Home

May. 21st, 2017 07:22 pm
kevin_standlee: (Fernley House)
After the SJ Giants game last night, I considered trying to drive part way home but decided to go to my usual location for the night and leave from there, mainly because I have not scouted out any locations between Sunnyvale and Yuba City where I can lay up for the night.

(Before any well-meaning person says, "Just part at any Wal-Mart," be aware that while many Wal-Mart locations (including Yuba City) are tolerant of overnight "dry camping" of RVs, not all of them are, and those in larger cities are much less likely to be tolerant of it. It's store by store. Tracy or Stockton would be convenient, but a cursory check of some resources shows that they're not friendly, either by store policy or local ordinances. I don't like being rousted. It's happened twice to me, and it's very unpleasant.)

Anyway, I woke up at 5 AM on my own, and did not rush getting up for a change. I stopped for breakfast in Tracy and continued up to Sacramento to visit my sister, then detoured to Yuba City to do errands for her there, then turned east for home. It was quite warm in the Sacramento Valley and didn't get comfortable until I was well into the Sierras. My MP3 player's mix of old time radio shows ran out, and so I stopped at the vista point on CA-20 to fire up my computer and pour more shows into the MP3 player. I also took the opportunity to open all of the doors and the roof vent to allow the Sierra breeze at 5000 feet to flush some of the valley heat out of the Rolling Stone.

To my annoyance, I discovered that for some reason the MP3s of Ray Gunn & Starburst are not compatible with this little slot-player. It's not the first time that I've found that not all MP3s are alike. I contributed toward the second series crowd-funding, but I still haven't listened to it.

I got home a bit after 5:30 PM and plan to fall into bed as soon as I can. It's another week of 6-to-3 days, with the added excitement of mixing more concrete in the afternoons now that winter appears to have finally left. Lisa said that there was still snow on the Pah-Rah Mountains this morning, but the afternoon, it was gone.
kevin_standlee: (Rolling Stone)
I got to sleep in a little bit on Saturday before heading over to the SFSFC board of directors meeting. After the meeting, I drove to Fremont to rendezvous with Lisa, who drove down from Fernley in the Astro. Thanks in part to some of the clocks in our house still being on standard time, Lisa got away from home later than she planned, which put us a bit behind schedule. After dropping the minivan with my mechanic, we got dinner and then set off for home in the Rolling Stone, with the usual stops at Lodi Junction to refuel and in Sacramento to visit my sister. We got home just before midnight. It was a 600 mile trip for Lisa.

Today got off to a good start with me parleying a win for the cost of my breakfast at the Wigwam Restaurant-Casino from a free-play coupon. There are things we have to do today, but none of them are terribly ambitious, which is good because neither of us feel that ambitious today.

Stuck On

Mar. 13th, 2017 08:40 am
kevin_standlee: (Rolling Stone)
This morning, after a pretty good night's sleep on board the Rolling Stone (a 300 mile drive after getting up much too early, exacerbated by the daylight-savings time change, made sleeping easy), I drove to the office, where I was horrified to discover that I could not turn the RV off. The key was stuck in the on position. It would move the other way, but not to the off position.

I struggled with the key for a while, but I didn't want to break the key or the ignition switch. Now is the time I sort of wished that I still had the gas tank issue. With one empty tank, I could have killed the engine by swapping to the empty tank, which isn't really a fix for the underlying issue but at least would have stopped the engine.

After a while, as I was getting increasingly worried, I finally stumbled onto the problem. The tilt-wheel mechanism. I shifted the angle of the wheel, and the key released. Whew!

Good to Go

Mar. 11th, 2017 09:42 pm
kevin_standlee: (Rolling Stone)
We refueled the RV today. I wish we had done so when I got back a month ago — gas has gone up 30 cents/gallon since then. The batteries have been charged, and Lisa vacuumed this afternoon. Tomorrow morning, I get up at an absurdly early hour (compounded by the DST change tonight) and drive to the Bay Area for a week down there.

I'll be making fewer Bay Area trips thanks to recent changes at the Day Jobbe, but Lisa did say that it will be easier for her to do some work on the living room she wants to do with me gone for a week because she doesn't like disturbing my work area. If we ever get the upstairs office fully habitable, she'll get the living room back.
kevin_standlee: (Rolling Stone)
I realized today that I forgot to post the pictures I took at the Donner Summit Rest Area on my way west last Sunday.

