The day we were shipwrecked in Austin, forced to go with the flow and stayed at a haunted hotel.
When I woke up in Austin, I rolled over to my new bed-mate (Rachel) and saw a very troubled look on her face. I knew in that moment our day was headed in a bad direction. She looked at me with fear in her yes and said, “Something is very wrong with my computer”. Considering all our photos from the first 7 days of the road trip lived on her hard drive, this was very very very bad news. I didn’t want to show my concern though, because I knew if both of us had a melt down we would get nowhere. So instead, I put on a happy face and assured her that everything was going to be just fine.
We made an appointment at the Austin Mac store to get it looked over. At this point the screen had gone blue and was unresponsive. Not good. She googled it and learned it was called the “blue screen of death”. Even after hearing this, I was managing a ridiculously positive attitude, even though our itinerary had us leaving Austin at noon to get to New Orleans by 7pm that day. We had to keep moving!
We arrived at the Austin Mac store, which was located in a horrible mall. I dropped Rachel off to look for parking and told her I would meet her inside. After circling for a bit, I found a spot and went inside to locate Rachel. When I walked into the mac store I spotted Rachel from across the room- her head was on the counter and she was crying. No bueno. No bueno. No bueno. I knew where this afternoon was going and it was bad. I walked up (still smiling) to the kind man helping her (who seemed very confused about the woman crying on his counter) and asked him what was wrong with the computer. He explained that her hard drive had crashed and everything had been lost.
My mouth fell open. I glanced from his frightened face (I get it- women crying can be frightening) to Rachel sobbing on the counter and wondered what I should do next. Rachel excused herself to call her insurance company and I sat there making small talk about blue screens with everyone around me.
And then it happened! Her computer came alive and the Mac guy ran over to me and yelled..find her! I felt like I was in a scene from ER and it all felt so life and death! I took my job very seriously and went dashing through the store in search of Rachel.
When I found her I screamed, “It woke up!!!”
The Mac guy plugged in a million wires and started the process of pulling all her content off her computer and on to a new hard drive.
The estimated time for this…6 hours.
I started to feel very claustrophobic. We would be stuck in this store, in this mall, for 6 hours? But we are supposed to leave for New Orleans at noon! We have 8pm dinner reservations at Brennan’s!
But what else could we do but wait.
I would have to make the best of this situation. I would have to go with the flow. I would have to make peace with the fact I would not be making it to New Orleans by 7pm.
I decided to make the best of the next 6 hours and try to get some writing done. But I found it impossible to focus in the busy Mac store so I told Rachel that I was going to find another spot in the mall with WiFi and a plug for my computer. This spot ended up being located in the Nordstrom’s women’s lounge, located right off the bathroom and filled with kids and mothers (mostly nursing mothers) taking a break from shopping.
Hey, at least there was a comfy couch.
After a glorious afternoon spent at the Austin mall, Rachel and I finally set off for New Orleans…6 hours late but with all her footage and a new hard drive.
The 7 hour drive to NOLA was long and dark. We spent most of the time listening to loud rap music to keep ourselves awake and reading about Hotel Provincial, the next hotel we would be staying in New Orleans. Supposedly it is haunted- actually it’s considered the MOST haunted hotel in America. Scary right??
When we finally made it to our hotel at 1:30 in the morning, I was so ready for bed at that point, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the damn ghost stories! I wondered if I would be able to actually fall asleep. The bellman led us to our room and when he opened the door everything became immediately better because the room was gorgeous! Wood paneled walls, 2 big beds, velvet curtains, a huge bathroom and a fancy sitting area.
I was in love with the room and decided that I could make peace with a few ghosts if it meant staying in this room.
My first day in New Orleans next…
To read Rachel’s take go here!