Tuesday, March 5, 2013

2013 Texas Trip Summary

After every long roadtrip, I like to post a summary of the journey as it helps to see the bigger picture after spending so much time focused on the day-to-day travel. It is a bit self-indulgent, but then so is much of this blog.

The trip began in Tokyo and ended in Brampton, but most of the games I saw were in Texas, hence the name. I find that giving each trip a name (such as 2013 Texas Trip) and using it as a label on the blog makes it easier to review the trip later on. I've been doing this blog for four years now and more than ever it serves as a reminder of where I've been over that time, much like a public diary, and these summaries are interesting to read a year or two after the fact, when much of the memories have faded.

During the trip, I saw 19 games over 22 days with 11 of those being basketball battles, the most hoops I have seen in my life. There were 4 NCAA baseball games, all in Texas, and 4 hockey games in 4 different leagues. The best game was Houston's comeback win over the Thunder, with Steph Curry's 54 points in the Warriors loss to New York a close second. The AHL game in Texas was also highly entertaining.

I saw 18 new venues which makes 415 total stadiums visited, although only 7 of the 18 counted toward the Quest for 400, which now stands at 188.

I drove over 2,200 miles at an average speed of 54 MPH, with most of this coming in the first few days as I raced from Dallas to Memphis to OKC to Austin. In total, I spent $271 on gas which works out to 12.2 cents per mile. Compare this to a trip three years ago when I drove 2,414 miles and gas was only $203, about 8.4 cents a mile. Thus fuel on this trip was 45% more costly in terms of cents per mile, a reflection of the higher price of gas and the poor mileage of the rental car.

Avoiding Tolls

Texas has a lot of toll roads and on many, there is no cash booth, so you need to have a transponder which is inserted in the rental car. The rental company outsources the collection of tolls to a third party, who charges a fixed amount per day of the rental with a monthly limit (about $15), along with the toll itself. I wanted to avoid these unnecessary costs, so spent some time checking out the routes in advance. Google Maps provides an "Avoid Tolls" option which I used before every drive.

However, the car also included a GPS system, which had been included, either by mistake or because I am a member of their loyalty program. I had never used one before and found it helpful as it told you how many miles you had left and an approximate arrival time. However, it did not have an "Avoid Tolls" option so on many occasions it would instruct me to take a freeway that wasn't free. When I refused, it would chide me with a "Recalculating Route" until it eventually agreed with the path I had plotted.

I think I was successful in avoiding the tolls but I won't know for sure until I get my credit card bill in a couple of months.

Next Up

I'll be flying back to Singapore next week and spending the summer touring Asia with limited sports on the menu. There's the Malaysian Grand Prix near the end of March, a trip to Jakarta for some ASEAN League Basketball in May, a final trip to Japan in August to finish off the NPB ballparks for Stadium Journey, and the F1 in Abu Dhabi in November. I hope to add a few more trips during that time though, so keep checking in to see what might happen.



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