Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Road Warrior

No, not him. I am referring to myself. I hit up five states and one Great Lake in the course of a continual 22-hour site trip. Five tower sites, four in Michigan and one in Ohio, were visited by yours truly. I've got a ton of stuff to deal with today, but I can't resist the temptation to tell my story.

I started the day off right, by waking up an hour and a half after bar time (read: 3:30 AM) and brewing a large pot of coffee. I left at 4:00 AM for Milwaukee, where I was scheduled to take the 6:00 AM Lake Express ferry across Lake Michigan to Muskegon, MI. The ferry was running a bit behind, so I was already around 45 minutes behind schedule upon disembarking. I made good time to the first site, east of Grand Rapids. It was on my way back to the Interstate that I encountered the first of what would become many encounters with road construction. By the time I had gotten to my last site in Michigan, I had come to appreciate Wisconsin's road construction, for it is positively unobstrusive compared to the gross incompetence I witnessed over there. I also was chased from a tower compound by wasps, took an impromptu tour of several rural towns in southern Michigan after missing my exit, and was privileged enough to see (and smell) an operating oil well next to another tower site.

As I made my way from Michigan to Ohio, I was running a little over an hour behind my original schedule. This changed once I started taking State Highway 191 south. After coming to an intersection with US Highway 6, the road signs identifying 191 just disappeared. I drove about 15 miles in search of confirmation that I was on the right road, but none was to be found. So I turned around and drove on 6 until I found another highway that took me to my last site. Looking at the mapping software here in the office, it does appear that I was on the right road, and had I "stayed the course" for another ten miles or so I would have emerged from the rural backwaters of Ohio victorious. This was not the case, and I reached my final site approximately two hours behind schedule. Here's a picture of the Ohio tower (This is like porn to me. Seriously, we get trade magazines in the office the have cell tower centerfolds).

I was a beaten man at this point. I strongly considered staying at the Super 8 in town and getting shitfaced at the nearby Buffalo Wild Wings. However, I was not too happy with the State of Ohio and its signage, so I decided to press on to Indiana. Coming across the Indiana Turnpike I realized that I was way too cheap to pull off the toll road unless I absolutely had to. This frugality I inherited from my parents brought me to Gary, Indiana, where for the second time I was presented with the sweet fragrance of petroleum. The next thing I know I am forging on through Chicago, first on the Skyway then the Dan Ryan. I would be willing to bet that the highways in southern Lebanon are better than the Dan Ryan right now. It got the blood flowing, to be sure. From there I drove like I was a FIB and made surprisingly good time through the congestion. I did come to a standstill on the Kennedy near O'Hare, when the traffic was cut down to one lane, but otherwise it was smooth sailing. Once I hit Beloit I decided to give it a go and head for home. I arrived at my apartment just after 2:00 AM, marking my 22nd hour of travel. That pretty much makes me the undisputed Road Warrior of the office. I believe the previous record, unofficial of course, was about 18 hours. Now I just need to pass the piss test...

3 Comments:

Blogger Belle of Madison said...

Wow. I have to say that I am impressed. Although I'm not sure if I quite believe you, since there is no photographic proof of your car at the sites.

As for the cell towers being like porn, well, the phallic symbolism is a little too obvious to this English major.

8:36 AM  
Blogger wallrock said...

Do you want pictures of the Saturn? Because you KNOW I've got 'em!

And it was the phallic symbolism that really attracted me to the job in the first place.

11:11 AM  
Blogger Lydia said...

You have a cool job! I hate driving through Chicago. I'm glad FIB is in the urban dictionary!

2:21 PM  

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