The Race to Totality, a Day of Rest

August 20th. After the complimentary breakfast at the hotel in Dayton, WA. we headed for Walla Walla, WA where I had reservations. We took highway 12 and found it was not well marked. Drove by Walla Walla and both me and my friend missed the off ramp to Walla Walla. There are not many gasoline stations along the raods of Washington. Almost ran out of gas. The exhaustion is catching up with me. This is the second time in two days.

We found the hotel in Walla Walla easily. I asked at the desk and found one of the cheapest gasoline stations was just a block or two away.

Did a little sight seeing. Lot of people on foot in down town Walla Walla.

My friend suggested we scout out the route out of town site we got turned around the night before trying to get through Walla Walla.

Lunch at a Panda Express and then back to the hotel to lay back and rest up. Four o’clock in the morning was coming soon. Some of the others in the hotel were leaving at midnight.

Again I was too tired to write. The big concern was the city of Pendleton, OR. We got lost in that city before. The 11 highway does not connect to the 395 highway. You have to go on city streets and that’s where I took a wrong turn before.

This trips has been wrong turns, almost running out of gas and exhaustion. They are related. That’s why I don’t write when I’m very tired. It’s too hard and I make too many mistakes.

Be strong, write on.    Professor Hyram Voltage

The Race to Totality, Day 2

You think after driving over 13 hours the day before we would take it a little easy toady. Wrong.

Looking at my carefully made plans my friend said we should visit Crater lake. That only involved driving a quarter of the way across Oregon. All two lane roads through the mountains. I should have realized I was exhausted when we almost ran out of gas. Eight hours of sleep does not make up for driving over half a day or for the three weeks of late night work getting the telescopes working, figuring out why the new digital camera does not work like the film camera on the scope. Building a sun aiming sigh for the scope, etc.

Found out that at Indian casinos (Casinos on American Indian’s reservations) you get to pump the gas, they don’t come out and do it for you. There’s a law in Oregon that the station personnel has to pump the gas, you can’t pump your own gas. They do not require the station attendances to wear plastic gloves to protect their hands from the gasoline or to wear face mask to protect them from the gasoline fumes. Having to pump your own gas upset the guy in front of me. He expected them to come out and pump the gas. He should have read the sign pointing to the pumps saying you pump your gas this lane and the other lane was for someone to come out and pump the gas. Of course it cost more to have the station people pump the gas.

Refueled and re-orientated we headed on to Crater Lake. They were holding a bicycle race/rally at Crater Lake. Narrow two lane road, with blind curves, double yellow lines in the middle of the road, and bicyclists all over the place. Then a SUV with California plates goes zooming by me at at least 50 miles an hour on a 25 mile an hour curve across a double yellow. No wonder Oregon residents don’t like Californians. There were cars from Washington state doing the same thing.

Crater Lake was nice, there was patches of snow still on the ground. It’s August and the patches were in places in the open where the sun could shine on it, not under trees. The lake is high and I got short of breath walking up a path from a look out point.

I asked a forest ranger how much snow they get. She said 43 to 44. I said 44 inches is a lot. She said; no, 44 feet. We couldn’t even see the three story building over there last winter.

From Crater lake we drove back across the state through Bend, OR and several other places to Fox, OR. It’s a small town of maybe a couple of dozen people. They had lots of yellow tape to keep people from parking in front of drive ways and houses. After scouting the area we drove on to Long Creek, OR. A nice little town of 220 people. The town had lots of things for the people coming to watch the eclipse. All the money the town made from the eclipse was going to the local school. We stopped and visited a friend who was camping the school yard (the camp ground was set up by the town).

Found out that there was a parking lot in a field that the town had set up just for those that were coming in the day of the eclipse. Another change of plans.

From Long Creek we drove on to Dayton, Washington. I had reservations in Dayton. It was a long drive. Much of it on roads I had never driven on before and in the dark. During the trip I almost hit four deer. If you see a deer on the road or near the road then there is another one you don’t see. It’s either a doe and its fawn or a buck and his doe. The second one will run out in front of you to catch up with the one that just ran out of your way. Always look out for the other one. We got into Dayton around 9:00 that night.

Dayton is a small place with no fast food places. Even the bar closes the grill at 9:00. We ended up goes to a convenience store/pin ball pallor. The guy there made us a couple of hamburgers.

The hotel was packed. They had two wedding parties there. It was also nosy with all the drunks.

Stay strong, write on.          Professor Hyram Voltage.

Writing on the road and all the time

There are plenty of writers that brag that they write every day. Think Ray Bradbury (if you have never heard of him look him up and read him, he even wrote poetry). That may be possible if you’re like the old magazine publisher Wayne Green. He had his wife drive him to work while he sat at a bench in the back on their van and typed (on an old typewriter). This may be the office of the future with self driving cars. Work while the car drives. Sort of like the Lincoln Lawyer.

If you have a life and other interest than writing there are going to be days when you don’t write. Days like when you drive for over 13 hours and barely have the strength to make it to a restaurant before they close to get something to eat. It’s a small town and fast food places are not common in Oregon. After eating I had just enough strengthen to unload some of the more expensive telescope and camera equipment before falling into bed.

I did not get 1000 words done that day, or the next. Not even 100 words got written. I drove across two states the next day. Do I feel bad about not getting any writing done. No. Even dead tired I enjoyed the driving. Oregon does have a lot of two lane roads and I must have driven on half of them.

I know obsessive and compulsive and that can lead to writers block. You also have to be flexible. If your writing all the time, when are you going to find the new experiences that you can later put into your stories? Without experiences, that you have lived, your stories are going to be flat.

Go out and explore, experience, live, then write.

Stay strong, write on.             Professor Hyram Voltage.

On the road to the Eclipse August 2017

We left Klystronia central at oh dark 30. Stopped to grab a doughnut and we’re off. Took the back roads from Oxnard California to highway 126. Headed east to the 5 freeway. Turned north and up over the grape vine (the mountain pass from LA to the central valley of California).

Starting up the grape vine I set the cruise control to the limit, 65 miles an hour (and yes I was the slowest car on the road). The old Prius will keep it at 65 up hill and down. The car does make a moaning sound when the battery is fully charged by regenerative braking.

Hit the flat strip in central valley and the speed limit went up to 75. Except for a restroom stop and a Subway lunch we made time till we hit Stockton. I don’t know what the problem was, but it took us 45 minutes to go a couple of miles.

We drove into Weed California where I was planning to stay over night. It was still daylight and my friend said to drive on.

I had my friend dig out the tour book from the glove box. He cell phoned in a hotel reservation in Klamath Falls, Or. We now had a new goal. At Weed we turned onto US 97. The scenic route. It was late when we pulled into the hotel in Klamath Falls. The air was heavy with smoke form a forest fire. The hotel was three times the normal price. It was only the 18th and still days from the eclipse on the 21st, but all the hotels in the town were over priced.

What does this have to do with writing? The car was on cruse control most of the way. Would not be that hard to image a self driving car. Would you trust your car to drive itself safely and take a nap. Sitting in a car for over 13 hours is a pain. Don’t forget to add that to your story. How many characters get out of a car after driving to some remote spot and they’re fresh as a daisy. No stiff legs. No sore bottoms. No exhaustion. Even having someone else drive it tiring to ride in a car. Also the air conditioning is good in my car, but in over 100 degree temperatures outside it’s still hot. The black dash board in new cars radiates heat.

Over 700 miles traveled in one day, and over 100 miles of that on two lane roads. Over 13 hours of driving. There’s nothing like doing it to be able to write about it.

Stay strong, write on.        Professor Hyram Voltage