New Foreigner Book!


a few hardcovers and pbs available from Closed Circle, signed. Latest: Moonlover and the Fountain of Blood, Jane Fancher short story. Chernevog, part 2 of the Rusalka trilogy co-written by CJ and Jane; and Orion's Children, a tetralogy from Lynn.

Home again!

We don’t like to broadcast our absences on the internet (for sensible reasons!)—
But we’re just in from a 5000-6000 mile trip.
We headed down to OKC to see my brother, who was going off to Libertycon the next weekend, as we were going to Soonercon, in OKC the same weekend. Jane and I did the writer’s workshop there. Then we headed off to Chicago-area, via Springfield IL (which has a very nice little restaurant, should anybody ask) and saw Jane’s sister, then took off again for Wall, SD, which has a very long but hysterical history with Jane and me during the Great Move North; and on from Wall to Devil’s Tower WY, which is fairly near Buffalo, one of our regular stops; and we THOUGHT we could make it on in to Spokane from Buffalo, but we were just, by then, too tired. We were already tired, and sagebrush in bloom is enough to put you out cold while you drive; so about noonish, in Butte, MT, Jane and I concluded it would be dangerous and stupid to push the last 300 miles home even if we had plenty of daylight. We know a truckstop Motel 6 in Rocker, just outside Butte, that’s cheap, efficient, and forgiving—they checked us in an hour earlier than they routinely will—, and we just tucked in and rested all that afternoon and through the night.

This morning we got up about 5:30, caught the cats, snagged a sort of breakfast, and headed home.

Which is where we are now.

Great trip. Good people.

Now I’ve got a ton of notes and have some writing to do!

27 comments to Home again!

  • Which route do you take from Springfield, IL to home? I was looking at routes, and it seems you hit I-90 if you were in SD, because I-94 is in ND, IIRC. It’s still a LONG drive….

  • CJ

    We went Spokane to Casper, WY via 90, turning to 25 at Buffalo; to Raton NM via I 25, then Raton to Amarillo TX via (I think) state 87 via Clayton, and at Amarillo we picked up I-40 to OKC. Then OKC via Joplin to St Louis via the Turner Turnpike (via Tulsa), crossed the Mississippi in STL on the bridge by the arch, and on to Springfield, then north to Naperville, IL, and then on up to intersect 90, which led us to Wall, then to Buffalo WY on 90 via Devil’s Tower, then up I-25 to Rocker (near Butte) to Spokane. Devil’s Tower was a bit of a whim, and is certainly impressive when you stand at the foot of the rockpile that fell off it… It’s about an hour or so detour off 90 to ‘do’ the tourist thing: but between Wall and Buffalo, you have plenty of time. Only regret was the temperature in the 90’s, which meant being very careful about the kittehs in the car. One advantage of the Prius: it can run its AC off the battery, and keep you cool without running the motor and running your vehicle too hot.

    Our gas mileage was very good, so all our old rhythm of gas stations and fills was thrown completely off. We discovered that the Prius’ 10 gallon gas tank’s endurance is greater than our tolerance for sitting in a car seat without letup: our cruising range between fillups is a bit under 500 miles, which means—the humans need to stop, get out, walk around, get a soft drink, etc, several times in that 500 miles.

    • Back in June 1991, my ex-wife and I drove from San Diego to Norfolk, VA in separate cars. Both of us are amateur radio operators, so we could keep in constant contact. Anyway, we stopped at Mt. Rushmore one afternoon, then had dinner in Rapid City. We were supposed to be in Sioux City, IA that evening for our motel reservation, needless to say we didn’t make it. We drove I-90 across South Dakota at night, during one of the biggest aurora borealis events in the recent history. We later learned that the aurora were visible as far south as St. Louis, MO. I had never seen the aurora, so it was fascinating to me, even though as a Navy Radioman, we don’t particularly like the interference it causes to our communications. I don’t recall much of South Dakota, since it was dark, I was exhausted, and even the brief stop at the rest area somewhere east of Pierre didn’t help. When we came out for ShejiCon3, we drove across North Dakota during the day, so got to see more of the country, especially as it changed from prairie to foothills the further west we went. As I recall, I had brought along my Roadside Guide to Geology of Montana, but didn’t have anything on North Dakota with me. (I’ve only got 3 of the Roadside Geology guidebooks.)

    • tulrose

      You sailed past me on I-40 it appears. At one point I was about 2.5 miles south of you.

  • I need to stop for a break an hour or so out in the morning, and then I’m good for about three more, which gets me to lunch, and I’ll fill the tank then; that’s about four gallons, maybe 5, because I fill up first thing. Then I call it a day around 4, if I haven’t gotten where I’m going.

