Monday, June 30, 2008

DAY THREE: Phoenix to Albuquerque

On May 31, 2008, we spent the day in Phoenix, visiting friends and family. On June 1, we began the journey to Albuquerque, NM.
J: All right, here we are. It is 9:30 on a Sunday...Sunday, June 1. I think.
S: OH! [the front panel on the driver's side dashboard fell off as she did something]
J: And Sarah just took off the front panel. Should be OK. It is Sunday...June 1...and we're about to leave. We've gotta fix this first, hang on.
J: All right, well, it's still 10:30 [actually 9:30...the clock in the truck was set an hour ahead, I screwed up] on a Sunday, June 1. We're heading for Albuquerque. With us today is Lili, joining us.
S: Yay! Lili!
J: She is...well, I don't know how she is, we'll see. Here we go. We're saying goodbye. Sarah's adjusting everything. Car's in...vehicle's in drive. We've got 400+ miles to Albuquerque and we'll be making updates along the way. So...say goodbye, Sarah.
S: Bye Sarah.
S: All right, so we are, just got onto I-17 North, which is what we're going to be taking up through to Flagstaff, or something like that, as Jesse knows better than I.
J: Flagstaff, yeah.
S: Yeah. Aaand Lili is here in her crate, behaving very nicely. And I can't take her out because she's supposed to stay in there and she's got her flea stuff on. And I am saying goodbye to Phoenix. I shall miss Phoenix. I was talking to Jesse about how it saddens me that it took me so very long to realize how much I love the desert. But I really do. And then Jesse made the comment that is very easy to love the desert when you are in an air conditioned vehicle or house. And I totally agree with him. But I shall miss the mountains and I shall miss the views and I shall miss the layout of Phoenix and our friends here but I know we'll get to see them again eventually. So, signing off.
S: So, we're on our way to Prescott, and so far we have seen...oh, it is 10:40, and so far we have seen roads like Horse Thief Basin, Bumblebee Trail...
J: No, that's just Bumblebee.
S: Bumblebee. Bumblebee. And Bloody Basin Road is what we are coming up on now. These are all remnants of the Old West. It's rather interesting to think of the implications arising from how these names began. And we are yet again stuck behind the Flying J. We were stuck behind them on the uphill climb, and they were flashing yellow. We couldn't pass them because everyone else was passing everybody. And then, as soon as we got onto flatter road, they passed us.
J: We passed them...
S: Well, we passed them first, and then they passed us. And we're like...yeah. We follow you when you're down. Apparently, you just want us to follow you always. And this Flying J thing is just not as pretty as the Northwest...
J: North American.
S: North American blue truck we got to follow most of the way on Friday. So...I think we're hoping to, you know, not have to deal with them sometime soon.
J: Yet another reason to dislike the Flying J!
S: As Jesse says, yet another reason to dislike the Flying J. So. All right. Signing off.
S: Also, not five minutes later, just wanted to comment, Lili got a little panty when we had to turn off the A/C and go up the hill. I don't think she liked that, but she's doing better now. And Jesse also reminded me earlier of the last time we took this trip. A certain trip to Sedona a couple years ago. [Our honeymoon!] Signing off.
S: So, we just talked to Candi, and we are now in this...oh, it's 11:05, and we are now in Verde Valley? Yes. And we're passing, you know, Payson and Cottonwood, and we're going to hopefully meet up with Candi for lunch. And it's just beautiful. We can see all these mesas, um, like mountain mesas...It's just very very beautiful, and it's getting really nice and green. We just passed through some wooded mountains, which was kind of cool, so... All right, signing off.
J: So, at 12:08 in the PM, we are in Flagstaff, AZ, 493.9 miles away from El Cajon, CA, and we're stopping for lunch. We're going to be meeting Candi at a McDonald's here, and then we're going to get some gas, and I'm sure Lili is aching to get out of her crate, so we're going to go take her out. So. Yay. See you in a little bit. Talk to you in a little bit. Bye.
J: All right, it is 1:22 in the PM, just changed to 1:23. We are...losing chips. We are on our way. We're going to go stop and get gas, and then we're going to hit the road to Albuquerque. YAAAY!
S: All right, so, we are filled up with gas...
J: Trying to get out of the parking lot!
S: And food, trying to get out of the parking lot from the gas station, and going on our way to Albuquerque from Flagstaff. All right, bye. Oh! And we just pulled up behind another Budget truck, which is also towing a car, except their car is on one of those big dollies, and it has, um, some sort of..
J: Cover.
S: Cover on the car. But this is kind of funny. Two Budget trucks and two tow cars. Signing off.
