The Wheels Came Off!

00248_00126Seeing a building go through the design and construction process is a thing of beauty. It’s simply awesome to watch what starts as a concept on a schematic drawing rise from the ground and become a high-performing environment.  In 2012, AV is a must-have and typically an extensive part of any capital construction project.  This is great news for how far our industry has come and what the future holds!

Working for the California Judicial Branch, I travel a lot for work.  And with California being as large as it is, my trips range anywhere from San Diego to the Sierra Mountains.  Last week, I was in Susanville, CA for the new courthouse getting ready to come on-line next month.  What happened on my drive home is the reason for this post.

There’s a long stretch of the drive that is completely in the middle of nowhere.  By nowhere, I mean your cell phone doesn’t work for 70 miles and the smell of pine trees is so sweet you think your car has been sprayed with Little Tree green air fresheners.  Remember those? This is a gorgeous part of the drive and it’s fantastic to disconnect from the modern world and enjoy the scenic route.  Driving to Susanville last week it was actually snowing!!  The only downside to the snow is that it loosens all the rocks and this is when you get landslides and high amounts of debris on the roads.  So, coming home last Friday as I went around one of those winding turns a huge rock was sitting smack in the middle of the road.  The options I had were to hit the rock or swerve off the cliff to avoid it.  As you can imagine, I chose the rock and my left front tire immediately went flat.

Normally, I’d like to think I’m fairly cool under pressure and handle crisis pretty well.  I’m not going to lie– I was TERRIFIED.  No cell phone service, 35 miles to the nearest town, and it would be dark in 90 minutes.  After sitting a few minutes in disbelief, it was time to get the spare out of the trunk and get it changed.  Long story short, besides the inconvenience everything worked out fine and I made it home.  In fact, I consider my incredibly blessed given what could have happened and how much worse it could have been.

As women, we travel all the time for work and in our personal lives.   But, how many of us are ready for when something goes wrong? This wasn’t the first flat tire I’ve changed so I knew what I was doing.  And besides getting greasy, it’s really not that hard.  But, have you changed a tire or been stuck in a situation where you had no one to depend on except yourself? I thought — what can I learn from this to be better prepared in the future and what can we do as Women in AV to help each other in case any of us run it something similar.

So, let’s create a WAVE Travel Guide that includes a list of safety and travel tips we can carry with us when we’re on the road.   Things like always having a safety kit in your trunk (I didn’t) and making sure someone knows where you’re going and is expecting you to check-in when you arrive. This isn’t only just for women, though I think a lot of men probably already have their own lists for these types of things.   If you do, please make sure to tell us and every woman in your life about them and show them how to change a tire BEFORE the wheels come off!!

As an industry and in life, we all travel a lot by planes, trains, and automobiles.  What safety tips and advice do you follow and can share for our WAVE Travel Guide?  Do you have your own hair-raising moment?!


Jennifer H. Willard

Jennifer Willard is an international speaker on AV design and construction in courthouses and a blogger and podcast host for rAVe [Publications]. She is also the founder of Women in AV.