I actually got out of Kathy's house earlier than I planned this morning. My goal was to return home in time for the Golden Globes and put in as many miles as possible before the oncoming predicted storm, but figured that realistically I wouldn't be able to visit, pack, and leave the house until 9. But to my surprise Kathy and Lynn both woke up early, so I was all ready to leave at 8. Terrific!
I didn't need the GPS to find my way home. I had the last bit of the Harry Bosch book on the iPod and figured I would finish it about 3 hours before I got home and could start a new one (I had another one waiting). The sun was shining. The sky was clear. The mountains were beautiful. And I had caught up on some sleep in the last two days, so I was really in pretty good shape.
All was going along OK until I came to the Harris Ranch. The Harris Ranch has been a San Joaquin Valley landmark for over half a century and is this big sprawling inn, restaurant and ubiquitous store, where they sell their famous beef among lots of other souvenir-type products. More importantly, it has a bathroom, which I sorely needed about that time.
The Harris Ranch is located about halfway between Ventura and Davis and was a good spot to relieve and refresh. I did my business, bought some little orange hard candies (for 25 cents--I didn't realize you could find candy that cheap any more!) to give me a pick-me-up when needed.
It had started to rain by the time I returned to the car so I figured I was in for the deluge before I got home.
I got back in the car, set up the iPod again, turned on the motor ... and there was no sound from the iPod, though I could see that it was running.
We play the iPod in the car by putting a special casette in the casette player and connecting it to the iPod. Somehow it reads what the iPod is playing and the sound comes out the car's radio speakers. This is the real low-tech way to play something from the iPod and only cost $20 when I bought it several years ago.
But apparently its time had come. When I removed the casette to look at it, the tape that runs through it was just...gone. I was going to be left high and dry right at the crux of Harry Bosch's investigation and would never know who had killed Tony Aliso, at least not until I got home. But worse, there were about 3 hours of road ahead of me, I was already feeling sleepy, and what would I listen to?
Well, it turned out that the only station I could get clearly was playing this idiotic talk show which I discovered, after some time, was Glen Beck. This guy actually has listeners? I swear in the 30 minutes I listened to him, he never finished a sentence or completed a thought. He would yell out terrible accusations and then say "but I'll explain that later" and then move on to a totally new topic.
After 30 minutes I couldn't stand any more, but I couldn't get any other clear radio station, so I had an interesting idea. The computer had been plugged in all night so it had maximum charge on the battery. Maybe I could set up the laptop and plug the iPod into it and maybe the volume would be high enough that I could hear it while I drove.
I set the computer up like this, stuffing purse, camera bag and other stuff next to it, in case the computer slid toward the floor. I plugged the iPod into it and ...voila! There was Harry Bosch again, interrogating the person who was confessing to the murder. I was in!
It wasn't quite as good as listening through the car speakers, and I was concerned that I would run out of batteries, but it worked and the battery lasted all the way.
I was rather proud of myself for figuring out this work-around! (Necessity had become the mother of invention.)
The only time I had problem was when the skies opened up. It rained so hard it was difficult to hear because of all the rain falling on the roof of the car, even with all volumes turned to high. But fortunately the hard rain didn't last too long. By the time the book had come to the end, I was within 40 miles of home--and Says You was coming on live instead of a recording, so I had no problem staying awake.
The dogs were thrilled to see me when I got home (Walt was in the Bay Area at a Lamplighters show). They were a little unhappy when I raced in and directly into the bathroom, but we had time for treats and cuddles eventually--and I was here 15 minutes before the Golden Globes broadcast started!
All in all, not a bad day!