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It’s 5-O-Clock in the Morning

Posted on May 31st, 2018

Dave!I had to work across the mountains today which meant getting up at 4:30am so I could be on the road by 5am. Given how horrendously bad Seattle morning traffic is these days, there's really no other option. Gone are the days of leaving at 6am and arriving in plenty of time.

In another 5 years, I'll probably be leaving at 4:30am. It's getting that bad.

I wonder how quickly it will end up being faster for me to fly than drive, even when going through security and driving to the airport are factored in?

Whatever happened to the Star Trek future where we get to just beam ourselves to where we need to go?

Monkey Star Trek

Probably languishing in some vault somewhere along with the cure for the common cold. Shelved because oil companies and airline companies would become irrelevant.

And don't get me started about flying cars...

Monkey Star Trek

   

McSodium Explosion

Posted on May 11th, 2018

Dave!Today I finally made the time to have my winter tires changed over to summer tires.

My plan was to arrive just when the tire store opened because you can usually get right in. Except there was an accident on the bridge into town so I was delayed 20 minutes. By the time I finally got there, the wait was up to an hour-and-a-half, and it would have been faster for me to change my own tires at home with my emergency car jack and a lug wrench.

It was a bummer, but it wasn't the wait that bothered me.

It was the reason for the wait.

As somebody at the tire store noted, there was no skidmarks on the bridge. Which means that the car (van?) which crashed into a car (which then crashed into another car) never made any attempt to stop. Which means they weren't paying attention. Which means they were probably texting or changing their baby's diaper or cooking a steak, or whatever the fuck it is that people do when not looking at the road like they're supposed to be.

Apparently the distracted driving "no-texting" law that Washington State passed has done nothing to solve a serious problem that's only going to get worse. Which begs the question... how many people have to die before this starts being taken seriously?

And speaking of dying...

As I've said many times before, I love McDonalds... despite constantly taking shit for liking McDonalds.

My favorite breakfast is a McDonald's Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit, no bacon, substitute round egg instead of spongey yellow powder egg. I could eat them every single day because it's just such a perfect breakfast food. The reason I don't eat them every day is that A) McDonald's is a 20 minute drive from my house, and B) they are expensive as hell. But right now McDonalds is running a special where you can get two of them for only four dollars! So, naturally, after getting my tires changed I did not pass GO, I did not collect $200, I went straight to McDonalds for a late breakfast.

It was, as expected, delicious.

Except I made the mistake of looking up the Nutrition Facts for my breakfast while I was eating it.

We'll set aside the 80 carbs in two Breakfast Biscuits and skip right to the 2100mg of sodium... 88% of the sodium that you're supposed to have in a day. And saturated fat? 11g which is 106% of the recommended daily ammount!

Holy shit!

I've never been so grateful that McDonalds is 20 minutes away and their McBiscuits are usually so damn expensive, because I'd be dead if they were next door and, you know, affordable and all.

Except they are on sale... and I am driving over the mountains tomorrow... so it looks like I may be courting death once again. Curse you McDonald's and your delicious breakfast!

   

Gas-n-Don’t-Go

Posted on May 10th, 2018

Dave!Before heading to the airport to turn in our rental car in St. Louis, we stopped for gas so we wouldn't have to pay the insane refueling fee that the rental car places charge.

As I was standing there waiting for the tank to fill, I saw this...

Empty tequila bottle on a gas pump

Here's hoping it wasn't the driver, but I'm guessing it was.

Given the non-stop trainwreck of horrors that has been drinking-and-driving, you'd think that people would learn something. How many more lives have to be destroyed before people learn something?

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Categories: Travel 2018Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Vegas Redux, Finale

Posted on June 23rd, 2017

Dave!Despite not having to get up early (my flight wasn't until 11:55am), I couldn't seem to get back asleep after waking up at 4:00am.

Oh well. It gave me time to iron so I didn't have to fly home wrinkled.

