…using tin cans, old radios and a 1915 Locomobile roadster
Today, I begin the reposting of last year’s CatCon 4 report, edited and somewhat expanded/rewritten. Posts will go up every day until it is done, then it will be time for the DogCon 5 report. Enjoy!
CatCon4 Trip: Introduction
(As always, commentary by non-humans are presented in italics)
Ok, unlike other years where I start this off by telling you how we’ve just left home on the Magic Bus and are on our way to a series of tourist traps and roadside attractions created by goofballs with way too much time on their hands, this year, we start of sorta halfway there. Kind of mid story, as it were.
If you’ve guessed that this has something to do with jacking around with time & space via the Magic Bus and our trans-temporal mechanic, Joe, you are right.
It all started way back in February, when my sweet angel of a wife, who we should not forget has NEVER shown a liking for taking little side trips into alternate realities or the past of our own Earth, suggested that with a bit of temporal wankery, we could go to Disneyworld in Florida before heading on to CatCon4.
I sat very still and said nothing, fearful that this pod person posing as my wife might try to kill me or something. She stared at me, doing an excellent impression of Grace.
Flash: Winker, Lucy, Abby and I all just sat their in slack jawed amazement. We thought Mom had gone insane.
Eventually, it dawned on me that this was not the first time My Sweet Little Oven Bird Of Passion had done an about face on something. It was she who told me in 1999 that she did not like camping, then in 2001 suggested that we drive to GenCon and camp out along the way. Figuring that since this was her idea, I was in the clear and she just might not be a pod person, I asked her to tell me her plan. It went like this…
Take a spatial shortcut from Sacramento to Orlando, then use the old wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff to shift back in time a couple of weeks and have our Disneyworld vacation, then drive to CatCon, then afterward drive home. Having had a similar idea some years earlier, I praised her on her great and original idea, then put in a call to Joe.
Joe arrived a few minutes late, heard Grace’s proposal, then ran a sort of medical scanner over her to make sure she wasn’t a pod person.
Winker: Joe doesn’t take chances, especially where Mom is concerned.
Convinced of her human nature, he allowed as how he thought it would not be a difficult thing to get us there and back in time, but he’d have to insist that Grace not yell and panic if we went through some “pretty strange territory”. She agreed and, as an old friend of mine used to say, the game was afoot.
Deciding to use this whole situation to improve things on the bus, I also told Joe to add a few rooms to the interior. After a moment of discussion, I decided that a whole third story would do the trick. He said it would be no problem and left to get right on it.
To make a really long story somewhat shorter, in a couple of months, Joe brought the bus around and we took the nickel tour. First off, our ever changing tie dye pattern of a paint job now includes glow in the dark paints for after the sun goes down. Sweet!
Under the hood, we now have some sort of compact fusion power plant and a big electric motor, so it’s adiós to fossil fuels. We also have some sort of gravity reducing suspension and regenerative tires. Oh yeah, and QM radio, which means we can get programming from all over the multiverse.
Winker: The tires are nanotech infused ultrarubber that regenerate while the bus is stopped. The suspension is a Hoxxinian style that uses reverse gravitic technology.
Flash: Say what?
Inside, the ground floor main room measures 30 X 60 feet and has doors leading to the gym, the pool, the kitchen/dining room (with a table that can seat 20), the meadow (a 200 X 400 foot area for the critters to frolic in), the hot tub area, three bathrooms, the pantry and the theater. One of those cool cage elevators runs between the three floors, but there is also a spiral staircase and a firehouse pole, which I think is way more fun to use. Yes, you can use the pole to go up, too.
Lucy: We love the meadow room.
Flash: And we’re damned fond of the pantry, too.
The second floor has four bedrooms (each with a private bathroom), a couple of storerooms, the greenhouse, the library and the chocolate storage closet.
Abby: I like the greenhouse, even though Dad keeps a very close eye on me in there.
The third floor has four more bedrooms with private baths, the game room, the room full of shoes (which everybody, critters included, seems to like) and the warehouse.
All Critters: The shoe room rocks!
Joe tells me we have a 4 level basement, but I’m kinda scared of going down there.
Lucy: You should be scared! I smelled big hairy things down there!
Winker: Really? I smelled desert winds and big birds.
Flash: You dogs are nuts. Those smells are definitely coal smoke and steam.
