After two weeks, I’m finally back home from the trip across the country. I wish I could say it was all fun and games, but driving (even if it IS a new car) is very uncomfortable especially when you have to keep stopping to take care of three dogs. Oh well, now I have one day to rest before having to go back to work. I would be a little more verbose if I didn’t feel like I’ve displaced several joints in my body, but I guess I felt like I should wave out there into the inky blackness of the internet to prove I’m still okay.
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By the end of the month, the wife and I (along with our three dogs) will be hitting the road for a 2,000 mile trip to the midwest state of Illinois. “Why?”, you may ask. Well, it has been a couple of years since we’ve visited my wife’s family and we were unable to get down there for Christmas due to the wonderful world of Vacation Wars at work. Of course, it does make it difficult when we’ve been running a skeleton crew for quite some time now. Anyway, I’m not looking forward to the drive.
The funny thing is that due to 360voice.com, this month has been dubbed racing month so I’ve pulled out a couple of racing games I’ve had collecting dust on the shelve and have finally started playing such as DiRT. So, even though I hate driving in the real world, I do like to drive in a racing game. Weird, huh?
But wait! It gets even weirder. Over the weekend I finally caved in and purchased a new car, trading in my car of 15 years in the process. I guess that means I’m back to having car payments. Hmm? Oh! you want to know what kind of car I am now driving. It’s a red one. Okay, okay… the 2012 Dodge Avenger is what I’ve got in the driveway now.
It’s got a pretty smooth ride, and now I have to break it in with a trip to Illinois. >sigh< I’m still not looking forward to the drive though.
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It took a while, but my vacation is over and I am now safe and sound back at home. Many things occurred and not all of them were good. So, sit right back and I’ll tell you about this trip of frustration.
You can tell a lot about a trip from the first day and 4 hours into the road trip you can get a clear understanding on how the rest of the traveling was going to go. If you have ever traveled through Nevada along I-80 you know just how few and far between towns are with just a couple of them being substantial. Wells is not one of the substantial towns and there is only one mechanic. This was learned first hand when the vehicle started acting up outside of Carlin. The way it acted, it felt like there could be something wrong with the fuel so we added some fuel additive to help in case there was water in the gas. For fifty miles it seemed like that was all it was, but it wasn’t and we ended up spending the night in Wells.
The mechanic there ran a check on the truck and was pretty sure it was one of two things, both of which he would have to wait a few days for the part and suggested that we drive into Salt Lake City dealership. We made it but the engine was revving up – refusing to kick into that next higher gear. They replaced the Throttle Position Sensor and sent us on our way.
Cheyenne is quite a ways from Salt Lake City, but too close for the problem to start up again. However, it was late and we decided that we would have to look for another mechanic in the morning. As a side note, the temperature at night may say 21 degrees, but with the wind blowing… well, I should have worn another layer of clothes and brought gloves. Anyway, Midas said they would take a look at it and with the help of Garmin (Navigators are sooooooooooo nice) we found the shop and they were able to reprogram the new TPS so it knew when to shift gears and so forth which means the dealership neglected to do this, or the reprogramming didn’t work the first time. Any way, they fixed it and we didn’t have car troubles any more… but we lost a lot of time.
Let’s go forward to the return trip and see what the first few hours hold in store. Getting pulled over by the police usually puts a damper on things. But sometimes it can add a great big WTF to the whole day. You may be thinking that speeding will get you pulled over…. except I was going the speed limit. So the question begs to be asked: WHY? The excuse I got was that I was following too close to the vehicle in front of me. Really? On any other day I would say okay and leave it at that, but when I get ready to hand the officer my registration and his partner says they’re good resulting in everything being handed back to me and told no to follow so close and they leave, it kind of feels like Ashton is going to jump out at any moment to say that I just got punk’d. Since he didn’t do that, I put my stuff back and got back to my return trip and passed the officers again… who had just pulled over a vehicle that looked identical to mine. Everything made better sense then. Evidently they were looking for something specific, and I just happened to fall under the category of specific.
Remember those warm temperatures of 21 degrees? the return trip through Wyoming dropped down to 9 degrees. I think the snow was added for dramatic effect. There were no vehicle malfunctions though, so things were much better. I was just getting out of the snow ravaged area when the punctuation was added to the trip. More of an exclamation point to be specific when a car blew past me (and yes, I was going the speed limit) and kicked up a rock that put a nice chip right in the windshield.