In regards to my Leaving Las Vegas... I love McCarran airport. Unlike the majority of US airports, it's very efficient and has been optimized to move people in and out as quickly as possible. TSA PreCheck line backed up? THEY OPEN ANOTHER PRECHECK LANE! WHAT A CONCEPT! And... ZOFG... plenty of gate seating! For all other airports I arrive 2 hours early because even with PreCheck you never know. With McCarran I am perfectly comfortable arriving 45 minutes before flight time knowing I'll be at the gate 15 minutes later and, not uncommonly, walking into the plane ten minutes after. I wouldn't hate travel so much if this was the normal at airports.

The flight home was great.

The drive home, however, was brutal.

True to form, WSDOT can’t concentrate their efforts into QUICKLY completing a single project... they have to sprinkle resources on several projects, which means they all drag on forever. On I-90 East, they have ripped out huge chunks of the highway and just left the holes there, meaning three lanes of traffic become one on a busy Friday where half of Seattle is headed over the mountains.

Which translated into 45 minutes added to my drive time home.

I'm guessing it's going to be left that way all weekend long. And I just don't get it. Light it up, double-shift that shit, and GET. IT. DONE!

How the hell is it that I am constantly seeing videos from other countries where they will replace an entire fucking bridge in two days... or replace an entire fucking intersection overnight that fell into a sinkhole... or rebuild a fucking washed out road in ten hours... WHEN EVERY DAMN PROJECT IN WASHINGTON STATE TAKES MONTHS TO YEARS TO COMPLETE?!?

It wouldn’t be so bad if they would focus on one project and GET. IT. DONE! But they don’t. New projects keep popping up all over the place while old projects sit incomplete. You don't stop for construction ONCE on your journey... you stop FOUR TIMES. I'm guessing I-90 is probably going to be fucked up for weeks... and apparently nobody at WSDOT gives a flying fuck that it’s summer vacation season and NOW is when the roads need to be fully operational. Why would they? It would seem there are -zero- consequences to having everything torn to shit all the time.

And speaking of never-ending construction...

When I pull into my driveway, I notice that my new ultrasonic mole repeller isn't doing the job.

On the contrary, the mole seems to be taunting me by DIGGING NEW HOLES RIGHT AROUND THE ULTRASONIC STAKE!

Kölsche

Ugh. No idea what my next step will be there.

And... apparently there was a power outage while I was gone.

The horrible part about it is not that all the clocks have to be set... but that the Litter Robot DOES NOT COME BACK ON WHEN THE POWER IS RESTORED. How fucking useless! I mean, seriously. WHY? They sell a battery back-up, but I always assumed that it was so your Litter Robot would run while the power was out. I don't care about that... but I care quite a LOT that it just stays off permanently if there's a power interruption.

And so... the Litter Robot was filled. The two back-up litter boxes were also filled. So nasty. And I feel terrible. Especially for Jenny. She is pretty particular about wanting to poop in a clean box. She will hold it and hold it until she can't anymore, and is forced to use it. I can't believe that she didn't poop on the floor. I would have. And so now I have to buy a $40 battery just to make sure Litter Robot works after an outage. This is on top of the already outrageous price for the unit and the accessories I had to buy that should already have come with it.

I ordered the battery so this won't happen again... but, wow. Still feel terrible. I should have been checking the security cameras to make sure it was running.

And with that... time to catch up on all I missed. Good thing I have a weekend coming up...

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Categories: Cats 2017, Travel 2017Click To It: Permalink  1 Comment: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Trains in Absentia

Posted on May 30th, 2017

Dave!After an early two-and-a-half-hour drive over the mountains for work this morning, I came to the conclusion that the horrific condition of public transportation in this country (particularly on the West Coast) is something Americans should be terribly embarrassed over.

I mean, seriously. our options here are so bad they might as well not even exist. Which explains why our roads are so badly crowded... everybody is in their car, despite the high cost, because public transportation can't get them where they want to go. At least not easily.

Take for example my situation this morning.

