Traveling with My Engineer

Travel. Bob and I are known for traveling a lot. Sometimes family or friends have traveled with us. That has resulted in a reputation that leaves some scared to do so. We are what you would say… aggressive. We make a plan that is so detailed that we have to write in time for rest. Seriously. This is what happens when you are married to an engineer, or at least it’s what happens with my engineer. We figure that there will likely be time for trips that are heavy on relaxing in our future (God willing). So, for now, let’s see how much we can cram into a vacation.

This last trip began because Bob became concerned about my state of mind. Excessive sighing, staring at the wall (of pictures), wandering through the toy aisle at Target. These were tell-tale signs that I was missing my grandkids and kids. I had not seen the Michigan group since Christmas. So, before I was reduced to weeping and gnashing of teeth, Bob scheduled time off from work and the plan began.

We had been home from Utah (where we walked 100 miles in two weeks and logged in 45 minutes of rest time) for two months, so we were rested up.

This trip would be heavy in driving. Very heavy. We were gone 10 days. It was a lot of car time – 44 hours, to be exact. In those 44 hours, we drove 2,648 miles. This does not include any excursions we made while at our destinations. We started in Orlando, drove to North Carolina, then to Michigan, and back home via NC again.

It was wonderful to be with the family. As an added bonus, while in North Carolina, I toured The Biltmore with Dena and our son, Scott, and his wife. They live in Orlando, but sometimes it’s just easier to see each other in North Carolina.

After returning home, we had a golf weekend with our other Orlando area son and his family. To be clear, the golf involved Bob, Jesse, and his two sons. My daughter-in-law and I were happy to cheer them on from air-conditioning.

It was a whirlwind grandchildren tour, for sure. But I’d do it again in a second just for the hugs.

Bob and our youngest grandson

I did learn something about Bob during our trip. This is significant because we’ve been married for 43 years. It all started with the Oregon Trail.

Ironically, while driving down the road at 70 mph, we listened to The Oregon Trail, A New American Journey, by Rinker Buck. This is the tale of two brothers who made that journey via mule-driven wagon a few years ago. A good day of travel for them was logging in 35 miles. We did that in half an hour, and I never had to navigate along the edge of a cliff, though we came close to that in West Virginia.

Anyway, this is not an endorsement of the book. We listened to all 17 hours of it – 17 hours intermingled with horrible language and occasional rants against things like vets driving RVs, moms in minivans, and the police. To be clear, the rants were not from Bob or me, they were from Rinker Buck. For an adventurer, he’s pretty cynical.

Also, Rinker makes as many side trips in his story as there are jaunts off the Oregon Trail, including but not limited to, the history of mules in America, his struggles with his father (a recurring discussion), the history of covered wagons, the Mormon crossing, and religion.

You may wonder what would make us keep listening. It was fascination with the Oregon Trail itself and the westward movement (plus we were in the car for 44 hours and when purchasing this, I did not consider that there may be reasons why I would not want to listen). For a while I held the delusion that the course language would taper off – it did not. By that time, though, I wanted to see if they’d make it.

This was reminiscent of the time that Bob bought a DVD of Adele in concert. We were looking forward to a lovely concert at home and didn’t realize that apparently Adele had been raised by sailors. It took a while to decipher what she was saying through her Cockney accent. We’d look at each other – did she say what I think she said? Yes, she did – over and over again. It got to be pretty funny considering we were looking for a romantic night at home, but, I digress.

Here is what I learned about Bob – almost. First, you should know that Bob loves to drive. Bob also loves to navigate. Bob is not opposed to doing these two things simultaneously. He’s very good at multi-tasking. This type of multi-tasking makes me very uncomfortable. I love driving down the road and not having the thought that we are going to careen off the side of that road into a ditch or oncoming traffic. To be fair, that has never happened. Yet, I get nervous.

I know that when Bob is reading a map while driving he is only thinking of me. He is thinking of how useless I am with a map. He understands on some level that reading a map makes me nauseous, but it still kind of perplexes him. He gets a reminder when he asks me to pull up a map on my phone and I throw up out the window.

This trip, though, Bob loved it when I was driving. He’d be content for hours. He never complains about my driving, he just prefers to drive. I choose to believe him, and why wouldn’t I. To quote Rain Man, “I am an excellent driver.”

I think on this trip, listening to Rinker Buck made all the difference. Bob would read a different book at the same time we were listening to the Oregon Trail. This is multi-tasking to the nth degree. At least I thought it was until I caught on that Bob would retreat to his reading during the many rabbit trails. He didn’t care about Rinker’s struggles with his father, so he would read until I verbally reacted to something I had heard and then we’d have to pause it and catch him up.

So that’s what I learned. Bob can read two books at the same time (the very same time). I should have known this was possible. He does the same thing with TV watching and reading. What I really learned is, Bob doesn’t sweat the details. He is content with knowing the highlights of the story. I read every word. He reads the flow. We’re both happy with our way of doing things. He’d say both methods are good. Of course, he’d be wrong, but that’s okay. He needs to be wrong once in a while!

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2 Comments

  1. Jesse Anderson

     /  August 25, 2018

    this was a good one mom. >

    Reply

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