Sunday, April 03, 2005

Freight Hauler Dave Part 2

Hey,It's me freight hauler Dave and Ricky. That's right were taking a load to the East Coast. Let me tell you about some of the experiences I had along the way

Ricky with his load of freight.

We, Ricky and I, left Omaha about 7:00 AM on Monday April 18th and headed out to Kansas City. Then taking the by pass we were on our way to St. Louis. 7 hours into the trip we are closing down on the great town of St. Louis. Just at the point of complicated maneuvers from one interstate to another then right away to another, a city police car comes racing past the traffic flow with lights flashing and his siren blasting. Sure enough another mile down the road a wreck had shut down the entire side of the interstate. So now three lanes of interstate traffic including 18 wheelers were funneled down the river front streets of St. Louis. I could have slapped the rump of one of the Clydesdale horses as I passed the Busch Brewery and then touched the Arch on the other side of the road.

Anyway the mapqwest directions are now out the window and I'm driving freelance through the heart of St. Louis along with a bzillion other cars and trucks. As we stopped and stopped and stopped and went at an incredibly slow pace, I began planning my strategy to get back on the interstate I needed to get across Illinois. Following the signs I managed to get back on course after a good hour to hour and a half. Ricky and I were just getting up to interstate speed when what to my wondering eyes did appear but a road sign informing me that for the next 27 miles the road would be under construction. They weren't kidding either.

It took another 7 hours just to get through St. Louis and Illinois. Right around sun down I am crossing the Ohio River. I didn't know that this river was so big. It's probably close to a mile across where I crossed. The Lord blessed me with a view of the big golden yellow sun setting on the river. I didn't think it a good idea to be fussing with a camera on a bridge in the middle of three lanes of traffic. The trees were to tall to get a good view of the river and sun after leaving the bridge. That will have to just be a memory picture.

Now Ricky and I are in the great state of Kentucky. If you have never been through a Kentucky bug storm you just haven't lived. I'm talking bugs big enough to give Nebraska birds a run for the money. When they Kathunk on the window it leaves a 3 to 4 inch splat. After 30 minutes, I had to stop just to get the bugs off the windshield. As we made our way up away from the Ohio river valley the bug storm ceased and we sped our way to another great state of Tennessee.

I noticed that Tennessee must love to blow up things because almost every exit had a permanent year round fireworks store. I made it to Nashville about 10:00 PM and needed to stop for gas. I'm feeling pretty good and am thinking about just continuing on into the night but I'm not sure. So I throw out the fleece. Lord if you show me a place to stay for $25.00 then I'll stop. Well, wouldn't you know a mile or so down the road is a big sign sticking up for $25.99 a night. I wheel my rig off the next exit and find a station to fill up with gas. While I'm filling up, I'm beginning to notice that there sure was a lot of loud rap music coming the other cars in the station. As I begin to take account of my surroundings I would say that I was probably the only white guy for miles around. So I expanded my surveillance to the surrounding neighborhood since the 25.00 an night Inn was just up the street. Well, let me say that north Omaha would be probably considered somewhat of a resort area for these folks. So I immediately got back in touch with the Lord and said, "Lord, I said for you to show me a place for $25.00 as a sign to stop, but I only said I would stop if You showed me a place, that doesn't mean that I have to stay there does it?" Now I know some of you would be thinking that I'm really on the edge of bargaining with God. I also think He gave me this gray haired wisdom for a reason as well, so I packed it up and skidalled out of there. Down the road a few more exits I found a place for $35.00. It was called, the Knight's Inn. So Warrior Dave spent the night at the Knight's Inn. I thought that just as much a sign as the $25.00. So Ricky and I bed down after in one day being in 6 states (Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee) and crossing over 3 major rivers (Missouri, Mississippi, and Ohio), we considered it a good day.

This is actually a picture of a place similar to the place I staid, but this picture was obviously taken on the way home without our load.

So the next morning Ricky and I are up bright and early. Ok, it was 7:00 AM, but the sun was shining brightly. I had my terrific Continental breakfast of Fruit Loops and toasted white bread with a coffee chaser. We on the road again heading toward Georgia. Georgia I see has a definite love for the waffle house one is never more than 5 minutes away from a Waffle House. From Nashville to Atlanta the interstate is a continuous 6 lane interstate. As we get close to Atlanta it gets to be 8 lanes then 10 lanes then 12 lanes. I think at the biggest point it was a full sixteen lanes wide. I going through Atlanta about 10:00 AM so the morning rush must be over, but there were tons of traffic just the same. I'm trying to be the good Christian and drive the 55 MPH speed limit. I didn't mind the people flying by me and giving me the dirty looks and I didn't even mind the blast on the air horn from the trucker, but the last straw was when an Atlanta City Police car went cruising by with the flow of traffic and gave me a scowl. So I'm thinking, "OK, I will speed now and repent later." So there we are whizzing along at 65 to 70 MPH with the Atlanta City PD right in the middle of the pack. Very strange place this Atlanta.

