Traffic in Oregon

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There are a lot of things wrong in Oregon. The direction of the state, politically speaking, is headed entirely in the wrong direction and the policies of the state are on full view as you drive through the state. However, that isn’t the point of this post.

I am not sure what the hell is wrong with drivers down there, but they (as a whole; generalization, I know) are terrible.

My recent trip through the state left me with a bad impression. It seems many of the drivers down there have little road knowledge or just have decided they are going to have no roadway courtesy at all. I couldn’t drive quickly enough to get through the state after all the frustration.

First case in point, left lane vs. right lane.

I-5 through most of the state is two lanes wide. Sure, it widens to some degree in major cities and through mountain passes, as needed, but for the most part there are more miles of two lanes than three. This is a problem for drivers who are going through the state.

It seems in Oregon a vast majority of the drivers (I can see license plates so I know what state they are from) like to camp in the left lane instead of being courteous and moving back to the right lane after overtaking a vehicle. They just perpetually are left lane drivers.

Now, for the road illiterate…on a two lane highway, the right lane is for slower vehicles (in general) and “local” travel. The left lane is the “fast” lane and for through (or distance) travel. However, courtesy says that on a two lane highway traffic should keep right except for passing (in some cases, like WA, it is state law). Regardless of your speed, even if you are “fast,” you should still move to the right (if space allows, think minimum 100 yards) until you overtake the next vehicle.

Anyway, Oregon drivers apparently don’t know these rules or they have total disregard for them. I can’t tell you the number of times I had to step on the brake to come out of cruise control to slow down behind a long line of vehicles in the left lane. In some cases, it was actually faster and a greater distance of free travel in the right lane because of these idiots!

I’ll tell you…you learn things on road trips (or maybe are reminded) and I learned again and was reinforced that I dislike people, and Oregon.

**disclaimer: I do really like the natural beauty in Oregon, but that is about it.**

Must endure

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The next three days will be a slog…gotta admit. Why? Well, there is a vacation on the horizon and not checking into work for the better part of nearly two weeks has got me excited.

Thus, I must endure the next several days.

This will be the first real vacation for me in quite some time. The last week of February this year, in fact. There have been days off here and there in between, but this will be the first extended time since then.

Anyway, just thought I would put out there that I am feeling a little “short-timer’s disease” and looking forward to some time off.

Anyone else taking time off during the holidays?

**Interesting note: when you type in “vacation” for the free pictures in Pexel, nearly all the pictures come up as tropical, sunny, and sandy…I must be doing my vacations wrong…**

Commute bonus

An early morning, first day of Fall, sunrise. #nofilter

There are very few things good about getting up early. There are very few things good about having to commute to work. There are just very few good things that can even be mentioned when you combine those two things together.

However, this morning I was witness to one of the best sunrises I have seen in a long while. It was quite breathtaking. I wish I could have stopped right there on the highway and gotten a better picture.

So, I guess you can call it a commute bonus. I wasn’t looking for it. I wasn’t asking for it. I really didn’t even want it. But, I am glad I got to see it.

Buffer

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I made a mistake. I think (at least I think I think) I knew better, but I ignored my better instincts that told me I should do something that I did not.

I should have left a buffer day between returning from vacation and going back to work.

This getting home late and then getting up early for work stuff is terrible.

Of course, now I am on the second day back at work but I can now see that yesterday was a terrible day. There was just too much to do on the personal side of things to get caught up on time to work on the work side of things too. That cause stress…probably self-imposed stress, but stress nonetheless.

I think it is smart to include that buffer day. A day to catch up on home stuff, ease back into the regular schedule, and mentally prepare for what is to come once back at work. I didn’t do the buffer day because I was trying to be frugal with the vacation days. Not that I have to be, that’s just the way I am.

Anyway, regular schedule is back in full swing and I am not fully adjusted. But, it is what it is.

Retirement looks better and better, 20 years from now…

The road seems so long.

Travel day

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The trip home will begin shortly and I don’t like using the app the write. So, I’ll update you on how the return home goes tomorrow.

I already know there will be a less comfortable trip based on an email I got a couple days ago…so there’s that to look forward to.

Catch ya tomorrow!

The worst bed

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I’ve done it folks! I think I have discovered the worst bed in Arizona.

This trip to Arizona hasn’t exactly been a relaxing one. As you may have read in a recent post, dividing time between two parts of your family who haven’t seen you (in person) for at least a year is a challenge to say the least. On top of that, they both want you to stay with them so they get a little time with you while the other part of the family isn’t around.

We started out at my sister-in-law’s house. Big, spacious, and pretty much a space that was just for us in the downstairs portion of the house. All the amenities and most importantly, a bed that was comfortable. Sure, it wasn’t home, but it was at least as good as a hotel.

Now, we are at my in-laws and they have a hide-a-bed to sleep on. This is the first time I have been to their place since they moved down here so I didn’t know what was in store for me. When I walked into the room and saw it folded out I knew I was in trouble. I could already see from the mattress that there was a curve in it and “the middle” would become a dreaded sleeping space. There isn’t the usual bar to sleep on, so there is that. But, the bed is too soft and the pillows too flat. It is killing my back and my neck. The neck issues I am having are now only amplified, which means ibuprofen every day and an unplanned trip to the chiropractor when I get home.

Sleep has been tough to come by.

So, if ever in AZ, don’t stay at my in-laws. You have been duly warned.

