Fort Stockton, Texas 1112.9 miles
Actually, the general direction today was East, but that's not the point.
I plunged into downtown El Paso this morning to see about this business of highway terminuses (termini?), and discovered (for future reference, perhaps) that it's probably easier to navigate Sun City without resorting to Interstate 10. That said, I eventually got back on I-10, just to get out of town, and got as far as Van Horn, where US 90 begins.
Old 90 isn't quite dead yet: there's some small amount of traffic, and the Border Patrol has a checkpoint thereupon. (I passed, I think.) As is often the case, there's a rail line running more or less parallel to the road, and it was pretty busy today. I landed in fabled Marfa, Texas a tad after high noon.
As a tourist destination, Marfa makes a pretty fair small Texas town, albeit in better repair than most. As you might expect, there's an ornate courthouse:
And outside that courthouse, a list of the town's honored war dead:
And various repurposed buildings, including this nicely-redone theater:
But if you come in from the west, as I did, the first thing Marfaesque you encounter is this:
Thirty miles west of town, in fact: it draws your attention because, well, there's nothing else there. (The white sedan reflected in the glass? Mine.) This is why it's there.
From there, I proceeded to Alpine, the last home town of H. Allen Smith, and an artsy place in its own right, due to the presence of a fair-sized state university. I followed 90 to Marathon, where I picked up US 385, one of the roads I'd always been curious about, ever since I was a kid with a shoe box full of road maps. The road is 1200 miles long, and yet it manages to avoid major cities whenever possible. The segment from Marathon to Fort Stockton runs 58 of those miles, and for about twenty minutes I saw no other vehicles at all.
I did, however, catch a sign, at the Pecos County Line, to the effect that the road tends to flood and I should be careful. And they weren't kidding:
Although I doubt the water ever got this high:
Which, incidentally, is right across the road from that flood gauge, near Panther Mesa (elevation 4206 feet).
I pulled into Fort Stockton around 3:10, and reported to the hotel desk, where an implausibly-beautiful woman (the owner of the place, if the signage is to be believed) regretted to inform me that the place had been open only three days, and they were still working on getting the elevator working, and all the available rooms were on the second or third floors. Fine, I said, stairs won't kill me. As is my wont, I checked the room before schlepping up my stuff, and apparently housekeeping hadn't gotten to it yet. I informed Miss Universe, who gave out with a look of genuine anguish. By coincidence, by the time they got the placed cleaned up, the elevator guys were finished, so I and my two and a half bags got to christen the new lift. I suppose I could whine, but I got this room for free by saving my frequent-driver points or whatever, so I may not even mention that none of the electrical outlets on the east wall seem to be connected to actual power.
As usual, you can see these same pix, only different, at Flickr.
The NBA has shuffled the Development League cards a bit, and the Tulsa 66ers, previously associated with the New Orleans Hornets, will now be assigned to what a shock The Team Presently Known As The Seattle SuperSonics.
This is definitely a case of treating the fait as accompli.
Part of this route, you'll remember, was to get to the west end of US Highway 62. Trouble with that idea is, while the maps say it ends at the Mexican border, signage doesn't reflect that:
Geez. I may end up a full-fledged roadgeek before all this is over.
The Law of Conservation of Filth provides that to get something clean, you must also get something dirty. Which is why this makes perfect sense:
A couple of her commenters seemed taken aback for some reason.
I actually did this while I was in the Army, fercryingoutloud; they could have, I supposed, written me up for being out of uniform, but logic prevailed.
One of those ubiquitous picnic tables you see along Texas highways. I saw this one on 62/180 in Gaines County (I think), on the way into New Mexico. (More sizes here.)
Tom T. Hall, bless him, wasn't too proud to write sappy if he darn well felt like it, and on the evidence of "I Love," from his late-1973 album For the People in the Last Hard Town, there were times when he indeed darn well felt like it. The song topped the country charts and made #12 pop. (Yes, I bought the LP.)
For some reason, hardly anyone bothered to make fun of "I Love": a fellow styled as "Heathen Dan" once put out an "I Like" list of nasty, scabrous things, which got some circulation among fans of the Dr. Demento Show, but that was about it. (Yes, I have that record too.)
But there's never been a really memorable "I Hate" collection, until now. Its author does tender his apologies to the late, great Mr. Hall. I would point out only two things:
- The scansion seems a little off here and there;
- Tom T. Hall is not in fact dead.
(Warning: Do not read this north of the 49th Parallel.)
