Monday, August 31, 2015

Rain Frog

We had a little visitor today while in coastal North Carolina.  He came after the rain and settled on our windshield.  He was tiny, about the size of a nickel.  We didn't capture him - what the hell would we do with a frog? - but we did get a few pictures.

His scientific name is the Hyla Squirella (Squirrel Treefrog) and they are common in this region. 



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014: Wanted: Traveling Maid

2013: Flippin' Fantastic Finds
2012: There’s Room At This Inn – For Dancing And Gambling
2011: Later, Fishies!
2010: It’s In The Details
2009: Plenty Of Places To Roam, No Place To Park It
2008: E Vac You A She Own!!
2007: Eddie Steals A Bite Friday
2006: Steal-A-Meme
2005: The Day In Pictures

Sunday, August 30, 2015

I Do Laundry And Bring Strawberries

Laundry day.  I dread it.  Even though I have enough clothing, sheets, towels to go a month or more without having to do laundry, after that point, I have a giant laundry bag staring at me from the corner.

After laundry, we went grocery shopping and had in interesting trucking-related moment.

We were in Harris Teeter picking up a few groceries for the week.  Ed was in the produce department getting strawberries.  He met back up with me a few aisles over and said, "They're out of strawberries."

"They're out of strawberries??  Completely?"

"Yep.  The produce guy said the truck comes in tomorrow." he said.

"Oh.  Well, that sucks."

"Yeah," he chuckled. "It would be nice if they remembered how their stuff gets here."

He's exactly right.  If it weren't for a truck bringing those strawberries to the store, that guy wouldn't have a job stacking them in the produce department.

It would be nice for people to remember that when they're making it difficult for us to park in their parking lots, communities, malls, etc.



** Technically, I don't personally bring the strawberries, but you get the drift.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014: A Match Made In Trucking Heaven

2013: Shiny Ride Home
2012: Chow Fun And Coconut Bliss
2011: Beautiful By Nature. Dirty By Choice.
2010: Let’s Go Shopping!!!
2009: A Magnificent Place To Wait For A Train
2008: Old Blue Eyes Was Right When He Said It Was A Very Good Year
2007: The Hills Are Alive…Or Are They?
2006: Nostalgia
2005: 37 Going On 20

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Ten Saturday Links

An artist has a unique mind. They pull ideas from places regular people never consider. Look at some of these beautiful creations and what could have been the inspiration for their designs. 

These shipping containers look much better stacked this way than they do in any port I've ever been to.

You don't have to use Google Earth just for directions.  You can find some pretty interesting images there too.

I love a good Philly Cheesesteak sandwich.  If I had the ingredients, I'd make this right now - and it's 2 a.m.


Ten years ago this week, New Orleans was devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

Pow. Wow!  She makes a First Nations custom Canadian Jingle Dress look amazing. Congratulations to the first Enoch Cree Nation woman to be crowned Mrs. Universe. 

At least they had some success naming the states. I'd venture to say there's an embarrassingly high number of Americans who couldn't even point out where England is on a map.

Speaking of England, I can't even bear the thought of this ending. What will I do without Mr. Bates?

Did you know that poaching Venus Flytraps in North Carolina is a felony? Yep. You can be in jail for taking a plant that doesn't belong to you. I heard about the Venus Flytrap thievery for the first time here. Most interesting thing I've learned all week.

These two tell you how they finance their world travels. Here's a great Open Letter To Parents on letting their children go. Travel - even the extensive domestic travel I've done - opens eyes. You want to give your children the world, don't you?



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014: Farm And Garden Since 1936

2013: Waiting In The Waiting Room
2012: Waiting Out Our Mistake
2011: A Brilliant Island Adventure
2010: It’s Getting So Much Easier These Days To Spot Idiots
2009: Scenes From Motor City
2008: Eddie Mad Hatter Friday
2007: What A Grape Idea!
2006: You Couldn’t Pay Me Enough
2005: Due Amici Designs

Friday, August 28, 2015

Will Walk For Coffee

Photo by Gary Goulette
My trucker friend Gary has coined the hashtag #WillWalkForCoffee.  He's such a lover of the bean that he'll literally walk a mile for it.

