In West Texas, the speed limit is 80. Except it's more complicated than that. The signs say:
SPEED LIMIT 80 / NIGHT 65
TRUCK SPEED LIMIT 70 / NIGHT 65
As the sun set, I noticed most drivers were ignoring the NIGHT 65 part.
The deadbolt in the door at the Motel 6 in Ft. Stockton was acting up. It kept popping out when I didn't want it to, making it hard to close the door from outside! It's at times like these that duct tape comes in handy, except I didn't have duct tape, so I used a bit of packing tape instead.
Monday, Jan. 15
I reset my wristwatch every time I crossed a time zone boundary, but I left the car clock on Houston time because I didn't want to mess with it. This caused dour a moment of confusion and worry when he looked at my car clock!
Although I have already named my car Julia, she is still so new that her odometer only had a two-digit number at the start of this trip. The 1000-mile break-in period was expended mostly by driving through Texas and New Mexico, and ended about when I reached Deming.
Tuesday, Jan. 16
Before leaving Tucson, I bought a bag of McDonald's ice. It was at a combo Chevron/McDonald's, and there was a big yellow M on the plastic bag. It made my drinking water taste a bit odd. Hey McDonald's! Even your ICE sucks!
How come California interstates don't have exit numbers in some places?
The wind farms in the hills near San Bernardino are impressive! Tall thin ultramodern windmills, spinning in the air, lined up along the freeway and ranged along the nearby hills... literally awesome to drive through! I once read a letter to the editor, possibly in the Chronicle, I forget when or by whom, from someone claiming that wind farms are ugly, far more so than oil derricks or offshore drilling rigs. This person makes me sad. He or she reminds me of oil tycoons who call the stench of petrochemicals in the air "the smell of money".
Speaking of which, Buttonwillow, CA smelled odd. Maybe it was just the construction site near the Motel 6, though.
Wednesday, Jan. 17
California highway 152 is a handy shortcut from I-5 to San Jose, but it's scary like a rollercoaster! But at least I drove it in daylight and got a lovely view of the reservoir.
I drove through Gilroy, but it didn't smell like garlic, as far as I noticed.
Mongolian BBQ is yum!
I knew I was supposed to pick up babsbunny and sqrlly at 7:05, but I got the day wrong. I called to see if their plane had landed, and they were still packing! Oops, Thursday, not Wednesday. Oh well, I erred in the least damaging direction!
Thursday, Jan. 18
Lenester and Redfeather (now called Lavacat) asked me to drive them and their two friends to the Greyhound station so they could get refunds for having some kind of Trip From Hell in which their bus fell apart, or something. I drove them there and then helped by standing there looking menacing (I hope) in my windbreaker, wool cap and sunglasses.
I made a table sign for Mr. Fu and his Tabletop Diversions business in the dealer den! He thanked me for my help with a free game.
Friday, Jan. 19
The mystery medium for Iron Artist was Lite Brite. Now I... kinda regret never having had a Lite Brite as a kid. Do they still make them?
Saturday, Jan. 20
At the GOH/Patron luncheon, famous SF author Jerry Pournelle heard about Critterlympics. When someone explained what it was, he said, "That sounds interesting. I'd almost rather be watching that than be here!"
Have you seen my prizewinning marrow? I keep it in my prizewinning barrow, that I bought from a man who lives in Harrow. His store's called Harrow's... Barrows for Marrows.
Taking a bus down to Bognor Regis, because we've heard that they are panda-free. Makes it safe for us to plant cucumbers, and ship them over the sea.
Sunday, Jan. 21
The Furry Night Live show was fun, but my camcorder started glitching. Maybe it's dying. And it's obsolete, so it's not worth getting fixed. I'm going to get a new one.
Monday, Jan. 22
The Doubletree loses points for forgetting that my name was on the room reservation and locking me out at noon after Babs & Squirrelly left! I had to call them (fortunately their flight hadn't left yet) and get Babs to verify me to the desk clerk!
I tricked aatheus into trying to eat a doorstop! In his defense, he was sleepy.
Tuesday, Jan. 23
I ate dinner in the L.A. area, in the most noir-looking Jack in the Box I'd ever seen.
There's a casino in Cabazon called Morongo! Is that where the morons go?
Indio, CA, where I stopped for the night, seems more Arab than Indian.
Wednesday, Jan. 24
Lot of police activity in Tucson that night. I kept hearing sirens. Is that normal?
Thursday, Jan. 25
There was snow on the ground, and on the north side of mountains! Fortunately I didn't get snowed on as I drove.
I stopped being able to make phone posts. In my motel room in El Paso, the first number I dialed played a message: "The subscriber you have dialed is not available, or has wandered outside the calling area." Do LJ phone post servers tend to go on trips?
On this trip, I had been reading "Making Comics" by Scott McCloud, and I finished it. A useful book! Scott teaches the stuff all the other "How to draw" books leave out about making great comics. Perhaps I can use it to improve my con diaries.
Friday, Jan. 26
At the IHOP in Kerrville, TX, I was asked, "Smoking or nonsmoking?" I'm not used to that anymore! Houston went smokefree a year or so ago, and California's been smokefree for years! Clearly I was in UNCIVILIZED TERRITORY.
Phone posts still didn't work. I was getting so desperate I called up all my friends just to yell at them. (Except not really.)
Saturday, Jan. 27
I ate lunch at a combo A&W/Long John Silver's restaurant in San Antonio. It was an odd pairing, but I bet it would have been a lot odder back when LJS was actually pirate-themed.
There's a travel store called Buc-ee's, whose mascot is a cartoon beaver. One of their billboards says, "It's a beaver. Haven't you ever seen one?"
Houston tried to prevent me from getting home by closing the ramp I needed to get from I-10 onto 610 West Loop southbound! Houston, you have a problem.