S: OK, I forgot to say it is now 1:45, and we are leaving Flagstaff, and I forgot to say that at the gas station, a truck pulled up next to us, and I liked it because it had a pretty blue metallic, um, front end, and the truck driver saw me and Lili, because I had Lili out, and he waved at us and smiled at us. And then when he went to go do something with his truck, which was kind of cool because he took the cover off and was doing stuff, and I don't know what he was doing. But anyway, I spotted that he had this pretty pretty piebald pit bull in his cab. She looked very nice. She had eyes the color of Lili, and she was white and red like Lili's red. And she was very curious about Lili, and Lili was semi-curious about her, but also kind of timid. And, anyway, when the truck driver left, we waved at him and he waved at us, and that was cool, because it's just another sign that truck drivers are very friendly.
J: Please note that Sarah actually waved when she said that. [because visuals do so much to enhance the audio]
S: OK. Signing off.
S: All right, so we made just a quick stop in Holbrook, AZ, in a Chevron station with no bathroom. It's 3:10 Arizona time. And across the street is a dinosaur. Not a real one, just...
J: Standing over its prey.
S: A large one, standing over its prey, mouth bared menacingly. And we just took a little break. We needed to stretch our legs. Jesse took Lili on a little walk, took some pictures, so...all right. Signing off.
S: All right. We are approaching, and it is 4:15, but now we're...going...
J: Oh, hey! It took us a whole hour to cross the state line!
S: [pause] OK. We are in the Land of Enchantment, in New Mexico, and instead of 4:15, it is now 5:15, because we have just changed the time. So. Whoo! We're finally in New Mexico! Land of Enchantment! And, eventually, we will be getting to Albuquerque. We've been rather amused at the sight of all the many many many touristy trading post areas along the way, and have not stopped at one of them. Yay us. So, there you go. [For a listing of some of the touristy trading post areas along the way, see the Bloglish Eleven] And we're in quite a pretty valley, with lots of rock formations, kind of like Sedona with the pretty red rocks and the canyon type
J: I'm not impressed with New Mexico's highway system.
S: Heh. It's under construction right now, so Jesse says he's not impressed with their highway system yet. But he may very well be so. And we've just passed about the, I don't know, tenth dry river bed we've seen today. So, signing off.
S: All right, so we are in Gallup, NM, currently turning onto Route 66. It is 5:30 PM, New Mexico time, and now we are on Route 66. And we will be here until we pull off at the Love's gas station. Signing off.
J: Sarah's too nice to document my idiocy, but here I am. I, uh...leaving the gas station, we went the wrong way on Interstate 40. We were heading west for about 7 miles. I realized it as soon as I got on the interstate, but there wasn't an exit for seven miles. There was an official turn off, uh, which was for official use only that I pulled off on and, um...there wasn't an exit, so I had to keep going. So I finally made my exit, and um, finally found an exit...had to go under a bridge that was the exact clearance that I needed for this vehicle, the exact minimum clearance I needed for this truck. So, that was good. And then I was grabbing the tape player to record my idiocy and I missed the exit again, so I had to do a u-turn and go back. Fortunately, I was on a service road and not on the interstate when I had to do my u-turn.
S: That guy had to do the same thing.
J: Yes. There was a car in front of me that did the same thing. Anyway, it is now 6:00 New Mexico time. We are backtracking, and we will be heading towards Albuquerque now, so hopefully there will be no more problems. So...yeah. Bye.
S: I just want to add that I think he handled things remarkably well, but if that's the only thing that goes wrong on this leg of the trip, then I am happy. Signing off.
S: It is 8:05, New Mexico time, and I just realized that the mountains I had been seeing in the distance are the Sandia mountains, which of course means watermelon in Spanish, and they are the mountains that surround Albuquerque. And now that we are coming up over a little hill, we can kind of see the city of Albuquerque in the distance. So I guess that's not really a valley because the mountains really only seem to go around one side. Um...but anyway, yeah, we're basically almost here! And our exit, which is 159A, is about 10 exits away.
J: Or 10 miles.
S: 10 miles, Jesse says. So, we're almost here, and the sun is setting, in the process of doing so, and we're making...we made pretty good time today. Signing out.
S: All right, we are at the Quality Inn and Suites in Albuquerque. It's kind of downtown area. Not seeing much to eat right now, but I guess we can ask at the front desk. Signing off. Oh, it is 8:18 PM.
J: And 832.9 miles.
S: And we are at 832.9 miles into our trip. Yes. Signing off.

