Color shots are pushed EPJ (as described in the last installment) taken with the 50 Summilux. The b&w shots are FP4+, except for the desert shot which was on Delta 100 shot with a Pentax 645. Chapter Five: Return to Houma and another birthday party Sarah had told me she'd call in the morning, and we'd be heading back to Houma by noon or so. In real terms, this meant she called about 11, and we were back on the road around 3 p.m. Ahhh, women. We were returning to Houma for the day because another of her friends was having a birthday (and requisite party); after that, we'd resume our trek westward. The party took place at a Japanese restaurant and bar. After dining on udon, I asked the bartendar how much for a good, stiff Scotch. He said $5. I asked him for a Scotch on the rocks (and go easy on the rocks). He proceeded to take out a 16-oz water glass, put a few cubes of ice in it, then start pouring in the Dewar's, and keep pouring, and keep pouring until the glass was about 80% full. Apparently, in Lousiana, it's a moral obligation to get everyone possible good and drunk. Sarah gives Daniela a birthday kiss Sarah is swept off her feet Our designated driver later took us back to the Balcony Bar (where we had met on the first night in Houma) to close out the evening. We enjoyed the bacteria burger buffet that night (but much less so in the morning). Daniela and Sharie share a burger Chapter Six: Heaven, Hell, or Houston The next day, Sarah insisted we get on the road west unreasonably early (by 10 or so). I was too hungover to mount any kind of rational argument against (what seemed to me) such a bizarre and incomprehensible plan, and I suspect she was too hungover to make sense of it even if I had. So off we went, her driving and me semi-conscious in the passenger seat (with me stirring from my troubled slumbers occasionally to moan). Her suggestion that we go get some breakfast was met with a hostile glare. By the time we neared the Texas border, I had gotten enough additional sleep that I was able to take over at the wheel. We were heading for Houston to visit one of Sarah's friends from med school, Benoy, and his wife Rose. We met them at Starbucks (yeah, I felt a little dirty going into a corporate coffee chain), then headed off to a restaurant for an early dinner. During the conversation, it came up that Rose and I had been at the University of Michigan at the same time, and the reason we had seemed to familiar to each other was that she had been a student in one of the classes for which I was a TA. It's a small world. After eating, we dropped Sunshine off at a service center to have the air conditioner recharged while we adjourned to the bar across the street. Benoy and Rose had shots from their honeymoon in Hawaii, and I had shots from Nashville, and Sarah has shots from all over, so we had a little picture viewing orgy. Benoy and Rose check out some pics Sarah has this thing about lifting people in photos The food and water (lots of water) helped to clear our heads, so we set out on the road again to see how much of Texas we could get through. Sarah had the twisted idea that we could just take turns and keep driving all night until we were near the Grand Canyon (our next planned destination). Rather than attempting rational arguments, I simply laid down the law at this point--I explained that I was a tired old man still recovering from the final vestiges of too much fun the night before, that I had been running on empty for most of a week, and that by midnight my ass was going to be in a comfortable bed preparing to sleep until I awoke from natural causes. We ended up stopping in Junction, Texas, for the night. The cheap motel right by the highway wasn't very cheap, so we found a nice place in the small town. The next day, Sarah went exploring while I slept, then we got a late breakfast at Isaack Restaurant (which was conveniently located right by the motel). After that, we were back on the road. Let me tell you, there's a whole lotta Texas out there--about 800 miles of it east to west on I-10. And while the hill country is pretty for the first hundred miles or so, after that, the new wears off . . . it's all this exciting And so ends this part of the tale. Still more to come.