- Where We Started: Palo Alto, Calif.
- Where We Ended: Palo Alto, Calif.
- Miles Driven: 76 (11,750 total).
- New States: None.
- States So Far: 19 (Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California)
THE DAY'S HIGHLIGHTS
After a few busy days on the road, we began our weekend in the Bay Area by sleeping in. We had no plans until dinner, so after stumbling out of bed, we decided to get Fred's paw checked out and then wander around downtown Palo Alto.
The day began with the first real fight of the trip, one filled with fury and followed by much sulking before the eventual reconciliation. Luckily, it wasn't between Joan and me, but Fred and Hank. The dogs get fed twice a day, once in the morning and once in the early evening. Joan has pre-packaged bags of food ready, so all she has to do is open the Ziploc bag the food is in and the dogs do the rest. Usually, they are respectful of each other's food. But, on this day, something went awry and suddenly there was growling and biting. After we broke up the fight, Fred sulked.
Eventually, the dogs started "talking" to each other once again, and all was well. I have no idea how dogs communicate, but watching this little tiff was hilarious.
Soon, it was off to get Fred's paw looked at. Although he'd done some three-legged hopping and tender walking when we were in Death Valley, he seemed largely recovered, so we weren't panicking. We found a vet a mile away, and decided we should walk there for two reasons: 1) so we could get some exercise, and 2) so we would wear out the dogs, since we planned to leave them in the hotel room to have a canine-free lunch. So we walked a mile, and finally found the address we were looking for. Only problem: It wasn't the address where the vet was currently located. Damn you, Google! We soon found out the new location was on the same street... a mere four miles away. So, with only 20 minutes before our wedged-in appointment, we came up with a brilliant plan: I would leave Joan and the boys at the old location, make a hasty one-mile walk back to the hotel, get the car and pick them up and head to the vet's new location. There was no way we were going to make our 1pm appointment, and the vet was clear that, after 1:30pm, our window to get Fred in was closed. So I busted my tail back to the hotel, sped back to pick up Joan and the dogs, and blew down Old Camino Real to the vet. We made it by about 1:15pm, and the vet was nice enough to take us. I decided to wait in the car, since we didn't want to bring Hank into the vet, and frankly, I was tired. But Joan filled me in on what was an interesting visit to the vet.
The vet was an older gentleman with the coldest, unblinking blue eyes Joan had ever seen. But Fred seemed non-plussed, and was quite calm as this guy checked his paw. The diagnosis: an infection, probably from a burr or someting else that had penetrated his paw at one of the national parks we went to last week. The prescription: Soaking the paw, and an antibiotic for one week. Prognosis: Full recovery. Honestly, we were not expecting anything serious, but it was good to hear that Fred could now be upgraded from questionable to probable.
During this exam, Joan chatted with the good doctor, and it came up that we were thinking of going to Alaska on this trip. He asked if we had a medical certificate for the dogs. Joan brought the rabies certificates and immunization records for both dogs on the trip, but was never able to discern whether that's what the vet was talking about, as he just kept talking as if Joan wasn't there. He mused we might have trouble getting the dogs into Canada. Joan told him we'd taken Fred across the Canadian border a number of times on the 2003 trip, and they didn't ask us for any paperwork. Once again, he continued talking as if Joan had not spoken, and suggested that we would also probably have trouble getting into Alaska. When Joan asked why, he finally stopped to listen, and then responded, "Well... It's Alaska!" Joan then pointed out, just in case he'd missed it, that Alaska had been a U.S. state for quite some time, and inquired why the rules would be different there. He said nothing, handed Joan a prescription and ushered her to the door. If this had been anything more serious than a gimpy paw, we probably would have gone to another vet.
The rest of the afternoon was filled with errands so minor they're not even worth mentioning here. But suffice it to say we were happy to finally have the world back in order: four good tires, two healthy humans and two healthy dogs.
- During our walk down Palo Alto's main drag, University Avenue, Fred suddenly reared up and backed off, as if he was scared of something. We couldn't figure out what it was, until I saw what store we were in front of: The Loving Hut, a vegan cafe. Fred is an inveterate meat eater, so this may have been his form of protest. As a result, we did not bring him in for an avocado BLT, raw celery foot fettucine or the tofu ice cream. Shockingly, I also chose to bypass The Loving Hut.
