It’s Happening!

The Adventure Starts

Now the rest of the events will unfold, sort of like the domino that falls and starts the whole line up toppling, one after the other.

Suitcase (and daughter) finally made it.

I consider the adventure to have started yesterday when I left for the Minneapolis airport to fetch youngest daughter to us. It was a successful trip with the usual number of unexpected turns. Her route from Seattle was through Dallas (everyone’s intuitive path…) so the storms there delayed the flight 90 minutes. Then her luggage got put on another plane and we waited another hour for that to arrive. But she made it! We were home by 11 pm.

We have Mother’s Day to celebrate with a family brunch after church today. I have packing to finish and hopefully a relaxing walk somewhere – it is warm and sunny and spring is springing. This evening I will drive back to Minneapolis and hopefully get some sleep before my early flight out to Flagstaff. It seems quite unreal that one week from this moment I will be back here, sitting in this chair probably, having gone through it all.  One week of unknown adventure and unique Grand Canyon views (and possibly physical torture…). It will be over. How does time do that to us?

Why?

Why?

Do you ever wonder why you are drawn to adventure? Even if you only like to read about adventure, discovery, exciting lives and times, have you stopped to think about why those stories are appealing? Why do we have bucket lists? Why do we purposely choose some challenges and count them worth the pain they may cause? Why do I want to sleep on the ground for five nights, hike 20 miles up and down a distance greater than four Empire State Buildings, in uncertain weather with only what I can stuff into one duffel bag, and do all this with 7 strangers who might snore even worse than I do? Why?

My thinking – it’s because we are made in the image of an adventurous God. Big plans, big ideas, a view of existence so broad and all encompassing that we can’t begin to understand it, all that starts with him. It’s mystery and we are made to be curious and to seek it out.

The Grand Canyon is a project on a scale bigger than we can imagine, yet the processes that formed it were designed and patiently overseen.  Colin Fletcher in “The Man Who Walked Through Time” was trying to wrap his mind around the length of time represented by the Grand Canyon – millions of years.  He had this to say, and I quite agree.

 “Most of us, when we first think deeply about such time spans, tend to draw back in fear from their brink, just as we tend at first to draw back in fear from the brink of anything so immense as Grand Canyon. But it is worth remembering, I think, that some element of fear probably lies at the root of every substantial challenge. And it makes no difference at all whether the challenge is to your mind or to your body, or whether – with richer promise than either, alone – it embraces both.”

The Man Who Walked Through Time, p. 4 by Colin Fletcher

That fear thing! I will admit to being drawn to things that are capable of frightening me.  Isn’t that the essence of challenge? I am habitually choosing challenges, small, large, and in between, because I want to know if I can prepare well enough, mentally and physically.  The prospect of seeing and experiencing wonderful things that I would otherwise miss pulls me into adventure.

My adventure is somewhat ridiculous when compared to Colin Fletcher’s goal of walking the Grand Canyon from one end of the park to the other, but another quote from him resonated strongly with me.

 “I looked east and west, as far as my eyes could strain, until cliff and terrace tapered way into hazy distances. It was mysterious and terrible – and beckoning. And some time during the afternoon, as I sat on the rink of this strange new world, it came to me that if a route existed, I would walk from one end of the Canyon to the other. Once the idea had crystallized, no hideously sensible doubts reared up to plague me.  And I did not need such fragile props as “reasons”. The only question I asked myself was whether the project would turn out to e physically possible. Perhaps it is in this kind of simple certainty that most of the world’s ridiculous and wonderful dreams are born.”

The Man Who Walked Through Time, p. 6 by Colin Fletcher

Hmm… I know what he means by “hideously sensible doubts” and from time to time they may plague me.  But sometimes, like with this Grand Canyon thing,  a challenge just comes to me, from out of nowhere, and if it’s physically possible to do it, I don’t need reasons. Just sayin’…

Mission Possible (Done!)

