Friday, August 28, 2020

Hotel Magnate Starts His Empire In The Lonestar State

The water tower in Cisco, Texas at sunrise.  

Fun fact:  Conrad Hilton started the Hilton hotel chain in Cisco, Texas with the purchase of a single hotel.  He came to Cisco to buy a bank but the bank cost too much so in 1919 he bought a hotel instead. 

That hotel is now a local museum.

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2019: Sorry, no post on this day.
Football Season In Minnesota
2017: Ideas Blooming
2016: Blushing Rain Clouds
2015: Last Night Was Super!
2014: Sloths Are The New Kittens
2013: In The Shadow Of Mount Olympus
2012: Toni And Her Sisters
2011: Paper Boy…And Girl
2010: Breakfast Of Champions (And Truck Drivers)
2009: Vegetarianism Brings On Extinction
2008: It’s Beauty Is Just The Beginning
2007: Eddie Relaxes In Style Friday
2006: How To Tell Your Parents You Don’t Have A Roommate
2005: Mangia! and You Just Know When You’ve Met “The One”

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Boundless American Optimism

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri.  It is the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere.  

Architectural critic David Dillon opined that the arch exists not as a functional edifice but as a symbol of "boundless American optimism". He articulates the arch's multiple "moods"—"reflective in sunlight, soft and pewterish in mist; crisp as a line drawing one moment, chimerical the next"—as a way the arch has "paid for itself many times over in wonder".

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The Movies Have Always Been An Escape

2018: Nowhere Near As Cute As A Kitten
2017: Celebrating Seven And A Half Decades
2016: Makes Complete Sense
2015: I'm Always Hoping It's The Last Time
2014: Apes At The Hitching Post
2013: History On Water Street
2012: Do It Like The Settlers Did. With Whiskey.
2011: No Vacancy
2010: Imperial Sand
2009: How Many Twenty Year Olds Have A Seventy Pound Head?
2008: My First Time
2007: I’ve Been Everywhere Sunday
2006: Text Me
2005: Eddie Dines Out Friday

Sunday, July 05, 2020

Truckin' To The Truck Inn

The Truck Inn was located in Fernley, Nevada at Exit 48 on Interstate 80. This Freightliner cabover-in-the-sky marks the spot where it stood.

Operating from 1984 to June 2008, it was your quintessential truck stop - breakfast 24 hours a day, horseshoe-shaped counter lined with solo drivers. They offered live gaming from 1990 to 1998, and then slots only from 1998 until they closed. They leveled the building after it closed. All that remains is their giant parking lot.

Which is where we were last night to watch the fireworks show.

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2019: Sorry, no post on this day.
Commerce On The Savannah
2017: The Horsepower Of The Apaches Was Natural
2016: Putting In The Miles
2015: Grand Parking Lot
2014: True Independence
2013: Pyrotechnic Parade Across The Midwest
2012: Plane, Train, Or Automobile – Just Get Me To Canada!
2011: Hello, Kitty. Who’s Your Friend?
2010: If It’s Good Enough For Homeland Security, It’s Good Enough For Me
2009: The Top At Dock
2008: Night Interrupted
2007: Just A Train And A Tree
2006: This is One Lawn Boy I Have No Desire To See Naked
2005: Not So Cuddly

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Fire On The Mountain

This is the mountain I see from my living room window.  The mighty Santa Catalinas.

I've photographed and written about it many times.  You can see pictures of it when it wasn't on fire here, here, here, here, and here

Oh, and here, when it had a rare covering of snow on it.  

It is currently on fire.

They are calling it the Bighorn Fire, presumably after the Bighorn Sheep that roam the range.  
It was started by a lightning strike and has so far burned 37,028 acres and is 21 percent contained.
The Santa Catalina Mountains - we just call them the Catalinas - is the most prominent range in the Tucson area with the highest elevation, at 9,157 feet above sea level.
We were on the road when we heard about the fire. Although we are close to the area, our house was in no danger.  And we weren't required to evacuate.  Yet communities just a few miles from us were asked to evacuate their homes because the fire was getting too close for comfort.  They didn't want to wait until the last minute to get people out.
We arrived back at our house at 2:30 in the morning.  We could see the orange brightness of the flames from Interstate-10, at least 9 miles from our house.  I saw fire on the very top of the mountain and on Pusch Ridge, a little to the north of the peak on our side.  
These photos were taken this week. I noticed the giant plume of smoke when I left to go to the store.  It was massive.  Because it seems to be on the backside of the mountain there isn't as much smoke smell in the air.  The night we got home the entire neighborhood smelled like a giant campfire.