So ends Day Three. Here are some pictures from the journey.

Camelback Mountain, Phoenix.

Lili poses next to the truck tire.

The Hickles are on their way.


On the road again.

The road to Flagstaff.

More horizon shots.

The road goes ever on and on...

Getting close to Flagstaff.

Lili taking a turn with the driving. She's a little frustrated that she can't reach the pedals.

A dinosaur feasting near Holbrook, AZ.

Southwestern scenery.

I can almost see Wile E. Coyote now.

Jagged cliffs.

The Sandia Peaks, which tower over Albuquerque. We made it! See you next time for the trip to Oklahoma City!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

DAY ONE: El Cajon to Phoenix

This log begins at the Budget Truck rental site in El Cajon, CA on Friday, May 30, 2008. J indicates me (Jesse), and S indicates my wife (Sarah). On this leg, we were joined by Sarah's mom, Mary Ellen (M). Notes added during posting are bracketed and italicized.
J: All right, so here it is. It's 11:43, we're about to take off, heading for Phoenix.
S: Heading for Phoenix and missing Abi [one of Sarah's best friends] already.
J: We know that Lili's [our dachshund, who went to Phoenix the previous Sunday with Sarah's sister Heather to get out of the way of all the packing] waiting on the other end though, so that'll soften the blow somewhat, I'm sure.
S: Hopefully.
J: And here comes Mary Ellen, so we're just about ready to go. We'll be providing periodic updates as we go along, and, uh, hopefully I'll get this transcribed on the blog sometime. Bye.
J: All right, take two. After the great seat belt escapade [we were missing one of the buckles - it was stuck behind the seat]. It's 11:46. We're taking off, I'm handing off to Sarah.
S: Yes, so I'm supposed to narrate about yesterday, which was packing day, which was not fun for anyone. It was a lot of work, and in the middle of the work, my glasses broke. Yes, you heard right, my glasses were on my face, and I was walking, and I looked down, and half of them fell off while the other one stayed on.
[blank spot on the tape]
S: Yeah. That wasn't good. So I ended up having to fork out money for new glasses last night, and that was a pain 'cause it took me away from all the activity that was going on. And my computer cord got lost, and I didn't know it until this morning, but my husband found it, and that was great. And we are much better now, even though I still miss Abi very much. And now we are on our way, and we are not allowed to back up the truck. Bye.
M: You should mention everybody that..[cut off]
S: OK, so Mom would like to know who all helped yesterday. Um, Abi helped me, and Abi's kids helped me to not break down too much, aaand...
M: Kira and...
J: Kira and Tanis.
S: Kira and Tanis, yes. And Megan was there helping keep them entertained. She was at the loading place, but she got bored.
M: She worked hard.
S: She worked hard until she got bored.
M: Really worked hard.
S: And then she wanted to go home. And so she came with us to the eyeglasses place. And now we are leaving the mall. The mall where my friends and I met for coffee. And for good bible talk female time. And the mall we went to movies with. Bye mall. OK, and other people who helped were Shannon and Sara Stiner, and they were both very very hard workers, and their daughter Megan, as previously said. Aaand...then after I left, George Cullins and his son Zach came, and they were also very big help. Aaaand Albert Calvedores and was also very big help. This is all while I was not here. There.
M: Steve.
