Monday, November 30, 2009

IMAZ Spectator Report, Part 2

The drive from Dallas to Tempe was estimated to be 12-13 hours, and I figured I could leave by 6 am and by there by 7 pm, and that wouldn't be too bad. A thunderstorm rolled through Dallas around 4 am, and woke me up and I couldn't go back to sleep. So I showered and headed out early. The rain slowed me down a little, but I was making good time. The hardest part of the trip is the fact that Texas is 60% of it. I felt like I was way behind because I was still in Texas at 2 pm, and I was pushing it. Luckily the speed limit is 80 in west Texas, and 75 in New Mexico.

And with cruise control set 5-10 mph above the speed limit, it was a relaxing way to travel. I was listening to my iPod- This American Life, NPR Story of the Day, and Fat 2 Fit Radio podcasts, plus my music on shuffle (so glad I got the Glee soundtrack downloaded before I left!) And then Dave Ramsey in the afternoon on the radio. And the scan feature on the radio is a nice diversion. I had meant to get some story tapes, but ran out of time. And it was just an interesting drive, first because my mom's parents lived in Pecos and second because I'm reading Bryan Burrough's The Big Rich. This book details the lives of the Texas oil families- Murchison, Cullen, Hunt, and Richardson. Being a native Texan, I have heard the names and bits of the stories all my life, but this was the first time I've read anything that put them all together. So watching the pump jacks, and drilling derricks west of Midland/Odessa- there was still quite a bit of activity, even after the jump from two years ago when oil prices spiked. And then moving further west into New Mexico and Arizona, you get the new energy source- wind. Fascinating to watch, and even though they look slow, if the blades do 15 revolutions per minute, they are so long, that the tips are moving 200 mph! Enormous, and tons of them!

When I finally crossed the border, New Mexico flew by, and finally into Arizona. The last part into Tempe was tough, coming into town in the dark, and trying to find the hotel. There was a time change, gaining an hour, and altogether it wound up being about 14.5 hours. Not horrible, but I was happy finally be there.

The hotel was called The Hospitality Suites, and I'd found it on Orbitz. All they had left were one bedroom suites, which was great when it was me and Sara, but more space than I needed for just me. And I totally lucked out- the hotel was great, nice rooms, though a little dated, 3 pools, free breakfast, and a complimentary cocktail hour by the pool. Plus tennis, volleyball, and basketball courts. And it's 3 miles from the transition area and 1 block from the bike course. I brought Jamis so I could ride to and from and avoid the closed roads and parking issues. Score!

Next up, Saturday morning swim...

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