July 24, 2009: In Frankfort Preparing for the Trip

We got to bed pretty late last night but I did manage to sleep in a little this morning.  Only one more night to catch up on rest before the crazy long drive to Houston.

Here is the planned route from Utica (Frankfort) in Upstate New York to Houston (League City) in Texas.  One day and five hours.  Quite the trip.  Francesca is excited as well about taking the western route.  She has never done this route either in all her years of driving back and forth between New York and Texas.  She does the middle route, technically the fastest, most of the time and has done the eastern route a few times.

My great aunt Esther dies this morning.  I found out from my father late this afternoon.  He might be going out to Ohio now, we are not sure what his plans are going to be and probably won’t know until tomorrow.

One of my big projects for today was figuring out how to get my cool new BlackBerry Tour to report my GPS location in a useful way so that people can watch us do our drive from Frankfort to Houston.  I tried several applications before I finally stumbled upon Google’s Lattitude which is awesome.  Now I have Google Maps on the phone and have a badge on SGL that shows my location at all times.  That is so handy.

I have added in tons of people to my Google iGoogle Latitude service so that I can see my friends on the map.  If you are using Latitude and want to include me just drop me a line and I will add you in so that we can see where each other.  What a handy service.  A geographic microblogger, in a way.

We got the quote on our house repairs today.  We have been dreading this but it has become a bit of an emergency and the repairs have to be done in the next few weeks (or else we get fined by the home owners association.)  We are not too happy about that as clearly these repairs needed to be done before we bought the house and neither the previous owners nor the homeowners disclosed the pending repairs to us and as soon as we moved in (weeks after, in fact) we sent our first notice of needing to do some trim repairs.  We are hoping that our house inspector’s insurance will cover the repairs as obviously they missed them during the inspection process.

The good news, though, is that the repairs are going to cost much less than we had anticipated.  We decided to “save” even more money and have our deck power washed, sanded, stained and sealed all at the same time as well.  Might as well get it all done while we have the crew there.  It will be good to get that all done and out of the way.

Originally we were not going to be able to load up the truck and the trailer for the trip to Houston until tomorrow but a last minute change of plans allowed for the trailer to be fully packed tonight.  This is a great change as it means that we are going to be able to leave New York hours earlier tomorrow.  Instead of sleeping in a little, then going out to load the trailer and then leaving around lunch time after everything is ready we can now get up early and get onto the road the instant that everyone is ready.  If things go well we might be on the road by seven in the morning which would be awesome.  That gives us about eighteen hours of driving on our first day – a good bit of the trip out of the way right away.

There was a ton of work to do today from the office.  I had originally thought that I might be able to wrap up early tonight but between supporting a SAN migration and doing several, large and rather involved system updates I actually got stuck working so late that I wished that I could get to bed so that I could get sleep for tomorrow!  The good news is that I was able to complete all of my work tonight and do not have to save any of it for tomorrow so that I do not need to get up and do anything before we leave in the morning.  Originally we had thought that I would have to work for several hours, maybe until as late as noon, but this is really great.

I finished work a little after ten.  I got the BlackBerry Tour set up as a tethered Internet modem to my laptop so that I can work from the laptop on the road.  I tested my download speed and I am getting roughly 1.65Mb/s on the BlackBerry which is just a smidgeon faster than a T1 line.  That is out here in the country.  I will test it periodically to see what kind of speeds I am getting in other locations.  It seems to work really well but I will really run it through its paces this week.

We also got Dominica switched over from her BlackBerry Pearl to my “old” BlackBerry 8830 WorldPhone.  Now she has the ability to use her phone overseas on the Vodafone network as well plus she now has a full keyboard so that she can actually email from her phone.  She had the Pearl for a year or more and that two keys per button thing never become comfortable to use.  It was always just impossible and ridiculous.  She is very glad to not be using it anymore.  Now, I hope, she will remain much more in contact when I am not at home even though that is most of the time.

I watched an episode of The Wizards of Waverly Place which is the one Disney Channel show that I really enjoy.  Then I checked my mail and decided to post to SGL, take a shower and get off to bed.  Our goal is to be on the road for eight tomorrow morning.  We would leave earlier but we have to take a load of half moon (aka black and white) cookies from the Friendly Bakery in Frankfort down to Texas and they were ordered for eight thirty. We hope that they are ready early and that we can get on the road first thing.  We have a lot of miles to get over tomorrow and we can’t dilly dally at all.

I hope that everyone enjoys being able to follow along as we travel with the new Google Latitude map that I have added to the SGL main page.  Very cool stuff.  It is this kind of stuff that makes me really excited about GPS on my cell phone.

I discovered this evening, as I did a quick check of my Google Analytics, that SGL has become quite popular in the People’s Republic of China!  I had no idea.  And no, before everyone says it, my traffic from China did not shoot up simply because Ramona moved there a few weeks ago.  There is relatively little traffic coming from the city where she is.  Bejing is, by far, my largest readership base over the “other” pond.  Very cool.  So here is a quick shoutout to my readers in China!

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