Almost there...

Friday, August 30, 2002

The level of hypocrisy in Texas never ceases to amaze me. For a part of the country that considers itself so very American, it consistently demonstrates that they have no idea what that really means. This dress code would've gotten me suspended in high school six times over in one day's outfit. Between my hair color(s) and my trench coat and my black gothic attire and so on, I would've been sitting at home reading instead of suffering through school. Hmm. Maybe that wouldn't have been so bad after all. But that's not my point! They would've kicked out a kid who lived by most of the rules, got great grades, but who wasn't into trendy fashion.

But the indignities I would've suffered would've been minor compared to the full extent of enforcing this dress code. First there are basic first amendment issues. Having T-shirts with a message or picture does not equate to shouting fire in a crowded theater. No way. And they state that you both can't have body piercings, and that you can't cover them if you do have them. Do they really think that they can create a rule effectively banning your right to get a piercing? Seems unlikely. But still, this is trivial compared to the religious implications. The policy states that you may not wear "Head coverings of any kind ". Does this include the Jewish yammika or the Islamic head scarf? There is no caveat listed in the policy for religious garments or symbols. If there were, this girl wouldn't be suspended. But she is. And I hope the ACLU takes this district to the cleaners.

Monday, August 26, 2002

Another weird benefit from Tiggers illness: suddenly, getting a blood draw is no big deal. I always used to hate any sort of needle stick or blood draw, but now having done it to Tiggs so often (from giving her sub-cutaneous fluids, to testing her glucose, to daily insulin shots...) it really doesn't bother me any more. I was expecting it to be as bad as ever when I had blood taken this morning, but it just wasn't. Go figure.

Friday, August 23, 2002

Started my period this afternoon and did the happy dance around the office. Luckily, I'd told my cubemate and she could revel in my happiness as well. She said, "You've got that healthy not-pregnant glow about you!" Now I just need to figure out what's making me sick. Going to go visit my doctor on Monday.

Meanwhile, I'm having a huge problem finding my motivation at work today. I must have left it at home. Lemme just run home and grab that. Yeah.

This article has come across my desk a couple of times in recent history. To those who say polyamory is just wrong, or isn't the way the human animal works, I say, think again. We're socially conditioned in Western culture to believe that monogamy between one man and one woman is the only path, but biology and history doesn't bear it out as the only way.

Thursday, August 22, 2002

Just got to spend lunch with will and the cutest little baby boy ever. Alex is about 6 months old now, and he's a wicked flirt. Smile at him, and he has the whole coy thing down pat. He likes my glasses just as much as Camryn did at that age. Gotta spend more time around him. Such a cutie!

Every now and then, I browse the news and stumble on something totally unbelievable. I mean, who was having sex with a four year old? Beyond that, geez, how do you teach a 2 and a half year old how to take care of menstrual cycles? It was traumatic enough at 12. I can't imagine having to deal with it before I was potty trained. Just freakish and bizarre.

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

After 10 days touring the heartland, I whole heartedly agree with Mark Morford. Thank god I live in this area, 'cause just about anywhere else, I'd be the lone freak screaming at the walls.

Ugh. Exhausted again. Intentionally went to bed early only to be awakened at 2am feeling the need to vomit again. I'll be so happy to start my period. I'm wondering if this is just two cases of food poisoning in a row or if I picked up some wacky midwestern bug on the road. I feel fine the rest of the time, but waking up in the middle of the night to wring my guts out twice in a week is not pleasant at all. So here's the basic plan: wait to see if I start my period on time; retest if I don't; Rick will get independently tested to see if he has some magical regenerative process; and once the obvious is fully ruled out, if I'm still getting sick, then go see a doctor. I'm just not willing to go until I can conclusively say, "No, I'm not pregnant!"

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Okay, I've long been against circumcision. Heck, have sex with one man who isn't circumcised and you quickly learn exactly what that little piece of skin is there for, and it seems forever criminal that it was ever taken away from anyone from that moment forward.

