Sunday, June 29, 2008

nice spot at eagle lake for my birthday lunch

Saturday, June 28, 2008

giant sequioas

death valley is HOT!!!



Going to Death Valley today. It's supposed to be 117F there today. So
far the a/c has been holding up great and the radiator has also been
holding up very well. No problems yet cruising at 80-95mph in 100+
degree heat so far. If we're good, we'll even make it to Sequoia in
time for a hike!

Yesterday I tool the time in the morning to change the oil in the
hotel parking lot. I was curious if anyone would come out and yell at
me, but no one did. Activity of the day was hiking The Narrows at
Zion. Zion is still my favorite park. After four days there over two
years I have still not been disappointed. I have to say that my
favorite hike there is the Observation Point trail. Many people love
The Narrows, but I enjoy Observation Point Trail's variety.

Prior day:
Did a nice hike at Grandview at the Grand Canyon, then went to
Monument Valley. After visiting both the North and South Rim, I think
the South Rim is superior in terms of scenery and trails. And, I no
longer think the Grand Canyon is overrated, as I did before. But -
Zion is still my favorite.

Another day back:
Did the drive from Tucson to the Grand Canyon, passing through Sedona.
I wasn't planning on passing through Sedona, but I went based on
Dana's recommendation. It definitely has some fantastic scenery. I
can't say that I'm a huge fan of towns like that, but the location is
spectacular. We finished up the day by walking most of the Rim Trail
at the Grand Canyon and catching the sunset. Good times.

Day before:
Checked out the sand dunes at White Sands National Monument before
heading over Tucson where we took a stroll through the desert at
Saguaro Na... SNAKE!!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

first entry of the trip

So if you haven't noticed, I've been doing a pretty poor job this trip
in keeping this blog update. Usually I do my updates while ridng the
bus, but this time I'm driving.

So what am I doing right now? I'm sitting on the edge of a cliffat
the Grand Canyon waiting for the sun to set. It's been a great trip so

OK. Sun is setting, so I'm gonna get up.

sunset at the grand canyon

grand canyon

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

souvenir cup

Monday, June 23, 2008

chillin' atop texas

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Thursday, June 19, 2008

the ballpark at arlington

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

saint louis

Saturday, June 14, 2008

game at camden yards

clipper city brewery tour

Friday, June 13, 2008

let's race

My flight is scheduled to leave (late) at 11:50pm. Adjacent flight is
scheduled to leave on-time at 11:55pm. Both flights are from Seattle
(SEA) to Chicago (ORD). I think I'll sleep through this one. United
continued to suck.

apartment sketch

view of downtown from the living room

view of seattle center, space needle, elliot bay from the living room

view of queen anne from the living room

looking down from the living room


living room

view from where the couch will be

view from where the couch will be

hallway from living room to bedrooms

guest bedroom


view from guest bedroom


view from my bedroom

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Official page

Let's see if I pass the background check. And those views are roughly what I get. No joke.


From left to right:
Huge closet
Master bedroom
Guest bedroom
Path to bathroom and living room

master bedroom?

guest bedroom?

new shower in bathroom

living room

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

in six days, I will be here


Let's hope it dries up a little by then.

Monday, June 09, 2008

is this ace and gary's car?

Sunday, June 08, 2008

what happened to my thumb?

it's been a while

It's been a while since I've sent in a blog entry via my iPhone/e-
mail, but I'm back at it. Right now I'm on Alaska Airlines Flight #3
from Reagan National Airport to Seattle. It's my first Alaska
experience, but so far it's been good. Friendly staff, which is
tougher and tougher to find these days.

Anyway, I'm on my way to Seattle to spend a week looking for
apartments. It'll be a combination of broker and Craigslist. I started
looking up some places Friday and I've got two or three places to
check out tomorrow. I've got all week, but I want to do it right and
I've got to start somewhere. I'm getting a little tired of moving
every year or year and a half and I'm looking for a good place that I
can stay at for a few years and feel like I'm living like a normal
human being (in the States).

As for my car, I am still getting plenty of satisfaction knowing that
my 15 year old car is just as reliable as any new car (in my mind) and
costs very little. Besides, I'm soooooo close to 200,000 miles it'll
be wrong to give up now. After that, I guess I can shoot for 250,000,
aka a quarter of a million miles. I thought of that after someone said
to me "don't you have a million miles on that car?" when I told them
about my drive across the country.

Oh yeah, I'm also working on my reading list. I just finished The
Tipping Point, by Gladwell. I also started re-reading Zhuge Liang's
Mastering the Art of War, not to be confused with Sun Tzu's better
known (and earlier) work, The Art of War. This book has similar
concepts, but much more directly applicable to today's world. The
author is also featured in the neo-classical novel Romance of the
Three Kingdoms and in the series of Koei video games it has inspired.
In other words, the author is a badass in some video games that you
can play on your favorite console. But anyway, it's a great book. How
great? Wesley Snipes had it to read on the plane in the feature film
Passenger 57. BADASS!!!