One day earlier, I had gotten a call from my brother, small business owner of an award company. A shipment had gotten lost and an important account needed to be saved. By making an emergency trip and driving the found shipment to its destination on a tight schedule, I had myself a fun adventure. 

On Thursday last week, I took the two hour drive to the economy parking lot of Orlando International Airport. Memorizing my spot under a tree, I took the shuttle to the departure area and found my Frontier flight.

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No frills flight – so inexpensive.

It was only two hours but I got some reading done on the way. We arrived in Memphis earlier than scheduled, around 3 pm, and I walked (fast) to the Alamo car rental desk.  In no time at all I was choosing my mini-van, a Dodge Grand Caravan and putting the address of the shipping company into my phone navigation app.  It’s a little disconcerting when you get no service when in the parking garage. I had to drive out, not knowing where I was going, and find a street to park on while my directions loaded and I got my bearings.

The van was pretty sweet – leather seats and all the latest gadgets. I love driving and especially love a comfortable car, without a lot of road noise. My payload of 1200 pounds was going to make it a little heavy in the back but it would be driveable.

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My new dispatcher friends

The shipping company was only a few miles away, in a very secure, fenced yard with a guard. He directed me in, after I gave him my “story”, and told me to go to the dispatch office.  I was famous before I even arrived. They all knew about the “Orlando shipment” and told me some workers would be out with the pallet of goods immediately, and would even load it for me.

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One box in the passenger seat – the other 18 in back.

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Crystal and marble are heavy

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Everyone was so helpful!

It was only 4:30 and I was loaded and on the way out of Memphis. Fortunately, the airport was on the outskirts of the city and I had very little rush hour traffic to contend with. I drove for several hours after dark, meaning to get to Birmingham before stopping for some food. I really hadn’t had time to be hungry since breakfast. My brother checked on me by phone, my husband checked on me too, and I had a long conversation with a friend. All that, plus running my GPS, was getting me pretty low on phone battery.

Birmingham was the closest thing to a problem that I had the whole trip. It was foggy. I stopped to figure out the navigation program on the van but I didn’t like the way it looked so I kept the phone on too.  For a while I had two different devices telling me directions. which would have been great if they had been on the same route. I also got another phone call and missed an exit I was supposed to take. The good thing was I got some dinner. All this to say that Birmingham is a little confusing and I got on a different road than intended. Since it was an alternate route I decided to take it rather than back track. The new road was going south and that was the right direction.

My travel philosophy is connected to the faith I have in God to handle details – like maybe the route I take? Heading south on I-65 to Montgomery was a lot different than heading east on I-20 to Atlanta but I figured it must be the best route for reasons I didn’t know. Turns out I got to Montgomery at the right time for getting some sleep and was able to find a motel easily. I had six hours to rest up and get ready for the next day.

I was on the road by 6:30 am and although it was still foggy for quite awhile it was the most beautiful drive south I’ve seen in a long time. It was the right route for me. I was across the Alabama/Florida line by 10. The time zone change made it 11 am. I heard from the customer in Orlando and he was really hoping for an earlier ETA than I had told him. I wanted to do a good job. I wanted to hurry, but you can only go so fast and that’s how fast I went.

I-10, I-75, Florida Turnpike. All I can say is that there are too many toll stops on the Turnpike. I used all my cash and there were still more. Sometimes they don’t even tell you how much to pay, there’s no person at the booth, and the only choices are pre-paid tolls (nope, not in a rental car) or exact coins (nope, I’m out). I threw my last 30 cents in one of them and drove through anyway. Ha ha.

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A thumbs up from Diego!

The customer was on the phone with me as I neared Orlando, and was actually waiting on the sidewalk to direct me to the loading dock where my cargo was going. It was in the thick of the city and there was a lot of construction. Orlando is a big city, but being at the end of my trip, I didn’t care how it strange and busy it was. I was relieved to be there and get the apples unloaded. The only person more relieved than me was the customer. Diego was a nice young man and I guess he had a lot of work to do getting all those awards ready for the presentation. He said he was going to start putting the labels on them right away so I left and let him get to work.

