kevin_standlee: (SMOF License)
I'm not counting the days spent in Tempe at Westercon toward the count of days on the road trip, so this was Day 4 on the road. We're on our way home, but it will take longer than on the way out because I need to be work at the Day Jobbe for the next three days in order to save vacation needed for other trips.

Our goal was to be out of the hotel and on the road by Noon today. It took a few minutes longer than that, and we had our first stop only a short distance away, where we had lunch at Waffle House. I indulged myself considerably, primarily because I know it will be a long time before I get another chance.

Our planned line of march was along US-60 to Wickenburg, then north on US-93 to Kingman. Somehow, shortly after we got off I-17 onto US-60, we missed a turn and ended up way off course, although we got back on the beam at AZ-101. We should have taken that right turn at Peoria, I guess.

It was very hot. The minvan's air conditioning, when we could use it (that is, when the engine temperature didn't go too high) could blunt the edge of the heat but could not keep it totally at bay. On the other hand, as we went higher and further north, things got slightly better.

Nowhere Van )

We checked into the hotel and got the latest checkout I could get with my Spire class membership (1 PM), which I hope will be sufficient. I did a bit of work earlier in the week while I was nominally on vacation, which I hope I can offset sufficiently so I can work from the room tomorrow until 1 PM, after which we will drive to Las Vegas. That should be a relatively easy trip as it's only about 100 miles.

I'm pleased to find that this HIX has wired internet access, and glad I brought my small router. After a bit of fuss to get it connected, I tested speeds. While nowhere near the 999 mbps we once got at the Pallazo (one of the only good reasons I could think of for staying there, actually), it was still twice the speed of their wireless connection.

Now I need to start winding myself back onto my Central Time-based Day Jobbe schedule.
kevin_standlee: (SMOF License)
Today's route of travel was a mere 361 miles according to Google Maps, and we got away from Williams an hour earlier than planned, despite the passenger door continuing to balk at unlocking in the cold.

Following Historic Route 66 )

Before leaving Williams, though, we made a brief stop at the Grand Canyon Railway.

A few shots of the GCR )

After taking the train pictures, we got onto I-40 and headed east, with our usual stops at least once an hour or two. I drove us to Winslow, where we sought out the Standin' on the Corner Park based on the song "Take it Easy."

It's a Bear, my Lord, on a Bright Red Ford )

Click through any of the photos above for more shots of the park. We did indeed spend some money traveling through Winslow, so the park did have some of its intended purpose. Lisa drove from Winslow to Gallup, allowing me to take a few pictures of interesting scenery as we passed through Northern Arizona.

I-40 and Geology... and Dill Pickles... and Drill Bits )

Around 4:30 PM, as the light was fading but before the sun actually set, we arrived at the Hyatt Place Hotel Albuquerque Airport. We'll be here for two nights, cashing in points that I earned mostly from Westercon 58, clear back in 2005 in Calgary, from hotel stays during the planning of the event and during the convention itself. [ETA: Per comments below, apparently not. Now I don't know where those points were earned.] I don't recall ever using Hyatt points on any hotel at all before, except for a planned stay on the way home from Nippon 2007 that we canceled (and recovered the points), and I'm sort of lucky to even have the points recovered and usable at a time and place that's valuable for me.

Our Mini-Suite )

After we got our luggage moved in for our two-night stay here, we headed over to the Waffle House for dinner. Low tastes, I know, but we like Waffle House. We then did a small drive around parts of Albuquerque that Lisa knew well from her college days here.

Tomorrow, I work remotely from here while Lisa goes and visits friends.
kevin_standlee: (Wig Wag)
I've taken advantage of having enough time to sit still and of the good bandwidth at the Venetian to post more photos. The photos from Kingman, Arizona are now online. There's actually a bunch more stuff posted as well if you want to go scrolling back through the photostream, but I don't have time to write about it.
kevin_standlee: (SMOF License)
We got out of Tempe right on our projected schedule at 10 AM, but kept making more stops than I originally expected, and this turned into a very long day.

The Scenic Route )

Tomorrow we don't have to be up early, and I'm not going to turn on my alarm. We have errands to do, and unfortunately I have Day Jobbe stuff that must be done. I'd do it tonight, but I'm wiped out.

Most e-mail and LJ messages are getting no action. I have insufficient time and energy to post photos of the train museum and of Kingman that I took and of this huge hotel room that Lisa took. The big comfy bed is calling me.
kevin_standlee: (SMOF License)
Today we drove from Tucson AZ to Tempe AZ, covering merely 128 miles. But that's because it was Museum Day.

Planes, Trains, and Space Capsules )

Having had our fill of museums and knowing that we still had miles to cover, we hit the road for Tempe. This drive had more excitement than I wanted. First a minivan and then a big-rig almost sideswiped us. Then, as we were getting ready to leave a rest stop, my phone went off with the emergency alert signal warning of dust storms in the area. Fortunately, those weren't as bad as feared. There was intermittent and sometimes heavy rain coming in to Tempe, but not too awful.

After moving in to the hotel and getting some stuff done, we headed to downtown to eat at the restaurant we enjoyed so much during the last Phoenix-area Westercon, My Big Fat Greek Restaurant. Their menu appears to have changed a bit since we were last here, but we were able to get what we wanted and we liked it. This is the sort of long-term economic impact that is impossible to measure when a convention comes to town: long-term repeat business, even from people who aren't local to the convention.