Buried Rest Area )

This was on a sunny day some days after the previous storms had subsided sufficiently for Caltrans to do their usual excellent job of clearing the roads. I've never seen this much snow up top before. I bet the skiers are happy.
kevin_standlee: (Rolling Stone)
It's a good thing that I got nine hours of sleep on Tuesday night, because I needed it for the drive home Wednesday. Because I couldn't leave until after my cleaning and checkup at the dentist, I didn't get away until 1 PM, and thus traffic was already starting to clog up over Altamont Pass, and by the time I got to Sacramento, it was crunch time there as well. It's just as well I spent some time visiting my sister at the long-term nursing facility, because that let some of the traffic up to Roseville disperse. Once I got past there, it was pretty much clear roads to Fernley. I got home just before 10 PM. Lisa helped me unpack the Rolling Stone and I fell into bed.

On the drive up, I passed the Caltrans crews working on the mudslide on the westbound lanes of I-80 at Baxter. Westbound traffic was being diverted off I-80 onto CA-20 for the detour through Grass Valley to Auburn, but big rigs were being held at the CA-NV state line. When I entered Nevada, I saw a very long line of trucks parked on the shoulder westbound. Miles of rigs parked anywhere they could park. The shoulders aren't wide enough everywhere, but based on what I saw, the backup effectively was at least as far as Fernley, almost 50 miles west of the state line. Just before I went to bed, I saw that Caltrans had reopened the highway and was letting all traffic through. It bet it was a long slow procession as hundreds of big rigs started up and headed west.

Today we had high wind warnings again, as the storm moves toward us. It wasn't as windy as the big winds last week, but I'm still glad I didn't have to be out in it other than to bring a wheelbarrow-load of logs from the garage to the wood-box.

I'm grateful my manager let me time-shift sufficiently to come home yesterday, but these drives are getting harder on me when I can't budget recovery time. Fortunately, there's not much happening this weekend and I should be able to get some rest.
kevin_standlee: (Rolling Stone)
The storm that blew through starting yesterday managed to not do significant damage despite the high winds. (We do need to get the pole saw and go after a tree that is banging on the house in the wind, though.) Fernley had it easy by comparison. Lots of other places have been flooded. Interstate 80 was closed west of the CA-20 junction due to mudslides, forcing traffic into a long detour through Grass Valley.

The next two days are supposed to be clear. I hope Caltrans can get the roads back in repair because my plans are to go to the Bay Area this coming week, it having been two months since I last showed my face in my nominal office in Fremont. Looking at the long-range forecast, I have a feeling that it will be a two-week stint, assuming I can get through on Sunday, because I probably won't be able to come back the following weekend if the next set of storms materializes as predicted. But living out of the RV means I only have to replenish consumables, which is doable, and I generally carry a month's worth of my various medications with me for trip like this, so I should be okay. Assuming I go. I won't be able to make the call until Sunday morning, I expect.

Meanwhile, tomorrow we need to run into Reno if possible and restock the house, and get the Rolling Stone ready to roll again for the first time since early December. Among the important things is to make sure that propane furnace will light off properly. It did so when we tested it in January, but when it goes a long time between uses, air builds up in the lines and it can be reluctant to light off. While the Bay Area isn't anywhere near as frigid as Fernley, I do prefer to be able to light off the furnace when the alarm goes off and give it a few minutes to bring the inside of the RV up to a comfortable temperature before getting out from under the warm pile of blankets.
kevin_standlee: (Rolling Stone)
The flight from Chicago to San Francisco was completely full, but not so full that they could accept my offer to volunteer to be bumped. I would have welcomed it, not just because of the voucher, but because there was Day Jobbe work chasing me this morning. I tried to do some of it on the plane, but it's nearly impossible to get any work done in a modern coach seat. Even Economy Plus would not have been enough, unless I'd had an exit row.

I got back to my RV and after stopping for dinner, went to my office to dive into getting the work that people were clamoring for throughout the day done. And a couple of them were still online at 9 PM waiting for it, so it really was urgent to them. Some of this is just a timing issue because it's the first Monday after the end of the month when certain monthly reports are due.

I'd write more, but I'm very tired and I need to get back to my normal work schedule tomorrow morning. Also, I haven't unpacked yet, and keeping things packed properly in that RV is critical.
kevin_standlee: (Rolling Stone)
The decision to leave Saturday morning was the right one. Weather from Fernley to Colfax was fine and fair, and based on the updated weather forecast, I even had time to stop for breakfast at the Gold Ranch on the Nevada-California border. At Colfax, I stopped for coffee and could see the ominous clouds rolling overhead, and as I left Colfax, the heavens opened up and I was driving through nearly constant rain, sometimes very heavy, the rest of the day. However, rain I can handle (just slow down, to the dismay of the people who seem to think that rain is an excuse to speed up, but they're welcome to go around me), while snow (which resulted in chain controls being imposed not long after I passed through) is too much for me.