We think in Nebraska that people cut us off in traffic. We have no idea what a cutoff is. The first time a car squeezed in the space in front of me with 2 feet between my bumper and his and the same for his front bumper and the car in front of him, this old Nebraska boy's heart skipped more than few beats. As I looked around at the flow of traffic it seemed to be normal driving for these parts of the country. Out of the eight lanes of traffic motoring along the outside two lanes of traffic seem to always be the no choice exit lanes. It gave me a new perspective of the traffic sign "Slower traffic keep right." I get the distinctive feeling that since they want the slower traffic in the right lanes, that it means if you are going to drive slow, get off.

Right outside of Atlanta, Ricky and I stopped to have lunch. He had 87 Octane and I had a nice southern fried chicken lunch. It was so nice to be able to order up two vegetables of choice to be fried Orka, and grits and not have the waitress think I was a weirdo. Cherry coke, one of my favorite drinks, came with real cherries in the drink. I love to listen to those southern gals talk. I had to have my waitress explain the daily specials again just to listen to her talk. All this would have been enough, but icing on the cake was to hear in the back ground lunch music Bill Monroe's version of "Blue Moon over Kentucky". For those who haven't a clue what that means, Bill Monroe is considered the Father of Bluegrass music and Blue Moon over Kentucky is one his classic Bluegrass songs. I just got to love these southern states.

After making it through Atlanta, the rest of the drive was a piece of cake. I arrived at the Piggly Wiggly store in Beaufort at about 3:00 PM on Tuesday so the trip took about 1 and a half days.

To be Continued

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Freight Hauler Dave Part 3

It's me freight hauler Dave. I must clarify some things about the last episode. The first was about Ricky. Ricky was not a newly acquired friend that was traveling across the country with me. About a year ago I bought a new Ford Ranger and named him Ranger Rick. Together Ricky and I have hauled and moved almost every thing imaginable.
The next thing was what exactly was the freight and where was it to be delivered? The freight was a load from my house to be hauled to my daughter in Beaufort South Carolina. This freight included a 2 cushioned love seat, 2 boxes of dishes, a sewing machine, a box of cook books, a box of various household utensils, some baby items, and a prom dress.

Ok with that out of the way let's pick up where we left off.

I made it to Beaufort and found my way to the Piggly Wiggley store. On the way to Beaufort I discovered that my cell phone was on the fritz. I could hear people talk to me, but they could not hear me. What a bummer. I had to resort to calling with a phone card. Finding a pay phone these days can be quite a trick. With the popularity of the cell phone being what it is, the pay phone is almost extinct. So I called up my daughter to tell her that I made it to town only to pick a pay phone that I could hear her, she could not hear me. This is really getting old. Luckily there happened to be another phone right next to the defective one. Finally I get a call through and they directed me to meet them at Walmart. Now you know how I love Walmart, so I'm thinking this has got to be a good place if there's a Walmart here.

One little side note about Georgia. Those folks really know how to build a shopping center. Those that know me also know that Lowes rates right up there with Walmart. Well, in Georgia, I drove past a shopping center that had Walmart and Lowes right next to each other. Ooooh my, nirvana. It just doesn't get any better than that.

So we meet at Walmart. It's such a strange thing to think of Lydia with a family, but there they are the three of them cruising up in a Dodge Neon. Hugs around are in order and of course a squeeze for Bradley. Some light Walmart shopping and then we wind our way through the South Carolina roads to the base housing. There it is with guards at the gate and every house exactly the same for as far as the eye can see. After being there I discovered that the base water tower was only a couple blocks from their house so I could find my way back to their house from almost anywhere by looking for the tower.

It was a little comforting to see Lydia cooking in the kitchen for the family and taking care of the baby just like a real mom. I didn't ever think that she would able to take care of a household, but all those things that I could never get her to do at home she was doing. I guess she really was paying attention after all. So for those in the throes of raising teenagers there is hope at the end of the teen years.

