Should've Paid Closer Attention
I'd forgotten the scheduled I'd made up for myself before the trip, and somehow was thinking it had a Noon departure from Atascadero (which meant I'd shoot for 11) and that it was really 11 AM. Consequently, I ended up leaving close to an hour later than I'd originally planned, and the hope of avoiding heavy commute period traffic evaporated, even though we skipped the planned lunch break to make up an hour.
At Oxnard, we stopped for fuel. Lisa was on the watch for a welding-supply store, because her sunglasses are actually wraparound welding safety glasses, and she'd scratched them and wanted to get a set of replacement lenses. As we headed out of Oxnard on the highway paralleling the railroad tracks, she said, "It feels like there should be a welding-supply store right around here" just as we rounded a curve and I called out, "There it is!" and turned off quickly. Unfortunately, they didn't stock the lenses in her glasses, but it was still amusing that she'd called it so closely.
Not surprisingly, the traffic got quite heavy as we got closer to Los Angeles. There was stop-and-go at various spots, especially at the major interchanges with I-405 and I-5. Things brightened up somewhat because a carpool lane appeared, and we counted. OTOH, I'm not terribly comfortable driving at 65 with the three lanes to my right all but stopped. In theory, cars aren't supposed to change into the HOV lane except at designated spots, but I saw cars illegally crossing the double-yellow line. But even holding 65 wasn't good enough for the cars behind me in the lane, which clearly planned on driving 80-plus if possible and let me have it on the horn. In any event, the HOV lane almost certainly saved us at least an hour's drive time across the last twenty miles or so.
Lisa wielded the map and navigated us to the Hilton. It helped that we'd come here last year after Worldcon to have a look at the site. The bellmen helpfully brought two carts to haul the huge amount of stuff we had. I gave Lisa $10 to give the bellmen while I parked the minivan in the garage. As I walked away from the van, I realized that I'd locked the keys in it! And neither I nor Lisa had remembered to bring a set of spare van keys with us. I did have a plastic "wallet key," but it didn't want to work in either the passenger or driver's-side doors. Fortunately, it worked on the rear door, which allowed me to crawl in and open the side door, which got me to the passenger door, and all was well.
By the time I got back to the room, Lisa was well along with unpacking. I got the computer running, and agreed to the $10/day internet charge (sigh). But now we must go get something to eat, as it is Very Bad for me to skip meals like that. At least we have no tasks for tonight, and that's why we made our plans to arrive the night before the convention. Current Mood: hungry