S: Oh, and Steve Dill, and he was a great big help too. He helped clean afterwards and that was wonderful. And then, by the time we got back, everyone was already eating pizza. Actually, they'd eaten it, and then I got some pizza, and that was good 'cause I was hungry. And then we finished up and said goodbye to some people, and we will miss the Cullinses and we will miss the Dills and we will miss the Stiners...and I will miss Abi. And I'm going to end this now so we have some tape for later.
J: It's now 1:13. We just made it out of the mountains. Just thought I'd bring a brief update. Everyone else seems to be napping. Oh well. It's just me. Um, doing fine. Guess we're going to stop in El Centro for some food.
S: I'm not napping, I was just resting my head on my mommy.
J: OK. Sarah's not napping, she's just resting her head on her mommy. So. We'll, uh, catch up in El Centro.
J: All right, 1:46, El Centro, McDonald's, hairy parking job, but we made it. So. We're going to go eat now.
S: Yep.
[weird sounds that sound like the tape speeding up, and the Lord of the Rings audiobook being read in the background...I don't know if someone was trying to record and failed, or what]
S: Hello! And we are just crossing the state line into Arizona.
J: Hooray!
S: It is officially 3:40 PM, and we have had to say goodbye to California for a very long time. And that is sad. But now we're in Arizona, and soon I will get to see Lili, and that is what is keeping my spirits up right now. And, also that we are listening to the first volume of the Lord of the Rings...
J: The Fellowship.
S: ...which is pretty cool...
J: The Fellowship.
S: ...while my mom is sleeping.
J: The Fellowship.
S: Yes. Jesse says it's The Fellowship of the Ring.
J: Book One.
S: I did know that.
J: Book One.
S: It's Book One, and apparently he wants to get all the information down.
S: OK, quick update at 4:30. We just left Burger King in Yuma where we stopped for bathroom breaks and yummy shakes. On our way to Phoenix.
J: Well, it's five til seven. We're in Buckeye, Arizona. Stopping for gas. Uh...we'll, uh...yeah. We're almost there. Looking forward to it. I gotta call my parents now. Say hi Sarah.
S: Hi Sarah.
J: Thank you.
S: OK. 7:13 PM. Leaving Buckeye on our way to Phoenix to see my sister and my dog, Lili.
J: Just spent $153 on gas!
S: Yeah, that was expensive. If you didn't hear that, it was $153 on gas. Yeeah. OK.
S: [in the background] I'm going to call Abi. [various clunks, Mary Ellen saying something in the background, truck turning on. I think this is when Mary Ellen wanted to see if the lights were working]
J: I can't hear what you're...I CAN'T HEAR IT! [maybe she was asking to see the turn signals here? Beeping, then truck turns off] What time is it?
S: 8:00.
M: Want to hand me that towel 'cause that's something I can wash...
J: Well, apparently I was recording through all that testing the lights thing [aha! I was right!], but it's 8:00, aaand 352.8 miles later, we have arrived at, uh, the Cholla Street house, the Morrow household.
S: We're here to see Lili!
J: And, and others, but, uh...
S: And my sister!
J: Yeah, so, successful day. We made it, one piece. Took us a looong time, but we're here. All right, so we'll, uh, talk again later.

So ends the first day of our journey. Some pictures for your enjoyment.

Left to right - George C., Zach C., me. Loading day.

Me and Kira. That's my hat, and Sarah gave her the shirt. I took the hat back.

Abi and Tanis (he's the short one).

Me driving in California.

More California rocks.

Sand dunes in California, just before Yuma.

Self-portrait by Sarah.

