Thursday, October 30, 2014

Red Rover, Red Rover

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Send tumbly right over.

How many of you remember playing Red Rover in elementary school?  You would wait for the other side to call your name and then run as fast as you could to try and break through their held hands. If you broke through you went back to your team. If you didn't break through you had to join the team that called your name.

Driving down the highway in southern Colorado I finally saw a live tumbleweed.  Ok.  So technically tumblweeds are dead plants blowing across the road.  But someone forgot to tell them that. The tumbleweeds were all lined up against the fences on either side of the road.  The bunch of them just quivering in the breeze like a bunch of kids waiting to hear their name called. Suddenly, one breaks free and rushes across the road, bouncing,  zigging and zagging.  The brownish bush darting forward then jumping back, only to zoom forward again.   This one made it across.  The next one turned around and went back the way it came.  A bunch of kids playing Red Rover between the cars on the highway.

They were fun to watch.  I could just imagine them laughing and giggling as they tumbled along.  Cheering each other on.  Razzing the hesitant ones, and squeeling with delight as they played chicken with the big trucks and won.

Yes indeed, I saw my first and many live tumbleweeds in the desolate flat lands of southern Colorado.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Truck Lag

Being sick when you're over the road sucks!

To be fair I doubt being sick at anytime is on anyone's list of top fun things. But when you are traveling it is even worse.  All you want is a dark room, a soft pillow, a comfortable bed, and lots of quiet. Instead you are in a big truck traveling 70mph down bumpy interstate roads, up and down mountains,  and often crazy traffic. Now imagine all that motion on top of four great big air pillows!  The cab of our truck sits on these, "air ride", it helps cushion the jarring from the road. But when you are laying down in the sleeper on a spring matrress it feels like being bounced around on a trampoline.  Fun.

I'm not really sure what was wrong with me.  It started sometime Sunday, but really hit me late Monday.  For a little over 24 hours I had no energy or appetite.  I didn't even want to drink anything.  At one stop before it hit full force we were walking back to the truck and I had to lean on him to help me because I suddendly felt overwhelmingly exhausted.  I wasnt sick to my stomach. No fever.  No sniffles or coughing. Just pure exhaustion. Oh and a whole lot of peeing even through I wasn't drinking anything.

He says I was probably suffering from road or truck lag. Essentially the same principle as jet lag. In the past 3 weeks I went from living on the east coast at or below sea level for most of my life, to traveling over the smokey mountains twice, across the midwest plains three times, up, over, and down the rocky mountains four times, and from the coastal pacific northwest, down through Texas, and back to the east coast. Thats a lot of time zone, climate, and altitude changes in a short amount of time; especially for someone who isn't used to it.

Thankfully today I feel almost normal. We stopped and got a long hot shower, a  hot cup of coffee, and a good meal.  Tomorrow on to new adventures.


Friday, October 24, 2014

*Pet Peeve* Piddle Problems

Ok, so I want to know what is up with women in public bathrooms!  Sorry guys if this embarrasses you or falls under TMI. But seriously girls, help me out here.

As someone who suffers from "stage fright" I always try to pick a bathroom stall that is not right next to someone else. Heck, even at home I hesitate and struggle if someone is right outside the door, or even in the next room.  In public facilities it isn't always possible to be completely alone in the restroom, or even have empty stalls on either side of you, especially if there is a waiting line. But it never fails.  The ladies room can be totally empty when I go in.  Then someone will come in and pick the stall next to me.  Now I'm not talking small two or three stall tinkle rooms.  I mean the big ones with lots of little privacy rooms.  I have tried picking the stalls on either far end and various stalls in the middle.  Yet every single time someone will come in and sit right next to me.

Come on ladies!  Seriously, are we that potty codependant?  Give a girl some piddle room please?


