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Road Trip Day Four

This was day 4

 

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Road Trip Day Three

So, this was the first REAL day of my road trip, the first two  were the weekend before and their goal was just to get me to Indianapolis where I would spend 3 days working, and then kick off the real road trip from almost halfway across the country for the stuff I actually care about seeing more than just “wasting” my time driving past stuff instead of experiencing it.

So, my day started off early, I got packed up and out on the road. Most of this day was also just busy travel, I headed out from Indy on the main highway to hit up Chicago to see Kelly for lunch. Traffic was pretty smooth for the most part right up until I got on Rt. 90 to go into Chicago to meet her at her work, such is life.

I went to college with Kelly and she is from MA originally but moved out to Chicago a few years ago, so I don’t see her as much as I used to, so I take the opportunity when it presents itself. I met her at work and we went for lunch at a burger place she recently found and it was pretty awesome. I had a bacon wrapped burger that was also  served with 4 strips of bacon on top of it with the lettuce, tomato and onion, ON A PRETZEL BUN. AWESOME. I do love me giant soft pretzels!

So I left her back to work and headed out on my way. I shouldn’t have set the GPS to avoid highways yet on my trip, because of that setting, it took me the worst possible way out of Chicago I think, anyway, it took me over 2 hours to go 19 miles before I was out of traffic. Thankfully my bike isn’t air cooled otherwise I probably would have over heated. I definitely saw some sketchy parts of Chicago on the way.

I then cruised through the Illinois countryside and into the Iowa countryside, crossed the Missisippi River and got to Cedar Rapids that night, where I stayed with a nice woman, her husband and their son via couchsurfing.com. I stayed on an air mattress in their computer room because they had another couchsurfer who was staying in their guest room. They were super nice and I was unfortunately super tired so I wasn’t super sociable with them as I normally would have been, but I spent some time in the morning talking and chatting about things prior to leaving. I really like the site, just wish most people were a little less flaky and it worked better for super short notice, but oh well.

This is about the route that I took to get from start to finish, just for personal privacy I didn’t put the exact addresses of where I stayed, but you can click on the picture to bring you to an interactive map at Google Maps.

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Road Trip Day One

Well, I got out a little later on day one than I wanted to, my initial plan was to leave between 8 and 9 in the morning, but I was realistic in my expectations to leave between 8 and 11 in the morning, however, in my traditional family style, I left about 11:30. Why be on time?

So things didn’t go as quickly as I had hoped. First, I had to stop in Shrewsbury at my baseball team’s manager’s house to drop him off an iPad and charger that we use for scoring the games. While we keep a book, the iPad just makes the stats easier to see and thus easier for him to not have to calculate them, and he can get them uploaded to the website a little quicker. Plus, while I am gone I think one of my teammate’s 8 year old son is going to be doing a lot of the score keeping, and he is much better on the ipad than he is with the actual book keeping score.

So, got that dropped but it wasn’t a stop totally out of the way, only added about 15-20 minutes to the trip, the real problem was the traffic on the mass pike. It was brutal, way worse than I was expecting for a Saturday, if it had been Friday I could have understood, but was rather annoying, although it did help me get used to managing the weight of the bike with all the gear at slower speeds. Much easier to manage when traveling quickly and you have the help of the bike to keep things on the level.

Then, a little over halfway through CT the rain started, it was light at first but I pulled over under a bridge and suited up. My raincoat, my bright orange rain pants, and my full face helmet. Fortunately, I chose not to attach the full face to the spot under the seat because I would have had to completely unpack almost everything to get it off the bike, and that would be no fun on the side of the highway.

Boy did it really start to rain though, I charged on though, pushed and pushed, got wetter and wetter. I actually ended up stopping a little bit early in the rain because I realized it wasn’t going to let up, and my gear wasn’t actually waterproofed, so I spent $20 at a truck stop to buy a 4’x8′ tarp that I then folded in half and bungy cord tied it around my gear, there was a small opening on the top of the back, but I figured physics would help me out given that it wouldn’t be able to have much water fall into it with me traveling at speed, which is the same reason why even though my GPS is not technically covered, it’s within an inch or two of the windshield which means any water that falls behind it will end up hitting my tank instead because the GPS moves too far horizontally while the water is falling vertically, so there is a small triangle of space that never gets hit with water.

So, after a total of 6 hours or traffic, stops and rain I realized it was time to stop for the night, sadly I had only gone about 250 miles, a tad off from the 400-450 I was hoping to make the first day. So I vowed to make it into PA and then to just stop at the first Hilton brand hotel I came across since I could use points an it wouldn’t cost me anything.

