Tour Diaries — End of the Road: There’s No Place Like Home

An early departure from Redding brought us by dawn to the southern border of the mythical state of Jefferson, that slice of the Pacific Northwest that encompasses the mountainous area between the Sacramento and Willamette Valleys.

Sunrise on Mount Shasta

Lunch today is Thanksgiving leftovers at roadside stops, and we quickly find ourselves through Oregon and back into our home state of Washington, in time to pick up our cat from “Just Cats” halfway between Olympia and Shelton, arriving at home just before dark, unloading the car from our long 30-day, 8,000-mile circumnavigation of the country. In the night, the rain starts, a soft, steady cascade that continues though the next day. We are home at last.


Several days before we arrived home, the first harbingers of Northwest winter had knocked out power long enough to drain the server batteries at Chaos Central, so we spent a bit of time getting all of the network services back on line, particularly those that require manual initiation after reboot. The last few days of our travels, not being able to “call home” and using our tunneled, encrypted proxy for Internet browsing safety, we relied instead on the Tor anonymizer service, which, though designed for a different goal, is, for our purpose, also an encrypted remote proxy that protects from packet snooping and firesheep attacks as well as disguising the location. Our dedicated proxy server makes all our browsing appear to come from our home location, while Tor packets are scattered among many locations. Both ideas are useful for working through firewalls and for maintaining security in untrusted public networks. At hotels and coffee shops requiring a web-based login, we use a separate browser for the network login, then do all our other browsing through the proxy or Tor network.

Hey, all this ‘Net jargon must mean we’re back at work. But, for 30 days, we suspended time and lived in another set of problems. If that’s what a vacation is, then we must have had one, the longest ever.