Back from Flagstaff

We had a wonderful time with my folks in Flagstaff for a few days, then on Monday we left the children with them and headed down to Sedona, AZ for a night away. This was a rather momentous trip given that it was only the second night we had ever been without the children, and we were staying at the bed & breakfast in which we had stayed on our honeymoon. We had a wonderful time.

Sadly, we received a call early the next morning informing us my wife’s grandfather had passed away. We immediately began changing plans and headed back to Flagstaff, where we celebrated Thanksgiving early the following day (Wednesday) with my parents. We then got up at 3:45 a.m. Thanksgiving morning and drove back to Dallas, arriving at 11:30 pm. All this to allow my wife and daughter to catch a plane this morning bound for Atlanta for the funeral.

Jonathan (my 11 month old son) and I actually had a great day together, which was surprising given all the travel he’s had to do recently and the nasty cold he’s been fighting. Oddly enough, this is the first time Jonathan and I have spent more than a few hours together alone. I found it very gratifying. He’s a great little guy.

For those of you who were wondering, the minivan performed admirably… once we were coming back to Dallas and it was proving its worth, my wife and I began questioning the prudence of using a used vehicle for a 2000 mile road trip a couple weeks after acquiring it and were thankful it held up.

Drive to Flagstaff

Here’s the basic shape of our trip to Flagstaff this past Thursday.

The Plan: Get to bed by 10:30 pm Wednesday night so we can get several hours of sound sleep before getting up at 4 am
Reality: Up until 12:30 am. Asleep by 1. Awaken by Jonathan bellowing twice during the night. Get up a bit after 4 am, having gotten 2 hours of sleep.

The Plan: Leave at 5 am for long stretch before breakfast with the kids sleeping.
Reality: Got everyone in the minivan by 5:15 am. Turned the ignition. Nothing happens. Turns out I had managed to kill the battery while testing the portable TV/VCR I had set up in the van. Struggle with numerous godly virtues (or lack thereof). Get the jumper cables and hook up the minivan to the other car’s battery. After 15 minutes of trying finally get the minivan started. Leave around 5:40 am with two disgruntled, most definitely not sleeping, children.

The Plan: Zip in and out of McDonald’s for breakfast.
Reality: 90 minutes of food and numerous bathroom visits with disgruntled children.

The Plan: Long stretch to lunch.
Reality: 140 miles into the trip, several minutes after the children had finally fallen asleep, missed the reduced speed limit sign in Wichita Falls, TX. Got a speeding ticket.

The Plan: More humerous goals and aspirations leading to the timely arrival in Flagstaff, AZ, around 10 or 11 pm.
Reality: 500 miles of continuous rain. A couple more very long stops along with a couple shorter ones. Attempting to stay awake by consuming bags of candy and animal crackers, numerous cokes and root beers. Singing along with U2’s The Joshua Tree late at night (answering the question, “What would U2 sound like if Bono stank?”). And finally, amazingly, only around 19 hours later, safe arrival in Flagstaff.


Packing never goes as planned. Enough said. It’s after 11:30 pm, the alarm is going to be set for 3:30 or 4 am, and we will be on the road for probably 17 to 19 hours. Until we meet again, cheers.

Nuclear Arsenal

Wow. I find it remarkable that a two-thirds reduction in our nuclear arsenal will leave over 1700 operationally deployed strategic nuclear warheads. I don’t know the average, but I’d guess it’s between 3 and 5 warheads to delivery vehicle (i.e. missile). That’s still a massive capability.

Growing up on Kwajelein in the Marshall Islands, we used to get up in the middle of the night when there was a mission to watch the warheads blossom from the delivery vehicle (usually an ICBM, I think) upon re-entry and rain down into the lagoon. The missiles were launched from California, about 5k miles away… they reached the atoll in about 25 minutes if I recall correctly.

Now using Greymatter

Okay… I’ve switched over to the Greymatter blog I’ve been putting together behind the scenes. Here’s the caveats: I ported the comments but the dates are goofed up; the comments template is not yet complete… there may be others.

New Format

In case it isn’t obvious, I’m transitioning to a new format. I’ll try to keep it legible while I work out the kinks.

The Long Drive

This coming Thursday, we’ll head out way too early in the morning to drive to my folks home in Flagstaff, AZ. The goal is to do the trip in one long drive… looking at it on the map, I’m starting to feel like I may need to have my head examined. Preparations were a little larger than the normal family trip given that the first item on the check-list was to buy a minivan. What a great time to buy a used car, though. Prices have really come down significantly in the past few months. We found the right vehicle just over a week ago. Though it had a good bit more mileage on it than we were targeting, the price was terrific. Being inherently distrustful of previous owners, I had it serviced (oil, alignment, check the belts/filters/coolant/etc.) this past weekend and it is now ready for the road. My brother has loaned me their portable TV/VCR, and we are putting every Veggie Tale and Winnie the Pooh video we have on few 6-hour VHS tapes. We figure continuous, mind-numbing entertainment is our best bet at helping Jonathan (11 months old) and Abigail (not quite 3 years old) make the trip.

Rice crushes Tulsa

Rice resurrects bowl hopes with rout of Tulsa. This is a Very Big Deal. Keep in mind Rice is the smallest Division 1-A school in the nation, not to mention that they actually have academic standards of some sort for the football team. The year before I showed up at Rice (1989), the team won a single game in the season. The team was gradually improved until it could post an occasional winning season (the 6-5 variety). But this year, things have finally started to gel. Here’s the highlights:

Tulsa (1-8, 0-6) was helpless against the Owls’ offense, which amassed a school-record 653 yards of offense and averaged 9.3 yards per play. Rice scored on its first six possessions and led 38-13 at the half.
The 498 yards rushing were the second-most in Rice history (505 vs. Arkansas in 1953), and the 59 points were the most the Owls have scored in a conference game. Tulsa, which lost its eighth straight game, finished with 506 yards of offense.

Wow! That rushing performance should hopefully ensure we finish second in the nation behind Nebraska in rushing offense… very cool! Stop by here to revel in all things Rice football.