In his travels he takes some really interesting photos.  If you'd like to see more, check out his Instagram feed.




~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014: The Real Challenge Was Getting In And Out Of It

2013: Stormy Wyoming
2012: Entertaining The Masses
2011: A Very Expensive Day Of Laze
2010: A Little River On A Big Lake In The Middle Of A Floating Stage
2009: Eddie The Cicada Whisperer Friday
2008: Maybe We Should Sell Our Truck And Buy An Airboat
2007: Me And My Man
2006: If You’re Going To Rescue Me, Bring Sandwiches
2005: Hurricane Equality

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Pugly Curiosity

Tons of truckers travel with pets. Just this week while loading in Pennsylvania, we met several couples with dogs. One couple had one dog, a big, German Shepard-like thing, the other couple had three dogs, medium sized, in the Akita family, can't remember the name of the breed, but was told that one of them was a show dog. And the last couple had these two pugs.

I snapped this picture while Ed was loading the truck, their truck was parked right next to ours. I was trying to sleep since I had just driven all night, but couldn't because they barked non-stop for OVER AN HOUR. I even turned on the generator to try to drown them out, but it didn't work.

They were thisclose to a sedative-laced dog biscuit.  Lucky for them, their owner finally finished loading and drove off.

As for me, sleep came quickly.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014: Our Rear View Looks Fantastic
2013: An Oasis Of Tranquility
2012: Clouds Over The Whitestone
2011: Room And Board
2010: Filler And Fluff
2009: Ghost Town
2008: Second Only To Feet
2007: I’ve Been Everywhere Sunday
2006: Heading South With One Wayward Goose
2005: Red Texas Sunrise

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Castles And Murder Ballads

The bright yellow Great Hall, post-restoration, of Stirling Castle in Scotland.  Photo via Slate.com.
As I've mentioned many times, I listen to a lot of podcasts when I drive.  I've written about some of my favorites in the past, and I'm always looking for new ones to add to my lineup. If you're looking for ways to pass the time, here are a few to consider.

If you haven't heard about Serial yet, you need to know about it.  It's a spin-off of NPR's This American Life and Sarah Koenig did an amazing job presenting the story within its 12 episodes. It's a true crime story - about Adnan Syed, who's been in prison for 16 years for a crime many people don't think he did - and the popularity of the podcast stirred up enough doubt to re-examine the case.  Like a good book you can't put down, this is a podcast you can't stop listening to.  Find the complete first season on the website.

A spin-off of the spin-off, 
Undisclosed: The State v. Adnan Syednot produced by NPR but put together by attorneys Rabia Chaudry (family friend of Adnan Syed), Colin Miller, and Susan Simpson, is equally as addicting as Serial. It's not as riveting as Sarah Koenig's prsentation, because Sarah kinda leaves you wanting more at the end of each episode, but it makes me want to know more, which helped me decide that I'll definitely be following this case to the end.

Death, Sex, and Money.  Host Anna Sale talks to people about "relationships, money, family, work, and making it all count while we're here."  A good listen.

99% Invisible, hosted by Roman Mars is one of my absolute favorite podcasts. It's production quailty is superior, Roman's voice is mesmerizing, and he brings every episode to life.  I can't tell you how many times I will further research something I heard about on his show.  Recent episodes, "The Great Restoration"(about the restoration of Stirling Castle in Scotland), "Lawn Order", "It's Hard to Love a Brute", "The Sunshine Hotel", "From The Sea, Freedom", and "Awareness" are just fantastic.  Find all of them on the website.

Technology, Entertainment, and Design.  TED.  Guy Raz brings you some great TED Talks through the TED Radio Hour show.  He highlights snippets of the talks, interviews the speakers, and provides you with a "journey through fascinating ideas, astonishing inventions, and new ways to think and create."

The podcasts above I've been listening to for a long time, Criminal is a new one. "Stories of people who've done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle." In one night of driving, I listened to every episode since its inception. I'm now up to date. And if you've never heard a Murder Ballad, this is the place to be introduced to one of the earliest ones, about Pearl Bryan




~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014: Not Really Trucking From NOAA To WHOI
2013: Paddling The Hudson 
2012: Cue The Flying Monkeys
2011: Project Island Life
2010: Be Italian
2009: I’m Not Just In The Granny Lane Anymore
2008: Where Pretty Resides
2007: The Sweet Sight Of Summer
2006: You Oughta Be In Pictures
2005: Oh, Brother!

