Scottsdale, AZ: 569 miles
Gila Bend, Arizona, where highways 8 and 85 meet, is a place that doesn't seem to have many surprises in store. There's gas stations, motels, convenience stores, plenty of fast food chain outlets. Get off the main street and there's cacti and rattlesnakes, probably some gila monsters (how else was the town named?), plenty of sand and rocks. The Space Age Restaurant is impressive - it has a very large flying saucer parked on its roof.

What struck me as odd was the big banner across the main drag of town for the upcoming, November 3, Gila Bend Shrimp Festival. Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be able to make it. I've got a book event in Tucson that afternoon, which is close enough that I might still be able to get to Gila Bend in time for the shrimp bobbing contest, but it would be close and I probably ought to spend some time with the Tusconians I know. Still, maybe I'll try to show up.

My 38 or so hours back home, between New York and hitting the road on the Drive-by Tour '07, was busy. First I had to do whatever I could to ensure that I didn't bring bed bugs home with me. I don't suppose I'll know until the house is infested, or not.

My first event on Saturday was at Mysteries to Die For, a very nice bookshop in Thousand Oaks. They turned out a good crowd, standing room only, maybe 20 or so people, only three of who felt any sort of obligation to me to show up. It was gratifying, the sort of thing that gives me hope for book touring.

Some big name authors spend all day and never stop signing books. When I attract 10 or more people and sign 20 or more books, that's good by my standards at this point. Then again, I like hanging out in bookstores talking to people. I'd do it even if it wasn't part of my job. Good thing, too.

Then it was off across town to Book 'Em in South Pasadena, another good shop, in a fast developing fun part of the city. 10 people there, pretty much all friends, but it was good to see them and there were a number of pre-order sales of books as well.

I stayed up late getting things ready for the big drive, packed the car, made sure the house was all set and ready for the housesitter, got into the car, turned the key, and.......nothing. The battery was dead. Not completely, but dead enough. Needing to be in San Diego in time for today's event, I panicked.

I called Bill to get him to come over so I could hook my jumper cables up to his battery and my battery. I called AAA in case it wasn't the battery. Luckily, it was the battery and Bill's tiny little red Mini provided the life giving juice that my car required. I hit the road.

I'm keeping track of the mileage at the top of each blog post. The mileage posted above was from driving to Thousand Oaks, South Pasadena, then to San Diego and on to Scottsdale, today. There won't be any mileage tomorrow since I'm being driven around from bookstore to bookstore by a friend of Janet, my agent, and I can walk to Poisoned Pen bookstore from my hotel. Plenty of mileage to come though.

Addendum on Monday morning: The benedryl and cortisone cream wore off and the itching woke me up. When will this go away? I gotta say, I've never been a huge fan of New York City and I'm even less so now. Over the years I have slept in all manner of places: a 35 cent a night hotel in a border town between Spain and Portugal that was overrun with rats; two different chicken coops in West Africa; 10 nights in a huge, wooden, communal longhouse in Central Borneo; a brothel in Bamako, Mali; the $35 a night "Presidential Suite" in the Hotel Cesar in downtown Tijuana, Mexico; a Chinese army jail cell; another jail cell in Quebec that had been converted into a youth hostel; driftwood huts on a beach on Vancouver Island; and more. And yet in none of these places, not one, did I ever leave with any sort of bug bites or infestation that affected me longer than a few hours or at the most the next day. Today is day four and counting. My body is covered with itchy bumps that I got in an "inexpensive" (meaning it cost $200 per night) hotel in New York City.

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