Monthly Archives: June 2013

The Fat Man

I had a great spot picked out at the Huntsman event yesterday, right by the entrance to the main stage. I wanted to capture people coming into the event but this big guy wandered into my frame and just wouldn’t leave…

SlideShow (The Fat Man)
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CB Antenna

I’ve installed a CB radio on my traveling truck and it needed a smooth inline antenna. I used plumbers putty to secure it with a rock solid forward slant.

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The South Leftovers

We’re heading out this afternoon for the Huntsman event in possibly record setting temperatures and the last vestiges of snow on the tips of our mountains should soon be gone. Sweet! I’m fed up with the color White

A lot of photos will be taken today but in the meantime here’s some shots that trickled back from Steph’s trip to the South.

• Overpriced tickets to Graceland.

• Praying to the big package in the sky?

• Bonding with the grandson.

• Staged? Only Dillan knows for sure…

• Note to Grandma.

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Queen Piper

Piper’s found a new spot to view her kingdom from, it’s the top of our underground propane tank. Steph spotted her there last evening as the sun was going down, so the photo’s a bit grainy. The wires are part of our off the grid TV setup.

btw: My bus is safely tucked away back at base and my summer begins now :-)

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Winding Up

I initially named this post Winding Down in reference to the fact that tomorrow is my last day driving as I enter the summer sabbatical. It’s just the opposite around here as everyone is ramping up for a rocking summer.

The traffic was really bad on South 2000 as I headed out to pick up Ed this morning.

I had to force them off the road to get by…

Stage construction is underway for Celebrate America in two days.

We’ll be out there somewhere for the Beach Boys and Lee Greenwood.

On the flip side, the Golf Course is looking great!

…and our Office at the Mormon Church parking lot is finally done.

SlideShow (Winding Up)

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2013 Trip 1

After the 4th of July parade in Victor, ID I’m heading to Kent, WA to see my son Riley. I could take the direct route, I-15 to I-90, but I’m in the mood for some adventure so I’m mixing it up a whole lot. Each destination is a short shot, allowing for some fun.

I’m going to visit the famed North Dakota oil boom-town area of Williston via Billings and then shoot across northern Montana, dropping down into Missoula via Kalispell.

Each map image below is a clickable link to my new Directions Map program which allows you to move forward and backward between way-points.

Driggs ID to Billings MT – 324 milesBillings MT to Williston ND – 315 miles

Williston ND to Havre MT – 303 milesHavre MT to Kalispell MT – 261 miles

Kalispell MT to Missoula MT – 116 milesMissoula MT to Kent WA – 475 miles

The total estimated distance is about 1800 miles vs 850 miles directly to Kent WA.

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Valley Layover

Ahh… three more days of work and I’m ready to settle into a two month sabbatical, starting by traveling to the beautiful Teton Valley in Idaho. I’ve got a place to stay and the rental price is great. There’s high speed Wi-Fi, a hottub, beautiful views and it’s just a few miles from the Grand Teton wilderness. The house has an onsite gourmet cook, a masseuse with benefits, a nail salon and big screen TV’s!

My last day at work is Friday and I’ll be in the Teton Valley just in time for the big Celebrate America event on Saturday with the Beach Boys, Lee Greenwood, ninety degree weather and the best fireworks in Idaho.


…and, I don’t have to venture too far from home :-)

SlideShow (Valley Layover)

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Red Iguana

I drove down to the Big Ward on Saturday to pick up Steph at the airport. Wards are churches in Mormon vernacular so in this case I’m referring to Salt Lake City. It was a good run. I set Piper up with a stocked house and drove to Rexburg around ten.

Some chores needed doing in Rexburg: tuning my new CB radio setup with the help of the guy that sold me the antenna, picking up rear wheel seals for the upcoming brake job on Wednesday, and getting an oil change. Four hours later I was in Salt Lake City.

I had a decision to make when I got there, loiter around the city for several hours waiting for Steph’s 8:30pm flight or get a motel room. I settled for a decent rate at the EconoLodge, and they had a shuttle to the airport.

As I mosied out to find some dinner I spotted an extremely busy Mexican place across the street. Way too busy for me so I stayed on my side of the street and took another shot coming back. Turns out this is the top restaurant chain in Salt Lake!

The Red Iguana is right off of Utah’s light rail system (TRAX), on South Temple.

SlideShow (Red Iguana)

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Graceland

Steph’s back from the South and she notched a bucket list item, getting close to Elvis.
Update: Added some more shots! :-)

SlideShow (Graceland)
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Cow Eyed

Gee, all I did was stop the bus next to a bunch of cows today, and I got stared down!

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Intercity Blues

This was my last day doing the intercity run down to Rexburg. I spotted two new people on my manifest with afternoon rides before I started my return run to Driggs. I popped them into my GPS this morning and forgot about them until a bit before 1400.

I mentioned the trips to my co-workers at base and they said “Oh, they’re both way out in the sticks!” Great… I had a lot going on back in Driggs around 1700: checking on my truck in the shop, meeting my sister for dinner along with a subsequent ride home, and letting Piper out.

It all hinged on being back to Journeys at 1515 to load up my last clients of the day. They said I should be back by 1530, unless I drove like a bat out of hell.