There it was, Hampton Inn, my savior, but on top of being hard to get to because there were no signs and the roads were annoying, I had another problem. While I was pretty sure I knew the answer, I asked the front desk anyway; “Can I book with points through you, or do I need to do it online?” She responds, “you need to either call Hilton or o it online.” “No problem” I say as I pull out my phone and start to look for my Hilton app, which I apparently don’t have on my new phone, and then she interrupts me and says “but that won’t do you any good, we are completely booked up for the night.”

Say WHAT?!?!?

I was truly shocked that a Hampton Inn in this area would be sold out, any Hampton Inn really, but apparently there were 2 large weddings in the area, and many of the people going were staying there. Well shoot… alright… internet save me now!

I went to Priceline and did a local search to see what I could find for a place to stay, found a place that looked a little sketchy, but the price was a little higher than I wanted, but given the scarcity of rooms in the area, I just took the opportunity to get a place to sleep and dry out for the night.

Got there, got myself unloaded and then instead of using my bike cover, I just used the tarp I had to cover the bike and tied it down with those tiny little bungees with the ball on them I never think I would use, but can’t not put in my bag of stuff because they are so small they aren’t a hassle.

Then came the drying out of everything.

I cranked the heat and put the ironing board at a low level to help dry out my jeans while I hung out in shorts, and then I put the hair dryer into my boot to get that all dried out.

Then I just laid down for awhile to dry out my brain and my body.

Then I decided to repack everything to alter where things were based on what I would need to access during the trip and what I would need at night.

Then I slept… I slept really well!

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Road Trip 2015 – PreTrip

So, I am taking my summer vacation time and I am taking a nice long road trip and I will be taking it on my motorcycle, all packed up and heading out.

I am making the best use of my vacation time and the locations of offices my company has.

So in order to maximize my enjoyment time while riding and being able to spend the most time in places I want to see, I am eliminating some of what I call my “beat feet” time into non-vacation time. “Beat-feet” time is time where I just need to get from point A to point B and I don’t care about sight-seeing or anything like that in the middle. For example, on a trip where you are flying by airplane to get there, the “beat-feet” would be everything from home, to the airport and then the flight itself usually.

So, my company has an office in Indianapolis, and I don’t really care about seeing anything between home and Indy, so I just need to get there as quick as I can and not worry about seeing anything since I have seen most of it before and it is just not what interests me. So, I will take a weekend and travel from home to Indy and then I will crash with a co-worker who was nice enough to offer to let me stay there. This is key because it take finances into account, and keeping costs low is what will enable me to take this trip.

So now, I will be halfway(a third?) across the country and I will stay here for 4 nights, Sunday through Thursday morning and work at our office there for a few days before I head out on what is going to be the real part of my vacation.

I am taking 10 days off, which is 10 days Mon through Fri for vacation. I realized that I could give myself an extra 2 days if I was able to break up my vacation with a week of work in the middle. So I have 2 groups of 2 weekends and 2 weeks of workdays put together, for 2 sets of 9 days instead of just 1 long stretch of 16 days, 3 weekends and 2 weeks of workdays.

So how exactly do I make that work? Well my company also has an office located in Southern CA in Orange County just south of Los Angeles, so if I stay in that area for a week and work, I get my bonus 2 days thrown in there. Fortunately for me, I happen to have an aunt and uncle who live not too far from my company’s office in SoCal, so I spoke to them, and they are nice enough to let me stay with them while I am there. Win! Since again, no outright cost for a place to stay which is key. I then travel from SoCal on the way home, and will stay in Indy again for the week and work there, and then spend another Sat/Sun to travel home from Indy.

On top of this I am making my trip coincide with the weekend of July 4th, but July 4th is a Saturday, however, we are granted the 3rd of July as a day off in recognition of the July 4th holiday. So I can tack on an extra day for a stretch of 10 days instead of 9. Then, I worked Memorial Day weekend for an upgrade, which grants me a bonus free day off on the year in payment for taking away my holiday time by working. Well, let’s tack on another day to that 4th of July weekend, so I will leave on July 2nd instead of 3rd from Indy.

Now the trip, what is it I want to see? I have a list of things, this is mostly in order of what is planned to see, this may change and I will add or subtract things as fitting for the trip, all depends on time. This will be similar to my trip a couple years ago in Europe where I don’t have an exact plan of what I am doing each day, I just have a general idea of things I want to see and try to fit them in.