But I've heard a million arguments about why it's no big deal, some going so far as to say it's healthy, which in this day in age is absolute bunk. I've heard more than one person argue, "Oh the babies don't feel the pain. It's not as bad as it would be for an adult." I hearby officially say, "Bullshit!" It hurts the baby every bit as much as it would a child or full grown man. If you're thinking of circumcision for your child, don't do it. Wait until they're off age to make their own decisions about their health and religious beliefs. Don't just go whacking off part of their sex organs! It's barbaric!

Saturday, August 17, 2002

Good news: It was just food poisoning. I'm not (detectably) pregnant. I'll be double checking again in a two weeks if I don't start my period on time, but for now, I'm so happy it was food poisoning.

Bad news: Tigger is dead. I came home last night to find Tigger lying in a pool of her own urine. I called the vet and left a voicemail asking about home euthanasia. Dr. Derenzi called me back last night and told me she could come today during her lunch hour. So I gave Tigger a bath last night to clean her up, and fed her treats, and took her out this morning to walk around the neighborhood one more time. And when Dr. Derenzi came, Tigger died in my arms so very quickly. We're leaving now to drive her to Sacramento to be buried in my uncle Lee's garden next to his dog Figi. Wish her a speedy journey to the afterlife, where hopefully she'll chase and catch the birds she wanted to catch this morning.

Friday, August 16, 2002

Oh I feel like hell this morning. Woke up at 3am and needed to throw up. Did so. Then did so again 15 minutes later, and again an hour later. But I had a critical meeting at 9am and couldn't just stay home.

All of that is miserable, but then there's another issue. I don't throw up often. In fact, the last time was 3 years ago when we were moving out of Sacramento. And it turned out I was pregnant. So, of course, Rick's mind immediately leapt to this possibility. I thought, no way, I was on the road, and I didn't have sex with Kevin, and besides, Rick has had not one, but two vasectomies. Not possible.

But then again, I never throw up. And vasectomies are only 99.9% effective as we've proven before. So now I feel not only miserable and worn out from losing two hours of sleep to vomiting, but also terribly anxious about what it all could mean.

It's an odd sensation to catch yourself praying you have food poisoning.

Thursday, August 15, 2002

Emailed from a reader:
"The lower octane gasoline is sold at higher elevations. It is all over the place when I visited Colorado a few years back. You probably saw it in and around the Rockies. It works fine at at high elevations. I think it has something to do with the lower air pressure, but I could be way off."

Thanks Roger!

It still amazes me that people actually read my random babblings.

One more thing: Who would've known that gas is so different across the country? Sure, I knew the Bay Area had the highest prices around, but the reasons are more interesting than I'd suspected. The absolute lowest price I saw was $1.34 a gallon, which isn't that much better than the $1.49 across the street from my house, and which doesn't accurately reflect the range of prices we saw on the road. What was more interesting was that most places didn't even have the same grades as California. If you pull into any gas station here, the lowest fuel grade will always be 87, usually followed by 2 other pumps distributing 89 and 91 (or 92). Out in the middle of nowhere, we routinely saw two grades at most stations: 85 and 87. Sure, the 85 octane was cheaper than what we'd pay here in California, but is it really good for your car? We'll never know because we never quite trusted it. We figured maybe it was for tractors or something. And we did actually see farm equipment pulled up to the pumps (in Wisconsin).

So, I guess I feel a bit better about what we pay for gas here. I never buy better than 87 since my owner's manual says that's what my car is designed to run on, but I'm glad I don't have to watch out for lesser fuel grades, and I'm quite glad not to have to pay for toll roads, because pitching 40 cents into the basket every few miles in Illinois was a major nuisance (and one that utterly wrecks fuel economy).

Buying a gallon of gas is still cheaper than buying a gallon of bottled water. I'd actually be willing to see gas prices go up a bit more to encourage the production of more fuel efficient vehicles and less SUVs. But that's another story...

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

I'm back! And I'm enjoying the lovely California weather and the lovely California road signage and my lovely home cleaned by my lovely Mr. HoneyBear.

Some basic trip statistics:
We saw license plates from 46 out of 50 states. The exceptions were Rhode Island, Alaska, Vermont, and Mississippi.

