For two weeks in September I traveled the Pacific Coast with Nadine, and vacationed with three of our children in Seattle. We started in Phoenix on August 30th and took our time meandering our way along the beaches.
The trip had been planned with a flight leaving Phoenix for Seattle on September 4th, but with concerns about Covid-19 and flying, we decided to drive and explore the pacific coast. The last time we took a long drive was 2015 when the family came out to New York to visit. As luck would have it the end of the job and the family’s departure date coincided and we spent the next week enjoying a leisurely drive across the country. We were able to see Niagara Falls and we spent a day at Cedar Point Amusement Park. Its hard to believe that it’s been six years since then
Since that time I worked on the road in several different states until 2017 when work started to pick up at home. The work has been not only steady but I’ve worked sixty, seventy, eighty hours and more a week. One job had us working sixteen hours a day to finish the project.
I went to Austin in June of this year to chase some overtime. We worked a seven twelves schedule. Any pipe fitter knows about feast or famine so I decided to take it while I could. We worked fifty-five days straight. My son, Nikolas a journeyman pipe fitter, traveled with me.
This time traveling proved to be the most difficult in my career because of some severe physical problems that I encountered. Because of Nik’s help and the understanding of the crew, I was able to continue to work. I did get some help with the ailment and began to heal, but the hours and pain took its toll on me.
We made the decision to drag up (that’s quitting one’s job in pipe fitter parlance) on August 8, a Sunday. We chose this day because it was the end of the pay period and we would leave with a full paycheck plus our full week of per diem. We left Austin on Tuesday and arrived home the next day. A long drive to be sure.
I had a job lined up for the week after our vacation ended and I knew that I would enjoy the month off. I sat around the house and tried to relax and heal. The healing came however, the relaxing not so much. All these years of working so many hours has conditioned me to keep busy at all times. To be honest though, I didn’t feel motivated to do anything.
I have a book that is in The typing stage and I haven’t worked on it since before I left for Austin. I brought it with every intention of working on it, but the pain was so severe that all I could do when I got back from work was crawl into bed. I literally could not get in and out of the truck.
I have been working on the second book of the Into The Light series and I didn’t work on that either. Quarter three of 2021 saw little progress on my goals for writing and I feel no guilt over it. I tried to put everything out of my mind and concentrate on relaxation. It worked at least a little for the two weeks I spent at home.
Next came the adventure along the coast. we spent some time planning the route in order to travel the maximum amount of miles along the coast line. We decided that six hours a day would be a good amount of driving each day and booked hotels that were a six hour drive apart. This seemed to work out well for us in that we had ample time to stop anywhere along the route and spend time together in some of the most beautiful and scenic landscape this country has to offer.
We brought food with us and stopped along the way at random locations. We set up the table and chairs and enjoyed romantic lunches on the beach. This turned out to be some of the best alone time Nadine and I have ever spent.
We arrived in Seattle and checked into our room, waiting for the kids to show up. We stayed in the fully furnished basement at an Airbnb. After a full three weeks off work, one of those spent driving, it felt like the vacation was over, but it had just begun.
Our daughters Liz and Evelyn are familiar with Washington and they had made tentative plans for the week. We loosely followed them and they took us to several different sights throughout the Seattle area. The time spent with my family, to me, is more important that where we went or what we did and I committed to not take pictures but rather take in the moments through my own eyes. I did take a few shots that I thought were important and I took pictures of Thomas on the rides at the state fair so I could send them to him.
The theme of the vacation, for me, was spending time focusing on my family and enjoying the time with them. Looking back on the two weeks, the moments lasted forever and the time passed in a flash. Every minute of the vacation had a purpose and my intention was to enjoy every one of them. Sure, there were challenges along the way. I’ve chosen not to mention them because it would only seem like focusing on the negative. But those moments had their purpose also. They brought us closer together and showed us how we rely on each other for even the smallest things.