  • ryanrick

    Welcome home! We did a South Dakota trip several years ago in October — when it was supposed to be low 60s (usual average high) and was more like 30s with snow all over. Turned out fun. Saw Mt. Rushmore dusted with smow and mountain goats near the road; buffalo, pronghorn and turkeys on the drive down to Hot Springs and the Mammoth site (well worth seeing); prairie dog towns and bighorn sheep on the day we did the Badlands which ended up in Wall for lunch and hours of exploration! That place is just amazing — the travel channel has done a segment on it. We also did a day off to the Crazy Horse Monument, several days I’m Deadwood (also worth seeing for the historic restorations) and a day jaunting out to Devil’s Tower. If you have the time, the Journey Museum in Rapid City really is worth seeing

  • mmccormi

    Sounds like a great trip! You might want to post more than once when you’re gone though — it’s become a pattern.

    • Raesean

      Yes, I actually figured that you two were off on a road trip, given the long “radio silence.” Posting when you can voids the automatic suspicion on the part of readers that you are gone and the house empty.

  • CJ

    Yep. And I did, a couple of times, when I had wifi.

  • chondrite

    Road trips are fun. DH and I enjoy going to the mainland, where you can drive in a straight line for more than a couple of hours at a time, and see different scenery. Our last trip we drove from Tucson to Phoenix up the old secondary road, Rt. 79. Much less congested than the main highway, Rt. 10, and more scenic; it went by Biosphere 2, a number of rock outcroppings, and more saguaro than you could shake a stick at. My personal favorite is the mother road, Route 66, parts of which are still driveable and go through interesting terrain, if somewhat kitschy in spots. Many of the secondary roads in the Four Corners states don’t require a 4WD vehicle but have fun things to see, like ghost towns, old mines, etc.

  • Walt

    Pictures or it didn’t happen. 😉

  • CJ

    We buzzed past Sturgis—Jane got pix of Wiishu with one of the bikers; and again, got better pix of Devil’s Tower. I’d eaten some lovely homemade bratwurst at a place called Amish Ovens, and while it was good, I was so sore I could hardly walk: I’m strongly suspecting onion powder somewhere in the recipe. And besides, I had to keep the Ac in the car going to keep kittehs comfy. So I waited, and read the Black Hills geology book I’d picked up at the ranger station. Down below, we got sweatshirts, at the tourist site.

    Any of you coming I-90 for Shejicon, the Motel 6 in Buffalo WY has converted to an indie, and is 91.00 a night for two, but includes a hot breakfast (breakfast sandwich, boiled eggs, pancakes, etc)—so it kind of works out as not too bad a deal. The Cantina on Buffalo’s main street is also very good. just sayin’.

  • ready4more

    On our way home from ShejiCon we’ll be spending a night in Bozeman, MT for time to go through Museum of the Rockies dinosaur exhibits, and then going to Sundance, Wy to visit a friend who has set up an art studio. From Sundance we’ll head back across WY to pick up I-25 south, with overnight stop in Raton area, before a final day’s drive back to southern AZ. We haven’t figured out what route we’ll take on our way to ShejiCon, but we have friends in Los Angeles, and really like I-5 past Mt. Shasta, and the scenery paralleling the Cascades, or up the Pacific coast. I’m taking three weeks away from my new job so we can have a good time on the trip without having to rush. (New boss isn’t thrilled, but that was one of the conditions. They sought me out and I’m helping them out of a serious bind.)

  • When I visited my cousin in Chicago last spring, after riding Amtrak from Oakland to Portland to Chicago in 65 hours (we sat in Spokane a couple of hours, but it was 3am), he quoted his parents on driving across N.D. – “miles and miles of miles and miles.”

    I have said nothing on the forums, because it was up in the air, but all spring I’ve been scheming to see if I could get to Shejicon. I would so much like to see all you guys, and The Pool. And after all, I was able to travel that far last year. Trains are wonderful!

    But it isn’t doable. On the one hand, my formerly slow-developing cataract has gotten much worse, and has to be Dealt With. On the other, my delinquent tenants who moved out Sunday left the most unholy mess I ever did see. Between the salary for the cleanup, the paint, replacement AC, and probably fridge and stove, any slack in the budget has vanished like snow in a Texas July.

    So I expect a Full Report here and on Shejidan. With Pictures. Have fun!

  • CJ

    So sorry about the mess and the eye troubles. Great sympathies on the eye troubles. My contacts didn’t work, neither prescription, so back to the drawing board—my optometrist won’t be that surprised, I think.

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