Tag Archives: jeff

Wild fire

Wow.  Last weekend (Labor Day weekend), I drove to Austin (or at least started that direction).  There were wildfires near Bastrop, and the highway closed — you could see the smoke and flames just a mile or so from where I had to U-turn.  Traffic was chaos as about 1,000 cars and I (I’m probably exaggerating) headed up a small road toward highway 290.  Soon, traffic was stopped again, and this time as I U-turned, my car was hit in the back right-hand side by a truck coming the opposite direction.  Not a huge impact, but a good thump that knocked the car to the roadside.  I was fine, and quickly hopped out to check with the other driver (who was also fine).

About 2-3 minutes later, as I stood 30 yards or so from my car talking to the other driver, a gawking passerby pointed at my car and yelled, “That car’s on fire!”  Indeed it was. (And completely independent of the wild fires that happened to be raging just a few miles away).  Standing there empty-handed in shorts and flip-flops, there was nothing I could do but watch.  It pretty much burned to a crisp.  Sadly, there are no pictures — my phone (the only camera I’d have had with me) was in the car, whose charred remains were towed away just as I left.  I wound up hitchhiking to the next town with the folks I’d had a wreck with.  I borrowed a phone to call my friend Scott, who heroically drove 2 hours to rescue me from the Smithville convenience store parking lot.

Here’s all I salvaged.  I picked it up off the ground.  It was a silver Mercedes SL500 convertible.  Of course it was insured — and I’m not one to be emotionally attached to a car — but I was actually nauseated to watch the thing burn.  A little glimpse of understandable human nature, though:  people get a strange thrill watching somebody else’s Mercedes burn to a crisp.  I’d feel the same way, but if I had my druthers, I’d choose to see a red Ferrari burn (there’s a part of me that would just as soon see all red Ferraris burn, right?).

Adding insult to the injury:  it had a personalized Texas license plate.  Red and white:  “SOONERS”. (Remember: this happened on the way to Austin).


Ironman Texas


In a moment of weakness and/or bravado a couple of years back, I claimed that I would do an Ironman on every continent.  So, Brazil 2008 (South America: done); Germany 2010 (Europe: done).   Last year they announced, for the first time ever, that there would be an Ironman event in Texas — right here in the Houston area.  I was bummed — on one hand, if they’re having one in your hometown, you can’t NOT do it, but I’d loved doing them as “destination events”  in cool distant places.  Worse, they scheduled it in late May — in south Texas where, you may already know, it gets really hot in late May.

And so we did it.  My friends / training partners all did great.  Scott exorcised his IronMan demons (his last attempt – in Germany – landed him in the ICU rather than the finish line).  Shane logged his fourth Ironman (his third within a 12-month span).  The one female in our group, Angie, kicked all our butts (in our defense, she’s a fitness “professional” and she’s about three age-groups younger than the Shane and me).  All good.  Me?  I had some unmentionable problems during the bike section, which set me back nearly an hour and gave me my worst Ironman time ever.  But hey, I finished, so who cares, right?  North America: done.

And my Mom and Dad even came down to watch.

That’s me in the black tank top (#2079).  [Update: I added some pics of Scott, too].  I’ll try to gather and add some pics of the others.  Here are a few for now.


(Obviously, I didn’t TAKE any of these pictures).