There's a T-1 line running to the house? you may ask, if you don't know this house. Why, yes, because there's a rack of servers hidden here. Several dozen web sites (including mine) and domains, and not incidentally, FurryMUCK. If the T-1 was down, there were, at a minimum, several hundred angry geeks across the globe.
I remembered that there'd been problems with the T-1 line before, and there was an 800# on a tag by the box the T-1 line entered at. I called the 800#. That number belonged to SBC, who informed me, "Well, you should call XO." I called XO and they said they'd call me back. Then the actual ISP called me out of the blue and said, "Hi, we can't get to your router, although the T-1 line seems to be up."
After actually finding the router (at the very top of a rack with the telltale Cisco logo slightly hidden by cables), I checked all the connections on it and the switch and cycled the power. That worked.
After a quick lunch (the second half of a hefty piece of chicken cordon bleu I bought at Draeger's Market on Friday), I headed out, deciding on an arbitrary direction of "southeast," because I hadn't been that way much. Of course, part of the reason I hadn't been that way much is because it's not an easy way to go from here. California seems defined by mountain ranges and valleys; north-south travel in valleys is easy, crossing between valleys isn't so easy.
I took a road which I've taken once before, CA 25, "Airline Highway." This road runs from 101 to Hollister and then southeast past Pinnicles National Monument to meet up with CA 198. It's a beautiful road, heading through somewhat more arid landscapes (although not desolate like the deserts can be)--some trees but lots of meadow and chaparral and carved rocky hills. And just your basic fun road to drive, with both long straightaways and ample twists and turns, with the added bonus of having gorgeous panoramas without the lethal dropoffs of true mountain roads.
The last time I took 25, I cut back west on 198 and looped up back home. This time I headed east, to Coalinga. At this point, I was presented with a problem: it was already late in the afternoon, so what path should I take? Being foolish, I decided to forge ahead on 198 to where it met up with 180, and take that back west. This meant driving through Sequoia National Park, getting there right as night fell so I wouldn't have much time to enjoy it.
What I did get for the trouble, though, was sequoias in the red glow of twilight, a mountain sunset from 6000 feet and a clear black sky I could see the Milky Way in. And a reminder of why, despite all the personal travails of the last year, I really do love living in this state.
Of course, the rest of the trip was dinner at a Denny's off CA 99 in Fresno around 11:00 p.m., and getting back at 2:00 a.m. I decided to stick to freeway travel on the way back, which may not have been the fastest approach after all--north of CA 198, the next two major ways back west are CA 152 through Pacheco Pass to Gilroy and CA 205, the freeway through Livermore. 205 was the route I took, and it was certainly fast in terms of travel, but 152 might have taken less time just by virtue of directness. Ah well.