We saw helicopters a few days ago hauling giant buckets of water to the fire and before we arrived home planes spread fire retardant on the mountain, which is now visible in red streaks across the landscape.  

In the more than 35 years that I've lived here, I've never seen anything like this happen.  It's an incredible sight, really.  We have a close-up view of the result of what Mother Nature can do with just the crack of a lightning bolt.

See more spectacular images HERE.

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2019: Celebrating The Dads
2018: Pastoral
2017: Dune Crawl
2016: The Closest I Get To Camping
2015: This Guy Rocks It, Man
2014: Pillows Of Deliciousness
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

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Signs Of Summer

Ed took this photo of quail eggs under a rock in our backyard.  This is the time of year when we see the parent quails being trailed by 10-15 of their little ones.  We've already seen one set!

Can't wait for the next batch!

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2019: Sorry, no post for this day.
2018: Tip-Top Turtle
2017: Education In Ruins
2016: She's Dressed In A Tuxedo
2015: Turn Of The Century
2014: The Passing Strange
2013: One Pan Eddie: Five Steps To Paradise
2012: Crossing The Hackensack
2011: Don’t Hate On Me On This Lovely Golden Day
2010: See You At The Curb
2009: A Blaze Of Crotch Sniffing And Licky Kisses
2008: Going To Market
2007: Lazy Sunday
2006: Can Someone Define Their Purpose??
2005: Sorry, no post for this day.

Sunday, May 03, 2020

Now You See It, Now You Don't

When most people see our truck rolling down the highway, they probably think it's a van trailer, like some of the other semis they see on the road.  But our trailer is actually a platform trailer, a flatbed with a rolling tarping system.  In our industry, it's called a Conestoga trailer.

This type of trailer allows us to carry freight that goes on a typical flatbed trailer and instead of Ed spending hours and hours tarping (yes, it used to take him several hours to secure and tarp a load), all he has to do now is unlock a few latches to roll the tarp open, load the freight, and then roll it closed.

We can haul anything of legal dimensions that will fit on a flatbed trailer.  And because of our custom interior dimension, we can also haul shipping containers - either two 20' foot containers (that's a 20 footer pictured below) or one 40' container. 

The trailer has retractable twist locks to hold the containers on the trailer so no additional securement (like straps) is needed. The tarping system also opens from either end in the same accordion fashion for easy access to the freight.

We hauled this container from Savannah, Georgia to Terminal Island, California.  To see a video of how the tarping system works to cover the container, click HERE

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2019: Green Sticks Everywhere

2018: Designated Office Space
2017: Desert Garden In Bloom
2016: Agile Cat
2015: Future Steak
2014: What Should Have Been Paul's Place
2013: At The Drop Of A Hat
2012: Passing Up A Little Afternoon Delight
2011: Annnnnnd…It’s Back On!
2010: Rise Early. Work Hard. Strike Oil.
2009: It’s All Connected To The Pigskin
2008: The Sorriest Team Drivers You’ve Ever Seen
2007: Ooooooo, A Contest!
2006: Modern Convenience
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Monday, March 30, 2020

Isolation Biscuits

Photo by Jamie Schler @lifesafeast
I saw this recipe on Twitter, and although I'm totally bummed that I can't make them here in the truck, I am saving the recipe for when I get home.

Look at those amazing biscuits! What are they, three, four inches tall?  I need to rip those golden brown tops off and slather them with butter or jam.

And that's what Jamie Schler, the woman who posted the recipe, said you should do. 

Here is her recipe.  She said she's been making these for forty years (talk about time tested!) and from the looks of them, it seems like she's perfected the recipe.  If you make them, please let me know how delicious they really are.

