Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Travelling by Tivo

I think I may spend more time preparing for this trip than I actually will on the road. Right now I'm wasting my time watching travel shows, which I've been recording using the search function on my Tivo. What I've learned so far is that travel show hosts are terminally perky, and their shows are mainly engaged in selling the places they visit. Not that that stops me, of course. If there's anything I love, it's a pointless waste of time, especially if I can skip the ads.

My cat

Doesn't like to have her picture taken.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

The Issue of the Car

I think I've mentioned that this is going to be a driving trip, so one might assume that there would be a car involved. So far, one would be wrong. My primary problem is, while I do want to drive across the country, I'm not particularly interested in driving back. You see the problem. Also, my car has a variety of issues that make it a bad choice for a five thousand-mile trip, such as non-functional windshield wipers, no AC (not installed) or heater (broken) and a tendency to break down coupled with a difficulty to get parts (it's a 28-year-old Porsche). So that's out, even if I could find a way to get it back home. So that leaves me with three potential plans, ranked in order of their likelihood of success.

Plan A) Buy a car here and sell it when I get to Florida. The idea is that I would buy a 6-8 year old nice, ordinary car with maybe 60,000 miles, something that gets good gas mileage and the resale value wouldn't be affected by adding another 5,000 miles or so to the odometer. Upside: It would probably work, would require no change to my present plans. Downside: It's a risk of about $6000 dollars, cars in Florida go for less than they do in California (due to emission requirements), so I'm looking at a loss of about $500, there's no guarantee I would be able to sell the car.

Plan B) Borrow my mom's car (a Jeep Cherokee), leave it with my grandfather in Fort Meyers, convince my brother that what he really wants to do on his way back from Sweden this summer is drive across the country or, failing that, take a break to come home, and then go back and drive it myself. Upside: No financial risk, minimal change in my plans (unless Zach decides he'd rather plan his own summer), possibility that Z. might want to have his own (really nice) car, allowing me to drive it out. Downside: Requires convincing my younger brother to do something, or do more driving than I really want to, the Jeep gets lousy mileage (enough to make up the $500 difference from Plan A? I'm not sure).

Plan C) Post on Craigslist asking if anyone wants their car driven to Florida and doesn't mind if it takes a month. I pay gas. Upside: No one has to drive the car back. Downside: It seems massively unlikely that I will find such a person. I've posted anyway, because, what the heck, but I haven't had much interest. In fact, the only things my posting have gained me are one person who wants some stuff moved to Orlando and one really nasty email that's made me feel lousy about this whole endeavor. Here's what happened: Saturday night I put my post in the rideshare section of craigslist. It says, basically, that I am driving to the east coast and looking for someone who wants their car moved, that I'm headed for Florida and can't drive stick. Sunday morning I get an email from someone looking to have their car moved to New York. I write back and say sure, (it's kind of out of my way, but I haven't been there since I was a kid). I tell them I have a clean driving record, but I'm planning to stop along the way and it's likely to take about a month. Here's the email I got back:
how dare you suggest such a thing? (Lack of capitalization is theirs, not mine.) no one is going to let you go touring around the country in their car
I think there was more, but since I deleted the email I don't have it to share.
I'm not sure what bothers me the most about this, the implication that I am some kind of joyriding freeloader, or just the spontaneous nastiness of it. I mean, sure, it's not a great idea. It's more than likely that there won't be anyone who will take me up on it. But 'how dare you'? Where does the outrage come from? It isn't like I showed up at this person's house, took the keys and then said, 'oh, by the way, I'm gonna take about a month to do this and I'm going by way of New Mexico'. I was completely upfront with them; all they had to do is say no. I thought about writing back and sharing this, but I decided not to. Some people are just too unpleasant to allow into your life.
Anyway, the whole episode has added a sour note to the proceedings, which I hope I can get over soon because I really want to look forward to this trip.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Prep work

I suspect that I may like planning trips more than I like going on them. Not that I don't like travelling, obviously, but there's just something about reading a guidebook. You stay in all the best hotels, eat all the best food and never get lost, sick or bored. Of course, you don't actually go anywhere, but nothing's perfect.
Anyway, what I'm getting at is that I've been doing a lot of reading for this trip. (Which is kind of counterproductive to the goal of not overplanning and being so damn neurotic, but whatever.) Total guidebook count: 6. I've got general guides to the USA, Texas and Florida (although the Texas and Florida guides are from 2001 and 2003 respectively, since I bought them at a discount store). City guides for Las Vegas and New Orleans and one book about roadside restaurants. So I don't have a car yet (more on that later) but I do know where I want to eat in Mobile.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The plan

So, here's the plan. On March 31 I will depart the Bay Area, in a vehicle TBD, and head for Las Vegas. Assuming any of my lazy friends ever get around to responding to my evite, they will meet me there and we will have a weekend of fun and frolic and senseless loss of money. (Although I, personally, do not plan to gamble much, as I am bad at card games and think playing slot machines is about as much fun as feeding a parking meter. But I digress. I'll be doing that a lot.) Once we all sober up, they will head back to their relatively sensible lives and I will hit the road, destination Grand Canyon. From there it's across Arizona and New Mexico to Santa Fe, then down (through Roswell!) to Carlsbad and the caverns. After that I mean to pick up I-10, then lose it again as I go through Austin, but find it in time for Houston (passing through) and New Orleans (staying several days). I figure I'll follow the Gulf Coast through Florida, visit my grandfather in Fort Meyers and eventually end up in Key West. Or, I'll get lost and break down somewhere in west Texas, never to be heard from again. One of the two.

Might as well get started

Okay, so it seems I've got the preliminaries out of the way; I guess I might as well start writing in this thing. Of course, the trip I mean to be writing about won't start for more than a month, but I've never let a lack of anything to say keep me from saying it anyway.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Is this thing on?

This is going to be the blog of my cross-country trip, starting in April. It's not active yet, I'm just learning the ropes.