Tag Archives: Pacific Beach

The Great Western Trip of 2011-2012

This is B. Hi B. B loves Bacon.

So, I’m done traveling for awhile. At least the big stuff. And what a trip it’s been!

I left Warner Robins, GA, in the summer of last year for Dobbins Air Reserve Base, GA, to support the 22nd Air Force Senior Leaders Conference 2011. A month later, I went to the 908th Airlift Wing to support compliance inspection preparation. After that, I returned to the 22nd for two weeks before heading to Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Center to support an Operational Readiness Exercise.

After a set of orders in San Antonio fell through with our congress’ inability to actually put together a coherent budget, I headed on to my home unit at the 460th Space Wing to perform half of my annual requirements.

I stopped over in at Carswell AFB, TX for the night and headed north to Denver. As my time there began to draw to a close, I decided to head west, despite having no job.

I was thinking about trying to be something new, look for a civilian position, start a civilian career. Well, it didn’t pan. I applied to lots of companies for internal communication and any with a possible lean into change management and the only call I got was for a radio internship, which I was entirely unprepared to win the internship.

Santa Cruz, CA

I suppose because while I might enjoy being a radio talk-show host, I’m not much into radio production. I recognize I might need to do the hard work to get to such a job, but I’m just not ready to get into that right now.

Maybe one day.

Well, I came to believe that one reason I got no callbacks was that on my resume it said my degree was “Projected Spring 2012.” Of course, it’s entirely possible I’m just undesired as an employee in the civilian world, and it’s not like the market is good right now. In any event, I went unemployed for three plus months.

I headed north from Denver to Cheyenne to visit some old friend of mine and spent the weekend, met their kids, enjoyed some quiet. Then I headed west and broke down 2.5 hours later.

My dear Stacy the 1997 Jeep Wrangler had broke down again, and as far as I was concerned, I was done. I’d recently begun collecting and organizing my receipts of all the repairs and realized I’d spent far too much money on the young lady. I decided to let her go, and so I traded her in for a 2004 Chrysler Pacifica. She was the best of three options. One was a tiny Saturn, the other was a 8-cylinder Durango, and while I’d love the space and power, it would be a gasaholic. It would have been far too expensive.

Goodbye Stacy. I loved you once. (Twice, actually)

So I got a new vehicle in Rawlins, WY. It’s a 6-cylinder automatic and it was much nicer to drive, especially considering the back from my jeep wouldn’t close and it was rather cold. So I drove the Pacifica across Utah into Nevada before breaking down again. Yay new vehicle! Granted, I purchased it as a trade-in before they even had a chance to work on it. So I knew what I was getting. And I got a ticket there, too.

So after breaking down I was towed to Fallon, NV, and ended up staying two nights. I was blessed that they fit me in quickly, since apparently repair is big business in Fallon, NV. I did some homework and did a little noveling.

So upon its repair, I hit the road and drove through the ever-gorgeous Tahoe National Forest. I passed through Sacramento and stopped in Vacaville, CA just outside of Travis AFB. I stayed a night in town and was relaxing at the on-base Starbucks when I ran into an old co-worker. I was able to crash with him for a week before driving down to Monterey to spend Thanksgiving week with my good friends Brian and Lynn. I met some of their very cool friends and got to go running at the Defense Language Institute.

Hilltop Track, Monterey, CA

I tell you what, there is little to compare to running on the hilltop track on a beautiful day with the clouds rolling over the hill. It’s stunning, the weather was gorgeous, the Pacific was beautiful … Man, I get shivers right now.

After Thanksgiving, I drove back to Vacaville and then flew out to Warner Robins to grab some stuff. I flew back and spent two weeks with my friend before moving on. I drove back to Monterey and spent six great weeks with my friends and saw some sights I loved. Oh, and I finished my last novel, “Tinker Belle,” book three of seven from my current series “The Legend of the Pan.”

