February 23rd, 2007

Conrunner Kevin


Thanks to having had too much Diet Coke at dinner -- it being the only sugar free soft drink on the menu at the El Metate taqueria -- I'm now much too awake. So I'm packing. Friday afternoon (as early as possible), I'm leaving for Yuba City, where I will spend Friday night, going out to visit my grandfather and mother on Saturday. I have the spare television set to give them. (Some of you may remember me talking about this TV. I forgot to take it with me on my last trip, but I've already moved it out to the van so I wouldn't leave it behind and remember somewhere around Vacaville again.)

I'm staying at the Holiday Inn Express this time. The experiment in less-expensive hotels led on the previous trip led me to conclude that while I'd prefer to pay a bit less, the total package of the HIX -- reliable high speed internet service and breakfast included -- is overall a better value than paying somewhat less and getting no useful internet service and having to buy breakfast separately.
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Kevin Talking

Speed Demon

I was able to leave my apartment just before 1 PM today to head up to Yuba City. What a difference leaving at 1 makes compared to 3, 4, or 5! Traffic reports said to avoid the Benicia Bridge, but that Berkeley was clear, so I took the route I almost never take: I-880 to I-80.

Aside from some minor slowdowns at a couple of congested junctions, I was at the limit (well, as I rarely drive that fast, somewhat below the limit) just about the entire trip. I was astonished. The door-to-door time, from starting the van in Fremont to stopping it in front of the hotel in Yuba City, was only 3h 15m. That's 148 miles in 195 minutes, an average speed of 45 miles per hour, including one stop at Vacaville to use a restroom and buy a coffee. Usually it takes me at least an hour longer than that, and usually more.

I checked in to the hotel without incident, and they gave me a room right next to the pool deck and hot tub, which pleases me greatly, and I'll take advantage of it later. I like the hot tub, but not the cold walk between the hotel room and said hot tub.

Things aren't perfect. Either they've replaced their TV sets or else different rooms have different models, as the set in my room does not have the RCA connectors I seem to remember seeing on other TVs in this hotel, which means I can't feed the downloaded rugby match to the television set.

My biggest goof was to forget to bring the RSA key for my company's VPN. That means I can't log in to their network, so I can't get any more work done on my current project. (I need to remotely log in to the modeling machine on my desk at the office. While I can read my e-mail through the web interface without my VPN key, I can do nothing else.)

Still, today's trip augers well for my planned trip next weekend, as I plan to leave at 1 PM again, but this time instead of Yuba City, my destination will be Ashland, Oregon, on my way to Mehama for a week, and my trip schedule does oblige me to maintain a fairly high average speed, but I'd rather not spend a lot of time driving 70 because the mileage suffers so badly when I do so. (My van isn't all that aerodynamic, after all.) If I can make the kind of time next week that I did today, I will be well pleased.

Oh, and that small earthquake that hit the Bay Area this afternoon? I was ten miles south of Yuba City when it hit, and wouldn't have even known about it if I hadn't been listening to KNBR at the time.
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In case you're not yet following worldcons but are interested in the subject of NASFiC and related issues, head on over to this discussion of Worldcons, NASFiCs, and Border Crossings. Comments are disabled on this post because I think the discussion is best held there where it started.
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    thoughtful thoughtful
Kevin Talking

It Would Have Been Worse Without the Walk

Although I like this Holiday Inn Express, it's usually been one fault of the place that you have to drive to get to any services. But two things have happened: 1. More things have been built nearby and 2. I'm willing to walk longer distances; indeed, I want to walk longer distances. Although there is a Sizzler a block away, I went ahead and explored the new street that has been built out around the Sunsweet packing plant toward the Sam's Club. A mere 2 km later -- that's a round-trip to the Centerville train station from my apartment, no sweat -- I was at the Hometown Buffet, where once again I ate too much. I briskly walked back to the hotel hoping to burn down some of the blood sugar. An hour later it read 145, which is not so great -- my target is under 140 -- but not dangerously high, either.

At one point I started to cut across a field on which nothing has been built yet. Bad move. Fortunately, the mud wasn't that deep, and I was able to extricate myself and stumble back to the road and scrape most of it off, and I was able to clean my shoes when I got back to the hotel. Now for a bit of hot-tubbery and maybe a few minutes in the sauna.
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