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Going Rogue: Rochester, NY Part I — Journey

Posted by Ron Devito on November 23, 2009

I have this crazy idea…

Accomplishments author Adrienne Ross (the editor and publisher of Motivation: Truth and a Board Member, Media Director, and NY State Organizer for the 2012 Draft Sarah Committee). and myself were exchanging some text messages a couple of weeks ago. “I have this really crazy idea,” I wrote. I figured she was going to write back, “Again?” But, Adrienne was too kind for that. I went on…”You live upstate…Kristina Lazzaro (editor and publisher of: Inspiration Sarah, and the Buffalo, NY Organizer for the 2012 Draft Sarah Committee, and Accomplishments author) lives upstate….Governor Palin’s going to be in NY…you going to see her?” Of course they were…I went to Google Maps on my iPhone and banged in the address of the Borders store in Henrietta, NY, where she was to sign the books. It would be a 340-mile trip one way. Nearly seven hours driving. I calculated gasoline costs and figured I might be better using Amtrak or even flying up.

My head was spinning. Adrienne is not one to tell others what to do, and always emphasizes that ultimately, the decision on anything is yours to make. But, she looked at my texts and and listened on the phone as I egged myself on. “I want to do this…let me get back to you when I have the logistics worked out….”

Going Rogue, or Going Bust?

I plowed my 2007 Honda Pilot through the streets of Brooklyn and Queens from 0700 to 0900 the morning of Friday, November 20, 2009. I had some “Sarah music” going, but then switched to my “flying music” — the switch would prove to be very providential. Driving like a fighter pilot hopped up on caffeine and sugar, the morning’s trip devolved into desperate race against time to make it from Staten Island to LGA. I had opted to fly, because the traveling time would be much less and the costs not much more than driving up all the way. But, now I was angry and giving new meaning to the term “road rage.”. Here I was two hours in and now in danger of missing my flight. I could have been out of the Island through NJ, and back into NY…almost a third of the way to Rochester by now I thought….

Finally, I made the parking lot, dumped the truck (literally), grabbed my iPhone with the car charger still attached and my bags and lit out of there in the shuttle. It wasn’t till after I checked in that I realized I left my iPod in the truck, and a nice leather bomber jacket. I had no outer jacket for Rochester! Both my uncle and a trusted colleague said that Governor Palin should see the jacket on me.

Darn it! I haven’t even left the city and already I was well on the way not to Going Rouge — but to Going Bust! I choked breakfast down, and I started on the unsigned reading copy, leaving the two treasure copies to be signed well alone in the suitcase.

Governor Palin’s first words immediately soothed my frazzled nerves. I read on.

I nearly started blubbering when I came to the bottom of page eight. There, she told a story of something so providential in her life — and mine — something that was the basis of a rally sign I made 13 months ago…something that was the basis of a video I made a month after that…something that would be the basis of message I left in her gift box….something that would define this entire trip.

A surge of joy swept through me when I saw the Piedmont Dash-8 100 sitting on the apron. Being an IFR private pilot, I am most familiar with Cessna 172s, but the last time I had flown in a turboprop was 1992 when I went to visit my uncle who lived in Meadville, PA at the time.

I was amazed at the power of the turbo-props as my body snapped back into the seat on takeoff and the the aircraft lifted off with an amazing rate of climb. I love those snap-backs. They’re a big hoot. We arced over western Queens and I could see the Con Ed sites that have been my home for nearly 10 years now. We flew to the east of both the old and new Yankee Stadiums, past my mother’s house in Yonkers, and entered a thin overcast, which became an under-cast. Memories of all the places I’d been in the area flowed through…already Governor Palin was touching every aspect of my life by juxtaposition.

My flight instructor, Don Eck has logged thousands of hours for Piedmont. Some people fear turboprops. I love them. You get a greater feeling of flight in them. Flying lower and slower, you get to see the landscape below in greater detail. The windows are larger and you feel a closer connection with the sky as you are flung through the proverbial footless halls of air…while some found the loud drone of the spinning props annoying, it was music to my ears.

The combination of reading Governor Palin’s words and the flight itself mollified me. I concluded that there was a reason I left the jacket and the iPod behind…and as the trip progressed, I would learn that my conclusion was right. I put the book away and kept my face pressed to the window for the duration of the flight.

The under-cast became broken and we slipped through the layer, the plane gently bouncing as it entered the clouds — a normal occurrence. I didn’t know it then, but the Borders Governor Palin would be signing at was directly to my left and in plain view….

We touched down in Rochester, and I grabbed my gear and went to the car rental. Discover card declined… after I had paid it a few days ago to make room. Here we go again…Going Bust. I went for the debit card and accepted the $300 hold. Ugh. It worked. Success! The black 2008 Hyundai Tiburon became my Sarah-Mobile. I stopped down to see the bookstore, then went to Burlington Coat Factory and picked a warm hunting jacket for $20, and checked into the hotel to start up the Accomplishments command and control center.

I was here and established. I was ready to Go Rogue….

Going Rogue: Rochester, NY Part I — Journey

Going Rogue: Rochester, NY Part II — Camping

Going Rogue: Rochester, NY, Part III — Ready

Going Rogue, Rochester, NY: Part IV — Books Signed

Going Rogue, Rochester, NY: Part V — Egg Attack

Going Rogue: Rochester, NY, Part VI — Going Home 


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