Other than the actual driving part of the trip, everything went pretty good and lots of turkey was eaten by all. I also got a free taste of my new addiction. The wife’s sister has Guitar Hero III…. I now have the game as well as GHII and the Aerosmith pack. I knew I was staying away from this game for a reason. I’m already trying to figure out ways to download new tracks before they even come out now… Is that the definition of a junkie?
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It’s been a busy weekend for me as I’ve prepared for the road trip that is coming up quick. Yep, on Thursday I’m hitting the road with the wife and the kids. . . errr. . . I mean the dogs. :p From Nevada to Illinois is going to be a loooong drive but I’ve driven the route once or twice before.
I’ll be away for a little over two weeks where I won’t be playing the 360 or surfing the internet, but since it’s my "vacation" I’m not really wanting to have to worry about that. I’m even hoping that I’ll catch up on some sleep once I get to my destination. I’ll be doing my best to drive safely and with the dogs I’ll have an excuse to hit most of the rest areas to get out and stretch to keep my back from hurting too bad.
When I get back, I’ll be making a push to finish up the achievements from Mass Effect. At this point it seems like it is possible to 100% the game and possibly before the end of the year! If I can accomplish that, then I’ll have my 5th retail game completed. That would mean a new shiny badge from 360Voice.com.
As you can see by the new blog entry, I have finally made it back home! Sure, it’s a day late – but I AM back.
I should have been back Sunday night, but unfortunately technical difficulties canceled the flight out of St. Louis which left me stranded for a day with a whole lot of nothing to do. Luckily, it was only a day delay instead of Thursday which it looked like would happen at one point.
I do have a few new games to play, and a few new albums to listen to so I should slip back into gaming here today some time and see if I can’t enjoy a little frustration as I attempt to grab a few achievements.
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I got back home on the first but as you can tell by my lack of a blog, I haven’t had a chance to hop online and talk about it. Let me tell ya, strange things happen on vacations.
The journey to Anaheim would have been pretty much uneventful if it weren’t for one thing. That one thing happened to be a road closure out in the middle of nowhere. There’s a small town called Four Corners where US 395 runs through and intersects with another road. The route I was on had a cop car across the lane and the cop was waving people to go elsewhere. We stopped. Luckily the officer told us the alternative route to take which was 32 miles to Barstow in which we could jump on the I-15 to get where we were headed. The reason for the detour? It would appear that someone caused an accident 5 miles down the road which led to at least 1 fatality.
Anyway, we made it to our destination and I have to say after driving to Knott’s Berry Farm and Universal Studios . . . THANK YOU GARMIN! Our navigator sure saved me a lot of nervousness as I already hate any kind of driving in big cities. Those stay lefts and turn rights in "point 8 miles" do come in handy. :p Although it didn’t want to use my route for the main drive to and from the main destinations.
I guess that while we were away we missed the huge fire that claimed 257 homes up at south Tahoe. So I guess that means tragedy struck going, during and coming back. What’s that? I didn’t mention the tragedy we greeting upon return? Well, let’s just say we’re still trying to locate a set of keys that seem to have vanished while we were gone…. Bets are on the cats knocking them on the floor and then playing with them. . . Until them, I’m the only one that has keys.
For the next few days I shall be away so I thought I’d post a quick "catch ya later" blog in hopes to keep the few readers I have. :p
Tomorrow bright and early we will be hitting the road for the 8 hour or so drive to Anaheim as we enjoy the House of Mouse. The best part of this is that I’m the only one that’s ever been there from our little troop of travelers, so everyone is going to be experiencing this for the first time. Not only are we hitting up Disneyland/California Big Adventure, but we’ll also be checking out Universal Studios and Knott’s Berry Farm.
For the next 9 days I’ll be incommunicado so there will be no updating of blogs – no playing the 360 – but I think I can survive the ordeal. So until July 1st (or 2nd), be good and I’ll be sure to come back with some stories!
Thanks for the holiday wishes while I was out of my mind. . . errr. . . I mean natural settings visiting the in-laws. I can truly say that I’m so glad to be back! You may be thinking that the in-laws are evil people, but they like me a lot and they are great fun to be around. The reason I’m so glad to be back is because of 2… count ’em… two things: 1) Got sick the second day there and 2) Got sick the second day there. Now I know that I listed the same reason twice, but I felt that it was such an important factor, it was for the best.
