Thursday, July 31, 2014

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hel low? Prufe reeding pleez?

What the hell is "corriandar"?

And what moron ...

... allowed this to go to press?

... printed a zillion copies?

... accepted the order?

... distributed them across America in gross quantities?

But what worries me the most is, how many were sold to total idiots who don't know how to spell "coriander"?

Sheesh, maybe worse - how many don't even know what it is?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Jiminy In The House

As we were packing up to leave Fort Worth, Hoss spotted a large cricket hiding under the truck. Paisan used to love chasing bugs and butterflies back when we lived in a stick-and-brick house, and I feel bad that she hasn't had much outside play time. So I scooped him up, took him to the cab, and deposited him next to her as she dozed in her bed. She sat up, stared at him for a moment, then gave him a good cuffing. He jumped under my seat and found a hiding place neither of us could find, and there he stayed.

Hoss thought I was crazy for setting a cricket loose in the truck. "He's going to chirp all night," he predicted. I expected the dang thing to be dead by dark, but I was beginning to think Hoss was right. But shortly after dinner, Jiminy flew past my nose and landed on the dinette table - with the cat stalking him from the floor. Hoss put the cricket on the floor for her and Kitty Funtime began.

She must have chased and batted him around for half an hour. It wasn't long before he'd lost the ability to jump, which gave her even more of an advantage. Eventually, they both ended up under a cabinet where we keep her litterbox. She crouched patiently, and from her body language alone I knew he'd found yet another undetectable hiding place. And there he remains.

If he survives, I doubt that he'll be chirping much with a single good leg - or possibly no legs at all.

I hope.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Just Some Balloons

Yup, just balloons. But they're only one manifestation of an attitude toward, a connection with, an appreciation of, this company's drivers. You won't find a carrier who feeds lunch to everyone who turns up at a regional center every day. Or who recognizes achievements with new truck raffles, weekend getaways, and cruises. Or even one who helps you grow your business and lets you run it the way you choose without pressure or consequences if you don't take every job offered.

While I'm very pleased with the new Grand Prairie facility, one driver I met last week looked around on his first visit and said "This is it?" I'm not sure what he thought was missing, because this is a big, beautiful facility. But some folks just can't be pleased.

I'm sure his comments regarding the balloons would be negative, and no doubt something snarky about giving the money spent on them to the drivers. He would be missing the point. If he isn't making the money he thinks he deserves, he has no one to blame but himself. And those balloons are a celebration of that opportunity.

Monday, July 14, 2014

So, I noticed you've covered Dad's clean clothes with a beach towel to keep them free of cat hair.

Sure, that'll work.


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Utah in Reverse


Click here to see more pics of our trip back toward New Mexico. :)

Church Food Is The Best Food

Especially when it's a Greek Festival.

On our way toward our delivery early Friday morning, I took a detour into a charming small town to pick up a fast food breakfast. On every charming corner was a blue on white sign: "Greek Festival July 11th & 12th". 

But, it was too early in the day for festival food. The people of Price, Utah were just starting to move about and we would be too far away after our delivery to reasonably return for lunch.


This happens to us often. We'll ride into a city and see billboards and signs announcing an event we would love to attend - a gem and fossil show, a concert, a gun show, a rodeo, any manner of food event - and it's invariably on a past or future weekend. Never on the weekend when we're actually there.

That afternoon, after our delivery and a nice hot shower, we ran numerous reports to compare recent load stats for Salt Lake and other cities in the West. Not surprisingly, Salt Lake lost. If we were going to score a load anytime soon, we needed to move.

Lo and behold, our best route toward good freight took us right smack through Price, Utah.

And so at Noon the next day, we drove down 2nd Street in Price and came upon the very beautiful Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary:

Where they  have a dandy sense of humor:

And a reputation for fabulous Greek food, as evidenced by the looooong line waiting to get into the food pavilion:

Caution! Food porn ahead:

We ordered take out for two meals apiece, knowing full well that a single meal wouldn't satisfy the craving. The gyro was overstuffed with tender slices of beef and lamb, tomatoes, onion, a bit of lettuce, and plenty of tzatziki wrapped in a pillow soft pita. The dolmas were tender and perfectly seasoned. Both were heavenly. We also had spanakopita, tiropites, roast lamb, pork souvlaki with a fabulous lemony-garlicky marinade, a creamy pilaf, fasolakia, and a small slice of karidopita and loukoumades for desserts.

The good Greek ladies of Price, Utah made us very happy this weekend.

