La Grande Tour


This week marks the end of my long-term stay in California, for this go around.  Ironically, how (or more specifically, when) I will return to my ‘home’ in Boston is still up in the air.  As you may have known, right after Christmas I drove out of Boston heading west and I arrived in California on New Years Eve 2015, checked into a hotel New Years Day, and nearly made the full run at that hotel ever since.  On Friday, I check out of that hotel, and begin the drive back.

The thing is, I am out here for work, and on my way back I have to work too.  My job requires me to manage quality systems at 24 plants around North America, and while I have been giving emphasis to the five plants out here in Southern California, there are other now that need a little attention too.  So instead of planning a trip specifically for them, I planned my return specifically for them.

Thus – what I am dubbing – La Grande Tour.

Ironically, it’s mostly a ‘La Grande Tour’ of Texas, but not the point.

After checking out of my hotel in Placentia, CA (next door to Anaheim … or as the Californians would understand, at the junction of 91 and 57), the pup and I make a run down to our home away from home away from home in the Temecula wine country.  A couple days with friends, and then on Sunday April 10th the driving begins.

We are taking the ‘Deep South’ route running along the Mexican boarder on I-8 and I-10 with the destination of Fort Worth, Texas on Tuesday night.  It is then three days working in Fort Worth and Arlington before the weekend.  Which … by weekend, I mean, a longer weekend … this Bear is taking a vacation day on Monday, because he is heading to New Orleans.

So begins the real ‘Le Grande Tour’.  Because when you add Fort Worth  Arlington on April 13-15 to New Orleans April 16-18; its the most stable for a week.  That is followed by Lafayette, LA on April 19th.  Houston, TX on April 20th.  Oklahoma City on April 21st (yes, that will be a hell of a drive in-between).  Then Tulsa, OK on April 22nd.  That’s not just four cities, that is six plants I am visiting in four days.

You would think I would be done with it all at that point … and yes, I probably will be, but then comes the next phase.  April 23rd is a run down to “The Deep South”, followed by at least three days in Greenville, SC April 25-27.

After that, I am cutting it off.  Bee-lining it north to Boston.

I should be back at the Condo by April 30th, over three weeks after checking out of my California hotel – and likely over 5000 miles of driving to get there too. I was hoping that I would get time to do some sightseeing along the way, but the route didn’t exactly help me with that.   Instead, the route is going to give me a chance to meet up with people I haven’t seen  in a while (though some of that isn’t confirmed , so no spilling names yet).

Of course, you can expect posts along the way, though it won’t be as much about the mileage I am gaining along the drive.  This is more of a work interrupting the route that I take than anything.  Heck, even in all that driving, all the plant visits, and all that other stuff – I still have my day job to do, which includes finding time to put in 3 webinar training sessions … each about 3 hours long.

But I guess this is the life of La Grande Tour.


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