Shazam! Go-l-l-y! Sur-prise, sur-prise, sur-prise!

As we begin our amble back to Texas tomorrow, I’ve been thinking about all that’s happened the past two weeks.

Do you remember Gomer Pyle (Jim Nabors )? He was continually amazed by the simplest things and would verbosely share his enthusiasm by saying things like: Shazam!  or G-o-l-l-y! or Sur-prise, sur-prise, sur-prise!

When Gomer was on screen, he was in a state of almost constant surprise. That’s kind of how these past two weeks have been. I’ll share some of them in the next few posts.

You know how I said I don’t like trucks? Changed my mind. I now almost, but not quite, love trucks.

Time to swallow some caliche and eat my words.

I’ve seen the light!  Actually I’ve seen the lights. This truck has more lights than a furniture store! It has lights on the running board and lights on the big sticky-out fenders. It has spotlights so you can see in the truck bed at night and arrow lights on the mirrors. I especially like the arrow lights on the mirrors – I don’t know why, I just do.

I’m used to having a phone that’s smarter than me. Now I have a truck that’s smarter than me, too. It has tells me to pick a language (I only knows one but it knows multiple languages) and asks if I want to use the metric system (nope, don’t know that either).  It tells me the name of the song and the artist playing on the radio, when I need a new fuel filter and asks if I’d rather have my horn beep or my lights blink when I lock the truck.

Go-l-l-y! The Texan who owned this truck, must have really liked trucks! I never even had a Bose stereo in my house. I still don’t. Maybe I’ll just live in my truck although a dually with a long bed does take up a lot of room in the WalMart parking lot. In addition to my regular caliche clogging and stepping (4 steps now instead of 2), I’ll be adding the ever popular Hiking to the Far Away Truck to my exercise routine!

OK – liking the truck was the first surprise and the only one I’ll go into today except for the fact that I no longer seem to be allergic to ragweed.

How did that happen? It’s in full bloom and the county park we’re in is full of it.

I think I may have developed a gene for ragweed resistance which has evolved via months and months of caliche inhalation!

As you know, we drove more or less, straight through to get here since we had a tight deadline. We won’t be doing that going home to Texas. (Yes, I did say home to Texas – topic of an upcoming post!)

We had 12,000 miles of practice, driving the motorhome, and we’ve only driven 30 miles with the 5th wheel, so we’ll be taking our time. Another sur-prise from these past two weeks, I forgot how tired, tired can feel. I don’t think I’ve been this tired since my kids were 1 and 3!

Mr Adventure, if you’re reading this, I’m thinking of using you as a role model and following your traveling schedule of 200 – 300 miles a day! This may be a necessity since entering the strange new world of 4 slides and a truck bed with a hitch.

We should get back to Texas, eventually…  Since Lantern 17 is in Wharton now and the Jeep is in Smiley, we have to take a side trip before we head back to the gate. By this time next week, I’ll once again have a clip board in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. Until then, I have a few more surprises to share, and hopefully not too many more on the road.

Happy trails to those of you who’ve written saying you’re also headed south and best of luck to all of you who are just beginning gate guarding! I can’t wait to hear your stories!

Trucks

He who runs behind truck is exhausted, he who runs in front of truck is tired.

Please don’t take offense, all you truckies, but I don’t like trucks.

I liked my Camrys (that was back before the brakes decided to be accelerator pedals) and I loved my Jeep, but I never wanted a truck.

Maybe I have some bad, suppressed childhood truck memories.

I don’t know.

That’s one reason I didn’t even look at 5th wheels 3 years ago – I just didn’t want a truck.

So how ironic is it that I spend my days counting trucks? Big and little and humongous trucks. My entire world is filled with caliche and trucks.

After 9 months of gate guarding, maybe the caliche finally soaked into my brain and I really do have a brain cloud, just like Joe?

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I’m at a loss to explain it apart from the Texas heat and living in a caliche cloud, but today is the day I buy a truck.  (I’ve already paid for it, today is the day I pick it up.)

It’s a Chevy. Heidi loves trucks and but doesn’t like Chevys. She always wanted a Ford. I’m an indiscriminate truck dis-liker. Heidi says that’s a form of prejudice. It’s prejudice when they all look alike. I argued that not liking Chevys is  more prejudicial, singling out a specific type. Regardless – we’re buying a Chevy and I guess we’ll both have to get over it!

