Farm Life: Rural Commuting

Nine years ago, when we began looking in earnest for work that was within a reasonabe commuting distance from our cabin, the question arose about what would be reasonable.  Living in Northern Virginia, only 2 miles from the hospital at which I worked and 4 miles from the nursing home at which Linda worked, this would be a consideration.  The closest health facilities were 45 to 60 minutes away.  Then one evening, I spent 30 min. waiting to go through 4 lights around Landmark Mall, 395, and 236/Beuregard Street less than a half mile from home.

There was no accident or police activity slowing up the commute home, just congestion around the freeway and stores, none of which I wanted to use.  We eventually accepted positions for the same employer, with an understanding that we would work the same days and hours.  Our commute would be 60 miles each way.  I would drive in and Linda would drive home.  We have been “car pooling” ever since.

When we turned in our resignations and made announcements to co-workers about our plans to move to our cabin, the question often arose, “You are going to drive how far?”.  Our response was that the first stop light was 45 minutes into the drive.  During the 8+ years that we have driven this route, only 3 times have we had delays because of accidents or emergency vehicles on the road.  In the metropolitian areas, accidents occur every day and can back up freeways and side roads for hours.  One’s commute could be 20 minutes on a good day and 2 hours the rest of the days.

Our second response was that we would be commuting together, so we had the privelege as a couple of spending two hours of undivided time together.  That received blank stares to grimmaces.  How many couple could enjoy two hours of time togehter each day?  Okay, so one and a half, if I fall asleep.  Unfortunately, we watch so many couples gripe and argue when together, or running parallel lives with little time interacting.

A benefit that we did not ancipate, but enjoy regularly is watching the scenery.  We drive through farm valleys, bypassing the interstate for back roads.  This time of year, we enjoy watching the sunrise in ever changing pallets, which “if you painted that, no one would believe those colors”.  Other times of the year, we enjoy sun sets.  While absorbing the sunrise recently, I thought how this light would not have been there 5 minutes ago and will be different in 5 minutes hence.  Then I thought how those folks communiting in the metropolitian area 100 miles east saw the same sun, but at a different angle, probably with complaints about it glaring in their eyes as they snaked around some accident.  And, how those folks 100 miles west did not have the pleasure of the salmon glow quiet yet.  A few miles and a few years gives us completely different perspectives, whether regarding sunrises, relationships, commuting, or lifestyle.

A view every morning

P.S. This morning, we got up at 4 a.m. to sit by the window, watching the Quadrantids meteor shower, over the northeast horizon (e.g. garage).  We spent 1 1/2 hours together in the dark, pointing out shooting stars, incorrectly naming constellations, and chatting about whatever came to mind.  A well spend time of the morning, with a pot of coffee.


About hermitsdoor

Up here in the mountains, we have a saying, "You can't get there from here", which really means "We wouldn't go the trouble to do that". Another concept is that "If you don't know, we ain't telling." For the rest, you'll have to read between the lines.
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7 Responses to Farm Life: Rural Commuting

  1. Barneysday says:

    When I lived in Silicon Valley, no matter the time I left in the morning, nor the time in the evening to get home, it took a minimum of 1 1/2 hours to go 14 miles. Didn’t matter if it was the freeway or city streets. A significant reason to leave and move to a quieter city. That was 23 years ago. Now the new city has grown larger, and its time to move to the mountains, and a quieter, peaceful life. Well done.

    • hermitsdoor says:

      I grew up in Sunnyvale and completed my undergraduate degree at SJSU. I have taken a windy road from there to the big city to the suburbs and out the country. The commute is certainly much more pleasant here. Glad that you have made trek to your mountain too.

  2. The Vicar says:

    It’s good to look around during the commute, rather than trying to shave a few seconds off your record time getting to work. When I traveled all over NoCal for work I often left when it was still dark to avoid the traffic. I saw some amazing sunrises during my travels. When I got together with friends and asked if anyone had seen sunrise. Hardly anyone had noticed, even if they were awake and commuting to work. I realize that when I’m in my car I can develop tunnel vision that keeps me from seeing the bigger picture.

    I had one friend that was an engineer for Cal Train. He went to work at 3:00 am in the morning driving the trains that run from San Jose to San Francisco, so he saw many beautiful sunrises as well. We would often call each other and say “are you seeing what I’m seeing?”. It’s good to have someone to share the ride with.

    • hermitsdoor says:

      I recall your stories about driving rural roads through the Hamilton and Coastal Ranges, rather than taking the freeways to get to stores at more distance ends of your territory… scenery rather than tail lights.

  3. pobept says:

    If you live in the ‘Big’ city, your surrounded by buildings, homes, apartment and highrise office complexes. You never actually see a sun rise or sun set!, It is either dark or it’s light, no in between sun rise/set phase. Sad that those people are missing such a glorious ‘Free’ entertaining view.

    • hermitsdoor says:

      I imagine from your vantage point in Oklahoma that you get a good view of the moon too. I’ll get around to writing about what the moon does in the country one of these days. What’s your opinion about how phases of the moon affect planting and harvesting times? Have you written any posts on this topic? Thanks for checking in.

      • pobept says:

        Grin, I have never give it much thought, however, grand ma and pa, Only planted by the phases of the moon cycle. They always had a well used current copy of the old farmers almanac at hand and it was their planting bible. 🙂 Maybe, since you have ask, I will try that method this year, couldn’t hurt!!

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