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A small town morning in Wall, South Dakota

This morning we woke up at the foot of the Black Hills, in South Dakota in a little town called Wall. There isn't much in Wall besides an Ace Hardware, a small local grocery store, a few small hotels, and of course the historical Main Street with Wall Drug. Wall Drug was started by a young couple in 1931. A family run drug store complete with soda fountain. After struggling for 5 years they came up with a sales gimmick to draw in weary travelers.... free ice water. And it worked. Wall Drug today takes up a full city block filled with memorabilia, trinkets, gifts, and an incredible collection of authentic photos and paintings chronoling the settlement of the Badlands and Midwest. Ice water is still free. A cup of coffee is only 5cents. Plus they serve delicious homemade old fashioned cake style donuts. Yum!!!

After a brisk walk down 4 blocks in the chilly morning winds, he and I rambled around Wall Drug enjoying the walk through history, the beautiful arts and crafts, stunning black hills gold jewlery, and yes even hokey tourist displays and gifts. We sat and enjoyed a hot cup of coffee and a donut before walking hand in hand back up Main Street. Ahhh, such is life in a peaceful small town. A brief stop a the little grocery for dinner provisions, then back to the truck and modern day.

It was a nice relaxing break from the road. And now on to what is sure to be more breath taking views of the Badlands and Black Hills. Hopeefully next time I will have pictures to share of the scenery.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The reality in the science fiction

If you've ever watched any futuristic science fiction movies there seems to be a few common themes for the cities feaurted in the story. One of which is that the cities are in levels, a physical representation of the old-fashioned caste system.

The ground levels are naturally the oldest. Built first, they are the foundation of the city. Here you find your working class; the poor, the struggling, and the outcasts.

Moving vertical up through the city you find the blue collar workers, the middle class, the everyday common citizen. The chools, hospitals, and other community sevice buildings are also usually in yhese areas.

At the very top of the city, the highest levels, the tallest buildings you find the wealthy. These are the city leaders, both electorials and financial. These are the newest buildings with clean designs free of the rubble and crowding of the lower levels.

Ok, you say. We all know this, you think. So why take the time to explain it?  Why?  Because traveling through the very real modern-day Kansas City was like traveling through one of these science fiction cities. I noticed it first when we were heading West. The city newspaper building was a huge structure made of glass and polished steel, shiney and bright. The buildings around it were modern and clean. There was an arena with a conical shape much like the classic opera house of Syndey. All of these were built up on the highest level of the city, literally.  There are highways over highways.  Buildings on top of buildings.  It is quiet liertally a city of class levels.

Traveling into the city heading back East this theme is even more apparent. At the lowest level is the river with all the original trade and commerce of cargo boats and trains.  There are miles and miles of train yards easily 2-3 football fields wide. The buildings are old brick, dirty, in disrepair, and many abandoned or condemned. Approaching the city there is an stone wall built along the side of a hill separating the train yards from the newer working class businesses and homes. Many of these are still made of red brick but clearly younger and better maintained.  Finally the roads split, the city continues to climb and you travel into the newest sections. The transition is marked and quick. The new stylized buildings stand in starke contrast to the older middle class structures below.

My eyes wide and my mind spinning while we traveled through the city,  I couldn't help but see the similarities of real and fiction. Beyond all that I continue to be excited to have this opportunity to see all these amazing sites.  Also, I am thankful for my parents who instilled in me the love of reading which has fed my love of science fiction, both books and film which helps me appreciate all that I see.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Living Small in Wide Open Spaces

The past couple of days we've traveled through Kansas, Wyoming, and down in to Utah. Looking out on the plains to a horizon many miles away is a lot looking out across the ocean. It's harvest time, and the lyrics "amber waves of grain" come to life before my eyes. Then later, some nearly 9000 feet above sea level in Wyoming looking out from the top of a mountain and seeing the beauty of the world below spread out in
uncountable miles of glorious beauty was a moment I will never forget.

Born and raised in Florida I am used to trees hugging the roads. You can't see too far off in the distance unless you're at the beach. Out in the midwest with rolling hills, farm land, and mountains there is lots of wide open spaces in every direction. I imagine due to the more airid climate and high winds trees don't grow nearly as tall and they tend to be more spaced out; oasises of green nestled in fields of gold. The open space is refreshing, especially as I gaze out from behind the glass of our International 73" sleeper.

