Starting a road trip with an enormously fun and significant familial event—nephew Paul and Kaitlyn’s wedding, after ten years of togetherness—is now my favorite way to ensure a top quality experience no matter what.
I completed a very personal, mas macho drive of 15 hours and 790 miles late Monday evening, through constant on-off rain, some extra heavy downpours with accidents in West Virginia- including three semis- and a car at end of the bridge at Lake Norman as I got back to Charlotte. Never a bad idea to give thanks about safe traveling, wedding was an event that kicked trip off superbly though.
Around here (NC) they count a lot of things as being ‘blessed’. 1,870 safe miles as ‘lucky’, that’s never a bad thing either.
Taking I-81 north through PA to I-88 and coming up the back route to Schenectady, NY, made early driving cross-country on North Carolina-Virginia roads a relative pleasure– 88 rode like a square wheel for most of 120 miles. On that long return trek, I confess to a bit of pucker factor– from the turn to Charlotte at Ft. Chiswell alllll the rest of 135 miles back– through mountain downhills behind windshield-obscuring spray off trucks, faster than I really wanted to roll. I cheered a lone biker’s pulling off and (hopefully) finding a hotel for shelter, and fact brother Dave and I put new brakes on front of Bullitt2 just three weeks ago got an Amen as well.
After chopping a local course into small, small pieces for 9 holes that first Tuesday, (whacking) a bucket Friday confirmed I was getting proper training for what should become a primary factor in my Next Gig. Having to improve your long game as part of any career requirement is far from onerous.
As a road trip, I was quite precise on hitting time and place goals based on dead reckoning and experience, even working my way through ‘The Lotta Trucks State’, Pennsylvania. Being shotgun on 3-day pilgrimages to Florida meant something tangible growing up, specifically reading (and refolding) maps for Dad, and competence on knowing where I am makes all travel less hellish for me.
As an exceptional opportunity to relax from all responsibilities– especially primary care and companion for an 84-year old mother still in independent care– upstate New York with bro and family was exactly what the doctor ordered. That well-struck medium bucket of balls before a rainy Friday afternoon (of two days) at Saratoga racetrack just punctuated the schwang! appeal of all things Good About Vacation happening so close to plan. With plenty of thinking time both ways, this last ten days was a pivot point, and while having to improve my game as part of a second career requirement isn’t a tough situation, that’s part of a new One Thing on my mind.
The decision to attend Panthers training camp in Spartanburg, SC on Sunday afternoon instead of a planned attendance this very soggy Thursday morning isn’t The One Thing, nor does it signal anything about a fan-factor lacking. I’ll miss the big Fan Night in stadium Friday night too, but I’m really looking forward to watching a real practice. Like Elijah Hood, local Charlotte guy now in Panthers training camp said, I’ve never taken the opportunity all these years, and I arrived in 1995, same as the Panthers. If seeing DJ Moore go high for a bullet from Cam and then run away from a safety happens on a sunnier Sunday, so be it.
Run CMC (McCaffrey) should be on display about any time he’s in and you watch a handful of plays during this sorting of other talent in Spartanburg. Starting out, any estimates about his potential reception numbers in 2018 are considerable– 100 seems safe, or at least not that outrageous. I want to see that guy up close.
The Reality of primary care returned early Tuesday morning, waiting for a Spectrum tech to fix Mom’s cable (yay! for job handled well), shopping, and getting her meds machine refilled and back on right routine. Its not a grind after vacation, still what has to happen so someone else’s life rolls well, too. In a most positive fashion, that weekend of wedding and allll that came with it family-wise– that entertaining and Goodness we shared– that’s important to what makes Life, and of course VACATION, a great time to relax and be satisfied to the max. The very best to the newlyweds a-course.
Conversely, not so much relaxing for all those football players wanting jobs in Spartanburg, and fans will want to see the offense Friday night. Sunday will still be a good day to pursue a sportswriter and fan’s basic question: How do things look right now?
From behind new sunglasses acquired for Saratoga track wear, I gotta tell you, that view is flat out Cool. Bring on the Next.