Tug-o-war

The tug-o-war is a struggle while on vacation. You are being pulled this way and that. You are torn between two sets of family who both have missed you, who have looked forward with anticipation to your arrival, and ultimately have planned out every waking moment of your visit.

Here in Arizona, there are two sets of relatives to visit – the inlaws and the sister-n-law’s family. When you only have a week during your vacation, your time has to be split between both and that is the challenge. How do you keep both happy and feel like you have spent enough time with both? In the end, someone is likely going to feel like they got the short end of the stick.

So, this vacation isn’t shaping up to be all that relaxing. It will be go go go the whole time and if it isn’t one it will be the other.

Yesterday’s adventure left out one family but it did have provide for a unique experience as there was a visit to a national park where wild horses roam free. There was a good chance the horses wouldn’t be spotted since they go where they please and one would never know where to find them unless you were in a helicopter looking for them.

Anyway, as it happens, we got very lucky and they were literally less than a hundred yards from us since they had come down to water at the river. A magnificent site they are! Kind of felt like the Old West for a moment. Just sitting there on the bank of the river, watching and listening as they did their thing. I am sure the horses probably feel the tug-o-war war between modern society and the quiet solitude of the wild, something they really have no control over.

Well, despite the push and pull of family obligations, this was a gratifying experience and I am thankful that I was lucky enough to catch this site on the very first visit.

“Walmart” of the sky

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It’s been a month since the last vacation. In the scheme of things that isn’t a whole lot of time, but I gotta say that taking a vacation once a month is kind of feeling nice. I wish it could happen again next month.

Anyway, I have flown two different airlines in roughly the last five weeks and it is interesting to see how they have handled (or are handling) the pandemic a year from it’s start. Yesterday’s trip was less fabulous than the first trip. Now, I have flown other airlines, but there are two that I fly that I have liked in the past and those are the two I tend to check first when looking for flights, Alaska and Southwest.

About a month ago, I was on Alaska. The plane are newer, and feel more spacious, even if they may not actually be. The crews were friendly but not overly friendly. The planes felt clean, given the current situation, and the flights were directly to the destination (going and returning). The service inside the cabin was good. Alaska served nearly their full complimentary menu, so a light snack and beverage of choice was available.

Yesterday, I flew on Southwest Airlines. Southwest took a direct flight to Phoenix and routed it through Denver. This notification came just four days after purchasing the tickets. So, a roughly three hour flight turned into an all day affair. I wasn’t real pleased about it, but what can you do once you have already purchased the tickets? The first leg of yesterday’s trip wasn’t too crowded. But the crew wasn’t very friendly and the plane didn’t feel all that clean. It probably was, but it likely also has something to do with the fact that Southwest’s fleet is aging. Also a surprise, the in-flight service. The voice over the intercom announced they would be service iced water and a snack.

That’s it. Essentially, you are getting “bread and water” for flying with us. They, of course, told us this was because of the “current situation in the world.”

The water was a plastic cup with ice and water in it. It wasn’t even bottled water! Wow! So, apparently it is safer to serve an open cup of water in the era of airborne viruses. Go figure!

I asked a buddy who works for Southwest about it, as I was a little taken aback for the lack of services considering the experience just a month prior on a different airline. His response, “Anything to save a buck. We’re basically the Walmart of the sky, so you can’t expect much.”

I guess that is probably about right. It was a cheap flight. The second flight was much more crowded, the “empty middle seat” for social distancing was not a thing on this flight, and the plane didn’t feel any cleaner than the first one.

All in all, it was just a flight to a destination but I have come to expect a little more than what we got yesterday, even for a discount airline.

Am I spoiled or have they set us up to expect more? I am not sure.

Worst ever

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There are a lot of lists out there for lots of different things: best, worst, most visited, most traveled, highly valued, etc etc etc. I am not going to jump into that trend because quite frankly the news media outlets do that crap just to generate clicks. I am not much of a bandwagoner so I will avoid that trend.

But, I am going to give a “worst ever” item. The list is only one item, so it won’t take long to read.

So, here we go…the three worst words to see or hear:

“Vacation is over.”

I was standing in the shower and I realized that I don’t like hearing or seeing those words in that order!

I have about 24 hours left of vacation and it has been a very relaxing and restful time away. I don’t want it to end. I just want it to keep on going.

Today’s post will be short and I am going to get off of here and go soak up as much of this vacation as I have left.

See ya next week.

Surprising

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There are some fruits that I can’t stand. Many of them I developed an aversion to when I was younger and have avoided them ever since. It’s probably because of texture or because of flavor, but I decided way back when that I didn’t like them and have maintained that stance since then.

Yesterday, I was surprised. I had a grapefruit I actually liked. Normally the fruit is kinda nasty to me, so the fact that I even tried it was surprising.

Interestingly, I liked it enough to try it again today and I still liked it.

Now, this is probably an anomaly since they are so sweet. I don’t know exactly the variety, but they look like a traditional pink grapefruit. I have no idea why it is so sweet, but the grapefruit I pulled off the tree in my parents’ yard in Palm Springs is just downright tasty. I have now decided that I would eat at least a half of grapefruit every morning while I am here. It is almost like candy…except supposedly better for me.

I doubt this will change my outlook on them when I return home though. I will probably avoid them like before.

But for a short time, I am going to enjoy the surprising treat.