mellicious: pink manicure (Buffy quote: bored ep 1)
2008-09-23 09:28 pm

Written in my in-laws' living room over the weekend

Columbine expressed interest in how people pick their routes when they're driving places. Once we got out of Texas, we went the way we have (mostly) always gone, which is Texarkana-Little Rock-Memphis-Nashville-Louisville-Cincinnati-Dayton. One time we tried driving a more southern route and going through Louisiana and Mississippi, and that didn't really work out so well. (We ended up getting stopped by police with a K-9 unit, who apparently thought we were drug smugglers.) We have also done a more northern route, though Indianapolis and St. Louis - that one is okay and actually a bit shorter, according to Google Maps. I just thought it was more boring. I would rather look at trees than plains, I guess. I stick to interstates when I want to get somewhere fast, I guess that's mostly how I pick routes. If I have time to wander, then I take backroads.

I think we may go back by some other route, though. Maybe Indianapolis or we may even stay more north than that, although it would almost definitely end up being out of the way. We are not in a terrible hurry, though, and there are several far-midwestern states I have never been in. I don't think Rob has either, although I'm not at all sure he cares much. We haven't decided for sure, anyway.

We hadn't driven to Ohio since the trip with the close encounter with the police dog, which we figured out was in 1996. (I should say that the dog was perfectly polite, and so were his handlers, once they decided we weren't smuggling anything.) So it was the first time we had done it in 12 years. We partly stopped doing it because we were tired of it and so we stopped as soon as we could afford to fly - but it's also usually a question of time, and especially of vacation days. We have fairly generous vacation but not so much (under normal circumstances) that I want to spend several days of it driving. We drive it in two days if we're in a hurry, and three if not so much. Two days means doing Houston-to-Memphis in one day, usually, which takes 12 hours or more. Memphis-to-Celina ain't no piece of cake either.

And well, of course, this time we had plenty of time, so we did the three-day version (Bryan to Arkadelphia the first day, through Arkansas and Tennessee to Bowling Green, Kentucky the second day) and I have to say it wasn't nearly as bad as I remembered. Of course, having plenty of time makes a lot of a difference. I even volunteered to drive to Detroit to see Karen, too, although we ended up settling on meeting in the middle.

We ended up buying the laptop in Jackson, Tennessee, which was the first time we spotted a Best Buy with time to get off the road without having to double back too far. It was a big new-looking shopping center on the edge of town. I had dragged a Dell ad all the way from Texas, which advertised this laptop for $699, "exclusively at Best Buy" - I did look at what they had at Wal-Mart, but this one seemed like a better value for the money. I tend to be pretty hard on my computers, particularly since I discovered gaming. This one had much more memory and a bigger hard drive, and other bells and whistles. (Including that web-cam, which I tried out this morning.)

I really miss my internet access. I know that's not much of a surprise to anybody that knows me.
mellicious: pink manicure (breathe)
2008-09-23 10:13 pm

Quad Cities (I think)

(Written earlier tonight)
We are at the Hampton Inn in Moline, Illinois, and there is no internet. There is supposed to be internet, but there is not. The front desk is extremely apologetic (especially since I am now a Hilton HHHonors silver member thanks to my frequent hotel stays) but there is no internet just the same, and they're not sure when it will be back. Sigh.

I got on WoW again before dinner, briefly, and it seemed to be working fine. Columbine, as usual, managed to find the answer even though he disavowed any knowledge of Windows Vista - he still knew where to look, or figured it out. (I had to left-click on the icon and click 'run as administrator' to get it to install correctly.)

I am going to have to post the entry I wrote yesterday - or maybe it was day before yesterday, I'm not sure - before I post this one so you will have the background about all the indecision about what route to take coming home. But we decided to take the more northern one. If we really had more time to screw around I would have gone all the way to Fargo, probably, because I am crazy, but this is about as far north as we are going. In case you are not all that up on your Illinois geography, Moline is one of the Quad Cities, across the river from Davenport, Iowa. You know last spring when they had all those floods? That was partially around here somewhere, I believe.

We went across Indiana and Illinois today, and made sort of a big circle around Chicago. Tomorrow we are going to drive ALL the way across Iowa and poke our noses into Nebraska before we start south. It's a long way to go just because I think I-55 is boring, isn't it? Well, I don't care.

Now it is 10:20 - at least if I have my time zones right, but I'm pretty sure I do because we are west of Chicago and I KNOW Chicago is Central - and the internet came back just about the time Col gave up on me showing up to play WoW and went to bed. Which is just as well under the circumstances but frustrating. We will have to try again tomorrow.

So let's see, what haven't I covered? It's rather difficult for me to remember right now. I applied for FEMA assistance yesterday morning (back at the Lima Panera Bread) and got an automated call from them last night saying we were approved for the hotel expenses - sort of frighteningly efficent, isn't it? We still have no real idea what is going on at home so we may try to find a place to use for a home base until we find out for sure whether our apartment is livable or not. We can have assistance for a month from the time of the storm - I think they said until October 14th. I think we were eligible for some other kind of reimbursement also but I forget what it was. Nothing big.

I am generally much better today, just mostly travel-weary. Regarding what I was stressing out about yesterday, my father-in-law correctly pointed out that if there had really been as much water in the vicinity of our apartments as my father was trying to imply there was, not only would my car have moved but the dumpster it was parked next to would have, too. Here is the satellite picture as linked from the Galveston paper:

satellite photo of galveston

The original is on flickr, and really gigantic, but if you blow it up all the way and look at the right spot, you can clearly see my car right where I left it, and the dumpster right where it was, too. So I think it is fairly unlikely that there was all that much water - at least not, you know, probably not six or eight feet or anything like that. That's not to say my apartment is not wet, but still. I am back to having hope. And I thumb my nose at my father.

(I put some annotations on the Flickr page, to give you an idea, if you're interested.)