Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

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Greetings from Ashland

I fairly flew up I-5, so even stopping a couple more times (as I'm wont to do), I got to Ashland only a little bit later than I'd originally planned. After refueling the van (about 3.5 gallons left in the tank, which is cutting things a bit fine -- the gauge was on empty -- but gas is more than 30 cents/gallon cheaper in Ashland than in Weed, which was the most-likely spot before here), I pulled into the parking lot of the Holiday Inn Express at 9:40 PM, 8:35 after leaving Fremont, 377 miles ago, for an average speed of just under 45 miles per hour, which is astounding considering that I stopped five times along the way, once for an hour to have lunch.

(Stops were: (1) San Pablo at the Home Depot because I knew they had a restroom and I wanted to buy some plastic sheeting to cover the luggage in the back of the van if it starts to rain because I'm getting rain coming through that seal in the rear door. (2) Vacaville Fresh Choice for lunch, including a 1 km walk afterward, although it wasn't enough. (3) Williams Java Stop, as I wrote earlier. (4) Lakehead rest area above Lake Shasta. (5) South Weed Shell (right next to the hotel where I'll be staying on the return trip) to change CDs, something that seemed dangerous to attempt on a slightly wet freeway in the dark at 70 MPH.)

I don't have a CD player in my van, but a cassette player. However, thanks to Cheryl, I have a gadget that pretends to be a cassette tape and allows me to run the audio from my computer to the van's stereo system. I listened to four Goon Show episodes during the trip, among other things.

The van sounds slightly different after the work on it -- and by different I mean "better." I may be imagining it, but it even seemed to have more power, which seems odd to me. But the van does have plenty of power. I was able to crest Siskyou Summit barely breaking stride. In fact, I took it slower going down than going up. Going up I had plenty of control over the speed -- just let off the gas and you slow down really quickly. Going down the grade into Ashland is another matter. I don't think I touched the gas pedal for maybe six miles heading down the hill, and I don't mean because the cruise control was set. I only touched the brakes a couple of times, too, because I don't like braking on a wet road that might be unexpectedly icy. Instead, I kept shifting between OD and D (4th and 3rd ranges on the automatic transmission), and that seemed to keep my speed down to what I considered a safe 55 MPH.

I made a tactical error after checking in to the room. Instead of fussing around with the computer to make sure it would connect, I should have immediately hied myself over the road to the combined KFW/A&W and picked up something for dinner. As it was, by the time I got myself together, it was after 10 PM and they had closed. There are probably places within a drive of here that are open all night, but I did not want to drive any more tonight, so instead I walked back down to the gas station where I'd fueled up earlier and picked up some things that are bad for me but can be heated in the room's microwave oven or filled with hot water from the tap in the hotel's breakfast-bar area.

They have wireless internet here, not wired, but the connection speed is pretty slow. I tried to dial in tonight's Super 14 rugby match, but the connection speed is just too slow to stream the game. No matter: I have one of the other games from overnight downloaded and will watch it over dinner before turning in.

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