Seattle Sea Acceptance Test
on board Davidson in Puget Sound
Here it is. I was in Seattle for 16 days to help not screw up things on this ship, the Davidson, while it was being tested for current surveying in Gulf of Alaska and surrounding areas there. At the end I took off and went to visit Boatner in Montana. I thought I was so clever to rent a car with my company's travel account (that I shall gladly pay as personal use, but wanted to enjoy the carefree corporate rate). As soon as the euphoria wore off and I'd driven a few hours out of Seattle I realized that I was going to have to pay for 100's of miles of driving to the Hertz. The total was astronomical (1056 miles - 300 free miles X $0.42/mile = mucho dinero * 1.18% tax + $180 daily rates = mas dinero). Corporate rate or not, cross-country in a rental car costs some mega cheese.
Believe it or not, it was worth it. Rationalizing the terrific financial loss I'd just invited, I then figured it would cost the same price to fly out there on a separate trip. Plus this way I had an added bonus of driving through the countryside at my leisure (yeah from 2am-10am before my flight home.. very leisurely indeed). Make no mistake though, that Missoula is a leisure place with leisure people and cheap deals on food and alcohol everywhere.
Boatner caught in his element at Univ Montana
I had a remarkable time the last day. It extended over 38 hours* of travel time. I started in Missoula, MT. Three of us drove up in John's buddy's uninsured Explorer to Glacier National Park. No one brought a camera along, so of course the most spectacular phenomena of nature occured while we were there. Without a doubt this afternoon alone was a once in a lifetime experience. We saw a grizzly bear in our first 5 minutes at the top of the pass. Then on the trail we crossed paths with 3 rams. We got silent and climbed onto a shelf of rocks above the trail next to the shear wall. There was nowhere to go really and both of our parties were intent on keeping the same route on the trail. So, I told Boatner to shush a few times and the damned creatures actually came up right next to us, at arms' reach, and played the intimidation game. They acted all casual, pretending to be grazing on the bits of stuff near us, and we just tried our best not to burst out "holy shit!"'s while they were in front of us. Eventually they darted off once they figured we were not going to swoop down on them from behind at the moment they'd start to move past. But they had to do so carefully I guess, with the big one lingering behind the smaller 2 just in case we wanted to make a challenge from behind (I doubt even that grizzly would try to take those beasts head-on, if you can imagine what penalty that could result in).
Well, it's most unbelievable that all this stuff happened because we were only there a couple hours, and we only had time to go up one trail and turn around and come back. At our furthest point out on the trail, pausing before the return trip back, the sunlight was fading and we saw a terrific sunset that emanated jesus rays between the top of the western side of the canyon/mtn-thingy that Glacier comprises, and the immense clouds above, which had earlier threatened to drop more sleet and rain, though somehow had abated just enough for this particularly sanguine (someone is going to beat me for using words like these - but it seems appropriate) moment.
Ok - the crazy thing is that this day continues through the night. We were observing the sunset before starting back to the car. Mind you, we still had to drive out of the park. On the way out of the park we had to hit the brakes for 2 black bears! One was about twice the size I envisioned them growing to, since I had just been told by someone in Seattle that they're only a real threat to children. Right. It was dark when we get to the car, and it was nearly 10pm when we the main entrance! At 2am we reached Boater's house, which is actually a little past Missoula, near the town of Lolo, Montana. What a great place. But anyways, I was due at the airport in... approximately 8 hours...
Honestly though, I had no trouble at all. Miraculously I slept through the Phish tapes on the way back - which is abnormal for me to do (sleep in a car at all, especially before even midnight). I gauged it perfectly though. I never really got tired until it was already light outside and I was entering George, Washington and the Gorge. This kind of scenery kept me up. Also I found it's very important to stop frequently, every hour, every public rest stop basically. And it is important to keep your body moving - which is something I learned in Engineering Psychology of all places. It is very easy to fall into the road trance at 5am when it's still dark outside. I was wearing this beanie and I kept going through this insane cycle of taking it off, opening the sunroof, putting the hat on, closing the sunroof, cracking a window, turning the heat on, etc., etc. It was like a silly game in fact. I was largely unconscious of it but conscious enough to tell the world about it here obviously. Shit, I only drank 2 coffees the whole time and the 2nd was an hour outside of Seattle. It also helps to stay active by singing along to your favorite artists - which is a definite hobby of mine - pounding your fist on the steering wheel, etc.
I get back to Seattle, drop the Impala off, fly to Minneapolis -> Providence. Then wait in the airport for almost 2 hrs to take the next shuttle to Newport, which I had just barely missed, damnit. Ok, so I slept some in the car from Glacier to Lolo, and I basically slept all the way through both legs of my flight home, but, I think its ok to say it was a whole day of travelling. I put a * next the 38 hours I claimed at the beginning cause I know to really compare you have to do the 38 hours without any naps. With naps it should still count as one day for travelling, just not count towards any "records of going without sleep" (my best is 40hrs though that involved only a trip to campus and back twice, and Chick-fil-A).
Anyways - I really wanted to break down this total mileage for one day. I feel in touch with the modern world this way.
Miles by car: 713 + Miles by plane: ~2000
(had to estimate Minneapolis to Providence)
Driving into the mountains and such. Enjoying the times.