We drove 3,315 miles from Berkeley to Pittsburgh in 8 days, averaging about 415 miles a day, with our peak day being over 600 miles (from West Yellowstone to Keystone).

I took 154 pictures, many of which will be featured here soon. Kevin took lots of digital video which will be featured on his site soon.

We ate 5 DQ chocolate dipped cones each - once a day whether we needed it or not - before returning to civilization where good coffee (or at least Starbucks) was readily availble. We only ate at McDonalds once, on the way to the Cleveland airport because (sadly) we missed the bagel shop on the way out of Pittsburgh. I left weighing exactly 148 pounds and returned weighing 147.8. Quite a shock really after more than my fair share of fried food on the road (french fries, onion rings, fried okra...).

Number of pro-life oriented billboards spotted: 4. One that annoyed me the most: "Your mother was pro-life." Actually, no, my mother is pro-choice and chose to get pregnant when she did. Of course, this was also the first billboard of it's kind that we saw. The rest just couldn't rile me so much.

Though we visited the Spam Museum, we did not actually consume any Spam. Shockingly, the The Spam complex (museum and gift shop) does not have a Spam Cafe. Kevin did purchase a can of Garlic Spam for home consumption however.

Another road tradition that developed was the singing of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer soundtrack (bootleg) daily. Kevin and I got pretty good at doing Anya and Xander's duet. We recorded it on our way to the Cleveland airport. Everybody's gotta have a recital right? Kevin should post something in a few days (after his computer arrives).

General impression of the road from here to Pennsylvania? It's a lot like I-5, but with more corn.

The rest of the story is best told in living color (and video). You'll have to wait a few more days for that.

I'm back! And I'm enjoying the lovely California weather and the lovely California road signage and my lovely home cleaned by my lovely Mr. HoneyBear.

Some basic trip statistics:
We saw license plates from 46 out of 50 states. The exceptions were Rhode Island, Alaska, Vermont, and Mississippi.

We drove 3,315 miles from Berkeley to Pittsburgh in 8 days.

I took 154 pictures, many of which will be featured here soon. Kevin took lots of digital video which will be featured on his site soon.

We ate 5 DQ chocolate dipped cones each - once a day whether we needed it or not - before returning to civilization where good coffee (or at least Starbucks) was readily availble. We only ate at McDonalds once, sadly on the way to the Cleveland airport because we missed the bagel shop on the way out of Pittsburgh. I left weighing exactly 148 pounds and returned weighing 147.8. Quite a shock really after more than my fair share of fried food on the road (french fries, onion rings, fried okra...).

Number of pro-life oriented billboards spotted: 4. One that annoyed me the most: "Your mother was pro-life." Actually, no, my mother is pro-choice and chose to get pregnant when she did. Of course, this was also the first billboard of it's kind that we saw. The rest just couldn't rile me so much.

Though we visited the Spam Museum, we did not actually consume any Spam. Shockingly, the The Spam complex (museum and gift shop) does not have a Spam Cafe. Kevin did purchase a can of Garlic Spam for home consumption however.

Another road tradition that developed was the singing of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer soundtrack (bootleg) daily. Kevin and I got pretty good at doing Anya and Xander's duet. We recorded it on our way to the Cleveland airport. Everybody's gotta have a recital right? Kevin should post something in a few days (after his computer arrives).

General impression of the road from here to Pennsylvania? It's a lot like I-5, but with more corn.


Monday, August 12, 2002

So on our way out of Chicago, Kevin insisted we go to this one breakfast place in Willemette. The Great Breakfast Hunt continued! So, off we went, 20 miles in the wrong direction. "This place has great omelettes," he says. "What's it called?" says I. "I don't remember. I just have an address." Ten minutes later we pull up in front of Walker Bros./The Original Pancake House. For those of you who have followed the Great Breakfast Mission, our two standard breakfast haunts in the South Bay were Hobees and The Original Pancake House. I stood there, stunned. And then I had my usual - potato pancakes. Yummy.

So, for Emily this should work out really great. Soon after I get home, I expect to be dragging her to Los Altos or Saratoga for a great breakfast from home.

