tnrkitect: (Default)
This week is THE big week of the summer for me.

Monday, I take the last of my ARE's, Programming Planning and Practice. I will have to retake the Structural Systems ARE again in late August / September, but the initial round of exams will be over.

Wednesday, I have another birthday. Although my dad will be here (and Jessica will be too, of course) it won't really be a big thing. I am old enough now that birthdays tend to just be another day in passing. Plus, I will spend most of that evening packing.

Why you ask?

Because on Thursday, after I get off from work, Jessica and I load up the convertible and head south on vacation!

We are spending a little over a week at my grandparent's place on Sanibel Island

We leave on the 18th after work, and drive back on Monday, June 29th. I have the 30th off to recover, and will be back at work on July 1st.

Since it is my grandparent's place, all we have to do is get down there and fed ourselves. Considering that the cheapest rate on the island (according to expedia.com) is $133 per night (9 night stay, so $1,197 +tax), this generosity of theirs makes the vacation affordable. They are actually going to be staying at a condo on the mainland that my uncle owns while we are there, so we get to see them as well.

Anyways, it is a LOOOOONG drive down there. Knoxville to Sanibel is 816 miles, an estimated 12 hours and 40 minutes via interstate.

BUT.

We. Have. A. Convertible.
(and we like to use it)

We are not taking the most expedient route from here to there.

We are planning on going from Knoxville to Jacksonville, AL the night of the 18th, where we will stay with Jessica's parents. At ohmigoditstooearly 6:00 a.m. we will be hitting the road. This of course means that we will be getting up even earlier. Well, I will at least. I think Jessica and her mom will sleepwalk to the car. ;-) Oh yeah, this segment of the trip Jessica and I will be joined by her mom, who is traveling down to pick up the car she let her sister borrow for a while.

Our plan is thus:

Since we have a convertible with tunes (see last post), 12 days of vacation, and a long drive to get to where we are going we have decided to take the road less traveled, and make the journey part of the vacation rather than just trying to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible.

We are NOT going to use the interstate. Instead we are going to use the old highways that people used before the interstates came to pass (Think Route 66 for those heading west), and, whenever those are 4 lane divided highways, if possible we will divert to the two lanes that parallel them.

We will be taking U.S. Highway 431 for the first leg of the trip, stopping off briefly to say hi to mom in Wedowee, AL, then heading down through Roanoke and Opelika to Eufaula. However, rather than stay on US-431, we will cut a corner by taking AL-169.

In Eufaula we will hop across the Chattahoochee River into Georgia and head over to Cuthbert on US-82. There we turn south on GA-216.

He go through Arlington to where GA-216 dead ends into GA-37 just before we get to Elmodel.

We follow GA-37 to Camilla, GA where will will be stopping for lunch at Camilla Java, a cute little coffee shop across from the courthouse in downtown Camilla.

After lunch, we will take Old GA-3, instead of the new GA-3, since the new one is a 4 lane divided highway, while the old one is a 2 lane. they both go the same place, so easy choice. :-)

Because we are on the old highway, we will drive through (instead of around) Pelham, Meigs, and Ochlocknee until we get to Thomasville, GA.

In Thomasville, GA-3 joins up with US-19 which we follow on south. GA-3 stops at the state line, but US-19 continues on to Monticello, FL. We keep going through Drifton, FL which is really nothing more than a bump in the road that happens to be at the junction of at least 3 different rail lines.

Shortly thereafter, we cross under I-10, to Capps, where US-19 joins with US-27.

We keep going, on through Lamont, Eridu, and Secotan until we get to Perry.

Just past the Perry-Foley Airport and Bucell Junction, we turn towards the coast by taking FL-361, otherwise known as Beach Road.

FL-361 takes through Keaton Beach and past Fish Creek on our way to Steinhatchee, FL on the northern bank of the Steinhatchee River.

It will be about supper time, so we will stop and eat at Roys Restaurant, a Steak and Seafood restaurant overlooking the River and the Gulf of Mexico.

After dinner, we will get back on FL-361 and cross the river into Jena, FL where FL-361 becomes FL-358 as we head back inland.

We leave FL-358 in Jonesboro, where we get back onto the combined US-19, US-27, and US-98.

We keep heading south, passing through Cross City, Eugene and Old Town, and cross the Suwanee River at Fanning Springs.

In Cheifland, US-27 splits off, but we will continue on south on US-19 and US-98.

We will pass Otter Creek and through Gulf Hammock until we get to where FL-336 begins at a curve in US-19 / US-98.

FL-336 will take us to FL-40 which takes us over to Dunnellon, FL.

In Dunnellon, we will turn south onto US-41, and head down through Holder, Hernando, Inverness, past Floral City, until we finally arrive in Brooksville where Jessica's Grandmother lives, which is just north of Tampa.

We will all crash there for the night.

The next morning, I get to meet relatives form her side of the family for the first time, and that afternoon Jessica and I will head on down to Sanibel Island.

Depending on when we leave and how we feel, we may break down and take I-75, but (right now at least) I would prefer to still stick to the old roads.

We plan on taking LOTS of photographs, not only of the time spent on the island, but also the trip down and back.

When the week is over, we will head back north on Monday June 29th, and most likely take I-75 the ENTIRE way. Yes, this means we will go through Atlanta Traffic. Depending on when it is and how we feel, I may map out an alternate route. We will deal with that on the 29th. ;-)

I have Tuesday the 30th off, and I have no doubt I will need it to recover from the vacation. Then it is back to work on July 1st!

Note, for those that were wondering, my Dad is coming up to house sit and take care of Annie while we are gone. He also will be taking care of our garden, which is doing great. The green beans are in, and the snap peas are just starting to be harvestable. The first tomato will probably ripen while he is here, and I have no doubt that he will be harvesting some of the Radishes. ;-)
tnrkitect: (Default)
Feeling good right now, thanks to a lemon-lime-green apple daquiri I concocted. A little bit of sour mix, some green apple mix, and a dash (ok, two dashes of rum) blended together with ice makes for a nice refreshing drink on a hot (almost) summer afternoon.

However, the day has not been unproductive.

This morning, I ran to the local Weigels to get more milk (we were almost out) and while there, I succumbed to the lure of krispy kreme donuts, so I pick some up for our breakfast. Then, we headed down to the local habitat thrift store and picked up a chest of drawers for the hall that Jessica had seen last week and wished she had bought then.

When we arrived, she thought it had been sold as they had moved it to another room, but we found it and picked it up. It is a basic low dresser, 3 drawers, solid maple with dovetail joinery. But, the top drawer is missing, and in its place a previous owner had built a sort of cubby-hole insert. From what we can tell, there used to be a door that folded down in the front of it as well. It was in the process of being refinished, as the drawers had been sanded down and were missing the knobs, but it was worth the $25 we paid.

After we brought it home, I sorted through some papers and put the ones needing to be saved away so that Jessica could finish cleaning the house.

I also set up the Canon S9000 13" x 19" printer that I had in storage from way back. The 3rd year of school it had stopped feeding paper, and I just boxed it up and kept it, planning on getting it fixed. Well, I never got it fixed, and it has just been junk that had never been cleared out. I even tried to sell it at the yard sale for $1.00, but no one bought it.

Good thing too! I was messing with it last night, and actually planned to send it back to Canon for recycling. They have a program where you pay $12 for postage and they send you a link to print out a UPS label. After I had purchased the recycling label, I poked at a bit, figuring that if I broke it more, it wouldn't matter.

Low and behold, I managed to get the paper feed mechanism working again! It needs ink, but it feeds paper and prints with the ink colors I do have, and now I have a large format photo printer at home again. :-)

After discussing it with Jessica, we figured out where I could set it up with it attached to the desktop computer, and it is now ready to go.

THEN, I came out and installed the JVC CS-BB2 amplified 6" self-powered subwoofer system (This one: http://www.crutchfield.com/p_105CSBB2/JVC-CS-BB2.html ) in the LeBaron. I had replaced the stereo and speakers in it a few weeks back with a Clarion Head unit (This one: http://www.crutchfield.com/p_020D285USB/Clarion-DB285USB.html ) for an amazing price as they were discontinuing it, along with Kicker brand 3.5" and 5.25" 3 way speakers to repalce the blown ones in the car. The car has 6 speaker locations, two 3.5" in the dash, two 5.25" in the doors, and two 5.25" in the rear side panels (your elbows hit the speaker grills).