I picked up the two ladies at different locations in Rexburg and headed south, through places I’d never been called Thornton, Lyman and Archer, beautiful farm country that I will return to. I didn’t bother with the GPS as my customers guided me right to their remote country doors and then I finally turned it on and said take me back!

I pulled into our base at 1455, beating their estimate by 35 minutes. I guess I’m just a little old bat from hell!

Here’s the kicker. I mosied over to Journeys at 1515 and all of their clients were out on a field trip to the zoo. They didn’t return until about 1540 and all of the transportation companies were forced to wait.

I didn’t get out of there until almost 1600. Quite frankly, it pisses me off that these guys would schedule an outing that forces several transportation companies to fall off schedule. These are clients that you can’t no-show, you have to wait for them.

Needless to say, my evening was late…

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The Temple

The Mormon Temple in Rexburg was dedicated in February, 2008. I remember the big deal everyone was making out of this structure and the Mormon mystery that surrounded it. If I recall correctly there was one day when anyone of any faith could go in and check it out, after that it was in lock-down. Only real Mormons could go inside.

I went inside the place today. As I walked through the main entrance, two older distinguished gentlemen in matching white suits rose from their seats in unison behind a large wooden table. I really didn’t know if they were greeting me or they suspected I was an outsider and were ready to toss me back out the front door!

How would they know? Do Mormons have a secret translucent logo tattooed on their foreheads and then wear special contacts to spot each other?

I told them I was looking for my client (a lady in a wheelchair). They nodded knowingly and implied with their look that it would be taken care of. As I was retreating back out the entrance I noticed they never moved. A minute later, she came out.

Rexburg is a Mormon town to the extreme. Dozens of churches, no liquor stores and home to Brigham Young University. A nice place to visit but I’m glad I live in Driggs.

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Lunch?

I set these two items on the checkout belt at Broulim’s yesterday and the girl said Lunch? Now why would she ask me that! Maybe my stock of Beanee Weenees and yogurt at home were each down by one!

Then she asked if I wanted them in a bag. Of course I did! They subtly try to coerce you to walk out of the store carrying your purchase in your hands because it’s one less bag in our landfill. The truth is we line our kitchen garbage can at home with Broulim’s bags because our garbage company requests that we do so. Go figure…

When I buy just one loaf of bread I always ask for a bag. Some checkers roll their eyes and I say “It’s not good for people around here to know how much bread you have!”

When I pulled up to Karen’s therapy office she looked in my trash can and said Lunch?

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Skoge

Memories are not unchanging physical traces in the brain. Instead, they are malleable constructs that may be rebuilt every time they are recalled. I think I must be slowly dying as old memories randomly flow across my consciousness in increasing regularity and are reshaped and rewritten every time I recall an event.

But there are some constants, and one of them is named Skoge. I first met Sherry Skogen at the Mafia operated grain company in San Leandro, CA known as Golden Grain Macaroni, in the early seventies.

I was the fresh out of college, IBM System 3 trained computer guy, who had been brought in to build them a computer system. I did that, and in the process met Skoge, a single mom raising her son Eric. She was in the billing department and we hit it off quickly as kindred spirits, minus the romance part.

Skoge watched me move through life and relationships while I watched her navigate the rock and roll scene in the Bay Area. At one point we lived together at Michael Cottens (keyboardist: The Tubes) place in the City. We also shared a great old house out on the Sacramento River.

Over the years we have continued to stay in touch. When Riley and I made our summer vacation trips down south, we stopped and saw Skoge. The Steph and Riley vacation, we saw Skoge. My trip through San Fransisco last summer, I stayed with Skoge, and Grant.

Ah, who’s Grant you ask? Well, he’s a famous rock and roll photographer who took shots of Joplin, Morrison and Jefferson Airplane long before Bill Graham got his hands on them. Grant and Skoge have been roommates for years now.

As this current summer approaches, California pushes against me as a destination, but the chance to see my old friends may override that. Stay tuned!

I have known Skoge for more than forty years now…

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Worse Lunch

I’m never eating out in Rexburg again. For these last two upcoming inter-city runs, I’m packing a lunch. Today I got a hankering for Chinese food and I spotted a place called the Mandarin. First off, I should qualify this by mentioning that I was married to a Japanese lady, our best friend was Miss Chinatown USA and we visited every great oriental restaurant in the Bay Area over several years. I know that cuisine.

The place was really plain inside. There were booths around three walls with tables in the middle and if there was any artwork in there, I don’t remember it. I was greeted and waited on by an old white woman.

There were two categories of lunch specials, one $6 the other $8. I couldn’t discern why one would cost more than the other, and half came with chow mein while the rest came with fried rice.

I ordered the $6 Sweet and Sour pork with fried rice. What I got was a smallish plate with a scoop of fried rice on the right and a pile of deep-fried light brown balls with a smattering of sauce, on the left. Not pork pieces with pineapple in thick sauce, nope. What the hell’s wrong with these Idaho hicks? Take a trip to Chinatown will ya!

I was hungry so I ate it. The deep fried balls were thick battered things with a little piece of pork buried in the middle. The rice was bland. I couldn’t finish it. That stupid meal is sitting so badly in my stomach that I’m skipping dinner tonight. Sad…

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