We made it to Pittsburgh last night at around midnight. Kevin's apartment had all the windows closed tight and was swelteringly hot. But we opened it all up, carried all the boxes and bags and such upstairs, and it was almost habitable when we went to sleep at 2 am.

Today we made a whirlwind tour of IKEA, Bed Bath and Beyond, Target, WalMart, and Home Depot, coming home with enough to start a household, with the remainder being delivered by IKEA on Wednesday. We stopped for lunch at the Cracker Barrel again (yummy fried okra...) and when we came out, the sky had cracked open into a thundershower. Standing there about to step into the parking lot, we knew this wasn't California anymore. Again. Then Kevin and I walked around the campus of CMU and headed to Shadyside for a coffee and one more Fluxx tournee. Kevin beat me senseless. I guess it's only fair that Pennsylvania is his state, since he's got to live here.

Tomorrow we get up early and drive back to Cleveland to make my way across the country via Southwest Airlines. Time for bed now.


First, a bit of back story. In Reno on the first day, we left the casinos, after Kevin shot his wad, and started what would become a two thousand mile tradition: Dairy Queen. We had lunch, and our first of a series of chocolate dipped cones. Slowly, over the course of the next few days, we realized we had a tradition. Once a day, whether we needed it or not, we stopped for a chocolate dipped cone. In Idaho, in Montana, Wyoming, in South Dakota, and Minnesota

So by arriving in Keystone that night, we had gone another 200 miles beyond where we were planning, which turned out to be a good thing. This gave us plenty of time for Mt. Rushmore and Jewel Cave.

Mt Rushmore is self-described as the “Shrine of Democracy” but I couldn’t help noticing that it truly seemed to be a particularly good allegory for America in general. It was most assuredly the Shrine of Consumerism. Mt. Rushmore had the largest gift shop of any attraction we’d been to so far. They had Mt. Rushmore keychains and tumblers and puzzles and t-shirts and figurines and pens and pencils and well, heck, if it was ever logo-branded in America, they had it there with a Mt. Rushmore stamp on it. Then they had another “bookstore” inside the museum. As we emerged from the museum and ampitheater space, we noticed Abe Lincoln standing on the plaza. Well, okay, an actor playing Abe Lincoln. He looked pretty darned authentic from his stovepipe hat to his beard to his long lanky body. Everything, except the Reeboks he was wearing.

We headed out of there and down toward Jewel Cave. So far, they’ve discovered 127.8 miles of Jewel Cave, but they believe there’s about 5000 miles of cave, not to mention all the other local caves. We don’t get that sort of thing much in California since most of the state is so close to sea level. But there above 3500 feet, you can go down a long ways before hitting the water table. Pretty cool to imagine that you really could live underground there. On our way out, we stopped at Dairy Queen for our daily dipped cone, and through Custer State Park on and on to Wall Drug.

Wall Drug. I’d never heard of it before this trip, but everyone I talked to about the trip said two things: one, that they hoped Kevin and I would still be friends after this, and then followed that up with a terrible road trip story; two, everyone said, ‘Oh cool! You get to see Wall Drug!” I had no idea. Wall Drug is not a drug store. Perhaps it was at one point, but now the drug store section of Wall Drug pales in comparison to your average Rite Aid, but the rest of it, is something else entirely. It’s a restaurant. It’s a soda fountain. It’s a mall. It’s a fudge shop. It’s a tourist trinket shop. It’s a leather shop. Heck, it’s a whole lotta things. Out in the backyard we took pictures on the Jackalope,.had our free ice water, and watched the T-Rex come to life. Then we sat down for our 5 cent cup of coffee, and Kevin had a slice of pie. Several hands of Fluxx later, South Dakota was Kevin’s for the Fluxx road trip championship. And we were off again. As we left town, the sun gave us a real show. Gorgeous.

Heading toward the Corn Palace, we realized we’d need to stop there in Mitchell for the night. Surprisingly enough, the reach of the Sturgis road rally extended this far, and we had to scramble for a hotel room again. We found one at the Holiday Inn, where our room had two doors: one to the hallway, and one out to the pool and mini-golf course. Since it was after closing, I strolled around the eerily quiet indoor course alone in the dark. Kevin suggested a game in the morning, but we decided to hit the Corn Palace and get the heck out of town.