I drove to the airport, turned in the rental van, found the shuttle to economy parking and my car, under the tree where I left it.  A few hours, and a couple of rush hour traffic jams leaving the city, and I was home. The “crazy train”, Apple Award rescue mission was over and it was a success.

So, what’s next?

Rescue Adventure!!

20171129_185300.jpgI love adventure! And is there any adventure more exciting than getting to rescue someone or something, with deadlines, secret contacts, airports and in great haste? I can hardly believe I get to do this!!

Okay, the contacts aren’t really secret and I’m not rescuing a person, and I’m doing it in a mini van, but everything else is true and I’m doing it tomorrow and Friday!  I’m on a mission to deliver a shipment to its destination in Orlando. It was lost over three weeks now, including the long Thanksgiving weekend, and due to the delay the shipper cannot get it to Orlando by the Friday deadline.  Panic time for the customer! Fortunately, my brother’s company, Apple Awards, is great on customer service. He was on the phone most of the afternoon arranging alternate delivery by me, Apple Awards business blogger and emergency delivery driver.

I’m putting the “crazy train” details (my brother’s name for the operation, although no train is involved) down here so the husband has something to help him keep it all straight. It’s a little complicated but makes sense when you study it.

Step 1. Drive to airport in Orlando FL and take a flight to Memphis TN (about 6 hours)

Step 2. Pick up rented mini-van and drive to freight warehouse (eh, hopefully 1 hour)

Step 3. Load precious cargo and drive to Orlando to deliver (let’s say 13 hours minimum, and I can add sleep time if I need to)

Step 4. Turn in mini-van at airport in Orlando and drive home. (3 hours at most)

See, it’s only 4 steps and really quite simple. I think it’s the fact that it was all conceived and arranged in a couple of hours that makes it remarkable. Tomorrow I am on my way, and for once all I need is a backpack, because it will all be over in less than two days.

It’s an ideal mission for me since I love to drive, and I actually do like mini-vans for the most part. Stay tuned for my “mission debriefing” post, and if you are one of my praying readers, I’m asking for friendly skies and clear roads please.

Looking for Adventure

I have this fear, and I’m  sure we all do – that we are going to run out of adventures and slip ignominiously into the boredom abyss. To stave off this looming possibility I decided to sign up as an Uber driver.

I signed up a few weeks ago actually, almost by accident because it was so easy. I wondered if I could and before I knew it, I had. Not that they don’t vet their drivers, because they do.  But it takes a matter of minutes instead of the days that usually pass when you want to be cleared for something.

I took my first rider the next day, just to see what it was like before I left to visit my daughter. I took a nice tourist 10 miles south to visit a friend of his. It was the briefest of exposure to the Uber app but enough to make me think “I can do this. I can.”

Now, more than three weeks have passed, my Mom has gone back to the north woods, and Uber has started sending me messages asking why I’m not driving and hinting about my partner account being at risk (AAAAGGGHHH!!!) They call it an inactivity alert. Of course we wouldn’t want that to happen, so I went driving yesterday. All day. I’ll show them.

It’s slightly addictive. It’s like the feeling I get when I’ve just published a post and am waiting for reactions. The phone starts ringing and flashing. I get such an adrenaline rush. I have to accept that invite. I have to see who wants a ride. I have to get out there and sit in long lines of slow moving traffic.

No, wait…

I thought I was used to the long red lights at intersections. Here in Florida, probably no where else, the traffic is horrible, horrible, horrible in the winter. The weather is nice and that’s why so many people are here, in their cars. But now, the red lights seem much longer, like maybe half an hour when I am trying to get quickly to a passenger. And maybe even longer than that in cases like tonight when five teen-age boys were giggling and snorting over something on their ride to Shake ‘n Steak, in my car.

I won’t get rich driving for Uber (more about that later) but I’m already finding it adventurous. Can’t wait to write about the experience as it progresses… just sayin’.

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Evidently there are other desperate adventurers in the area…