August 30th, 2008

Pointless Arrow

To the Trains

We had previously arranged to go visit my mother and grandfather this weekend. My eyes are slowly re-converging, which is a relief; however, Cheryl is still doing the driving, for which I'm grateful. To reduce the amount of driving she has to do (cutting roughly 200 miles off the driving portion, and eliminating all of the crowded Bay Area freeways), instead of us driving the entire distance up to the Yuba City area, we're going to take the train to Sacramento and rent a car from there. This is going to be a slightly new experience. Hertz Local Edition lists the Sacramento Amtrak station as a valid rental point, but you have to call them and have them come pick you up, and you also can't return the car directly to the station, but must instead take it to the HLE office and have them take you back to the station. On my last trip through that station, I noticed the phone with the direct line to the HLE office, so I reckon that won't be so bad. That office is also open on Sunday. We do have a slightly constrained schedule, in that we must return the rental car by the same time on Sunday that we rent it today or else we'll be charged for an extra day.

With that time constraint in place, we decided to take the 10 AM train rather than that 8 AM train out of Centerville, even though that means we won't get up to my mother's place until later in the afternoon. If it weren't for the 24-hour limit on the car, we probably would have aimed for the earlier train this morning and a later train coming back, for a roughly 30-hour cycle, but it's not worth another $40 for six more hours of car rental.

It's still a relatively quiet Labor Day Weekend, something I'm not at all used to. But given my eye and balance problems, I'm just as happy to not be in the middle of a Worldcon right now.

Edit, 8:45: Modified to include the specific reduction in driving. In case it isn't obvious, I'm very grateful for Cheryl's help here, and I've also wanted to try out this train-rental car thing anyway, so this is a good opportunity on a weekend when, for a change, we are not under a whole lot of pressure.

A Day With the Folks

The train trip to Sacramento was pretty uneventful. We were twenty minutes late because the drawbridge at Benicia had to open to let not one, but two ships pass while we were approaching Martinez, and marine traffic has the right of way. The train was pretty much full up, with nearly no available seats. We'd secured one of the four-seat tables when we boarded at Fremont/Centerville so that Cheryl could work, but at Richmond we had to put our extra stuff away and make room for others to sit at our table. My eye still won't focus sufficient when we're moving for me to enjoy reading, so I just sat listening to the railroad radio and enjoying the view and trying to find my focus, literally.

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After a nice long visit, Mom headed home and we decamped to our usual haunt when in Yuba City, the Holiday Inn Express. As I've mentioned, this hotel doesn't have any suites, or else I would have possibly had an upgrade, but the rooms are as spacious as the mini-suites in some hotels in which I've stayed. It's a fine, warm evening here in California's Central Valley, and assuming the pool doesn't have too many screaming children in it, we're going to go take advantage of it. I spent two weeks in hotels going to and from Denver and never had sufficient time to relax and use the pool facilities, so tonight we relax.