El Paso, Texas 777.6 miles
After 99 degrees, I figure it doesn't matter. Then again, this is El Paso, where the humidity is practically negative if I need to sweat, I'll have to bring a container of liquid or something and with 99 degrees and a dew point of 26 (!), the heat index is exactly what it would be in Oklahoma City with 90 degrees and a dew point of 66. (Ninety-four, if you care.)
Note to future travelers: There is no gas to be had between Carlsbad, New Mexico and the eastern edge of El Paso, around 150 miles. And you will burn up most of what you have: once you cross back into Texas, the speed limit is mostly 75, and while it's slowed down a bit through the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, there are enough downhill grades to threaten your placid, law-abiding nature. Not that I'd ever admit to doing 95 through there.
Actually, I did find one station, a little cash-only outfit south of Dell City, but (1) they had no premium, or even mid-grade, and (2) they were closed.
Speaking of closed, Rosa's Cantina is apparently open only for lunch today, and I missed the deadline, even allowing for the fact that this part of the world is on Mountain time.
I spotted a billboard in southern New Mexico for a fellow named Greg Sowards, who was running for the 2nd District House seat currently held by Steve Pearce, who hopes to replace Pete Domenici in the Senate. Sowards made two pitches: that he's short, bald and honest, and that he doesn't want your money. As they say in Minnesota, "That's different." It didn't play so well among New Mexico Republicans, who nominated Ed Tinsley, owner of K-BOB's Steakhouses, instead.
And El Paso looks like southern New Mexico, only more so: you get the feeling that the town was built a zillion years ago, volcanoes or plate tectonics or something caused the land to buckle, and they decided to leave everything where it landed.
The wind, I mean. It's a constant presence in west Texas, as it is in Oklahoma, and I wasn't at all surprised to see that the American Wind Power Center and Museum is here in Lubbock. For that matter, I wasn't surprised to see ten big wind turbines along the eastern leg of Loop 289. (Inscrutably, only nine were turning.)
On the way back from dinner last night, I passed by a construction site right when a not-too-huge gust blew up, creating an Instant Dust Storm. Weird to behold on such a small scale.
Oh, in case you haven't seen it yet, Kirk is mapping the Tour, as he did last time around. Here's the link.
M. Saint Laurent passed away earlier this month: it is reassuring to know the house he built seems to be in good hands.
And no, she'd didn't mortgage the farm for this one dress either:
Lubbock, Texas 397.2 miles
I've been to this town only once, and I can't remember what for: I was married then, and I've blocked out a lot of that time frame. I remember shopping at Sakowitz, which was to Houston what Neiman's was to Dallas, mainly because I couldn't figure out why there was a Sakowitz in Lubbock. (And of course now there isn't even a Sakowitz in Houston, except for the fur salon. Then again, Wikipedia doesn't remember a Lubbock store at all.)
In the middle of Gould, Oklahoma, there was this yacht. Really. It was being hauled by truck, and the truck was parked along the street. "Tiger Woman," Marina del Rey, California. Hope it makes it okay.
The winds have been fierce, and given my direction, they cost me some gas mileage. (First tank: just over 26.) I was baptized into the Church of the Four-Buck Gallon by an Allsups/Fina in Lorenzo, Texas, which was happy to relieve me of $4.199 for each of the fourteen gallons dispensed.
I hadn't eaten out all month, so today was my first encounter with the Great Tomato Scare: Whataburger wouldn't slap one on your burger no matter how much you asked.
And the radio is set to KDAV 1590, because if there's one thing I want from an oldies station, it's an occasional song I can barely remember. They seem to have a lot of them. I did catch them out on Roy Head's "Treat Her Right," though: they were playing the stereo mix, which is missing a horn part. (No, my AM radio isn't stereo.)
More when/if I can coax more than 2.0 mbps out of the Wi-Fi. Tomorrow night: El Paso.
Addendum, 5:45 pm: Were I less of a dumbass, I would probably have seen the CAT5 jack right behind the desk lamp. Sheesh.
We're looking at a 9:30 departure from the palatial estate at Surlywood, once all the loose ends are tied up (at least, all the ones I remember to tie up). It's foggy and 62; I can expect absolutely nothing like that once I reach Texas.
Next report this evening.