Anyway, sore throats are never that much fun and kind of takes the wind out of your sails when you can’t sleep well. In fact last night was the first full night sleep I got. After traveling. . . . I think my sore throat is going to be making an encore. Well, I’m not going to dwell much on that, but I sure wish something was open so I could go out and get something to eat – they don’t even give you the tiny little bag of 4 pretzels anymore.
I’m starting to meander around my first blog back already! I’ve got to stay focused. . . I’ve got to pull in the concentration. . . I’ve got to
ooOO shiny object!
As you can see I’m not quite all here as of this point in time… 12:41 PST to be exact so I guess that means HAPPY NEW YEAR!
For those that may be wondering what 360 goodness the ol’ duck got this…. errr.. wait… that’s LAST year (technically) I’ll give you all the quick rundown.
the Zune is now in my possession! Total time playing with it…. errr… about 10 minutes.
Enchanted Arms which I haven’t been able to play yet.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance more about this later
Need for Speed Carbon also more on this one
I’m a happy camper at this point, and you may be thinking that lack of a 360 for a week has made me a little loopy, I’m afraid I’ve been loopy for a looooooooong time. As it turns out, the guy that married my wife’s sister also has a 360 and I was able to play a little bit while there (yes… and sick, but since he was sick too it didn’t cause too much trouble). First thing I did was go to the Canyon challenge and the both of us took turns trying to beat the bronze level… Time was lost in large chunks. I also played a little bit of the Ultimate Alliance but being zoned out on medication coupled with that weird camera angle they had going on I only made it to Bullseye before putting that one up.
Now that I’ve touched bases really quick, I think it’s time for me to hit the hay and see if I can’t get some much needed sleep in a comfortable bed. :p
As promised I have come back in order to tell some of the events that happened while enjoying the blistering, sunburn producing sun of California in the general vicinity of Disneyland.
1st day was closer to a half day for us since we didn’t get to the park until 6-6:30. The little one known as Zak is not a big fan of rollercoasters, but we tricked him into trying out space mountain since he didn’t know it was a rollercoaster :p He enjoyed it like we thought he would setting the stage for further rollercoaster experiences. Also set for further experiences was the duck and curl reaction that Zak has a fondness for during things like Indiana Jones’ ride. Evidently he was too scared to open look at what was going on. . . but we would work on it, even though he never went back on that ride. The same goes for the Haunted Mansion… BUT, his dad was able to get him to open his eyes and actually see what was going on by the time the crystal ball came into view… "it’s just like in the movie dad!"
2nd day was split between the two parks and no matter what we did we couldn’t get him to go on California Screamin’. My brother and I did hit this ride though while my mom and Zak did some other rides. Now people, there are certain things that just shouldn’t be done in public. For example I’m going to tell you the story of Princess… While in line to California Screamin’ we noticed a boy of approx. 16 wearing a pink midrift shirt that proudly stated…. you guessed it…. Princess. Now I know that I shouldn’t make fun of it – but since my brother was there we had fun with "printhess". HOWEVER, we only started making comments after the guy sat on the railing in front of us and we saw that he was wearing pink panties. Disturbing doesn’t even begin to describe that…
3rd day was also split between the parks and I just have to tell this one from my brother’s perspective because he was privy to a little more detail than I was… The attraction was that Bug’s World. . . and yes, it was in 3-D. The presentation was going along pretty good until – the black widow spiders began their descent. My brother was really wishing that the parents of the girl would stop her from screaming and he looked down at Zak and realized it was him and he was firmly clamped down on his leg. :p
4th day was pretty much uneventful at Universal Studios
I’ll finish up with the vacation wrap up at a later time!
So I’m looking at the calendar daydreaming about heading off to Disneyland. Sure, I have to spend a week away from my wonderful Xbox 360… but I guess I’m going to have to learn to deal with that particular situation now and again :p Probably the biggest thing about this trip is it will be my first official vacation in 7 years. That’s a long time not being able to fully relax.
On a related note, my nephew visits from Texas for the summer. I’m gonna make sure he gets in some arcade game time in :p he shows up next weekend so I’ll have to make a trip to the store before then and get him some new Bionicles. He’s 7, by the way, so it’s really easy to keep him amused with cheap toys :p In fact, he’s already talked to my parents and asked if I’ve gotten him any more Bionicles already heh heh heh.
Well, I’m back to daydreaming about my trip and actually have an excuse to ride the rides such as Peter Pan and Mr. Toad’s Wild ride . . . wheeeeeeeeee!! 38 years old and still have the mentality of a 12 year old :p
32 Days til Disneyland!