Wednesday, August 25, 2010

4400 miles

I got up in Santa Rosa after a pretty good nights rest and was on the road by about 8:00 am.
I filled up with Diesel right away at the Loves truck stop in Santa Rosa and really didn't make any stops until I got to Gallup, NM. I don't know what people do when they live in Gallup, cuz it is out in the middle of no where, but they have a lot of restaurants there, and I stopped at Sizzler for lunch mostly cuz they have a huge salad bar and I really couldn't bear to eat another sandwich out of a paper wrapper.
Lunch was good... I was careful not to over eat... too much. I was back on the road and heading towards Phoenix. The short term goal for the day is Flagstaff. Once you get to Flagstaff, you get to make the first turn on to a different highway in about 8 days. I was happy when I turned onto I-17 south and new I was only about 2 hours away. In the distance I could see some big storm clouds and huge bolts of lightning were flying out of them and striking the earth. I couldn't tell if the storm was before or after Phoenix, but I was hoping that I wasn't going to have to drive through it. About 30 minutes outside of Phoenix, I drove through about ten minutes of torrential rain. It was no fun, but it didn't last too long.
I arrived at Eric's shop around 4:00 pm and unloaded the van, my trip was over.

Santa Rosa to Peoria

Monday, August 23, 2010

Back to Santa Rosa

I left Van Buren this morning at about 8:30, stopped for diesel and then mashed the pedal to the floor.
Today was pretty uneventful though and I drove through the rest of Arkansas, Oklahoa, Texas, and then into New Mexico. I booked a room at the Hampton Inn in Santa Rosa, NM and got here about 5:30 pm.
I have to say.. I am sooooo tired of McDonalds, Wendys, Subway, Taco Bell, and pretty much every food place that you find at the highway exits.

Van Buren to Santa Rosa

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A long day on the road

I left Morganton, NC about 8:00 am and started heading West. I took a quick stop off the freeway at Gatlinburg Tennesee. There is a huge store called the Smoky Mountain Knife Works. I spent about 45 minutes wandering around there. They have thousands and thousands of knives for sale. There is every model from just about every manufacturer. It is pretty cool, and I picked up a couple of cool things there.
I got back on the highway and was making good time. I only stopped for fuel the rest of the day and landed in Memphis around 5:00 pm. I had planned on stopping for the night in Memphis, but decided to push on to Little Rock, Arkansas. 
When I got to Little Rock, I figured I would drive across the city and find a hotel on the other side so I wouldn't have to deal with any kind of Monday morning rush hour. I passed the Hampton Inn that I stayed at last time, but decided to keep going because it is a little bit in "The Hood"... I think Little Rock is mostly in "The Hood" 

Once I passed through Little Rock it was just after 7:00 pm and I punched in "Van Buren, Arkansas" to see how far it was. It turned out that it was just another two hours away, and I was feeling pretty good, so I kept the gas pedal down and rolled in to Van Buren around 9:30 pm.
Today's Mileage....  836 miles.  It was a long day, but I pushed a little and with the time I put in yesterday after the show ended and a little extra today, I have been able to cut a full day of driving off the trip.

Morganton to Van Buren

Saturday, August 21, 2010

And out the door I went!

The show went well.. a little hectic, but all's well that ends well.
We hired a local guy to help us with the setup and strike. Local was actually about two and a half hours away. Just before the show ended I got a call from him saying that the car had broken down, and he was 40 minutes from Cary. The show wasn't that big, so it wasn't the end of the world, but Townsend's flight was at 4:50 and it was 3:00 pm when the show ended. Townsend and I struck most of the equipment in record time, and he helped me get the biggest, heaviest case into the van, and then he got out of there at about 4:20. The airport is only about 10 minutes away from the hotel, so fortunately, he made his flight and I was appreciative that he helped as much as he did!
I then had to haul all the gear down the service hallway, around the corner and into the elevator. Then on the ground floor, around another corner and down a hallway out onto the loading dock.
It is Saturday so, thankfully, the loading dock was pretty dead, and I was able to leave the van parked in one of the bays.
I got everything loaded and then saw that my front tire was pretty flat. It was about 5:15 or so and I had to take care of it before I got rolling.
I found a gas station and put air in the tires and started heading west. I drove for about 3 hours and landed in Morganton, NC, where there just happens to be a Hampton Inn!

I have to look at the map now and plot my course for tomorrow's drive. Oh.. wait... It is I-40 West.. for the next 4 days.

Night everyone

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Trip

I got up and about on Wednesday morning and went to a 24 hour Fed Ex office joint. I was able to print, fill out and overnight more Russian Visa paperwork and then I continued to head East on I-40.
A couple hours later, I stopped in Dandridge, TN to have lunch with my friend Dan.
We had a really great time hanging out and then both of us had to get back to work. My work was driving to Winston Salem, NC.
I landed in Winston Salem, and checked into.... you guessed it... another Hampton Inn. I went to the Village Tavern for dinner, and got a good nights sleep.

This morning I got up around 5:00 am and was on the road by 5:30. I drove the last hour and a half and landed at Raleigh Durham International Airport... Well.. actually at the Waffle House by RDI and waited for Townsend to land on his flight from Jersey.
He was about 20 minutes early which was good and I picked him up and we went to the hotel.

After a quick load-in of a few pieces of the gear, we set up the office and slide review room, made the client happy and then drove out to starbucks for some breakfast.
After breakfast I went to my room and pretty much fell asleep until 12:30 pm which was a nice, unexpected treat!
We went for lunch with the client, who is super cool and after some chicken fried chicken at Cracker Barrel we went back and loaded in the rest of the gear and set up the show.

