Monday, June 30, 2014

High Floor, King Bed, River View

When we first checked in, we had a view of the golf course.  It's the only room they had available at the time, but that's not really what I wanted.  So the next morning I requested a room on a high floor, with a king bed, and a river view.  I wanted to see the lights at night and I wanted to watch the boats during the day.

Since we were here a couple of days before the rest of the group checked in, I wanted to make sure we got into a river view room before everyone and their mother started requesting it.  They moved us right after breakfast.  Here's a panorama of the Savannah River, taken from our room.

Click to embiggen!

** Embiggen - I read that word in a blog post once and thought it was funny - I understood the meaning, but had no idea where it came from.  Apparently, it's from The Simpsons.  I've never seen even one episode of that show, and just in case you haven't either, here's the link referencing its origin. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Pitchin' Melon
2012: As If The Heat, The Dust, And The Politics Weren’t Bad Enough
2011: My Office Window
2010: All The Live-long Day
2009: What Every Child Leaves Behind
2008: What Happened To Being Human?
2007: I’ve Been Everywhere, Man
2006: Gulf Shore Toe Magnets
2005: Sorry, no post on this day.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Someone's Going Home With This

At the Million Miler event this week, they have a drawing and the winner goes home with this new truck.

I would love for Ed to be the winner.  I mean, how cool would it be to win a truck??
It looked nice sparkling in the sun beside the river, and I really love the color.  It's a deep, metallic, blackish purple.  Soooo.....
Make a wish.

Say a prayer.

Light a candle.

Cross your fingers.

Rub a lantern.

Consult a psychic.

Talk to the Universe.

Count crows.

Whatever you do to bring you or others luck and good fortune...

Do it in spades!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Hey Cutie!
2012: I’ll Have To Pry It From Her Dead, Cold Fingers
2011: Straight Talk
2010: Who Knew There Were Things To Do Other Than Eating Pie?
2009: 157 Years Of Light
2008: Call Me. We Have Telephones In Nebraska Now.
2007: Reach For The Sky
2006: Sorry, no post on this day.
2005: Sorry, no post on this day.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Ed Drove A Million Miles To Get Here

We'll be staying at The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa for the next week.  Hopefully inside, because it's a bazillion degrees with 190% humidity once you breach the sanctuary of the air-conditioned buildings.  
Photo Credit:  The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa website
We are here to partake in the festivities of our company's annual All-Star Celebration, an event that honors leased owner-operators who have achieved a minimum of one million safe driving miles.  Ed reached his million with this company last January - he has over 2.5 million lifetime miles driven - but missed qualifying for last year's event by only two weeks.

From what we've seen so far, it seems like little 'ol Eddie is the youngest guy here. One guy even commented on how young he looked, and Ed said, "You should have seen me seventeen years ago when I started driving."  Some of the older drivers who've been with the company over twenty and thirty years have two and three million miles under their belt.

We have a room just a few floors down from the top of the building, with a view of the riverfront shops and restaurants just across the way.  There is a ferry boat that makes round-trips throughout the day and late into the evening.

Next to the hotel is The Savannah International Trade and Convention Center where some of the festivities will take place.  
Photo Credit:  The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa website
We've been to Savannah before, in 2007, when we stayed at the Marriott across the river.  We took the trolley sightseeing tour, walked the cobblestone streets, ate in several restaurants, visited the City Market.  It was September and still stupid hot, but not as insanely, unbearably, subtropical-humid as it is right now.

The only reason I may venture to the other side of the river, is to visit The Florence.  It's new, and from what I read in the in-room magazine, it sounds like a place that's right up my alley.  And they claim it's cooler in the evening.  Pshaw!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Friday, June 27, 2014

Ma And Pa Kettle Lived Here

Chimacum is a community on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state.  The town was named after the Chimakum people, Native Americans who inhabited the area.