Week 1(11 days): Leave Indy and head towards SoCal and see the following

  • Chicago for lunch with K
  • Mount Rushmore
  • Wall Drug
  • Badlands
  • Grand Teton NP
  • Yellowstone NP
  • Lolo Pass
  • Walla Walla
  • Crater Lake
  • Redwoods
  • Lassen Volcanic NP
  • San Francisco for dinner with J&G
  • PCH/Big Sur

Week 2(9 Days): Leave SoCal and head back to Indy

  • Death Valley
  • Vegas
  • Hoover Dam
  • Grand Canyon South
  • Grand Canyon North
  • Zion NP
  • Bryce Canyon NP
  • Monument Valley
  • Four Corners

So that’s the overall trip, a lot of these things I have wanted to see, and I know I am not going to see everything in them, I mean, you can spend a week in Yellowstone, Crater Lake, or Grand Tetons by themselves, but I am going to see the highlights, and take notes for later trips when I want to spend a week somewhere. However, a lot of these places aren’t places you are going to spend a whole week of vacation going to see, they are meant to be tiny small pieces of a much larger road trip, so I am making them exactly that.

Aweosme right?

 

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Wooties: It’s a Trap

Don’t Worry, Linda, They Also Dubbed Over David Prowse

Woot Shirt, Its a Trap

Woot Shirt, Its a Trap

We’re so sorry
Uncle Ackbert
We’re so sorry if your flippers are restrained
We’re so sorry
Uncle Ackbert
But we’re going up against the Empire
And the fleet’s not gone away

We’re so sorry but intelligence was wrong, today
We’re so sorry
Uncle Ackbert
But at least you’ve got that hot ship
Just fly in closer and engage

drrtdrtt drrtdrtt drrtdrtt drrtdrtt drrtdrtt
drrtdrtt drrtdrtt drrtdrtt drrtdrtt drrtdrtt

We’re so sorry
Uncle Ackbert
But the Emperor’s already on his way
We’re so sorry
Uncle Ackbert
But the Empire’s fully armored
And the shield won’t go away

Nieeeeen numb
Ooo ooo oo oo oo oo ooo
Nieeeeen numb
Oooo ooo ooo oo oo oo oo
Oooo oo oo ooo ooo ooo ooooooo

Whoooooo’s inside the bunker?
Bunker
Whoooooo’s broken inside?

Whoooooo’s inside the bunker?
Bunker
Whoooooo’s broken inside?

Admiral Ackbert notified me
We’d all just been trapped by Imperial fleets
Our only hope was to just take down the shield
And then we could fly

Rebels, looks alive!
Everyone form on me, and into this shaft we’ll dive

Whoooooo’s inside the bunker?
Bunker
Whoooooo’s broken inside?

Whoooooo’s inside the bunker?
Bunker
Whoooooo’s broken inside?

Hey there, mister, you’ve a sister, she’s been found
she’s been found
Guess we don’t need you around
With my saber I will pound

No, you heavy breather, I will take her all around
All around
I have earned my knightly crown
Now I’ll knock you to the ground

Parrrrrrty near the bunker
Bunker
Little fuuuurry things are inside

Hey reeeeeeeeeebels, light a pyre
Pyre
Fiiiiireworks in the skyyyyyy

ooo oo ooo oooo ooo ooo oooo ooo
ooo oo ooo oooo ooo ooo oooo ooo
ooo oo oooooooo ooo ooo oooo ooo
ooo oo oooooooo ooo ooo oooo ooo

Wear this shirt: when you’re returning!

Don’t wear this shirt: if you want revenge.

This shirt tells the world: “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”

We call this color: Bladmiral Blackbar

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Wooties: I’m a Lumberjack

Lumberjacks Anonymous

Woot Shirt, I'm a Lumberjack

Woot Shirt, I’m a Lumberjack

Hello, my name is Sven, and I … I’m a lumberjack.

HI SVEN

It started simply enough. In high school everyone was starting to cut down trees, and I was too. But I always cut down a few more than everybody else, and started earlier in the day. By college I couldn’t get through a day without felling something.

You know the old saying, “One tree is just right. Two is too many. Three is never enough.” Heh. That was me all right. I kept thinking that I could keep my behavior under control, but as soon as I felt the buzz of that chainsaw it was all over and I’d wake up the next morning covered in sawdust.

I had lost my friends, my family, and the shade in my backyard when I finally decided to seek help. That’s when I first came to these meetings and told everyone “I’m a lumberjack, and I’m not OK.”