While it is wide open spaces on the outside, inside we are learning to live in a total space that is about half the size of our bedroom back home. Clutter adds up quickly if you're not careful. Having such limited space makes you really think and prioritize all your "stuff". It is more important than ever to have a place for everything and to keep everything in its place. Clothes are rolled, not folded, to save space. Each category of clothing is in its own bag to keep everything from getting jumbled up. Plastic store bags, the kind you get from the grocery store or walmart, become small trash bags that are thrown away daily. We took the top bunk out to allow more head room when standing. It makes the sleeper feel less crowded. In the relatively near future he plans to build some small cabinets snd shelves with netting to better utilize the verticle space. Especially since we will remove one of the small cabinets on the floor to put in a refrigerator and microwave.

Of course the mind needs a personal space to be cluttered, messy orgaization. The cubbies above the driver and passenger seats are for each of us to keep how ever we wish. While I straighten up the sleeper and cab daily and keep on top of any trash or clutter, his cubbie is left alone. That is his personal, hands off space. The same with the cubbie on my side. It gives us each a sence of personal space in such small confinement. Being in such close quarters basically 24/7 it's important to have that little bit of personal space no matter how small or perceived.

I am looking forward to both the interior and exterior upgrades to our extremely mobile and tiny home. And I am still beyond excited about seeing this amazing country.


posted from Bloggeroid

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Beyond Pictures

It was early morning, the sun barely in the sky. As we came around the curve and up over the hill, I couldn't believe my eyes. Through the mist and rain, clouds rested against the mountain sides. The wind rustled the multi-colored leaves and the clouds stretched like pulled cotton clinging to the tree tops. Down into a valley another curve in the road was balanced between a steep drop to our right and sheer rock cliffs to our left. Every few yards cool mountain water raced from rock creavaces cascading onto an old railcar resting on its iron tracks which hugged the rugged curves of this Tennessee mountain.

And there was no place to pull over to capture this picturesque scene which seemed straight from some old Hollywood movie. Even if there had been the slanting rain would have made digital capture near impossible. But the memory will forever be burned in my mind.

And of course his smile at watching my excitement and reactions.

Breath caught finally and conversation ensued. We were going by Lookout Mountain, the top of which allows a spectacular view over multiple states. I vaguely remember going with my parents when I was young, 9 or 10 maybe. The last time he was there was with grandparents when he was around 13.


We both visited Lookout Mountain as kids at the same time! Was he that rambuctious boy my parents scowled at? We'll never know, but it makes my heart race to think about the many near misses we had through the years. The almost meeting here or there. We have many of those, and today was the discovery of yet another.

I can't wait to see what new adventures every tomorrow brings.

posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, October 13, 2014

New Adventures

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Seventy three inches. That is the total length of our new "home."

Along with new living space I am also learning a whole new language and lifestyle. Being on the road is a culture unto itself. Lifestyle changes, storage challenges for small living, CB radio lingo, trucker jargon, and more are all part of this modern-day gypsy lifestyle. I have only been on the truck a few days and I have learned to differentiate between different truck models and styles even from a distance, the names of different truck parts, and experienced a few of the woes of being mobile. Overall it has been a good, if somewhat slow start.

We've been stuck in Atlanta for a couple days. While being parked in a truck stop over the weekend isnt terribly exciting, its given he and I a chance to talk about plans, places, dreams, and adjust to being in such close confines and around each other essentially 24/7. I am happy to say all is well in that department, great even.

Seventy three inches isn't a whole lot of space, and I was worried I packed too much. However, I got most of our belongings all put away and surprised there is still room for more. Even the twin mattress feels comfy and roomy with the both of us on it. For now we just have sheets and a sleeping bag until I find a comforter set I like. When we first started talking about doing this I teased him about putting kitty paw prints all over his truck. Guess what? He decorated the truck with little kitty cat paw prints decals for me!

We are in Atlanta for a few more hours then we begin a trek across country to Denver and then Salt Lake City. He's already trying to plan a route that will take us by some huge sunflower fields for me to see. Regardless of which way we go, I am just excited to finally be able to see more of the country and have a great partner to experience it all with me.

posted from Bloggeroid