July 17th, 2014

Pointless Arrow

On to Detroit

Our train to Detroit left Chicago right on the advertised, but unfortunately a combination of conflicting freight train movements, ship movements (open drawbridges), and track work caused extensive delays, and we didn't get to Detroit until around 11 PM. It also took a while for a taxi to arrive because we were the last people off the train and everyone ahead of us scarfed up all of the available taxis. A friendly cabbie showed us what he thinks is the best way to get between the Crowne Plaza (where we are staying) and the Marriott (where NASFiC is happening).

The unexpected thing about a high-end hotel like the Crowne Plaza is that apparently most of the hotel rooms here have only showers, without bathtubs. Lisa really wants a bathtub. The first room we had didn't have a bathtub. We went downstairs and they tried again. The room they gave us was nicer, being a small suite with a separate living room, but still has only a tiny shower-only bathroom. After discussing our options with the hotel, Lisa said that she'd tough it out in exchange for having the otherwise nicer room.

On the bright side, my Platinum status gives us free breakfast. There is also what is described as a 24/7 Refreshment Lounge, but it was locked up and dark when we had a look after checking in close to midnight. We also don't know downtown Detroit, and unlike downtown Chicago, it doesn't look like there are convenient 24-hour places where we could go get something tonight. We'll do some exploring tomorrow, inasmuch as the convention doesn't get going until later in the afternoon. And that is good because we're tired from travel and need to get some sleep, albeit that we need to be up early enough to get the included breakfast.
SMOF License

Good Auto Repair News

This afternoon while Lisa and I were walking around Detcon 1, I got a phone call from my regular mechanic in Fremont with the diagnosis on the engine problem with the Astro. We went in worrying that it might be a valve problem or a clogged fuel injector, the word was much better news: One of the spark plug wires had come off. This is of course an easy fix. (It's harder on the Astro than some vehicles because you have to pull off the "dog house" cover inside the van to get at the spark plugs.) My mechanic will store my van on his back lot until the day we come back to the Bay Area; we'll pick it up late when we get back; then we'll come back that next afternoon to pay for it and retrieve the spare set of keys I left with it. We definitely dodged a mechanical bullet this time.
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