And so another cross-country road trip is done. I don't like to fly on the airlines so I drive up to Brewster, Washington every year. There is no direct, diagonal route from the Gulf Coast to the Pacific Northwest; you “stair-step” your way up or down. It's always 3,000 miles.
This year, I left Brewster on Monday. Heading west, in the exact opposite intended direction, I went over to the coast, to Olympia, Washington to see my good friend Brandon who flies for a company there. (My friend Mikey also flies for the same outfit, but he was away on a job and so I didn't get to see him.) After hanging out and having a great time with Brandon (as always), I left Olympia on Tuesday morning and made it back to Florida on Friday night. Google Maps says it was 3,182 miles.
Brandon, who is from New Jersey and often works on the west coast likes to do these marathon cross-countries in which he doesn't stop. He goes like crazy. When he gets tired, he sleeps in his pickup truck in a rest area. I can't do that. I'm a wuss. I need a bed to sleep in for at least a couple of hours and the ability to take a shower. I hate being road-grungy. I can usually find a hotel near the Interstate for around $60.00 per night, which is reasonable, I think. I pick the cheap ones that offer free breakfast so I can grab something to eat before I head out.
Unlike some of my previous trips, this one was uneventful. The venerable 1998 Buick crew-car that I drive back and forth performed flawlessly for 210,000 miles. However, I don't think she's got another trip in her. The transmission was starting to act up – nothing serious, just the very occasional slipping when accellerating from a dead stop, and also some stuttering when downshifting on the highway. Signs of impending doom. To be honest, the car is not worth fixing. So I'll sell her and buy some other piece of crap with somebody else's unknown problems. That'll make me feel better on a 3,000 mile trip!
As fun as my “summer job” up in Washington is, it's always good to be home. And yeah, for better or for worse, Pensacola, Florida is my home. My boss would like me to move up to Washington permanently, but I don't think that's going to happen.
In fact, my days in Washington may be over. There are big changes happening at the company I work for, and if everything goes as planned they won't have a need for ol' Bob next summer. The boss promised me a position anyway. But seriously, why would you pay someone to do something when you can handle that task in-house? Especially as much as they pay me. It doesn't make sense.
If I'm being honest, I'm looking forward to having next summer off from flying. Yeah, I still have to work – it's not like I'll be on vacation. But for the time being at least, I'm going to settle down and stay in one place for a while.