On the Road -- A Diary of a Commodore Grand Tour by Robert Bernardo I'd like to thank all of the good Commodore/Amiga people I met in my nearly 2,000 mile Commodore "grand tour" of the Pacific Northwest this summer. Special thanks go to Ron Hackley and his late wife, Ruth. Ruth is in my thoughts as I write this article. The officers and members of each of the clubs below were gracious, generous, helpful -- going out of their way to accomodate me. We talked, we laughed, we had a good time. Though their interests were diverse, we had one thing in common -- this bond, this computer, this Commodore. These people made me feel proud to be a Commodorian. ------ Day 1 (July 13, Thursday) -- Leave my parents' home in Stockton for the multi-hour journey to Roseburg, Oregon. Stop in Redding, California, to fill up on gasoline and visit an old friend. Stay too long -- 3 hours instead of 2. Now rushing to meet Ron and Ruth Hackley (Fun Graphics Machine) who had invited me to stay over. Finally around 9 p.m., arrive at the Hackley house. Ron and Ruth are waiting with take-out Mexican food. Lots of apologies -- miscalculated my driving time. Talk about Commodore (Ron jokes that many people mistake him for Loadstar's Fender Tucker), family, health, and various subjects ranging the broad spectrum of philosophy, sociology, and politics. Finally go to sleep at 2 a.m.. Day 2 -- Wake up and have breakfast with the Hackleys. Afterwards, Ruth lets me check my e-mail and shows me various things on her PC, including Commodore emulators, C= screensavers/wallpaper, and Gaelyne Gasson's CD-ROMs. Ron on his PC shows me several websites. They show me information on the Commodore Users Association in Medford, Oregon. Lunch consists of sandwiches. I work on curing a water pump leak in my car. Talk more philosophy, sociology, and politics with Ron. Go for a walk along the Umpqua River. Have dinner. Talk about the radio interview the Lane County Commodore User Group had done with National Public Radio. Try to download my radio interview from the KDVS-FM website so that they could hear it. Ron and I talk about fixing a laptop, electronics, and the comedian, Benny Hill. I prep Fresno Commodore User Group disks for tomorrow's LCCUG meeting. Listen to Ron's CDs of Knees Calhoon music from Loadstar. Go to sleep at 2 a.m.. Day 3 -- Wake up and have breakfast with the Hackleys. Check my e-mail one more time. Leave Roseburg late. Follow the Hackley's truck but have to tank up with gas along the way. Arrive at the LCCUG meeting in Eugene around 11 a.m.. Listen to the demonstration of scanning with a PC (!). Speak with Karl Stone, treasurer. Speak with Brian Strayer, president, about newsletters, articles, AmiWest 2000 (the West Coast Amiga show, July 29-30). Depart at 1 p.m., thanking the Hackleys many times and waving good-bye furiously. Leave for the fairly brief drive up to Portland. Get a room at the Motel 6 in South Portland (Tigard). Leave for the Trail Band concert in Beaverton. Arrive early. Great weather, great music, great concert. Eat dinner at Skippers Fish Restaurant near my motel. Go to sleep at midnight. Day 4 -- Wake early for the long drive to Seattle, Washington. Along the way, stop in Ethel, Washington, to meet Raymond Carlsen, comp.sys.cbm hardware tech. Talk about LCCUG and UWCUG (University of Washington Commodore User Group). Leave him a FCUG newsletter and disk-of-the-quarter. Leave him a 1581 drive to repair. He asks me to stop by on my way back to California (the 1581 might be repaired by then). After this brief stop, I take off for Seattle. Fight through the Sunday freeway traffic and get to the Motel 6 in Tacoma (Fife). Then on the UWCUG meeting in which I am to appear. Find Joe St. Aubin's apartment exactly where MapQuest.com told me to go. No answer to my buzzing the apartment. Walk down the block to a branch of the Seattle Coffee Company. Have chocolate cake and water. An hour later, I ring the apartment again. A head appears through the door, but he doesn't look like Joe. The head disappears, and I buzz the doorbell again. Again the head appears, "Are you Robert?" "Yes, I am." "Joe is waiting for you." I enter. Joe greets me, apologizing profusely, because earlier he had been listening to loud music and had not heard the buzzer. The head belongs to another member, Mike. I hand them some FCUG disks and newsletters. A few minutes later, Elwood "Tiger" Avery appears. He starts setting up the C= equipment. More members gather. Meeting begins. Total of 11 are there. I speak to the assembled crowd. Show my videotapes of the 1999 DejaVu II demo party in England and of the 1999 Vintage Computer Festival 3.0 in Santa Clara, California. Applause. Tiger demonstrates how to display JPEG's on-line with a C128 in 80-column mode and Craig Bruce's ACE and ACETerm programs (hint: the ISP and an on-line script are the horsepower to drive the JPEG viewer). Pics flicker a lot in this interlaced mode. Then Tiger tries to run Maurice Randall's The Wave beta 2.0. Wheels boots o.k., but The Wave freezes with a message that says the user must use Wheels v4.2. Tiger tries to run The Wave beta 1.6, which he says ran earlier for him. Again The Wave freezes with the same message. (Days later, in a phone call with Maurice, he advises me that there must be no