No Thanks for the Weather!

Updated December 8, 2006 (trip ended November 28).

Time traveling: 6 days, 3 hours
Miles driven: 3430
New North American stores: 61
Recognition ratio: 12/46
Coffee consumed: (X - 7) * 4 + 4 = 216 oz + 4 oz French press coffee + 1 shot + 6 Doubl2Shot
Spent on coffee: $15.22
Spent on gas: $50.25
Spent on tolls/parking: $1.50
Spent on ferry: $90.35
Medication: 6 fake Excedrin + 4 fake benadryl (to sleep)

November 22, 2006

Craiggin' It

With 650 near-empty miles between Hayward and Portland, I decided to see if I could cut my gas cost and relieve a bit of driving boredom by taking one or two passengers from Craig's List. After calling/e-mailing several people for a few days, it ended up being a cello player and his girlfriend. Left work about a quarter after noon and picked up Joey and Ariel about 12 minutes later. Exactly at 12:30 we left the Hayward BART station and soon reached I-580. Just as soon we were in crawling traffic, and I was cursing all the holiday travelers. Traffic moved quicker for much of I-680, but as we approached the bridge it came to nearly a dead stop for miles. All in all, it took us 2 hours to drive 69 miles to I-505, where speeds picked up.

As I expected, having passengers cost me time, as even a short pit stop as soon as I spotted a gas station on I-5 (because the morning's venti coffee was burning a hole through my bladder) took longer than it would have had I been alone. It also made it harder for me to review my Scrabble words, because I had to keep my laptop on my lap and close it whenever the road became curvy. Once night fell, I couldn't review words at all, because the bright laptop screen right in my eyes (instead of on the passenger seat) interfered with my night vision. On the other hand, after so many road trips by myself, it was a refreshing change of pace to have passengers.

Plus, Joey's girlfriend Ariel was really nice to look at. She seemed like just the sort of artsy intelligent attractive yet non-Barbie type that I find most attractive. I found myself a bit jealous of the lad.

The Downside to Passengers

Even though it would lessen the chances of reaching Portland by 10:00 or 11:00, I went ahead and detoured to Chico because I determined that I might not reach Redding in time for a daylight photo, so I figured I might as well use the available daylight to shoot Chico. Joey and Ariel had a craving for Mexican food, so we lost some time finding one that turned out too expensive. That, and extra time at gas stations, and a wrong turn, and the delays mounted up. By the time I reached Redding, it was very dark, and also raining some, and I started having doubts about when we would actually reach Portland. We were further delayed because the Redding store was farther from the freeway than I had expected, and also finding the cheap Mexican food. On the other hand, the burrito was pretty good, and I have to make a mental note to remember La Cabana when I'm in the vicinity of Redding.

I did not have long to enjoy the burrito, however, before the rain turned into a downpour. It wasn't long before my just-vacuumed seat and floor were spattered. But I was more concerned about keeping my car on the road in face of the much-reduced visibility. I wasn't the only one. Joey kept glancing over as I juggled the burrito, soda, napkin, and steering wheel.

As if the slowdown caused by the rain wasn't bad enough, as we approached the Oregon line I saw a snow advisory and chain recommendation. Farther along, a sign reported that chains would be required, and I told the others to cross their fingers. But we saw no inspection--yes!!! Much relief!!! We did see some light snow on both summits, and the driving was treacherous, but we made it through. I was so happy when I got to relatively flat highway.

It was a mighty struggle, but those two DoubleShots from Chico and Redding worked, and I managed to stay awake until just past 2:00 AM and get is into Portland. By the time we gassed up and worked out how much they owed, then found their friend's house, it was past 2:30. Then I had to fix up the back of my car and head to my usual campground, and it was well past 3:00 before I got to sleep.

November 23, 2006

Not nearly enough sleep later, at 8:10, I decided I had to force myself up. Not just because of the shorter day, but because Starbucks would be closing early. I hoped for 6:00, but all the Seattle-area stores I called were closing at 4:00. Rats! On top of that, two other downtown-area stores were not answering. I already knew I was going to miss Columbia Tower 40th floor, and I hoped the others wouldn't also be closed 'til Monday.

Despite my having packed my laptop in my backpack, it was still operating slow in the morning. I had discovered this on a trip a few weeks earlier, when the nighttime temperature dropped to a certain point. I assumed the cold was affecting the processor, but I did not know how to fix the problem.

