Because of having to run a small errand, I got away from Fremont about 25 minutes later than I'd planned. I had a hard intermediate deadline, which was stopping at a particular food store in Mount Shasta City that is the only place Lisa and I know of that stocks a particular brand of canned tuna she likes. I had them closing at 7 PM -- it turned out to actually be 7:30 -- so I needed to make up time, because my projected travel plan I made yesterday showed me arriving with only fifteen minutes to spare.
As usual, the first two hours -- driving to Vacaville -- were the worst. Even though it was before 2 PM, traffic from Cordelia Junction in Fairfield to Nut Tree Parkway in Vacaville was slow, running from near-stop to maybe 45 MPH in spots. I'd originally budgeted an hour for lunch at Fresh Choice in Vacaville, which was to include a short walk after eating, but as I was running behind, I had to skip the walk. I didn't really gain a lot of time against my plan because I'd lost so much time in the heavy traffic.
Getting out onto I-505 meant I was clear of Bay Area traffic, but there was still a lot of vehicles on the road. Nevertheless, I made excellent progress, and by skipping one scheduled ten-minute rest break, I gained still more time. And when I did stop, I tested my blood sugar; while 140 isn't great, it's much better than I would have expected after no post-lunch walk.
Driving up I-505 and 5 was no fun at all. There was a pretty good wind whipping around, and there were times when I was being pushed all over the road. It must have been much worse for the big rigs.
By the time I got to Redding, I had made up the initial deficit and was running slightly ahead of time. Here I had scheduled a stop for gas. I definitely paid a price for putting the hammer down -- mileage dropped to a miserable 14 MPG, the worst reading I've had in ages. (The van normally runs about 17-20 MPG.) We'll see if that holds or if it's a one-tank oddity caused by an underfill on the previous tank.
I made it to Mt. Shasta City around 30 minutes ahead of schedule, but lost some time as I spent more time here than originally budgeted. They had lots of cans of the tuna in stock, however, and I bought six of them, leaving four. When the clerk remarked on how many cans of tuna I was buying, I explained the errand. The clerk said, "I think I know who you're talking about."
I asked, "Tall, blonde woman, fairly thin?" He nodded. "Yes, that's her," I confirmed. "And if this is the correct flavor that she wanted, I'll end up buying the rest of your stock when I come the other way next weekend."
In the end, I arrived at the Candlewood suites at 8:55 PM, about ten minutes before my projected plan said, but the only way to maintain the average speed the computer suggested was to schedule extra breaks and not take them, and to drive at 70-75 MPH on the open freeway. This isn't so bad on I-505, but not at all easy or recommended on the portions of the freeway in the mountains. I'm going to have to start scheduling in longer "padding breaks" into my trip plans. I wish I could set the average speed lower in the program, but it's at the minimum values as it stands now.
Not knowing this hotel, I figured I'd better get here as soon as I could. Their front desk closes at 11 PM, but unlike the Extended StayAmerica hotels, where I once nearly got locked out because of a delayed flight, they have a mechanism for late self-check-in. Moving my stuff into the room, I got out my computer. I only then realized that I'd left my ethernet cable at home; fortunately, they also have wireless internet here, and there are more cables at Lisa's father's house by which I can connect to his home network.
After getting things initially squared away, I headed back to the freeway, which is where stores and restaurants are. There was an Albertson's grocery store near the freeway, so I went in and bought some milk and a microwave dinner. I'd previously packed a box of Glucerna cereal for use this coming week, and having access to a full room with bowls and utensils meant that I didn't have to worry about the fact that the hotel doesn't provide breakfast. I went back to the room, heated up and ate my dinner, and answered my e-mail.
I'll be staying here again on the trip south next Saturday. I like it. It's good value.