Saturday, July 12, 2008

Summer 2008 Road Trip

Today, Darrick and I finally were both home at the same time long enough to discuss our anticipated September road trip and actually commit to an itinerary. Here is the map.

The itinerary, as it now stands:

Day 0: Saturday, September 20
1:20 PM: Darrick's flight arrives in San Diego from Portland.
2:00 PM: Pick up rental car.
6:00 PM: Sushi
10:00 PM: Depart San Diego, CA headed toward Racetrack Playa, Death Valley, CA.

Day 1: Sunday, September 21
5:00 AM: Estimated arrival at Racetrack Playa.
6:01 AM: Dawn photography at Racetrack Playa.
6:40 AM: Sunrise photography at Racetrack Playa.
7:30 AM: Depart for Las Vegas, NV.
1:30 PM: Anticipated arrival in Las Vegas, NV. Nap time.
Evening: Las Vegas, NV.
Hotel: Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino; Las Vegas, NV.

Day 2: Monday, September 22
Morning: Hoover Dam
Afternoon: Drive to Zion National Park.

Day 3: Tuesday, September 23
Day: Zion National Park. (Tentative plan: hike the Zion Narrows.)
Hotel: Terrace Brook Lodge at Zion National Park; Springdale, UT.

Day 4: Wednesday, September 24
Morning: Zion National Park
Afternoon: Drive to Grand Canyon, AZ.
Hotel: Grand Canyon Red Feather Lodge, Grand Canyon, AZ.

Day 5: Thursday, September 25
Hotel: Grand Canyon Red Feather Lodge, Grand Canyon, AZ.

Day 6: Friday, September 26
Morning: Grand Canyon National Park
Afternoon: Drive to Phoenix, AZ.
Hotel: (not yet booked)

Day 7: Saturday, September 27
11:00 AM: Depart for Julian, CA.
4:00 PM: Arrive in Julian, CA. Purchase pies.
6:00 PM: Depart for San Diego, CA.
Night: My Apartment.

Day 8: Sunday, September 28
1:00 PM: Return rental car.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

New Tires

A couple of weeks ago, I bought new tires for my car and had them installed. Because of the type of rims my car came with, I of course have to buy the super expensive low profile tire variety. A set of four cost me about $700 out the door. Here's what I bought:

Michelin Primacy MXV4

These tires replaced the Bridgestone Potenzas that came with my car. I opted to go for the Michelins because the Bridgestones cost significantly more *and* come with horrible reviews on the internet. Personally, I never had a problem with the other tires, but after 4.5 years and 31,000 miles, the sidewalls were cracking pretty badly. The Michelins came with a cheaper price tag, better reviews, and a substantially longer warranty. They're considered all season "Luxury Performance Touring" tires, which basically means they're designed to be quiet and comfortable while delivering decent grip in all road conditions. In limited drive testing, they seem to have much better grip than the old tires, and handled remarkably well on dry pavement considering that the installer's balancing machine was mis-calibrated when they were installed. With that problem fixed, I can now drive on the freeway without the car feeling like it's going to shake apart.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Door Viewer

Today, I made my first serious (a.k.a. permanent) modification to my new apartment. You may be asking, "Why would you do this?" to which I would respond, "Because being forced to open your front door to see who is standing at it is potentially unsafe, and also annoying." I would, of course, be correct.

The solution to this problem: install a door viewer. Apparently, "door viewer" has fewer negative connotations than "peep hole" and is thus the preferred name for such things. Since this modification involves drilling a half-inch diameter hole through my front door (which is composed of aluminum and foam) I decided that I should (a) be careful and (b) match the finish of the rest of the door hardware. I also chose to (c) install the thing at a "standard" height that most people can use instead of where I'd prefer it to be.

So, I bought something very similar to this:

Satin Nickel Door Viewer

They look pretty horrible when they're not actually installed in a door. But as it turns out, once you install the thing it looks decent. Installation was pretty quick and painless, too. Literally all you have to do is measure, drill, and then screw the thing into the hole.

UPDATE: Several other apartments in my building have requested the Maintenance folks to install one of these in their doors. From walking around, it looks to me as if all the ones installed by the complex are Stainless Steel (which does not match the Satin Nickel door hardware) but are otherwise identical to mine. The two varieties even cost the same from Home Depot. Mine is better!