Friday, June 06, 2008

bleeding cash

So I have a job, and I have a nice relocation package, and I AM BLEEDING CASH. I have no income till the end of July at the earliest, and I'll have a ton of expenses from the summer to cover.

It started with looking at how much I had saved, how much I will need to spend, and when I get paid. That progressed to looking at when billing cycles for credit cards are. Now, after learning that I have to pay for the $200/night room for four nights next week out of my own pocket (to be reimbursed probably in August), I'm looking at the magical world of credit card APRs and balance transfers.

Looks like Chase has a sweet deal with no fees. That's all I'm looking for really - something with no fees with an APR that's lower than the typically insane credit card APRs. I usually ignore those since I always pay my bills in full. Except I CAN'T! Thankfully, I think I have found some weird solution. Let's hope this deal sticks around.

Even if it doesn't, I can always get a huge cash advance from my First Internet Bank credit card that I rarely use. No fees and 12% APR. It'll cancel out half of my 1% reward from my credit cards, but I guess I'll live. Damn it.

ready for another 10,000 miles... and then some

time to lube up... the shifter

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

gearing up for the road trip

So since I've gotten back to Cleveland I've been meeting up with friends, doing the occasional travel planning, and prepping the car for the road trip. There's been a few nagging things that needed to be fixed, plus just the routine check of things to make sure that everything is in order.

Right now my car is at 180,950 miles, so I went through the checklist of maintenance that should be done at 180,000 miles (which basically includes everything on the list. We'll get to those later.

Maintenance schedule from the 1993 Honda Accord Service Manual:
  • Idle speed - fine
  • Valve clearance - checked last summer, and should still be fine. Engine seems fine, so it should be OK.
  • Alternator drive belt - replaced 5/12
  • Timing belt - replaced 5/12 - probably could have waited till after the trip based on when it was last changed. Doh!
  • Water pump - replaced 5/12
  • Engine oil and filter - replaced 5/12, replacing again 5/15 (yes... 3,000 miles already)
  • Transmission fluid - replaced today
  • Engine coolant - fine, replaced last summer, to be replaced in Seattle
  • Cooling system hoses - fine
  • Air filter - cleaned yesterday
  • Fuel filter - good for another 30,000 miles
  • Spark plugs - good for another 15,000 miles
  • Fuel hoses - fine
  • Distributor cap and rotor - checked 20,000 miles ago, not due to be checked for another 40,000 miles
  • Ignition wires - replaced 20,000 miles ago, not due to be checked for another 40,000 miles
  • PCV valve - fine, and the gas mileage confirms
  • Brake hoses - aging, but fine
  • Brake fluid - replaced 5,000 miles ago, not due to be replaced for another 25,000 miles
  • Front brakes - fine, but front right could use a new caliper bracket due to a loose grommet and the resulting corrosion around the bolts. Bolts and brakes still operable, but I want to keep it that way. Part is ordered. Will be replaced tomorrow.
  • Rear brakes - fine. Calipers replaced 25,000 miles ago.
  • Parking brake - fine. but could use a slight adjustment if I get around to taking the console apart.
  • Exhaust - fine
  • Suspension bolts - Fine, except for the front right upper ball joint, which was beginning to crack. It could last another year, but I replaced it today anyway.
  • Front alignment - based on tire wear, fine
  • Tie rod ends and boots - supple and fine. Front right tie rod regreased (front left doesn't need periodic regreasing)
  • ABS - Front left sensor replaced 5/31
  • Catalytic converter heat shield - fine

Additional items checked:
  • Fluids are all fine
  • Front right driveshaft was slowly leaking grease. Replaced today.
  • Crappy Bosch oxygen sensor that intermittently fails (especially on I-10 in west Texas) has been replaced with a Honda oxygen sensor.
  • Windshield needs to be replaced. Claim filed.
  • Shifter is sticky sometimes - will grease if I get around to taking the console apart (along with adjusting the parking brake)
  • Cleaned carpets
  • Cleaned under the hood
  • Extra lights and fuses are in the glove compartment
  • Extra ICU in the glove compartment
  • Plenty of refridgerant in the trunk
  • Power steering fluid is at a borderline level - Honda OK fluid in the trunk
  • Will readjust suspension bolts tomorrow
  • Front right headlight was cracked and has been replaced (no more using a piece of gum as a makeshift repair)
  • Headlights have been adjusted
  • All lights are operational
  • Got a sunshade since it'll be hot in Baltimore, DC, St. Louis, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Death Valley, etc.

To dos:
  • Wash and wax!
  • Replace windshield
  • Make a ghetto dash cover from jeans, fleece, or something dark and textured/dull
  • Change oil 5/15
  • Rotate tires 5/15
  • Clean the rest of the interior
  • Grease shifter
  • Adjust parking brake

new upper control arm, old driveshaft