We've been here several times now, as we deliver to a regular customer nearby, and each time we drive into town we pass a road named Egg and I Road.  The road's name has a fun place in history, as it's where the fictional characters of the 1940s, Ma and Pa Kettle, lived.

Ma and Pa Kettle were created by author Betty McDonald, first appearing in her 1945 novel, The Egg and I.  The book was a humorous memoir of her life as a young woman on a chicken farm in Chimacum.  Her neighbors became Ma and Pa Kettle, two of the characters who were supposedly a composite of people in the area.

Not everyone felt they were composite enough.  Years later a lawsuit was brought by members of the community claiming they too closely resembled the characters, and that people in the town knew exactly who they were.  From the book came a film starring Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray in the lead roles of the young husband and wife.   

This was all before my time of course.  I'd never heard of The Egg and I but I had heard of Ma and Pa Kettle.  Where or why, I don't know.=, but I know them.  Who knows, maybe from my parents or grandparents.

But now when we pass Egg and I Road, I'll know exactly where the unusual name came from.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: "License, Registration and Insurance Card, Please"
2012: Welcome To Hell
2011: When She Passes Each One She Passes Goes Ahhhh
2010: The Key To Being Funny
2009: Wishes Really Do Come True
2008: Eddie Plays It Safe Friday
2007: What Road?
2006: I’m STILL Looking To Get Me Some Good BBQ
2005: Say Cheese!!

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Did you know the major difference between the peach and the nectarine is the fuzz?  The taste is slightly different too, but if you were presented either without the skin, you probably wouldn't know which was which.

I like both, and recently I've been buying the white peaches and nectarines.  I don't really know what the difference is, but they look so clean.  and they're tasty.

I like my fruit hard.  Very hard.  Peaches, nectarines, pears, plums.  It's not that I dislike a juicy peach, I don't, I just like these types of fruits to be really, rock hard to the touch.  And like in the photo, I love when the peach or nectarine is so hard it cleanly pulls away from the fruit.

I'm not a fan of summer, but I am very fond of the bounty of fruit it brings.  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: I Think We May Be Following A Derecho. Or Is It An Izquierda?
2012: This One Time, At Summer Camp…
2011: Into The Wild
2010: It Was Clear The Moment You Opened Your Mouth
2009: Eddie Captures A Sunset Friday
2008: Pelicans Enjoying Their Rule Of The Lake
2007: Bigfoot
2006: There Is A Reason People Try To Repress Certain Childhood Memories
2005: Painted Ladies

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

We Were Ear!!

It's all about the corn.  That's right.  This stuff.  It's really King in some places.  Uh, like South Dakota for instance.  It even has its own palace.
The Mitchell Corn Palace, located in Mitchell, South Dakota.  We finally made it.  After begging Ed for years to swing through here, this last trip made it possible.  We weren't in a rush.  It was daytime.  We weren't hauling anything that needed special attention.  It was a weekday.  And we were going right past the exit.  I finally stood in front and too this photo.
If you don't know what the Mitchell Corn Palace is all about, please allow me to fill you in.

This is the biggest tourist attraction in the town of Mitchell, as you might imagine.  And billed as the only corn palace in the world.  It draws more than a half million visitors a year.  Technically, it's an event arena, but it's really more famously known for the corn.

Sadly, it was under construction when we visited (at least it didn't suffer the fate of the Flickertail), but it wasn't closed and the murals were still very visible.  Typically, they start taking down the last year's murals at at the end of May, removing everything by the end of August, and then completing the new ones as soon as they harvest the corn needed, finishing up by the first of October.  It costs $130,000 each year to decorate the palace.

We were told they aren't doing a new design this year because of the construction.  Or, as they call it...the corn-struction.  Here you can see the construction vehicles out front and the "Coming Soon" signs depicting the updated building design.

The redesign will included replacing the onion domes and lighting them, and adding more lighting to the building to enhance the murals, and some other stuff I can't remember.  But it's not going to be cheap.  The renovation is expected to cost $7.2 million dollars.  Holy corn cob!

