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PA to LA: Day 5

June 5, 2003

June 5: Bye-bye New Orleans, hello highway. We drive and drive and drive through the Louisiana highways and overpasses, atop swampland and forest, through rain and through sun (though mostly through rain), for the better part of four hours until we hit the Louisiana/Texas border.
As the Texas air permeates the interior of our car, we are stricken with it--the unstoppable urge to...speak...southern. Before long, Di and I are belting out "ya'll's" and "Sure 'nuff's" with the intensity of a Hillbilly from Beverly. The pets cannot stand to hear our Texas slangathon and huddle together in the back seat, desperately trying to cover one another's ears with their paws. Their efforts are in vain, however, and soon they are overcome with Texan fever. Chad's bark begins to develop a peculiar twang, and the cats no longer "meow"; instead, they make a noise that can only be described as "me'yawwwl...me'yawwwl." Seconds later we begin to crave chicken-fried steak. Vegetarianism be damned. The smell of fresh cattle and pork is nearly overwhelming. On several occasions we eye each other up like hungry cannibals--if there were a bottle of barbeque sauce in the glove compartment I doubt I'd be alive now to write these words. Somehow we manage to persevere and resist the myraid of steak houses that assail the long trek across I-20.
Eventually we reach our hotel. The air is filled with the smell of cooked beef, of waterbugs and killer bees, of women who pump gas only by necessity. For better or for worse, we've reached Dallas.
Soon we meet up with our dear friends, Jay and Karla, both natives to this land that, to us, is foreign. We're in good company, I'm sure, even if they know more about cattle ranches than most people know about the workings of a bicycle. And I'm beginning to wonder suspiciously why they keep referring to us as "succulent" and "prime cuts of beef..."

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