July 7th, 2008

Kevin and Lisa

Barstow

Had we realized just how incredibly bad the traffic was going to be south out of Las Vegas, we would have either spent the extra night at the Marriott (despite the price) and headed out early in the morning, or else we would have stayed at an inexpensive hotel like Whiskey Pete's at Primm on the Nevada-California border. Shortly after entering California, we encountered heavy traffic, sometimes slowing to a complete halt. With brief breaks, it was like that clear down to I-40 in Barstow. It took us roughly six hours to get from Las Vegas to Barstow, including short stops at Primm and Baker.

This Holiday Inn Express in Barstow is almost certainly another old Holiday Inn conversion, and it shows. I think it's about the size of the walk-in closet at the Marriott back in Vegas. Lisa says it reminds her of the Japanese hotel rooms in which we stayed last year, except Japanese rooms have bathtubs, which is more than we can say for this room, which has only a shower stall. On the brighter side, there's a major railroad switch yard just out back of the hotel; however, the sounds do not actually make it into our room unless we open the windows, which is not a good idea as it's pretty warm here even at 1 AM.

Westercon was fun, our shows went very well, and I'll write more later after I get home, probably in back-dated entries that I'll mention when I post them. I'd write more now, but I'm beat.
Kevin and Lisa

Off Again

We simply had to sleep in this morning. It helps that this particular Holiday Inn Express serves their included breakfast until 10 AM rather than the more typical 9 AM. That's about the only good thing I can say about this hotel, actually, except that unlike the horrible one in Moreno Valley, the internet access here works.

Today, however, we probably do have a little bit of time to stop and look at things like railroads should we get the idea of doing so.
Wig Wag

Train Chasing

As we headed west from Barstow along CA-58, we spent time chasing and being chased by a BNSF freight train. While we stopped for a break in Mojave (about which more in a different post), the train caught up with us and headed through Mojave yard working toward Tehachapi. I happened to have the camera handy as it went by.



Although this train was really rolling on the flatlands east of Mojave, the climb up to Tehachapi is severe, and we soon left it behind as we drove that direction ourselves on the parallel highway. Despite our diversions and choice of the slow road, we never saw another train on the Tehachapi line the rest of the day. We couldn't afford to wait an hour or two for this freight to make its way up to the Loop.
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Kevin and Lisa

No Cute Bunny Photos

We were so late getting away this morning, and were detained at enough places and made such slow progress that we didn't get to Santa Nella until 7 PM. With the amount of time it would take to get to my office, Lisa wouldn't be able to get out of the Bay Area (i.e. reach Dunnigan on I-5, where she could stop for the night) until well after Midnight. We decided to give up and stop here at Santa Nella. I can dial in to a conference call I have to be in tomorrow morning, then drive to my office and take another call I have tomorrow afternoon, and Lisa will be able to leave from the Bay Area mid-day, in relatively light traffic, and get far north tomorrow evening. I'll just work late tomorrow evening to make the books balance.

After having dinner at Pea Soup Andersen's, we walked down the street to the Holiday Inn Express. As we walked down the street, on a little patch of grass in front of a truck stop, we saw a cute little rabbit nibbling at the grass. He noticed us, but didn't run off as long as we kept our distance. We confirmed that the hotel had a room. I wish we'd done so before eating because they were handing out 10% off coupons at the hotel check-in. Anyway, we walked back to the restaurant and got the van. Turning in on the street where the hotel is, we saw that there were lots of cute bunnies running around the area. But we didn't take any pictures. We're too tired.