During the 7 days I spent at the Young family, we did many things. We went to Savannah Georgia. This is one of oldest towns in the United States. Mixed among the old Southern homes were businesses like Long John Silvers and Burger King, etc. Every so far there were beautiful city parks that were tree covered and many benches to sit on. One could almost see the old time Southern families there with their picnic baskets and kids running through the park having the grandest time. We hit a couple malls one of which looked like two Oak View malls connected

Of course Grandpa had to buy a couple things for Bradley and family. Bradley got the grandest high chair ever. This baby reclined, had toys fastened to the sides with plastic straps, and a slide in musical activity center for the tray for Bradley to play with while waiting for dinner to be prepared. Oh did I mention that this contraption had a five point seat harness. Dale Jr., race car driver, would have been proud that the kid would be fully protected in the event of a crash.

For the adults, I bought a flat box wardrobe for the bedroom. Flat box furniture requires assembly skills, instruction deciphering, and above all patience. Lydia wanted to have she and Eddie assemble it by themselves. It was comical to listen to the banging and "oh craps" from the back room as they assembled it. After it was assembled, Eddie and Lydia were still talking to each other. That was always a major accomplishment for me. You know women always want to read the instructions. We guys don't need no stinking instructions. Just give us a bucket of bolts, a hammer, a screw driver, a pair of pliers and let the assembly begin.

The week flew by too fast. The day came when I had to leave the fair state of South Carolina and head north to North Carolina to a Bluegrass festival. So again hugs and farewells were given all around. As I head out of town I ponder over the fact that Lydia is no longer my baby, but a grown up mom and the road becomes a little blurry from the teary eyes.

The Adventure continues soon

Friday, April 01, 2005

Freight Hauler Dave Part 4

The vacation was winding down and I was savoring the memories of the last couple weeks.
Heading out of Beaufort S.C.
In North Carolina, the roads are awesome. Once off the interstate roads they become two lane black top roads that twist and wind up and down back and forth through the hills. The shoulders on the roads are about a 1/2 a car width wide. Then trees so thick that one can't see 10 feet from the road. Some of the trees are hanging out over the road. Really cool driving. I couldn't take my eyes off the road long enough to snap a Ricky Cam picture. What's a Ricky Cam you say. That's when the camera sets on the dash and periodically a picture is snapped. Anyway those that had occasion to pray for my protection and safety while I was gone on vacation I have to say it worked. The first morning as I was traveling the 30 miles on the black top windy road to Merlefest in the early morning hours, I had an experience. I was headed down a hill with a curve at the bottom to the left. The trees and the curve were blocking the view. Upon hitting the bottom of the hill and rounding the curve there in front of me about couple hundred feet away was a big freightliner in my lane passing a little while car. All three of us had a split second to react so I hit the brakes and got off the road on the half width shoulder a far as I could and the little while car did the same. The big freightliner snaked right down the middle of the road between us. I was sure glad to have a clean pair of underwear along that day.

That's North Carolina up there ahead.

Well, it's time to head back home. I filled up Ricky with 87 Octane and grabbed a couple sandwiches, a big coffee, and a diet pepsi for myself. I'm anxious to get home so it's a mad dash to make a 24 hour trip from there to here. Ricky has a about a five hour tank so it was a real challenge to have my bladder keep up with Ricky's tank, but I did a pretty good job. Every stop was about the same. Fill up Ricky and drain out myself, grab the sandwiches and drinks and head out on the road. Set the cruise to 70 MPH and five hours later do it again.

Good Ricky Cam shot of the Appalachian Mountains in N.C.

We make it across North Carolina and blew through Tennessee. We hit Kentucky and beat the bug storm across the Ohio river. I was able to get a fairly good shot of the Ohio River while I was whizzing over the bridge at 65 MPH by snapping a shot out the side window.

Ohio River shot on the way home.

Somewhere in the middle of Kentucky, Ricky and I made another stop, but Ricky insisted since we had just hauled a load of freight to the East coast we just had to park in the lot with the other freight haulers. Shhhhhhh, don't tell him he needs to grow up a bit.