I neglected to look at my radio database for the NPR station and just used the seek feature. It stopped on a voice that sounded like an NPR correspondent, and it did not seem too out of place that she was talking to a group of children who had recorded church music in Latin. But as the report dragged on, I started to wonder. I also started to become irritated because the correspondent kept telling the kids how wonderful what they were doing was rather than projecting an objective tone. I thought back to a passage from Richard Dawkin's The God Delusion where he states something to the effect that children are not mentally capable of subscribing to a particular religion. If you accept this (and it makes sense), then the correspondent's accolades are even more egregious. I was about to fire of a protest letter to NPR when it dawned on me that 88.3 wasn't the NPR station! I had been snookered!!!

Grabbed some vittles from the Wild Oats, which was a good thing, because later on I was unable to find any good places for breakfast. I had to settle for some Village Inn before I got on the highway to OIympia. I was looking forward to getting to Canada, where it was not Thanksgiving and everything would be open as usual.

I visited a couple of stores, and I was immediately glad I had remembered to bring my coat. In fact, I was glad that I had remembered to ask my parents to ship the coat from Houston, where I had forgotten it. However, I left my wool cap and gloves back at the room in Hayward--I sure coulda used the cap while waiting out in the cold rainy wind to take a shot.

At the first store of the morning I ran into one of those managers who would not fill the sample to the requisite point, even after I asked. I started to pull out a couple of dollars and just buy a short, but she said it wasn't necessary and just gave me half a short. Once again I found myself grumbling that Starbucks did not include a page on me and my project and the rules in their training manuals. I mean, it's been almost 10 years!

I headed out to the Wood Village store met up with Eric from M.F. for another chat, and he had some pretty interesting ideas about promoting Starbucking that I would need to pursue, or rather get Bill and Heretic to pursue.

I was able to hang out with Eric for a bit without worrying about my schedule because several hours had just been freed up. The news was reported snow in the coastal mountains, and even if it was just rain I didn't want to get out to Warrenton just to take a crappy photograph and have to return. Unfortunately, I lost much of that time in horrible traffic to Olympia. Took almost 3 hours to drive the 118 miles, and I was struggling to stake away most of the way. For a moment I considered pulling into a rest area and waiting out the delays, but that would have really cost me in terms of store count, so I found a second wind and kept going.

4:00 came mighty quickly, and I did not end up visiting as many Seattle-area stores as I had hoped, only three incluing Olympia. It could have been 4, but I neglected to call the Federal Way store and just assumed it closed at 4:00. Actually it closed later, so I could have gotten Covington and then Federal Way. Grrr...

The Third-Degree

Despite some light rain, traffic was smooth with no delays northward from Seattle. As a approached Canada for the first time with my new single name, I grew nervous. And with good reason. The immigration officer grilled the heck out of me. But this, instead of the focus being on my Starbucks project or my erratic employment, it was on my multiple name changes. While I waited for the agent to return, I tried to read some more of The God Delusion, but I could hardly concentrate for being so worried that I'd be denied entry. Finally the agent returned, and she was a bit less inquisitive and just had me fill out a registration form like I had done in 2002.

Though the Starbucks was misplotted on my map, the road signs led me straight to the ferry terminal, and after I bought my ticket I quickly found the Starbucks kiosk. Working there was a very cute an enthusiastic barista named Kat. She had the kind of smile and enthusiasm that made me wish she worked at my regular Starbucks. On the other hand, I wouldn't wish working in Hayward (the armpit of the Bay Area) on my worst enemy. Anyway, before I left I encouraged her to visit my web site and send me an e-mail. Will she, or will it be another case of "out of sight, out of mind."

Stomach full, I headed back to the car for my toothbrush, and the cold reminded me that I needed to run the heater as much as possible before boarding because I would not be able to run my engine while on the ferry.

November 24, 2006

Around 5:45 AM the cold prompted me to drive from the side street where I had parked to the Starbucks so the engine would heat the car faster. Not sure if I felt back asleep, because a construction man arrived at some point and started banging about. Around 7:05 I went ahead and started to change, and I noticed the sky was still not light, even out there on the "Sunshine Coast".

I turned on the radio, and, surprise, surprise, surprise--hockey news.

At obligatory Tim Horton's stop I discovered sosmething new, breakfast biscuit sandwiches like in the US.

A fairly quick drive from Parkville north along Highway 19. And finally!!! At 3 years, 3 months after it opened, Courtenay was one of my longest outstanding stores, but I finally got it!