Then again, she may yet be swayed:
As long ago as 2004 I was talking about driving the length of US 62 some day. Well, some of that length is about to be driven: I have decided to begin the route by taking 62 from here to El Paso, which looks like around 800 miles and therefore a two-day trip. The obvious stopping point in between would seem to be Lubbock. The highway leaves Texas and slides through southeastern New Mexico before returning to the Lone Star State, which I'm inclined to count as bonus points, since the last time I set foot (or wheel, anyway) in New Mexico was way back in 1988, and besides I get to avoid I-20 altogether. Besides, as Sarah once said, "big, flat, empty, dead" has a lot to recommend it.
As always with these little jaunts, things are subject to change without notice.
Let us now praise Adam Scholl:
About 15 years ago, Scholl had had enough of the nine-tenths of a penny game his forefathers had played before him. He placed a sheet of metal over the .9 that was permanently embossed on his sign. He's been pricing to the penny ever since.
"This is the fair and square way to do it," Scholl said. "It's straight-up ... You can't pay me .9 cents. You can only pay me a penny ... So it's just easier to plug everything into even numbers."
Incidentally, at four bucks a gallon, nine-tenths of a cent's worth is about 1.75 teaspoons; at 28 mpg (what I expect Gwendolyn to average on the next World Tour), you can drive about 335 feet.
When does the World Tour actually happen?
It begins on 10 June, and continues for about two weeks, though there will be a two-day break near the end.
What makes it a World Tour, exactly, since you're not leaving the States or anything?
Two things: it's awfully damned long, and much of it is through relatively unfamiliar territory.
How long is "awfully damned long"?
I expect somewhere between 3200 and 3600 miles.
You've done this several times before. Why do it again?
Because I can. More to the point, it's good for me to get out of town, and it's good for my car to get a serious workout once in a while.
Will you be blogging every day?
That's the plan, anyway. You can still read the reports from 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007. (The 2006 version ended in semi-tragedy.) I have Wi-Fi capability, I carry a spare CAT 5 cable, and if all else fails, I have a dial-up.
What's the shape of this year's route?
An irregular polygon with a narrow loop sticking out of the top of it. More specifically, a counterclockwise traversal of Texas (vertices include El Paso, Corpus Christi and Austin), after which I come back home and recuperate, then head up to Kansas City to see the young'uns.
How much of this is copied from previous World Tour FAQs?
Rather a lot, actually.
Is there any chance you'll say "Screw it" and not go home?
I would have to be extremely fortunate, in the winning-lotto-ticket sense, or extremely smitten, in the "I've been waiting for you all my life" sense. Don't count on either of these actually taking place.
How come it took so long to post this?
I am the least decisive of persons when it comes to producing an actual itinerary.
Will you be meeting with readers along the way?
If they're so inclined.
Once a week, more or less, we go into the farthest corner of the referrer logs (some people think "referrer" has one too many R's, but what do they know?) and turn up some of the weirder things that people have been looking for and presumably not finding on this very site.
Surrealist, photographer, self-portraiture, conehead: So Dali had students on Remulak. Who knew?
johnson controls gay website stolen hummers from general motors payment and software: I hadn't heard that one, though I'm pretty sure that hummers in general involve johnson control.
do you think nancy pelosi has sexy pantyhose legs? Way better than Harry Reid's.
Fried turkey testicles nutrition facts: I submit that if you've decided to eat fried turkey testicles, the nutritional value is not a major factor in your decision.
do women care about size of penis at naturalist resorts: About as much as they do in the workaday world, which is "not as much as you probably think."
mountain dew code red decreases penis size? Hmmm. I wonder if they sell it at naturalist resorts.
what is the going rate to mow a 6000 square foot lawn: I have no idea, but it's probably less than it would cost for my 7000-square-foot lawn.
what do most girls want for their sixteenth birthday beside a car: A 21-year-old boyfriend?
am i allowed to resign effective immediately: Sure, if you're prepared to be frogmarched to the exit.
can hydrocarbons burn: Absolutely. In fact, I plan to burn some on my next road trip.
Psychedelic underpants: Much sought-after by profit-seekers.
busty medusa cartoon: If she's really the Medusa, you may not have time to see if she's busty or not.
senator john mccain's personality lion otter beaver: Um, you forgot "weasel."
Actually, you can get this in sizes five through ten inclusive sorry, no halves if you're so inclined. This is Jessica by lillybee, an interesting black-patent peep-toe pump with decorative stitching here and there and actual wood accents at the heel and toe. Said heel, incidentally, is 3 inches high. This shoe was spotted by a commenter at Style Spy, who suggested that it would be a good match for this Tracy Reese scalloped dress in black. (Disclosure: I am a major, and unrepentant, fan of the classic Little Black Dress, and variations thereupon.) At a hair over $500 for the outfit the shoes are $195 this is not exactly a K mart blue-light special, but you have enough of those already, right?