But it's all for the good of the palace.  And that's what it's really all about, right?  To showcase the corn.    

The first palace was built in 1892 to showcase the fertile soil of the area, encouraging people to settle there.  Gee, seems like a good reason to me.

Go west, young man!  Grow corn.

Each year there's a new theme for the mural designs, chosen from the work of local artists.  Here you can see the 2014 murals still on the side of the building.

It takes over 275,000 ears of corn each year to create the murals.  The ears of corn are sawed in half lengthwise and nailed to the building over what essentially looks like a paint-by-number template, drawn on roofing paper, giving the people who construct the murals and idea of which color goes where.
They use thirteen colors, the most popular color being blue.  The corn is naturally grown using special seed created just for the Corn Palace.  Each color is planted in a separate field to maintain its pure color.  
This guy's calling his friends to tell them to come on by and see him on the side of the building.  He's probably more excited by the phone he's using though, than being a Corn Palace star.  
Also used in the murals are over 3,000 bushels of rye, oat heads, and sour dock.  They are tied in bundles and attached to the building in the same fashion.  Here's a close-up of the turrets from the front of the building.
The grass borders of these two murals are done the same way.
 Another shot of the outhouse.
Inside the building, it's just an auditorium.  It's become quite the place for basketball games too.  Get this - the Mitchell High School basketball team are called the Kernels.  In the auditorium area, they've set up a shopping are they call their Corn-cessions Gift Shop.
We bought a few corn themed products and also watched a video of the corn palace history.
There's a stage (Pat Benatar and Crystal Gayle - not together - are coming in August!), and the murals above the stage and around the perimeter of the room were done by artist Oscar Howe and they are never changed out.  They're only maintained by adding new corn if needed.
I'm thrilled that we were able to visit.  I'm glad the murals were all still visible and hadn't been taken down yet for the season, and I'm thankful the weather was so beautiful, allowing me to get some decent exterior shots.  With all the rain they've been getting, I could have been doing this in a downpour.  
Here's a detail of the guy's sweater from the photo above.  In this picture you can see several of the colors used - red, black, blue, yellow, and even calico.
If you have a chance, visit.  It doesn't take long and you'll be one of the 500,000 visitors who have seen what's known around the world as a "folk art wonder on the prairie of South Dakota".

For more on this unique landmark, and the reason why there was no new design for the Corn Palace in 2006, watch Stephen Colbert's report, A Shucking Disaster - Nightmare at the Corn Palace.  As you would imagine, it's pretty damn funny.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: This Disturb's Me 

2012: Not Sure The Money Will Follow
2011: Trucking Al Fresco
2010: 3000 Miles To Squidland
2009: It Could Be Africa If It Weren’t For The Schlitterhahn
2008: How To Ace A Job Interview
2007: Diver Down
2006: Day Tripping
2005: Nipple Rock

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

This Place Is For The Birds

One of my favorite truck stops in the T/A in North Bend, Washington.  There's nothing really special about it truck stop wise, but the thing I like about it is the way it smells.  And I don't mean inside.

I mean outside.  Yeah, right?  Weird, huh, for me to like something outside?

It's nestled in a hill covered in trees.  OK, so in this shot you can only see like, five trees, it was dusk, and a little overcast.  But they're there.  A lot of them.  And it smells like pine.  All.  The.  Time.   

We've only been into the restaurant a few times.  It's got a weird lot, not a whole lot of parking, much of it's on a hill, so we usually don't stay.  We fuel and leave.  But this time we were hungry, we hadn't done a food shop and I didn't feel like scraping together something from whatever we did have available.  So we went to the restaurant.

They must have done a recent renovation - or I just haven't been inside in a looong time - but it looked nicer.  We got a table by the window - that one right in the middle - and were delighted to see a bird-feeder hanging there with several birds dining at the same time we were.  Next to it was a hummingbird feeder with a hummingbird with invisible wings, hovering in place.