The news kept reporting snow coming, so I considered myself lucky that, slow though the drive to Port Alberni was, at least I didn't get anything but a few flakes of snow on the way back. I also consider myself lucky that I couldn't keep up with the red SUV, because the driver ended up getting pulled over. I was a bit surprised, because I don't remember seeing cars being pulled over in Canada very often, if at all. Compared to the U.S., there hardly seems to be traffic enforcement at all.

Rain was light, and I actually saw some sun on the drive down to Victoria, so I was rather irked when I approached the city and drove into a downpour. However, by the time I finished chatting with Colin and his friend Adam the rain had let up. I met Colin, of, at an independent coffee shop called Discovery Coffee, at Douglas & Discovery. Colin ordered us up an Ethiopian blend prepared in a type of pressure French press machine called a Clover, and I have to say it was mighty good. Better than Starbucks, even. During our chat I learned that Colin has some contacts among the independent movie houses in Victoria--another avenue to pursue for screening Starbucking.

From Discovery I headed to a couple of other new stores in the area. Thought it was three, but to my dismay one had been horribly misplotted and was actually back in Langford, which I had passed earlier! And to my further chagrin, at another store I got a horribly vicious look from an amazingly attractive barista when I asked her to fill the sample cup. So I had to pay $1.39 and receive a puzzled look from the other barista when I asked her to put the short coffee in the near-full sample cup I already had.

Next to the Cadboro Bay store was a deli with a sign on the window that read Chili. All of a sudden I got a craving for that yummy chili from Siegel's. I couldn't wait 'til I got back to Vancouver, though, so I popped in to check it out. Damn! Expensive!! $7.65 US! But I was famished and couldn't say no.

I happened upon a Wi-Fi signal and checked the ferry schedule, and by coincidence the radio was reporting that the 5:00 was already 93% full! Even if I could make it back out to Langford and up to Sydney, which was unlikely, I wasn't going to make the ferry. The next one was going to be at 7:00, which meant I probably wouldn't have a chance to visit any Vancouver stores Friday night. I could have skipped Langford and rushed to Sydney, but then if I missed the ferry anyway I would have skipped that store for nothing. Best I could hope for was to sleep so much that I'd be able to start right at 6:00 AM on Saturday morning.

A couple of wrong turns cost me a good 10 minutes I figure, enough for me to completely lose the last bit of available light for my Langford photo. On the other hand, I had a chance to try the technique taught to me by the photographer in Santa Clarita, to press the shutter at the end of an exhale in order to achieve a steadier hand.

Nearly a week before my trip, I had been suffering from a bug, and as is common, the illness had sapped my libido. I could feel it returning when I entered the Starbucks and met a very attractive, petite, black-haired barista with her top unbuttoned just enough to reveal the hint of what promised to be some marvelous cleavage. Her apron covered most of it though, and I spent the rest of my time there caring about little more than glimpsing as much of her as I could. At that particular moment I probably would have dropped a fair number of twenties on her, but unfortunately lap dances are not on the Starbucks menu (though they should be, given the general attractiveness of the baristas). Given that Starbucks bowed to pressure and removed the perfectly natural nipples on the Siren, I'm not holding my breath for and Hooters-type changes to the Starbucks dress code.

I rushed to Sydney and the ferry terminal, and I came to wish I had rushed a bit more throughout the day, because when 7:00 PM rolled around, I was about 10 cars short of making it on. I had to wait until 9:00. Wouldn't have been so bad if I had been able to sleep, but I hardly dozed off in the three hours, and not much at all during the hour and a half ferry ride. When I finally got back to Tsawwassen, I was exhausted. Still, I could have made up some time if I I had been able to visit the Richmond store that night, but it closed at 11:00, and I was 10-15 minutes late. Damn! If I hadn't missed that 7:00 PM ferry. Instead I ended up just finding a side street off Stevenson Highway where I could crash.

November 25, 2006

Around 6:30 I felt like I could sleep for hours more, but I needed to make up a lot of the time I had lost, so I forced myself up and over to the new Richmond store. It was bitterly cold in Vancouver (aka "da Couve"), and I was sorely regretting not having remembered my wool cap and gloves. The store was pretty and worthy of a better photograph, but my hands just couldn't take it and I made a mad dash back to the car.

Duxiue chicks oncanadian radio

Niiiice contrast.

Whew! Almost forgot a bunch of reshoots from my previous visit.

