Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Shut up and drive

"It's only Day 3.  Don't lose it yet," J. said somewhat nervously. I had just dissolved into hysterical laughter after commenting, "Trees should have outlets so we could plug our phones in."  Why?  I have no idea.   I blame the driving.

Eighteen hundred miles ago, we had set out in a Ford Escape, bound for California.  Our Type 1 helicopter had come on contract early, and we had to go meet it.  J. was my trainee, an amiable snowboarder and rock climber who usually had a smile on his face.  "I'm going to eat healthy on this trip," he proclaimed as we drove off.  This resolve lasted about two hours, until he emerged sheepishly from a gas station with Chex Mix and doughnuts. 

Too late, we discovered that the air conditioning in our car didn't work; we found this out in the 100 degree Nevada desert.  We also realized that we had forgotten the two main helitack staples, a cooler and camp chairs.  Coffee and energy drinks littered the vehicle.  We giggled along with Amy Schumer on Pandora when we couldn't find any radio stations.  When we crossed into California it was a shock: all these people! where were they going and in such a hurry?

Road trips for work are a lot different than vacation ones.  We looked longingly at turnoffs for hiking trails and climbing areas, but couldn't stop.  Our meals came from gas stations.  We wore fire pants, not shorts.  Still, we made it fun, speculating about life in little towns we passed and taking a lunch break at a Patagonia outlet, where J went in to buy something for his girlfriend but instead got himself a present.  And that skirt I bought was entirely his fault, because I was waiting for him to decide between two jackets.

Eventually we arrived at our destination, only to find the next day that the helicopter was being moved somewhere else. Yep, more driving.  By then we were used to it.  We ended up driving about 3000 miles on that trip.  Maybe you saw us, two firefighters in a Ford Escape hybrid, munching on birthday cake oreos and laughing down the road.
What? We're moving again?


  1. At least you have a nice companion for all that driving!

  2. Can almost feel the semi-hysteria of so many miles on the road. Glad you arrived there...and back...safely and could still laugh! Fireflighting: Hurry up and drive, hurry up and wait, then spring into action at a moment's notice. Thanks for all you and J. and all the others on your team do for the rest of us.

  3. I'm going to need to fire up that Amy Schumer station, I just saw Trainwreck and laughed the whole time.

    Also, calories consumed from foods purchased at gas stations during road trips don't count, it's a known fact.


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