The Fell Clutch of Circumstance

A blog detailing a road trip by two brothers from Seattle to Albuquerque. There will be beer!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Countdown: Two Months to Launch

It's April 30th, and that puts us two months from our projected start date. Speaking of which, I believe I said that you could start shopping for plane tickets starting tomorrow, so go nuts with that. I can pretty much make it work for whatever you can find cheap.

If your CD player can play mp3's, then we'll have little need for the iPod. You could save it for helping yourself fall asleep when I snore.

After the tickets are figured out, we should probably look at hotels/motels for some specific destinations like Memphis. We can probably wing OK City, but Memphis we'll probably want to walk to Beale or something. If I get really bored, I'll figure out which portions of "The Great American Road Trip" we'll be repeating:

Looks like they were on I-40 somewhere between Little Rock and Nashville. Good times.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

We'll Have A Few Options

I'm 99% sure the cd player can handle mp3s burned onto a CD. So that should work. I'll also get something to patch the ipod into the stereo. Don't worry about it, we'll get this to work, one way or the other.

I caught a little of the basketball game in the airport actually, on the way home from North Carolina. I was gone all weekend.

Monday, April 27, 2009

So what's the verdict?

I'm assuming your weekend was as productive as mine. I put down anti-grub granules on the lawn, framed out the bathroom door with Grampa Al's help, and finally got my Ubuntu Linux box working. But I'm dying to know about the iPod. Clearly the cigarette lighter is for power, but without an "iTrip" add-on, I'm not sure how we'll get to both hear a podcast over the stereo. Again, perhaps we can play mp3's burned to a CD through the stereo.

I'm sure you have all the answers. That is, unless you actually had the time to watch this classic Bulls-Celtics matchup. If you did, consider yourself lucky - I was barely able to sneak a peak in between "wrestle time" and "monster trucks". Not that there's anything wrong with that!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

In Theory

my iPod can be played through the stereo. There are lots of ways to set it up, but the best systems run off the cig lighter. We only recently got that fixed in the Volvo. Let me check out the options over the weekend and get back to you.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Let's hope we run into this guy

This HAS to be somewhere along I-40...
fail owned pwned pictures
see more pwn and owned pictures
Fail Blog never...fails?


Music I've paid for is more embarrassing

Actually, no the Rickster's album was a freebie from a Camp pal. Now we all know why he so easily parted with it. But I can name several records that I DID pay for that are even worse. Of course, like you, my age was also a factor (can't blame it on beer ears back then) let's call it even! I myself was just looking for an excuse to embed a Steve Perry image into the blog. High comedy.

OK, but let's get serious about this. You need to answer the question about your iPod, that's a significant factor in the equation when it comes to podcasts. And I think we also have to agree: no 12-minute slow-core ballads. If I don't hear a snare drum within the first 30 seconds of the song, it's not gonna be productive on that kind of drive. I don't care if it's freakin' Grammy material, it needs to keep me awake.

So I've already got several mix CDs, and I'll make more. Plus, I might consider purchasing from the group below simply for the trip.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

I May Need To Reconsider This

I just thought it would be funny to RickRoll you. I really didn't remember you'd ever listened to him. That's kind of scary. I mean, did you actually pay money for one of his albums? Jesus. I may have to rethink this whole music plan, with your tastes now being in serious question.

Perry is arguably the lamest dude I ever listened to. But I was like friggin twelve.

Oh, it's ON now

You had to drag the Rickster into this, didn't you? OK, not my proudest moment as a music fan. But I know for a fact I wasn't the only one hooked on the occasional ballad. In fact, I distinctly remember the sounds of this crooner coming from your room:

But I think we can agree those guys are off limits. And I like the guideline of trying to find stuff that the other guy hasn't heard. But don't feel the need to get too clever: you'd be surprised at the utility of album tracks by major artists. I know you're big on U2 and REM, and I bet there are some album cuts on some of their bigger releases that I've never heard. I could probably come up with similar tunes on my end.

If your iPod can be played through your car stereo, then you're in charge of the Bill Simmons podcasts. No sense burning CD's of those when mp3s will work so much better.

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

We Will Need Good Tunes

I don't think there's any doubt about that. Something tells me there's a whole lot of country music on the radio across this stretch. No thanks.

I'll have my iPod with me, which pretty much has my entire collection on it. So I would suggest that as a backup.

I think our main plan should be for us each to burn 3-4 mix CDs. Try to shoot for music we don't think the other person has heard. I'm talking about good music here. That means none of this guy.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The more you mention beer the better this gets

Way back here in the land of 10,000 lakes, Summit Brewery just announced its first new beer in over two years, the Horizon Red. Apparently it's even hoppier than their IPA, which means I'm going to love it. I mention this only because you keep bringing up good beer. I need to balance the scales a bit.

Down along the dusty corridors of I-40, you can bet we're going to need to slake our dry throats after a long day of dodging truckers in the "Dolbow Volvo". So I think we've got the skeleton of our journey set up, and we can flesh it out after the plane tickets are purchased. Yeah, I just made a pun. I am my father's son, after all.

So I didn't listen to the sound on that video, just watched a few minutes of the drive. Looks nice. And if Captain Picard says it's good, it's good.

Next debate: what kind of music are we going to dial up?

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Another New Itinerary Proposal

OK, what the heck kind of music were those people playing in their car? Korean?

