This trip to Dallas started on 14th April evening, when I took off from Eric's class presentation at around 5.15 PM! The occasion for trip? To drive Balaji to his sister's place ensuing the house warming of their (Balaji's sis Vaishnavi and her husband Rajesh) new house.
This time, I rented the car from Enterprise A/p. It was a white, 2-door Chevy Cavalier... Hmmm.. the feel of Austin - San Antonio trip came into me! However, we started the trip, the two of us - Balaji and me. I drove all evening to enter Dallas city vicinity somewhere around midnight.
Enter Toll Booth
As we were following what Google maps have to say, to reach the place, here comes a toll booth in George Bush Turnpike! The toll was 75c and I was wonderstuck! The toll booth was unmanned! It reminded me of the scene in the movie "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle" where they throw the money into the toll-collection unit mindlessly just to lose the only coin they had! In our case, luckily, Balaji came up with 75c after a rummage through his bag. I, being a credit card guy, had nothing to offer! After a sigh of relief, we went on when Balaji commented that he had paid 75c for the development of Dallas city! "Close", we thought!
We drove through, putting faith in Google Maps... and, laughing about the pretty close encouter with the Toll Booth...
Toll Booth#2 - The villian: 5c!!
Just as I turned another corner, almost aroud the last step in the route... here comes another toll booth, this time asking for 40c!! Once again, the desperate attempts to find a few pieces of metal in Balaji's bag and my wallet started! This time, I could dig out a dime that I had, as a bye-product of some previous vending machine purchase. However, Balaji hit a quarter! 35 it is.. and 5c is all we needed to get some sleep! I had some luck with copper, where I came up with 2 or 3 "1c"s! But damn! No "1c" accepted! The m/c was so arrogant that it would accept only a min of 5c! Now where do we go for a nickel??? We called Balaji's bro (sis's hus) and he gave us the most brilliant idea of running the toll-booth! I wasn't ready for it 'cos I had already drawn close to the booth and my num plate should be in black and white in the camera! Thinking of what to do, I saw some "lighted" areas ahead and I suspected it to be a gas station! Voila!! "I could find an ATM there", I thought. Without wasting a min, I started to walk (I wanted Balaji to wait in the car, as we didn't have a proper parking place nearby and we had just pulled over to the road side). I walked, walked and walked in the dark, pretty much afraid of meeting with some thug on the way, the initial enthu draining rapidly.. at least for 15 mins before I caught sight of a gas station. I hopped into it and found an ATM inside. "Relief", I thought. The ATM said that I had to pay a surcharge of $1.5 (what a trouble for 5c!!) !! (By the way, my bank also charged another $1.5 surcharge for having pulled put money from a different ATM => $3 for getting 5c!)
Time to go.. will update later..