December 1st, 2019

SMOF License

Winter Road Trip Day 5: Loscon to Rancho Mirage (With a Museum Detour)

We checked out of the LAX Marriott this morning and after spending a couple of hours sitting at the Westercon 74 Tonopah table, disassembled the displays, moved everything back out to the Astro, and set off for SMOFCon. Including the two memberships that Lisa Deutsch Harrigan sold for us from the adjacent CostumeCon 39 table, we added a total of nineteen more members to Westercon 74 at Loscon 46.

Our route for today had a bit of a dogleg in it as we made a side trip to the Western Museum of Flight in Torrance, a bit south of LAX.

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One of the museum volunteers offered to escort us over to the back lot. This required us to follow them in convoy through a secured gate, as the museum and the back lot are on the grounds of an active airport.

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Having had only a light breakfast at the hotel, by the time we left the museum, we were hungry. As it happens, there was a Black Bear Diner just a short distance away.

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After lunch, we set off for tonight's goal, the Rancho Mirage Holiday Inn Express. Lisa drove while I navigated. If you look at the map, you'll see that we accidentally swung north on I-215 from CA-91 rather than more directly east on CA-60. This turned out to be less than five miles longer, but it cost extra time as there were several slowdowns on this route we could have avoided if I hadn't briefly dozed off just before the CA-91/CA-60/I-215 interchange and let Lisa miss the exit. (Lisa was too busy dodging maniacs on the freeway and left the navigation to me.)

IHG upgraded me to Spire (the high end of their affinity program) just before this trip, and it has already paid off, as they upgraded us to a decent suite with a separate living room and bedroom. There's no full closable door between the two, but it's not one of those semi-suites with a little half-wall divider that makes the room worse, not better, by taking up floor space. I have a decent sized desk in the parlor with room to open up both my computers (I need two for the Day Jobbe for technical reasons) and where I can work without disturbing Lisa. That's good because my day starts at 0530 Pacific Time and I'd like to let her get some sleep while I work. And it's significantly nicer than the hopeless arrangement of the LAX Marriott's rooms. (Much of the discussion at the parties this past weekend was over how much the hotel's remodel has ruined the usability of the rooms in many ways, with the claim that customer surveys say that people really don't want desks, tables, or anywhere to store their stuff when they stay in hotels.)

For the rest of this trip, the plan is for me to work four hours each weekday before we move on (with one exception I'll detail later in the trip). While today's trip was only about 150 miles, tomorrow will be a long one, about which I will write when we get to Cottonwood, Arizona. However, now I must get some sleep before shifting back to the Day Jobbe schedule at a 0440 PT alarm.