A Second Week in a Row in Lubbock

After the long trip last week, I found out that Lubbock was still having issues with their VOIP traffic. Upon consulting with the Verizon engineers, I found out we needed to install a second antenna. I looked at the current work load and found me taking a trip to Lubbock was a good idea since it was very quiet. I made plans for later that week to go to Lubbock.

At one of the Meetups I attend, I was telling people about my previous trip and then mentioned I was going to Lubbock again later in the week. I guess I forgot how far it really is because they were shocked I was traveling that far. I looked up the distance on Mapquest and it is basically the same distance as driving from Madison, Wisconsin to St. Louis, all on about 2/3 of 2 lane 75mph roads. It takes about 6 hours to get there. For a normal person, it is a lot, but if you have read any entries in my blog, you know this kind of travel does not faze me.

This time, a company car was available. I got the ole Crown Vic. It is definitely nice to have the V8 as you sometimes need the power to kick it down in the limited passing areas there are on the 2 lane windy roads. Additionally, there was a big storm that came in through so it was supposed to rain a lot. The one thing about Texas drivers is they suck in any adverse conditions, even a light sprinkle. Being from Wisconsin, I laugh, but also am annoyed at how stupid people drive in the weather.

On most of the roads to Lubbock, the speed limit is 75. I can understand slowing down a little bit when it gets rainy and slick or when there’s standing water where there is a chance of hydroplaning, but some people were going 45-50 when it was completely clear. The crazy thing is you could kick it down to pass them and easily make it around them without even exceeding the speed limit.

The weather was bipolar driving there. Most of the time it was cloudy enough to threaten rain.

But occasionally it would clear up for a bit, only to start raining hard.

This happened many times on the drive. Hard rain followed by somewhat clear skies to be followed up with more threats of rain and ultimately more rain. When I got to Sweetwater, which is about 2/3 of the way to Lubbock, it was raining so hard you could barely see. I always get gas in Sweetwater so when I was coming into down and it turned into 2 lanes, I decided to go in the right lane as I needed to turn in about half of a mile. This was a bit of a mistake as I didn’t see the whole lane was flooded until it abruptly slowed me down. That definitely was not fun. When I did get to the gas station, I saw the whole intersection was also starting to flood.

A while later, I arrived in Lubbock and got to work right away. The work involved me installing the other antenna and finding the optimal signal strength. The second antenna did double the speeds we were seeing and also brought latency down a significant amount. There ended up being a few VOIP problems left but we think that’s on the backend now. After installing the antennas and doing a little troubleshooting, I got to the same hotel as last time.

I was a floor higher this time on the opposite side so the view was slightly different.

Since I do not have internet at home, I decided to maximize the time I had at the hotel to write my final paper for my class. The nice thing about the Lubbock office is Walmart is right next to it. I had a Walmart supper as I worked on my paper.

I stayed up late working on the paper and made good progress on it. One interesting thing this time is there must have been a bunch of high school athletes staying at the hotel. In the middle of writing the paper, there was a bunch of noise and I could see a bunch of high school aged kids coming in. After about an hour, they finally shut up and must have gone to bed.

The next morning, I had a breakfast of bagels and apple juice since there weren’t any fried eggs.

I went to the office and checked my emails, as well as did a little more troubleshooting. When I determined everything I could do physically on site was done, I hit the road back. The clouds were once again threatening and the weather behaved just like it did on the way up. There was a cool cloud formation where some light was shining through into a field.

Around the area, there was a lot of standing water from all the rain.

I did get a little blue sky which cool when seeing all the windmills.

I’m not sure if the local team for this town is the Badgers or if the owner is a Wisconsin Badgers fan, but the strip mall was called Badger Plaza and they had a sign that said Go Badgers. As you can see, it was raining when I was in that town.

Even when it wasn’t raining, the roads were wet and the cars would kick up a bunch of mist on the roads. It definitely wasn’t fun driving when you had a slow driver or two causing a wolf pack of cars.

I made it back to Austin to basically have it pour on me as I put the car away. The storm had passed but now a strong hurricane hitting the west side of Mexico is supposed to work its way up here this weekend and dump us with a foot or more of rain. It’ll be interesting to see if there’s any adventures and things to see with all the rain and flooding.

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