Moving Forward

Y’know what happens when you start several projects, and then end up stalled on all of them? You wait. And wait. And wait some more.

And then, all of a sudden, the logjams break loose. ON ALL OF THEM. ALL AT THE SAME TIME. Somewhere I heard a saying once: “Time is Nature’s way of keeping everything from happening all at once.” Well, IT ISN’T WORKING!!!!

Project One: My Jeep. More than a year ago, I started planning what I wanted to do with the lump of rubber and metal that has been sitting in my garage since I rolled it in 2005. It took time to make some final decisions, and do the research to find the right part (or get it made), and get the part built, and all that. I’ve been calling this part my “magical gearbox” because it’s the centerpiece of the entire project. Without it, I couldn’t determine where other parts (like the axles) would be located, which meant I couldn’t lay out the rest of the vehicle, which meant that I couldn’t do any real work on it at all. My magical gearbox arrived yesterday:

SCS Gearbox

It’s not all that good a picture (here’s one of a different unit sitting on a table, all nice and shiny),

USA 6X6-2

and I’ll take more (and better) pictures as the project moves along, but this is the piece that I needed in order to design my whole drivetrain, which I have to do before I can design the frame, which I have to do before I can design the body, which I have to do before – well, you get the idea. So now I can get to work!

Project Two: An all-years reunion of the PSU AFROTC Drill Team / Honor Guard. When I was in college, the Drill Team was my sole extra-curricular activity. I’ve had the thought of a reunion in my head on and off for more than a decade, but only decided to actually *do* something about it this past summer on my big trip. This has been sort of limping along since I got home in early August. It really seems to be taking off now, though, and I have a couple of tentative dates in April picked out. I’ll be going to Penn State next month to talk with the current Honor Guard adviser, and anyone else who will listen, in an attempt to pin down some details and settle on a single date. In the meantime, my “sinister cabal” (aka “steering committee” or “gang of 9”) and I have been combing through old yearbooks, emails, memories, and whatever else we can find to build a list of potential attendees. So far we have around 140 names (from the 1960s to the 2010s), of which about 30 or so have expressed positive interest in being there. So, since April will be here *very* soon (as anyone who has ever planned an event knows, time disappears way too fast), I’m now trying to get things moving on this, too.

Project Three: A mini-45th high school class reunion. This is the simplest of the three; all I really have to do is show up and consume calories. But it’s in Richmond, VA, and I’m here in Tucson, so I have to plan my travel and all that. A high school friend has invited me to stay with him and his wife that weekend (it’s Nov 8), so that’ll be a good chance to catch up on the past couple of years with them. The tricky part is scheduling (if possible) a tour through the school. Richmond has built a new school right next to mine (an article I found says it’s the first new high school in Richmond in about 40 years!), and when everyone moves over to the new building next year, the old one will be torn down. There were some tours last August, but my schedule didn’t work out for me to do one of them – I was already home by that time. So I’m trying to set one up for either Friday, Nov 7, or Monday, Nov 10. No big deal, right? um, wrong.

I took advantage of the mini-reunion to combine two purposes into one trip, so I’m flying to Dulles on Nov 4, and will go to Penn State from there. On the 7th, I’ll drive from State College, PA, to Richmond, with a stop early in the drive to have lunch with a college roommate, and then arrive in Richmond in time for dinner. So if my tour is on the 7th, I’ll have to change those plans. Or, if the tour is on the 10th, it has to be early enough that I can get back to Dulles in time to return my rental car and catch my plane. Or maybe it could be on the weekend… probably not. I doubt they’d want to open the school for 3 or 4 people. But if the group got large enough…. [hmmmm… Note to self: Check with the reunion organizers to see how many might want to tour the school.]

#firstworldproblems – I know, I know…

But it’s kind of refreshing to have these things keeping me busy, after several months of being stuck in neutral. Yes, I drove 15,000 miles between July 4 and September 26. Yes, I rode my bike 200 miles in Oregon. Yes, I did … stuff. But I wasn’t doing stuff with an eye to the future. Now I am. Most of it’s a short-term future, but the Jeep project will be followed by a yearlong trip around the US, which in turn will be followed by writing a book about it, and so on.

So, yes. In certain respects, I am moving forward.

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