this past weekend marked the first time i have had to leave max overnight. it was tough. i had to make a trip to port st. joe to collect some sweet seagrass and some sea urchins for my last set of experiments (woo!). but since PSJ is ~5 hours away (leaving from DISL, it's only about 4-4.5 hours from mobile) it requires an overnight stay. without the max. again, it was tough. i barely slept at all saturday night. probably because chad had called me while i was on the road saying something like, "i need suggestions. he won't stop crying. he knows you're not here. he keeps looking at your chair." and that call came around max's usual bedtime. that was not at all what i wanted to hear. but chad did call back around 9:45 to tell me that he'd finally managed to get max to sleep. but it was apparently a rough ride.
actually, we all had a pretty rough ride saturday night. see, i had planned on loading up the truck at DISL with our lab's sweet summer intern, marissa, at 3:00 saturday afternoon and heading to the motel in mexico beach around 3:30. well, marissa and i got the truck loaded up, no problem, and we left the island at 3:30-ish as planned. but shortly after we left dauphin island we hit the rain. hard rain. but it was manageable (i.e., i could see the road and the cars in front of me, and i was in a massive ford f250 super duty, so the risk of hydroplaning was negligible).
and then came the traffic problems. first, the wallace tunnel heading out of mobile was beyond congested. traffic was at a near stand-still a couple of miles before the tunnel, probably a mile or so before you get to the sign warning of congestion ahead. but that's no big deal. i know the area, so i decided to drive around (through downtown mobile) and go through the bankhead tunnel and hit I-10 from the causeway. so that's what we did, no problem.
and then we got to pensacola. and interstate traffic was once again at a stand-still. it took us 40 minutes to get from the pine forest road exit to the hwy 29 exit, where there had been a monster of a head-on collision between two SUVs. all the while, the rain was pouring and the lightning was popping all around. it was not good times. and there was no easy way to drive around that one, especially since we couldn't tell where the problem was when we got stuck in traffic, and traffic lights were out on pine forest road.
but we finally got through, and once we were moving again it was ok. but we couldn't go very fast because of the pounding rain. the pounding rain that we were stuck in THE ENTIRE WAY. that's about 250 miles, people. we passed three accidents, complete with gawkers who prevented traffic from flowing smoothly even when the accidents were in the final phases of cleanup and were no longer blocking the road. this made a 4.5 hour trip turn into a 6 hour trip. oy.
but sunday was fine. we had great weather for our field work, and things went smoothly. the drive from the park in port st. joe (about 45 minutes farther than the motel in mexico beach) to dauphin island took the expected 5 hours despite off and on rain along the way. then i got home around 8:15 sunday night, and max was all snug in his bed asleep. but he woke up, like, 3 times in the middle of the night. it's pretty easy to get him back to sleep, though, so it really wasn't too bad.
today, i'm back at home, hanging out with max. tomorrow, marissa and i are heading over to perdido key for the morning then it's back to DISL to process some seagrass. that means a long day in day care for max, but it'll be ok, even if it does mean that we have to wake up at 5 a.m.
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