I stopped in Sacramento and visited my sister for a long time, with no time pressure. I'd hoped to make it to the Bay Area before dark, but it does appear that a whole lot of other people saw the same weather forecasts I did, and from Stockton to Fremont I was in nearly-continuous heavy going-home traffic. Still, I was nothing I couldn't handle.

This is my first stint in the Bay Area since the weather turned colder, and I made a typical-for-me mistake of forgetting to open the propane bottle on the RV before buttoning up for the night. The valve is outside. When driving, I keep the valve closed for safety, of course. It doesn't matter during the summer, but in the colder weather, it gets cold enough that I'd like to be able to turn on the RV's furnace for a few minutes in the morning. That's pointless when it only blows cold air. But unlike home, it's only cold, not freezing, and this morning, I simply slept in under the relatively warm blankets. Tomorrow, of course, it's back to work.
kevin_standlee: (Rolling Stone)
The weather forecasts on Friday afternoon have forced my hand. I very nearly set out last night, but with the latest forecast calling for the snow to hold off over the top until Noon Saturday, I could plug in the Rolling Stone to ground power (to make sure the batteries were fully charged), start packing yesterday afternoon, and sleep in my own bed last night. However, it's still a two-hour drive to the summit, with another hour or so before I'm out of the snow zone, so I was up just after 5 AM and will be leaving Fernley soon. At least I should have a chance to visit my sister in Sacramento without much time pressure, given that I'm a full day ahead of schedule.
kevin_standlee: (Rolling Stone)
I'm getting increasingly nervous about the weather over Thanksgiving weekend. I need to take the Rolling Stone back to the Bay Area and work down there for two weeks, with my trip to SMOFCon sandwiched into the middle weekend. However, a series of storms are coming this way, and it could be snowing over Donner Summit every day of the holiday. At the moment, the best prospects may be for me to be able to get across mid-day Saturday, much as I hate having to leave early.

On the bright side, as long as I can squeeze into the Fremont/Centerville "train users" parking lot, I should be able to get back home by taking the train back to Nevada if I can get down there in the first place.

Lisa reminds me that there's a possibility that I might have to leave the RV in the Bay Area for quite a while when I take it down this time, so I should pack accordingly. She has vacuumed it out and made sure the propane furnace will light off, and the water tank (which is full of mostly RV anti-freeze solution) has enough for my sanitary needs, so I should be okay.
kevin_standlee: (SFSFC)
Today dawned bright and sunny, and was the warmest day this week, peaking at about 18°C; I, however, saw little of it except for when I walked to the Wigwam for breakfast (and won $13 of my $14 breakfast back from the machines using free-play coupons before deciding that it was time to go). That's because today was Meeting Day. In the morning was the SFSFC Board of Directors meeting, which went very efficiently as such things go, taking less than two hours while dissolving one committee (the San José in 2018 Worldcon Bid, whose remaining affairs are folded into the separate Worldcon 76 San José Committee) and creating two new ones, including a bid to hold the 2018 SMOFCon in Santa Rosa, north of San Francisco.

After the meeting, I had a couple of hours to get all of the corporate business done (updating the SFSFC web site, generating minutes, etc.) before a meeting of the Worldcon 76 San José Executive Committee, which also took a couple of hours as we worked out initial organizational issues. I've not done a lot with WC76SJ (I'm the WSFS division manager) since Kansas City, but that's because I've been holding off making some decisions until I get a chance to talk with certain people at SMOFCon in a couple of weeks.

By the time my last meeting was over, the sunshine had gone and clouds were rolling in (it looks like it may rain tonight), but Lisa and I did have time to deal with some periodic maintenance on the travel trailer that is better done with two people than one. Lisa was very nice yesterday afternoon (which was also clear and not too cold) and vacuumed out the Rolling Stone as we work on preparing it for the next trip to the Bay Area.

The cold is possibly fading. The medication I'm taking is doing what it's supposed to do, breaking up the chest congestion and letting me clear my lungs. I hope to be back to full strength by Thanksgiving.
kevin_standlee: (Rolling Stone)
I got away from the office a bit later than expected yesterday, and I had a couple of errands to do before I could leave. First I refueled the Rolling Stone and confirmed that it's no longer throwing gasoline overboard. (9.8 mpg isn't great, but it's better than the 3 mpg that it was getting as it hemorrhaged fuel.) Then I went to my mechanic's shop and paid for the repairs. It cost about a week's salary (after withholding), but besides the actual value of the repair, I effectively got free parking for the Eurocon trip, which can be offset against that cost.

