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Trip report part 6 of 6 & stats. 
25th-Sep-2006 11:10 pm

Thursday, 8/31/2006

We woke up in Billings, Montana, with 4952 on the Trip Odometer B.

The cool thing about Billings, is that I-94, which goes right past our house in Michigan, starts there. We realized that if we changed our plan, and instead of going out to Escanaba for Friday night (and then bumming around the UP until Sunday) we stuck with I-94, we could actually get HOME Friday night.

The GPS was off for a short while -- between Billings and Miles City, so the total number of miles it knows about driven on this trip don't quite jive with the trip odometer. Plus, since I didn't see the "route totals" page until part way through the trip, all my bumming around town for the prior week was included too.

At a Flying J truck stop, south of I-94 (on I-29?) I saw something I never expected to see -- at least not any time soon -- the entire truck stop was SMOKE FREE!

While driving, we were contacted by a friend, who recommended a dining option in the NW Suburbs of Minneapolis (Tequila Berries). However it was in the 10 or 11pm (local) time-frame when we were going through, we didn't see any signs for them on the side of the highway, and we weren't hungry, so we didn't stop.

Friday, 9/1/2006

We woke up in Hudson, Wisconsin, with 5850 on the trip odometer.

Saw a car we found quite amusing. It was a new-style VW Bug painted yellow. The company it was running for was "Merry Maids", the license plate was "CLN BUG", and the logo painted on the side was "We've got the cleaning bug".

Once we left Madison, Wisconsin, we were no longer on the detailed maps I'd downloaded to the GPS, and it started giving me route calculation errors. It didn't even tell me to turn around and go into the UP, it just gave me an error.

At about 8pm we hit the Michigan border. A friend had called to remind us about the smac house-concert in Ann Arbor... starting at 8pm. I'd already passed on my apologies, since we wouldn't be back until the 4th, and not filed the information. (My memory is bad enough as it is -- why try to remember stuff I know I'll not use?) At about exit 60 I pulled off at a rest area and let the spouse (who was less tired, and who tends to drive faster, especially after dark) take over. We made it to the concert at about 10:30 -- in enough time to hear the guest(s) of honor perform 2 songs and everyone else who wanted to in the circle perform one.

Ok, folks who know me know I'm pretty much of a stats geek, so here goes:

Trip B Odometer on return home (23:45 on 9/1/2006): 6526

GPS stats:

Distance: 6490 Miles

Stopped time: 12:41
Driving time: 108:24
Total time: 121:06

Driving Average: 59.9 mph
Overall average: 53.6 mph
Max speed: 89.6 mph

Um... I remember that. I was driving, and we were going slightly uphill on a 2-lane (HATE 'EM!) road, the passing zone was not terribly long, and I could see the car cresting the hill in the oncoming lane that I was using. I believe that was on our way out of Wells.

You might think that now that we're home, the vacation is over, right? Well, wrong.

We had a small opportunity for me to work on stuff that had been neglected over the last 2 weeks, and for the spouse to work on stuff that had been neglected over the last 4 weeks, but with the house-concert on Friday, a gathering of friends on Saturday, and then going out for lunch on Sunday, trying to fall asleep (unfortunately it didn't work) early (7pm?) so that when we hit the road at midnight I'd be rested, there really wasn't much time to work on recovering from the vacation.

So on Monday, 9/4/2006, at about 00:15, we finished packing the car and hit the road. Drove up to Mackinac City. Got in quite early. (We were planning to meet jebra who'd been looking after my car at about 6am -- he was camping locally -- and I didn't want to risk being late.) I wanted a McDonalds, so I could get a French Vanilla Cappuccino, but all we found was a Burger King. We went there anyway and drank cola products until jebra called. He'd not entered the range of telephones working until he was parked, so he just parked and hoofed it over to the BKing.

Way too early in the morning for me, but in general, I think it's better to leave at this time then the few hours later we left last year. (That was also way too early in the morning for me.) We joined the throngs, hopped a bus, and were half way over the bridge in the North-bound direction when we saw the Governor more or less leading the pack of walkers. (Many runners had preceded her.) It wasn't too crowded when we started walking.

Don't know why I like walking the bridge so much, but I really do enjoy it.

When we were done with the walk (while I was competing for facilities), the spouse bought me some fudge to placate the coworkers who didn't get a 2-week vacation, and left in a car loaded up with ham equipment, heading for parts unknown. I, completely exhausted, sat in the passenger seat of my own car, and let jebra, who'd been borrowing it while we were gone, drive himself home. We made a few stops, for food, drink, and exploration of State Parks. Primary on the list of Things To Do was the avoiding of the highways, which were not moving just about every time we encountered them. We finally made it back to his place -- a short while after the spouse made it home.

I saw something I've not seen since my car was new. jebra is a bit more ... cautious ... than I, and/or has less of a Need For Speed. (I don't think I'm a demon, but when the speed limit is 70 I'd usually rather move at 70 than 55.) I tend to fill the tank these days when there are 300 miles on the trip. As I was heading home, having dropped him off, I stopped to get gas at 317.4 miles on the trip. I think it was 8.004 gallons that went in. WOW. That's most of the way to 40 mpg.

Maybe I'll slow down a bit!

When I got back to work on the 5th, I discovered over 1200 e-mails I needed to process. A week later I'm down to a backlog of about 200. Unfortunately that includes a few lists. I worked on darn near nothing but one of those lists on Saturday 9/9/06, and managed to process only 7 of the digests...
26th-Sep-2006 05:12 am (UTC)
Merry Maids is the cleaning company I used in Nashville, and also here in Houston, to spiff up the house for Chocolate Decadence. They do good work for reasonable rates.

Talking about Billings always reminds me of rail-games! :-)
26th-Sep-2006 03:28 pm (UTC)
Note to self: when in Billings, take I-94 to visit mbumby.

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