Entering Phoenix at sunset (the sun's the other way).

COMING SOON: Day Two on the road - Phoenix to Albuquerque!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

We're Here

The wife and I made it safely to Champaign last Wednesday. I'm just now getting to the write up. We kept an audio log on our journey, a journey that spanned seven states over the course of six days. I'll be transcribing that and posting it exclusively on The Bloglish Blog. Other blogs should be up and running again soon.

Monday, May 19, 2008


I'll be moving to Illinois in the next weeks with my wife and dog. As a result, I'll be away from the blog for a while (not that I've been around it that much recently). Hopefully, I'll get you an update when we get our internet hooked up.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

April Links

OK, so it's May 10. Sorry. Here are the links from April.

APRIL 1 - If you need some help with next year's April Fool's Day, try this.
APRIL 5 - Join here and pick up books for free! (I joined a few years ago, but I haven't ever really done much with it)
APRIL 7 - Ever notice how many twins there are in the entertainment industry? No? Well, here are some comparisons.
APRIL 14 - If you would like to know what would happen if an asteroid of any size were to hit the earth at any speed, and the chances of this, check here.
APRIL 18 - Be a monkey, kick a ball. My personal best is 4547 meters.
APRIL 19 - Call 'em aphorisms, call 'em cliches - fine 'em here.
APRIL 26 - People laugh at me because I like to keep up with how many days old I am (10738). Well, apparently, I'm not the only one.
APRIL 30 - Everything you never really wanted to know, and probably still won't!

So there. Go back and see the March links if you want.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Once Upon A Time

A new story is up on Bloglish Tales. Once Upon A Time. It's my attempt at a fairy tale.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Issues Inspired By Thank You For Smoking

I just watched Thank You For Smoking, and I have a couple of things to say.

First of all, I HATE PAN AND SCAN. I got this DVD from the library, and they don't tell you if you're getting widescreen or full screen. It used to be that you always got full screen. I remember the first widescreen movie I saw on video was 2001, and I found those black bars distracting. However, as time went on, I started noticing how movies changed in full screen from their original versions. My first memory of noticing the phenomenon was watching Ghostbusters on TV. There's a scene when the Ghostbusters are in the elevator, three wide. The camera has to keep panning to see them all, even cuts so it looks like different shots. However, in the original version, it's all one shot. The camera doesn't move, and thus it isn't distracting, and doesn't spoil the joke.

The reason for full screen was the different ratio of the TV versus movies. It was basically re-editing the movie so it would fit, and now it drives me crazy. Even after I decided for myself that widescreen was the best way to watch movies on TV, people I knew were still insisting on fullscreen. "Widescreen makes the picture too small," they would complain. True, but in full screen, you don't see everything. Bigger picture=less picture.

So, to Thank You For Smoking. The DVD I got from the library was full screen. HOWEVER, it kept switching between full screen and widescreen, which they seem to do in re-editing when it is determined that nothing can be left out. My question is, what's the point? If there are scenes that must have widescreen, why bother with full screen? Argh.

Second point - having just read the book recently, I found it interesting some of the substitutions that were and weren't made between the two. For example, in the book, Nick Naylor goes on Oprah. For the movie, it was the fictional talk show "Joan", hosted by Joan Lunden. Naylor's life is threatened on Larry King in the book, Dennis Miller in the movie. Now, maybe Oprah and King weren't available, but some of the product changes were interesting. In the book, they made a big stink about Camel cigarettes and their mascot; however, the label that appears in the movie (in passing) is Alpaca. When Naylor goes to Hollywood in the book, he and Jeff plan to incorporate smoking into the scenes with two fictional actors; in the movie, it's Brad Pitt and Catherine Zeta-Jones. In the book, it's the Tumbleweeds Man who's dying of cancer; in the book, it's the Marlboro Man. Possibly others, but I just noticed it.

Third - the movie was better for me the second time. It's different than the book, but it's still very good.

And as a sidebar, I know I'm late on the April links. Maybe I'll get 'em up tomorrow.