Friday, January 2, 2009

On the road, with a dog

Left the home court (Milwaukee) yesterday for our adventure. Figured I'd try for Lexington, KY but I wasn't sweating it since we can't get into the place until Saturday so I needed to "kill" a day anyway. Main reason I left early was to avoid any bad weather...turns out there wasn't anything to worry about and I could have just left today.

Gives me a couple of days to bond with our dog.

I made Louisville, KY yesterday and bedded down at the local La of the dog friendly hotels I found when searching . Pretty nice place and dogs are common...Lafayette (our cockapoo) seems right at home. I went to get the lugguage and he barked for 30 seconds and then calmed down...I guess I'm coming back after all.

The 7-8 hour drive was, for the most part, uneventful. I had purchased a GPS from and was a bit excited to try it out (the geek in me never dies). Has an FM transmitter and can show videos and play audio, so before I left I went to the library and got a few books on tape and then ripped them to some spare SD chips I had.

About an hour into the trip, I went to switch SD chips and somehow clobbered the GPS chip so it wouldn't load up the GPS system at all...nuts! Luckily, I had printed out my entire trip with maps but I had hoped for some extra geekiness on the way. So I have my laptop but it doesn't have an SD reader so I couldn't re-init the chip (the GPS system came with a map cd so you can create new map SD's if necessary).

Now, I do have a micro-SD with an adaptor (the micro SD fits into my phone for my pictures and ringtones)..and I have a cable to configure my phone/SD as a drive. Cool. The map disk found the drive and created the GPS map stuff on the micro SD.I installed it into the adapter and plugged it in.I'm in business once again! Today or tomorrow, I'll see if I can find an adapter so I can program my SD's directly but it's low priority.

The GPS is my first and it's a Plenio VXA-3000 (does the VXA really mean anything?). My opinion so far is that it gets you close but it's not totally accurate. For example, it instructed me to enter the freeway when there wasn't an entrance close by (though I was driving next to the freeway). I tried to go to a POI about 4 miles away in Louisville (Thomas Edison's House) and it got me close but then kinda 'lost it'. It did get me there eventually though and I would have had much difficulty finding it without its' aid.

The books on tape thing is working well. I'm just about through my first book (a Dan Brown novel). The clarity is ok: it does transmit to the FM radio but if/when I get close to a real FM station that shares that frequency, I get distortion. In that case, I can go into the GPS's setting and change the frequency so it can play undisturbed again.

Started smoking again but those days are numbered. I'll give it up as in early January. 2 years being good and then off the wagon! I just have to remember that I can't smoke ONE cigarette without going back to Potter (as my dear wife might say).

Lafayette slept the entire way...popping his head up briefly as we'd go through a toll booth (in Illinois) and then settling back down immediately afterwards. The La Quinta has a small 'park' in the back with some cement tables and a large yard. Dog shit all over the place but it did the job.

I've been communicating with some people in Asheville who are interested in the project. One guy, a musician, is leaving on Sunday and I hope to meet him before he goes. I believe he'll be back before we leave Asheville so it might work well.

No comments: