I really enjoy reading the Make website – it’s a great collection of all the DIY stuff that’s going on out there. And all the different events they cover look like fun. So I’m going to the Maker Faire in Austin this fall. I believe the dates are October 18th and 19th. Is anyone else going, are any of my readers from the Austin area? Shoot me a gmail @ gordonthree if you know anything about any of this! I don’t know anything about the Austin area, and the various online mapping tools aren’t offering up a lot of detail either.
The last vacation I took was way back in 2005. I made a road-trip to Florida, to watch the space shuttle’s return to service flight after the Columbia disaster. I got there, hung out with some family for a few days, no space shuttle. So I went down to the keys for a few days, shuttle still was on standby. Spent nearly two weeks, and didn’t achieve much but a decent credit card bill. The drive through the mountains was fun… The road leading from south-eastern Tennessee through North Carolina was really something – winding roads with a sheer mountain face on one side, and a sheer drop off on the other. Mix that with lots and lots of big trucks going way too fast, just enough rain to make the road greasy and twilight from a just-setting sun and you get “white knuckles” kind of fun! On the way back I got to see Corvettes being built and climbed around in the Mammoth Caves system for a few hours.
I bought a new truck this year in June – it is a gas guzzler but the price was unbeatable and with huge tires and four-wheel drive, it’ll be fun in the Northern Michigan snow. However, trying to take a road-trip vacation anywhere with it would get real expensive real fast – 18-20 mpg on the highway at $4/gallon – oh yea! That leaves mass-transit; Originally I was looking at flying from Grand Rapids – the airfare was reasonable and there it was a fairly direct flight with only one lay-over. While I was pondering my options, the price almost tripled. Lower oil prices equal higher airline fares I guess. I could drive to Detroit and fly from there, but that’ll cost a lot of gas money and parking at Metro is not cheap.
My folks suggested I look at taking the train. Originally, I had dismissed the train since it takes thirty hours to cover the roughly 1200 miles. However, after the spike in fares, and reading about the TSA’s crackdown on IEDs, I figured flying might not be the best option, especially if I wanted to take some of my projects along for show-n-tell with other makers should the opportunity arise. With the cost of a sleeperette added in, the rail cost half the cost of first class, but a few hundred more than coach. If I wanted to ride coach, it would be real cheap, but I have reservations about sleeping in “public”, which might occur sometime during the ride. Traveling “first class”, aka, private room / sleeperette, Amtrak is apparently very accommodating. They include a bunch of meals, free pop/water and a generous luggage allowace. The room apparently has 120v outlets for gadgetry, so I don’t need a suitcase of batteries to run a laptop on the journey. To make things more interesting, I’ll be taking a commuter train from Holland to Chicago. To get to Holland on time, I’m looking at a 0530 lauch time. So 30 hours on the long haul train, 3 hrs on a commuter train, 3 hr layover in Chicago between trains and a 2 hour drive to Holland equals roughly 38 hours? That’s a long day!
Anyway – I wanted to write a bit about this so I can get it out of my head – and see if anyone reading the blog knows about the area or show, or is planning on attending? My thoughts are rambling now so I’ll have to recompose things and write some more later.