I installed it myself on a Saturday a little over a month ago and have been loving it ever since. It is a standard AM/FM stereo receiver with CD player and a removable face plate. The neat feature on the CD player is that it will play burned CDs (including Re-writable CDs) with MP3s or WMAs on them. Not only that, but it has a USB port on the front face to plug in a jump drive loaded up with more music. Well, I tried it out, and it recognizes my external hard drive, so I now have access to 100 GB worth of continuous music while rocking down the highway! :-)

The only problem I had with the stereo system was not a fault of the equipment but rather a shortcoming of convertibles and Jeeps in general. When you drive down the road, the mids and highs are clear, but the bass disappears in the road and wind noise. Thus my decision to get the sub.

Well, the reviews on this particular sub are uniformly great or terrible. If you are looking for something to put in your vehicle to go BOOM-BOOM-BOOM down the street rattling windows in the houses you pass, this is not for you. Those that like that sound hated this sub. If you are looking for something to give you that little extra boost to the lows to restore the sound, then this is your ticket. Those who wanted that sort of sound LOVE it. I fall into the second category of people, so I picked one up cheap on EBay.

It has a very thin profile, only 2 1/2" tall, is 11 5/8" long, and 7 7/8" wide. It is designed to fit in tight spaces such as under a seat. It includes a wiring harness and the ability to either send the signal to the sub via RCA patch cables or via tapping onto the existing speaker wires. It also has a wired remote that has an on/off button and a volume knob so you can adjust the bass to fit the music as it plays.

Well, I knew that I needed it out of sight since in a convertible anything visible is easy pickings. I wasn't able to put it under the drivers seat as that seat has the electric adjustments and the mechanisms take up ALL of the room under there.

I didn't want to put it under the passenger seat, as that space is currently where my AC power converter resides to power the lap-top or external hard drive, or what ever needs 110v AC. There is enough room beside the converter to place my external drive as well, but that is about it.

I got to looking at the options, and realized that there was a space under the dash over the center hump, behind the radio and cubbies that was a perfect fit. There are two trim pieces of carpet on hardboard on each side that cover this space, held on by clips and velcro. I removed one of those, and slid everything into place. This puts it about 6 inches from the back of the stereo in the dash, so after I hooked everything up I had to bundle all the excess wires with a twist tie. The bundle actually sits in front of the sub enclosure and helps steady it. I bolted the thing to the floor, put the trim peices back on, and ran the remote's wire under the trim piece to beside the center console, where I gave it enough slack to hide inside the console.

Then I tested everything. Success!

I adjusted the bass on the head unit down, since when you crank it up loud the door and dash speakers start to bottom out. The sub is using the pre-amp RCA jack outputs, so this doesn't affect it, and it fills in the lows that the dor and dash speakers can't handle.

I plugged in a thumb drive loaded with a sampling of songs that have a good range of sound. Nickle Creek, Bob Seger, Doobie Brothers, The Eagles, Billy Joel, all sounded amazing at higher levels. Depending on the song, the base needs to be dialed up or back, but that is wasy to accomplish with the sub's remote.

So, success!

My next post will explain why I wanted to get this done post haste. Stay tuned!

Yanno...

May. 31st, 2009 02:56 pm
tnrkitect: (Default)
I finished up the cleaning spree I needed to do at the office. Ok, It wasn't just me. I had Jessica's help too. It helps to have married a clean freak. ;-)

Anyways, after WE finished up, we decided to go get some Rally's hamburgers for lunch. The only Rally's we know of in the Knoxville area is just south of the Henley St. bridge in South Knoxville. Sadly, Jessica discovered that the Rally's up here do not sell the Bacon Cheddar Melt that she loves, which the Rally's in Alabama carry, or carried last time she at at one down there. But, we both had decent burgers nonetheless.

On the drive home, we had the top down (of course) and we realized that we had nothing else to really DO this afternoon. Plus, it is a BEA-YOOOO-TIFUL day, 84 degrees and partly cloudy with gorgeous clouds.

So, we decided to head home and let her change into something a bit cooler, then we are going to splurge a bit and take a drive for the rest of the afternoon. (And for the moms out there, yes, we have sunblock and will be using it. :-P We keep a bottle of it in the car just in case).

Should be a great preliminary test for our vacation drive down to Florida in a few weeks. :-D


Top down. Tunes blaring. Back roads. No real destination.

Later!

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tnrkitect - Musings of an Unconventional Mind

June 2011

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