April 27, 2010

1,400 Miles Later

It was all about my mom's bench. On that, more anon. But it was 1,400 highway miles start to finish. Going to California I did the 700 miles in two days. Coming back I did the same distance in one day and I'm suffering a severe case of road burn.

Two signs of the times seen en route.

First, spotted outside a restaurant (The "Kalico Kitchen") in Paradise, California, proof positive that the public telephone network won't be back.


Second. Available inside the "Kalico Kitten." Yes, it's disgusting. Yes, I ordered it. Yes, I am deeply ashamed of myself.


I'll be a couple of days digesting all that happened as well as all that was eaten.

Posted by Vanderleun at April 27, 2010 6:32 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Any time they say "country fried" or "chicken fried" what they really mean is "we coated an incredibly thin piece of mystery meat with 2 inches of bread and soaked it in hot grease until it's coppertone" It works wonders for profit margins.

Welcome back.

Posted by: Eric at April 27, 2010 7:33 PM

I am bristling, sir, just bristling with umbragey something, at your description of chicken fried steak. In my house, chicken fried steak dinner is aftplay....really delicious aftplay. And welcome back, Gerard!

Posted by: Jewel at April 27, 2010 9:52 PM

So it's disgusting, you ordered it, and you're deeply ashamed. But was it good?

And I have to say that I'm shocked at your description of the "holy meal", as Robert Fulghum puts it, as disgusting.

Posted by: Tom at April 28, 2010 2:39 AM

I'm currently an aircraft pilot in disguise as a truck driver and I'll give you due respect for covering 700 miles in one day. As a "civilian" driver that's above and beyond the call of duty. 700 miles in a single day is praise worthy even for a professional iron butt.

The secret to making many miles is keeping the left door closed. Most people think the secret is driving fast or caffeine. Steady and uninterrupted progress is the magic formula. My slow truck used to be passed by the same several fast and shiny trucks each day on the trip from Nashville to L.A. and we would all usually wind up parked in the parking lot of the same truck stop when I called it a day.

Posted by: Scott M at April 28, 2010 3:11 AM

I drove 600 miles in one day about 25 years ago. Haven't had the urge to do it since.

Posted by: rickl at April 28, 2010 5:04 AM

" . . . in Paradise, California, proof positive that the public telephone network won't be back." True. I've been thinking recently though that learning the skill of sending Morse Code with mirrors might be a good way to spend one's slack time. Glad you're back. What with GB on hiatus too, it's been slim pickins.

Posted by: Mizz E at April 28, 2010 6:43 AM

When I drive to my brother's in North Carolina I do the 700+ miles in a day. And the drive back.

It is a heck of a drive.

Posted by: Mikey NTH at April 28, 2010 8:22 AM

Missed your posts. Hope your mom is well, and that it was a good visit.

Posted by: retriever at April 28, 2010 10:52 AM

I think that we are getting old. We decided on our last trip a month ago that coming in all 700 miles from Winnemucca is too far. But in our younger days it was a push. Bear in mind though that on one of those 1970's trips we encountered a long stretch of satin-smooth newly-paved road in central Oregon which we crossed at 100 to 105 mph in the hot-rod Barracuda we had at the time. When we got close to a town and slowed to 70 it seemed as though we were hardly moving.

If some smart guy had just recently thought of Superman, I wonder which handy enclosure he would have chosen for quick clothing changes rather than telephone booths. Probably none...he would simply go invisible for the nanoseconds the change would take. And he couldn't be a credible superhero unless everyone knew his cellphone number.

Posted by: Pete Madsen at April 28, 2010 11:40 AM

1200 miles, 19 hours plus or minus. Ft Myers Fl to Media PA. Start noon Dec 31, arrive 7AM January 1.

Food = gas station coffee and Slim Jims. Advantage: no traffic. Disadvantage: no radio broadcasts after 2AM. I'll never do that again.

Posted by: Bill at April 28, 2010 1:02 PM

My best time was in the late 60's when I was going to school in the Bay Area (Palo Alto) and was driving back home to southern Minnesota. I did the entire 2200 miles in 48 hours with my '65 Mustang 289 4-barrel. I had done this run a couple of times and my one goal was to travel across the entire state of Nevada never traveling under 100mph. With the exception of having to slow down for a few towns, I did it. This was in the days of no speed limit in Nevada as long as you were under some semblance of control. I pulled off the road for a few hours of sleep and slept in the car. Other than that, my only stops were every 250 miles for gas.

Oh to be young and foolish again.

