Monday, July 28, 2014

The Summer Road Trip 2014

I don't know if you've noticed that, outside of the Tournament itself, there hasn't been much "content" going on lately.  Two reasons: first, it's summer, and you are even less inclined than usual to sit still for my rantings.  But also, I have been on Road Trip:

Colorado: I didn't actually do much in Colorado, but Denver was the start and end point, and I arranged my route to go through five new counties, thus completing Colorado east of the Rocky Mountain Front.  The rental car agent, before launching into the tedious threats and brazen lying of the upsell process, asked Mrs.5000 and myself what we were up to.  "We're going to a wedding," we answered, "and then we're splitting up."

Nebraska: We went to a wedding in Sidney, Nebraska, just north of Colorado in the Panhandle.  The bride was, let's see, a first cousin once removed of Mrs.5000.  She and her family were very gracious about welcoming us, and we got to spend a few days with the in-laws.  Actually, Mrs.5000 got to spend quite a bit of time with them -- she calls them "Mom and Dad," not "the in-laws" -- since they stole her away from me and took her back with them to their western Colorado lair.  Whereas I headed off alone, free as a bird, across the uncharted counties of southern Nebraska.

Kansas: I didn't claim any new counties in Kansas, and I never will again.  I've been to all 105 counties in Kansas.  No, really!  I used to live there, you know.  I was a graduate student at a big university, and then a professor at a small university.  During this trip, I visited with my dissertation adviser, and then also with some former students.  I thought it was very nice, if a little surreal, to see my old professor.  Then one of the former students wrote to say that it was very nice, but a little surreal, to see me.  So I guess there's some symmetry there. 

I had a house in Kansas at the foot of the Flint Hills...

Oklahoma: So, with family obligations and visiting disposed of, and four days still on the clock, I considered my options.  Should I head northward toward the Dakotas?  Northwest towards Wyoming?  Or what?  Closely consulting the hashpoints, I discovered a pair in diagonally adjacent graticules, one in southern Oklahoma and one on the outskirts of Fort Worth.  So I headed south across the Sooner State, trying to decide whether I should try to find legendary former blogger Blythe's work and bust in on her.  I didn't, because I was afraid she might be doing serious grown-up administrative stuff that day, but now I kind of regret my timidity.  Oh well.  I got five new Oklahoma counties.

Texas: I'd never been to Dallas and Forth Worth, and they certainly are humungous.  Dallas in particular seems built at 120% of standard scale, with truly epic freeway interchanges that might have been designed by a Popular Mechanics cover artist in 1955.  Also, while I was in Fort Worth, I saw this:

It's Michaelangelo's Torment of Saint Anthony, something he painted as a young and apparently fairly angst-ridden teenager.  It's at Fort Worth's Kimball Museum of Art.  My visit there marked the cultural apex of the trip.  The closest I got to high culture after that was the Amarillo Starbucks.  But my swing across the Lone Star State ultimately bagged me 22 new counties.

New Mexico: Not long after I crossed into New Mexico on I-40, I saw an unlikely sign for Dhillon's Truck Stop and India Buffet. I immediately felt better about the state of the republic, and happily joined a clutch of Sikh, Indian, and Somali truckers at the trough.  It was not fancy, but damn was it good.  I claimed two new New Mexico counties with my mouth just slightly ablaze from spicy tandoori chicken.

Here's the take:

And reports on five geohashing Expeditions, so you know I wasn't just goofing off:
It was a great vacation, if you like rural landscapes, roads, an emergent style of travel planning, sweltering heat, and cheap motels.  Fortunately, I do.


mrs.5000 said...

Me, I got two counties, to his forty. Damn! And to think that when we first met, I was out ahead on the county tally (though not yet keeping track). Oh, well.

gl. said...

i like all of that except the cheap hotels.

Michael5000 said...

gl.: Cheap motels. Preferably built in the 1950s, and now run by a entrepreneurial South Asian family. I like the vibe.

sisterjen said...

So late, but had to comment to say I caught the "Out of Africa" nod. Funny boy.