Pilot Travel Center #380 Interstate 81/90, exit 25, Liverpool, New York
It was another interesting drive with a few surprises. I crossed the Cuyahoga River (over there by Cuyahoga Falls as you might have surmised – see map) during the pre-dawn hours. It is famous as the subject of a Randy Newman Song – “Burn On”. Randy’s tunes are quite beautiful and sung with passion. But if you listen carefully, the lyrics are frequently sarcastic in the extreme. Burn On is about a shameful episode where the polluted waters of the Cuyahoga caught fire.
I have marked Erie, Pennsylvania just for the sake of a really old joke where the straight man is not sure which lady he is being asked about.
“Say, whatever happened to that girlfriend of yours from Pennsylvania?”
“Well – since you bring it up – I always thought she was a little weird, yes.”
Niagra Falls is another place to which the Walkabout has almost taken me. This was the closest I have “trucked” to Canada. I came nearly this close in Washington State, at a truck stop North of Bellingham. There was the most lame old Vaudeville* routine with Niagra Falls in its storyline – follow the link for the version with Lou Costello and Errol Flynn.
I told you…Lame!
*Young people (i.e., under 50). Vaudeville was what people did before Television for entertainment. My Grandparents told me about it.
You see that part of my route was on Interstate 90, Skirting Lake Erie. But I did not catch a glimpse of same. I did spot the location of the Erie Canal Heritage Park at Port Byron.
“A Totally Unique Attraction and Destination
— Unlike Any Other in the Nation —
The Erie Canal Heritage Park at Port Byron”
“Located at the Mayan-like ruin of Lock 52, visitors will glimpse authentic life on the Erie Canal in the mid-19th to early 20th centuries. The intriguing walls of the former lock beckon NYS Thruway travelers to pause and discover history at a totally unique attraction that features an intact 19th century canal lock, the Erie House 1895 tavern, a blacksmith shop and a mule barn — plus a soon to be constructed Visitor Center and walking trails. The site blends a one-of-a-kind living history experience with all the conveniences that travelers and visitors value”
The aforementioned Lock 52 and the now-completed Visitor Center were visible from the highway and a perfect example of the interesting places I have zoomed past, across the Nation.
The Erie Canal Heritage Park at Port Byron
The Internet can be a treacherous Time Thief. I lost about half an hour while composing the text above by drifting off into a Lou Costello biographical video, followed by one about Joe Pesci. Did you know that Joe was the guitarist for a band called Joey Dee and the Starlighters – and he was replaced by a fellow named Jimi Hendrix? He also made the shortest Oscar acceptance speech on record: “It was my privilege. Thank you.”
-You see how it drags you away?
Yet another interruption was for the SpaceX relaunch one of those “flyback boosters”. They have perfected the idea of bringing back $60M rockets instead of dropping them in the ocean. This is the first time they have attempted to re-use one. I won’t spoil the ending for you.
Click the picture or link…
“Sitting in the Door” at the Receiver’s in Syracuse, March 31, 2017
My appointment was at 11:30, but I showed up before 06:00 because the Receiver said there might be an earlier opening. I have a new load lined up that is already late and if I can get rolling sooner it will be good for the Company. Right. Also, if I can get more miles in sooner, I make can a bit more money (hit the word “bit”). They assigned a door at 07:00 and I waited for the previous tenet to vacate until 07:45. It is 10:00 now and unloading has begun.
There were many vineyards along I-90. I have seen New York wines and might have tasted a few. Did you know that there is wine native to all 50 states? I’m not sure if all of those involve grapes, but it could be. I looked up the obvious doubtful one among the 50 – Alaska and found Bear Creek Winery . They mention that they buy fruits locally, but grapes are not among them. So, I looked up fruits that grow in Alaska and they mentioned this in passing: “Some nurseries raise grapes, gooseberries, raspberries and Kiwi vines.” The impression is left that the any wine grapes are probably imported.
I went through all of that so I could predict the demise of the grape industry in Northern climates. It has to do with the end of the Holocene Climate Optimum that has outlived its 10,000 year expected lifetime and shows signs of a terminal decline. That is not computer-model-manmade-climate-change Politics, folks. It is True Old-School Science based on solid observations, some of which date back to Galileo.
Now the time is 11:30 and they are through unloading because the truck is no longer shaking. I am still ahead of the game because I would just be getting here if I came “on-time”. And they would not necessarily be any quicker if I arrived now.
Flying J Truck Stop, Interstate 35, exit 144, Williams Iowa, April 3, 2017
Finally impatience drove me back to the Receiving window in Syracuse where my paperwork just happened to be sitting on the desk, waiting. Next on the agenda is the deadhead to Avon and the well-known food products provider’s warehouse. The load was yet to be assigned, but Jill the Navigation Computer spoke up and told me that the dispatch had been issued about half an hour before I arrived. While I was backing into a space, the Shipper walked up to tell me he and the staff were going home and I would need to drive over to Receiving (around the corner at the back of the warehouse). Okay.
On the way over, Jill’s new GPS enabled software bitched at me that I was leaving the Shipper without sending the proper messages (which required the paperwork (“bills”) that I did not yet have). The Receiver gave me a trailer number and a key and instructions: Drop your empty (Trailer “A”) in the lot across the street, drive back around to Shipping and pick up the full trailer, drive back over here and get the bills.
Okay. Empty dropped. On the way back around, Jill just gave me the silent treatment – she was confused, I bet. There was another truck near the Shipping gate, but I let myself in and locked the gate behind me before he could enter. He was not included in the instructions, you see. Got my trailer (Trailer B) and went back around to Receiving where there was another Company truck (with Trainer (Driver 2) and Student Driver 3) in the gate and my phone was ringing.
Now, I was to take yet a different trailer (”C”) and give mine up to the truck in the gate. Okay. I parked across the street in the drop lot and walked back. The Receiver (doing the Shipper’s job) would have none of this nonsense of musical trailers and insisted on giving me Trailer B and its bills and Driver 2 would have to take trailer C.
Okay. So, I met with Driver 2 (out of ear-shot of Receiver) and we agreed to meet in the drop lot and swap. So, I go over and drop trailer B next to trailer A and Driver 2 drops Trailer C next to Trailer B. I take Trailer C and its bills. She takes Trailer B and its bills. Student Driver 3 says she is confused and I tell her, “Join the Club, Lady!”. We file each other’s “Loaded and Rolling” numbers and I take off for Boone, Iowa and Driver 2 and Student 3 leave for Aurora Illinois.
My 70 hours for eight days are about up and I need to be Marooned somewhere for 34 hours. This load does not deliver until the 4th of April. So, that is why I am now hanging around this truck stop with fresh plowed cornfields on three sides and a highway on the forth. I have been here before, back in my Student days. It was just as remotely bleak then, but with cornstalks.
I passed a Legendary Truck Stop called Iowa 80 (purported to be the Largest in the World) on the way here. I could have spent the time there. But that would have left me a four-hour drive for Tuesday and 34 hours in a place where spending money is the primary activity. I need to write and do taxes and look for jobs and save money. That is why I am Marooned in the cornfields. Okay?
Over The Road,