Ricky parking with the big guys

I'm really thinking that I'm a genus because leaving on Sunday morning would put be close to St. Louis about 9:00 PM on a Sunday night. Traffic would be slow and I could shoot right through the 20 mile construction zone easy as could be. I was right I hit the St. Louis area at just about 9:00 PM and you would think the construction workers would be fast asleep dreaming about Tonka Trucks. But NoooOOOOoooo not in Illinois they love their construction. That's right, 9:00 PM on a Sunday night they have dust flying from sawing holes in the road, jack hammers busting up concrete, and dump trucks running up and down the closed off portions of road all the while I'm creeping along at an incredible speed of 5 MPH. Once again I creeped my way through the Illinois construction zone near East St. Louis. So at 11:00 PM I was headed out across the fruited plain of Missouri on highway 70 toward Kansas City. While passing through St. Louis I gave the radio dial a twist and came up with sock hopping with the early 60's oldies program. Cruising and singing along with the windows down kept me awake and heading toward that comfy bed in Omaha. When the St Louis station faded out beyond hearing, I twisted the dial again and found......oh my heart be still..........a community college station having a special Bill Monroe Bluegrass show.

We hit Kansas City about midnight with visions of being home snuzzin' by 4:30 AM. After getting around the K.C. bypass and heading toward St. Joe the my eyes were toast, full of sand, and the eye lids were really dropping fast. I was really gettin' tired. So rather than being foolish, I tapped into that God given wisdom again and wheeled my rig into a rest stop, threw back the seat, and immediately fell into a deep snore for about 3 hours. It's amazing what a little snoring and big jug of truck stop coffee can do. Finally home at 6:30AM and I hit the bed and finally came back to life about 5:00 PM and this vacation went into the history books.

This adventure is completed
The adventure called life continues

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

3.1.2006 Cowboy - Carpenter Dave

This is probably the season I enjoy the most. New life is springing up all around with plants and animals.
Here is the latest two new arrivals on the farm. I've been spending some time grooming the horses. I have been blessed by being able to relate to the animals and spending time with Seth.

Last Friday I spent part of the afternoon riding one of the Geldings at the farm. It's been close to 40 years since I sat in a saddle. The horse I learned to ride was a neck reined old mare that my sister bought when I was in High School. I would ride the horse from time to time to fetch in the cows out in the pasture for milking. This horse I rode last Friday was a different deal all together. He was a full of spunk snap bit reined horse that had to be held in a tight grip or off we'd go at full speed. Although he was broken for riding he still would get skittish when he would hear a sudden noise behind him. It made for some exciting moments when suddenly a quick side step happened. My hip sockets said "OK, that's quite enough for today" after about a half an hour.

One Wednesday a friend and I were having breakfast at our favorite expensive restaurant..........Burger King. I was explaining that I really would like a storage shed, but the ones available at Lowes were really cheaply made. We conjured up and idea to just buy the materials and make one. HGTV has "Design on a Dime" and "Design for the Sexes", but my friend and I have "Design on a Napkin". So a few days later we loaded up Ricky and came home with the materials. The 50 2X4s, two 3/4 inch 4X8 exterior sheets of plywood, ten 5/8" 4X8 sheets of exterior paneling, ten 1X4s eight foot long, 2 1X4s ten foot long, five sheets of 4X8 roof underlaying, three bundles of roofing shingles, ten 6"X12"X 4" cement blocks, and various sizes of nails made Ricky's rear springs compress down to the frowny position. I think normal springs are in the smiley position.

Ah, there's just nothing like the smell of burning clutch from backing up the driveway. Not to be concerned, Ricky survived the ordeal with strength and endurance. He even received his first battle scar from scraping a bundle of roofing on the side fender and wears it proudly as a sign to all that he's not just another pretty truck that only sits in the garage and never works to earn his keep.

Those squished down tires you see are not from being under inflated but are from being overloaded.

The floor is up and one side wall now built

Here it is nearing completion. The neighbors have been inspecting each step and putting on their stamp of approval. They think it should be a community shed and of course the kids of the neighborhood think it would make a great play house. I'll probably be puttering around with it most of the summer. I still need to get the trim on and get it painted. It now has a door and a peak over the door, but I still need to get the peg board up inside and various supports for the floors exterior perimeter.

I'll be heading out for South Carolina to visit my daughter, Lydia, and her family including Bradley my grandson on April 18th. Bradley is of course the greatest grandson on this planet earth. He's full of laughs and giggles and can keep this grandpa entertained for hours.

Over the last two years I have discovered that I enjoy bluegrass music. It just so happens starting on April 27th the grandaddy of all bluegrass Festivals called Merlefest in Wilksborro North Carolina will be happening. I have been accepted as a volunteer to direct traffic in the parking lot for 4 hours on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. It's gets me a free pass to the rest of the day's activities which start at 8:00 AM and end around Midnight. All the major bluegrass performers with be there. Were talking big name guys. It should be a good time for sure.
Cowboy-Carpenter Dave