Category Archives: Technology

Day 4: Custer, SD to Albert Lea, MN

Day 4(Custer, SD to Albert Lea, MN): Today worked out pretty well in the end; despite a late start in cold, wet Custer, and various stops to see Mount Rushmore National Monument (impressive, interesting story), Wall Drug (triumph of roadside marketing), The Badlands (including a short helicopter ride for $35, which was great!) and the Corn Palace (which was holding a freaky polka gala for seniors), I still managed to cover 637 miles, ending up in a town with the unlikely name of Albert Lea in Minnesota (directly south of Minneapolis, on Hwy 90). I’m getting pretty skilled at “drive-by tourism.”

The car is still going strong, although I definitely have a (wheel?) bearing that’s about to fail. I can’t tell if it’s a front or a back wheel though. Still, the noise is only noticeable at low speeds, so once I’m on the interstate it doesn’t bother me so much (I’m kind of in denial about it I think).

I was finally able to get a signal on my Sprint PCS cellphone today in Minnesota, for the first time since I was in Oregon 3 days ago; someone had left a message expressing doubt that I would be able to update my weblog on a daily basis… Ha! Updating the blog is MUCH easier than picking up cellphone messages!

Day 3: Butte, MT to Custer, SD

Day 3:(Butte, MT to Custer, SD). Only saw three states today — Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota, almost all of which was spent blasting along I-90. The last and most interesting portion of the journey took place on Hwy 16 just after Gillette; I eventually stopped in a Super 8 motel in a town called Custer, SD, a few miles shy of Mount Rushmore, which I’ll check out tomorrow morning.
Today was another largely problem-free day for the Deathmobile too, although I gave myself a scare setting off from Butte this morning, when the battery appeared to be dead… The battery was fine, I’d simply left the car in gear (to get better access to a tape that was jammed in the stereo), and the neutral safety switch had disabled the ignition. Luckily I figured it out before calling AAA! On a more worrying note, there seems to be some rear-end noise again — this would be particularly frustrating, as the entire rear end was re-built TWICE in the last couple of weeks…
I decided to quit driving relatively early tonight, both so I could see Mt Rushmore & the Badlands tomorrow, and because I was pretty tired from the previous day’s driving. This evening I ate Buffalo steak in The Captain’s Table, then had a couple of Budweisers (it was either that, Bud Light or Coors) and a gamble in the Gold Pan Saloon. It was fun, but this town is a bit too “Twin Peaks” for my liking…

Day 2: Bend, OR to Butte, MT

Day 2:(Bend, OR to Butte, MT) Today I covered 4 different states — Oregon (Hwy 97, which was beautiful and fun, and I-84, which was fast), Washington (I-82, FWY 395 & I-90, all surprisingly dull), Idaho (I-90 very briefly, quite pretty) and Montana (I-90, fast, dark & fun) — before finally stopping at a Best Western in Butte, Montana. So far, I’ve covered 1,364 miles since leaving San Francisco yesterday morning.

The Deathmobile performed faultlessly all day, and I really enjoyed large chunks of the driving. High points were overtaking trucks on twisty Hwy 97 between Madras & Biggs (wish I had stopped to take pictures of Shaniko — population: 25), and swooping down through forested valleys on I-90 in Montana.

Day 1: San Francisco, CA to Bend, OR

Day 1 (San Francisco, CA to Bend, OR) After running various errands in the morning, I set off from San Francisco at about 10:45am this morning, heading out across the Bay Bridge and up I-80, before switching to I-505, I-5 and then Hwy 97, ending up for the evening in Bend, Oregon (via Crater Lake, which I got to see just before the sun went down — pretty spectacular, although without the famous blue colour).

The Deathmobile seems to be holding up pretty well so far out here in truck country, although it gave me a scare by running a lot hotter than usual (it was 90F+ most of the way), and then dumping a load of coolant on the floor the first time I stopped for gas. I eventually persuaded myself not to worry about it.

7 Days to Go…

Just seven days to go before I set off from the Bay Area for New York… I’ll be leaving San Francisco, in a 33-year old car, on Wednesday 18th September, and aim to arrive in Manhattan by Wednesday 25 September.

My route will include Crater Lake, Oregon; Spokane, Washington; Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Missoula, Bozeman & Billings, Montana; Gillette, Wyoming; Wall & the Badlands, South Dakota; Minnesota; Wisconsin; Chicago, Illinois; Indiana; Cleveland, Ohio; Philadelphia; and finally ending up in New York City.

Hopefully I’ll be able to post progress reports here at regular intervals.

Rant City

After several hours of faffing, I’ve finally got the blogs looking vaguely consistent with the rest of the site, so it looks like rant city for me from now on!