I left them after awhile and headed south to San Diego. I stayed with Ben, one of my best friends, in Pacific Beach. It was an incredible month. Not much happened, but the weather was great, ran on the beach, biked everywhere, enjoyed some coffee. It was really nice. Met some interesting people, went back to church. All that.

So then, I applied for a job in Riverside, but I felt drawn back east. So I let it go and arranged to do my annual tour in Denver while getting requests from other units, and so I began planning work. So after a great month, I headed east again. I stopped over in Gallup, then up to Denver. I finished my requirements through two weeks of work and then headed south to Lubbock and to San Antonio.

Me and Mel, 1997

Leaky, TX, is gorgeous, btw. Most of Texas? Yeah, no. But Leaky and Concan are beautiful. So two days at Randolph in Texas before driving to Austin to spend a day for myself, just enjoying some downtime, then on to Little Rock, and the next day I stopped for the weekend with my dear cousin Melanie, whom I hadn’t seen since 1997. I looked like such a geek. Yeah. TOTAL geek.

But I left there and drove through Atlanta and stopped in Warner Robins for a week, but my trip wasn’t done yet. I drove down that weekend to Melbourne, FL, to attend a friend’s wedding.

Ben and Megan. Not in that order.

I was blessed to play a song during the reception, and then I drove north to finally stop in Montgomery, Alabama, where I will be for the next 90-100 days.

From here I will likely pull 30 days in Virginia, then attend a cousin reunion in South Carolina, then 90 more days in Atlanta, and possibly deploy after that. Meanwhile I’ll be spinning up my commission package.

Throughout this experience, I’ve worked on trusting God more. As all relationships, its intensity has come and gone and I’ve come to believe this whole trip was more about other people than myself. That California was not for my benefit.

In any event, it’s been a wonderful trip. I’ve loved it, even during the times of distress and worry, the times of tight belts and stepping out in faith, the times of having what I need and reconnecting with friends. It’s been interesting, to say the least.

The Taj, Randolph AFB, TX

All in all, this suburbanite drove 9,500 miles in seven months, learned more about me, about my friends, and am very blessed right now. God has been very generous lately.

And now I’m wicked tired. After 20 months of schooling, which I finished last week, my whole metabolism is taking a nosedive and I’m tired after even eight hours of sleep. But I’m grateful for where I am in life. I’m very grateful for this awesome trip, and I’m grateful to all of my friends along the way who were so generous to let me stay with you. Thank you. I love you guys.

And God, thanks for another experience I can tell people about for years. It’s always interesting when you try to follow God. Easy or difficult, it’s always a nice story.

Good night, my friends! Godspeed!

PS, I took all these photos. But the one from 1997. I don’t have feet that long or talented.

The Fashionable, Pretty People of San Diego

Crystal Pier, Pacific Beach, CA

I think it’s a common idea that US fashion is usually generated in two places in the United States — New York, and Southern California. I have not spent any time in Los Angeles and have yet to visit the city that never sleeps, but I can tell you that San Diego is definitely a place of fashionable people. There are lots of “pretty” men here, and, to be honest, the highest concentration of gorgeous women I’ve ever seen in my life, I kid you not.

I’ve traveled to many places in the last few months, but San Diego has a high concentration. You’re looking at the biggest beach region in the US (nominally, anyway, I dunno about the figures), and the home of University of California, San Diego, which, of course, attracts many of the same kind of people — pretty people.

While in PB – as they call Pacific Beach — I got to ride the beach bike everywhere. I lived in a house with a good friend while there amidst small apartment buildings, and so we were the only house and yard for a block or two. We were caddie-corner to a large grocery store, a literal half block from the church, four blocks from the awesomest coffee house (literal house in a neighborhood) in Southern California, six blocks from Dirty Birds Wings and Backyard Burgers (awesomely food), and seven blocks from the beach and Crystal Pier.

