Friday, January 8, 2010

Special delivery

I am parked behind a different Wal-Mart on Dale Mabry (map), several miles north of yesterday's digs. The spot behind the store here was peaceful and quiet, and mostly out of view of other shoppers. I was in the store early enough to snag a $5 rotisserie chicken for dinner -- usually they are gone by the time we arrive.

I'm up here because I ended up driving well north in search of fuel yesterday. Gas Buddy said there was a Mobil station on Fowler with $2.75 diesel (cash price), and the fancy illuminated sign on the street confirmed that as I rolled up. Being 15-20 cents less than most of the stations in Tampa, it was well worth the ~12 mile drive. After I jockeyed up to the dispensers, though, the price said $2.95, with a $0.05 cash discount. Apparently the price went up a couple days ago, and they forgot to change the sign on the street. I complained to the manager to no avail, so I just drove away. This is always a possibility with Gas Buddy -- the prices are reader-reported, with a date stamp, but the market is volatile and the numbers get stale. It is also possible that whoever posted the price was going by the street signage.

I was ready with a backup option, a Citgo a few miles further north listed at $2.79 cash. It was $2.80 by the time I got there, but still 10-15 cents below the Tampa market. I had enough cash to put 150 gallons in. Once I was that far north, two Wal-Marts came up as convenient. I first stopped at the one on Dale Mabry (there are no fewer than four Wal-Marts with Dale Mabry addresses in Tampa) that was due west of the Citgo, several miles north of here. But the lot was small and cramped, with low trees, and steep driveways, so I came here instead. This one is a Super Center, and I needed groceries anyway.

My excursion to Home Depot yesterday was for naught, as the largest set screws they stock are 5/16", and I need a 3/8". I'm not sure where I will have to go to get these. While there, I noticed two dilapidated rigs parked in the part of the lot in front of the now-defunct Circuit City store. They appeared to have taken up residence; one had a contractor generator and an enormous Yagi TV aerial sitting on the ground a few feet away. I also ran into both Target and Best Buy in search of a suitable Blu Ray player with no results. So it was well past noon by the time I had lunch and got on the road.

I did knock a project off the list last night. The fridge has needed defrosting for some time now -- southeast humidity tends to build up the ice quite rapidly. (Super-efficient refrigerators for boondocking rigs are never frost-free.) As long as I'm having to suffer with near-freezing overnight temperatures, I took advantage of the situation. As soon as the outside temperature dropped to 40°, I shoved all the food out the hatch onto the roof deck, and set to work with the heat gun. There was enough ice buildup this time that it took me well over an hour just on the fridge side; by that time it was in the high 30s outside and I sent the freezer contents to the roof for the half hour it took to finish the job.

This morning I am on a mission. Our original plans had been for me to remain in Arcadia this week teaching, which would have meant finding a way to get Louise to the Tampa airport (2+ hours away) mid-week. As you know we changed that plan when the class size shrank to a single student, but in the meantime, Louise had ordered some merchandise sent to Jack's place. It arrived there yesterday, and, as luck would have it, the lone student is coming right through Tampa today on his way home. He's agreed to bring the package with him; I need to meet him over near I-75 some 15 miles east of here. In just a few minutes I will pack up the bus and drive down to a parking lot a few miles south of here that looks suitable in Google Earth, take the scooter out, and run over to the Crowne Plaza off I-75 for the meet-up. No sense burning five gallons of diesel to do what can be done with a third of a gallon of gasoline.


  1. You may want to read this before you buy a DVD player.

  2. If you were going to stack food on the roof for hours, you would have fit right in with the dilapadated rigs at Home Depot...


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