Thursday, November 02, 2006

Rocky Mountain Redux

I've said this before, but... once again I'm back in Denver. Definantly NOT where I want to be at the moment. But we do what we have to most of the time, and what we want to only some of the time.
So here I am.
I finally had a sunny day and a window seat for the flight, so I got to look down upon the land that I well know, and was able to track our progress across the state.
I first spotted the Wabash, winding it's way south through Indiana. With that as a benchmark I quickly found Terre Haute, and then Paris a few minutes later. I spent five years working in Paris, and it's been the best five years of employment I've spent to date. I learned more at that local computer / internet / wireless/ microwave provider than all the jobs I've held before or since. In many ways, little shops like that are further towards the cutting edge than I'll be again in a long time. Small shops and the small businesses that they serve can turn on a technological dime, but a big organization turns like an aircraft carrier. Deploying an Office patch can take change requests and multiple chains of permission, and testing, and deployment.... days and days.
I could follow Route 16 down through Kansas and Ashmore, and down into Charleston. I was surprised to see Quality Lime from the air, a place where I have blown many inches of rock dust out of many computers and printers. You have to know what you're looking for, but it's there. As is the Charleston Speeday, scene of many great dirt-track races and crashes.
Through Charleston and into Mattoon, I could see the airport and a nice view of Charleston lake.
What I was really looking for the entire time was a little two lane nothing that runs from north of Mattoon to Assumption. From nowhere to nowhere, really. I loved that road every time I drove it. It's always in good repair, and straight as an arrow. It goes over Lake Shelbyville, through Findlay, and then down the big hill to Assumption.
I'm unsure why I'm so enamored of that road. Perhaps it's because I always wanted to ride a bike down it, and never got to. Perhaps because the people in Assumption were always exceedingly nice, and exceedingly appreciative of my work. Whatever, I got a strange gratification in seeing it from the air, since I haven't even driven it in nearly eight years.
I gave up watching after that, having acheived my goal. I glanced up later and saw the Missippi, and right on the other side was Hannibal, MO. I grew up on Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. I distinctly remember reading Tom Sawyer again and again as I grew up, and longing to see the caves, and the river, and the picket fence. Years later I got to go to Hannibal with #1 son as a chaperone on a school trip, and had a fabulous time exploring the area. I think I got more out of it than the kids did. When the cave guide pointed out the "Number Four, Under the Cross" to the gasps of the kids, I got goosebumps. I can't wait to go back there.
So now here I sit in Denver, and I won't have time to see anything but the hotel, the rental, the office. I'd love to come back here when I have more time, but with tickets at $600 a pop I'm thinking it's not likely.
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