1/1/18: Daily Post

Happy New Year!

We spent the day on the road, driving from Effingham, IL, to Tulsa, OK, nearing the end of our annual road trip.

I started the day well. I got up early and fueled up the car. I wanted to go out in the -9 F degree weather, just because I could. It was miserable. My car lurched sluggishly to the gas station. I fueled up and went inside. I decided to get a nice steak and cheese sandwich for breakfast from the gas station cafe. As soon as I did, I was given a coupon for a free sausage, egg and cheese biscuit, one for a donut, and one for a chicken sandwich. It was apparently a big promotion for their new cafe, so I got all of these, saving the chicken sandwich for later.

We began our drive, stopping in St. Elmo, IL, at a Native American trade shop. I picked up a few late Christmas presents before continuing west.

Along the way, I made some contacts with amateur radio, on 20 meters, playing the new “Grid Chase” game. I activated a few grids, and will post more about this on my amateur radio blog.

In the evening, we had Missouri Hick Bar-B-Q, effectively destroying any hope I had of eating fewer calories than I burned on the first day of 2018.

We also stopped (in 1 F weather) to change a headlight on the Crown Vic. It was cold and miserable and took quite a while to pry the frozen clips up to release the headlight.

We called it a night in Tulsa, OK, and spent the night in the Clarion Inn.

Thank you for reading my post.


12/31/17: Daily Post

Yesterday, we began our long journey west back to New Mexico.  We took our sweet time getting ready, as nobody wanted to go out into the cold weather.  Also, we planned only to go as far as Effingham, IL, so we didn’t even have that far to travel.

Our travels were no big deal, either.  We took I-71 south to Columbus, OH, stopped at a Whole Foods for a few groceries, then headed west on I-70.

Along the way, I did play on the amateur radio (40 meters).  This year, there is a new game to play called “Grid Chasing” and I made a few contacts along the way.

We did hit one major snag on our travels.  My fuel gauge is not very reliable, and we thought we had enough gas to make it to our hotel (and cheap gas).  We were wrong.  We were four miles short.  I have a gas can in the trunk, so I went to put some of the gas from this can into the fuel tank of the car.  The can was designed by a complete moron.  It has like ten different safety mechanisms that prevent gasoline from pouring down the spout.  Instead, it ran out of the can at the mouth, drenching me, and the side of the car in gasoline.  I tightened up this fitting and it helped a little bit.  Then the gasoline dripped slowly out of the spout, taking a full twenty minutes to fuel up… in -3 F degree weather.

I would like to take this time to thank the inventor of this can.  Surely, this was a safer design than a traditional gas can.  I mean, what could be safer than drenching one’s self in gasoline, on the side of the road on New Year’s Eve in -3 F degree weather?  (Oh yeah, with windchill, it was -18 F).  Thank you for nothing.

Thank you for reading this post, and happy New Year!


12/29/17: Daily Post

I have been updating my Christmas page along with the rest of this blog. A few years ago, I realized that I was forgetting when things happened, so I started writing them in my Christmas Trips page. Some of my writing feels redundant now, so bear with me if you happen to read both.

Yesterday, we went to Chardon to visit JoAnna’s brother and his family. We had a nice visit over a homemade chili dinner. After that, we went to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert at the Q in Cleveland.

The show was great. They did “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve” again, which is a good show. They had a brief tribute to Dave Z and Paul O’Neill, important folks in the band that passed away this year. The band will never be the same without them, but it was nice to see that the show continued in their honor.

We crawled home slowly, as the falling snow was coating the roads and making them quite slick. We arrived in Medina safely, albeit late at night (early in the morning).

Thank you for reading my post.

12/22/17: Daily Post

Yesterday was a laid-back, easy day at my parents’ house.  I slept in late, not climbing out of bed until 11 am or so.  Once I was awake, I spent some time chatting with my parents until the afternoon.

In the afternoon, JoAnna and I did some Christmas shopping and some grocery shopping as well.  Here in Fredericksburg, we have Wegmans, AC Moore, neither of which exist out west.  We shopped at these stores, in the heavy Fredericskburg traffic and crowds.

I treated myself to a Sheetz sub as well.  We don’t have Sheetz anywhere besides the east coast.  I typically get their Philly Cheesesteak sub, and it is wonderful.

Anyway, I was a little stressed at the Walmart with so many people wandering about.  I always try to stay out of every single person’s way, and I try not to disturb anybody.  Therefore, everything in a crowded store starts to weigh on me.  Yesterday, it was one lady’s poorly placed cart that blocked an entire aisle, while she picked out ketchup.  Or, it was too many random-walk, not-paying-attention paths that would soon cross mine.  I ended up sitting in my car for a few minutes instead, eating my Sheetz sub, which was really nice.

Thank you for reading my post.

12/15/17: Daily Post

Yesterday, I spent the early afternoon at a memorial service for one of my former students.  He was 30.  I don’t know what happened, and am still in shock that he is gone.  Just two months ago, he toured my labs and we had a great time.  Other former students (from his class) were at the service as well, so we did get to chat and catch up.  I can’t believe that they are all regular adults now.

In the evening, I spent the entire time getting ready to travel.  We ended up spending last night at home instead of leaving, so hopefully today we will catch up.  I don’t know our plan at this point.

Thank you for reading my post.


8/22/17: Daily Post

Yesterday, we spent the day on the road, on a return trip from the solar eclipse.  The night before, we only made it as far as Westminster, CO, and so we spent the night at my cousin’s house.

In the morning, we got up and actually visited (we arrived late the night before and everyone was tired).  After chatting for a bit, we all went to lunch at Whole Foods.  After lunch, we said our goodbyes and headed south on I-25, driving the rest of the day to Rio Rancho.

We had a great visit, and the drive was easy and painless as well.  All said and done, the eclipse traffic was the nicest traffic I have ever seen.  In Wyoming, we spent around 10 hours waiting in traffic leaving the eclipse site.  In that time, I heard one car horn and saw zero accidents.  Even though the lines at the rest area were often close to an hour long, everyone chatted and was friendly.

Now, it’s back to our regularly scheduled routine.

Thank you for reading my post.

7/30/17: Daily Post

Yesterday, we drove from Joplin, MO, to Rio Rancho, NM.  It was a long drive, and I swapped driving with JoAnna in Clines Corners, NM, and she finished the trek.  We made few stops along the way, as we knew this was going to be a long journey.

Other than that, there is not much to say.  We spent twelve hours driving, plus another hour or two at stops along the way.

Today, I head back to work to see what got messed up when left to PhDs.

Thank you for reading my post.