Salt, Dirt, and the Junior Assistant

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Phase Two of the great cross-country drive begins tomorrow.  Here at Wichita plants during a week that can be best described as “over” gave a chance to shake the road off our backs so that the trip can continue.  The 1600 miles to get here will loom as much in the rear mirror as the nearly 1400 miles loom ahead.  It should be an easier run the next couple days, especially tomorrow.  The nine hours planned to go from Wichita to my stop in Albuquerque, NM seems like a breath of fresh air compared to the 14 hours of last Saturday.  With 10-1/2 hours left for the run into Los Angeles, and the two hours of time zones I will pick up along the way, The weather looks so good, it’s questionable if I will see clouds at all from once I leave Wichita through the rest of the run.  it almost seams like I will have time to enjoy the ride – if the ride gives me something to enjoy.

The ‘shorter’ day tomorrow means I won’t have to force myself out of bed first thing like I did last weekend.  I am actually writing this from the hotel bar, where I plan to spend the next few hours killing off a few half priced bottles of wine.  The car isn’t packed, and most of my bags aren’t either – heck, I don’t even know if my laundry is back yet.  When I get up, I’ll have time to get breakfast, fuel up the car, and even get the car washed.

Seriously … wash the car.

So, I mentioned that I drove through snow when leaving Massachusetts last weekend, well, that means I still have salt covering the car.  Last night, a storm came through Wichita, which with it brought half of Kansas’s topsoil washed into the wind and water.  So I have a mix of midwest dirt and east coast salt on a pretty messy car.  The inside is no better, with the mass of dog hair shed from my co-pilot and the trash you would find in anyone’s road trip car.  So that needs to be cleaned up as well.

Speaking of the pup, he’s being quite awesome.  This week, he was actually quite well behaved.  Rather than make him hang out in the hotel the whole time in his little crate (called “Auggie’s Man Cave”) he’s been hanging in the backseat of the car while I worked.  When I had a break, I would come out and visit him … and not just me, others would hang with him too.  One manager at a plant suggested that visiting with Auggie made him get through the week.  I brought him into a plant too, making it the second such plant he’s been in since this job.  Of course, he is well loved by everyone … EVERYONE, and that just makes it easier to keep him around where I work.

For that reason, I took my title for my job and added it to his.  Auggie Nelson now is Bodycote’s Junior Assistant North American Quality Manager.

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