So the newest member of the family and our best Christmas gift has finally arrived home here in sunny Florida. He and I embarked on our little road trip on Monday morning a little before 6am MT and arrived here last night at around 11:30pm ET. I was anticipating a 28 hour drive in total so since I was feeling good on Monday and the weather was great I decided to push on through for a 16 hour day. We went through all of Kansas, hit KC, then St. Louis and I was shooting for Nashville but it just seemed out of reach. That led me to Paducah, Kentucky for our first night. Thanks in large part to my virtual passenger and remote travel coordinator Heather. After a few hours of sleep I was looking forward to a nice and easy 12-13 hour day Tuesday arriving home just after rush hour around 7pm. So I got up early and we were on the road by 5am to try and solidify that timing….and then Atlanta happened.
I’m not sure what exactly was going on but when I got near Atlanta but things came to a grinding halt. It got to the point where I seriously thought I was in some sort of alternate reality. I just kept watching the arrival time on Waze go up, what started out as 6:20 pm went to 7:15, then 7:40, 8:30, 10:15 and so on. It was as if I was creeping forward but in the wrong direction. Frustrated I vented to Heather and tried different routes which all led me back to the same screwed up highway. Eventually I got past it and back headed towards home. As the evening wore on the toll of the road started to really set in. I found that it was hard to stay focused and not constantly look at the clock. Every time I’d check the time it seemed like time was suspended. There is no way I’m going to make it home, Waze was now stating my arrival around 11pm. Losing hope and energy Heather and I talked, again she kept me awake, distracted from the weariness of the road and we found an alternate way to go. I could stop in Gainesville and spend the night getting up to a 3 hour drive for the last leg home. I had to make a pit stop anyway so I stopped there and realized I hadn’t taken my afternoon vitamins, luckily these include some brain fuel to help with focus. Then it was just make it to Ocala and I’d have a 2.5 hour drive to wake up to. As I approached Ocala things started to clear, the Starbucks kicked in along with my vitamins and I knew the second wind had officially arrived.
Rocky did amazing in the car, but given the fact he slept the entire time he wasn’t much help keeping me focused and aware. Heather on the other had made all the difference in the world. She stayed on the phone with me for hours yesterday, trying to get things done around the house to prep for Rocky’s arrival all while making sure I was okay. She has been an amazing Dogma to our pups through the years and an even more amazing wife and partner. We normally travel together, especially on road trips and so she knew what I would need along the way to get home. I couldn’t have done it without her support, my voice of reason and the why I really wanted to get home a day sooner than we planned. When I tell people how long we were in the car over those two days the natural inclination will be to give me all the credit. Have no doubt, I may have been behind the wheel but she was right there with me in the virtual passenger seat.
So we arrived at 11:30 last night, the final tally 16 hours on Monday and just over 17 hours yesterday. And you know what I would do it again in a heartbeat. You want to know why?
Four separate dog beds and instead I’ll take the floor, silly boy.
This is why, Rocky is a life worth 30 hours in the car or whatever it would have been. He’s a little disoriented, and who wouldn’t be. His owner passed away, he can’t see and he’s been shuttled around. At 10 years old (estimated) he has plenty of life left and in the few short days I’ve known him he’s nothing short of amazing. His independence, good natured personality and the enthusiasm in which he charges through life are an inspiration. Whenever I see those magnets
I know exactly what they mean.