Thursday, November 17, 2011

Time to Eat?

Thirty minutes prior, he had just gone to bed. I hear his panicked voice from the back:

"Deb! Deb! Deb! What's going on with these dinner plates?"

"What dinner plates?"

"Why are they hanging off the blankets like that?"

"Ben, there aren't any dinner plates."


Momentary pause.

"I'm going back to bed."

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Safety Reminder

This past Saturday morning, we were trucking along through western Wyoming on our way from Irving, TX to Hermiston, OR. I was in the back sleeping as Ben took to the curves and hills between Ft. Bridger, WY and Ogden, UT. The roads were a little slick at times but nothing was too treacherous.

He took a ten-minute bathroom break in Evanston, which was a little odd, as he had just stopped 30 minutes earlier. Since we had time on the load, he decided it wasn't worth it to push on but instead take the break.

Boy, are we glad he did!

Just a few miles east of Ogden, through the windy 55mph curves of a canyon drive, we were stopped in traffic, five vehicles behind a state trooper. We came to find out that there was a multiple vehicle, multiple injury accident ahead, including a tanker truck that was leaking propane. It didn't look good, and we would be parked on the interstate waiting for quite a while.

Based on the trooper's disclosure of the timing of the accident and the amount of vehicles involved, we realized that Ben's 10-minute bathroom break likely is what saved us from being part of the collision train. Twenty-four total vehicles were involved, including four semis, and sadly, one fatality. Click here to read the article describing the unfortunate circumstances.

We decided, after waiting for 3+ hours, to take a detour through another canyon. It was tight and slow and not recommended for semis (because of the 8% grade up and down, for one thing), but we made it through. It reminded both of us of West Virginia, with how cramped everything was and how much of the road ran along a river, with nothing but inches between us and the concrete barriers, and then just inches between the barriers and the river below. The article tells the story of another incident involving a tractor-trailer who also took that detour. Thankfully we were through it long before that happened!

It has been a good reminder to us to be extra vigilant as winter has arrived fast and furious this year. You just never know when that blind spot ahead of you may be harboring a 24 vehicle pile-up! Fatalities are never easy to take either--and the fact that the young man who passed is just one year younger than the two of us, and likely hasn't been trucking all that long either. That hits close to home. It is an extra reminder of our own mortality, as well as the need to continue living life in an upright, moral and faithful way.

Life is precious. Treat it well, and drive safely out there!

Miles this week: 4500
Recent enjoyments: waking up to magical big-fat-wet snowflakes on Sunday morning, walking a mile to Mass at the Cathedral in Baker City, OR and watching the Steelers/Ravens Sunday Night Football game in the midst of a restart

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Name That Tune

When I was in middle school, my favorite teacher, Mr. Kanney, had us play "Name that tune" anytime we had a free minute or two at the end of class. He tuned the radio to Oldies, and if we were able to either determine the song's name or artist, our class would receive a point for each we got right. If memory serves me right, my math class had the longest reign in our middle school years, a consecutive score somewhere in the 70s.

It is certainly not the same as 7th grade, but I often think of "name that tune" when driving through certain states in this great country. They conjure up old country tunes in my mind as we travel the interstates whether it be city or countryside.

Some tunes that most often come to mind (I'm not entirely sure of the artists anymore, or some song titles; I'll give a few of the lyrics):

-Amarillo by morning, Amarillo's on my mind (George Strait)

-Going through the big D and don't mean Dallas

-All my exes live in Texas...and that's why I reside in Tennessee (Hank Williams)

-Would you paint me a Birmingham

-There is no Arizona, no painted desert, no Sedona

-I've got ocean-front property in Arizona

-P.S. If this is Austin, I still love you (Blake Shelton)

-Calling Baton Rouge (Garth Brooks)

-Beaches of Cheyenne (Garth Brooks)

-it goes through St. Louie, Joplin, Missouri, Oklahoma City is oh so pretty (insert lyrics I don't know here)...Gallup, New Mexico...get your kicks on Route 66

-I was standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona

-Take the last train to Clarksville (not that we've ever driven through there)

-I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die (Johnny Cash)

-Little Rock

-Take me home, country roads, to the place I belong: West Virginia, mountain mama, take me home (John Denver)

-Going to Miami (Will Smith)

-New York, New York (Frank Sinatra)

-Ooooooklahoma (the musical)

-Heads Carolina, tails California (Jo Dee Messina)

I know there are many more; can you think of any?

Present location: onward toward Houston, TX
Miles in the last 2 weeks: 11,500
Recent friendly encounters: David, Emily, Michael, Joanna, Adrianna & Sophie Martinek in Seattle; Kristen Willard visiting Bend from D.C.; Grandpa Wilker, Tom, Es, Jan, Sandy & Bridget Beyke, Kate, Joe & Andy, Sarah, Zack & Izabel in a surprise visit out for supper in Springfield; and John, Kay & Katie Martinek in Dallas/Ft. Worth. That's a lot of visits!!