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Wooties: Exclamation Print

Please Please Exclamation Point

Woot Shirt, Exclamation Print

Woot Shirt, Exclamation Print

Dear Woot: how dare you ask me to turn my body into an advertisement for your crappy company – and pay for the privilege?

You think I’m such a sucker that I’m going to hand you my hard-earned cash for the right to plug your stupid web sites? Oh, wow, I get my choice of five ink colors printed on the same high-quality shirts Shirt.Woot uses – that’s like giving slaves the right to choose the color of the whip.

So what if your name is not actually on the t-shirt anywhere? So what if the only people who will even know that it’s a Woot shirt will be people who are already Woot fans? So what if it might as well be “advertising” the exclamation point itself? It’s still, uh, like, commercialism and, uh, stuff, and…wait, let me start this over:

Dear Exclamation Point: how dare you ask me to turn my body into an advertisement for your crappy punctuation mark – and pay for the privilege?

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Wooties: Infinity Plus One

Saga Genesis

Woot Shirt, Infinity Plus One

Woot Shirt, Infinity Plus One

1st Place in Derby #303: Nightlife, with 255 votes!

1: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2: And the earth was without form, and void; and God realized he had taken on a much bigger project than he had anticipated.
3: And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw exactly how much of a mess he was dealing with, and decided to set aside a week to work on it.
4: And God picked up some gum wrappers and folded some laundry that he had done the week before, but it didn’t seem to impact the clutter very much.
5: And God called his mom, because hey, that was something he needed to do this week anyway, and he could pick up while he talked to her.
6: And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and his mom said she didn’t think that was a very good idea. And God got frustrated with his mom, and changed the subject.
7: And God knocked over a glass and broke it and told his mom he had to go. And he could tell his mom was upset, but what can you do?
8: And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. And God started putting together a playlist to listen to while he cleaned up, but ended up spending the entire third day putting together the perfect mix.
9: And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And that really took it out of God, and he figured he had worked hard enough to take a break.
10: And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. But not, you know, great. But good enough for now. He’d get back to it next week.

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Wooties: Mid Act-Three Conflict

Singing In The Dead Of Night

Woot Shirt, Mid-Act Three Conflict

Woot Shirt, Mid-Act Three Conflict

Quoth the raven, “Not so fast, Senator Valducci.”

You? You dare? You dare come here? You dare come here and confront me? You dare come here and confront me in this place? You dare come here and confront me in this place in front of my family? I thought we’d finished you.

But no matter. You’re just one bird. You can’t stop me. You can’t stop what I have planned. Which, incidentally, is a far reaching plan to take over this entire planet by using the recording industry to sue their customers so that the underground will embrace the various high-quality downloadable files I’ve made of my birdsong and play them constantly in bars, record stores and coffee shops, giving me a legal basis to claim everything as my territory under avian law. Here are some documents, in fact, proving everything I just said. I’m not scared of you seeing them because, as I said, you’re just one bird and you can’t stop me.

Okay, boys. I’m gonna get in this helicopter and go to my meeting with the recording industry. You go ahead and mow him down with your powerful machine guns which he couldn’t possibly dodge by going left, right or up. I’m sure he can’t escape, no matter how many times he’s done it before. Oh, and attach this extra long easy-to-grab cable to the bottom of my helicopter, too. No reason, I just think it looks cool.

Wear this shirt: with other people wearing this shirt. Then call the police and report a murder. Then tell them, technically, more than one crow is called a murder and grin smugly. The bruises will probably heal and a good lawyer should be able to get you some money!

Don’t wear this shirt: and think it will give you mystical Ghost Dance powers or something. It’s just a freakin’ shirt.

This shirt tells the world: “You broke the cardinal rule.”

We call this color: E-Lemon-ate Him… For Good.

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Wooties: No Face

Hack The Mainframe

Woot Shirt, NO!Face

Woot Shirt, NO!Face

It’s just like the movie “Hackers” but with hairballs

They said “How can a cat join an international hacking syndicate?” They thought that just because I lacked fingers (for typing), an advanced cognitive apparatus, and any formal software training that I couldn’t make it as an “Anonymous” hacker, but…

HACK HACK HACK … excuse me, I … HACK HACK. I seem to have something caught in my throa–HACKHACKHACKHACKGULPHACKHACKHACK.

What’s that? You want me to move off your rug? Don’t worry about it, I think I’m fine I just need to HACKHACKHACK ugh HACK.

What was I saying? Oh yeah! Nobody believed I could make it as a hacker…

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