Saturday, July 2, 2011

Trip Day 5 - Trip complete

Miles Driven: 291
Mean Temperature: 89 f

The day started earlier then expected with a group of protesting kids loudly leaving the hotel room next to me.  Since I was already awake and had packed the night before, I hit the road 30 minutes early, headed for home, with a brief planned stop at the Billings office.

I had high hopes as I arrived nearly an hour earlier then expected, having cleverly detoured around road construction that a co-worker had forewarned me about.

With great hubris I whistled a jaunty tune and walked in the door at 10 AM; anticipating I would be in and back out on the road in thirty minutes, and be home by noonish.

Then I was handed a stack of "Urgent Call, ASAP!"  notes.  My heart sank.

I sorted and plowed through them, most of which were solved with a single phone call., but one was a doozy.  One of the nearby (relatively speaking) field offices had gone down that morning and would not come up.

Calls to Qwest determined their maintenance had broken the DSL connection, but they had repaired and it was authenticating properly so far as they could tell, yet our equipment was refusing to talk to the outside world.

*1000 words of tedious technical gobblygook redacted so you don't get bored.*

Finally, I was faced with a choice, drive to the field office knowing that the entire 50 miles there was under construction and I had already been told that it was running 1.5-2 hours each way or try and walk a technically unsophisticated end user through manually resetting the equipment.   The end user voted for option B, since if it didn't work I was going to have to drive there any way so we might as well try.

Low and behold, 45 minutes of excruciatingly precise instructions... everything came up.

So, instead of spending 30 minutes in Billings I had spent 4 hours.  The problem was I had to be back in Bozeman before 5 pm or my reimbursement check for this trip was going to have to wait until after our accounting person got back from vacation, which was going to be a week and a half away.  1000 miles of gas money, hotel expenses, and food bills that came out of my pocket.

I had 146 miles to go, and 2 hours and 15 minutes to make it.

I leapt to my car, prayed to the gods of road construction that they had knocked it off for the weekend and rocketed towards the highway.

Wind blowing in my hair, hands gripping the steering wheel I drove like a madman at 75 mph towards my destiny! *

And made with 10 minutes to spare.

Trip finished, the prize?  A well earned night in my own bed.

*I should point out that the speed limit was 75, there were lots of highway patrolmen out for the holiday weekend... and well... I don't speed.

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