I like inspiring quotes, fuck you if you don’t like it.

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3 thoughts on “BBQ and lonely roads

  1. I-80 once you get to Nebraska is essentially desolation through that state, Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada up until Reno/Sacremento (though I guess Salt Lake City makes an appearance along the way).

    I had NUMEROUS times where low fuel came on, and I pulled off at the next exist (usually 15-20 miles away)… only to find everything to be ABANDONED…. which meant hopping back on the interstate and praying that the next exit (again, probably a solid 20 miles away) didn’t offer the same fate.

    I visited at least 4 abandoned places total between my drives out there and back.

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  2. Hi Matt, my name is Helena, I work with Val(your mom). She gave me the link to your blog hoping I would read it. I told her I would when I had a chance, thinking I probably wouldn’t get to it. But one day I decided to give it a look for Val, because she’s awesome. Long story short, I read it all in one sitting. I was hooked. You’re a very talented writer and I was entertained and intrigued by your every word. I keep checking for more everyday, but nothing yet…. I look forward to reading more of your journey. Take care and keep writing.

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