The Sun, the Wind and the LA Freeway

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Flying J #513, Interstate 15 exit 1, Primm, Nevada

   The next assignment took me back across Wyoming to California (LA again).  It turns out that the spot I have chosen to settle tonight is directly adjacent to Wiskey Pete’s Hotel and Casino.  Pete has a parking garage:

WiskeyPetesGarage.jpgWhiskey Pete’s Free Parking Garage

I took a walk over to Pete’s Garage and climbed the stairs to the top floor.  Yes, there was an elevator and it didn’t show up when I called it.

    “ How do you call the elevator?”

    “We call it ‘the elevator’”

  I climb the stairs anyway, for exercise, but today I am looking for a vantage point to photograph what happens to be next to Pete’s – Ivanpah.

IvanpahNorthHelios

This is the North Tower, surrounded by its mirrors.  We see the backsides of the near mirrors and the sky is reflected from the far ones.  This was about 1400 (2PM), local.  The mirrors oriented straight up are seen as a dark zone (their edges) that separates the near and far zones.

MiddleTowerNoMirrors

The middle tower seems to be completely abandoned.  They have removed the mirrors from around it – so now they have plenty of spares for the other two towers.  The incinerated bird count has dropped by a third, but the loss of revenue has made what will inevitably be a Federal bail-out.  Perhaps those missing mirrors can be cut into small handheld units so the taxpayers can catch a glimpse of the real losers in this whole debacle.

The “Green” community is in Denial about the disaster this project has become.  Leaving alone the financial cataclysm, just look at the bird slaughter. I found this quote at a notoriously hypocritical and biased news source that shall be nameless:

“I always want people to put issues like this in context. In talking about something like avian mortality, we must ask — how many birds are killed every year because of office buildings and residential houses in the U.S. compared to how many are killed by energy projects?”

First off:  The builders of office buildings and residential houses do not go around tooting their horn about how “green” they are.  Secondly, while office buildings do take bird strikes, the only dead birds around my house come from the middle cat, Pepper (Tuxedo is too old for that foolishness) and she never brings me falcons or golden eagles…a la Ivanpah.  Lastly, the Greenies would CRUCIFY ExxonMobil if they killed as many birds.  If, Hell!  EM has been fined millions for “bird mortality” around their plants (about $6000 per bird, as I recall) but they took remedial action and solved the problems. Ivanpah has a 30 year “permit” to incinerate protected birds with no fines.  Just as well, the whole project is broke and any fines would be paid with US Tax Dollars, anyway.

Back at Windswept Wyoming:

The winds finally did abate in the evening and I was able to launch back through Cheyenne to Grand Island Nebraska for a load of “frozen foodstuffs”.  There was an elephant in the room about the powers that be who might be unhappy with my call to stand down.  My conscience is clear on the subject since I was the one being shaken awake in the stationary truck – even while parked snugly between two other trucks.

Westbound back on Interstate 80, a decaying metal building with picture windows appeared between mile markers   256 & 257, still in Nebraska.  The place looked abandoned but was full of  Classic cars.  I didn’t catch a photo., but just got the impression of 30’s and 40’s model cars.  Old Car Junkies, take note!

I arrived back at the Pilot in Lexington, a few hours from Grand Island only to discover , while fueling that an air hose from the tractor to the trailer had parted.  There are redundant air hoses.  The emergency line was he only thing keeping the trailer brakes from locking up.  I would have to fix the service line or risk the brakes locking up on the road.  I have seen evidence of such incidents many times (really long skid marks that eventually swoop over to the shoulder), but never had I  come so close to experiencing it firsthand.

I bought a new hose, without advice in the Pilot, struggled with that for a while, then went across the street to the Loves where they sold me the correct hose.  It took a while to install and I decided to start out again in the morning after only six hours on the road and three fueling and repairing (an Easy Day, that is).

Wyoming was calm in the morning, around Cheyenne, but the winds picked up again as the day wore on.  Even with a load on, the buffeting was becoming fierce and at about 2/3s the way across the state, I passed a truck on its side off the right shoulder.  There were no seals or locks visible on the trailer – which is to say it was an empty.  I reported this as a road condition – which incidentally negated any criticism of my self-shutdown two days earlier.  Especially since the word “Extreme” was absent from the programable road signs on this particular Blustery Day.

Carl Jr.’s Parking lot – Azusa, California

   Unloading has been accomplished at Carson, California, near Long Beach.  With well over 2 hours of drive time I should be able to make the truck stop at Hesperia (83 miles), right?  Sure!  How bad could traffic be in the heart of the Los Angeles Metroplex on a Friday afternoon at 3 PM, when everybody is taking off early for the weekend?

   Creeping out Interstate 605, it became obvious that I was about to end my duty clock and be out of “Compliance” while still stuck on the highway. A very dark mood descended.  This is that grim, lost, panicky mood that I have experienced a few times before. 

   Once was in Virginia, on a State highway when I discovered that I was 24 minutes from the nearest truck stop with 16 minutes remaining.  It was then that I “founded” the Ad Hoc Truck Stop #1. Another was at Hollyrood, Kansas where I found a bar parking lot and a nice old man who told me that the bar would not open until the weekend.  That became Ad Hoc Truck Stop #2.

   I was just practicing Primal Scream Therapy about the situation, when I happened to see a big Beer sign and recognized the giant Miller Distribution Center where a third clock disaster had occurred. 

 In October of last year (2016) I was in LA and felt a similar desperation. I was frantically scanning for something like a big parking lot.  But little is visible from the Freeway.  I saw the Miller plant.  You know they must have lots of trucks in and out.  Somebody there will know something, right?  That was the hope as my truck entered the Miller Receiving Gate.  They were not very helpful, but with some coaxing, they did give me vague directions to a Walmart and a Costco and let me turn around to exit the plant.  After chasing the figment Walmart for ten minutes, I found a turn-around and went for the Costco.  There, a guard in a golf cart came to chase me away.  Under my withering “Guilt Trip” (I deliver to Costco Distribution Centers…I’ll be thrown into Federal Prison if I leave…that sort of thing) he finally admitted that the Carl Junior’s next store allows trucks to park overnight.  I had to pry it out of him, but I thanked him nonetheless.  Over at Carl’s, the cleaning crew told me they see trucks there all the time, so I stayed the night.

   Well, that Miller’s sign that appeared out of the blue was a welcome relief and some semblance of Sanity returned. As Yogi Berra has been quoted as saying, “It was Déjà Vu, all over again.”.  I avoided the stop at Millers, the pursuit of the wild goose called Walmart and the plea in the Court of the Costco Golf Cart.  It is there, at Junior’s lot where I am, now relating the strange tale to you, my Loyal Readers.  I don’t want to wear out my welcome and it is past 6 AM here and people are showing up for work, so I will get a photograph to show you and depart for the elusive Hesperia, now that my drive hours have been recovered and traffic has abated to merely annoying.

ParkedAtCarlJuniorsCarl’s sign is over-exposed, but the big yellow star is recognizable.

 Pilot Truck Stop, Hesperia, California, March 11, 2017

  I have found parking, scanned my trip sheets to Dallas (That’s how I get paid), had a shower and eaten some 2 for $3 hot dogs for breakfast.  If you tack together this with all the disjointed pieces of the narrative above, they form a more or less complete story, so I’ll stop while I am ahead.

 Over The Road,

Steve

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