Into Florida

We made the second half of the trip into Florida yesterday, traversing North and South Carolina, and Georgia on I95 before crossing into Florida and heading west along he panhandle into Tallahassee.

I was struck by how many tall straight evergreens there were growing along the highway. I knew lumber had to come from somewhere, but it clearly didn’t come from the maples and oaks I’m accustomed to in New England. These grew straight and tall, and while they had branches growing off the sides, they didn’t really have crotches where the tree splits in two and then splits again.

As we were going through Georgia, we ran into thunderstorms. At one point, as we were approaching the storms, I could see an industrial complex way off in the distance under heavy dark clouds and shrouded in mists. Then, further along, we got into the storms themselves and saw lightning pounding the ground off to our sides.

We got to Matt’s apartment around 5:45. We met his roommate and girlfriend, then checked in before taking them all out to dinner. They seemed very nice, and we hung out with them for a while afterwards before heading back to the motel.

We’re running a little early this morning; as someone forgot to turn off his alarm. After breakfast, we’ll head back over to get the nickel tour of the campus before starting to head back north.

First Day’s Driving

Today was the first day of the road trip. Fundamentally, the purpose is to get my nephew Matt back to school in Florida; the plan is to get down there as rapidly as possible, then backroad it back.

We left Canton around 5:30 this morning, and drove through steadily straight through to the first exit in New Jersey, where we stopped for a coffee, fuel and bathroom break, then continued on until lunch in northern Virginia around 2, and then continued pretty much straight on until we got here in Fayettesville North Carolina. It’s been all highway driving the whole time, and most of it on I-95.

We managed to dodge a bullet just before lunch — we passed an overturned tanker truck that had tipped over coming onto the highway. It must have just happened when we passed it — there were people stopped there, but traffic hadn’t backed up very far.

We’ve passed through a couple of torrential downpours on the way down, and another one greeted us coming out of dinner.

Time to head for bed for another day of driving tomorrow. The goal is to be in Florida by the end of the day.

New Watch

I’ve been thinking about picking up a new watch for a while now, and I finally pulled the trigger about a month ago. Surprise, it’s not an Apple Watch.

I’ve admired the look of classic watches for a while, but I’ve had digital watches for a long time — since at least my one hour photo days, where it was essential to log the exact time a roll of film came in and what time it was due, and I’ve gone through a succession of cheap Timex and Casio digital watches.

But at the same time, I’ve started to find myself admiring the looks of analog watches, especially the ones with biggish dials and metal bracelets. At the same time, I’ve been aware of the Apple watch, but I don’t really care for the looks of it, and there’s nothing about the functionality that I find compelling.

I started looking a little more seriously at watches the beginning of the summer, and when the battery on my last watch died, decided it was time.

I wanted a chronograph style watch, preferably with Arabic numbers, with a metal bracelet. I was willing to go moderately expensive, but not too expensive. So on a Sunday afternoon, after comparing prices online, I went over to Macy’s to take a look at watches. I ended up with a Tissot Chrono XL.

Tissot Chrono XL

It was surprisingly heavy when I tried it on – much heavier and substantial than the watches I’d been wearing. I was a little afraid I’d get tired of the weight, but I decided to go for it anyway. I’m glad I did. I love the way this thing looks. It just looks and feels classy, and I quickly got used to the weight of it.

Moving from a digital to analog watch has been interesting. First of all, when I looked in the box, there were no instructions, just a catalog of other Tissot watches. Why?? I’ve just spent a lot of money on a watch, I’m not going to get another one right away. I needed to find out how to set it and how to use the chronograph, not peruse their history.

I was worried that I’d forgotten how to quickly tell time, but that’s been a non-issue. It’s been interesting though, that I now perceive time on the left side of the face to be much more about time before the hour than time after the hour — for example, in the photo above, it more obvious that it’s 20 to 3 than 2:35, as it would be with a digital watch.

I haven’t had to really time anything yet, so I haven’t really used the chronograph functions thoroughly. It did take me a while to find the the functions to reset the hands to their starting position — and it was a bit of a surprise to find that the “seconds” hand is on the bottom-most dial, not the main sweep second hand, which is for the chronograph. And I am finding that the while the hands do glow in the dark, they don’t glow all that brightly, and at that light level, my eyes don’t see that sharply anymore.

But overall, I’m happy with having a really nice watch for a change.