Eight Days Away

September 23, 2006

My vacation is coming to an end. The past eight days have been good ones overall, not without some frustration and let down, but good nonetheless.

Planes and Automobiles Flying isn’t nearly has fun as it used to be. The security measures in place to make us all feel better are time consuming and aggravating. Hopefully they are effective. Not being able to take water on the plane is the one that gets me the most. I dehydrate in the pressurized cabin air, and not having a quart or two of water to drink makes that worse.

On the way out my connecting gates were as far away from each other as was physically possible in the airport. Even with the tram it took me a good twenty minutes to make the intra-airport journey from gate to gate.

Driving along the Oregon coast on Highway 101 wasn’t too bad. During the week there wasn’t much traffic. Yesterday coming back to Portland was the worst for traffic, and even that wasn’t terrible.

Oregon Coast, Rogue River, and Redwoods The Oregon coast is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever had the privilege of seeing. It is rugged and untamed. The state owns most of the shoreline and prevents development. Miles and miles of unspoiled beauty are the result.

The Rogue River trip was fun - touristy in a good way. I was slightly disappointed that the longer trip wasn’t an option (the river level is down), but I enjoyed the 32 miles of river I did get to see. This day was also the most poignant as I was by myself.

The Redwood grove we visited in northern California was amazing. I could have spend days in the woods there. There is an ancient feeling amongst the huge trees, a stillness and calm that is very inviting.

Being With My Dad It has been many, many years since I last traveled with my father. The two previous trips I took with him were successful in that we both enjoyed ourselves. This trip was also very enjoyable for both of us. If anything he’s mellower than he used to be, and I’m more assertive about meeting my needs. We had several good conversations about life and our situations. I think we have a better understanding of who the other is as a result. I consider myself very fortunate to be able to spend a week with my father.

Being Gone Every trip I take away from home comes with it’s own hidden cost. You are, after all, outside of your usual comfort zone. This trip was no exception. I had a fantastic trip, saw some beautiful scenery, and enjoyed myself. But my heart and thoughts kept returning to Kansas. The first chapters of the rest of my life are being written there and I am anxious to return to the story.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.