This is my stop. Getting off here. Thanks for the ride.
In 2004, our relatively "small company" got acquired by its neighbor down the street, Cisco. Nearly a decade of working at a "big company" has led me to a decision to make a change. Years ago, I might have written a diatribe about all the things that were behind this decision. But today, I won't. Cisco treated me well on the whole. Gave me a lot of flexibility. I just wasn't content with the challenge anymore. That's what I circled on my exit survey.
So just before our spring vacation trip, I gave my two weeks notice. And today is the end of that period. Last day of employment inside the mother ship. Spooky? Exciting? Seemed like just another day actually.
Yep, my Dad and I saw Discovery launch back in October of 2007. That was pretty neat even from a distance. It was kind of a bucket list thing that just happened to come true.
Fast forward to 2012 and the shuttles being retired then "gifted" to others to be put on display. After watching all the coverage of them transporting the retired shuttle Endeavour to Los Angeles, I was intrigued to pay it a visit. Where would you put such a thing? I had to see.
We went to the California Science Center. Tickets to see the shuttle were just $2 a person. The museum is free...oddly. The lines were kind of chaotic as if they had a "rock star" visiting but were not sure how to handle it just yet. You travel through a standard display room where they have some video footage, a few props, and some photos to check out. Not a big display by any means. But all this is temporary as they design and build a final resting place for the shuttle. Then you head out back to a newly constructed minimal pavilion/hangar. And inside...
There it sits. On 3 points of contact. A shuttle. Up close! Never seen such a sight. When its in service, nobody gets this close. So now, its right over your head. I walked up under it first hand. The tiles on the bottom are weird. They look like square pieces of rubber that would just fall off other than a single bolt through the middle of them. These are the famed heat tiles?
Around the back, the engines are still on. I thought I heard they might remove those? Or maybe these are replacements? They looked pretty clean. The scale was huge. Not sure if Sydney does it justice but figured I would stick a human in there to see if it scaled.
Kayla stood by a spare they had on hand. Apparently, they had 9 of these ready for each mission. 3 for the primary shuttle, 3 for the backup shuttle (rescue mission), and 3 on standby. The machinery of the engine looked very "willy wonka" or something. Just shiny bent metal going every which way.
Around the front, you get a sense of the texture of the top of the craft. I always had this pegged as some sort of sheet metal looking craft. Hell, that's what all the toy models feel like. But its not. Its covered in what looks like a quilt. A sort of bumpy textured heavy sock around it. It was odd. The words and flags look like iron-on patches instead of a paint job on a stock car. Unexpected.
Here are the rear points of contact on the pedestal. I swear the contact was the size of a Coke can. They use bigger jack contacts to lift my H2. I later learned that this pillars it sits on are designed to protect the shuttle from shaking too hard in the event of an earthquake.
They are designing and building a new home for the shuttle here on site. This house is temporary. Looks like they are going to stand the sucker up and put rockets back on it. Then open up the bays and such and let you view inside. Today everything is all zipped up tight with no plans to ever let any of the public tour on the inside to preserve it.
A couple more profile shots. These were all from my phone but they were OK. Might post more from our camera once I get the pictures off.
Random iPhone panorama. Not great. Shuttle looks bloated but at least you get a single view of the whole thing.
My kids enjoyed it but didn't quite grasp it. I grew up during the shuttle years. Its amazing to see this thing in person. Brought a tear to my eye when I saw it. Such a modern marvel. Good night, Endeavour.
My new toy.
"I wasn't even sure you were even running anymore", says Tony, as we cross paths this morning on Amp.
Yes, I guess I have been silent recently. Or vague. Tony's comment was just one of many over the past week. My Mom asked me if I was going to WS100 again. When I said no, she asked if I had retired. My sister asked me if I was running at all on her visit this past weekend. My friend asked me if I was racing Leadville. It was not a 1-word answer. It goes on.
So yes, I have been running. Decently. Base building-ish. I took a break from Green Mountain for the winter because of some combination of cold, wet and not having a car when I usually would have before. It was a nice break. I even had streaks of not running this winter but I quickly find that my "soul" likes to get out and run around the reservoir I live by daily. Its my patrol. It makes me feel good. So I do it. I don't do it to train or run faster. I just do it to get out.
The reality is that I have a job where I sit in a chair a lot. When I don't exercise, I gain weight. I get sluggish. My bowels get angry. Running equalizes all that and more. Part of me always figured I would just retire at some point from running. That sounds cool. Makes you sound professional or some such shit. I am so good that I have to tell people I am not doing this anymore. Right. That's not the case here. I went from running to get un-fat. To running to race. To running to enjoy challenges. To just running because its part of me now. Is this making any sense?
