Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Quick pre-departure update

Well, the relief operation lingered a bit longer than any of us predicted, finally closing Saturday afternoon.  It took three of us all day Sunday to tear down and pack everything up, and the two of us who stayed yesterday spent most of the day getting it all labeled and shipped.  We made the 2:00 FedEx pickup by the skin of our teeth, with 37 cases weighing in at 1,800 pounds.  Right afterward my last staffer bailed, leaving me to clean up -- I wrapped up at 4:30.

Last night's project was bleaching the water system.  The last load of water we took on generated a sulfur dioxide problem, a non-harmful but very smelly condition wherein trace amounts of sulfur, along with sulfur-eating bacteria, both of which are common in well water, combine in the anaerobic and warm environment of the water heater to produce something that smells a lot like sewer gas.  Yuck.

The cure is to let a strong bleach solution sit in the water heater for about four hours.  I have a hose connection near my parking space, so I took the liberty of bleaching the entire fresh water system, as long as I had to get 12 gallons into the water heater anyway.  Then I went out for dinner and shopping, to let the whole thing sit.  Today the problem is gone, but it will come back unless I get some different water -- I'm pretty sure the problem came from water we got right here.

In just a few minutes I will be pulling up stakes and heading out.  Louise has a one-way flight to New Orleans on Saturday, and I have about a thousand solo miles ahead of me.  I'll be doing about 250 miles per day, and sticking to the freeway, so it is an easy schedule, allowing for more stops.  When we drive together, not only can Louise relieve me if needed, it is also unnecessary to pull over for snacks or beverages -- Louise just runs upstairs and gets them.  Plus, navigation questions like where is the next Wal-Mart, or FlyingJ, can be dealt with on the fly, whereas I will need to pull over.

I've tried, therefore, to map out all of my stops ahead of time.  I've even pre-loaded the route into our new Garmin 7200 GPS (which is still screwed down to a block of wood, since I have not yet figured out how to mount the thing).  If all goes as planned, I will stop tonight at the Wal-Mart in Salisbury, NC -- the very same place we stayed on our way to Concord a month ago.

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