Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee
kevin_standlee

Making Time

I used Microsoft MapPoint to plot out this trip to Oregon, not because I don't know the way -- I've driven it many times -- but because I wanted to see how close its predictions were to actual. I told it the start and end points, adjusted it to force it down a couple of routes I would prefer, and set all of the speeds to the low end of the allowed range. The previous version of MapPoint let you actually set the speeds, but now it just shows a slider with low-average-high. I told it where I was stopping for the night, and that I wanted a 15-minute break ever 1h 30m. (This is an unfortunate requirement due to the diuretics I take for high blood pressure. I've visited every rest area between the Bay Area and Portland, and am very grateful to the Niles Canyon Railway for having open toilets even on a non-operating day today.) Then I told it to plot the route.

It decided that it was 387 miles from Fremont to Central Point, and that it should take 8h 20m, for an average speed of about 47 miles per hour.

Now, there was no appointment waiting for me at 8:20 PM, nor would I lose my hotel reservation, but I did not want to arrive too late because I prefer to spend part of the evening relaxing, rather than just having to fall into bed. So I set out intending to try and stay on schedule, although the minor late start and a ten-minute train-watching delay put me behind the gun from the start. And I stayed there, despite a lot of excessive speed on the open freeway.

I didn't stop exactly where the program predicted I would, primarily because I ended up making several stops closer together and then made up for it by skipping the last stop and folding the fuel stop into the final stop by putting off refueling until Exit 33, where the hotel is. In the end, I arrived at 8:40, only twenty minutes later than the plan called for, which means that had I left on time and not stopped to look at trains, I probably would have been exactly on schedule. But in order to do that, I had to spend a lot of time blasting up I-5 at 75 MPH, something that can't be good for my blood pressure. I've learned that I feel a lot more relaxed driving 55 than 75-plus, even out on the open stretches of I-5 where 75 doesn't seem so fast.

I'd really rather stop about halfway, but there are no Holiday Inn Express hotels in the Dunsmuir-to-Yreka stretch of highway, and I find myself slaving to my frequent-stay program and the Gold incentives I'm earning. (Some of these will probably be cashed in this summer to/from Denvention. Heck, I probably will end up earning enough to keep Gold status for another year, thanks to yet another Worldcon stay in an IC-hotels group property.) I'm now 3/5 of the way to Mehama, and there's no pressure tomorrow -- Lisa does not expect me until late afternoon/early evening -- so I can take it relatively easy. The hotel information says that the Bear Creek Trail is adjacent to the hotel, and that suggests a nice walking opportunity Saturday morning.
Tags: travel
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