Aside: If I'm hanging around Texas this month, I'm going to have to make an extra effort to avoid drifting into Neiman Marcus, just on general principle.
Well, if it truly evened the odds, it would reduce an apartment-dweller's chances of being burgled by a factor of ten. (Although I prefer the traditional mix: a standard policy and a sign to the effect that TRESPASSERS WILL BE SHOT. SURVIVORS WILL BE SHOT AGAIN.)
But "unfair" today has become a buzzword, what "hexachlorophene" was in happier times:
Wisdom, attributed to Charles Synge Christopher Bowen, Baron Bowen, after Matthew 5:45:
And also on the unjust fella;
But chiefly on the just, because
The unjust hath the just's umbrella.
By coincidence, I just sent in the premium for my umbrella policy.
Disclosure: I have been burgled twice, once in 1979, once in 2000.
The Oklahoman recently ran a Comics Survey, and while there weren't too many shocks to the system everyone loves Blondie, and practically no one knew or cared that Rex Morgan, M.D. was still around the big surprise was Dilbert, which placed third among Favorite Comics and second among Least Favorite Comics.
Half a dozen strips, including Rex Morgan, will be banished from the dead-tree version, though they'll still be on the paper's Web site. I am distressed to see Mary Worth go, since she's earned a niche in contemporary culture. To quote the estimable Philip J. Fry: "There are guys in the background of Mary Worth comics that are more important than me." Fry, I feel your pain.
"Taxpayer dollars are limited for publicly funded programs. We try to come up with polices that provide the most good for the most people."
Which is defined thusly:
Last fall the [Oregon Health Services Commission] said coverage of palliative care for patients with advanced cancer would not include chemotherapy or surgical intervention intended primarily to prolong life or alter disease progression.
However, they did advise the patient that they would pay for this:
Dr. John Sattenspiel, senior medical director for LIPA, said that at some level doctor-assisted suicide could be considered as a palliative or comfort care measure. "We had no intent to upset her, but we do need to point out the options available to her under the Oregon Health Plan," he said.
The survival rate for doctor-assisted suicide is, I would think, something less than 5 percent over 5 years.
And you can take this to the bank: people who want "universal" anything have no idea of the size of the universe.
The question is posed: "Is it time to return to the double-nickel?"
The answer: No. In fact, hell, no.
You can always buy more fuel; you can never buy more time. Simple as that.
Disclosure: I spent 9 minutes on this post.
The 1.5-quart tub of Breyer's ice cream previously 1.75 quarts, and before that an actual half-gallon has finally shown up in my local store. Actually, I didn't mind the 1.75 so much, since it fit perfectly in my freezer door. But I'm pleased to note that my grocer of choice turned these things loose with an initial price tag of a mere $2.98. How long this will last, I don't know. Of course, if I wanted the Really Good Stuff and didn't want to make a separate run to Braum's, I'd have to shell out nearly $6 for Blue Bell, which won't fit in the door, but which is still a half-gallon.
"Some man somewhere will take you, baby," claimed Joe Tex, "skinny legs and all."
Today, you're more likely to see the shin feigned.
Update, 11 June: Did someone mention torture?
Apparently this bit of verbiage has caught on among net.predators. Jeffro picked up one claiming to be from the NCUA:
- If you received this message in your SPAM/BULK folder, that is because of the restrictions implemented by your ISP
- For security reasons, we will record your ip address, the date and time.
- Deliberate wrong imputs are criminally pursued and indicted.
Note the Double Secret Copyright symbols. You may have seen "deliberate wrong inputs" as opposed to "imputs," to which I am indeed opposed here.
If nothing else, this proves that the level of honor among thieves is even lower than you thought: they're stealing from themselves.
So my next day at work is, um, the 30th.
Obviously this gives me a lot of time to Do Stuff. On the other hand, having just discovered that Gwendolyn doesn't even flinch at $50-plus fillups, I'm in no mood to take off for Saskatchewan: not only is it a heck of a long way away, but it's a whole other country, fercrissake.
And, having said that out loud, I thought of a place that merely is like a whole other country even says so in the brochures and it's just on the far side of the Red River.