Anyway, I like the way you're thinking. Here's my new suggestion:

Day 1: to Amarillo, eat da steak, avoid heart attacks, push on to OK City, crash
Day 2: drive 7 hours to Memphis, hit the Blues on Beale St, drink good beer
Day 3: drive 8 hours to Asheville, hit downtown Asheville, drink more good beer
Day 4: short morning hike in Smokies, lunch in Boone, drive 3.5 hrs to Durham

That agenda is full of win if I do say so myself.

You can find anything on YouTube

I noticed we have almost no media in this blog, just text, so I took a chance and searched YouTube for Interstate 40. Now we have a preview of one particularly scenic chunk:

If we had more time, a hike through the Smoky Mountains would surely be on the table. But I guess we'll have to settle for the Interstate scenery.


Highland Brewery: You had me at Kashmir

John, you told me Asheville was cool, but you never mentioned WHY. You should know that any brewer whose IPA shares a name with a Led Zeppelin song would seal the deal for me. So never mind Nashville vs. Memphis, that pretty much settles it for me.

(Of course, I totally agree about the "country vs blues" point you made. Although I'm probably much more tolerant of country than you are, the chances of the Grand Ole Opry hosting a show that I would be interested in are about 1 in 12,998.)

So that brings me back to my earlier point: we need to push beyond Amarillo on the first day so we can actually enjoy Memphis. Otherwise we'll be toast.

Since I got so sick of re-typing in our stops into Google Maps, I went ahead and made a custom map with some of the times noted. It's far from finished but it's a good start. Check it out and if you want to make your own notes in it, send me an e-mail from a Gmail account.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Yeah That Itinerary Kinda Sucks Mike

What's the upside there? You'll have to work hard to convince me we should skip Beale St. I mean, we have blues in Memphis vs... WTF in Nashville? Country music?

Plus, Asheville is worth checking out. They have very good beer in Asheville. Very good. I'm thinking I'm going to need a brewski or two after driving through the armpit of the SouthWest.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

New Itinerary Proposal

OK, again, this depends on when I get in and what we find for "activities" along the way, but here's another way we could roll this one out:
Day 1: Albuquerque to Amarillo, Big Texan, 4 hrs on road
Day 2: Amarillo to Little Rock, stop only for nature calls, 9 hours on the road
Day 3: Little Rock to Nashville, stop for something presumably interesting in Nashville, 5 hours on the road
Day 4: Nashville to Durham, 8 hours on the road.

So now it simply boils down to a competition between a Memphis/Asheville combo and Nashville in terms of something to entertain ourselves with. Because let's face it, after several days of slogging through the deep south, we're going to need some distraction, and I'm thinking the Jericho ghost town ain't gonna cut it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Don't try to out-Google Maps me

Yes, my name is Michael, but I got kicked off the Knight Rider team for not exposing chest hair frequently enough. Although I'm pretty sure the Germans still love me.

So I discovered a new way to look at the trip today: using the "Street View" preview in Google Maps' print function. I've used Street View before, but never quite like that. Check out all the sweet Interstate asphalt we'll be staring at - just click the "Street View" link at the upper left of the page.

But hey, if all those pictures are accurate, it'll be sunny and 70 degrees the whole time, right? So I guess we'll have to wait until we buy the plane tickets until we "finalize" the trip itinerary? John, you're telling me the Bill Clinton presidential library won't register anywhere on the unintentional comedy scale?

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Thursday, April 09, 2009

1700 miles of I-40

That's what I'm talking about baby! Seriously though, there's just about NOTHING East of Albuquerque until you hit Memphis. We might have to put the Volvo into Kitt mode for that stretch. Did I mention that my brother's name is Michael?

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

You haven't lived...

...until you've done one of these lengthy drives across the United States. At least that's what I think. John and I grew up taking annual trips from NH to DE, so we're quite experienced on the road (I can still smell the Jersey turnpike). But that kind of trip is completely different than the empty stretches of interstate that crisscross our nation. My wife and I have done two big ones: NH to CA, and CA to MN. Let's just say that I've driven through three times as many states as I've vacationed or lived in.

Fortunately, we're giving ourselves plenty of time for the trip. So this is what John suggested as our planned route:
Day 1: drive to Amarillo, eat at Big Texan Steak House, hotel. 4 hours on the road
Day 2: drive to Memphis, check out Beale St, hotel. 11 hours on the road.
Day 3: drive to Asheville, hotel. 8 hours on the road.
Day 4: short trip to Durham. 3.5 hours on the road.

I responded with going beyond Amarillo on the first day, trying to get to OKC that day so we don't kill ourselves on the day we get to Memphis, where we're hoping to have something interesting to do at night. The only problem with that is if we overdose on steak at the Big Texan, we could be in for some serious gastrointestinal challenges afterwards.

My only other thoughts were trying to visit the Route 66 museum in the lovely metropolis of Clinton, OK. Awesome.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Road Trip Through Nowhere

My brother Mike and I are planning a road trip between Albuquerque, NM, and Durham, NC. We're not doing this because we think it's a good idea, but rather out of necessity. I have to get my family car (a Volvo SUV) back home to Durham after an extended stay in NM.

In case you've never driven this stretch of the US before, trust me, you're not missing much. There's basically nothing until Tennessee. Yikes.

We're going to use this blog to chronicle the trip, because that's just the way we roll.