Ok, so here is how our trip has gone so far…
On July 28th, we (Me, Grace, critter sitter Sharon, my nephew Zach and The Critters) leave Sacramento at 4:00 AM, heading south on I-5. At about 5:00 AM, just past Stockton, we do a shift that puts us on the Trans Canada Highway back around 1965. It’s a pretty scenic drive and traffic is very light. I drive for about an hour and then Joe pops us back into the present, except we are on I-10 just outside Las Cruces, New Mexico and it’s only 5:45 AM. Cool! We stop for breakfast (chile relleno omelet FTW!) and then we are back on the road.
Flash: And yet again, poor starving animals only get animal food! Where is the love?
So when we get past El Paso, Texas, Joe does his thing again and we are on a humongous 20 lane highway on some planet with two moons and houses that look remarkably like giant perky female breasts. After 20 minutes of driving there, during which time we learned that the people looked like a cross between a wallaby and a hairless orangutan, we popped back into our reality 12 miles west of New Orleans at 10 :15 AM. About twenty minutes later, we popped onto what I think was a road leading to Rome a couple thousand years ago. I say this because I just barely avoided running over a shitload of Legionnaires. Fortunately, they ran off in terror, screaming in Latin, which I do not speak. Anyway, after a couple of hours of leisurely driving through the pleasant Roman countryside terrorizing the populace, we popped back into the present a mere 20 miles from Orlando, Florida at 1:30 PM on July 28th. We then picked up our friends at the airport, did a jog back a week to July 21st and started our vacation.
From there out, you can insert a great two weeks of vacationing with our friends Avis Crane, The Jones family, Peter & Holly Hildreth, the Mystery family and my gaming group (Arn, Samantha & Paul) from back home. We had tons of fun and then all got ready to leave on Wednesday, August 3rd. This meant jumping back a day to the evening of August 2nd so Peter, Holly, Avis and my gaming group could all fly to GenCon, arriving at the con as we were leaving the hotel in Orlando.
Flash: Reading all that time hopping stuff made my eyes cross.
Winker: Oh, how I dream of being able to have crossed eyes! Heeheehee.
Flash: Very funny, Winky.
The temporal backup went well…except for the part where we accidentally duplicated Avis.
Oddly, it seems that if not everyone is in the main room of the bus…AND any missing person is in First Floor Bathroom #2…WHERE a very naughty goat had earlier kicked a wall while being bathed…
Abby: I don’t like baths!
…WHICH caused a Vemellian Transverse Coupling Circuit to reset itself in the wrong way…
Winker: I told Joe those circuits were faulty. He should have used Ulaxoid Industries circuits. They have intrinsic wave loop technology.
Flash, Lucy & Abby: Huh?
…AND the bus is traveling at exactly 52 mile an hour…WHILE trying to go back in time…WHOMEVER is in that bathroom gets “tempro-spatially replicated” when they leave the john. Which means that, 30 seconds after she walked out of the bathroom, Avis walked out again. Presto! An extra Avis!
Winker: Yay! Two Auntie Avys to rub my belly!
Flash: Twice as many Auntie Avy laps!
Yes, yes, this caused much freaking out and yelling and finger pointing at Your Humble Narrator until Joe informed us that it was only temporary and the two of them would merge back into one in about 12 or 14 days. Once we got everybody…most notably the two Ms. Cranes…calmed down, I noted that this wacky accident would allow Avis to attend both CatCon AND GenCon at the same time. Spike helpfully pointed out that she couldn’t very well have two of her at GenCon, so she might as well go with us. Avis, ever the level headed person, agreed that it was a pretty good idea, but was not sure how she could afford it. I told her that we’d figure something out. Despite looks of distinct disbelief at my saying that, everyone agreed that Avis should go to CatCon.
Lucy: Dad’s ideas often engender looks of disbelief.
Abby: Ya think?
Then we drove on to the airport and dropped off everyone who was flying out and then headed off towards Texas…after we went back to July 28th so we could have a few days of driving to the con, which is lots of fun and without which we’d be short many fridge magnets, t-shirts and bumper stickers. We were then leaving Orlando at about the same time we left Sacramento. Yeah, I know. I try not to think about it too much. Sometimes time is more wibbly wobbly than others.
Lucy: Sweet Mother of Dog! That means that there were two Flashes in the world for awhile!
Flash: That’s why I felt doubly awesome!
Oh, yeah, before I get on with the trip report proper, we got Avis her CatCon money by stopping at a candy distributor and offering him $7,000.00 worth of imported chocolate for three grand flat. Once he saw we were, well, if not legit, at least truthful, the deal was done. Damn, I love our chocolate closet!
I’ll point out that nobody congratulated me on my solution to Avis’ money problem. I tell ya, I don’t get no respect!
More con reportage soon.
Music: Tom Waits Sings The Great Broadway Hits
Destination Sign: The Room Of Requirement