I may be biting off more than I can chew here: Ann Richards once said, "I thought I knew Texas pretty well, but I had no notion of its size until I campaigned it." Typical World Tours run two weeks or so and traverse a quarter to a third of the country; I figure it will take me nine or ten days just to get through Texas, and not anywhere near all of it, either. I am still in the data-gathering stage, so suggestions, here or in email, will be welcomed.
I must point out here that my ongoing sleep issues have not been satisfactorily resolved, so I undertake this mission with more than the usual amount of trepidation. However, it seems to me that if I don't go,
the terrorists will have won I'll just make matters worse for myself, and Trini seems to think that the limiting factor is my own bedroom: once out of there, the condition might clear up. This is way out of her area of expertise, but I have to admit, I don't have any kind of counterargument other than "Sez you."
Fortunately, the price tag makes it easier to resist. But geez, get a load of this:
You guys with CDMA phones are just out of luck.
(Linked to this.)
Dr. I. S. Wichman, of the faculty of Michigan State University, dispatches an email to some of the Perpetually Aggrieved:
As a professor of Mechanical Engineering here at MSU I intend to protest your protest. I am offended not by cartoons, but by more mundane things like beheadings of civilians, cowardly attacks on public buildings, suicide murders, murders of Catholic priests (the latest in Turkey), burnings of Christian churches, the continued persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt, the imposition of Sharia law on non-Muslims, the rapes of Scandinavian girls and women (called 'whores' in your culture), the murder of film directors in Holland, and the rioting and looting in Paris, France. This is what offends me, a soft-spoken person and academic, and many, many of my colleagues. I counsel you dissatisfied, aggressive, brutal, and uncivilized slave-trading Muslims to be very aware of this as you proceed with your infantile 'protests.' If you do not like the values of the West see the 1st Amendment you are free to leave. I hope for God's sake that most of you choose that option. Please return to your ancestral homelands and build them up yourselves instead of troubling Americans.
I. S. Wichman
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
I'd hate to run into Professor Wichman on a day he wasn't feeling cordial.
The usual suspects, of course, complained, but then that's what they do.
(Via Kathy Shaidle.)
It's Venomous Kate versus the Woodchucks, and as battles go, it's a real pisser:
It worked, too. Or, at least it did until one Saturday when he and a buddy were throwing back a few beers on our deck and got it into their minds that two o'clock in the afternoon was a good time to pull "woodchuck duty". Thus ensued a bit of a row when I realized two grown, mostly inebriated men were urinating in my garden in plain sight of the neighbors. I handed them cans and encouraged them to be more discreet. They tried to comply. Really, they did. But apparently peeing into a large can and then carrying it without spilling is too big of a task for two drunken men. So, rather than shock all the neighbors, I abandoned that plan.
But resistance proved to be futile:
You have to admire her restraint, though: at no point did she suggest actually chucking some wood (quantity unspecified) at the varmints.
I figured you didn't like sharing power in the Senate with the GOP a 24-24 tie tends not to be a source of comfort but geez, guys, the Republicans have 13 seats on the ballot in 2008, and you're only going after five of them?
And yes, this works both ways. Michael Bates noted on Wednesday afternoon:
(First person to ask me why I didn't file to run apart from Trini, who already did ask will be requested to identify what in the world s/he is smoking.)
I am now in receipt of the final bill for my brief trip to the ER back in April, and I noticed this blurb on the back:
This excludes fertility treatments, but I didn't get them, and anyway fertility is just about the last thing I need.
So I did the math, as I often do, and had I been uninsured, they'd have settled my $3183 bill for $1751. As it happens, the actual amount they're getting, insurance plus my check, is $1785.
At least we now have an idea of what the care is really worth. Maybe.
"What can you say about a twenty-eight-year-old girl who sued me for half of everything I own?"
And the perennial emphasis on young pretty people causes its own disconnect:
Occasionally, though, it makes a decent song. Cue the Debster:
You look so beautiful in the candlelight
And looking at her, looking at him
After fifty years
I pictured you and I and candlelight
And we would look so beautiful
And two young kids
Would be wishing they were us
I used to be one of those kids. I think. But hope can take only so much dashing.
The Hotel Preston is a boutique inn, south of I-40 on Briley Parkway in Nashville, "5 minutes from most everything." As you might expect from a hotel with a bar called the Pink Slip, things are just slightly out of kilter, and, I'd bet, for the better of it.
For this weekend's CMA Music Festival, the Preston is offering a special Redneck Package: your room comes with a complimentary sack of pork rinds and a six-pack of PBR. In-room snacks include local favorites like Goo Goo Clusters, Moon Pies and RC Cola.
