Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee
kevin_standlee

Lack of Progress Report

I pulled out of my parking space in Fremont on the stroke of noon. Traffic wasn't too bad -- a couple of minor slowdowns -- and I was on course for arriving at Vacaville ahead of the 2 PM scheduled arrival. Out of Vallejo, I got a call from my father-in-law. He had made contact with Lisa by radio. (I'm only a scum-class licensee and don't have the longer-range radios; just a 2m ham and CB unit. Lisa won't carry a mobile phone and hates talking to people on mobile phones for various reasons I'd rather not go into here.) He said "She's in the Delta." (I later found that he was supposed to say "Wait at Vacaville; do not continue to Dunnigan.") I got to Vacaville at 1:45 and went to one of the parking lots in the shopping center where I'd said we should meet; however, we didn't have a precise location, and the Outlet Stores at Vacaville are vast. I called Lisa on the 2m rig but got no response.

I went into a Starbucks to use the restroom and buy a coffee. Very generously, they gave me the cup of ordinary coffee on account of there hadn't been any brewed at the moment I asked. I went back out to the van, called Lisa again, got no answer, and settled in to wait for a while.

At 2:15, I was just about to give up and go on to Dunnigan when Lisa drove past in the parking lot. I thought she'd seen me, but she kept going. I called on the 2m; nothing. I tried the CB; that worked, and she circled back. Turns out there may have been something wrong with her 2m rig and she'd never heard me. She'd asked her father to tell me to stay at Vacaville, but he garbled the message. Lisa had actually arrived at Vacaville a few minutes before me, and we had been less than 100m apart, but she'd been in a different parking lot. She'd not been to that center before and didn't know where to look for me. She was quartering the parking lots and stumbled on to me.

We went to lunch at Fresh Choice, and then took a walk around the shopping center to try and burn some of the food. (It didn't work as well as I would have liked; 168 blood sugar reading one hour after eating.) We then set off north en convoy, talking on CB channel 14. Lisa got a little ways ahead but still in line of sight, and said my signal was dropping off considerably. North of the Zamora exit on I-505, she pulled off the freeway and examined wires. Turns out my two antennas were cross-wired, with the CB and 2m on each other's antennas. This doesn't work that well; they're tuned differently even though they may look the same. With a much improved signal, we set out again.

At Williams, we planned to stop for a bathroom break and for me to check my e-mail, but the coffee stop I've used the last few trips was closed and appears to have folded. So we continued a little further north to a rest area. Lisa wanted to put on warmer clothes because the heater isn't working well in her pickup, so she climbed into the back of the truck while I used the restroom. When I came back, Lisa unhappily announced that she'd dropped her keys back there and couldn't find them. It took quite a while to unload things from the pickup before the keys were recovered.

By now it was 5:45, considerably later than we'd planned for where we were. As we headed up the highway, I pointed out that it was about 250 miles to Central Point, Oregon, and at this rate it could easily be after midnight before we got there. I suggested that we cancel the reservation before it became chargeable at 6 PM. We were, unfortunately, on one of those long stretches of I-5 with no exits, so I was working on calling Holiday Inn while we continued up the highway. Fortunately a minor exit appeared, and we pulled off the road.

I managed to cancel the Central Point reservation with 2 minutes to spare. I asked about other Holiday Inn chain hotels in the Redding Area. The only one is the main Holiday Inn. I know that one; it's next to the Red Lion where the last Fantasticon was held. There was also a Holiday Inn Express that was $30/night cheaper in Corning. Unfortunately, there's a big gap north of Redding ever since Weed's HIX changed affiliation, and the next one north of there is Ashland. I decided to stop early at Corning, and made the reservation. We got moving again, and shortly were in in Corning, where we also refueled before checking in to the hotel.

Lisa is unimpressed with this particular HIX. It's the first one we've been in that doesn't have a refrigerator and microwave oven. The vanity is arranged in such a way that someone standing at the sink will get clobbered if someone opens the main room door (not so good if one of us goes away on an errand). There is no place in the shower/toilet room to put anything, and you get to drag the bathmat out of the bathroom to the sink after you've showered to complete your toilet. It's a big room, though, at least as large as a San Jose Doubletree double-queen, with a sofa and work desk and a wired internet connection. (I prefer wired over wireless when I can get it, and carry a roll of cable for that purpose.)

Thinking about hotel rooms, Lisa waxed enthusiastic about the room at the Ramada Inn Tonopah Station by comparison. She showed me pictures she's taken. And it's cheaper, too; $60/night instead of $90, and it has more hotel rooms. Location, location, location.

So the upshot is that we are 200 miles south of where we meant to be. Still, it's only about 450 miles to Mehama from here, and the weather is supposed to be good, so we should be okay.
Tags: lisa, travel
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