Sunday, April 29, 2007
ROSEBUD..............That was the last word uttered by Charles Foster Kane in the classic movie "Citizen Kane". A journalist had a mission to learn the meaning of that final word. Was it a woman's name? A horse he bet on? A beloved pet? Some say it could be concluded that a man's life cannot be summed up in one word. Others said, it meant that Kane regretted not having led a simple, quite life. I thought of this as we stayed in a rest area in Rosebud, Montana.
As I predicted, we were dispatched to Moses Lake, WA to pick up a Genie, which we will be delivering to Johnson City, Tennessee. It didn't take long for us to get it loaded and chained to the trailer. With a stop at the company yard for fuel, and to get a nail friendly tire repaired, we were on our way. We ended up staying in Haugan, Montana at the $10,000 Silver Casino, which had ample parking. We didn't venture inside, wasn't in a gambling mood that night. We did go into the store to buy some water and then called it a night.
Saturday was a beautiful day. Clear skies, the temperature in the high 70's and the landscape still green before it turns brown beneath the summer heat. We must have seen a dozen System drivers going the opposite direction and a handful more going our way. I commented to Craig we should probably buy some stock in Genie as there didn't seem to be a shortage of these lifts headed in all directions. We caught up with another company driver, who engaged Craig in a bit of conversation going down Interstate 90.
When we arrived at the rest stop we noticed a couple of carved signs relating the history of the area and one that was amusing talking about cattle brands. It explained that a "dogie" is a little calf who has lost its mammy and whose daddy has run off with another cow.
So as we spent the night in Rosebud, I pondered again about the movie "Citizen Kane" and the meaning of that final spoken word by Charles Foster Kane. The reporter in the movie interviewed several people and each gave a contrasting impression of the same man. I wondered what type of impression I have projected throughout my life, and is it what I would want to leave behind as to the person I was......... All I know for sure is this, if my life should end today, I hope the impression left behind would be that I took some risks, tried to live my life to the fullest, and I was very happy. What impression will you leave behind?
Friday, April 27, 2007
Any baby boomer, who can still remember the 70's, has fond memories of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom with Marlin Perkins and his faithful sidekick Jim Fowler. It was always funny to see and hear Marlin from a safe vantage point, describe in detail how Jim was capturing a poisonous snake or sneaking up on a vicious wild animal. These were the thoughts going through my head as we were driving out of Canada through the Banff and Kootenya National Parks.
When we sent in the empty call, after our deliveries to Calgary and Edmonton, we were told to head towards Spokane. This could mean only one thing.........pick up a Genie. We decided to spend the night in Edmonton and start out early Thursday to head back to the States. The routing we were given would send us through areas we have not gone before.
When we arrived back in Calgary, and headed west, one of the first things that caught my eye, on the outskirts of Calgary, were the ski jumps. These particular ski jumps, erected for the 1988 Winter Games, were made famous by Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards, who was the first to represent Great Britain in ski jumping. That, and the fact he was so farsighted, he had to wear his glasses while jumping, which fogged up so bad, he couldn't even see.
Upon entering Banff National Park, it was like seeing untouched wilderness. Really,too beautiful to even try to describe. There were an abundant number of deer grazing on the grass near the roadway. They didn't even seem phased by the traffic going by as you can tell from the look on the deer's face in the photo.
Leaving Alberta and entering British Columbia we drove through the Kootenay National Park. The landscape was just as beautiful here. Near Radium Hot Springs, we came up to a four way stop. I happened to look to my right and thought I was looking at a statue of a big horn sheep. Much to my surprise, it moved, and then I noticed the rest of the herd grazing on the grass nearby. Just like Marlin Perkins,from my safe vantage point in the truck, and with my faithful sidekick Craig by my side, I took my photo, and for a short period of time, I explored my own Wild Kingdom.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Cop: You got your truck stuck?
God bless that trucker, without missing a beat he goes: No sir, I was delivering that overpass and I ran outta gas. Here's your sign.
On our travels we see our fair share of all kinds of signs. Some informative, some annoying, some funny, and yes, some signs that remind us that there are people in the world that need these signs to make their way through life.
After leaving Tennessee, we drove through Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Wyoming. It has been a very pleasant drive so far. We kept hearing about some bad weather that was suppose to hit the Mid West, and last night while watching TV, they were scrolling thunderstorm and tornado warnings across the bottom of the screen. The wind was blowing pretty good, but we never heard any thunder and thankfully no tornado.