From the Burnaby store I had the option of heading direcly out to some stores in Coquitlam or visiting the New Westminster store first, which I had just confirmed is corporate (the name First Pro made me suspicious). From eyeballing my map it looked like New Westminster would work better, in part because I was hellah hungry. The hunger exacerbated the irritation I felt when Canada Way slowed to a crawl. I tried to get out to Imperial via side streets, but in the distance I could see flashing lights and cars being turned around. I went the other way, towards 6th Street, and had to wait through several light cycles because many other cars had had the same idea. On 6th St I finally gave up on the idea of a bagel (had been looking for a shop all morning) and stopped the Big 6 restaurant for the "trucker's breakfast".

Even though I was rolling with a much larger budget than my previous trip to Canada, my general cheapness still prompted me to try to cut my gas as close as possible to the U.S. border, and to take advantage of the Superbuck discount coupons issue the Gas Bar gas stations for purchases at the Extra Foods grocery store.

At one of the last stores of the day I asked the manager why so many stores in Canada opened on Thursday. She explained that "Friends and Family" was on Thursday, with the official opening on Friday. I knew this, of course, but I had not guessed that the Thursday dates given to me at many stores was actually the Friends and Family date. Well, actually, I couldn't be sure either way. Still, I adjusted my database, changing all the Thursday dates to Friday.

The final store of my Canada stint was out in Abbotsford, and I'm assuming that it was because of the distance from the water, and its warming influence, that it was so ridiculously cold. In fact, it was coldiculous!

While I took the photograph (and shivered, and blew on my chapped hands), I was approached by a man hawking CDs of his music. I explained that I no longer buy CDs--I download my music instead, but I still had to respect the guy for his diligence in spite of the sub-zero temperature.

From Abbotsford the shorter route back to Seattle took me through the Aldergrove border crossing, where there was still a wait. At least I didn't have to wait to turn in my registration paper--the border agent just took it and said I was set. The U.S. agent had more questions, but when I showed him an article he quieted down and let me through.

Skeleton Grip

Despite my rush, rush, rushing up in BC, I was not able to get down to the Seattle area quickly enough to visit all of the most proximate of the new stores. I did make it out to a brand new store in Redmond Ridge, however, and I was glad I did, because I got a sign an autograph for a teenage girl who seemed to be beaming at having met an honest-to-goodness celebrity. Little did she know just how minor my celebrity status is, but hey, I'll take the attention of teenage girls any day of the week.

I was tempted to stick around and make indecent proposals, but I was saved from certain embarrassment by the knowledge that I needed to get over Snoqualmie Pass before the snow came.

One more stop, in Covington, and I had a bit of a scare. The first Starbucks I saw was closed despite the fact that it was not yet 10:00 PM. I sat in front of the store and cursed the baristas for either closing the store early or giving me the wrong info. But I lucked out, because the nearest gas was down at the next light, and on the way I passed the real new store, the drive-thru. The one I had seen first had been the old one, and I had forgotten that there was already store in Covington. Damn aging memory! When I was 20 I bet I wouldn't have forgotten the location of any Starbucks anywhere.

Despite my exhaustion, I pushed myself across the pass and to the next rest area. Little did I realize that night that what I was actually doing was trapping myself. When I woke up to kiwi after 2-3 hours of sleep, I should have kept driving immediately all the way to Yakima. But I went back to sleep, unaware that the morning I would be in for a rude awakening.

November 26, 2006

I awoke at 6:35, and it took 10 minutes to defrost my windshield, but those 10 minutes were irrelevant in the scope of the nearly three hours it took me to negotiate the snow and ice the 60 miles to Yakima. I drove as slow as I could, but I still almost met with disaster. When I looked in my rearview mirror and saw a suburban (or maybe a pickup with that cab-like thing in the truck bed) slip-sliding, I started to move to the side so the truck could pass. That started me sliding, and my light Civic went into a full slide of at least 180 degrees. I was sure that was it, that the truck was going to hit me and put my car out of commission. But thankfully, I managed to pull out of the slide and get control.

I took the wrong exit into Yakima and ended up on the wrong side of town. Still, I was glad to be off that goddamned freeway. Plus, I happened upon Mel's Diners, and I was glad for a break from driving (though I still took it to go).

Got a sweet shot of a snow-covered Chalet Mall store, then reshot the others. But I forgot to go inside the 40th & River store because I was busy thinking about that evil manager and whether she'd spot me taking a photo and call the cops again. Though it might be too harsh to call her the worst manager ever, I think she definitely earns the title of worst judge of character. Wish I'da gotten her name so I could find out when she finally leaves the store. Hope she doesn't move to any new stores I need to visit. The freeway was better as I continued south on I-82, and I was glad to be free of Yakima, now my least-favorite city.