Next stop, the Jolly Green Giant in Blue Earth, Minnesota. Here we consumed our last ritual DQ cone. Once we reentered civilization, we replaced the DQ dipped cone tradition with coffee. Good coffee. Oh good coffee how I missed you.

Then there was the Spam Museum. As we exited the freeway, we smelled the Hormel factory creating Spam. We pulled up and entered the Spam Museum. This was no Potato Expo. Oh sure, the Potato Expo was great, don’t get me wrong, but the Spam Museum had production value. First there was the Wall of Spam, and then the docent offered to take our photo with Spammy, the Spam mascot. We strolled through the rest of the museum (seeing the Spamettes, and the Spam Game Show, and trying our hands and racing the Spam packers in the factory) and through the Spam shop, which actually managed to put the Mt. Rushmore shop to shame, having everything from Spam desk sets to Spam ice scrapers to Spam aprons to Spam earrings. They did not have a mailing list though. Nope. We exited singing to ourselves, “Spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam wonderful Spam!”

We pulled into Minneapolis near the Mall of America around 5:30. Kevin pulled into the first hotel we saw and before long we were in the mall. We were immediately drawn to Camp Snoopy. I had picked up a discount coupon at Subway earlier in the day which made the unlimited ride pass only $16.95. And the log ride called our name. The kid sharing the log with us asked, “Do you like log rides?” We said exuberantly, “Yes!” He kept staring back at us. Kev asked, “Why, do we look too old for log rides?” He shook his head vigorously in assent. Oh well. We’re definitely not. He got drenched, and we made it out with only a faint misting, learning the important lesson of sitting in the back on this ride. We spent the next 3 hours riding like maniacs before dinner at Café Odyssey. Of all the theme restaurants I’ve been to, this is the only one I wish would expand. Three different dining rooms – themed as Machu Pichu, Atlantis, and the Serrengeti. The dinner choices were eclectic and satisfying, and truly put the menu of the Rainforest Café to shame. After dinner we had 20 minutes before Camp Snoopy closed so we did the bumper cars, the roller coaster, and the bumper cars one more time. Then after a day of driving through corn fields, we headed upstairs to the theater to watch Signs. I screamed a lot. I think M. Night Shamalan wanted to make a 50’s horror flick, and prove that they could still be scary. It was, and it was fun, and refreshing. The monsters were real. It wasn’t a dodge like so many movies now. It wasn’t that the aliens were really the government. The aliens were really aliens and really hostile. Very cool.

We left the theater and made our way across the empty mall to the car. Any mall has a certain eerie quality after hours, but after seeing Signs, and being in the largest mall in America, it was especially spooky.

The next morning we rose early and headed back to the mall for coffee – real coffee. Oh, and a turn on the bungee trampolines. Turns out, Kevin weighs too much, but he still made me do it. Standing in line with all the kids, I thought about how I should’ve learned my trampoline lesson by now, but I haven’t. They still look like fun, even after the trampoline accident I had 4 days before traveling across Europe with 36 students. Bouncing like a mad fiend, I quickly developed a new level of respect for Cirque du Soleil. It’s tough to flip over and such. I could learn it in a few more tries, but it was still scary. I’ll do it again given a half a chance though.

For breakfast, we headed up to the General Mills Cereal Expereince. It’s a mini-theme park where you can get your face on a Wheaties box, or blend your own cereal flavor. We opted to just have breakfast – 2 small bowls each, plus a bag of Lucky Charms marshmallows for the road. The small bowls turned out to be hardly small. I had Golden Grahams and Wheat Chex, and Kevin had Golden Grahams and Honey Nut Cheerios. Oddly enough, this was probably my favorite breakfast on the road. Go figure.

We left there for the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices, which for better or worse has been absorbed by the Minneapolis Science Center. So, we saw a small piece of the medical device collection, and spent a lot of time playing in the rest of their Exploratorium-like exhibits.