Monday, August 24, 2015

They've Mastered Chocolate, Cheese, And Watches. Maybe They Should Tackle Trucking.


Scary "skull as the cab of a big rig" drawing credited to Harry Campbell.
Annnnddddd, we have another article written about the horrors of truckers and the trucking industry.  On Friday, this piece of crapaganda showed up in The New York Times.

The kicker about this particular op-ed is that it's written by Howard Abramson, a former executive of the American Trucking Associations. He spent almost 16 years there as the Senior Vice President of Publishing, and has over 25 years experience covering the transportation industry.

Yet he produced a patently misleading article omitting important facts.

His piece starts out with a mention of the crash involving comedian Tracy Morgan.  It immediately grabs the reader's attention by forming the image of a sleep-deprived, out-of-control driver of an 18-wheeler who killed the friend of a celebrity and injured nine others. 

It's one sentence, but it puts the reader exactly where Abramson wants them, in a state of fear, before they continue reading the rest of the piece. In his next sentence, he goes on to tell the already fragile, frightened reader that "more people will be killed by trucks this year than were killed in all domestic airline crashes over the past 45 years".

Boom! There it is. The Trucks Are Killing Us. The title of his op-ed.

You know what else will kill more people this year than all the domestic airline crashes over the past 45 years?

Guns.  Hell, they've already surpassed airline crashes and it's only August.

Cigarettes.  In the United States alone, more than 480,000 people will die this year from smoking.

And Passenger Vehicles. In 2013, 28,413 people died as a result of a passenger vehicle crash.

Although people write about these dangers on a regular basis, it seems no one is really paying attention to or doing much about them because people still smoke, still drive cars, and the United States is still the most gun-crazy country in the world.

So why all the terror about truck-related deaths?

Seems to me they trudge out this rhetoric every time they want people to support legislation to implement stricter regulations on an industry that's run by people whose only concern is the bottom line. It doesn't take much to stir the stupid pot.

Abramson's piece implies - by its photo, the HOS references, the Tracy Morgan reference, the "longer and heavier trucks" reference, and the opening line about "coddling the trucking industry" - that he's ONLY talking about 18-wheelers.

Abramson doesn't disclose that his stats, which I assume have been taken from the FMCSA Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2013 report (since he uses the "3,964 fatalities in 2013" number), include information about ALL trucks over 10,000 pounds. According to the FMCSA's report, "a large truck is defined as a truck with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 10,000 pounds".

That means the box truck used for delivering bagels in Brooklyn, the refrigerated straight truck taking fish to Seattle's Pike Place Market, and the 24' moving company truck used to take Grandma's furniture from her former home in Des Moines to the mother-daughter apartment she now lives in, are included in this report.

These are not the trucks people fear.

The numbers in the report are NOT representative of the 18-wheelers driven by owner-operators like me, or million milers like Ed, or even the driver of the Walmart truck in the Tracy Morgan incident, which is what Mr. Abramson is trying to make everyone believe.

In 2010 there were only 2.3 million Class 8 trucks (over 33,000 pounds) being used for business purposes, but there were 10.7 million registered large trucks (which includes everything over 10,000 pounds). Because the report doesn't differentiate between vehicles under 33,000 pounds and vehicles over 33,000 pounds, the figures can't tell you how many of the 3,964 fatalities can be attributed to the big, bad, scary 18-wheelers everyone and their mother is trying to regulate, shut down, and demonize.


If you've ever driven I-95 in New York, or New Jersey, where Tracy Morgan's crash took place, you'll see oh, about a bazillion little straight trucks - covered in graffiti and sporting shattered side-view mirrors, banged up bumpers and doors and lift gates - speeding through traffic, cutting across multiple lanes, and essentially supporting the notion that drivers in the Northeast are crazy. These guys, who narrowly escape crashes on an hourly basis, are part of the same report that contains the numbers Howard Abramson is using for his op-ed piece.