The new store in Prosser was not answering, but baristas at two separate Yakima stores confirmed that it was indeed open, so I exited off the interstate. Good thing I took it slow, because the exit ramp was not as clear of snow and ice as the freeway, and there was a blue pickup truck stuck in the ditch, driver looking foolish.

For the past 10 months I had assumed that my log contained a record of exactly which of the Tri Cities stores I needed to revisit and complete my visit after losing some of the coffee. But I had not kept an accurate record, which meant that in addition to Yakima, I had to revisit the Richland and Pasco stores and have the coffee. I was pretty sure that I was cool with Richland, that it was far enough away from the other stores that I had already drunk the coffee. But of course, the only I would know for sure would be when the prophecy came true... or not.

The road was clear to Pendleton, thank heavens, and it was a good thing that I took some pizza with me before I got back on the interstate, because 10-15 miles past Pendleton the road went from completely clear to snowy pretty quick, and traffic slowed to a crawl over the pass. It was still sunny though. Weird. But still, I was glad that chains were only required on heavy trucks. Unfortunately, I didn't reach La Grande until 5:10, and I lost the light for my photo. Sucked, because I didn't expect to pass through La Grande again for a long time.

Traffic to Idaho was much smoother, and by 9:30 I was in Meridian. I had time to visit two stores, and then I moved over to a Wal-Mart Supercenter conveniently located a few minutes away.

Quantus Queay

November 27, 2006

In the wee hours I woke up and headed out towards Boise, and there I ran into a first. I was pulled over, and the cop said the reason was that there had been a hit and run nearby, on Vine Street I think. Had it not been so early and I out of it, I would have been more pissed about how the cops keep finding reasons to pull me over.

Visited the Boise & Apple store right around 5:00, got a DoubleShot to save, and went out to the parking lot to sleep. Maybe an hour later I went back in for a scone and some juice, and I the food helped me sleep a little more. Later still, the constant noise from the drive-thru was bugging me, so I moved the car a little farther away. All the while, I kept falling asleep, going into R.E.M. sleep, having these wacky dreams, and waking up again.

At 7:47 I deemed it light enough to take a photo and get a move-on. I kept checking the weather, and the passes in Oregon didn't look good. It was nearly 10:00 before I finished up in Boise, and I made the decision that I did not want to risk going over the pass. Plus, the Internet said chains were required, but I didn't know if that would be enforced or not. Staying on the interstates and going through I-80 would be 400 miles farther, but safer. So I called into work to say I wouldn't be making it in.

Incidentally, at that last store in Boise I encountered the most beautiful of all the baristas I had encountered in the 50+ stores I'd visited during that trip.

I headed east on I-84 towards SLC, and once I got the car up to 90 MPH, man did it feel good! 100 miles to the east I ran into some snow, but it was very light and wasn't sticking. 20 miles from Twins Falls the snow was sticking some, but speeds kept up. It was actually a little scary--I felt some of those drivers needed to slow down. The snow didn't last long, but then I had to deal with a craaaaazy trucker. It was white-knuckle driving for many miles as I tried to stay ahead of him.

Because of my rush, all I had time for was a hot dog and some fritos from a gas station. Wasn't enough, and the result of that crap churning in my gut was a mighty stink. Next to the first SLC-area Starbucks, in Riverdale (one of my most long-outstanding stores) was Gandolfo's Delicatessen. While I ordered, the two women that were sitting at a table behind me suddenly got up and moved to the other side of the room. I immediately wondered if it was the fact that I hadn't showered in five days, or if it was the stink festering in my gut. I leaned in close to the cute pink-top-clad cashier and asked, but she said she didn't smell anything funny. Given the circumstances, the chili probably wasn't the best choice. The rest of the afternoon turned stinkier, and it's a good thing I wasn't carrying passengers.

Despite stealthing the five SLC-area stores, I still moved much too slow, and by the time I left the Bountiful store it was clear that I wasn't going to reach Reno by store-closing time, even under the best of conditions. But that turned out to be the least of my worries. I was able to move very quickly to the Nevada line and then onward for about 50 miles before I had to slow down because of slush on the road. I gassed up in Wells, where I discovered some sort of problem with my parking brake. But that turned out to be the real least of my worries, as a mile or two to the west I ran smack dab into whiteout conditions. I could not see the road, and I could not tell whether I was going to drive off it or not. I think I came close a couple of times before I hit the rumble strips and saw a reflective marker. I proceeded cautionsly, worried about cars and trucks coming up behind me, until I saw an exit sign for a campground. I sat there and wondered what to do until I saw another vehicle approaching, and I was able to follow it until conditions became better.