But as we drove near North Platte, Nebraska we saw two truckers who were not as lucky as us. Either they didn't hear the warnings or chose to ignore them, but the tornado found them. The truck in the picture was pushed over onto the side of the road and the other one, well, let's just say, all that was visable was the under carriage of the truck and trailer.
Talk on the CB was that one of the trucks was lifted by the tornado from the Eastbound side and dropped off the side of the road on the Westbound side. Judging from the broken tree limbs, it certainly does look like the trucks went airborne.
I thought I would share some photos I've been able to take over the last couple of days. Taking photos from the passenger seat of the truck can prove to be challenging, not only for me, but for Craig as well. Trying to capture the perfect shot while traveling at up to 65mph can test your resolve, but the passenger side mirror is the real culprit. While I am leaning, trying to get the perfect shot around it, I always seem to get in the way of Craig as he maneuvers through traffic and I block his line of vision to the mirror. I have to admit, that I reluctantly defer taking photos to keep our driving always safe.
When the opportunity arises where we do stop at rest areas, I enjoy taking my camera and having the luxury of snapping some photos with no cumbersome obstacles in my way. When our days of traveling the highways in this truck are over, I plan to print and frame my favorite ones to remind us of our travels and adventures.
My last shot was taken again from the passenger seat while Craig was battling commute traffic as we entered St Louis, Missouri. The sun was just rising, and I thought the big city looked so peaceful before fully coming awake with the morning's activities. So as I leaned forward, Craig reminded ever so nicely that I was once again blocking his mirrors. I snapped this picture, and you know, sometimes you just get lucky.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Thursday morning was a very pleasant drive through Tennessee to Nashville, before we started heading north into Kentucky. I think I have mentioned this before, but Tennessee is a state I could picture myself living in, especially the eastern part. In fact, Craig and I started looking at real estate in the area as a possible second home for us. It has so much greenery, rolling hills and a multitude of waterways in which to enjoy. The slower pace of the South is nice and the cost of living is so much better than California. I think I could be a very convincing Southern Belle, now how about a refill on my "sweet tea"
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
We were only about 130 miles from our delivery at the terminal in Baltimore when we left the truck stop. The wind had died down during the night,but it was still overcast and cloudy with only a misting of rain on our windshield as we drove on. The majority of the storm had moved North. I even had to replace my sandals with my woolly boots for the day. Arriving at the Port of Baltimore is always an interesting ride. We had to go through the Fort McHenry Tunnel, to get to the other side of the Chesapeake Bay. This tunnel is 7,200 feet long and was opened in 1985 after 5 1/2 years of construction at a cost of $750 million. It is the widest underwater tunnel in the world. We then went through security, found a place to park to get the proper paperwork to the receiving clerk, off load the Genie and then wait to get the paperwork signed. Let me just say we waited a long time to get the paperwork signed. You gotta love these union workers.
So another delivery completed, a new assignment given, and like good students of the long ago fables, we realized the moral, the slow and steady pace will suit us just fine. After all, we consider ourselves retired and on vacation, and isn't that what every job should feel like?
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
We had been given a preplan to deliver a couple of over sized boats, one to Indiana and the other to Canada. But as we waited for confirmation, we were informed that it had been cancelled. The boats were not ready yet. Can't say that we were all that upset about it, you know how I just love the whole Customs thing!
In no time at all we received another dispatch to head to Moses Lake to pick up a Genie to take to the docks in Baltimore. This particular Genie Z80/60 will be on a slow boat to Canningvale, Western Australia. I always enjoy knowing where the boats and Genie we deliver to the docks are headed. Makes me feel oh so international.
Our drive into Moses Lake was nice, but when we got there we had a little wait. There were at least 4 other drivers in line waiting to load up with their Genie's. I had to go back into my past blog entries to even remember when it was that we had a back haul .. It was almost 3 months ago when we delivered some containers from Southern California to Phoenix, AZ. Quite a run if you ask me. But there is definitely a difference hauling this 38,000 pound Genie compared to the rather lightweight boats.
As a treat, we naturally stopped at the Starbucks in Moses Lake for an iced coffee and a cookie. After all it is Craig's birthday on Friday and why not take this opportunity to start celebrating early. We had to scale out at a truck stop nearby to make sure we were not overweight on any of the axles. After getting the weights it was pretty close, but legal, so off we went to the company yard to fuel up.
