Sunday, May 01, 2016

Day 36: Eugene, Oregon to Ukiah, California via fires.

So my wife went to Chicago and I barely got home.  There are fires everywhere.

My wife’s family has decided to donate a quilt to the Springfield, Illinois historical society and that meant a trip to Chicago for her.  The plan would be that I would drop her off in Williams, California and then do my usual cut across Highway 20 to Ukiah, if I could make it.  Apparently a massive wildfire had started south of Clearlake Oaks had was spreading east along the southern boundry of Lake County.  I had to hustle.

Oregon was apparently on fire too as the smoke near Roseberg and Canyonville was so bad that we had to slow down on I-5 because of awful visability.  It felt sort of weird to be coming home to such nastiness and chaos after such a wonderful trip.  We made the early lunch stop with my grandmother in Ashland and promptly sprinted over Siskiyou Pass for the long decent into the Sacramento Valley. 

I stopped in Williams and looked over the hills to the west and noticed, yep, there was a lot of smoke.  I kissed my lovely bride good-bye and headed for the final stretch home.  By the time I got into the hills it was evident that the situation was not good.  Fire personnel were everywhere and there were plenty of opportunties to pull over and watch the flames licking the hillsides south of Highway 20 as I neared the Cache Creek area.  By the time I reached famous elk ponds area the scene looked like some dystopian nightmare of people packing belongs and fire trucks racing down the highway.  Things ended up fine once I dropped down into Clearlake Oaks and the rest of the trip home was uneventful. 

Highway 20 closed about 90 minutes later.

I arrived home and began the long process of unpacking. 

Trip over. 

Counting both trips in June and July we travelled over 8,000 miles. 

And some of us had realizations while travelling.

My wife is considering life outside of teaching and doing administrative work at my school.  We spent a considerable part of the last few days rolling around the idea of my wife not teaching and the fact that we would be working on the same campus.  The emotions were part saddness and part excitement.  She’ll miss teaching and loves her town but the situation has become very difficult (and not on the kids end) and this is a potential opportunity for future progress.  There are still a lot of balls in the air but a transition is a real possibility. 

Speaking of transition, I’m 90% sure that this will be my last year of coaching.  Five years ago it was in my head, three years ago it was reality, and now I’m realizing that I’m not the same person I’ve been for the last twenty plus years.  In so many ways high school basketball has brought fulfillment and joy in my life.  Now high school basketball is holding me back from bringing greater joy and fulfillment in my life.  So it’s probably time to change that.

And plan more trips for later.