On the table was a small card offering cute little solar powered bobble plants for sale, explaining that the money goes to an employee named Julie, to help augment the birdseed fund.  We were told by our waitress that Julie is the one who set up all the bird feeders outside, the one who maintains them all, the one who buys all the birdseed and hummingbird food.  Or sugar water.  Whatever they eat.  She also purchased the bird feeders and spends about three hours a week of her own time maintaining them.
The birdseed feeders and the hummingbird feeders stretch around two sides of the building, strategically placed in front of the windows so the diners inside have a nice view of the beautiful wildlife.  I was so impressed and I really liked the idea of seeing something pretty out of the window, instead of watching some loser in a backwards baseball cap flick cigarette butts on the ground before he walks away, leaving his Slurpee cup on top of the newspaper machine.
I don't need a solar powered bobble flower, but when we were at the cashier desk paying for our food ticket, I asked if I could leave ten dollars in an envelope for Julie's birdseed fund.  I wrapped my ten dollar bill with a little note expressing my appreciation.

It's a nice gesture and extremely thoughtful to have someone care so much about a driver's dining experience.  Thank you, Julie!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Get Your Travel On
2012: An Art Deco Tower In The Panhandle
2011: Traffic Might Just Have Saved My Life
2010: Joining The Ranks
2009: The Daily Rant Goes Farther East Than Ever Before
2008: What He Does When I’m Sleeping
2007: Now You Don’t Have To Go To The Ghetto To Get Crack
2006: Satchel Pitches A Great Question
2005: A Night In Yakima

Monday, June 23, 2014

Dear Summer,

Photos stolen from Boyd Chapman's Facebook page.  Yes, he knows.
I have a Facebook friend named Boyd Chapman.  He's witty and intelligent, childlike and creative, talented and oh my my, handsome.  He loves Christmas.  So much so, he starts the countdown until the next Christmas when the clock strikes midnight on the current one.  You can say he's a fan of the Winter Wonderland.

He recently wrote this note to the First Day of Summer.  And I love it.  Take it away, Boyd. 

* * * * *

Oh, hello first day of Summer! Come in, come in.
I can't begin to express how much I love you and how glad I am you are here. 

What's that? 

No...not for your warm weather and sunshine. Not for your camping trips and barbecues. 
Not even the hours to be spent on a raft in the pool or boat on the water. 

Why do I love you? 

Because you bring the longest day of the year!
After today, each sunset will arrive earlier and earlier.
Oh, how it won't be long until it's dark at 8:00pm, then 7:00pm, 6:00pm, 5:00pm...

Instead of everyone's excitement for your arrival,
they'll be lamenting at how fast you are slipping away.
Although, never fast enough for me.

Autumn is less than three months away!
Better than that?
Ho, ho, OH yes - the Christmas decor will be back in stores even sooner!

Lets face it. Summer, you're like the chick in college the guys hang out with
just to get closer to your hotter friends - Fall and Winter.
I'll enjoy you, but don't get the wrong idea.
I'm already counting the days until you are gone.

* * * * *

So am I, my friend.

So. Am. I.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: I Wrote This After A Day Of Doing Nothing, Sitting On My Ass, While I Watched TV 

2012: The Beautiful Strangler
2011: Art Enables Us To Find Ourselves And Lose Ourselves At The Same Time
2010: Even God Can’t Help Men
2009: My President’s House
2008: Don’t Give Up Hope If You Just Don’t Know What You Want To Be When You Grow Up, You Have Choices
2007: Alright, Mr. DeMille, I’m Ready For My Close Up
2006: Stone Magnolia
2005: Fitty Nine!!!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

I Think I Saw A Nimbostratus

In Crow Agency, Montana, where Interstate 90 meets U.S. Route 212, you'll find the Little Bighorn Battlefield.  You can see a portion of it in the photo above.

We turned off here and took U.S. Route 212 East through Montana, across the Crow and Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservations, through towns named Lame Deer and Epsie.