ramdisk or a minimal ramdisk in Wheels for The Wave to work correctly. Otherwise, the message pops up, even with Wheels 4.2.) Roger Long, keeper of the Commodore Products Source List, gives me a laser-printed copy. I tell him of some club updates. The meeting winds down by about 6 p.m., and we have to hurry to an after-meeting dinner, because Tiger has to be elsewhere by 7. Dinner at a Mexican restaurant. Talk about Commodore, clubs, and newsletters continues. Finally by 7, we leave, each going their own ways but not before I get my materials I had left in Joe's apartment. Leave for the Motel 6. Asleep at midnight. Day 5 -- Depart by 10 for Edmonds, Washington. Looking for Rick Steves' Travel Agency (home base of Rick Steves who has the Travels in Europe t.v. series on public broadcasting stations) and for a comic bookstore which carries certain sci-fi videos. Fight through the Seattle freeway traffic and find little Edmonds perched by the water. Park and walk to Rick Steves' facility. Buy videotapes of France, Spain, and Italy. Find the comic bookstore and buy the rarely-seen Japanese sci-fi flicks, Atragon and Battle in Outer Space. Eat at a Japanese restaurant almost next-door to the store. Go to the Edmonds public library to check my e-mail. Hundreds of messages! Respond to pressing Commodore business, including a message to Ray Carlsen saying that I won't be able to pass his way when going back to California. See a message from Gary Peake, managing director of Amiga, Inc.. He answers that I'm more than welcome to visit their company in Snoqualamie, Washington (east of Seattle). Have to give my regrets, because my travel itinerary has already been planned. Tour the boat docks in the harbor. Finally, leave for Motel 6. Arrive back by 8; asleep by 11. Day 6 -- Awake at 5. Leave motel by 6. Gas up the car and depart for Bremerton/Silverdale, Washington. Pass by the U.S. naval bases. Reach Silverdale and turn at the first exit. Get to a Target shopping center parking lot and find a phone booth. Call Beatrice Goods of the Commodore Users of Puget Sound. It's 8, and Beatrice is just getting out of bed. She will meet and escort me to her house. Awhile later, Beatrice drives up, and I follow her. She introduces me to her husband, Jim. Gives me breakfast. Talks about her small, informal club. Used to have a newsletter. Wrote under the moniker of Grandma Bea. I give her a FCUG newsletter and disk. Describe our group. Verify CUPS information on Roger Long's list. Finally, I leave, because Bea has to be at work in the public library by 10. Keep heading to Port Angeles. Eventual destination -- Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Arrive in overcast Port Angeles one hour before the noon ferry departure. Leave car in parking lot. As a foot passenger, I pay $7 one-way. The M.V. Coho arrives. On board, I get a sub sandwich and iced tea. After eating, fall asleep. About an hour later, the ship arrives in Victoria. Go through customs and am finally out in Canada. Familiar yet different. Combination of United States, British, French, Indian, German, Irish, Scottish, and uniquely Canadian cultural aspects. Must find lodging. Walk a mile up the hill, dragging wheeled suitcase. Reach the Traveler's Inn, advertised to have the best prices in the city. Clerks tell me that here is no room at this site. Must visit another Traveler's Inn farther up the hill. A few blocks later, make it to the next inn. Book for 2 nights lodging. Walk to the nearest bank machine for Canadian cash. Then back down to the Victoria waterfront to check out the shops along Government Street, take a boat tour of the harbor, and eat at the seafood buffet in Kipling's Restaurant in the famous Empress Hotel. In a hotel store, found Bounty chocolate bars (only found in England and Canada) and bought $20 worth. Back to the inn by 9 and finally make phone contact with Russell Redman, Commodore user extrordinaire. Arrange it so that he meets me at 6:30 the next day at the inn. Asleep by midnight. Day 7 -- Awake at 9. Walk down Douglas Street to the bank machine and withdraw more money. Go to the Nootka souvenir store and buy gifts for friends and family. Then walk to the double-decker buses in front of the Empress Hotel. Pay for the city tour (but not including the Buschart Gardens, because there is no time). Bus takes us through the various city neighborhoods, passing such homes as those owned by actor Tom Selleck and by singer Sarah McLachlin. During the mid-way point in the tour, bus stops at a waterway overlook and small boat harbor. At harbor cafe, eat a sausage in a fried roll (what do the English call it?). Upon my return to the Empress Hotel, go up Government Street one last time to window-shop. Wait at the inn for Russell. A bit after 6:30, receive call from the front desk that a gentleman is waiting. Walk down to meet Russell, who introduces me to his wife, Nora. In his car, he drives me quite a way to his modest house which has a spectacular view of the ocean. Shows me his high-powered C64 system which consists of RAMLink and CMD hard drive. Shows how he created/modified a program to autoboot the RL with a menu. Tells about how there used to be three C= user groups in Victoria. Was a member of the San Juan de Fuca Commodore Club. Now only he and a