At 6:30 PM or so Townsend and I went to a sports bar called Woody's that one of my friends had recommended last time we were here, and had some chicken wings and a beer.

Tomorrow's call is 6:30 am and when the show ends at 3:00 pm we will pack it up and as hard as I am finding it to believe, I will be heading West on my way back to Phoenix. Only 2200 miles to go!

The Trip

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Day 3

Van Buren to Nashville
The alarm went off at 6:00 am and I was really lazy.... I snoozed till 7:00 am and finally got on the road about 7:45.
The driving was going without incident, and I stopped for a bite to eat once I got through Memphis. I almost stopped in downtown Memphis for lunch, because I had gone to a place once that had a 4 pound cheeseburger. Then I realized I was not going to actually order the 4 pound cheeseburger, so I didn't waste time going into downtown Memphis and just continued on.
I was going to land in Nashville around 4:30 pm and was looking forward to a nice dinner and also the ability to find a FedEx office that was open so I could send off some paperwork that I need to mail for my Visa Application for Russia.
About 75 miles West of Nashville, I started hearing chatter on the CB radio about an accident up ahead. The truckers were saying that we should get off the exit before the accident and detour around it. I popped open the computer to bring up Google Maps and just as I was about to type in "Nashville" to search for a detour route.... the last exit zoomed by and then about 2 miles later I was sitting at the tail end of a couple of miles of traffic that wasn't moving anywhere.
Fortunately, I had a pretty full tank of diesel though so at least I could have air conditioning.
I popped onto the Tennessee Department of Transportation website and found the map that showed the traffic incident report and was dismayed to find out that they estimated that the road would be cleared by 6:00 pm!
I put the van in park and spent some time working on an image I shot in New Mexico. After that I chatted with some friends online and talked my Dad through a Windows XP problem he was having on his computer. Then I finally watched a movie for about an hour or so.

Finally the traffic cleared up and started moving. I really REALLY hate it when you sit and wait for an accident to get cleared up so you can get by, and by the time you get to the scene, everything is gone except for the skid marks and broken guardrails. It is just downright annoying. If I have to sit on the highway for two hours, I want to see some destruction!

I finally rolled into Nashville right at the tail end of rush hour and when I got to the hotel it was about 6:30 pm I got some dinner at Ruby Tuesday's and then crawled into bed.

Here is the image that I was working on from Monday afternoon in New Mexico.
New Mexico Sky

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Santa Rosa, NM to Van Buren, AR

Well this blog will most likely be about as boring as my drive was today....
No problems with the van, and considering it is all on I-40 heading east, there is not much chance of getting lost.

I left Santa Rosa this morning at 7:00 am and drove all day pretty much non stop.
Rolled into Van Buren around 6:00 pm with a time change to the central time zone.
613 Miles today
1189 Miles so far
Peoria to Van Buren

I am sitting in Frank's Italian Restaurant, waiting for a Chicken Parm dinner.
Tomorrow's trip should take me into Nashville.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, August 16, 2010

On the Road

On Saturday the 14th of August, I flew to Phoenix and had a great weekend of hanging out with Audra and Eric. On Sunday Eric and I went to the FOH Productions shop and pulled the equipment for a little show in North Carolina. We loaded it in a sprinter van and first thing this morning, around 7:00 am, I set off on a 2200 mile drive to Cary, NC. The drive today went fine. I had a little rain in West New Mexico, and pulled into Santa Rosa, New Mexico around 6:00 pm.

PHX to Santa Rosa

I checked into the Hampton Inn which is on Historic Route 66, and then went to a little place down the street called the Route 66 Restaurant. While I am sure there are probably a million eating establishments on Route 66 with the exact same name, it was still a cool looking place.

2010-08-16 19:18:51 -0600

That was about the extent of it's coolness though. The food was pretty bad, and the service was worse. Last time I ate in Santa Rosa, it was at Dennys which is right next door to the Hampton Inn. Although very convenient, The food was awful there as well. It was so bad in fact that the chicken I ordered was not fully cooked and I sent it back. By that evening, I was completely wrecked with food poisoning and for about 2 days, I was in the bathroom every 15 minutes.
So, while Santa Rosa is a convenient place to stop driving for the day... The food so far is pretty terrible!

Tomorrow, I will drive through Texas and Oklahoma, and call it a night in Van Buren Arkansas. There is a cool little Italian place next to the Hampton Inn there and I am looking forward to a decent dinner!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

San Francisco

I got a call on Monday from one of my clients to see if I was available this week to head to San Francisco to be a technician in a breakout room at an Advisory Board for a Pharma company.
I was happy to be able to say yes after a gig in Buenos Aries was cancelled.
The gig was Thursday and Friday, however as the call time on Thursday was 7:00 am I decided to get a hotel room on Wednesday night so I wouldn't have to get up at 3:00 am and drive through morning traffic.
I got a good deal at the Four Points Sheraton and cruised in with no problems. I stopped at the Golden Gate bridge for a quick photo, and I mean really quick. It was so cold and windy, that I didn't spend more than 15 minutes there.

The Golden Gate Bridge
I met Bill and Tony at their hotel at 6:45 and we walked across the street to the office building where the meeting is being held.
Tony and I set the break out rooms up and we were done by about 7:45am.
Now I will basically sit around and wait till they go to the breakouts at 2:45 pm today. It is going to be a long long day of sitting around with nothing to do.