Archive for June, 2006

California or Bust – 2; A Very Long Day

Friday, June 30th, 2006

Waking hot, sweaty and uncomfortable, and with a crink in my neck after a few hours of fitful sleep I ate my cereal with milk I had taken with me. Then I continued on my journey at about 6 AM. I got some Cokes to keep me awake. The scenery had changed during the darkness of last night. I was now starting to drive in the high plains of sand and scrub brush. A few sporatic trees dotted the plains with hills or mesas surrounding the I-10 interstate.

I shaved, and took my pills all at 80 MPH. I had so many miles to go. I had done about 300 and had over 1500 to do. Maybe too many. I wondered if this was such a good idea, so far to go, but on I continued. I passed El Paso and remembered that Candice G, who I had worked with, grew up there. The steep craggy hills surrounded miles of flat green valley. I munched on a banana, pretzels, and crackers and drove on west to California.

The interstate passed Tucson, and Phoenix. Somewhere in that stretch I saw my gas was quite low. I started to worry. The country is so barren and wide. There are few places to stop. I kept watching my gas gauge. At the next no-name gas station I pulled off and bought $20.00 of gas using my cash. Now I could relax a bit. I was glad I had brought with me plenty of water and soda just in case. I also realized that I need to always keep my tank full – so whenever I stopped in the future I filled up regardless. I did not want to get stranded in this desolate place, this high country, this southwestern desert.

Heading through boulder strewn mountains mid-afternoon toward California I was getting tired. I stopped again at a rest stop for a coke, but did not have change and had to continue on.

It was hot out. At the next exit I stopped at a store. Stepping out of the car was like walking into a furnace. The clerk at the store matter-of-factly told me that it was 109 outside. Sheesh. I was glad to get back into my car and very glad for its excellent air conditioning. Several canals with water heading toward Los Angeles journeyed with me. Down and down from the high country I went into the coastal plan. Over six miles of downgrade with warning for trucks to test their brakes and run-outs if they failed.

Now I was in California. Its golden hills bordered the interstate. It felt and looked like California. Massive wind farms of 100 foot tall three bladed propellers came and went.

Into Los Angeles, city of highways, curving streams of cars all leaving for the Fourth of July. The traffic flowed in, out, and about, and I flowed with it. Leaving I-10 I cut across LA on the western I-210. Forty miles of tail lights, of head lights, of city and of suburb. I turned north onto I-5. Sometimes the traffic would stop, but the books on tapes helped me pass the time and the miles. Darkness had come again. I pulled off but found no where to stop. Back on again to try the next one. Still no luck at the next one. Finally I stopped at car repair place lot next to a McDonald’s. It was past midnight. I was exhausted and fell immediately to sleep. This was my push day and I had done it. Over 1000 miles and day two completed.

California or Bust – 1; Decision Made

Thursday, June 29th, 2006

My life has never been one of making quick decisions. I tend to ponder over what I will do or buy or sell or whatever for long periods of time before doing it. Then I make a plan and make sure what needs to be done is done beforehand. So, for example, when making a trip I write an intinerary which includes each day, where I’ll be, what I’ll do that day, what meals I’ll need, any travelling, etc.

Well I have decided to drive to Calfornia today after work and visit my oldest son, Justin. I’ve never been to his home and he’s been there over a year now. I’ve always wanted to get there but there never seems to be either money or time to do it. Well that ended today. I chatted with Kathy yesterday in the car going to work and then Justin today in an IM session. Then I told my manager that I’m taking off tomorrow and all next week. This is a complete lark – it is an adventure.

Arriving home at about 5:30 PM I packed my car, did some laundry, got some books on tape from the library, kissed Katie goodbye, switched cars at Kathy’s work and off I went. I was on the road at 7:15 PM heading west on 290. Why it took me this long to get ready… I don’t know. It just did.

I drove until 10:15 PM when I started to get drowsy. Pulling over at a rest stop I parked in the long line of cars, trucks and more trucks. Laying the seat back I tried to sleep, but the growl of the truck engines running nearby and the rest stop lights made it hard for me. After two quite loud firecrackers and about one and a half hours of semi-sleep I left that stop and kept driving. Finally about 1 AM I again stopped at a rest stop far from the trucks and slept in the car until about 6 AM. I was still somewhere in Texas, but heading in the right direction – to California and my son.

One mind

Sunday, June 25th, 2006

I was driving out to buy groceries. I was about 200 feet down the road when I realized I didn’t have the checkbook. I reversed and back into the driveway while pushing the garage door opener. There in the garage was my sweetheart holding the checkbook. She had walked into the house and realized that I hadn’t taken the checkbook. So together we communicated without speaking a word. I took the checkbook, thanked her and told her I love her. And off I drove to the grocery store to do our weekly shopping. Sometimes we are of one mind.

Not much happening

Saturday, June 24th, 2006

Other than my running I’ve not been very busy outside of work. I mean I do watch TV and kill hours and hours doing it, but I’m basically brain-dead when I get home from work. So it’s mostly been work that’s been my focus. I’m enojoying my work so it’s not that I’m unhappy or stressed just busy. It seems that I’m working from about 8:30 AM to 6:30 PM or 7 PM. Upon getting home I shuffle though getting dinner and catching a bit of TV before I crash and go to bed at 10 PM. Yup, 10 PM. It seems I’m getting older and I just can’t stay up. The next day I awake at 6 AM from a typically fitful interrupted sleep and drag myself through my morning absolutions. Then I do my morning run which is something that gets me ready for the rest of the day. Right now my run is a mixed blessing because I’ve got a sore ankle and so each and every step has been an interruption from the typically quiet morning contemplation that I enjoy. So although I enjoy it I just can’t run without thinking about it. Returning from my morning run I continue my morning toiletries and finish with breakefast and packing a lunch when I head off for work. So day in and day out this has been my habit and little else happens to change it. If something does, I’ll let you know. Tootles.

Working hard

Friday, June 9th, 2006

My new job is quite a bit of work. I’ve been working extra hours as needed. However, each day I look forward to going to work. Although what I’ve been asked to do is not exactly my “cup of tea” I’m handling it enough to get by. This job deals with integrating and verifying a bunch of software from various world-wide groups. Although I have my doubts about handling this job well, I’m doing the best I can which is all I can ask of myself. My next task will be more to my liking and it will be more of challenge. It’s a development job or at least that’s what I think it is. I’ll keep you posted.

Back from St. Louis

Sunday, June 4th, 2006

Arrived back after a week in St. Louis at our niece’s, Whitney’s, high school graduation.

Update: The graduate will be attending KU in the Fall.