Monday, July 19, 2010

The Ride Home

I woke up far too early than should be allowed. Having a long, but fun-filled day previously, not to mention a very comfortable water bed, I slept like a log. I’m sure I would have been out until noon, but the pesky alarm clock brought me out of slumberland.

I showered and brushed my teeth and packed up to leave. I went to say goodbye to my gracious hosts. I was very surprised to find both of them up. Judy, evidently couldn’t sleep. She immediately offered me all manner of things for breakfast. All of which were very tempting, but I really had to get going. I would be in serious trouble if I missed playing the trumpet for the rehearsal that evening.

I hugged these extremely nice people goodbye, thanked them for everything and got into my shiny red pick-up. I was still very hesitant backing out of their garage, but managed to get it out without hitting anything. Another wave goodbye and I was off.

I stopped at the first convenience store I could find for the biggest coffee they had. I also looked for some antiperspirant but all they had was deodorant. I really needed something to control my sweating so I hoped another store would present itself up the road.

I started loading CD’s into the 6-disc changer. I started to grin and by the time I got to CD’s 5 & 6 it was from ear to ear. I love audio books, especially on a long road trip and I was tickled to be able to load one and half entire books in one shot. I’ve only ever had a 1 CD player on our vehicles and the Oldsmobile doesn’t even have that so I have a portable I listen to sitting in the passenger seat. It would be a treat knowing I would be more than halfway home before I had to reload another CD.

I picked up Interstate 25 headed North. The truck handles like a dream. It drives very nice on the highway. It compares quite favorably to my Oldsmobile which is a fairly decent road car. Our van can’t even come close. If there is any kind of wind, driving our van can be physically exhausting trying to stay on the road. The truck handles with ease. It has been a long time since I could say I had a vehicle that is actually fun to drive.

It started to rain almost immediately and didn’t stop until I was just about through Wyoming. I felt a little bad the truck was getting rained on, but I figured I’d rather have rain than bugs. It was never a hard rain just gentle showers pretty much the whole way through Wyoming. At Douglas, I picked up state highway 59 to Gillette. I was making occasional stops for coffee and a rest room. I was still enjoying the truck immensely and listening to some good books so drowsiness wasn’t a problem. I did have to stop and get some deodorant. I never did find what I wanted so I made do with some Old Spice High Endurance. That would have to do until I got home.

In Gillette, I picked up Interstate 90 to Spearfish. I passed a huge coal plant. The last time we drove through Gillette, it was around midnight and pitch black so I don’t ever remember seeing it. My buddy and fellow blogger SteveAtRandom could probably tell me all about it since he works for the Lignite Energy Council. It was impressive, I was so busy staring at it I had to remind myself to stay on the road.

The rain stopped by this time and things got extremely windy. The wind didn’t stop until I got home. The truck still handled pretty well, even in the wind, never the less, I was still happy to be done driving by the time I got to my house.

I made it to Spearfish, SD and picked up Interstate 85 through Belle Fourche. A few miles outside of Belle Fourche, I saw orange road construction signs. I had really lucked out with these and had hardly seen any construction the whole way. My 4-lane highway turned into a 2-lane, and much to my dismay, extended through the entire town. It was made even worse by the fact most of the road had been torn up and I had to drive on gravel much of the way. This truck has an immaculate paint job with not one single rock chip that I could see. As I driving through Belle Fourche, I believe I actually started to cry. I slowed to about 8 miles an hour which was about as fast as traffic was going anyway. It broke my heart to drive through that town.

I stopped at a Taco Johns and drowned my sorrows in a super burrito combo. Somehow I made it out of the construction zone and got back on a paved highway. By this time I was really starting to get anxious to get home.

Just north of Belle Fourche, somebody turned on the bug machine. By the time I got into North Dakota, the windshield was plastered with bug guts. I stopped in Bowman to clean things up as best I could. I made it to Belfield, ND and turned east on Interstate 94, this is the road that would finally get me home. I had to stop for gas, some ice tea and clean off some more bug innards.

I finally made it home with an hour to spare before band practice. I had timed it just about right. It’s about 12 hours between Mandan and Denver if you obey the speed limit. Do you think my beautiful wife would say something like, “welcome home, honey, I missed you?” No, I walked into the house, and she was standing there with her hand out wanting me to give her the key. The only thing she said was “that sure is pretty red truck you brought home for me.”

Ah well, at least we have a vehicle both of us are happy with. If we have occasional words over who gets to drive it, that’s OK. I made it home safe and sound, and am the proud owner of a fantastic truck. It’s been put to good use. Already, it’s been used to haul several garbage cans of grass clippings, three loads of tree branches, and a garden tiller to the shop for some engine repair.

I cannot thank enough those who made this happen. Bob and Judy, the fine people who sold me the truck and provided a place for me to stay, Rick and Lois, for picking me up and driving me all over and showing me a great time while I was there, and, of course, Jim, my dad who was instrumental in making sure everything went off without a hitch. Friends and family are truly the most valuable treasures we can have.


Steve at Random said...

Thanks for the call-out. The power plant near Gillette is a little different than the ones along the Missouri River in ND. We use water from the river for cooling. However, the one you mention is air-cooled, which presents a few more challenges. I'm guessing that it's operated by Black Hills Power & Light out of Rapid City. I can't believe it, but I don't think I've seen the red pickup yet. I'll have to keep a lookout for it.

AZJim said...

I have made that trip so many times and it sure seems shorter in your blog! Enjoy the truck.