Road Trip 2007 - Leg 1 (Portland to Tucson is in the books)...
... but not without trials and travails...
The day got off to a slower start than I hoped (I wanted to be driving by 8 or so) because "certain members" of the traveling party (not your daughter, Sue) didn't get their laundry done the night before. By the time we got everything jammed into the car, it was nearly 10 am. The softside cartop luggage carrier was the first problem. We got that loaded and tied down in a fashion, but it was not terribly aerodynamic. As a result, we wondered if it was going to be a casualty somewhere along the way... more on that later.
The first problem was heading over the mountain pass into California. Ian had plugged the laptop into the AC adapter, and within five minutes the adapter started flashing overload. I wasn't sure where the electrical smell was coming from, but it didn't look good when the "Service engine soon" light came on shortly thereafter. Mentally I pretty much figured the car was trashed and Ian's internship was over before it got started. Knowing nothing about cars, I was guessing we'd burned out the alternator and the battery wouldn't start the car the first time we stopped for gas. But after much prayer and worry, everything started fine in Redding when we finally stopped, and the light went out. It was likely either a bad fuel batch or a loose gas cap. Either way, that didn't do much for my emotional well-being to start off the trip.
Next up, the carrier. We stopped in Sacramento for gas, and I checked the condition of the bag. A couple of the straps were already showing signs of fraying, and the front end facing the wind resistance was torn up pretty badly. About five minutes after we resumed our trip, a strange sound started up from the roof. You guessed it... one of the straps snapped. Now comes the big question... How do you pack an already full car with even more stuff? Very creatively... Needless to say, there wasn't any room for two in the back seat, nor did the driver have any extra leg room. I'm going to try and get my $49 back on that dud. Again, another blow to my already fragile self-confidence.
I've been off caffeine for two months prior to this trip to get the max "Red Bull" effect. The good news it that it worked very well. I earned my "iron butt" award by logging time behind the wheel from about noon on Monday until 9 am on Tuesday. Couple that with very little food (I was trying to avoid carb comas), and I was a bit ragged by the time we got to my dad's place outside of Tucson Arizona around noon today. Needless to say, a VERY long day.
We've decided not to try the Tucson to Orlando leg in one shot. Our 24+ hours today cured us of that idea pretty quickly. The logistical support of Team Duffbert (thanks, dear wife!) got us a hotel reservation in San Antonio for tomorrow, leaving us with "only" a 12 hour drive. San Antonio to Orlando on Thursday is 17 hours, but again, that seems "short" by comparison.
My dad and Lila have been great hosts, and we had better food today than we've had our entire trip so far. Good company and lots of laughs, and they got to meet Ian's girlfriend, too. It's nice to have a place to call home, if only for a few hours. Showers are a great idea, too. :)
The trip wasn't all bad, however. We hit the Arizona border just as dawn was beginning, so I (as the only awake member of the group) was treated to an awesome sunrise. And the GPS navigation unit my wife bought me for Christmas? That thing is a freaking miracle. If I had known how useful and convenient they were, I'd have purchased one a long time ago. After just one day, I can't imagine traveling without it now.
I'd type more and try to be witty (for once), but my mind is just about toast. I'm going to try and stay up a couple more hours, and then crash for (hopefully) a good long time.... I'll see if I can do a "day two" from San Antonio tomorrow.