- At lunch, we were sitting next to a table full of high-school kids at the sushi place we went to. Now, I don't remember high school real well, but when you went to lunch with your high school friends, was sushi usually on the list of options? Anyway, one of the young men at this table, in an effort to impress his lady friends, began a long monologue about sushi and some sushi best practices. He implored the girls to use the soy sauce, because "sushi is very dry, and if you don't dip it in the soy sauce, it dehydrates you." Not knowing any better, they immediately complied. Now, I don't know much about sushi, but it seems to be that dipping sushi into something as salty as soy sauce would hardly be a defense against dehydration, but maybe I'm missing something. I guess it would have been too simple to suggest to the girls that they get some water with their sushi. Ah, to be young again.
- Random iPod shuffle song of the day: "Shine," by Django Reinhardt. From the Ken Burns Jazz compliation I have, this is one of the better-known songs from the Belgian guitarist credited with creating the genre of Gypsy jazz. I don't know Reinhardt well, but one of this blog's readers does. Web genius Adrian Holovaty, who I once worked with at washingtonpost.com, is a huge Reinhardt fan, so much so that when he served as one of the lead developers for a Web application framework while working at lawrence.com, he managed to get that new framework named Django. Reinhardt died at the young age of 43, but is still a major influence among classical guitarists. By the way, Adrian isn't just a Django fan and Web god, he's also an accomplished guitarist himself. Check out some of his guitar-related YouTube clips.
- Most-Played Albums: We weren't in the car very much on Friday, but during our drive home from dinner, I violated one of my night-driving rules by playing Pink Floyd. While we'd been at dinner, some music was playing at the restaurant that reminded me of "Echoes," a side-long tune from "Meddle," so I decided I had to hear it. It's exactly the kind of tune you shouldn't listen to while driving late at night, but since we only had 40 minutes in the car and were both wide awake, I figured it was OK. And we did make it to the hotel safely. But not before Joan commented on how weird another song from that album -- "One of These Days" -- sounded. I told her to wait a few seconds, at which point the only words of the song are uttered: "One of these days, I'm going to cut you into little pieces." Not surprisingly, this did not change her opinion of the song's oddness.
- Lunch: Miyake, Palo Alto, Calif.: We got this recommendation from the hotel, and it was the first blemish on the Garden Court. The place was cute, and had a funny Silicon Valley theme -- they had Google rolls, HP rolls, etc. And my sushi was fine; I had New York rolls and the Palo Alto rolls. But Joan's fried tofu was not great, and her salmon rolls were downright nasty. I know, because, after I said my rolls were fine, she made me taste one. Tasted like motor oil. Our edamame and miso soup were also tasteless. Jim Nutrition Rating: 5 stars (out of 5). Figures, right? I finally eat a perfect meal, and it sucks. Restaurant Rating: 2 stars (out of 5). Joan wouldn't even feed her leftover rolls to the dogs. When they asked whether we wanted to box up Joan's leftover rolls, she wanted to say, "Yes, and please ship that box someplace far, far away where it can't hurt anyone."
- Dinner: Blue Agave Club, Pleasanton, Calif.: We went to Pleasanton to have dinner with Polly Clark, Joan's friend from college, and her husband, Kevin. We ate at the Blue Agave on the 2003 trip, and enjoyed it, and had the same excellent experience on Saturday. I had the seafood echiladas and way too many chips and salsa, and Joan enjoyed her grilled shrimp with spinach, corn and rice. Jim Nutrition Rating: 2 stars (out of 5). The enchiladas had seafood, and that's about all the good I can come up with. But I averaged a 3.5 for the day, right? Restaurant Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5).
- Garden Court Hotel, Palo Alto, Calif.: Other than a bad lunch recommendation, the hotel continued to be a great choice. Hotel rating: 5 stars (out of 5).
COMMENT OF THE DAY
BONUS BEAGLE PHOTO
I decided to snap some random photos while driving (and without looking at the subjects), and netted one good one, as Hank tries to figure out what I'm doing and Fred sniffs the camera in Death Valley. (Photo by Jim)