C= technician are left. I give him a FCUG newsletter and disk. Show him the various C= magazines I had. Russell and Nora treat me to hot tea and cake. After a few hours, he drives me back to the inn. I'm asleep by 11:30. Day 8 -- Wake at 4 a.m.. Leave inn at 5 in order to get the 6:15 ferry back to Port Angeles. Arrive in plenty of time. 6:05, board the Coho, have a submarine sandwich and iced tea. Fall asleep. Arrive at Port Angeles. Go through American customs. Get in the car and drive down and across the peninsula. Destination -- Astoria, Oregon. Wish there were a more direct route -- too many curves and motorhomes slowing me down. Arrive in Astoria between 1 and 2. Call up David "Lord Ronin" Mohr, chancellor of the Amiga-Commodore Users Group 0447. Tell him that I'm going to find a motel and have lunch first. Tells me that he is going to have lunch, too, and gives me directions to his store. After finding a motel and eating lunch, I circle the one-way streets of little downtown Astoria until I find parking at the library. Walk to his store. Find David behind his flat C128 and vice-president Mark "Lord Alberonn" Reed behind his Amiga 4000. David instills into me his devotion to the Commodore. Mark asks about the upcoming AmiWest Show in Sacramento. Both commenting and asking questions at the same time. Have to answer both of them at the same time. Help copy their club disks with my MSD SD-2 dual drive. After a couple hours, leave to eat dinner at a local Chinese restaurant. Return for the 7 p.m. official meeting. Six in attendance. David goes through the points of C= business efficiently, Mark taking his turn to relate Amiga points of of business. Their disks are distributed. My FCUG newsletters and disks are distributed. Meeting over by 9. Some more talk of sci-fi and conventions. Finally depart store by 9:30, both lords inviting me back another time. Return to motel. Fall asleep by midnight. Day 9 -- Wake up and depart by 10. Follow Highway 101 south and then turn toward Portland. Circle around Portland to avoid the traffic and pop out near Salem. Continue south on Interstate 5. Today's destination -- Medford, Oregon. Arrive in Medford at 4 p.m. and check into Motel 6. Call Vanessa Swing, president of the Commodore Users Association. She says that she will meet me at the local Skippers Fish Restaurant, along with as many members she can bring. A bit after 6, meet with Vanessa and her mom; E.J. Clutter, CUA treasurer; and John Locke, CUA librarian. I distribute the FCUG newsletter and disk, and ask about their club. John Locke is a programmer, too. They have a C= tech in town. Vanessa invites me to come back for a regular CUA meeting. After dinner, I go to John's house in order to see his library of C= books and orderly collection of C= programs. John shows me the video when their club was featured on the local t.v. news. We graphically cruise some websites (including FCUG's) with his Mac (!). Leave just before 11. Asleep by 1. Day 10 (July 22, Saturday) -- The return to California. Leave by 10 or so and arrive in Red Bluff, California by 2. Try to call John Elko of the Classic 64 Preservation Society but can't get through. Contact Ernie Froelich, another member, who tells me to go to the local True Value hardware store and find C64PS president, Richard Maret, working there. Find Richard, who days earlier had received my phone message on his answering machine in which I said I was coming today. Shake hands and talk of our clubs during the interludes when Richard isn't helping customers. He is a programmer from the "old school", i.e., he programmed 1960's computers. He understands when I talk about hardware at the Vintage Computer Festival. Ernie enters store, and Ernie and I go the next-door charity store. He finds a 1701 monitor and an old laser printer. (We are just looking for a blank 5 1/2" disk in order to copy a FCUG disk-of-the-quarter.) Ernie pays a few dollars for everything. I help him load the stuff into his van. Back to True Value to talk to Richard. Make a copy of FCUG disk right there in the store with my MSD SD-2 dual drive. Unfortunately, Richard has to work until 5 or 5:30. He invites me back. And so, after a couple of hours there, I leave for Stockton, satisfied I had contacted many user groups and users during the last 10 days. P.S. At the Sacramento AmiWest Show of July 29-30, I meet Rick Rudge, president of the Milwaukie Computer User Group of Portland, Oregon. He gives profuse apologies that he could not meet with me during my journeys. I tell him that it was quite understandable and promise him some FCUG newsletters. At the same show, I meet Ryan Czerwinski, owner of Merlancia, a Commodore-Amiga retailer from Phoenix, Arizona. I know that he is the American distributor for MegaPatch 3, the European upgrade for GEOS. I ask for MP3, but he didn't bring it, because he didn't think that anyone would want it at an Amiga convention. Disappointed, I ask whether MP3 had solved its stability problems. He replies that v3.0 was stable, but v3.02 is having problems. He awaits an update from the MP3 programmer and has frozen all sales of MP3 in the meantime. - This message was sent through the cbm-hackers mailing list. To unsubscribe: echo unsubscribe | mail email@example.com.
Archive generated by hypermail 2.1.1.