Wednesday, February 8, 2012
It was one of those dream-like drive. Given the time I was on the road at the obscene hours from 330am through 630am, I may as well be in R.E.M. sleep. I had to be at Vandenberg AFB by 7am and the 197 miles from Rancho Cucamonga meant a 315am wake-up alarm. I must have made the drive to Santa Barbara over a hundred times but this one was different. I was going 70 to 80 all the way and not once did I notice the rolling hills in the west SF Valley nor the farms of Camarillo nor ocean at Ventura. Instead, I had This American Life and The Moth podcasts keeping me company. Something about reaping what you sow is most of what I remember in the 2 hours it took to get from Day Creek Blvd to the Roco at State Street, where I got my hot americano and cinnamon twist pastry. Two customers and a barista at 530am. No tourists, no UCSB students. Not even any music. That somewhat woke me up until I started tracking the full moon setting in the west just above the rolling hills of Lompoc. It's been at least 20 years since I did the Solvang Century that went through Santa Rosa Road. I don't ever remember it taking close to an hour by car from US101 to VAFB but the 30 miles wasn't easy driving. Might have been the anxiety of sitting in a room with a conference table with half a dozen full-bird colonels. Or maybe it was just plain of sleep deprivation. I was in such an altered state that I headed straight for the guard checkpoint, completely forgetting that I need to get a visitor pass. If anything will wake me up, it's an 18 year old MP with an M16 rifle telling me to please turn around and go to the visitor center. Yes, sir. That was all I needed today.