Tuesday, November 08, 2005

TUESDAY: 720 Miles and Here We Are

Backfill: Nov 15
SOME PHOTOS COMING

We arrived at the hotel at 9:30 this evening. What a relief to be standing still--well, to be standing at all!--and to be able to let the dogs loose in the room rather than in their crates.

The room is actually a 2-room suite, so Jackie and Elliot have the back bedroom and I and my dogs get the front room with the queen sleeper sofa. We have an x-pen set up as a gate between the rooms, primarily to separate Elliot and Jake. If it were only Tika and Boost, we could probably leave it open. Although... Elliot and Boost have played enthusiastically together, mostly wrestling cheerfully. Boost has tired Elliot out, so it's good to be able to keep her away from him for a while to let him rest.

Time Plus Distance: We left my house at 8:08 this morning. After a quick stop for ice for the cooler, we hit the road. We took 85 south to 101, cut across 152 and Pacheco Pass to I-5 and down to the Grapevine (read a little history of Grapevine Valley/Grapevine Pass/Lebec). In north L.A., we bipped onto 210 to take us to I-10 in the late afternoon, which then took us all the way to Phoenix.

The dogs all behaved very well, which means sleeping in their crates the whole trip except for rest stops, when they were able to get out briefly on leash. Boost started whining around 8 in the evening and we made an extra pit stop for her, but I think it was mostly boredom. Other than that, we stopped about every 2 hours. It's amazing that zipping into a roadside rest area, walking the dogs in a circle for a couple of minutes one or 2 at a time, pottying ourselves, and zipping back onto the freeway, can quickly consume 20 to 30 minutes.

The weather was nice the whole way, partly cloudy and quite windy on the southern part of I-5 in the central valley. By 5:00, past Palm Springs i believe, it was already too dark to snap photos (I forgot about wanting to take photos until about 4:30, so we really have very little from the trip).

We covered 720 miles in an elapsed time of 13 hours and 21 minutes, but that included 2 hours and 56 minutes of stops (yes, I tracked it all!), so driving time was really only 10 hours and 25 minutes. That's an average of just under 69 miles per hour. It helped that we hit very little traffic through the L.A. area, so seldom had to drop a lot below the speed limit. It also helped that several hours of I-5 and I-10 outside the mountains and urban areas were legally 70 MPH, and I-10 through most of AZ was 75 MPH.

As incidental notes and followups to comments and questions from our trip conversations:
  • Noticing that you enter Tejon Ranch before you even get to the Grapevine and then realizing that the rest stop at the top of the pass is still part of the ranch, we wondered how big that sucker is. 270,000 acres! Tejon Ranch is quite a corporation, whose land assets are used for all kinds of things, from nature preserves to real estate to filming locations.
  • "Whiffenpoof": In case you ever wondered why a song about "poor little lambs who have lost their way" is called "The Whiffenpoof Song" (as in, "what the heck is a Whiffenpoof?"), it is an elite glee club at Harvard.
  • In the category of Words That Have Too Many Letters: "Neighbours".
  • There is a huge windmill farm in San Gorgonio Pass near Palm Springs. It might dwarf the ones at Altamont Pass. However, when we went through, all the windmills were still and no wind blew. This particular area contains over 4000 windmills, although the trend at all wind farms these days is to replace hundreds of smaller ones with single, larger, more efficient ones, so a more accurate measure might be KWH generated.

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