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April 2nd, 2019

Grand Canyon Redux

Is it still Monday?

Up with the alarm, then vegged till 8. Recognizing the addiction was out of control, last night I nuked the browsers and their caches which had been rabbit holing me. Now it's just the Kindle app, which is more healthy because it's linear.

BP was high, Hgl not so high. I'll have to let cardiologist know the second med is only helping a little.

The usual breakfast. Checked the weekend backups, all did fine. Incremental. I think Saturday's will be a full C:\ backup. That's only half a T, it will be done before I wake up. But Sunday will not be happening.**

**Spent 46 minutes on the phone with Michael at Amtrak Vacations. Grand Canyon trip which I had bailed on in December left me with a $500 credit. Luckily, thanks to a cancellation he was able to book me into the canyon-side hotel for 2 nights, and he figured out a way to get around the 3-hour transfer buffer usually required when changing trains. More on that later.

Leaving Sunday morning 4/7 on the Coast Starlight from San Jose to LA arriving at about 9 pm.
Grab a cab and overnight at the nearest Hilton hotel. Free time from noon checkout till ~ 5 pm.
Board the SW Chief at 6 pm 4/8, arrive at Williams AZ at about 5 am the 9th.
9th will be a Busy day
- Breakfast at the Grand Depot Café
- bus tour of the rim
- Grand Canyon Railway ride down and back.
10th is free time to walk around, maybe there will be something else to do.
Dinner on the 11th and 8:30 pm return to LA, arrive 8 am 4/12 and then 10:10 am Coast Starlight back to San Jose arrive 8:11 pm.

The vacation package itinerary is here.

There seems to be a discrepancy in the receipt - it shows me staying at a Holiday Inn Express in Williams, I thought the cancellation was for the Maswik Lodge in the park. He did say there would be a final itinerary later...but I sent email just in case.

I charged the car overnight, but stopped it when I got up in the morning, it is still only at 77%. I was going to go to Nob Hill/99 Ranch and charge it there but then it started raining.

The rain started with random individual drops at about 11 when I went to bring the garbage bin in. It didn't start in earnest till later.

So I took pix of the Bee's Friend blooms which are now fully formed on many stalks


Unfortunately is was threatening all day, so no bees. :-(

Facebook and Twitch while I had turkey dogs for lunch.

3-ish they collected the recycle-ables, so I went out and got the mail and brought that bin in. Finally pulled out the lavender bush which was like a little bonsai plant - 5 years old, but stunted under verbena and mint. I clipped a lot of dead wood off of it, and dug a hole in the foot or so of manure-mulch-compost on the back retaining wall.

I pulled out a lot of little weeds. Each little weed had a massive root system, so it was a lot of work and a lot of shaking off the dirt.

Back inside, turned Tivo to PTI but there was a baseball game instead - a game which has zero significance to the west coast. The Mariners, miraculously, are the top team in the MLB with 5 wins. No one else had more than 3. Thanks to the artificially season started in Japan.

To the porch to watch it rain, and take the obligatory raindrops on roses pix:




That top one may become a calendar photo for 2020.

Took a nap, Spook joined me. 7 pm I started streaming, it took half an hour for anyone to join, but there was one person in SW Florida, one from Guangzhou China and one from the northern Midwest. No familiar names. Had to ban a couple of trolls. One was using Google Translate to post racist comments in Thai.

Dinner was salad and egg rolls with Thai sweet chili sauce. Grapes in whipped cream for dessert. Watched half of a NatGeo special on mountain predators/prey. Amazing photography but dead boring narration.

Tried to use Corel Video Studio to record me singing, but it came out looking awful, out of sync and wrong aspect ratio, so I cued up the karaoke on YouTube again and put the pixel phone on its stand and recorded it that way. My voice breaks a little once, but it's good enough all around to share.


Plans for tomorrow:
Nob Hill - I'm out of Scharffen-Berger, and want to charge the car
New Wing Yuan Market for coconut water and Thai tea
Look online for a tour in LA for the 8th

Intended Consequences

So. Amtrak sent me the full set of vouchers, verified that I'm staying at the Maswik Lodge in the park, and sent enough info for me to make an itinerary on my phone. Turns out he forgot to book the LA hotel, but the rate he had was $100 more than I can get online, and further away from the station than I wanted. Best Western Dragon Gate came in at $150 less, and on the right side of the tracks.

Monday I have most of the day in LA, I should take a tour or something. Need to see if I can store my luggage while I do that.

After breakfast it was Nob Hill in light rain, where I plugged in the car and went snack shopping. Bought 10 Scharffen-Berger bars $1.50 off each, and four big paper bottles of coconut water. Trail mix, peanut M&Ms, apple juice in individual serving bags. HB eggs in 2-fer packages. Most of that will be for AZ, the Coast Starlight has a snack bar under the observation car and the SW Chief does too, though that's mostly a sleep trip.

Calculated how much insulin to bring. My pill boxes will fit the trip fine.

Home, split the snacks into zip lock snack bag servings. Will also bring some Kind bars.

Got the rolling hard shell luggage out of the shed. Will probably take my dino knapsack for the camera and laptop & chargers.

Spent a couple of hours updating my travel notes which will go on the phone. Looked into taking a bus tour in LA, maybe TMZ's. Would like to get to the observatory, but I don't know how.

Watched the usual Twitch streamers. PNB&J for lunch, corned beef & corn for dinner. Various fruit substances for desserts.

Plugged in the car to top it off, and  did some serious weeding in the rose garden. Need to get out the rake. Also pulled out weeds around the CA Lilac and the honeysuckle saplings (which have not grown at all in months).

Watched PTI then streamed for an hour. Someone raided my stream with 30 people, so there was lively conversation. A few new followers too. And a handful of trolls. Stayed on for an hour then made dinner.

On Tivo was the last part of the Nat Geo show which was about animals surviving on mountains, with a hugely over the top global warming message. Also watched a Sci show on gas giants and their mega storms.

Took shirts out of the dryer and hung them up. Spook helped. Spook spent a huge chunk of the day embedded in the sheepskin rug and on the bed in the comforter.

Plans for tomorrow:
Rake some weeds
Maybe stream from the porch
Do a load of laundry - undies & socks
Top off the kibble feeder
More LA day trip research - maybe hang out at Peet's and do that on the laptop
Maybe record another song

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