2 cups (270 grams) all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (115 grams) unsalted butter, slightly softened
2/3 cup (160 ml) cold milk
Extra flour for work surface

Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C) before starting.

To measure the flour, stir the flour to lighten it before spooning it up & placing it in the measuring cup. Fill to the top/mounded then, using a long flat surface like the back of a knife blade, level the flour across the top of the cup.

Place the flour in a large bowl. Add the baking powder and salt to the flour and stir to blend. Cut the butter into cubes and to the flour in the bowl then toss to cover the butter cubes in the flour. Using your fingertips, rub the butter and flour together rather vigorously until the butter has been completely incorporated into the flour and the mixture resembles damp sand or cornmeal.

Add the milk, about a third at a time, mixing vigorously into the flour with a fork until the dough forms into a rough ball & there is no more dry flour/butter mixture. Gather the dough together and place on a floured work surface, dusting the dough itself with a little flour. Knead the dough very, very briefly only until you have a homogenous and smooth dough.

Using a rolling pin and a very light touch (roll the dough without pressing down on the rolling pin into the dough with pressure), roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/2-inch (1 cm). The dough should be light and fluffy, not packed. Using a round biscuit or cookie cutter, cut out small rounds (press straight down then up, not twisting the cutter) and place on an ungreased cookie or baking sheet.

Place the cookie/baking sheets with the biscuits in the preheated oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.  The biscuits will have risen, the layers slightly separating, and the tops and the bottoms (carefully lift one up and look) will be a nice golden brown.

Eat hot or warm with butter.

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The Color Purple

2018: Inch By Inch Design
2017: Flashback To French Blooms
2016: Crooking Its Bright Red Finger
2015: This Is Why
2014: Fill'er Up!
2013: Texas! Texas! Margaret...
2012: He Forgets He Lives With A Maven
2011: Does Anyone Notice The Shoes Of A “Very Important Person”?
2010: Do You Think Raquel Owns A Dog And Gets Enough Potassium?
2009: No Need To Do Anything Drastic; There Will Always Be Re-Runs 
2008: Beautifully Retro
2007: Ready, Set, Go!!
2006: Giving New Meaning To An Ambulance Chaser
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Monday, March 23, 2020

When Life Gives You Lemons

Well, it's the beginning of a brand new week for us.  That really has no meaning during this pandemic, though.  The Coronavirus doesn't know the difference between weekdays and weekends.  Many people will start this week sheltering-in-place, in quarantine, in a hospital bed, or worse.

I'm 52 years old and I've never seen anything like what's happening right now.  I've never been in a store where shelves were bare, I've never had to isolate myself in my home for fear of getting sick, I've never had to stay six to ten feet away from friends and family. I've never seen people hoard toilet paper.  Good thing Ed and I are so used to being three feet apart all the time, this thing is going to be easy for us.  

I'm a homebody, so nothing makes me happier than being told to stay home.  The shelter-in-place suggestion is just another day for me, and it's not a big deal.  But I've been reading a lot of stuff online and have seen Tweets, Instagram stories, internet memes, and Facebook posts joking (and not joking) about how difficult it is for people to stay home.  Especially people with kids.  

I don't get this at all.  Sure, I'm a natural hibernator so it's easy for me, but can people really not stay home??  Don't they know how to read a book, play a game, work a hobby, watch TV and movies?  There is SO much to do at home.  We have the internet, cable TV with 500+ channels, Amazon Prime, Netflix.  Back in the day, we had 13 channels that went off the air for the night.  TV went to sleep like we did. 

I actually think there's something wrong with people who don't know how to relax, chill out, and just be alone with themselves. Or their family.  There's something wrong with the need to socialize, to go out, and to do do do all the time.  What are you afraid of if you miss the gym for a few weeks?  Go outside and do jumping jacks.  Why must you go out for dinner or drinks?  And if you just can't sit still, God help you, clean out your closets.  Bake.  Make and freeze soups.  Organize your pantry.  There's stuff to do, people.

