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Posted on Feb 1, 2016

King of the Commuters: School counselor drives 3 hours every workday

The term “road warrior” might have its ultimate meaning when you’re talking about Bob Lamb.
The Mountain View Elementary School counselor knows every pothole and curve in the highway from his home in Yakima to the school parking lot.
That’s because Lamb and his Toyota Corolla make the round-trip drive five days a week during the school year.
“This has been the roughest year I’ve had because of the weather,” he said. “It usually takes an hour and a half, but some days it’s been longer.”
The one-way distance is almost 90 miles.
Lamb used to live in Ephrata and made the modest drive to Mountain View from there. But a few years ago he married his wife, Darlene, and they faced a dilemma.
Her job as a drug and alcohol counselor is in White Swan, too far to drive from Quincy or Ephrata. So the couple chose Yakima as a compromise in which both drive about the same amount.
Lamb usually leaves home at 5:30 a.m. and gets to school before many staff members. School employees may leave at 3:15 p.m., so he tries to hit the road soon after that when possible.
How does he pass the time?
“I think a lot, and I listen to classic rock ‘n’ roll,” he said, mentioning Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers.
Lamb is from North Carolina, so his penchant for Southern rock is understandable. (You can hear a bit of the South in his speech, too.)
He figures it costs close to $300 a month for gas. Still, he’s glad to make the effort because of a special program at Mountain View that he wants to complete.
School staff has been working with Washington State University to help what Lamb calls “kids in trauma.” Mountain View is making a special effort to mitigate children’s emotional problems, many of which stem from unstable home lives.
The counselor said he wants to work another four years or so to see the project through. And that means he’ll be needing new tires and frequent oil changes for a while longer.
Lamb is OK with that. While most people would focus on the negatives, he sees an upside, too.
“It gives you a chance to get gathered and leave school behind,” Lamb said, “but I’ll be glad when it’s spring and it’s light when I drive.”


— By Steve Kadel,