If our train system was anything like what you'll find in European or Asian countries, I'd walk to a local train that would take me to the neighboring city of Wenatchee where I'd board a regional train to Seattle. I'd then find a local train that ran out of Downtown over to West Seattle. Done.

But, in reality, I can't catch a local train. The tracks run right thought town, but there are no local trains, thus no local stops. So I have to drive to Wenatchee and hop a train there. Except the ONE train that runs from the station each day boards at 5:35am and doesn't arrive Seattle until 10:25. That's nearly 5 hours for something I can drive in half the time. Even worse, there is no train from downtown to West Seattle. I'd have to find a bus, assuming one even exists.

And so I end up driving, because that's the only real option available to me.

There have, of course, been multiple attempts at adding high-speed rail systems to Washington State. Usually they focus on the Western corridor from Vancouver, BC to Seattle, WA to Portland, OR. But sometimes they study plans for a route that runs Spokane to Wenatchee to Seattle too. Whether or not these trains ever happen is anybody's guess. But it's just too good of an idea to pass up, so hopefully one day.

Spokane to Seattle in under two hours? Wenatchee to Seattle in under an hour?

Where do I sign up?

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Categories: Travel 2017Click To It: Permalink  1 Comment: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Boys Who Drive Passes

Posted on December 20th, 2016

Dave!And... I'm home.

Except I almost wasn't, because when my plane landed one of the mountain passes was a complete disaster with chains required and the other was closed. This would have meant adding 1 to 1-1/2 hours to my trip... except the pass miraculously opened up ten minutes before I reached the turn-off.

While there are many ways to get in and out of Redneckistan, there are only two that really make sense when heading to the coast are the two main mountain pass routes.

Stevens Pass (2-1/2 hours) is usually very well maintained in the winter because there's a big ski resort at the summit and they want people to be able to get to it. You're deposited quite a bit north of Seattle, but it's a quicker run so you can usually arrive in a similar time-frame. The major downer is that Highway 2 is a 2-lane affair with not a lot of opportunities to pass slower traffic. Get behind a truck driving 10 miles per hour under the speed limit and you'll be stuck for a while...

Mountain Passes of Redneckistan

   
Blewett and Snoqualmie Passes (2-1/4 hours) create my preferred route to Seattle. Once over Blewett (a 2-lane highway), you merge onto I-90, which has a 4+ lanes of traffic and a speed limit of 70mph...

Mountain Passes of Redneckistan

   
Quincy/Vantage/Snoqualmie (3-1/2 hours) is an alternate route you can take when Blewett Pass is closed (which happens surprisingly often). This was the route I was going to take today... until Blewett opened back up at the last minute...

Mountain Passes of Redneckistan

   
Portland/Central Basin (7-1/2 hours) is the grueling route you take when all hope of getting over the mountain passes is lost. Yes, there are White Pass (5-1/2 hours) and Crystal Mountain (4-1/2 hours) routes you can take, but the odds are very good they'll be either closed (or more trouble than it's worth) if the main passes are closed. I'd rather just bite the bullet and drive home free and clear if it seems that's a better option than waiting out the weather (you can read about one of my times traveling this route right here)...

Mountain Passes of Redneckistan

   
You can, of course, always fly in/out of Wenatchee (assuming the airport isn't closed) if you don't mind having to abandon your car in Seattle until you can find a way back to it. I've done this at least twice, because sometimes not driving at all is the best option.

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Categories: Travel 2016Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Winter is Coming

Posted on November 16th, 2016

Dave!When I woke up this morning I immediately grabbed my laptop so I could take a look at the weather in the mountains. Last night the forecast was for snow, and I didn't know if this would affect my trip over the mountain passes.

The top of the pass webcam was completely obliterated by snow...

Stevens Pass Mountain Camera.

Fortunately, the drive over wasn't bad at all. The roads were bare and wet and no trouble to drive on...

Stevens Pass Road.

Stevens Pass Road.

Stevens Pass Road.

Stevens Pass Road.

Here's hoping I have this kind of luck for the drive back.

   

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