Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Richmond update

Clock - Amtrak Station - Ashland, VA

We are parked on a dead-end street behind Martin's grocery, formerly Ukrops, off US-1 between Ashland and Glen Allen, Virginia (map), just north of Richmond. Once again I must apologize for the lack of updates, but we have had our noses to the grindstone.

We were parked in exactly this same location last Sunday night, after we moved from the TA truck stop north of here, and it was such a great spot we decided to try it again. Last week were took advantage of this spot to stock up the larder at Martin's, which turns out to be a great store. They also have a coffee bar with indoor and outdoor seating and free WiFi, though we are just a tad too far to pick it up.

This spot was also a good starting point for a relatively short scooter ride to the cousins' house, where we dined on elk burgers and had a very pleasant evening. They have a cat, three dogs, and a flock of chickens, so we felt right at home. They also had a pair of litre-class cruisers in the driveway, next to which our scooters appeared lilliputian.

Monday morning we headed back to the warehouse, where we were able to park undisturbed through Sunday. We both worked a solid five days, and I also went in on Saturday to tie up some loose ends. That got us 50 amps of power all the way through the hot spell here, as temperatures started to drop Sunday afternoon. During the course of the week we managed to get downtown a couple more times for dinner, including to the vibrant Shockoe Bottom neighborhood, where we had a coupon for local favorite Julep's.

Sunday morning I finally got a chance to unwind and more or less crash, and we were able to talk constructively about the "plan" for the immediate future, such as that is. By the time Friday had rolled around, we had been talking seriously about heading up to Baltimore for Trawler Fest, held over the weekend at the Inner Harbor. But that would have necessitated an early start Saturday morning, and, while we had loaded up the scooters and battened everything down Friday night just in case, we ended up sleeping in on Saturday and really didn't have the energy for it, especially since we are scheduled to attend Trawler Fest in Fort Lauderdale in January. Thus I ended up back in the office for most of Saturday.

We'd also been invited by some friends to spend some time at their vacation home in Cole's Point, on the Potomac, just a short walk from the historic tavern there. And, as is usual any time we are this close, we also had an invitation to stop by the Disaster Operations Center (DOC) in DC. By Sunday morning, however, we were carefully watching Investigation Area 96L, which has since turned into Tropical Depression 16 and now Tropical Storm Nicole. Knowing that moving that much further away from the potential strike zone might put us off the deployable list, we opted to stay well south of the Mason-Dixon line, and instead set our sights on the Elks lodge in Norfolk, where there is RV parking and one of our reciprocal clubs nearby. We turned down the generous Cole's Point offer and informed the DOC that we'd be staying south for potential trouble.

Having decided not to proceed any further north, I realized that this might be as close as we come to my family in New Jersey this season, and there is a single train that can take me there from Richmond. So Sunday before leaving the warehouse I called them and made arrangements for a quick visit, involving an early morning Amtrak on Monday and a return yesterday afternoon. We were so undisturbed in this secret spot last week that we decided a two or three night stay here would probably go unnoticed, and on top of being just a six mile scooter ride to the Ashland Amtrak station, there is plenty of shopping and dining right here in walking distance, so Louise would want for nothing in my absence.

As it turns out, one of the establishments a short walk away is a salon that has massage, and Louise had such a nice one Monday that I had her book me one for this morning, so we again spent last night right here. Gino's Italian Restaurant right next door to the salon was fine choice last night for dinner.

The other matter that came to some resolution on Sunday was that of the broken MotoSat DataStorm satellite dish. I've had a couple of responses to a plea I posted on the DataStorm Users Forum about both the modem issue and the cracked elevation stop, and last week someone wrote me to say he was selling his entire system -- mount, dish, modem, and positioner -- for $300. It is the same vintage as ours, but likely has fewer cycles on it, and he's upgraded the modem and positioner. It was a deal I could not pass up, even at $225 for packing and shipping, and on Sunday we closed the deal to have it sent to Norfolk.

To get it shipped UPS rather than freight, I sent detailed instructions on how to break the unit down to more manageable pieces, discarding the enormous fiberglass dish reflector and the long aluminum mounting rails. I should have the parts in hand on Monday. One reason we chose Norfolk as an interim destination is that Mobil Satellite Technologies, our HughesNet VAR, is nearby in Chesapeake, and if I need help with this or if this latest combination of parts does not fix all our problems, it will be a short drive over to their repair facility.

In the meantime, of course, Nicole has continued her relentless progression up the coast, and the Red Cross is already marshaling resources for a response in North Carolina. At this point they are only recruiting local volunteers, so we are not on the list of possible options, but if the storm does a lot of damage we could end up being sent there before our packages arrive. I had them shipped on my own UPS account, so I can intercept and reroute them if necessary due to being deployed.

We will remain right here for a 2pm conference call this afternoon, and then head slowly towards Norfolk. I expect we will be in Williamsburg this evening.

Photo by MEL810, used under a Creative Commons license.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you're safe, knew you were busy. great score on the motosat!



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