So over the past few months, I stopped talking about my miles. Maybe its because they are mine? Maybe its because its not extraordinary. I don't know. I just didn't have the passion to share. I don't care if you "look at me!". I don't have anything new planned. I am content doing the same old stuff for a while longer while seeing if new challenges open up for me. I have a history of taking up some new hobby. Doing the shit out of it. Then dropping it cold. I feel like I have tried to drop this one a bit. And while its not holding the same weight in my mind as years prior, I can't shake it. Or the elusive big buckle. The real goal is just having a race I am proud of there. I am proud of all the finishes. But I oddly am more proud of the DNF because I feel like I went for something. So just a solid race. No 100 is perfect. But if its solid, then the time will speak for itself. If its enough for big, so be it.
What do I do with that? Well, for the past 3 years, I have started thinking about the Leadville Trail 100 on Jan 1. Training starts! Go. By the time we hit June, I am fucking spent. July lingers. By August, get this over with already. This year, I changed. I haven't really started. But I will soon. I hope to time the peak better this year. Maybe the implied delay will make me feel like I don't have as much time and push harder. Maybe not. I am sure I can fake 100 miles this year if I want. Or be cool and do a DNS (Did not start). Never had one of those! But those aren't going to get me any closer to that stretch goal of the 1000 mile buckle. I am not the fastest but I think I can be in the top tier of repeat sufferers.
So with a spark of that, I headed back to Green today after 2 months or so away. Then I struggled through the slippery ice with no traction up the hill to have JV catch me from behind as planned. As we stood on the summit, I turned and noticed something.
His legs! Jeff is like the groundhog. When you see his legs, that must mean winter is over. That means that summer is almost here. And there is nothing quite like running trails in the heat of the summer. Maybe my motivation turned today. I hope so. Being vague is pretty boring. People tend to lose interest.
As you may recall, I ran my wife's car off the road back in December while traveling to Indiana for Christmas. It was a moment to remember. Well, everyone was fine as previously reported and I was thankful. But it was hard to deal with the reality of busting up a new car with only 2,000 miles on it. It was like a bad dream. Well, as soon as we got home, I went to work on it. Went to Allstate right away and they gave me a $5,000 quote. The guy couldn't find 1/2 the parts to estimate because the car was a 2013. After he was done, he told me he was sure that estimate was low...really low. But that's how the game is played. Off to the body shop for the real work.
We asked around and only one name kept coming back, Stuttgart Auto Body, in Englewood, CO. So I called and asked when they could get me in. About 2 weeks later, we had the car there. They told me the estimate was off but that is normal. They would work with Allstate to adjust it. I need not be involved. Wow! I had visions of having to play the middle man to beg to get my car fixed right. Not the case. The shop kept me informed along the way. They had Allstate out to the shop and got the estimate revised to $21,000. Whoa. More like it. I knew this wasn't going to be cheap.
Basically then, we waited. The car is new so there were shortages on parts. Specifically the front and rear bumper covers. I stayed patient. The shop could only do so much when they can't get the parts from Germany. The car is sold out around the nation so pulling a bumper out of an assembly line batch to fix a busted car took some time. I was annoyed by this situation but sort of understood. Ended up escalating through the dealership a bit so they knew this was a priority. Eventually, the parts showed and the car was being reassembled. All the metal on the right side was swapped. New fender. New quarter panel. 2 new door skins. 2 new rims. All that had to be painted and put back in place. The shop took the car to the dealer for a full diagnostic check-up and then we went and picked it up today.
It looks brilliant. Paint matches perfectly. That metallic paint "bounces" anyway in the light so its a great match. There is one weld seam I am told and I couldn't find it. These guys did great work and I would recommend them to anyone. The lot is full of European cars that have been in accidents. Its the right place to take your like vehicle if you live here.
So we are a 2 car family again. I "suffered" by loaning my H2 to Kim for 2.5 months. But now we are whole again. Back on the road. Back to normal.
Drive safely. I will...because I used up my "accident forgiveness" on that little deal.
Recently at the cabin, we assembled a catapult that I got for Christmas from my Mom. Spent the evening hurling every thing we could find around the house.
Syd likes her runs like most like their coffee. BLACK. We skied them all day. She is nutso. She even sings the Avenged Sevenfold song of the same name while descending this one. Be afraid.
This snow is garbage. Not enough for spikes. Just enough to slide on logs. Starting to feel like a hiatus from this mountain is in order.
When things do not suck.