I have more I'd like to write and more photos I'd like to post, but I'm very tired and need more sleep. We're off to Las Vegas tomorrow for two nights at the Venetian before we head home. Unfortunately, I have at least four hours of Day Jobbery to get done while I'm in Las Vegas so that it is on the desired desk by Monday morning, and that means the stay might not be as restful as I would like.
kevin_standlee: (SMOF License)
When we were packing the van back in Fernley, I saw Lisa put one of our umbrellas in the back. "Why are you packing that?" I asked.

"Because we might need it," she said. I laughed. This would come back to haunt me later.

I should have taken heed to the warning of this morning's weather at Williams, as it was raining as we packed the van to set off east. At times the rain was so heavy that the wipers wouldn't clear the window even at high. And while it let off later, it was cloudy through most of our drive across Arizona and New Mexico.

We got away early, which was good because the scheduler doesn't realize that Arizona is effectively in a different time zone. And we did keep making lots of stops, both because our respective metabolisms require it and because there were things we wanted to look at.

Here It Is! )

On to New Mexico )

As we were still at least two hours ahead of our revised projections to Albuquerque, Lisa asked if we could stop in Grants (where we were originally scheduled to stop tonight) and have a look at the New Mexico Mining Museum. Unfortunately, it's closed on Sundays, so we had to content ourselves with walking around the grounds. My diabetes blood sugar after lunch indicated that a walk was a good idea anyway.

Watch Out For That Drill, Kuma! )

Around 5 PM, still comfortably ahead of our schedule (we still ended up losing 15 minutes against projections even with all the padding), 370 miles and 9 hours after we started today, (and 1,020 miles from Fernley) we pulled in to the Holiday Inn Express. Here my Platinum status actually worked and they upgraded us to a mini-suite. Furthermore, this must be a "first generation" HIX, as it had wired as well as wireless internet; therefore, It only took a few minutes to upload the photos and video I took today, as opposed to the wi-fi at Wiliams where the photos took more than an hour to struggle through the hotel network.

After getting the photos into my computer and the upload started, we took the camera back to the van and stowed it, then walked a couple of blocks to dinner. A light rain started to fall. By the time we were finished eating, it was a moderate to heavy rain. Lisa looked at me significantly. Despite having been warned multiple times and despite having been at the van before we walked to dinner, I hadn't brought the umbrella with me. Fortunately, it wasn't too far, and we didn't get too awful wet. Lisa improvised a rain hat for [livejournal.com profile] travelswithkuma, who does not like getting wet.

Boom Tonight )

Tomorrow morning, we'll be meeting an old friend of Lisa's for breakfast at a restaurant over by the train station before detouring north to Santa Fe to take care of some business with her late father's estate. While this does take us about 50 miles out of our way, we will then be able to take the shortcut (US-285) to Cline's Corners on our way to Roswell, our target for Monday night. Because we pushed harder the previous two days, we have less distance to travel tomorrow, and therefore I get an extra hour of sleep tonight. And I need it.
kevin_standlee: (SMOF License)
We got away from Tonopah about 8 AM, after deciding that we could make due with food bars and drinks on the go for breakfast. This put us automatically two hours ahead of the projected schedule because I've been using a default 10 AM start time.

Rant about Microsoft MapPoint )

South of Tonopah, Lisa determined that she needed something out of the back of the van, so we pulled off and stopped in Goldfield. As we started to leave, Lisa caught sight of an oddity, and had us circle round the block to see it. I got out the camera because I wouldn't have believed it myself otherwise.

Who put THAT there? )

Highway 95 is a very fast drive, but it's a long way to Las Vegas. Some of the scenery is impressive. There's a whole lot of geology going on here. In some places, Joshua Trees dot the landscape, giving things a sort of alien-world look to them. I observed that this was very interesting to see from an air-conditioned van going at highway speed on good roads, but I shudder at what it was like for the people who hoofed it through this desolate landscape.

Revised Travel Plans )

After traversing the Nevada waste, we got a surprising thunderstorm dumped on it as we approached Las Vegas. As we will be staying there for two nights on the way back, we decided to merely get gas and food passing through Henderson and to otherwise skip Vegas. We stopped at an In-N-Out and got burgers to go. Walking back to the van, I said, "It's humid! It's never humid in Vegas!" Two of the last three times Lisa and I have been here, it has rained. (The third was Westercon, when instead it was blast-furnace hot.) I drove the next leg while Lisa ate her lunch. She finished as we approached Railroad Pass on US-93, and I looked for a place to pull over so we could switch places and I could have my lunch.

Trains On Railroad Pass )

Crossing into Arizona meant entering the Mountain time zone, but because Arizona doesn't observe Daylight Savings Time, we didn't have to change our watches yet.

On to Williams )

After dawdling at Williams Depot, we headed for the hotel. To our annoyance, we realized that instead of a Holiday Inn Express, Williams has an ordinary Holiday Inn. This means, in effect, that we get to pay $20/night more for less service. For instance, breakfast is not included, and there's no elevator at this two-story property, so once again I had a lot of luggage to hump up the stairs. But it was the best we could do; I checked later and there weren't any other HI properties past Flagstaff that we could have comfortably reached. And the internet works, after a fashion. I was able to cancel our reservation at Grants and book a new reservation in Albuquerque. The extra distance we did today (150 miles more than originally planned) means we should be able to get our errand in Santa Fe done on Monday and still make it to Roswell at our originally schedule time.

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