Tuesday, February 9, 2010

February Road Trip: Campion Road Rally

Location: Highest Point on the SL Mainland

After struggling mightily with Reaction Grid, it was almost a pleasure to log on to Second Life again. Say what one will about dodgy sim-crossings, lag, and clunky graphics, SL's mainland gives me a sense of place that I've yet to acquire in a competitor's world.

I began my exursion in Tuliptree sim, with an eye on a very nicely done headquarters of the Virtual Railway Consortium. I noted that the rez point allowed one not only to move a locomotive along the tracks but also to rez other vehicles for Route 1, one of the Lindens public-works projects. Studying the maps at the railroad station, I noted an obvious goal: Campion sim, with the highest point on SL's mainland.
Starting out

Yes. I had to go there.

Route 1 carried me first past Calleta, with its famous Hobo encampment. Here there were enough green dots present to encourage me to throttle the bike down and talk. I met two new SLers; the man shown here was still in his stock hair and clothing, so I handed out some landmarks from my class. The woman had already acquired the generically sexy "skirt like a belt" SL look, including obligatory 1970s porn-star shades. She wanted to sit on the back of the bike.
Calleta Residents

I rolled on, apologizing for the lack of a passenger seat. The lonely road does not brook company, especially with chatty porn-stars.

North of Calleta the land became a little less crammed with juxtaposed styles. Perhaps that's a happy result of so many residents moving from the mainland to private islands or the adult-rated continent. I started seeing some nicely rendered builds and areas that, aesthetically, followed common rules of decoration. One leafy stretch of highway was particularly moody...the type of road I'd seek if I were on a gas-powered trip. And, gasp, I found road-signs pointing me to certain sims ahead. Those signs are a first. It seems that the Lindens did go ahead with planned infrastructure improvements.

Even with such help, Campion's high point was not easy to reach. Route 1 runs to the south and there are no connecting roads, so I decided to gun the bike off-road. I did not get pictures of my epic, Kineval-besting ride.

I almost made it, riding vertically up the mountain that loomed ahead. But even in SL gravity counts for something. I flew off the mountain twice, once flying so far on the bike that I crossed into another sim. While airborne, I could still turn and control the bike, but I was determined not to activate its flying controls: dammit, I was going to RIDE to the top.

Then, on my third trip off-road and straight up, at a sim-crossing I wrecked, with the bike crossing into a banned area and me landing, in a heap, on the other side of the line (and in a different sim, in fact).

I took the bike back into inventory and walked uphill. Soon I had to fly. The high point measured just over 400 meters, and of course it was privately owned. Lacking ban-lines, I could land and IM the owner of a castle for a noteworthy quotation. I wanted to know how it feels to own that land, to have only skyboxes further up. This is, after all, where the land ends.

And what does one do in SL from a high point?
Why not?

Well, jump of course. And of course the trip ended with the sort of circularity I love in my vacations: I was back at a northern hub of the Second Life Railway.

By far, this was my best road-trip ever.

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