We went through Custer National Forest before crossing the very northeast corner of Wyoming and dropping into South Dakota.  We passed through Belle Fourche, stopping to get Chinese take-out for dinner (don't expect anything's South Dakota), then headed through Sturgis before stopping in Rapid City for the night.

The landscape in this area is arresting.  Green hills spreading for miles.  Herds of horses running playfully, nudging each other with their noses, bumping their large bodies together as they frolicked.  Droves of cows huddling together near ponds and in pastures.  Calves suckling their mothers, larger cows lounging in the grass or scratching against posts.  And clouds everywhere.  It really helps to know your cloud formations in this part of the nation.

We really loved this route.  It shortened our drive by 55 miles.  Well worth getting off the interstate and taking a different, beautiful route.  We don't come up to this part of the country too often, but when we do we usually do the east-west routes across the southern portion of each state.

The road was excellent, the traffic was non-existent, and the scenery was varied and interesting.  My kind of shortcut, and something we'll definitely do again.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Ed Breaking Bad In The Lap Pool

2012: View From The Bridge
2011: Small Place, Big Flavor
2010: La Vita รจ Bella
2009: He Looks Much Better Here Than On The Penny
2008: One Of The Few Places In Iowa NOT Under Water
2007: We Need A Manager On Register Three Please!
2006: Mobile Misses
2005: Idaho?? YOU Da Ho!!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

WARNING: Very Low Flying Aircraft

OK, so not really flying.

This is one of the more interesting loads I've ever seen.  They were parked at the Flying J in Post Falls, Idaho.  I saw it right away when we pulled in and I thought, what the hell?

Looking at it from behind I was still thinking, what the hell?  It's sooo wide.  Even with the wings clippped.
I don't know anything about planes, but it looks like something from the 1940s with its stubby bulbous nose and tiny windows.  The kind of plane you'd see in a black and white film.
I could see stuff inside, through the windows.  Like someone was moving and crammed all their shit inside their vintage airplane that they're either bringing to the new home to use in the yard as a conversation piece, or that they're going to actually make into their new home.
I didn't see anyone in the truck hauling it, but I wish I had.  I would have loved to have the scoop on it.    
Who knows, he might be heading in the same direction.  Maybe I'll see him down the road somewhere.  If not, then...

Bon Voyage!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Stop. Look. Read.

2012: You Won’t Miss Me Coming On This Bike
2011: An Extra Large Bargain
2010: Maybe You Can Learn A Little Something From A Few Truck Drivers
2009: The Fathers In Our Lives, Our Fathers Who Art In Heaven And The Father Of Our Country
2008: Who The Hell Left The Pool Float In The Sea Of Tranquility??
2007: Lure Me In
2006: Sometimes The Reasons NOT To Have Children Are So Very Clear
2005: U-Ta-Dah!!

Friday, June 20, 2014

30 Miles To Spokane

Heading east towards Spokane, Washington.  Look at those incredible cottonball clouds!

What a great view we have from our office window.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013:  Truck And Sky
2012: Not Despicable At All
2011: Slice Of Summer
2010: Time Suck
2009: The Spirit Of Sharing
2008: Sailor Boy Friday
2007: Cozy Dining
2006: It’s All About Me
2005: Alien Land

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Mountain Was Out

Today we're in the Pacific Northwest.  Gosh, I love it up here.  The weather was GOR-GEE-OUS!!

The mountain was even out.

When I lived in Seattle, saying "the mountain is out" was a way people underscored the fact that the weather was beautiful, with skies clear enough to see all the way to Mount Rainier.  

It's so amazing, you almost forget it's an active volcano.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Small Town Bullshit. Big City Nothing.

2012: She’s Political Coming And Going And Doesn’t Even Know It
2011: Old As She Was, She Still Missed Her Daddy Sometimes
2010: Crafty Little Bugger
2009: Beauty For A Buck
2008: What My Thoughts Sound Like When Left Uncensored And Ultimately, Formed Into Words
2007: New York Style
2006: I.H.O.P.G.
2005: Sorry, no post on this day.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wyoming In June

Can you believe this is snow, in the middle of June, in Wyoming??  Of course you can, it's Wyoming.