So if that bagel truck in Brooklyn rams into a cab and kills the driver and passengers inside, it's included in the fatality statistic. Unfortunately, the report doesn't break down which fatalities were caused by 18-wheelers and which fatalities were caused by all other types of "large trucks".  The report numbers are quoted time and again with a deceptive air of authority. It helps that many people 
believe what they read, and repeat what they hear without question, and don't bother to do any research on their own.

The biggest fact Ambramson leaves out - which was presented in a white paper by the very same organization he used to shill for - is that 81% of the time, the crash is the
fault of the CAR DRIVER.  

The Commercial Carrier Journal, using the same facts I used in my post last year, has also written about fault in car/truck crashes. In addition to the American Trucking Associations (ATA) report - whose data comes from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute - they provided National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) numbers, and Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) numbers, all having to do with cars and trucks crashing.

ALL of them assigned fault to the car drivers - 91%, 85%, 81%, 77%, and 71% - every single time.

Howard Abramson, as an employee of the ATA for over 16 years, knew these facts and yet chose to mislead the readers of the New York Times piece by not including them.

The ATA (American Trucking Associations) is the largest trade association of its kind for the trucking industry. Their mission, stated plainly on their website, is to "advocate and communicate efforts designed to improve safety and profitability" for their members. Their members are large trucking companies and affiliated industry-related businesses. Because they represent the interests of the trucking company owners, they are the voice of the trucking industry. They are NOT the voice of truckers.

Owner-Operators, whose safety records directly affect the operation of their business, their lives, their sole way of making money, often have years of experience under their belts, and operate in a safer manner than your average bear because NOT CRASHING means they get to provide for themselves and their families that much longer. Without a good record, you're pretty much done out here. And now with CSA, which affects not only your standing but the standing of the company that leases you on, you won't be touched if you have a shitty record.


A driver can have front-facing cameras, EOBRs, collision-avoidance technology, collision-detection systems, and every other kind of device deemed to be used to promote safety, and still get behind the wheel not prepared to drive safely. Or, be a bonafide safe driver, with accolades and millions of miles to prove it, and still wind up as a crash statistic because an idiot in a car caused an accident.

You can't regulate stupid. You can't regulate ignorance. You can't regulate people who are going to break whatever rules are in place.  You also can't regulate what we do during the 10 hours we spend in our sleeper - watching TV, reading books, playing video games, eating Doritos, having sex - there's no way anyone will ever know if you've gotten a wink of sleep.  Same thing with our time off - Congress, the FMCSA, safety organizations, the head of your company, your dispatcher, the president, even your own mother will never know if you spent the day before work resting, mowing your lawn, building bookshelves, or perfecting your golf swing.

But there are a few things you can do.

You can pass regulations that reign in the abuse of shippers and receivers, who waste our valuable hours of operation.

You can raise rates so drivers don't have to work 70 hours a week to make a living, which for most drivers means around only $40,000 per year.

You can pass the cost on to consumers, who are the ones complaining that we are dangerous criminals flying aimlessly down the highways.

You can force the companies, who the ATA kisses the asses of, from causing drivers to operate unsafely by way of threatening their livelihood if they don't get the freight there faster.

You can insist on elevated training standards, with a mandatory training period, instead of cranking out drivers who aren't safe from the get-go.

And you can stop promoting lies, feeding the fear, and blaming the drivers.

That's just a start.

I am one person.  I don't have the resources or millions of dollars organizations like the American Trucking Associations have to throw at this problem.  These people, and others like them, are facilitating the passing of legislation that affects my life. And they keep cranking this fear message out, year after year after year, every chance they get.  Don't be fooled by them.  It's not because they care about safety, because if they did, they'd spend the money needed to do all of the things I mentioned above, and more.  It's all about the money.
 
As Abramson mentioned in his piece, the trucking industry generates more than $700 billion a year in revenue.

That's almost as much as the GDP of Switzerland.

And if the Swiss can create a knife that has 141 functions, the trucking industry should be able to tackle the six things on my list.




