Life In Motion.


I really enjoy Jeff Geerling‘s YouTube channel. His geek related content is awesome, he seems like a nice guy, and his videography skills are top notch.

Like many others in North America, Jeff had a stunning view of the recent the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse, and shares his experience through his latest video.

There’s one line at the beginning of his video that particularly captured my attention, “make the videos you love”.

Now that’s inspiring.


I have begun outlining all the Interstate routes my husband and I have driven together over the years. Since we often focus on the backroads, this doesn’t paint a complete picture of our travels but it’s close.


Our 2016 Jeep Cherokee has made it to the 100K club. Purchased right after Earl opted for early retirement from his job in 2016, this car has been on many adventures. It’s been registered in three states, been in all four time CONUS time zones, and at some point I should probably count the number of states it has traversed. It helped with the move from Central New York to Chicago, made 1 1/2 trips from Chicago to Tucson, has been to Florida a few times and has been a joy to drive on its entire journey.

Our plan is to keep the Cherokee for as long as financially practical, while we wait for electric vehicles to get a little more affordable. We have both agreed that our next car will be electric; it’s just a matter of finding the right vehicle for our needs. We’ve also been getting in the habit of planning our trips as if we were already driving an electric car, so we can start getting familiar with the concept of charging stations.

Now, I have a reputation as an Apple fanboy (though I do mix Linux in to this mix quite a bit), but I’ve been reading rumors of an Apple car that is completely autonomous with no steering wheel. No idea if these rumors are true but I don’t have any interest in a vehicle of that design. I’m absolutely interested in a much more ecologically friendly vehicle, and I like the idea of autonomous cars, but I still believe engineers are only solving half of the equation in autonomous vehicles. We need to make our highways smarter in conjunction with developing the AI necessary to drive a car. If we keep designing highways without electronic doodads to help send signals to self driving cars, we have a very long road ahead of us.


As a college trained (but not graduated) Civil Engineer, I have a strong interest in highway design and the flow of transportation infrastructure in general. After living in a major American city for several years, I can say without a doubt that I do not miss driving the streets or expressways of Chicagoland.

Tucson has pretty much resisted the freewayification of the city, and alas has but two Interstates passing through: Interstate 10 (which runs coast to coast from Los Angeles to Jacksonville, Florida) and Interstate 19, which is rather short for a two-digit numbered Interstate route as it’s less than 100 miles long as it heads to the Mexican border at Nogales. There’s a suggestion of an expressway along what was going to be Interstate 210, but it’s short and I’ve never seen it crowded.

Both of the main Interstates can get rather busy at rush hour here in Tucson, but for the most part I find them well designed and marked for what they are. I-10 could probably use an upgrade by adding a lane in each direction to the east of the city, but for the most part, traffic moves reasonably well. I’ve always been a fan of ADOT’s traffic engineering practices and getting to know these things a little more intimately, being an Arizona resident and all, is part of my general Road Geek happiness.

Some folks like to complain about the absence of freeways and loops here in Tucson, and granted I’m probably lucky because I don’t commute to work every day, but I don’t find getting around the city to be that bad. Everything is 20 to 30 minutes away from home. North, South, East, West, it doesn’t matter. It’s a half hour drive.

That’s half the amount of time it took for us to get anywhere in Chicago.

I’ve always found ADOT’s signing practices to be among the best in the United States, and that trend continues as they constantly replace sun-bleached signs. The brown “Attractions” signs don’t stand much of a change in the longevity department after a few years in the Sonoran Desert sun.


Earl and I went shopping at one of the many locations of The Home Depot in Tucson today. There were a lot of people milling about doing their Saturday chores. The vast majority of them were wearing masks, as required by Pima County and The Home Depot (despite what the governor says).

A few folks were not wearing masks and I maintained an extra amount of distance from them and gave them an eye roll. They probably didn’t notice, they were too wrapped up in their false sense of importance in this world.

Even though I was wearing a mask, maintaining distance, and on the vaccination path for COVID-19, I still feel a great deal of anxiety when out in public. Every person I see, masked or not, is a walking petri dish of God knows what and I have not desire to sample their sickly soup. As a society we have too many people that can’t be bothered to park in one parking space let alone take care of one another by wearing a mask during a global pandemic.

I hope that I’ll be over this anxiety by the end of the summer so we can enjoy all our desert home city has to offer.

Right now I’ll just maintain my distance.

Bon Bon Voyage.

My first cousin once removed, Devin, and her girlfriend Jade are building their first home together. Their new home is a renovated school bus. They’ve traveled the world together, now they’re traveling the country together.

I think this is awesome.

Feel free to follow their adventures at their blog BonBonVoyage.

Road Trip.

Dirt road at night.
Interstate 55.

I took the day off from work and meandered around the rural parts of Northeastern Illinois. I generally kept it between Chicago and Peoria. Other than getting beyond Joliet and coming home after having a bite to eat for supper, I drove back roads and scenic routes.

There’s a fewer number of Trump signs on lawns in the villages. I saw more Biden signs than ever, which I found surprising for the rural parts of the state. This gave me a glimmer of hope.

Whenever I stopped folks were generally wearing masks; there was maybe one or two people total that didn’t have a mask on when I stopped at a Walmart to use the rest room.

I let my mind meander as I meandered around the Illinois River Valley. It’s a good way for me to figure things out.

And now I’m ready for a proper weekend.


This morning’s sunrise was filled with glorious color. I tried to capture it in a photo, but the pictures don’t do it justice.

Mother Nature is awesome.


Shell Oil pioneered the “neighborhood service station” beginning in 1958 when they introduced their ranch style buildings. As part of what we now call the “Mid-Century Modern” era, this design has always reminded me of what I’ve read about the mid 50s and early 60s: it was an era of prosperity and the United States was reaching for the stars. If you were part of a middle-class, white American family with 2.45 children, a house in the suburbs, and a white picket fence around your carefully tended-to lawn, you had it good.

At least this is what I’ve read.

Societal analysis aside, I’ve always loved the architecture from this part of the 20th century. Here’s an original Shell station without 21st century improvements:

Image courtesy of Flickr user Mark Potter and was found via a Google search

Shell stations like this were found all over the place near where I grew up in Upstate New York until Shell Oil left the area in the late 1970s. Many of the buildings still stand (at least the last time I was there), though they’ve been rebranded by another oil company or have been repurposed as something else. The Shell station of this design closest to my grandparents in the city was turned into a Jreck Sub shortly before I started driving in 1984. The chimney on that building remained, usually it’s removed as part of renovations, as seen in the top photo I took today on the corner of California and Fullerton here in Chicago.

While there’s nothing physically “space age” about Shell Oil or these ranch style buildings, I can’t help but think of the aforementioned space age prosperity of the time. Society seemed more hopeful.

Hope is a good thing.