two working chargers in Albany
Saturday, July 2 2022
location: room 307, Sonder the Arco Hotel, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
After I awoke early this morning, I went down to the lobby-style area on the second floor to use my computer without bothering Gretchen. Unfortunately, the temperature there was set uncomfortably cold for someone dressed as lightly as I was.
After packing up and checking out from our room (via email), we drove in the Bolt down to Batter & Crumbs for another breakfast-style meal. This time we were joined by both Doug and Felicia. And again I ordered a tiny wrap-style lunch sandwich, the bahn mi, and it was nowhere near enough food. Conversation kept coming back to my new obsession with Doug & Felicia's cat Hawthorne. Felicia said something about entertaining the possibility of maybe adopting another cat, which got the cogs turning in Gretchen's head about Doug and Felicia perhaps adopting our cat Diane, ending her reign of terror against the local chipmunk population. I don't know how serious Felicia was about this, but it was enough for Gretchen to get me to stop referring to our cats as "duds" and to urge me to try to take a cute picture of Diane. Another subject that came up was what it's like to drive an electrical car, which Doug and Felicia haven't done, though they seemed interested in perhaps getting a Tesla. Unlike most people in Philadelphia, they even have a garage to charge one in. The music from the Batter & Crumbs sound system was different today than it had been yesterday. Today it seemed to mostly be 1980s pop, from that decade that people seem unusually (and unjustifiably) nostalgic for.
After breakfast, Gretchen and I drove back to our hotel room to get the boxes of takeaway we'd left in its little refrigerator (Gretchen was able to briefly re-activate our code to pull this off). Then we drove down to Triangle Tavern, the restaurant where Gretchen originally wanted to have dinner last night, and Gretchen picked up an order of seitan "wings" and a cheese steak sandwich. Evidently the non-vegan version of this Philadelphia icon was invented only a block or two away, at least according the signage we saw on a nearby restaurant.
At that point we got on the highway and began driving back to Hurley. It turns out that the New Jersey Turnpike runs closer to Philadelphia than I'd thought, and Google Maps decided going that way was the quickest route (as opposed to driving through the Princeton area, as it had had us do on the drive down). Traffic was fairly light, probably because most of the July 4th driving had already happened. We easily made it to Newburgh before needing to recharge our car at the Electrify America station in the Walmart parking lot there. While waiting for that to happen, we ducked into Walmart's sensory (and demographic) hell and I took the opportunity to buy some supplies for my weekend at the cabin, which the dogs and I would be doing without Gretchen. Unfortunately, the two cakes Gretchen had bought at Batter & Crumbs for friends (one as a birthday present for Powerful and one as something to take when visiting Justin & Erica up in Palenville) had already started melting.
Back in Hurley, Powerful was down in his room and I never saw him before leaving for the cabin. Since Gretchen would be going to Palenville and the City over the next two days, I decided to bring the dogs so they wouldn't feel as neglected. As it was, it was a miracle Neville hadn't acted out in our absence and peed all over a bed or a bean bag.
We hadn't charged the Bolt enough in Newburgh for me to make it to the cabin, and I didn't want to wait for the charger at our house to do its thing, so I drove to the Electrify America station at the Walmart in Albany. As I arrived there, I saw a Rivian pickup truck (I'd sort of assumed they were still just concept vehicles) whose driver was apparently looking for an open charger. But all but two of the chargers were broken, and the two that were working were busy charging other peoples' cars. The guy driving the Rivian apparently gave up, and I didn't have to wait too long for the guy from Quebec to return and his charger to become available. Meanwhile, I chatted with the other guy using the other working charger. He had a dog, and I asked if his dog liked other dogs. When he said he did, I let Neville out of my car so the two could meet.
I didn't need all that much electricity, so after buying some groceries in the Walmart (where I finally remembered to buy coffee), I let someone else have my charger once I'd gotten the Bolt to 59%.
I stopped at the Home Depot in Amsterdam mostly to get things that would help me attach floats to the bottom of the fully-floating section of dock. These included a couple two by fours and six large concrete blocks. The latter would be to make an artificial island to hold up a floater high enough to attach it from below and the former would be to make wooden surfaces that wouldn't tear up the floaters. I also bought what I thought was a closet-hanging track system, as I'd accidentally left the one I'd bought during the week back in Hurley.
As always when traveling with just the dogs, I got myself an Impossible Whopper and two orders of fries so the dogs could later have fries once I got to the cabin.
Everything seemed to be in good shape at the cabin, though there was evidence of further erosion just northeast of the septic field. Fortunately, a riot of weeds are springing up all over that expanse of empty landscape. In addition to the horsetail (the most pioneering of all plants, at least around our cabin), there's now a fair amount of bushclover and lambsquarters taking root.
was having trouble with the cabin's internet, so I experimented with putting the Moxee cellular hotspot inside the focus of a parabolic dish designed to establish long-range WiFi connections. (I've had this dish for something like ten years and never really used it.) I tried pointing it in various directions and measuring the internet speed. Normally, without the dish, the speed maxes out at about 4 mb/s download and 0.05 mb/s upload. But with the hotspot in the dish's focus and the dish pointing southeast, I managed to get 14 mb/s download and 0.2 mb/s upload. That's comparable to the DSL we got by on in Hurley from 2004 to 2020! It seems that if I refined the pointing of the hotspot and maybe relocated it outside, I could achieve even better connection speeds.
You can see me and Gretchen at two different angles on these surveillance camera feeds above the checkout area at the Newburgh Walmart.
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