Archive | March, 2012

Tucson or bust! The story of my road trip

30 Mar

Long time, no blog!  As much as I hoped to blog “live” as my road trip occurred, the stress and subsequent exhaustion proved incompatible with blogging.  Now that I’m a bit settled, let me get you up to speed.

After much anxiety, last minute disorganization, and quadruple checking if I was ready to go, I hit the road around 11 a.m. on Wednesday, March 14th.  My first destination was Fort Stockton, Texas.  I quickly learned that driving up to 2 hours continuously feels like an eon to me.   It took me almost 8 hours to go 332 miles. This was partially due to my comfort level of driving precisely 46-52 mph and my GPS leading me into the middle of nowhere. This “scenic” route was quite hilly, with no option to turn around, no shoulder on the road, and no cell phone service.  Cross checking my Google map app proved unhelpful as well, as it mistakenly placed its blue dot on the path toward Odessa.   Despite not knowing where I was exactly, I knew that was not accurate.  An hour and visions of being on Nightline as “the sorry girl who followed her GPS into an oblivion and certain doom” later, I was back on course.  With relief, I reached the Fort Stockton RV Park just before sundown and the office closing.

 

Thursday brought a shorter drive for my planned side trip to Carlsbad Caverns. After cursing my GPS and banishing it from the dashboard, I embarked on a journey led by Google maps…. which took me again on a few secondary roads, this time riddled with cow-crossing-grate-thingamabobs (I’m so not country).  Not so fun when you come up on them without warning, when driving the MH Brigade.  Who knew getting to a big ass cavern deep underground meant driving up steep, winding roads to reach it?  Ahh, the adventure continues… (more on Carlsbad later, I have photos to upload!)…

 

 

 

 

 

Following an overnight in Carlsbad, I traveled next to Deming, New Mexico.   At this point, my time zone awareness became a blur as I left NM, reentered TX, then returned once again to NM.  When conquering the open road, west Texas can be a personal hell for many.  Most are saved, however, by tearing through at the posted 75+ mph.  Sadly, ol’ MH and I continued to putt-putt along at 55 mph max.  Nightmare.  I also had the hellish experience of driving straight through El Paso, where I successfully blocked 2.5 lanes at a traffic light for at least 5 minutes while I desperately tried not to miss getting into the left turn lane to get on I-10.  Thank you, El Paso, but I hope to never see you up close again.

My fourth and final day would take me from Deming to Tucson.  With the help of some adrenaline and my first cup of joe since I departed Austin, it was smooth sailing!  The road also flattened out a bit, which improved my speed.  My one stop was at a rest area in a place called Texas Canyon (fitting, right?).  What a relief to arrive at the RV park to the familiar faces of Mom and Joe to help me get settled in my site!  Stay tuned for the tour of my home-away-from-home.

.

 

 

Advertisements

Get your ducks in a row before a travel assignment

26 Mar

Before embarking on your travel therapist adventure, the list of “Things to Do” is overwhelming. What I found to be the most daunting was planning ahead for those things that come up scattered throughout the year.  Although traveling within the US means anything you may forget to pack is likely accessible while you’re away from home base (or maybe you can just go without it!), there are things that are better not to be stuck without. Depending on how long you will be away from your home area, you can prioritize what needs to be handled in advance, what may come up on the road, and what can wait ’til you’re return.

These are the “big ones” I came up with before I got on the road for the next 7 months:

Vehicle inspections, registrations, maintenance:  For inspections, you may have to get them done early if you’re not going to be in your home state when they are due.  If your registration is due while away, can you renew online?  If not, be sure our mail is being forwarded appropriately.  Finally, if you have a relationship with a good car repair shop, like I do, assess what routine maintenance items are essential to be done prior to your trip and those that can be put off til your return. A long road trip may mean wanting to invest in some of those services beforehand to prevent problems on the road.

License renewals: For professional licenses, make sure you bring them and any other paperwork you may need if your renewals will come up while you’re traveling. Also, do you know when your driver’s license expires? For me, that was one that almost slipped through the cracks! Check to see if you can do it in advance or from afar. (For example: I could renew my Texas driver’s license months in advance of its expiration, and it still keeps its original renewal month for next time.)

Medical needs: Flex when you take care of routine medical needs. If follow ups or lab work is needed on the road, discuss with your doctor how to get the necessary results to their office or plan to use a provider on the road.

Prescriptions, etc: Use a pharmacy that is national, as your scripts will be accessible through their system no matter your location. Wear contact lenses? Make sure you have enough sets to make it until you’re back.  That way you don’t need to coordinate (or pay for) having them sent by mail.

Bills:  I was slow to move to paperless statements and online bill pay.  Then, I was hesitant to have any electronic fund transfers or recurrent payments. It felt too out of my control. But now with being way from home, both were the way to go! No need to have someone else manage your bills or money and no worries about the sometime time-insensitive mail forwarding.  I learned that some companies will give you incentives (aka discounts) to set up an EFT.

Mail: Decide whether having the post office forward it or a person you know (neighbor, family, friend, house sitter) forward it is right for you.  I prefer to have my housesitters forward it so that they can screen for junk mail and to ensure my mail gets to me at the correct address.  Sometime the postal service can have a lag, which can be a glitch if you’re transitioning to new housing or a new city.

Mission (almost) accomplished!

1 Mar

A lot has happened in the past week plus.  I’ve had several phone interviews for possible assignments, and finally the stars have aligned for location and start date.  An assignment in my desired location of Tucson was secured; and therefore, my anticipated start date has moved up a bit.  I knew I had to jump on the opportunity!  Wow, things happen fast from that point!  Once the assignment was confirmed with the facility, I began (and continue) feverishly working to complete paperwork, drug screens, finger printing, compliance modules, more paperwork.  Once these steps and the final agreement are signed, sealed, and delivered… I’m yours, Tucson!

Not only is one a PT as a traveler, but also a juggler!  It is overwhelming to think of all the things I need to accomplish from the “business” side of it, but also to be prepared for my housesitters’ fast-approaching arrival, my departure to live out of a 23 ft box for seven months, my road trip, and my living arrangements once in Tucson.  … Deep breaths…  It’s amazing  how many things you don’t realize need to be done when you’ll be away from your home base for an extended period.  Some helpful hints of things to consider for both personal and professional “To Do” lists prior based on my current experiences will follow soon.  For now, I’m doing my best to focus and chip away at those daunting checklists while trying to scoop up any work I can in the meantime.