August 24th, 2007

Conrunner Kevin

Last Call

I've checked off everything from my list except actually shutting down the computer and taking my luggage out to the van. Doubtless as I'm driving to Oregon, it will hit me that I forgot something, but I have to hope that it's nothing critical. I do need to pick up a new TSA-compliant luggage lock, though, because I just noticed that the one I had was gone. I think it's possible the TSA kept it after my last trip to Oregon and I never noticed at the time.

(Not that I think luggage locks actually keep people from stealing from my luggage; I want them to keep the bags from coming open accidentally.)

Boxes and luggage have been sorted into three groups:

1. Oregon box: Things only going as far as Mehama, for Lisa.
2. Worldcon luggage: The large bag with things that will only be needed for the week at Worldcon. This bag is only about half-full because Lisa will fill it the rest of the way.
3. Personal luggage: The medium bag with personal clothing and effects, CPAP machine, etc. that will stay with me for the whole trip.
4. Computer and briefcase: Carry-ons for the flight

Yes, I travel like an army on campaign. It's difficult because I keep running across things and thinking, "Bring it along; it might be useful." It was much worse in 2002 in San Jose, when I only had to drive a few miles with my van packed to the ceiling with Stuff.

Guess I'd better go move stuff to the van. My goal is to leave here around Noon, which is only fifteen minutes from now.
Conrunner Kevin

Road Work

Getting out of the Bay Area, even leaving as early as I did, was like pulling teeth, with multiple slow zones clear to Vacaville. And both major routes (I-880/I-80 versus I-680) were both showing just as bad. But about 2:30 or so I finally got to Vacaville and stopped for lunch. Now I've stopped for a few minutes in Williams to check my e-mail at an coffee shop with free internet. Which for a few minutes wouldn't connect, but eventually their service came back up.

Next stop: Yreka. Maybe the promised internet service will work there, maybe it won't.
  • Current Mood
    happy happy
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Giants Fanatic

Halfway to Mehama

I made it to Yreka, approximately midway between the Bay Area and Mehama, about 45 minutes ahead of schedule, which, given that I started 50 minutes ahead of schedule, means that the good time I made north of Vacaville offset the slow grind for the first leg of the trip: Leave Fremont 12:10; arrive Yreka almost exactly eight hours later for a drive of about 340 miles, including a stop for lunch and four other stops.

The fourth stop was at Mt. Shasta City, where Lisa wanted me to go into a natural-foods store there and buy all of the cans of a certain brand of tuna that she found there but cannot find in her part of Oregon. Hope I bought the right one!

Now I'm safely checked in to the Rodeway Inn Yreka, which is about what you'd expect for a small, not-very-expensive motel in these parts, but will probably seem roomy when I stay here again on my way back to the Bay Area after the Japan trip. Indeed, as seems to be increasingly the case in the less-expensive hotels, I have a microwave oven and mini-fridge, although they won't do me much good on this stop.

The wireless internet came up without too much difficulty, and unlike the coffee shop in Williams, was also able to raise my VPN, which makes getting my e-mail easier than the clunky web-mail interface.

And, because it's a cheap hotel instead of an expensive one, we have regular cable with lots of channels instead of the special hotel-only system with a limited supply, and thus I can raise FSN Bay Area and watch the Giants game. Yay!

Tomorrow I'll drive just about the same distance as I did today. (My rule-of-thumb halfway point for these trips is anywhere between Dunsmuir and Medford.)
  • Current Music
    Giants Baseball on FSN Bay Area
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Kevin Sketch

Nighttime in Yreka

Obviously, I wasn't getting much exercise driving for eight hours today, and the 179 blood sugar reading I got an hour after eating lunch in Vacaville showed it. I went for a brief walk after lunch, because I remembered that there was a Luggage Center store in the shopping center there and so I was able to buy a couple of TSA luggage locks to replace the one that I think the Portland TSA kept for their collection.

Anyway, after eating dinner here at the hotel and watching the Giants hold on to a reasonably impressive win over the Brewers, I decided to take a walk to downtown Yreka. Yes, it was 10:30 PM in a town in which I'm not too familiar, but I think I know Northern California, and this was not a big deal. And so I got about 3 km done, which what I normally get after lunch at my office. (The office walk is more exercise due to the hills.) I'm so pleased that 3 km seems like a pretty trivial walk. A few years ago, I wouldn't have wanted to walk from one side of a shopping center parking lot to the other.

One of the things I continuously realize since I started my walking regimen is how much you miss driving through an area. I've been through Yreka a number of times going up and down I-5, and sometimes I've even driven down Main Street, which is old US-99. But walking let me look at all of the shops and see how things relate to each other. Now, I'm not going to say Yreka is all that exciting -- it's not -- but now I think I know the city just a little bit better.

Here's an example of small-town life. Around 11 PM, as I was coming back down the far side of Main Street, I needed to cross the street to get back to my hotel. I stopped at the crosswalk, and saw that there was one car coming down the far side. I was wearing dark clothes, and not in a hurry anyway, so I figured I'd let him go by. Much to my surprise, he slowed down and blinked his lights at me to wave me across. Polite, they are here.
  • Current Music
    Rumble of Air Conditioning
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