As I approached Elko I saw a flashing sign requiring chains or snow tires. I pulled into Elko, filled the tank again, and stopped at Sergio's again, but for a burrito this time, somethign I could eat while driving. A motel had free Wi-Fi and I went to the Nevada DOT page, where I noticed that they make a distinction between "required" and "mandatory" for the snow tires or chains. A couple of hours from Reno, at least, the rest area sign reported the next one to be 76 miles. I didn't think I could drive 76, so I pulled in around 10:30. Perhaps because of the DoubleShot I woke up a couple of hours later and felt fine to drive. It wasn't snowing, so I figured I'd best get on the road and avoid what had happened in Washington, where I lost a lot off time for not pushing on to Yakima.

I moved pretty good for the next 76 miles following some car. The driver wasn't being too aggressive about his speed, and that was just fine with me. Just when we were about to pass that next rest area I saw snow coming towards me, and I quickly pulled to the side and tried to back up the exit ramp. I couldn't see though, so I finally said fuck it and just turned the car around and drove the wrong way. It's not like anybody was going to notice or car--the truckers were probably asleep. I took another look at the sky, and it seemed like it wasn't really snowing that hard, and that maybe it was just blowing snow. I decided to give it a go, and the road quickly cleared up for most of the way to Reno, where I arrived around 3:00 and promply headed downtown in search of a toilet, which I found at Mel's, or rather the adjacent casino.

November 28, 2006

Caffeine helped me up at 7:12 after what I figured what just five hours of sleep. Anxiety about the pass marked my fatigue, and that anxiety was well-founded, as both the radio and the CAL-DOT web site were reporting chain requirements for all the trans-Sierra passes. I had taken my chances in the other nearby states, but somehow I had the feeling that California would be stricter about enforcing the requirement.

I wanted to get underway as quickly as possible, so I stealthed the first two stores upon finding the supervisor busy making drinkings. Across the street from McCarran & US-395 was a Wal-Mart, and I went in to see about chains. Back in the auto department, Jamie, cute in a white trash kind of way, said that either chains or something called cables were acceptable. The cables were cheaper, and she said they were easier to install, so I decided to trust her.

Sweet view, from McCarran and US-395.

Stealthed the first two stores because there were lines and I was in a hurry to ge tto work, but I was glad that I took the 10-mile detour and introduced myself down in Carson City, because there I got the best reception of the 61 stores I had visited that trip. The manager said of course she would buy a copy of Starbucking--I'm gonna hold her to that! I had to plug the film, of course, everywhere I went. That was my job for the next five months--promotion, promotion, promotion!

Seagulls in Carson City? Do lakes have seagulls?

As I headed up into the mountain, still on the Nevada side, I saw a man standing by the side of the road wearing a sign that read "CHAINS ON". For a second I thought he was an official, so I pulled over. I quickly realized he was just a chain installer. I asked him about the regulations, whether officials would really be turning cars around. He said that I wouldn't have a problem in Nevada, but that CAL-DOT would definitely pull me over. Given what I had learned about California, I believed him.

But what amazing timing!!! I reached the chain-up area in Meyers, and the flashing sign was alerting that chains were required. I stopped and made kiwi first, and in the 60 seconds I was there the sign changed, and chains were no longer required. The chain installers suddenly turned their signs around, from "CHAINS ON, $30" to "CHAINS OFF, $20". All the my delays had worked out, sort of, because by 11:00 AM the sun had had enough time to melt the snow and ice.

On the other side on the pass, once the snow and ice cleared and I didn't have to concentrate so hard, the fatigue set in and I started to feel the culmination of days of pushing, pushing, pushing. I took another two fake Excedrin, and I noticed I was almost out. Not good. Pain relievers are a mandatory element of my Starbucks project. Anyway, it's a good thing that speeds soon picked up and I saw no more delays until just 10 miles from work.

I had been in such a hurry that it wasn't until I finally returned that I noticed the effect of the snowy driving on my car.

My car wasn't the only thing affected. Besides my wool cap and gloves, I had also forgotten my hand lotion.

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