Travel is one of those wonderful things about the Navy that I miss but would most certainly not go back to just for the travel alone. In my 4 years serving on the USS O’Kane (DDG 77), I went to Guam, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tahiti, Palau, and Bahrain in addition to San Diego, California and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. I did all of that in four years. That’s not bad at all!
Now-a-days, I don’t get out much. I live just north of Seattle and the most traveling I did over the summer was south for puppy visits and east for a stellar camping trip which I may or may not have been high during depending on your respective state/countries view on cannabis consumption. Anywho, I thought to myself in a long-winded shower ‘You know what, Jace? You haven’t been home in over 2 years. Isn’t it time to go see family and old friends? P.S. Wash behind your ears.’ With this epiphany, I decided that maybe enough time had passed since I was home and I should go and visit. Thanks overly-thinky brain in the shower!
With a decently sized tax return in my bank account and some excited folks ready to have me as a guest, I made haste in purchasing a plane ticket for the first time in years and a rental car for the first time ever. Once all of my accommodations were made, I only had to kill time for a month…which turns out isn’t easy to do but I found a way. I went and read the last thing about the Kern River Valley I wrote while doing radio shows at the campus. For those who aren’t in the know, you can read about it here! I really have nothing nice to say about the place where I grew up but as my friends will tell you, I griped about not being able to see my family during the big holidays for the last year. Have you ever bit off more than you can chew or just bit off the right amount knowing that you were knowingly biting into a hunk of shit? Yeah, that happened to me…
The day finally came to get on the plane and head south. I was excited knowing that I was solely responsible for everything as I came home for the first time in years and what a start to an adventure. The plane was full of the type of people you would only find in LA but in Seattle. Loudly talking about their sexual exploits while sporting Ed Hardy clothes, spamming Teen Mom episodes on their iPads only to tell their significant other who they were significantly draped over with no care to my comfort about the make-up products the “mothers” were wearing and the one dude in the suit with no tie attached to his button-up shirt but two buttons undone (which I am notably guilty for as well). A promising start indeed. I landed after a short flight and made my way to the Hertz car rental around midnight where I joined a line of 25+ waiting to be greeted by 2 checkers. I swear the lady in front of me was going to kill someone before she left the building to wander Inglewood in the dead of night. That’s a brave woman. Finally, after an hour, I had my borrowed wheels and hit the road in style.
It’s a long 3 and a half hour drive to get home to the Kern River Valley where I grew up. I enjoyed some new music and cruise control which made the drive easy and unremarkable. I made it into town at 4AM and met with my friends, Jessica and Dillon. Hugs were traded, stories were told, and I crashed HARD into an air mattress that was fit for a king. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen when I woke up but I was eager to get out and about in this little area that I used to call home. I forgot why I used to call it home in just two years but I think I can hold on to that fact for much longer now.
I awoke in the late morning and donned all of my Seattle gear so no one would mistakenly take me for a country bumpkin hick from the sticks of California or as native Californians call them; Okies! We made our way to El Rio, which has some of the best Mexican food I have ever eating. Upon arriving and feeling glad to be home, we entered the restaurant only to be ignored by the server and to be shot mean looks, especially me, by the patrons. I figured that all of my Seattle stuff like my Seahawks hat and Sounders sweatshirt was why I had these glaring eyes on me but that was not the case. No, a little secret was waiting to be discovered later in the afternoon but that’s a story for another day.
More to follow as this psudo-travel blog of mine or my scroll of complaints about my hometown continues tomorrow. Stay tuned for more!