Saturday, February 13, 2010


I'm home. I've actually been home a full day (in just a few minutes).  I ended up rolling into Madison just before six am. I still cannot believe how perfect everything went. Even my arrival.  Several hours before exiting off of the beltline onto John Nolan Ave., I set this super loud countdown timer alarm for something like four hours and 28 minutes. It was an estimate I made having just woken up from a nap in a I-55 rest stop, just outside of St. Louis, for fun.  I'd even forgoten about it. It went off exactly as I got into the exit only lane for John Nolan, at first I thought it was my radar detector. Now that's a good estimation (envision me patting myself on the back).

   Anyway, I had, while driving, formed a plan when I realized that I would be getting into town around six am.  Here's how it went (the plan, AND reality, because reality ended up matching the plan perfectly):  first, I'd go home and unload everything from the car, quickly.   (OK now bear with me, I'm going to try and add a bunch of photos to this (not links) so there may be some overkill, but I need overkill to learn stuff. I'm also experimenting with resolution and file size, so there's going to be some disparities there too. Deal with it)

Then, it being 6am on a Friday, I'd go to Mickey's Dair Bar for breakfast. I'd  buy a paper, for the super quiz.

Once firmy entrenched on a stool, I'd tell my story to whoever wants to listen (except for Peo and Sadie, they 'have' to listen). The usual suspects were present: The owner Peo was, as always cooking. But, as is our tradition, he came out from the kitchen to collect the sports section of the paper I brought in. I don't read it anyway.

Of course, Sadie is in that photo too, but as she never stops moving, she's a blur as usual. I did manage to get her to stand still for a second. 

Also there, as always, was John, the Professor Emeritus, with whom, I have the best conversations in the morning.


It turned out that the guy behind him, eating,
works at one of the UW's heating plants that we (my work) deal with all the time. He knows the names of all of our control operators, because they communicate about steam flows and things like that all the time. I, as a maintinence guy, blissfully do not have to deal too much with people on my job, just machines, wire, ones and zeros. 

After a hearty breakfast, it still being before 7am, and with me possesing the knowlege that sunrise in Madison today, will occur just before 7am (I used my iPhone to check sunrise time while I was still driving, hours ago) my plan was to go over to Olin Park, on lake Monona to get some nice sunrise pictures, to go with the ones I took in Florida, a week ago, on the beach in Daytona. Boy, I'll tell you ; what a difference a week, and 1500 miles, makes (I accidentaly deleted the good photos that I took on Daytona beach using the  nice SLR camera, but I still have some from the point and shoot, somewhere, I think. That was before I got organized with my photos)

As I left Mickey's,  I realized that in my zeal to unload the car, I unloaded the other camera (with the long lens) and also the tripod. So, like a demon, I raced across town, keenly aware of the reddish glow coming from the East. I was sure I was going to miss the sun coming up. I got to my place, ran in, had to wait for the stinkin' slow elevator, grabbed the camera and tripod, and hauled ass over to John Nolan again, this time headed away from the isthmus, toward Olin Park. I figured I'd get a pretty good view of the sunrise from there.  I was so concerned about missing the sunrise, I even tried to take a photo from my moving car, just in case I missed the whole sunrise, I wanted something. I didn't even check the settings. In hindsight, the camera was not in "easy" mode, or even in autofocus. Not one of the shots from the car were in focus, but it was moot anyway because I made it to the park before the direct rays of yesterdays sun did

I even managed to not crash while getting there, on the ice covered access road, because of the horribly ill advised summer tires on any snow at all.

I parked on the boat ramp,

and got some, I think, OK shots of a pretty nice, fiery sunrise.

I suppose that one of me isn't too vain.

After that, I went home, opened up some of the packages that had been delivered while I was gone. Including a big fat check from the refinance of my home. That and another check that has been sitting around waiting to get sent in (I still bank with a California bank that doesn't have branches in this state, so I have to mail in checks). Also waiting for me, was the power cord for my GPS that would have come in very handy, had I gotten it before leaving.  My GPS log data is still trapped in the GPS, but I'll have time now to fiddle with it, and recover it. Hopefully.  So, before heading over to my freinds at Terry's car care, I wired the cord up to a cigaraette lighter plug (that I bought at a truck stop outside of Mobile, AL) in order to test it out on the short trip to Terry's (that way I can say I had it working ON the trip, not after it, because the trip isn't over untill I have my snow tires back on the car, and the last tank of gas put into it.

It worked fine.

After that, I dropped of the car and chatted with the gang at Terry's.  Such good people there.  Then I walked home, via State St. and the Capitol Square.

Where I slept for quite a while. When I got up, it was Terry's calling to see if I was going to pick up my car before they closed. See, aren't they cool? I went and picked up my car, drove out towards the C.C.Rider clubhouse, as there was a meeting happening in a little while, and filled up the gas tank one last time to conclude the trip of a lifetime. 

Total miles traveled (via odometer):      3568
Total gallons of gas purchased:             173 gallons
Number of fill ups:                                16
Amount paid for gas:                            $517.77 (much cheaper than airfare and a week of rental car)
Average mpg:                                      20.6  ( My car CAN sip fuel, it's just not as fun to do it)
Nights not in my bed at home:              9
Nights sleeping in the car:                    1
Nights in hotels:                                   4
Nights in my tent                                 4
Photos taken:                                      a little shy of 4 Gigabytes worth.

I'm sure there are other stats I can come up with, but you get the idea.

This has to have been the best road trip EVER!  Thank you everybody! I love you all!

I plan to add posts to here as I get time to recall and write down what happened. My first goal is to make a timeline of every day so that I don't forget anything. Once I have that, I'll simply write what happened. I hope you all read it, and let me know what you think.

For today. I'm taking a special lady for a ride on a snow train in North Freedom,WI, then later tonight I'll be at the CD release party for the new Droids Attack album. It's at, where eles, The Frequency.

Bye, for now.


At February 14, 2010 at 12:17 AM , Anonymous dragonlms said...

What a wonderful ending to such a great trip.
I would like to see the Florida and Wisconsin sunrise photos side by side. Would be fun to compare the landscapes.
The photos of Mickey's are great. Perfect way to begin your first day back in Madison.
Welcome home! Looking forward to more stories of the trip.


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