November 29, 2022
I'm thinking it was September 2017. My niece Chelsea was getting married at Mammoth Lakes, California, and I was flying to Reno to make the drive to Mammoth, a drive I had made a dozen times before. Past Mono Lake. Into the Sierras. Gotta stop at the Whoa Nellie Deli at the Mobil Station in Lee Vining. Fish tacos with mango salsa. It's a spectacular drive.
I had managed ownership of three geothermal plants at Mammoth in my past life. I had led the acquisition of the plants, and in my parting act from Covanta I had led the sale of the plants.
I also managed the ownership of three geothermal facilities in the Imperial Valley. While Mammoth and the Imperial Valley are eight hours apart (US 395), the climate at each could not be more different. Mammoth could get six feet of snow over a weekend and have a base of 800 inches. The Imperial Valley is almost unlivable in the summertime as daytime temperatures can be 115 degrees plus, with nighttime lows of 98 degrees.
The drive between the two was always a highlight to this east coast kid. The Salton Sea, date farms, the Sierra Nevadas. I often thought it was robbery that I was getting paid to make that drive.
As I looked out the window of the plane that day, I saw again the vastness of Colorado, Utah and Nevada. At 35,000 feet, you can see how empty that part of our country is. Empty because it's uber rugged and arid. I remember thinking that I wanted to go to those places and experience that emptiness.
I'm sitting here this morning in Scottsbluff, Nebraska thinking how crazy it is that I am in another remote area of the country. And how lucky I am that I have gotten to travel through Utah, Nevada and Colorado and see those areas I saw from 35,000 feet. I had no idea at that time how a trip that included visiting those places would rock my world.
I see so many things so differently now. I understand more. But more importantly, I have discovered a curiosity to explore, to ask questions, to jump right in and not be afraid of doing something wrong. I fail everyday at something, but I smile, learn from those failures and carry on Thanks, Carol Dweck, W and Courtney for introducing me to the growth mindset.
And thanks to Chelsea for getting married at Mammoth!