Posted by: Hangtown Bob at April 28, 2010 1:24 PM

I call wuss on almost all you weekend sailors of the lead sleds. I've driven from one side or corner of this country to the other 27 times, usually alone - and NOT for pay. It takes me 4 days Maine to Seattle, 2.5 days Louisville to Portland, Oregon, 4.5 days San Diego to Boston. Some of these trips have been adventures in moving with one of my offspring and their little ones. Then we've had to add a day to change diapers and find dropped toys and blankies.

It is stipulated that I'm the daughter of a real trucker and know a few tricks. But still, we gotta toughen up if we expect to defeat the Obamoids. Like the man said, keep the left door closed and eat out of a cooler, fast food isn't fast enough and you'll gain a pound a day eating that junk while you're immobile. Set your speed by the working men in pickups and panel vans with local tags, most states the real limit is five to ten above, some places like TX and MT if you're sober and the wheels touch the ground sometimes, you're okay. Always get your gas right off the highway whether it's cheaper or not, and absolutely no double stops. Use the restroom and restock the cooler where you gas up!

And get over thinking you need a motel to sleep. Rest stops are the most equalitarian places on the planet and when the trip is over, you'll be incredibly grateful for the little things - a bed and a shower. Sarah can do it and so can you!

Posted by: raincityjazz at April 28, 2010 4:53 PM

I'll not have chicken fried steak slandered, not even by implication!

Posted by: Andy at April 28, 2010 7:56 PM

I grew up on Homeric over-the-road legends told by an uncle who was a long haul driver. After getting my license, every road trip was another young man's chance to claim his place in the trucker's Valhalla, right next to uncle Phil.

The greatest trip of all was coming home from Missoula, MT to Southern, Indiana in '95 by way of Yellowstone to Western then Southern Wyoming, down to Denver and then east. 2100 miles in 34 hours with one 30 minute nap at a Kansas truck stop. It was on that trip that I stepped beyond the legends told by uncle Phil and carved my own place in family history.

... As for staying awake? God bless Art Bell and Coast to Coast AM. I often think back to that night and just how incredibly awesome it was to be free and on my own "out West", listening to crazy alien radio while driving through Limon, Colorado at 3AM with the windows down and a crystal clear starlit sky overhead ... mine the only truck on the road.

Posted by: Eric at April 28, 2010 8:20 PM

When we drive from Lancaster PA to Overland Park KS, it is about a 14 hour drive, with bathroom breaks and brief walkabouts at rest areas....with kids. Yet, almost yearly, we make this dreary hajj. No motels, unless we have some extra money for the luxury. As a youngster, my brothers and sisters and I would sing the whiny refrain, "No trees over theeeeeeeehrrrre... with the 'there'part of the refrain falling off a vocal cliff. And then we'd say it again, in unison, monotone, repeatedly, til my mother would weep. From Great Falls, Montana to Overland Park, KS.
Fun times. For us, anyway.

Posted by: Jewel at April 28, 2010 9:56 PM

The wonders of the open road and covering long distances. That is something that really sets Americans apart from anyone else in the world (except Canadians). Nobody else thinks about driving 700-1000 miles at a stretch (one day). I've done that maybe a dozen or so times in my life.
It's part of the folklore of who we are.

Posted by: David at April 29, 2010 5:32 AM

Okay. There's this.

During one summer day at the University of California in Berkeley, two friends and myself decided we wanted a beer but were too young to drink in California. One friend said, "You know you can drink at 18 in New York City."

Result: 9,000 miles in 9 days in a Volkswagon beetle.

Posted by: vanderleun at April 29, 2010 1:24 PM

Mmmm... chicken fried steak.
I remember the last one I had: We were in Beach Haven NJ, and had lunch at The Chicken or the Egg. They prepared it to perfection, with a real steak inside. A meal to remember!

I wonder if they're open next Sunday...it's only 90 miles from my house.

Posted by: Fausta at April 29, 2010 1:59 PM

Pete - when I was a kid I often wondered where Superman put his wallet when he made the change from Clark Kent to Superman.

And why no one made bullets out of kryptonite.

raincityjazz - I admit to planning my trips to NC so I get breakfast at a truckstop in Monroe, Mich, then lunch at the Shoney's (good salad bar) in Marietta, Ohio, and then power through to my brother's in NC with no other foodstops because Isabella always has something good available when I arrive and my brother has a libation.

Reverse - breakfast north of Winston-Salem, lunch in Marietta, and power through to Lansing where I will stop at a favorite pub for dinner and a refreashing carbonated-malt adult beverage.

Posted by: Mikey NTH at April 29, 2010 4:03 PM

Looks like breakfast in Texas to me, just no eggs or grits...

Posted by: Cheezburgrrr at April 29, 2010 6:10 PM