~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014: 
This Is What Sweeping Looks Like
2013: This Takes Fresh Chicken To A Whole New Level
2012: Exemplary Exemplar Prints
2011: Hurricane? What Hurricane?
2010: The Summer Of 1947
2009: From Pablo Neruda To Mother Goose
2008: Almost Two Beautiful To Eat On
2007: Sweatin’ Eddie Friday
2006: Steel City Glow
2005: Bravo, Bravo

Sunday, August 23, 2015

There's A Reason They Call Them Massholes


So, it appears as if the Westwood Police Department in Westwood, Massachusetts, would rather waste their time posting videos to YouTube than do something about the accidents that continue to happen at this bridge.

Even though their Mission Statement declares that their mission is to "protect life and property by engaging in proactive problem solving partnerships with our community".  


Seriously??  They consider posting videos on YouTube to be proactive problem solving?? 

How about instead of using money to put up cameras to catch the action for your YouTube channel, they put that money towards installing a more effective warning system?  The bridge may not be owned by the town of Westwood, but the road and the signage is in their township and likely funded and maintained by them. 

And the videos are posted by Lt. Leo Hoban!  Third in charge.  What the fuck??

Perhaps if they received a few emails or phone calls telling them how absolutely inappropriate it is to post videos about serious traffic accidents, they'll give some thought to actual problem solving. 

Maybe it's the 
Chief of Police who needs a reminder of how law enforcement is supposed to act, and that leadership trickles down. That what a leader does and how they behave directly influences how others beneath them act.  Is Chief Silva yukkin' it up with his officers, pointing out to them over morning coffee and donuts, how hilarious it is to watch motorists traveling through their town wreck their vehicles?  Do they lay bets on how many trucks a week will hit the bridge, or how many cars a week will hit the crooked curb and veer into the stone wall, or other motorists passing through the structure? Are they going to wait until someone gets seriously hurts or dies before they do something?

It's one thing to find funny videos online of traffic related mishaps taken unintentionally by surveillance cameras, or even intentionally recorded by whoever happens to have their iPhone video rolling when it happens, but it's quite another thing to create your own Twitter and YouTube page, as a police department, and then send out video clips with sarcastic Tweets like, "The East St Bridge doesn't get taller at night.  Still 10'6".

It sounds like Lt. Hoban thinks it's a joke. He's getting quite a bit of press about it and has his responses ready for the next media inquiry. His ego must be enormous. It certainly overshadows his intellect.

We may not live in this community, but we are part of the motoring public and although the bridge is too low for any big trucks like us to fit under, the fact that the police department shows an utter disregard for the people who actually do live there, speaks volumes. And as a person who travels through countless small communities all over the country on a daily basis, it concerns me.

If it concerns you, make your voice heard by contacting someone at the Westwood Police Department.

Chief Jeffrey P. Silva can be emailed at chief@westwoodpd.org

Lieutenant Leo Hoban can be reached at Lhoban@westwoodpd.org

You can call either of them at 781.320.1000

And if you're into Tweeting, you can send them one at @WestwoodPD




** UPDATE ** Apparently, there are 14 signs warning of this low clearance. What's also apparent is that they're not working.  Still, my beef isn't with the signage as much as it is with a police department seemingly making light of the situation by posting videos on YouTube accompanied by sarcastic comments. That doesn't help anyone.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014: Delicious Assembly Line
2013: The Greatest Invention Of Human Kind
2012: I Can Haul Yer Explosives And Stuff
2011: That Bitch Irene Is Trying To Ruin My Vacation
2010: Licking Our Chops
2009: I’ll Start Working On That Sarcasm Font Right Away
2008: False Security
2007: Protecting The Posies
2006: Asking Too Much
2005: Slotsa Money

Saturday, August 22, 2015

34-Hour Restart

We finally made it to our favorite New Jersey rest area, located minutes from the Big Apple.  We don't have the best view, although if you crane your neck just right you can see the Manhattan skyline. It's the perfect place for a 34-hour restart.

We were too pooped to get out and do anything this weekend, so we've just been vegging out in the truck.  Thankfully, we've got everything we need here.

Including a brand new Starbucks.