By the time I actually got going, it was too late, and I was trapped in slow-moving traffic from Fremont to Tracy to Stockton to Lodi Junction to Sacramento. There were spots where it lightened up at times, but much of the trip was in pretty congested traffic. I visited my sister at the nursing home in Sacramento after a stop at Fry's Electronics for a minor item that's tricky to get in Reno, then detoured to the Roseville Galleria Mall where there is a Lush store that stocks my after-shave ointment. (No Lush stores in Reno.)

By the time I got to Colfax, I was seriously dragging. Since I got back from Europe, I've been going to bed around 8 PM, and it was past that time already. So I stopped at the Gold Run rest area, buttoned up the RV, and called Lisa to tell her that I wouldn't be getting home tonight. She knew that was a possibility and endorsed the decision.

The rest area was full of big rigs parking overnight as their drivers got their mandated hours-of-service rest. When I woke up about 3 AM, a full-sized RV (not a little one like mine) was taking up a bunch of the parking spaces next to me. California allows up to eight hours parking in a rest area (unlike some states that have foolish short-term parking rules), and thus I was unconcerned about my sojourn at Gold Run.

About 3 AM I woke up initially, and after an attempt to go back to sleep that failed, I concluded that I might as well head home. I stopped in Truckee for coffee (Starbucks having just opened for the morning when I got there) and at Verdi for breakfast (taking my time lingering over breakfast so the sun wouldn't be directly in my eyes when I returned to the road.

Greeted by a Flock of Quail )

I was still pretty worn out despite the five or so hours of sleep at Gold Run. Aside from a visit to Walgreen's to replace the blood glucose meter I lost at London St. Pancras and the grocery store for some immediate needs, I mostly took today off. I would have gone to bed when I got home, but I think that would have made things worse. However, I do expect to get to bed early again today. Although I had little problem making the time adjustment to Barcelona, my body clock on the return has stubbornly remained somewhere out over Northern Canada. It's vaguely helpful with my job given that I have to coordinate with people in the Central time zone, but I'm looking forward to getting back on Pacific time this coming week.

It is good to know, however, that laying up at Gold Run is a viable alternative plan for when I'm traveling between the Bay Area and home.
kevin_standlee: (Rolling Stone)
It does appear that replacing the transfer valve on the RV fixed the problem and stopped the Rolling Stone from pumping gasoline overboard instead of into the engine. I'll go pay my mechanic for the repairs today, and if I can manage to get away soon enough, will try to drive home today. However, as I'm still not completely on Pacific time, it's possible that I'll be too tired to drive home this afternoon, in which case I'll lay up at my company warehouse in Fremont and leave sometime tomorrow morning (likely quite early) when my body clock (which has been traveling west more slowly than I did) says it's time to go.

I enjoyed most of the past two weeks immensely. (I would have preferred to not lose my blood glucose meter, the cover to my luggage lock, or my ATM card, but none of these things ruined the trip.) However, I'll be glad to be home, where I get to spend two weeks sleeping in my own bed and living in my own house before getting ready for another two weeks away from home, splicing a trip to SMOFCon in early December.
kevin_standlee: (Kreegah Bundalo)
Yesterday was a very long day in many different ways. For most people in the USA, it was due to the national election results. For me it was because I spent most of it on an airplane returning from the UK after my trip to Eurocon.

By Metro, Trains, Planes, and Automobiles )

After unloading my luggage and making out the bed in the RV, I called Lisa, who I'd briefly contacted when I got to SFO, to reassure her that I was okay, albeit running a couple of hours later than I wanted to be. Then, just short of 24 hours since I'd gotten up in London, I lay down and was asleep, I think, within seconds.
kevin_standlee: (Pointless Arrow)
The bus (Centerville Amtrak station)-to-BART (Union City)-to-Amtrak (Richmond) connection worked as advertised. I'm glad I did aim one bus early, however, as the bus ran a few minutes late and I had to wait what seemed an eternity at Union City BART to use the restroom. Had I also had time pressure to make connections, I would have been much worse off. As it was, I got to Richmond with 40 minutes to wait around the platform, but that's much better than missing the train, given that there's just the one train per day.

I would of course prefer an all-rail routing, but the bus-to-BART run isn't so bad, and as long as the bus actually shows up it's okay. I continue to mull over how to make this work for me, particularly in the winter months when wrestling the Rolling Stone over Donner Summit can get dicey. Once I get the RV back in full roadable condition (meaning both fuel tanks working), I will do more investigation, including making sure that there are parking spaces at Fremont/Centerville into which the RV will fit.