One big problem I see - which is not just a problem during this pandemic, but a problem in general - is people don't cook.  These poor souls live on DoorDash, fast food drive-throughs, Chinese takeout, and frozen pizza.  If a restaurant is closing their dining rooms to protect their workers and the general public, why would you order delivery from them?   The person preparing your meal could be sick, or maybe they didn't wash their hands.  No way.  I'm not taking that chance.  And you shouldn't either.  Learn how to cook or eat a bowl of cereal, or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

We are back on the road this week and we've already been to a shipper that asked Coronavirus-related questions - Do you have a cough or fever?  Have you been diagnosed with the Coronavirus or have you be in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with the virus? Are you self-quarantining?   Well, I'm not self-quarantining since I'm at your gate in an 18-wheeler to pick up freight.  But, no to the other questions.

Ed and I are self-isolating.  My friend made a distinction between the quarantine and isolation thing - if you're sick, you quarantine, if you're staying home or away from others of your own free will, you're self-isolating.  Other than going into the truckstop to pay for fuel or signing paperwork at a customer, we haven't interacted with any other people.  And when we get back to the truck, we wipe down everything (pen, folder, phone, etc.) with a Clorox wipe, then wash our hands.  Or use hand sanitizer.  We're not taking any chances.

This isn't a joke.  This is serious.  The media isn't making it more than it is, and people who think what's happening is a plot to hurt Trump are morons.  People are sick and dying all over the world, and they don't give a shit about Trump.  And you shouldn't either.  Listen to the scientists, the doctors, the nurses, the specialists, the CDC, the intelligent people.  The ones on the front lines.  The truth-tellers.  Because this is a life or death situation.

And since we have to make adjustments to our way of life, let's all try to be vigilant about the social distancing, the handwashing, and whatever else is necessary to help each other through this pandemic.  We have to follow the direction of those who know more about this virus (or medicine in general) than we do.  We have to do our very best.

Let's make some lemonade.

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2019: Istanbul Cobble

2018: Circulating The Morning Air In The Lonestar State
2017: It's The Real OLD Thing
2016: Stopping In Style
2015: Patiently Waiting
2014: Find Out Where You Can Dine With Giraffes
2013: Sputtering With Excitement
2012: Water May Not Be The Only Liquid Nourishing These Flowers
2011: Nappy Time
2010: Dick. Not A Dick. Which One Are You?
2009: First The Poultry, Now This
2008: California Moon
2007: Ryno And Rob
2006: Living The Dream
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn't start until May 2005!

Sunday, March 08, 2020

A Year Long Carnival

Ed and I took a little Sunday drive up to Globe, Arizona and came across a parking lot carnival when we stopped to get coffee.  The sun was setting, the moon that night would be full, and there were families milling around waiting their turn for the rides.  The Ferris wheel was not only illuminated with its own lights, but the setting sun was shining on it, making it glow. 

From one year to the next, you never know where life will take you. Like a carnival, it's a little crazy, and like the cars rotating on a Ferris wheel, there are ups and downs. 

I feel a little bit like I'm riding one this year, but I can see the ground, so I'm not worried.


2012: Looking For A Coffee Fix
2011: Container Port, You Are No Friend Of Mine
2010: Encased In Plastic
2009: No Lifeguard On Duty
2008: Palm Sketches
2007: You Know Who You Are
2006: I Fear The Family
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Friday, February 28, 2020

Few And Far Between

We've had a few stormy days over the last few weeks and I have to tell you, I love waking up to overcast skies.  There's waaaay too much sun out here in Arizona.  Yeah, yeah, I know, that's the reason people live here, but once in a while, I need a day that doesn't beckon me to leave the house. 

The sun pesters me, reaching through the windows saying, "Come outside.  Look how sunny it is.  Don't you need some fresh air?  Don't you want to feel the sun on your skin? Don't you want to do yardwork?"  No.  No, I don't.  I would like to stay in the house, curled up on the couch with a cup of tea, watching Netflix all day.  

OK, so I actually do do that.  Like, a lot.  But it would feel less wrong if it were overcast or rainy outside.  

As a little reminder, this year is a leap year.  So we will have one extra day in February - tomorrow!  Enjoy it because we won't have another one for four years!

