See, I enjoy driving, especially long drives, since it is a form of active/reactive meditation, sort of like lawn mowing. You're able to get into a rhythm and glide from beginning to end and all is well.
Except for this past week.
On the way to PaizoCon my car started to act up, inspired by this jerk of a long-haul drive who had passed me a couple minutes before, only to be almost stopped on the other end of a tunnel, which caused me to decelerate and stall out. After coasting about six miles down the road, thankful for the steep incline, I rested on the side of the road until my car would start.
Up until this moment, I was on-pace for a 7 and a half hour trip in the nine hours it could have taken, which didn't last.
Start at about Eugene, once I switched over to the Oregon portion of I-5, my car was stalling out, which was worse once I crossed into Washington, as it took me three hours to cover the expanse of I-5 between Kalama and Kelso/Longview area. But, after that, things went smooth, save for a Microsoft catering van cutting me off (I think it could sense my iPhone or something). It took me about thirteen hours to get to the con.
Insert the enjoyable Con experience here and then back to the road...bad idea.
The return trip took a projected nine hour timetable and turned it almost thirty hours on the road, which included me sleeping in the car on the side of 197, just south of The Dalles, a town which I was stuck around for roughly fifteen hours and no one ever stopped to check on things.
It's okay, mind you, but the only person I saw during the whole trip, aside from the nice lady at Denny's who didn't charge me for my soda, was a State Trooper Sergeant just south of Madras who did the check up on me after about the forth time he passed me in his unmarked car.
Nice friendly guy who just did a well-being check, sans asking for ID and such, as I moved on my way.
While the drive sucked there were some cool moments on it, such as seeing a half-moon rising over the Oregon wilderness, a curious coyote who decided to look at me through my driver side window, and a beautiful buck with velvet horns (five-point; we only count one side out this way, folks), and some wonderful open country.
But, while I'm gonna go to every PaizoCon that I can manage...I will never drive myself there again. I'll take a train, fly, or carpool with others, but I ain't the sole driver, anymore.
Hell, I'd sooner rent a car and solo drive to GenCon, but I think the drive from Klamath Falls to Seattle has scared me for life and beat my ass down. Sure, in the end, I beat it and drove the whole way myself, but turning roughly eighteen total hours of driving into nearly thirty-three was insane, defeating, and soul-crushing on some weird level.
It's not the worse thing in life, nowhere even near it, and I know there are worse events out there, right now, but that drive has crushed me, for now and I've no issue with admitting it. *laughs*
While PaizoCon was one of the most enjoyable and interesting gamer moments of my life, the drive to and from the con was anything but...in fact, they were my two most frustrating and disheartening driving moments of my life.