Train Tales )

I finished this entry as we approached Truckee and the cell phone (and internet) signal returned. Time to button stuff back up and give Lisa a call to tell her it's time to consider driving in to Reno to collect me.
kevin_standlee: (Rolling Stone)
Leaving the RV in the Bay Area and traveling back and forth via train is actually cheaper on gasoline cost alone than driving the Rolling Stone back and forth, but it's not completely free. I had to spend $20 today to dump the holding tank at one of the few places I know in the Bay Area open to the public for such things. If I weren't planning on staying down here for two more weeks (after being at home next week), I would have waited until I was on my way home. Although the free dump station in Wadsworth has now been closed (and doesn't look to ever reopen), I can dump at the Pilot truck stop in Lodi Junction for only $7.50. Also, Lisa is working on modifications to the sewer connection for the travel trailer that will allow me to dump the RV tank at home without too much inconvenience.

This RV-living thing is much cheaper than renting a room or a hotel, but it's still not free. Nevertheless, I may well
"commute" between the Bay Area and Fernley by train several more times over the next few months, if I can sort out a place I can park it in Fremont. The Fremont/Centerville train station has parking for "train users only," but whether that applies to what I'm doing or is only intended for people using the train every weekday for commuting, I haven't quite figured out.

In any event, I would like to get the RV home again for a while. It needs cleaning and servicing of consumables.

Home Again

Oct. 1st, 2016 03:13 pm
kevin_standlee: (Kevin and Lisa)
Lisa showed amazingly good timing this morning, pulling up alongside the Rolling Stone just before 6 AM as I was putting on my shoes and finishing packing up. We made quick work of transferring stuff from the RV to the Astro, took the RV over to my mechanic's shop, and headed out of the Bay Area as fast as legally possible, which is pretty fast at 6 AM on a Saturday. Even with a stop at Tracy for breakfast, at Lodi Junction to refuel, a few minutes in Sacramento to look in briefly on my sister (with me wearing a face mask and not getting close because of the cold I appear to have caught), and a trip through the drive-through at Colfax for coffee, we made it back home by 1:30 PM, just over twelve hours after Lisa left home. I once again thanked Lisa for collecting me as she headed off to bed. She warned me that it will take her several days to get back on a more "normal" schedule.

I am happy to be home for two weeks.
kevin_standlee: (Rolling Stone)
My mechanic informed me that while he found what he thinks is the issue with the fuel tanks on the RV (a blocked fuel vent line that needs to be replaced), he wasn't able to get the part quickly. He expects to get it this week, and if I leave the Rolling Stone with him again (next time I go home, it will be for two weeks, hooray!), he should be able to get it done. So Lisa will once more plan to come get me on Saturday morning, and I will once again take the train back down a couple of weeks later.

The only issue with this is that I may use up all of the RV's holding-tank capacity. If so, I'll have to find a place to dump the tanks (probably an RV park in Redwood City) instead of being able to take advantage of a free facility near Fernley. We'll see if I can stretch the capacity to four weeks, which it what it will be by the end of the next stint I have in the Bay Area.
kevin_standlee: (Pointless Arrow)
If I knew that all of the trips would go as smoothly as yesterday did, I'd do more to make my "commute" between Fernley and the Bay Area by train. Amtrak #5 was only a few minutes late (which meant I was able to make the last breakfast seating), had no on-route delays, and arrived at Emeryville about an hour early (which it will if there are no delays due to recovery time built into the schedule). That meant I could take the 3:50 train to Fremont instead of trains as much as four hours later for the 30 minute ride to Fremont. I collected the RV, but I won't know whether my mechanic has been able to fix the issue with the fuel-transfer valve until I go pay him for the work (and collect my spare keys) later today.

It took me only slightly longer to take the train yesterday than it typically does for me to drive. Mind you, when I drive, I generally stop to visit my sister, and I have fuel and meal stops along the way.

It was pretty warm in the Bay Area yesterday (and will be today) by local standards. That made getting to sleep a little bit of a problem in the heat, but it eventually cooled down sufficiently. I was tired enough that I didn't bother getting online, so when I got the Rolling Stone buttoned up for the night, I gave Lisa a call to reassure her that all was as well as it could be and did what I could to get to sleep. I guess it must have been enough because I woke up 30 minutes before my alarm this morning.

It's a shame that I can't rely on the connections working going the other way. The Capitol-to-Zephyr connection at Emeryville is only five minutes, which isn't a safe connection.

August 2017

S M T W T F S
   1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20212223242526
2728293031  

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Aug. 22nd, 2017 01:10 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios