Everything was going better than fine until I left MattG's place -- and then things just kind of, well, went right to hell.
As a simple fer instance, I had no idea that I35 betwixt Denton and Ft Worth is actually a parking lot. And a single-lane one at that.
That's the kind of mission-critical information that ought to be disseminated a bit more widely, I think.
Of course, I topped it off by getting lost. In Midlothian. Texas.
Which, in and of itself, is not a total loss, because when -- out of a complete disregard for my gender stereotype -- I stopped and asked a knowledgeable-looking local for [deleted] directions, I got the following, priceless response:
"Hayes road you say?"
*scratch, scratch, spit*
"Well, young fella, I don't rightly think you can get there from here."
Ellis County isn't that big, Gentle Readers.
20 minutes later I am forced to resort to summonsing the almighty Road Gods to provide assistance* they kindly draw my attention to the little 'EMSTOCK' signs posted regularly along the road, and ten minutes later I'm at the EMStock site.
Only nine hours after I left home on a three hour journey.
Anyhoo, I'm there, and I'm not exactly sure where to start, so I spot a helpful looking gentleman and announce, "If I were a Louisiana swamp-rat by the name of Ambulance Driver, where would I be lurking?"
And Gentle Reader Wes replies, "I think I know who you are."
I'm here to tell you, that's right spooky, that is.
Finally got to meet AD and Too Old To Work, Too Young To Retire face-to-face, chatted with a couple of Gentle Readers, listened to some of the funniest war-stories I've ever heard, swapped jokes, appreciated some good music and generally relaxed in the company of some really salt-of-the-earth people.
Got to shake the hand of Dr Bryan Bledsoe, who has literally written the book on paramedicine; and the lovely LaFemme showed up to charm one and all.
Unfortunately, I missed Mr Fixit, who had to leave before I was able to arrive. Ah, well. Next year.
As a side-note, Nana had once relayed to me -- in hushed tones -- of a certain legend regarding some of the -- minor -- architectural details of the Waxahachie County Courthouse and the lurid story regarding said details.
LaFemme was quite willing to play chauffeur and tour guide and I am happy -- I think -- to report that I do believe that the architectural side of the legend seems to be completely true. Erm.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend a Saturday evening, and one that I've probably needed for a while.
I think I shall plan on attending next years EMStock, and if you are involved in some way with EMS, I shall hope to see you there.
*Best done by pulling onto the shoulder of the road, heaving a Rand-McNally atlas in a random direction, followed by stomping in circles while shrieking imprecations skywards. Use sparingly.