Conroe Houston Work Trip

As with last week in Arlington and Tyler, I had to do some more work with the Surface deployment. This week it was Conroe and Houston. I have been to Houston many times, but this was going to be my first time in Conroe. I was originally planning on spending 1 day in Conroe and then 3 days in Houston, but a conflict with the company car allowed me to only spend 1 day in Conroe and 1 day in Houston.

I got to work at 5:30 and was on the road shortly after for Conroe. I usually make a quick stop one of the convenience stores on FM2222 to get something caffeinated and a bite to eat. The 7-Eleven I stopped at had meat lover’s pizza. I guess it was a meat lover’s pizza and Rockstar kind of morning.

The drive wasn’t too bad, except it got foggy in some locations.

I made it to Conroe in the time the Mapquest estimated when I looked it up the day before. This was a smaller office with only a handful of people in it. When I first got there, I really had to take a leak. I found the bathroom needed a special code. I found out there were a lot of homeless people wandering around and they had to restrict access or they’d be wandering around the building. I got the code and went to the bathroom. Afterwards, as I sat and worked, I could see some of the homeless people wandering around on the sidewalk outside.

The connection at the site sucked. I had to download some files to install some programs on the Surfaces and it took forever. We’re looking into fixing the connection, but obviously I had to sit around and wait for things to load during this trip. I usually don’t take a lunch break on the road, but since there wasn’t much to do, I asked my coworkers their recommendations on somewhere close. They recommended McKenzie’s BBQ.

I had a sliced beef sandwich with some fries.

I was able to finish pretty much everything up that I needed to by the end of the day. I thought I might be able to get to Houston and start working there, but the drive was long enough I wouldn’t have made it to the office before it closed. I drove to the hotel in Houston. It was the same hotel I stayed at on other trips. I guess I stay at so many La Quintas I’m an “elite” member of their returns program. The clerk handed me this bag that was reserved for elite members.

It ended up having a bottle of water and some pretzels. You can’t beat free!

One nice thing about this hotel is it is very close to the Fiesta grocery store.

I decided to get a smoked turkey leg, some spiced peanuts, and some Mexican soda.

When I was bringing my groceries into the hotel, I noticed this poor guy. He was wandering really slowly around the parking lot. I’m thinking he is on his last leg.

The next morning, it was a standard La Quinta breakfast. I never saw the hotcake thing before at one of these breakfasts so I decided to try it. It wasn’t bad with a little syrup.

I found out that most of the Auditors that received their Surfaces were out of the office. Since my trip was going to be cut short anyway, I’ll just catch them on the next trip. I took care of the few issues for the Auditors that were in the office. I also replaced a router.

My last job working at Marshfield Clinic and being one of the guys racking servers, I get really anal about how things are cabled. One thing I find with a lot of places is backend infrastructure is completely ignored unless it stops working. The way this closet has been cabled drives me nuts.

I did my best to put the new router in there and not contribute to the tangled mess. When I was replacing the router, I found another weird cable. Technically speaking, you only need 2 of the 4 pairs of wires to do a half-duplex connection. With that being said, I have never actually seen a cable that only comes with 2 pairs of wires instead of all 4.

I got everything wrapped up and hit the road early afternoon. I knew there were some storms coming, so it wasn’t a surprise when the sky started getting darker.

It would rain a bit on and off and sometimes the sky would get a little less dark.

I did stop at Buc-ee’s to fill up. It was very windy and blowing a lot of dust all over the place.

By the time I hit Austin, it was getting very dark.

It eventually started pouring.

It started pouring so hard, I cranked the windshield wipers. They couldn’t even keep up. Luckily everyone slowed down due to this, but eventually it became stop and go traffic.

There was a big line of cars to get from 183 to Mopac. I was trying to figure out why until I found that there was a lot of water standing on the on ramp.

The rain let up a little bit for me to unload the car when I got back to the office. Dealing with traffic in bigger cities when this happens is definitely not fun, so I was happy to be back in the office. I know I have some more road trips coming up, so hopefully it doesn’t rain as hard when I go on them.


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