December 17th, 2010

Pointless Arrow

Reno Worldcon by Train

I expect to be driving to Renovation because I expect to be hauling a lot of gear to the convention and because Lisa and I are at least tentatively planning some post-con traveling for which we'll need the vehicle. However, it's really easy to get to Reno by train, and there are groups putting together group plans for traveling together. See this message from smarier for one of them for people coming from Seattle and Portland.

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Besides people up and down the coast connecting to the California Zephyr, people coming from the east can also take the wonderful scenic trip across the country from Chicago. (From farther east, you have to take a train to Chicago and change there.) Yes, it's not fast — two nights and three days from Chicago — but you don't (usually) have Security Theatre, porno-scanners, grope-happy TSA agents, $25/bag luggage fees, and turning up two hours early because of monster security queues. You also don't have to be tied into your seat at all times, you can get up and walk around when you choose, and you can have your electronic devices on at all times, because they're not going to interfere with the train's navigation.

The Reno Amtrak station is a mile or two from the convention center and hotels. There is a public bus route that runs down Virginia Street (the train station crosses under it), Reno's main street that goes right past the convention center. You can of course also take a taxi from the station. I wouldn't advise the walk in the summer heat, though.
Conrunner Kevin

On My Way

Looks like I can leave early. Shutting down the computer now and packing the van. Weather forecast is looking less dire than it was yesterday. Here we go!
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Conrunner Kevin

Looking In

From my point of view, the worst part of these trips is usually getting clear of the Bay Area, which I define as ending at the I-80/I-505 interchange in Vacaville. I made that piece of the trip relatively easily, and after a brief stop for coffee and a sandwich, I'll be back on the road in a few minutes heading for Sutter, and then Redding. Heavier rain ahead of me, but with luck I'll end up dodging the earlier predicted snow up to Yreka.
Conrunner Kevin

Wet is Okay...

...because it's above freezing and not snowing. It's been raining nearly continuously on me since I left Vacaville, but never very heavily. I've made my regular stop in Redding to fill the van with gas and me with coffee at the Starbucks, and to buy a small amount of groceries for my dinner when I get to Yreka, which is a couple of hours drive north of here. The weather shows plenty of moderate rain between here and there, but no snow, which is okay with me. I still have to take it easy, because north of Redding the road changes from nice flat valley driving to moderately curvy mountain freeway driving, and my van isn't really build to grip the road that well. The wax job I did on the roof seam appears to be keeping any water out of the back, though, which is good.

I stopped longer than originally planned when I got to Sutter, but I plead cookies: my mother had mixed up a big batch of cookie dough and said if I could stay a little while she'd bake some of them. I even ate a couple of them, as I'd had a nice normal 92 blood sugar reading, which is surprising given that at Vacaville I simply ate a sandwich and got back on the road, with no time to exercise. The most exercise I got was bumping along Sycamore Slough Road, which is the shortest way to Sutter from the Bay Area, but on which 20 MPH feels like my fillings will shake loose. It's only about ten miles long, though, so I guess it's probably slightly shorter in travel time.

My mom gave me the cookies, and I promise that there will even be a few left when I get to Mehama so that Lisa can have some of them. I'd offer some to travelswithkuma, but there are no salmon chips in them, just chocolate chips and fresh-cracked walnuts.
Conrunner Kevin

Yreka, Barely

I'm sure glad that I managed to get away from Fremont two hours early, because it meant I got to Yreka 90 minutes earlier than I expected. (I lost 30 minutes waiting for cookies at Sutter.) As I crossed Lake Shasta, the rain started getting heavier, and climbing higher, the large raindrops began to show ambitions of becoming sloppy snowflakes instead. By Dunsmuir it was definitely snowing. There's a long steep climb out of Dunsmuir, and I downshifted and started trying to follow the trail in the snow-covered highway up the hill. Fortunately, I didn't follow too slavishly, or else I would have ended up in the ditch the way the pickup truck I passed with a driver standing beside it. I thought of trying to stop and help, but I feared that if I stopped moving, I might not be able to get started again or worse, might start sliding back down the hill.

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My hotel room is quite familiar, as I've stayed in this exact room before. here's a picture from my previous stay. And after that slog through the snow, a soak in the hot tub sounds like a good idea to me.

The weather forecast for tomorrow morning is rain and snow, with snow at the higher elevations. I just hope it isn't enough to put chain restrictions over Siskiyou Pass or the other Southern Oregon passes tomorrow.