Driving Across America

Thursday, August 31, 2000

Entry 4: First entry from the road!

I left the house at 2 am and proceeded east on I-90. 30 minutes later I pulled off at the Snoqualmie Pass to active the GPS so I could track my progress I drove and see exactly where to turn. I had to install the mapping software first so I did. Then I calculated my route from WA to NV and to my surprise, it recommended a completely different route than I was taking. I was following the directions given to my by Microsoft Streets 2000 and now I was using Delorme Streets 7.0. I tried to tweak the settings to force the Delorme software to give me the same directions as Microsoft's by trying Quickest route, Shortest-route and Preferred route, but each time, it sent me West on I-90 instead of East on I-90. After comparing the two routes, I determined that I liked Delorme's directions better, but now I had to turn around and back track 30 minutes.

2 hours after leaving Issaquah, I was driving through it again. It was now 4 am. I had spent 30 minutes driving up the pass, 1 hour sitting in my car tinkering with the DVD player, MP3 player, and the mapping software, and 30 minutes driving back.

I was OK with staying up late since most of what happens at Burning Man is at night since it's too hot during the day to be really active. At 4:30 am I'm passing Tacoma heading South on I-5. At 5:00 am I'm passing Port of Olympia.

5:30 am - Centralia. I've decided to stop. I'm not super-tired yet, but I am tired and I promised several people that "I'd be careful", so I'm not going to wait until I'm nodding off at the wheel. This is supposed to be a relaxed trip.

I smelled something burning between Tacoma and Olympia and at first I ignored it since I figured it was probably coming from outside. Then I reached over and touched my laptop, which had been on all of this time, and it was almost too hot to touch! One of the worst things you can do to your computer is block their ventilation vents which is exactly what I did. I had placed it on top of a pile of clothes so that it had some shock absorption, but the clothes blocked the air vent in the back. I immediately shut it down and opened up all of the windows to cool down the car and the laptop.

Luckily when I booted it up at the Motel, it still worked! I hope I haven't done any damage which will come back to haunt me. Something got hot enough to let off a burning smell. That couldn't have been good.

As far as making my laptop the nerve center of my truck, I still had some tweaking to do. I soon discovered that the Windows Media play could play MP3's but only one at a time. So I installed WinAmp. I simply pointed it to my MP3 directory and it automatically created a play-list from all of the MP3 files in the sub-directories. Very nice!

My DVD player was working before I left, but now I couldn't even find it on my hard-drive. I must have accidentally un-installed it while trying to make space for my MP3's. I'll have to re-install that player as well.

Accessing the web and Internet is incredibly convenient but it's way too slow! One must be very patient.

I really liked driving late at night because there is no traffic. I made great time! The plan is to sleep in today, then take off sometime tonight and try to drive for about 10 hours. It's 4:30 pm and I haven't eaten yet today. I'm going to get some food, come back and crash until dark, then head out again.

Date Created September 15, 2000
Last Updated April 12, 2006
Contact: patcoston@gmail.com