Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Nasty Bits

As I begin the process of frame recycling and selection I reach the inescapable conclusion: I'm gonna need a bigger couch.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Get Your Kicks

Corvette at Joliet

No study of pre-Interstate Highway System travel (yes, that's what this is) would be complete without some mention of the most famous pre-Interstate highways, namely Route 66 and the Lincoln Highway. They were neither romantic nor nostalgic when we drove on them. They were simply the line (not straight) between two points. I have two clear recollections of traveling on Route 66. The first involved trying to sound out the word ALBUQUERQUE with amusing results. The second was traveling alone with my Father in the middle of the night. I was my job to keep him awake. I was listening to Wolfman Jack (before I knew who he was) on the radio. He was doing a bit about an elf or something climbing up on the bridge of your nose and saying the three words you longed to hear: "You're under arrest." We pulled into a truck stop and I got a bottle of root beer. I discovered that root beer tastes really weird at 2 am.

Joliet, Illinois is the place where Route 66 and the Lincoln Highway momentarily followed the same path.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Over a Different River

On two occasions while waiting for real houses we parked the trailer at Canyon Glen in Provo Canyon. There was a railroad bridge that teenagers jumped off of, my mother fished from, and a train regularly crossed. I was in a state of anxiety while my mother fished. The constant sounds of rushing water, the canyon breeze blowing through the trees, and trucks using their Jake Brakes* as they descended the canyon are powerful memories. There were no showers but there was a small trading post that sold Necco wafers and rubber erasers (the erasers tasted better).

 I dusted off my artistic license and doubled the height of the actual bridge It still doesn't match my childhood recollection.

*The Jacobs Engine Brake (also known as the "Jake Brake®") is a diesel engine retarder that uses the engine to aid in slowing and controlling the vehicle.  When activated, the engine brake alters the operation of the engine's exhaust valves so that the engine works as a power-absorbing air compressor.  This provides a retarding, or slowing, action to the vehicle's drive wheels, enabling you to have improved vehicle control without using the service brakes.  This conservation results in reduced service brake maintenance, shorter trip times, and lower total cost of ownership.

This conservation also results in the thunderous BOOGADUH-BOOGADUH-BOOGADUH sound that echoed off the canyon walls. It's because of Jake Brakes you will often see signs posted at the edge of a town advising that noise ordinances are enforced or that engine or compression brakes are prohibited.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Over the River...

Being part of the family that "went West and made good" we usually won the silver dollar for traveling the farthest to family reunions. The trips I remember involved parking the trailer in Kentucky with a Roberson and then crossing the Ohio River into Southern Indiana to visit some Reasors. For me it was like visiting a foreign country with different customs, religion, and language. It was an exotic and humid land of porch swings and lightening bugs.

 By the time I came along Grandma had already moved into English to share a duplex with Gladys and Riley. She had a woodpecker door knocker, yellow water, and a single die cast John Deere toy tractor to play with. The last time I visited "the old home place" (seen here) it had been almost completely reclaimed by nature.

Saturday, March 11, 2017




Nope, maybe should light the torches.

With lit torches maybe should darken the sky.

 With this much power you're certain to make the occasional error in judgement.

Finished. Again.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Belly Scraper With Smudge Pots

I remember watching the Belly Scrapers lumbering across the Montana landscape like huge bugs.
Road construction was often indicated by rows of flaming smudge pots that looked suspiciously like cartoon bombs.

 In Progress

Working since July without a major clean-up. Things are encroaching and beginning to limit my mobility but I hate wasting time on maintenance. Too busy sawing to sharpen the saw.
After seeing this photograph it became clearer to me why I am attracted to my invented serene and monochromatic world.


In Dad's post-military career his duties as a vocational rehabilitation counselor included occasional visits to remote locations in Northern Washington. He would visit places like Colville, Kettle Falls and Republic. On one trip he parked the trailer on the Columbia River while he made his rounds. One afternoon while out scouting for Sasquatch tracks I saw an enormous aquatic creature breach the still waters of the river. People said maybe a giant sturgeon, but I know better.