Friday, April 25

A Flat Start

Seattle, WA

"Remember what Bilbo used to say: It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to."

Did Tolkien ever have it right - just by stepping outside your door you're inviting the unexpected. Some adventures are more fun than others, however. As planned, we left L.A. at about 3 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon. That was about the last planned thing that happened for the next four hours or so. I think the best way to do this is just to present the course of events:

3:00P - Leave L.A.
5:30P - Tire blowout 30 mi. outside of Bakersfield (we'd only been on the road outside of L.A. an hour!). We empty the tightly packed trunk and quickly discover we have a jack but no lever--not that it mattered anyway, since we also discovered we didn't have a tire iron either.
6:15P - AAA shows up and exchanges the flat tire for the donut
6:25P - Head (slowly) for the nearest Sears Automotive in Bakersfield
7:00P - Arrive at Sears
8:55P - On the road again

And so, three hours and $384 later (apparently the rubber on ALL the tires was old and cracked), we were finally able to hit the road again. Since we were so far behind schedule, we drove until 3:30 a.m. We stopped for a restful few hours of sleep at a Motel 6 near Redding, CA.

On Thursday we still had around nine hours or more of driving still ahead of us. Fortunately, after our tire adventure our trip was uneventful and we arrived at the Seattle Grand Hayatt about nine that night. Based on previous experiences, Eric and I always plan to stay at the conference hotel--it's so much more convenient. Needless to say, the Hyatt is a classy hotel and our room is SWEET! It was so nice to end our long two days of driving in such a luxurious room. It even has a great view of the Space Needle--and our room is just a lowly standard double! The nicer rooms in this place must be incredible.

The only downside of staying in such an expensive hotel is that they're used to catering to people who are wealthy enough to not care about paying for "extra" amenities. For instance, they charge you per computer for internet service and the mini bar, aside from being outrageously expensive, is computerized--so if you even pick up an item, the room account is charged for said item.

This morning the conference began, and Eric was downstairs by 8:15 a.m. raiding the booksellers tables. He didn't even bother to change because he wanted to workout before talks started, so he went down dressed in a t-shirt and gym shorts. And he tries to tell me my family is redneck! Between the two of us we have quite the Egyptological/Ancient Near Eastern library, and Eric insists on adding to it every chance he gets. I suppose there are worse habits a husband could have, but academic publications are so expensive! By the time I arrived downstairs I found that the stickers on several of the sellers' display copies read, "Purchased by: Eric Wells." Sigh. I just hope there is room left in the car for US on the way back. (In case you're wondering, I myself bought only two books today--at a discount.)

Thus far a good time is being had by all. I'm very glad I was able to attend the conference this year. Aside from listening to interesting talks (for instance one I saw this afternoon on nocturnal demons and dreams), it's great to meet up with friends in the Egyptological community and visit. Good company, conversation, and food always makes for a good time.

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