Can't make the CMA? The Redneck Package is available by reservation through October.
A freshly-hatched (still had the paper tag) smart fortwo was parallel-parked at the Gazette office yesterday afternoon. The driver sensibly set the tiny car in the middle of the space, leaving about a quarter of it vacant on either side and making the space look a lot bigger than it does when it's accommodating something like, say, my car.
I went from there to Target, and wondered as I pulled in just how a smart should park in a lot like that. It seems to me that parking as the rest of us do, pulling up to just short of the line that divides this row from the next, is not a good idea, because some schmuck, gleeful at finding an "empty" space, is going to plow right into the poor little boîte's rear end. It seems, therefore, that the driver of the smart should attempt to align her rear bumper with the rear bumpers of adjacent vehicles, leaving no doubt that the space is occupied.
This would also apply, if perhaps with less urgency, to drivers of other wee cars. (I'm thinking specifically of the Mini Cooper that pulled in next to me in the Target lot that day.)
"Dependency," said John Dewey, "denotes a power rather than a weakness. There is always the danger that increased personal independence will decrease the social capacity of an individual."
Got that? That's the baseline. Now mix with pure Marxist contempt for the bourgeoisie, and here's what you get:
Professor John White, who contributed to a controversial shake-up of the secondary curriculum, believes lessons should instead cover a series of personal skills.
Pupils would no longer study history, geography and science but learn skills such as energy-saving and civic responsibility through projects and themes.
He will outline his theories at a conference today staged by London's Institute of Education to which he is affiliated to mark the 20th anniversary of the national curriculum.
This being a Daily Mail report, I decided it might be prudent to look for an additional source. Says the Guardian:
"In 1988 a traditional subject-based curriculum was imposed by the Conservative education secretary with no rationale given for it. This has alienated many youngsters, especially from disadvantaged backgrounds," he will warn.
White will also argue that control of the school curriculum should be taken away from politicians and passed to an independent education commission protected from "government interference".
"We need a way of ensuring that the school curriculum is kept at arm's length from individual politicians' idiosyncratic preferences," he will say.
As though only politicians had idiosyncrasies.
The Guardian interviewed White two years ago, at which time he said this:
Pained as I am to say this, "interesting work" is more the exception than the rule, which suggests that it might not be a bad idea to learn those tedious middle-class subjects, in case following one's dreams proves to be not merely uneconomical but downright foolhardy. Then again, I'm one of those old-school types: you want to be happy and flourish, fine, but you're gonna finish your homework first.
I showed the Daily Mail piece to Trini, and she said, "That's it. I'm homeschooling my kids."
You may remember this from last month:
Fortunately, there's one out of ten:
Of course, if I could afford to lease a car that sells for half again as much as I paid for my house well, I'm sure she's worth it, but damn.
Whataburger World Headquarters is barely a mile and a half from my (brief) childhood home in Corpus Christi, Texas, the only place I lived as a kid that I haven't since revisited.
I think I've finally found an excuse for a road trip.
United Airlines, in an effort to cut costs, will ground 70 aircraft and shut down the low-fare Ted mini-airline.
One consultant was never impressed by Ted in the first place:
I snagged this ad while looking up a Whois at Network Solutions:
Do you know when your domain expires? Somebody does.
The new network, which should be fully operational by the end of next year, will cost around $5 million. And no, there will be no public-access hot spots, at least at first.
For "by the end of next year," read halfway through 2008:
The network is used for public safety and other City operations. At this time it does not provide wireless Internet access to the public.
Tropos Networks president and CEO Tom Ayers presented a plaque to the Mayor and City Council recognizing the City of Oklahoma City for successfully building and implementing the world's largest municipal wireless broadband network. Tropos Networks provides the network infrastructure equipment.
The wireless mesh network covers an unprecedented 555 square-mile area with 95 percent service coverage in the city's core. Wireless Tropos routers are installed on City siren towers, traffic lights, buildings and other places. Tropos' mobile routers are mounted in City vehicles, extending the network coverage area.
I'm impressed nonetheless, especially since the cost reportedly came in right around the projected $5 million.
Public-safety applications of the new network:
Fire battalion chiefs are now able to locate water hydrants, review site maps, building floor plans and hazardous materials information while en route to a fire or accident, enabling them to tell incoming response vehicles how and where to set up.
I'm just wondering where the 50-square-mile (more or less) "dead zone" is.
Maybe they can sell it to the Indians.
Update, 6 June: And they just might.