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Salz Und Pfeffer

2018: Hot And Sweet
2017: My Kind Of Salad
2016: In Disguise
2015: Hawaii Five-O
2014: I Like Big Boteros And I Cannot Lie
2013: The Young Never Have Trouble Screwing
2012: Making Tracks Across The Country
2011: Eddie Is The King Of The Dome
2010: Do It For Half An Hour A Day
2009: Sipping In Nyack
2008: The Tink Tink Tinkle Of Recycling
2007: Ralph’s Service Station
2006: The Isle Of Capri
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005! 

Sunday, February 09, 2020

How Deep Is Your Love For New Artists?

This week I watched Nobody's Fool starring Tiffany Haddish.  I liked the movie - Tiffany Haddish is funny, as expected, but the storyline was cute and it fit right into my love of Rom-Coms.

In the movie, there was a club scene where they introduced the band as PJ Morton and Yebba.  They sang "How Deep Is Your Love", the old Bee Gees song.  I'd never heard of the group and wanting to know if they were real, I Googled them.  They are in fact real people.

Above is the video of the song done by PJ Morton and Yebba - she's the girl in the overalls with the cool voice.  Both a new discovery for me. 

I love discovering new music through movies.  And this version of a familiar song is really great.  

My love is deep. 

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Barging Through Downtown
2018: Maybe This Time
2017: Queen Of The Copper Camps
2016: He Ran By And Told Me To Share Links
2015: Heading To Shore
2014: Chocolate And Gnocchi - The Best Of Any World
2013: Looking And Smelling Good Behind The Wheel Of A Big Rig
2012: Necessary Evil
2011: Getting Drunk On Summer Fun
2010: How Is It The Fish Don’t Freeze???
2009: A Meal Even 300 Year Old Monks Would Love
2008: Not A Knock Knock Joke
2007: Eddie Shades Friday
2006: The Idiot And The Box
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Chronicling Our Taco Consumption

Who doesn't love a good taco?  Hell, who doesn't love a bad taco? 

But really, is there such thing as a bad taco?  I haven't found one yet.

When we're home, we eat quite a bit of Mexican food.  it's Tucson, folks.  We have an abundance.  

We've been maaaany places in our town - Mi Nidito, Seis Kitchen, Mosaic Cafe El Güero Canelo, Boca Tacos, Penca, El Charro, La Parilla Suiza(my favorite), Street Taco and Beer Co., and so many others I can't remember the names of.

Yesterday we went to Taqueria Pico De Gallo.  We were running an errand that took us to the South Side so I Googled "best tacos in South Tucson" and came up with this place.  It's been around for 29 years (good sign!) and the parking lot was full when we arrived.

We ordered three tacos each - birria, barbacoa, and carne asada - along with one green corn tamale, rice and beans, and chips and salsa.

The tamale didn't wow me - it was good, but a little too moist for my liking - but the tacos were fantastic!  The birria and barbacoa were juicy and flavorful and the carne asada was marinated and grilled perfectly.  My favorite part though....the hand made corn tortillas.  Fat and full of flavor, with those uneven edges that make you know someone formed them between their hands, one by one.

My recent taco obsession has been fueled by watching Taco Chronicles on Netflix.  Six episodes, each thirty minutes long, will have your mouth watering halfway through.  You'll learn about Al Pastor, the street food staple of Mexico City brought to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants; Carnitas, which date back to the Aztecs; the slow, laborious process of cooking Barbacoa, and the simplicity of a perfectly marinated Carne Asada.  The shows are in Spanish so use your subtitles if you don't speak the language, and immerse yourself in the rich history, preparation, and love of tacos.

¡Buen Provecho!

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2019: Ornamental Iron
2018: Quonset Quartet
2017: Baltic Gold
2016: 350 Days Of Sunshine Per Year
2015: Tenderly
2014: What Else Is There To Do When It's One Degree Outside?
2013: Packing Up
2012: A Man Can Do All Things If He Will
2011: Spinning Our Wheels
2010: It Takes Two
2009: Buona Sera King Louis
2008: The Newest B & B Trend Might Not Take Off As Expected
2007: Pirelli
2006: Classic Sal
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!