~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014: Founded By A Millionaire Fur Trader
2013: Woke Up This Morning
2012: Trust Me, I’m A Truck Driver
2011: Doesn’t A Gastropod Always Have A Helmet On?
2010: This Is How We Do It
2009: Storage In The Storm
2008: Devil Horse In The Louisiana Wetlands
2007: Not Sloppy. No Joe. Just Bob And His Loosemeats Residing In The Ice Cream Capital Of The World
2006: Playing With Your Money But Not Really SPENDING It
2005: Glamour Puss

Friday, August 21, 2015

Signs Of Summer

Road construction is a sure sign of summer.  When we were up in Minot, we hit road construction in the middle of nowhere. There wasn't a soul around yet the speed limit for this construction zone was set at 25 mph.

We drove that speed for over 45 minutes, some of it on roads that weren't even paved. It was maddening.

Road construction is a necessary evil, but I can tell you right now - the roads of North Dakota aren't where it's needed most.  I'm looking at you Alabama.  And Louisiana.  And Oklahoma. And Mississippi.  


Pothole weather is coming.  Let's try to get some of them filled in before new ones form!



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014: State-Of-The-Art Movement

2013: Not My Kind Of Gold Mine
2012: Fat Lou Captured In Rare Photo
2011: Oceanfront Property At Lot 61003/94
2010: Monkey Pod Treasure
2009: Eddie Embraces The Rules Friday
2008: They Have A MAGAZINE???
2007: Planting The Sun
2006: Training Day
2005: Cannonball Run

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Over 80 Feet Of Traveling Comfort

Ed took this photo while I was still sleeping, just before he left for the day.

Ed wanted to capture her image while she was still clean since she just had a bath.  Can you see the morning sun kissing the hood?



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014: Insta-Coastal
2013: Traffic
2012: Fire Hazard
2011: Smiling High
2010: Time Travel
2009: One More Reason I Love The Highway Hags
2008: Boathouse On The Gulf
2007: Canada Is Bubblicious
2006: You Know You’re In A Hotel That Doesn’t Have A Star Rating…
2005: It’s A Dry Heat

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Making A Killing By Killing People

Every time we drive through Richmond, Virginia, and I see this monument wrapped in cigarette brands on the property of Philip Morris USA, I marvel at the pride this company has at knowingly being part of killing six million people a year.

Simultaneously, it reminds you to pick up a pack of cigarettes, while also reminding you how many people are killed by tobacco products. Even if you don't know the actual numbers, you know tobacco kills. And Philip Morris is so intent on getting their product into the hands of people, so they can kill more of them, that they even sued a country.

The epitome of an Evil Corporation.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014: The Best Damn Piece Of Driftwood I've Ever Seen
2013: Junk Still Exists In The Snail Mail World
2012: Where The Chisled Form Of David Accompanies You In The Restroom
2011: Settling In And Planning Our Day
2010: Por And Parking Served Up With Southern Charm
2009: They Should Put This Scent In A Candle. I’d Have One Lit In My House Every Night!
2008: After All
2007: I’ve Been Everywhere Sunday
2006: Who My Baby Daddy?
2005: South Siiiide Education

Sunday, August 16, 2015

A Tornado Dreams Of Wide Open Space Like This

This road in Kansas went on further than you can see in this photo, and there were many more like it. Spiking out north and south of Interstate-70, most of them were dirt, but many others were bright, white limestone. By the time I thought to snap a picture of one of them, the white roads ended and all I was left with was this dirt one.

We rarely go to or through Kansas. In the more than ten years I've been writing this blog, I only have 6 posts tagged for the state and we've only done 4 loads that originated or delivered there.  And I have to tell you, I forgot how flat and open it was.  Damn!

It's no wonder the tornadoes love this place - they have an endless, wide-open path to travel.  Tornado season starts in early May and ends in late June, and a second season starts around November.

Looks like we came through at just the right time.




~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014: The End Of Day
2013: Until I'm One With You
2012: I Didn’t Even Have To Slip Him My Room Key
2011: Rest Comes For Robo-Ed
2010: Better Than A Leg Press Machine. Or How To Get A Good Looking Left Gam.
2009: How Can I Tread On You When I Can’t Even Turn Around?
2008: Popping Good Time
2007: Touching Down For A Quick Rest Break
2006: Follow Your Heart
2005: All About The Benjamins

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Mae Mae Shows You How It's Done

This is Maezy. Formally, Miss Maezy Mae Mae. Informally, Maze. Mae Mae. Or, Cutest Thing On Earth.