If you're surprised, as I was, to discover that Utah has a substantial Greek population, you can read about it here.

Or if you'd have never guessed that the annual Greek Fest in Salt Lake City draws 100,000 people each year, just Google "mormon food".

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Life Elevated

After a pleasant weekend in Fort Worth, we were offered a load from Dallas to Salt Lake City. Normally we would have turned it down - manufacturing isn't as prevalent there as it is in the East and Midwest, so expedited loads back out are hard to come by. But the load paid well enough that we decided to accept, and so off we went.

We've been to and through Utah before, but never the southeastern quadrant. Known as Utah's Canyon Country, the vistas are a breathtaking combination of vibrant colors and sublime sandstone formations. We saw quite a few antelope and several herds of horses - possibly wild - and I spotted a bobcat. The clear, dry air and cooler temps were a welcome relief from Fort Worth's broiling weather.

When we get done living in Texas, then Wyoming, I think we'll probably move to the Utah town of Moab, open a food truck, and call it "Gronk's Paleo Cave Food".

Click here to view a slideshow of more pics.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

5th of July Cookout

Last year, we spent Independence Day at Winstar Casino. We rented a spot in their RV park and watched their (darned impressive!) fireworks show from our picnic table. The year before, we spent the Fourth at a riverboat casino in Evansville, Indiana, where they also hosted a large fireworks show. Casinos make a terrific destination for truckers. There's ample free parking, plenty of food options, and even if you don't bet a dime there's plenty of entertainment via people watching. And the majority host large fireworks shows a few times a year. 

This year we were on a direct delivery, so laying over and enjoying a fireworks show was out of the question. We did, however, catch a few large carnation bursts here and there on the horizon.

After delivering the load in Austin Saturday morning, we stocked up on groceries and headed north to the new Landstar yard on the outskirts of Fort Worth. We hadn't grilled anything for months, so we were looking forward to scorching something in the name of sticking it to King George III. We ran through several possibilities - chicken, ribs, sausage - but we never got past the idea of a huge super juicy burger. Just 80/20 ground beef, nothing added, shaped ever so gently into giant round patties and sprinkled with salt and pepper.

Did I mention they were big? Two and a quarter pounds of beef divided into just three burgers. 

Yeah, big.

Hoss knows how to grill a perfect fresh burger. Season the crap out of it. Slap it down on the hot grill. Wait two minutes, then turn them 90 degrees. Don't flip until juices just begin to percolate up to the surface. Flip. Once only. Never flip more than once. And never, ever, press the burger with the spatula. Remove to a plate before it reaches the desired doneness. Serve on a roll with some heft and substance, and add a slice of sharp cheddar on the top and the bottom of the sliced bun. Behold, perfection:

It was so huge and so delicious and so juicy that I added no condiments whatsoever (and I completely ignored the cole slaw on the side). 

We may just have to celebrate Independence Day on the fourth of every month henceforth.   

Hossman Comes Home With a New One

Apparently weary of my frequent commandeering of his laptop, Hoss set about investigating the purchase of a new laptop for me this morning. As we sat in the Landstar yard in Fort Worth again this morning, he called the number of a local computer purveyor on an advertising brochure left in the drivers' lounge. The seller was coincidentally onsite at that moment, meeting with other drivers during a break from their class. Hoss went inside to see him ...

... and returned 30 minutes later with my new laptop:

Heh. This blogger's back in business.

Monday, July 7, 2014

More Northwest

I've temporarily arrogated Steve's laptop to post the remainder of our Northwest snapshots.

En route to Seattle:

Northern Idaho
Eastern Washington
Returning east:

Northeast Oregon
Northeast Oregon
Southeast Idaho

Sad Lincoln tries to hide behind a small tree in Laramie, Wyoming
We stopped at a small truckstop in Cokeville, Wyoming on the first night of our return trip east. We were both charmed by the area. Due to the elevation of over 6,000 feet, the air is clear and dry. The geography is a mix of high plains and rolling hills, with distant mountain peaks. Horses and cattle graze contentedly. The residents - mostly ranchers - wave and nod politely as they pass you on the highway. We agreed we could easily live there, although Hoss is less enthused about spending winters there despite that they average less than 50 inches of snow a year.

I was surprised to learn that Cokeville was the scene of a hostage crisis back in 1986. I don't remember it. The boys were 15 months old then, I was working nearly full-time and taking night classes at WSU. My life, I suppose, was too full to pay much attention to the news.How horrifying it must have been to the residents of that tiny little town.