I ran on that beach several times in PB, and it was just awesome. The breeze, the sand, the pier, the runners, the sound, the rocks, the view …

Cafe 967 – The awesomest in SoCal.

San Diego was a wonderful experience. I spent some time with a great friend, made a new one, did some homework, enjoyed some coffee, wrote some novel, played some game, rode some bike, ran some sidewalk, Hard Rocked the Cafe, bibled the study, churched the Sunday, and otherwise tried enjoying myself.

I really enjoyed my time there, overall. Built a better friendship. I hope to have had an impact in his life and I learned more about what he’s doing in his life. He and I knew each other back in Virginia and he’s been out there doing bio engineering at UCSD.

San Diego was a unique experience but I’m rather glad for it. And I miss their dog – Dori, the sweetest pitbull terrier you ever met and just a beautiful dog. I enjoyed my time and am glad for it.

So tonight I’m in Warner Robins after months of travel, and I’m only here for a few days. Good trip, great visit with my cousin in Fayetteville, TN, and now I’m in for a few days of rest before a wedding in Florida and then off to Montgomery.

But this is all I have for tonight.

Westward Ho! – MiniGame 03, The PT Affair

Say hello the little Mormon children. "Laaaseengaay!"

So, a possible set of orders to Louisiana is in the works for Barksdale AFB, land of the Smiths (friends o’mine). It would be from now through the end of the calendar year, but don’t get too excited. Nothing is written in stone.

However, as all things, if the present path before me lays out as it might, I’ll leave San Diego in about a week or so for Denver, CO, to pull my last required days with my home unit, and then a few days in Oklahoma, and then land in Louisiana just in time for heat, which is to say: Welcome to Louisiana.

So, with the need to get my PT test complete and my annual dental exam finished, I hit the road for Riverside last night and crashed with a friend up there and her wonderful family — nice people. Got up and went to March ARB to do my PT test two weeks earlier than I had planned and, to my surprise, at a whole altitude level higher. For those of you who don’t know what that means, it means less oxygen for Christian while he’s running.

However, despite all odds and against all Canadians, I passed with ~84% pass rate, and will test in another 6 months or so. Next time, however, I’m gonna get mahself a 90 so I can go a year without testing again. Yay.

After that, I went and visited the 452nd Airlift Wing at March and chatted and cupcaked, before heading to Orange, CA (city in Orange County, imagine that), to visit my aunt, uncle and cousin, who have lived out there since the 60’s. Had a lovely mexican lunch and good conversation — our family is full of conversationalists and we all have an opinion, before reclining with my aunt before heading south again on the busy I-5, which out here in Calyforn-I-A land, dey call dem “Freeways.” (Insert Christopher Lloyd and a confused Bob Hoskins)

I've run on this beach three times since moving here.

So I made it home (Pacific Beach, San Diego) safe and sound and now settle back into a few days of quiet. On the bright side, all I need left for my promotion package is my dental, which I hope to get done tomorrow or early next week, and that, too, will help me get orders (You have to be green across the board on Reserve requirements).

God is good, and even if Louisiana doesn’t pan out, I’m heading east. Whatever my great trip West will mean in the end, I’m sure time will tell, but today, I have but a small glimmer of its telling. Sometimes we don’t know why we are on the paths we walk. Things are a bit cloudy. Life confusing. Canadian, in nature, I would say. But ultimately, there is usually purpose in everything, even if sometimes to tell you how not to do it again. (See Titanic, Sinking of)

Regardless of the great purpose of anything, I will be grateful for today, and for right now. Right now I have food, clothing, shelter, and the love of great family and friends. I can’t tell you the future. Never could. (Death and Taxes!) But if you don’t take appreciation of right now, you’ll never find peace. You’ll never truly be happy. And while I’m not there — everything in life is a process — I at least know the most important goal. Contentment comes not from the final acquisition of material, but from finding material in the fabric of daily life.

Good night my friends. Stay thirsty.