It was a beautiful sight, with air as crisp as if it were the middle of winter.

And we didn't have to drive through any of it.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: I Will Not Be Decaffeinated

2012: Sweeeeeeet
2011: Summer On The Farm
2010: This Should Be The Next “New Parent” Handbook
2009: Would You Like A Little Screech To Go With Your Whine?
2008: Jane’s Anatomy
2007: Plus People Are Here To Stay
2006: Baiting The Hook
2005: Purgatory

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Go About Three Miles And Turn Left At The Rocket

If you're driving through Huntsville, Alabama on I-565 and you miss this giant rocket - which is the size of a 36-story-tall building - you seriously need to get yourself to an optometrist.

The mighty Saturn V Moon Rocket marks the spot - located at One Tranquility Base - of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center (USSRC).  It has one of the largest collections of rockets and space memorabilia anywhere in the world.

We haven't visited yet, but say we want to every time we drive by.  We're in Huntsville often, so one of these days we'll definitely be going.

Do you think they sell moon rocks in the gift shop??

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Puffy And Distorted 

2012: A Woman’s Work Is Never Done
2011: Old Timey Road Trip
2010: Are You Ready For Some Football?!
2009: Hangin’ In The Sea Cave
2008: Weekend In Wyoming
2007: Ready For Nautical Knots
2006: Australia Isn’t Far Enough Away For These Bitches To Hide
2005: Texas Suicide

Monday, June 16, 2014

Pillows Of Deliciousness

We finally ate the ravioli we bought on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx.  They were delicious!

They were big ones (bottle-cap used to give an idea of size) - six were the perfect portion - the ricotta was creamy and flavorful, and the hand-made pasta dough was light and slightly chewy.  They were packed between layers of wax paper with cornmeal dusting each layer in the box.  Just like when I was a kid!

Ravioli are second only to gnocchi on my list of favorite types of pasta or macaroni.

I'm making room in my freezer and I'm going back for more!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Staring Me Down On Dad's Day

2012: Load Check
2011: Hotel Special Effects In An Instant
2010: The Great American Shoe Hunt
2009: The First Glimpse Of The People’s Coast
2008: Ohhhh, So This Is How It Works
2007: Can You Hear Me Stereotyping Now?
2006: In The Kitchen With Eddie
2005: Top Ten

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Ed Drops A Bomb

Today I was talking to Ed, telling him about a 60 Minutes podcast I was listening to that covered the story on how North Carolina was almost nuked in the early sixties during a military accident.  The government withheld the information at the time.

I went through the entire story, how the plane carrying the bomb broke apart and the bombs fell to the ground, and if they had gone off, the devastation would have been worse than Hiroshima and reached as far north as New York. 

He then said, "I don't know what they're going to do about that."

"Who's 'they'?" I said.

"North Korea." he said.

"Who the fuck is talking about North Korea??"

"You were." he said.

"Not North Korea.  North Carolina."

He started laughing.  "Oh." he said.

"Oh my God," I said.  "What is wrong with you??"

"I wasn't listening." he said.

"No shit.  God, I cannot believe you.  You weren't listening to any of it??"

"Well, I heard you say something about a podcast.  But then I stopped listening." he said.

Bomb dropped.  Typical guy.

Well, I guess not so typical since he a
dmitted to not listening.  Now I can't even really be pissed at him.  We're supposed to be happy when they're honest, right?


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Guarding The Life Of My Eddie

2012: Crash Test Dummy
2011: No Fudd Found Near This Fountain
2010: The Very Thoughtful Man
2009: SPAM: Not The E-mail Kind
2008: How Casting A Memory Begins With A Fish
2007: A Weekend At The End Of The Rainbow
2006: If I Were In People Magazine
2005: Free Mudflap