Love Truck Stop, I 70 exit 304, Bennett, Colorado, March 26, 2017
This particular truck stop is popular because it has a supermarket within easy walking distance. Yes, the truck stops sell groceries, but as you might imagine the prices are “Airportian”. The best deal by far is the 2 for $3 hot dogs and I will always resort to them when rations dwindle. In the meantime, fresh bread, cheese and deli meat are the staples. When those expire, the ships stores of canned goods (tuna and Spam) are served on flour tortillas (which seem to last for months). When the cupboard is bare, there is a jar of peanut butter to rely upon.
I have made the accustomed stroll to the “King Sooper”. I have only seen that funny name in Colorado and it turns out to be a Kroger. Or at least associated with same – I tried my Kroger discount card there on a hunch and it works. The store is the anchor tenant in a strip mall with various fast food, a liquor store, realtor, hair joint and UPS Store.
The King Sooper out on the Interstate, South of Bennett
My stay here is a bit extended because of my early departing habits that avoid traffic and parking problems. I was to leave Stratford, Texas at three AM but a flat tire kept me there until 5:00. Still, I arrived by 11:00. The strip mall is the highlight of my stroll around the area. There is a Hike and Bike trail that leads off into the distance and Bennett Proper:
That’s Bennett Proper, off in the distance
One might assume that there must be something to see and do in Bennett Proper, or they would not have put in a trail. Before investing the walk, though, I checked on iMaps what it had to offer. Two Banks, Realty offices, fast food, a liquor store and some schools. Oh, and an “Airsoft and Paintball” establishment. I deferred from the journey for now and decided that the trail is there so the people of Bennett Proper can hike or bike out to the King Sooper, the Truck Stop and the more exciting and newer fast food. That visit may have to wait for a 34 hour forced stand-down (more commonly referred to as a “Marooning”).
A map of the Bennett Situation
My recent fuelings at Loves locations in Texas and Colorado have earned shower credits. I’ll wait until “extreme early” to avoid the waiting list, though. For now, it’s the Captains quarters for some “shut-eye”.
Loves #558 Hwy 400/56/283 Dodge City, Kansas, March 27/28, 2017
The Shower Strategy again proves its worth. At 01:30, no waiting.
The appointment to unload was at 8 AM CDT and 25 miles away. So, I started the day at 5 AM and had the load delivered by 10 AM. I said this truck stop in popular. See how they crowd in next to the scale…
The “No Parking Zone” next to the scale. The two at left have neighbors at their trailer doors, for a total of seven “Outliers” (the “i” is long).
Distribution Centers also tend to get more crowded as time goes by, Since they generally keep an inventory of both their own trailers and those of their freight contractors, parking space becomes scarce. Unfortunately for drivers, the solution is sometimes to park empty trailers across from the unloading doors.
Double parked trailer exacerbating docking maneuvers.
This makes it a Royal pain to back an over-the-road rig into a door. Is it revenge of the poor Yard Dog, who while driving all day never experiences the Peace of the Open Road? His little tractor has great visibility and maneuvers snappily. Our lumbering road tractors, with the attached Captain’s Quarters are clumsy and awkward by comparison. I will get you a picture of a yard tractor.
If it is revenge, this poor Yard Dog was suffering from a critical case.
I should count my blessings, since I was assigned the door at the end and got there when two adjacent doors were empty. That blue truck at right arrived later and had to back into close quarters. He handled it quite well but still had to pull up a few times.
The End of Trip brings a question of where to go next, since we are once again in the “Twilight Zone” with no destination. If the Walkabout has taught me nothing else, it is that the journey’s end is only the excuse for the journey itself – but even so, it is important because without it we are just wandering around lost. The next load will almost certainly start from Kansas and Bennett is that way. I found the first space empty and took it. With no plans to stay long, it is an interesting spot because every truck that comes to the Loves passes within 5 feet of my front bumper.
The load assignment came in and – sure enough – it’s a meat load out of Kansas. Dodge City, which is well known for cattle wrangling and beefsteaks over at Del Monico’s, since “Gunsmoke” days.
East of Denver, Colorado is almost as flat as Kansas. There were some bored Graduate Students somewhere who analyzed the topography of Kansas and compared it with scanned measurements of a pancake. Yup – Kansas is flatter than a pancake….This picture looks surreal, does it not? I figured out why – no traffic, no potholes, no oil stains, no dead animals (or live ones, for that matter…wait, is that a cow off the right side?) 😉
The current load is being prepared over at the meat plant. I have dropped my empty trailer there and fled for the Loves. They will call me when it is ready – sometime between now (3 AM on Tuesday) and 23:00 (11 PM) on Wednesday evening. Since the call may come at any moment, sleep is appropriate at this time. Goodnight!
Pilot Travel Center #287, Interstate 71, Exit 204, Burbank, Ohio, March 29, 2017
The call came about an hour and a half later. The iPhone screen said “Atlanta, Georgia” and was almost ignored for that reason. But, it but turned out to be the ready call. There was still an hour and a half before my drive time returned. That short sleep was amazingly deep and restful. So much so that the shipping staff at the plant were amused by my drowsiness.
Fortunately, my new Green Stanley Thermos (GST) was soon filled with coffee. This is a “classic” working man’s thermos, built of stainless steel and nearly indestructible – unless I run over it with the truck. Truck stops charge about $1.80 for a “refill”. I had been refilling a 12 ounce cup, but the price is the same to fill the one liter (33.8 ounces) thermos. So, the Stanley will pay for itself in a month or two. I discovered (the hard way) that GST’s come with a piece of cardboard inside.
Kansas had some interesting tourist opportunities that were, alas, not on my itinerary. Most were mentions on billboards. These include “Little Sweden” in Lindsborg, a Motorcycle Museum and the Federal Prison at Leavenworth. I actually passed by Fort Riley an Army Base that is Home of the First Infantry Division, whose emblem , “The Big Red One” inspired a movie buy that name starring Lee Marvin and featuring Mark “Luke Skywalker” Hammill). Lee Marvin had a humorous side to his career that included a Musical called “Paint Your Wagon” from whence I adopted a Theme Song for my Walkabout. It will no doubt convince a few of you to watch this movie when I tell you that both Lee Marvin and CLINT EASTWOOD sang Solos in this flick. Yep, Clint had a career in Music, as well.
I also passed the exit for a town called Radium (Radium is a chemical element discovered by Marie and Pierre Curie but I have not managed to find out just why the town has that name). I also noted the “Largest Windchime in the World”, but that was the next day in Illinois.
I am pushing my drive time earlier so as to make life easier as regards showers, traffic and especially PARKING. So, I need to make some “Z’s”. So, I will post this and become horizontal.
Over The Road,