Location: Farr Park RV Campground (el. 55 ft); Baton Rouge, Louisiana
(click pictures to enlarge)
I stopped at Baton Rouge to attend the Engineering Conference that is put on by the Louisiana Department of Transportation. It usually occurs every two years. Looking back, I guess I've attended about 12 to 15 of these things over the years.
I was very reflective in my thinking during this conference, since I think it may be my last. I did some in-depth people watching and saw myself in the others as they played out all of the roles that I had previously played over my career. I saw the young engineers who were full of piss and vinegar trying to learn things that weren't taught in college but at the same time, acting as if they knew it all. Then I saw the middle bunch of engineers. These are the ones who have been around the block enough to have the experience to do just about anything that is asked of them. They are at the top of their game but probably don't realize it. Sadly, each one has become jaded in different ways due to some hard knocks they have survived. I guess that is a "right of passage". The last group are the ones nearing the end of their careers or perhaps even beyond it. They are shaking hands with old friends they haven't seen in a couple of years and reminiscing about good and bad times. These are the old timers that have seen, heard or experienced just about everything. They are also the ones with the memories of things that were never written down; the "lessons learned" over several decades of work. They weren't written down because we thought the memories would last forever. Little did we know, they don't.
The common denominator between all of the attendees is the learning. Young and old alike come there to learn new things about Engineering and Transportation. It is the love of learning that keeps engineers ticking. I know I will always be an Engineer even though I may never practice that art/skill again. Being an engineer is more a way of thinking than anything else, and that is something that just can't be switched off.
As I walked away, it felt as though a chapter in my life was ending. I could feel the others nearby. They were the engineers that I personally have known throughout my career but who are no longer with us, except in spirit.
Tomorrow is moving day and I will be heading east to a campground near Waveland, Mississippi. Perhaps the Gulf of Mexico with its water and sand will help me get over this pensive mood.
Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.