Thursday, August 16, 2012

Charlotte/Tampa: By the Numbers

A quick recap of the past few days:
- Friday and Saturday: Took the family down to Charlotte, and went curling! Had a great time, even if I only got four hours of sleep (if that) each night I was there.
- Sunday through Tuesday: Amber and Marla went back home, but I went down to Tampa for a work conference. This is the first time I've ever been sent anywhere in my six-plus years on the job. And my company let me drive rather than fly, so I did!
- Tuesday and Wednesday: I left the conference Tuesday evening and stopped in Jacksonville to see my parents on my way back up, and then completed the trip home on Wednesday.

I'll write about all (or most) of that...eventually. But for now, let's talk statistics. Why is my first blog post after a long trip often about statistics? Because that's usually the first thing I update when I get back, and so, the work's already been done!

This was a pretty loaded trip, statistics-wise. Full update here; here are some points of interest.

When driving more than 100 miles away, it's cheaper for my company to rent me a car than to reimburse me for the mileage I put on my personal car. So, I ended up with a Nissan Altima (again - ugh), and proceeded to drive it for 28 hours, 12 minutes, and for 1,665 miles. (The car keeps has a resettable "trip time" meter, which I appreciated, although I just left it running for the entire week in order to get a trip total.) Note that if I had strictly driven from Raleigh to Tampa and back without any side trips, I would have put 1,350 miles on my car. I made sure not to bill my employer for the gas I used on those extra 300 miles. (Speaking of gas, my actual gas mileage was about 1.5 mpg less than the in-car telemetry was reporting.)

Speaking of those side trips...I visited nine new counties along the way, eight in Georgia on the way down (see dark purple counties here), and one in South Carolina on the way back (Barnwell). While I was down there, I also made a brief drive around the Tampa Bay area that I'll cover in a future blog post. (If I had more time, I would have gone to Collier and Hendry counties. But that would have been a five hour round trip from my hotel, and I didn't have the time or energy for that.)

Marla didn't come to Tampa with me, but she did get her first new county of "Year 2" (which started on her 1st birthday a few weeks back): Union County, NC. Hooray! The curling rink was located in Union County, but both our hotel and the babysitter we used were in Mecklenburg County, so it wasn't a guarantee that Marla would get Union County that weekend or not; but she did.

Another roadgeek quest complete: Interstate 4 end-to-end (my 13th completed interstate), finally! Back in 2003, I drove I-4 from end-to-end...except for a three-mile stretch just east of Tampa where I had to bail and take side roads due to, I assume, a major accident. It took me nine years to come back and redrive the three-mile stretch of I-4 that I missed. (Florida isn't really Amber's ideal vacation destination, so we don't venture south of Jacksonville very often.)

One more note about the rental car: "odometer milestones" (when and where our car odometers reach multiples of 1,000) I reach in rental cars count for the purposes of my car mileage log, and my rental car ended up giving me two milestones, barely. (The second milestone occurred just seven miles before reaching the car rental place.) Amber's car reached a milestone yesterday, too (76,000), making yesterday - I believe - the first time that both Amber and I reached a multiple of 1,000 on the same day! (Although it comes with an asterisk, because one of the two was with a rental car and not my personal car.) We've never had more than one milestone on the same day with the same car, though, because that would obviously mean driving more than 1,000 miles in one day, my younger days, sure, but not anymore, and certainly not with the whole family in tow.

So far in 2012, I've spent seven nights away from my family (four for the Dykes bonspiel in February, and three on the Tampa/Jacksonville portion of this week's trip). And that'll be that for 2012. Seven nights away from my family is too many for one year. But we still have plenty of family trips planned the rest of this year: two to Jacksonville, one to Toledo, plus one to a to-be-determined Fall Foliage destination.

And, that's that. Sooner or later, I'll get around to writing up a polished Charlotte bonspiel recap. (It's important that I actually try to write good bonspiel recaps, because they often get read by the people who run them and/or play against us while we're there. No pressure, Chris!)

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