She's the best cat we've ever had. If you knew her, you'd love her, and within minutes you'd become a catnapper.

She is doing in the photo what I'll be doing today. Lounging around, looking at people passing by, swatting at them if they get too close, sleeping.

Enjoy your weekend!


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
2014: Nope, Don't See Anything I Need Here
2013: Bears Outnumber Bigfoot  
2012: Betting On My Man To Show Me A Great Time
2011: Cut And Color
2010: X Marks The Imaginary Spot
2009: A Field That Looks Perfect For Wrasslin’…If It Weren’t For The Sign
2008: Come Visit Me In Italy!
2007: Asked And Answered
2006: L.E.A.P.
2005: Ed Visits His First Warehouse Store

Friday, August 14, 2015

Lone House On The Prairie

This is an abandoned house I saw in a field in North Dakota. Every time I pass a place like this, I wonder who lived here when it was first built. What they did, what their life was like, when and why they left, and who currently owns it.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014: Squeezing Through The Backroads
2013: Waves Of Steel

2012: Forever In Bloom
2011: Ed Visits His First Warehouse Store
2010: HBD 143
2009: Eddie Hauls Laundry The White Trash Way Friday
2008: Sun Setting Over Lake Pontchartrain
2007: Sanchez. Pedro Sanchez.
2006: Remembering Those In Heaven
2005: The Line Of Gold Thread

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Up In The Bakken

One of the things I like most about trucking is that it brings me to places I've never been before and would never have good reason to visit.  One of those places is the Bakken Shale, part of which resides under the state of North Dakota.

For years I've been wanting to visit the oil fields of Williston and Watford City. This is a part of North Dakota I've never been in, as we usually travel across the state via the only interstate highway that goes from east to west, I-94.  Williston and Watford City are north of that interstate, Watford City can be reached in an hour, Williston in two.


I was exited. I was finally going to see the place that made man camps famous.


Watford City's population has more than quadrupled in five years. It's said to be slowing down, as many companies have stopped drilling due to the drop in oil prices, but there are still plenty of people up there tending to the needs of the oil fields.

My favorite thing to see while driving through the fields - Texas has them too - are the natural gas flares.  No major domestic oil field, as this 2011 New York Times article points out, flares as much as North Dakota does. The flames flicker above the landscape, like torches at a Tiki bar.

They're pretty to look at, especially at night, but don't let that fool you.  They emit millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the air, and waste 30 percent of the natural gas produced.  All because it's cheaper to let the gas burn off than it is to collect and use as an energy source. It's just not worth as much as crude oil.
As we traveled through the towns, especially Watford City, we saw clusters of RVs, single wide trailers with three and four pickup trucks parked out front, indicating more than one guy in residence, and temporary dorm-like housing scattered between the oil derricks, pump jacks.  The very man camps I spoke of earlier. There wasn't as much traffic and activity as I expected, but that was probably because it was a weekend. I'm sure the place is hopping on a regular work day.

As of last year, North Dakota was producing more than a million barrels of oil per day, adding to the more than 9 million barrels produced daily in the United States. Anything can happen, of course, but it seems oil production will continue in North Dakota and other areas of the Bakken Formation for a very long time. Estimates of how many barrels of oil the Bakken contains - which have been likened to guessing how many jelly beans are in a jar - have ranged from 169 to 503 billion barrels. Ultimately, it's unknown.

Yes, there's oil, and yes, that's a big reason why people come to this part of the country. But there's also some history up here.  I'm not sure it's much of a tourist destination, but if you're passing through you might as well have an idea of who and what came before you.

If you're interested in seeing the wide open, vast rolling hills of North Dakota, covered in round hay bales, you should probably go now.  While it still exists.




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2014: I See A Molasses Sorghum Cookie In My Future

2013: Save Fifty Cents By Staying Away From The Card Tables - Go To A Concert Instead
2012: Zero Tolerance Zone
2011: Flicker Of Hope…GONE
2010: Knee Deep In Training
2009: She Sells Seashells By The Seashore
2008: Shopping At Walmart Is The Closest Some Of Us WilL Ever Get To China
2007: Giving Indians A Bad Name
2006: Six Flags Of Horror Fly Over Texas
2005: Snake River