To answer your questions, kind of. It’s a 2006 Chevy Silverado, 1 ton dually diesel with 44,000 miles and no rust. Oh, and it’s grey with suicide doors and a leather interior. That’s all I know about it. I sat in it yesterday. Yep. It’s a truck. Here’s a picture of it – but that’s not my RV in the background. It’s in the shop getting a washer and dryer and a second air-conditioner. Hooray!

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The truck has other things, besides a hitch for the 5th wheel, of course, that I don’t understand yet. The original owner had it customized to pull a 40ft  DoubleTree Mobile Suites. It has funny gauges, and extra fuel tank and other things I don’t understand but will be getting lessons on from Heidi’s son this weekend (who used to own his own trucking company).

Here’s the extra irony. We drove 1250 miles from Texas to Iowa to trade RV’s at our hometown dealer– and guess what we’re getting? A Texas truck! No kidding! It even has a longhorn emblem in the back window! Maybe that’s a sign it was simply meant to be!

Folks still remember the day ole Bob Riley came bouncing down that dirt road in his pickup. Pretty soon, it was bouncing higher and higher. The tires popped, and the shocks broke, but that truck kept bouncing. Some say it bounced clean over the moon, but whoever says that is a liar. ~ Jack Handy

Brown Turns Right

I read  tonight in The Business Insider that UPS drivers never turn left.

However circular this might seem, it works for Brown.

Although this isn’t news (UPS has had the software package since 2006) it’s still apparently news worthy.

Trucks and turns interest me, living as I do, in a high traffic area where, on a good day, the trucks pass about 10 feet from our door. Some days they turn a little tighter.

As it turns out, both UPS and the state of New Jersey, frown on left turns.

I’m uncertain why New Jersey prefers right turns and jughandles, but UPS has done their research: right turns save miles and money. These results seemed so remarkable that an experiment was done by true scientists: the Myth Busters. They concurred. It pays to keep turning right.

Bob Stoffel, Senior VP of UPS says his engineers map out every route and provide right-turn only directions to their drivers.

Mr. Stoffel states that this strategy shortened their routes by 20.4 million miles last year alone.

I’m thinking that it may be because they would have had to eliminate deliveries on all one way streets?

They would certainly have to avoid all oil rigs. I see a lot of trucks and I’ve never seen a UPS truck at a rig site.

You may be wondering why this UPS strategy works?

Mr. Stoffel has several answers to that question.

He says that turning right decreases safety hazards and delays.

We do have safety hazards.

This particular truck turned left and drove on our carpet, missing Harvey (not Henry, he was inside) by a hare.

In addition to decreasing safety hazards, Mr Stoffel offers other reasons for no left turns.

‘Jutting out into traffic is a good way to get side-swiped, especially when driving a big truck.’ When he refers to big trucks, he means UPS trucks.

When I refer to big truck, I mean trucks where the tires are taller than me. Back to the jutting out problem.

We did have a jutting out situation here just the other day.

This truck was stuck going in two directions at the same time.

I’m not sure if you can tell from the picture, but yes, this is one l-o-n-g connected unit!

Mr Stoffel also stated that their studies have shown that ‘if a driver is stuck waiting for traffic to pass with a left blinker on, it’s going to set him back’.

I would have to say, not much sets our drivers back. I have the feeling they feel fairly free to assume the right-of-way a good portion of the time.

Heidi maintains the practice of always parking bedside a vehicle nicer than the one she drives because she says they’re less likely to ding your door with theirs.

A similar principle holds true with our truckers, except in reverse.

They can drive in any lane they want. They could bounce you like an armadillo without even getting a scratch. They are the true road warriors.

In Texas, BIG trucks rule; it really doesn’t matter which lane they’re in.

I don’t know what  Brown can do for you. But I’m pretty sure that if the left hand lane is clogged up in Texas, it probably isn’t Brown. It’s likely one of ours.

Harvey and his umbrella suffers another near miss as he guards the carpet

As was so poetically stated by the man who now drives a truck but who, as a boy, rode a bicycle in the sky and ate Reece’s pieces with E.T. :

“I have horses, I drive a truck, and I wear cowboy boots. First I’m a Texan.”
~ Henry Thomas

Guess that about says it all.