Corner to corner

As the spring of 2009 was upon us in Central Florida it was clear that the recession had drawn my consulting and auditing work to a standstill.  Darryl’s custom kitchen business was doing better than her competitors but that wasn’t saying much.  Florida was in a bad way, economically.  It was time to admit that I needed a full-time gig – the last thing I wanted to do after leaving Kodak.  So in April I started another job search.  Actually, I had never stopped my job search after leaving Kodak, it just wasn’t a ‘serious’ job search until last spring.

I updated my resume, renewed accounts at the technical and engineering search sites and created a dozen search agents on Monster and CareerBuilder.  While I realize that web searching is usually the best way to find a decent job, when you are an environmental professional used to working in manufacturing and living in Central Florida the web is the best way to go.  In that search process I found a number of potential positions with companies around the country, but when I found what appeared to be the perfect fit in Washington state I paused.  I remember joking with Darryl about the position in eastern Washington for an energy company – who would ever consider moving 3000 miles to start all over again – again.  To my surprise, she said; “Go for it!”  I came to realize that the stress of her situation with her business was reaching a critical point.  Now before you think, “Oh yeah, typical guy.  Clueless about what’s going on around him.”, you have to realize that Darryl is pretty ‘type A’  all the time so where the stress was taking her wasn’t all that obvious.  Until it put her in the hospital here in Richland, but that is another story – a very scary story.

Well, I did apply and what do ya know, they wanted to hire me.  The offer was very good and included an attractive relocation package – who does that any more?  So we were going to move to the Pacific Northwest, away from family and friends – 3000 miles and 3 time zones away.  The new group was short handed, being down two bodies unexpectedly, so they wanted me there in a hurry.  I put them off a bit so I could do my last scheduled EMS audit, which I really wanted to do.  You see it was in Fairport, NY, our old home and where we raise our girls.  This way I could take a few days to open up my camp while in NY and hang with Mom and Dad for a couple of day.

Upon getting back to Orlando it was pack the truck (soon to be referred to as “the rig” in Western terms) with everything I thought I’d need – you know, fly rods, reels, fly tying gear, kayak, bicycle – the important stuff.  Darryl forced me to take some kitchen utensils.   Turns out that was a good thing since she didn’t make the move until 6 months later.  On June 22, 2009 I was on the road to the opposite corner of the country and needed to get there by the end of the week to get settled into temporary housing provided by Energy Northwest, my new employer.

I should probably have taken notes along the way because I knew I would forget details, so the rest is pieced together from my rather sketchy memory.  After the first 10-hour drive I stopped somewhere between Chattanooga and Nashville at a Hampton Inn.  After a less than healthful meal at the “country cooking” restaurant next door and my nightly phone call to Darryl I crashed.

Night two was another 10 hours and 600-700 miles down the road in St. Joseph, MO at the Stoney Creek Inn.

This pretty much says it all.
Day three had me cut the corner off Iowa (first time there), across the length of Nebraska and all the way the Cheyenne, WY.  Believe it or not, I have always wanted to visit Nebraska (long story) but just driving through there isn’t much to recommend it unless you like very flat terrain and farm land.  Cheyenne seems like a nice place and I’d like to go back there for a longer visit.  
The next day finally brought me to some mountains.

Echo rest stop, Utah

 That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

After this point I didn’t any decent scenery shots and quite frankly was getting tired of the road.  I just wanted to get to Richland, which I did around mid-day on Friday, June 26, 2009.  The odometer showed that the trip was < 10 miles shy of 3000 and it took me 4.5 days.  It was very interesting but I wouldn’t want to repeat it any time soon.  I now had the weekend to settle into the temp apartment, stow the toys in a storage unit and have a look around.  Monday would bring my first day at Columbia Generating Station and the new gig with Energy Northwest.  If you are interested, check out the company link and go to the Environmental Management System pages and you can see what I work on.
Here is shot I took from the parking lot of Rattlesnake Mtn.  I still love looking at this scene every day from the Station.  I’ve also gotten used to seeing security officers walk into the cafeteria in camo, automatic weapon slung across their chest and handgun strapped to their thighs – “you ain’t at Kodak Park anymore, boy!”
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