We blew past the giant orange moose, only seeing him from the road, on our way to the Wisconsin Dells. The Wisconsin Dells are much like Vegas-lite. It’s a strip of tourist attractions fostered by low liability risk laws in Wisconsin. We just couldn’t pass up a chance to race go-karts around a giant wooden Trojan Horse. Clearly, this could never exist in California. The big sign at the ticket booth proclaiming, “No Insurance. Ride at Your Own Risk” proved once and for all we weren’t in California any more. And ride we did, quite at our own peril. After four different tracks, we headed back to the car to see what else the Dells had to offer. There was the Worlds Largest Water Park, the World’s Largest Indoor Water Park, Robot World (where the second Mir Space Station is on display), mini-golf courses with 90 holes, and some of the most bizarre and cheesy hotels we’d found. We finally took Rachel’s advice and headed to the Cracker Barrel for dinner. Southern cooking at it’s finest. We shared a country fried steak and a “Veggie” platter. Veggie being a loose term for anything that didn’t used to walk around on it’s own. Fried okra, sweet carrots, fresh corn, mac and cheese, dumplings, and so forth. Kevin had the best baked potato ever. We played several hands of Fluxx, finally ending in a draw for Wisconsin Fluxx Road Trip championship. After dinner, we decided to skip seeing the Mir and head on to Chicago so that we could sleep in the same hotel two nights in a row.

Chicago is a great city. We struggled through traffic into town, but once there we went to the Art Institute only to find that there was a special Family Day, which meant that tickets were free. It’s a nice collection. I wanted more sculpture and antiquities, but the medieval armor and weaponry collection was stunning. We left there and headed for Gino’s East. I then proceeded to begin my Fluxx winning streak. Before the end of the evening, (including later stops at two cafes) I had beaten Kevin 7 games to 3. Oh yes, I am the Illinois Fluxx Road trip champion.

So after that, we rode the El down to Sears Tower and spent an hour or so there, watching the sun set over the city from high above it. We walked out towards the waterfront, past the fountain, and then got attacked by bugs. We headed inland after each of us ate bugs, and stumbled on the free concert in Grant Park just as intermission was ending. They announced, “As you can probably see, we’re having a terrible problem with bugs tonight. Worse than we’ve ever seen it. Imagine playing a wind instrument, and taking a deep breath to play and getting a mouthful of bugs. It’s bad. So we’re going to skip Copeland and go straight into Gershwin’s An American in Paris. Sorry about that folks.” So we sat down and listened through the end of the show, being somewhat amused by the very zesty conductor and his wiggle booty. At the end of the show, we headed back to the car and off to Andersonville to see Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. We arrived at 10:00 for the 11:30 show, so we found a Starbucks, and played a few hands of Fluxx only to have them close at 10:30. We headed down the street and found another place for a few more hands. By now, I was definitely kicking Kevin’s ass and he never managed to redeem himself that night. We got to the theater at 11:10 to find a line that had wound around the corner. In a few minutes, they were sold out. As the fellow finished his announcement, I quickly raised my hand and Kevin and I launched. “But we drove 2000 miles to see this, and it’s our only night in Chicago.” Everyone else in line groaned. He apologized, and said, “Yeah, everyone’s got a story. But really, we’re sold out.” Then one girl came up and said, “Of course, if you could get one more person to donate their spot to you, you’d be cool.” And she handed us her seat token. Her friends were late and weren’t going to get seats, so she sacrificed for us. The guys looked at our token and told us to wait off to the side while he gave all the others who couldn’t get in a 2 for 1 pass for Sunday. Eventually, he took us up, and handed us one other token from the office. We got great seats with padding in the back row. And then the girl who donated her token came and sat next to us. Her friends had arrived, and the guy had let them in too.

And the show rocked. 30 plays in 60 minutes. And they baked us brownies.

More later…

Saturday, August 10, 2002

Further adventures from the road:

We left Yellowstone after touring the Mammoth Hot Springs and headed east on Hwy. 212 over Bear Tooth Pass. I've never been up that high before. We drove up and up, past the Top of the World, further up to 10,989 feet. Kevin headed out to the top of a hill and broke 11,000 feet. Amazing.