Monday, April 09, 2007
In 1945 Albert Christensen started blasting the hole for this home. By the time he was done, he blasted away over 50,000 cubic feet of sandstone. In 1952, he and his wife Gladys moved in. In 1957, Albert died and Gladys spent the next eight years putting the finishing touches on the couples' dream cave. She turned part of it into a diner which she operated for 17 years. When she died, she and Albert were buried in nearby graves.
Now this place has everything a good tourist trap should. Plenty of souvenirs, a tour of the home, a petting zoo, photo opportunities, and enough antiques of days gone by to keep you fascinated.........for us, about 30 minutes. But after taking the mandatory tourist photos, feeding the ostriches, and buying a post card, we had pretty much had our fill. But as we like to say, that is one more roadside attraction marked off our list. Been there, done that........now onto our next stop.
Sunday, April 08, 2007
But while driving and looking out my window, it occurred to me, Texas wasn't brown, but green. I don't remember last year ever seeing anything green, especially on this particular route. Yesterday, leaving Pharr, quite to my surprise and enjoyment, along side the roadway and in the median, wild flowers, purple, orange, and yellow. This was a side of Texas I had not seen before. Unfortunately, it will not last long and then I'll be back to seeing brown again, but at least on this Easter weekend, I had the pleasure of seeing a Texas Spring and for that I am thankful.
I'm especially thankful for the life we now have. Both of us couldn't be more happier to have the opportunity to have new experiences and spend quality time together. I'm thankful for our families and friends for the support they have given us on our journeys. Thankful for our health, albeit, with a stop for some dental work, and most of all, that we have been kept safe on the many roads we have traversed over this great land of ours.
Which leads me to mention the rain, then hail that came down upon us. The CB chatter get busier as we heard about trucks being jack knifed and cars off the side of the road. We heard some very excited voices saying a car had just gone off a bridge about 1/4 mile ahead of us. As we approached the area we slowed down so we could stop and render assistance. It turned out to be a K9 Sheriff Officer who had lost traction on the bridge due to the ice. Craig jumped out to check on him and found both the officer and the dog to be okay. The car was another matter, but with tow truck enroute, we were on our way again. Further down the road we came upon the jack knifed tanker with traffic backed up at least a couple of miles, and us thankful that we were going in the opposite direction.
Yes, we have much to be thankful for this Easter weekend, and in retrospect, maybe that warm, sunny weather wouldn't be so bad after all.
Friday, April 06, 2007
THE WORLD'S LARGEST ROADRUNNER
High on a mesa over looking the city of Las Cruces sits this bird. He is comprised entirely from junk. He used to reside at the city dump until it closed. Who constructed him and why remains a mystery, but he found a home here in 2002. He is approximately 20 feet tall and 50 feet long. He atttracts a lot of attention as people gather to get a closer look. His only rival for the title World's Largest Roadrunner, is not far way in Fort Stockton, TX where Pisano Pete, made out of conrete, resides. Rumors of a bitter fued between the two still circulate, but I like to think the world is big enough for both of them.
Further down the road in San Antonio, Tx, if you happen down the 410 loop and can see around all the construction, you will come upon the North Star Mall. What makes this particular mall famous, is proclaiming itself the owners of :
THE WORLD'S LARGEST COWBOY BOOTS
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
I think of this as we are stuck in morning commute traffic in Phoenix, AZ. You remember right? The place we unloaded 11 boats from our trailer in 117 degree temperatures and thought we would pass out and melt right there onto the sticky asphalt. We do not tolerate the heat. I look at Craig in his shorts and sandals, and with the AC blasting....... oh ...and need I remind you it's now 7:15am and its 72 degrees. Kinda gives us something to look forward to. But hey, enough about the weather.
We made it into Newport Beach, CA Monday morning. We had to wait about a half mile down the road, under a freeway overpass, until the dealership moved some boats around to make room for us. It was a tight fit, but as Craig likes to say, " I haven't hit anything yet", and I hope it stays that way. We had received our next dispatch, and it was, as expected to head to Pharr, TX.
We spent the night in Tonopah, AZ, passing by Quartzsite, where even the snowbirds had flown back North for the Summer. But as always, no matter how much I complain about the southwest, it always gives me something to appreciate..... a great sunrise. Now pass the sunscreen, it's going to be a very long summer!