Heading down the hill, we stopped at Bogarts for lunch. After looking at the menu, we asked the waitress if the owners were from California or something. In fact, they were. We enjoyed our chicken pesto pizza on a whole wheat crust with chips and salsa for an appetizer. And they had a really great Ms. PacMan game in incredible condition.

We noticed a lot of motorcycles, but didn't really realize what was going on until we tried to get a motel room in Gilette. Turns out, every hotel room between there and Rapid City, South Dakota was sold out for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Luckily, Sarah at the Wingate Inn was extremely helpful and she found us a room down near Mt. Rushmore in Keystone. Sure, it was a 2 hour drive, but it was better than sleeping in a car.

More later....

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

A few snapshots from the road:

In the first day, we blew through California and swung into Reno. Kevin played some blackjack, but his normal luck wasn't with him and he lost it all. Still, on the way out, we ran across our first Dairy Queen and stopped for supper and what is a favorite for both of us - a soft serve cone dipped in chocolate. Yummers. As we ploughed across Nevada, we realized that Nevada must be the Dairy Queen capital of the world. They were everywhere. By 10pm, we were in Elko, ready to spend the night. We took the opportunity of a shorter driving day to sleep in. We woke up at around 9:30, dawdled around while Kevin showered and shuffled the car (while I bounced up and down saying, "Come on! I wanna go see the polar bear!!!"), went to see the World's Largest Polar Bear and headed out of town just before 11:00.

After the polar bear, we started hitting our stride. We had had no cell phone service since just outside of Sacramento. With a screaming beep! beep! beep!, Kevin's cell phone came to life just after we crossed into Idaho on Hwy. 93. I screamed. Kevin was really glad he was driving. He checked his text messages. His horoscope for the day read, "You're too slow. Others drag you along. It's more fun that you'd have alone." Heck yeah!

Driving through Idaho, I said to Kevin, "Hey, keep your eyes peeled for the potato." Kev says, "Heh. Nice pun."

We did finally make it to the World's Largest (styrofoam) Potato and the World's Largest Potato Crisp (a Pringle) in Blackfoot, Idaho. With utter glee, we toured the potato museum, learning about how potatoes are sorted and classified, saw a photo of Marilyn Monroe in a potato sack, and lots of other random potato trivia (including Thomas Jefferson was the first American to serve french fries!)

Passing through Island Park, Idaho, listening to the B-52's, I heard the first few chords of "Private Idaho" start up. We cranked up the radio and sang along. "Living in your own private Idaho!" while driving through Idaho. Hee hee!

Arrived in Yellowstone, and drove up to Old Faithful, hit the bathrooms, and walked over to the faithful geyser just in time to see it begin to erupt. Very cool. After it calmed down we decided to go inside and see about a room for the night. All sold out, everywhere in the park, everywhere in Gardiner, and almost everywhere in West Yosemite, except for a nice gentleman at the Three Bears motel who gave us his last room. We headed out back to West Yosemite and stopped at the Upper Basin geysers and walked through at sunset. We watched several geysers erupt from 5 feet away. As the twilight faded, we headed back to West Yellowstone. Checking in, the desk clerk said, "You know, I was holding that room, but you just had such a nice sweet voice on the phone. I decided to finally let it go." With profuse thanks, and key in hand, we headed to grab some dinner, and then to settle into the room. It's lovely, clean, and perfect. After calling over a dozen motels, this place is a perfect blessing.

Catch you all in a few days.

Catch you all in a couple of days.

Friday, August 02, 2002

So Kevin called while I was at lunch. He said, "You know those two days we're going to have in Pittsburgh? I'd give anything to have one of those here." He doesn't want to leave until Sunday morning, a full day later than planned. Sigh. Kevin always procrastinates. I knew it weeks ago, but I was hoping I'd be wrong. Eventually we'll get there, but I might never actually get to see Pittsburgh. I might just get as far as Cleveland, and just catch my flight back from there. Between the airline going out of business and this, we're getting off to an inauspicious start.