Onion Trucker

Bakersfield to Boston,
A little overweight.
If you saw some onions
By the side of the highway
They were probably mine.

The guy who loaded my rig
Didn't know what he was doing
So I didn't mind a few
Rolling loose back there
On Highway 58
On Interstate 40
On Interstate 44.
You didn't see any
Whole bags of them, did you?
Just so long as I didn't drop
Any whole bags.

They've already been on there for a week.
In all this sun?
I'm a little worried, to be honest.
They're paying me six grand
To get the load to Boston.
That's a lot of money.
But if I get 'em there rotten
I'll be heading back west
With nothing but onions
On my breath.

I Don’t Know What It Is About A Field—Part Two

Left Tucumcari, New Mexico at 8:40. The woman at the Best Western when I checked out says, "You look like you could use more sleep." Oh, thanks! What a nice thing for you to say. Yeah, I could have used some more sleep. But other guests stirring early, doors clanging, and then someone freaking out when a cat jumped out of the hallway trash can meant it was time for me to get out of bed. That and needing to drive another eight hours today.

I'm on U.S. Highway 54 headed east. This highway takes me all the way to Wichita. Land is mostly flat. Ranch land. Cattle grazing. Mesas in the distance, to the west. Lots of Aermotors. I've realized that's a trademarked name for the old-style windmills.

Lots of empty buildings here. There were lots of them in Tucumcari, too. That town is hollowed out. Abandoned homes. I suppose Tucumcari had its day. Post World War II. Car culture. Route 66. Before passenger air travel proliferated...

The second and final part of the travelogue continues here...

Tijuana Mission Trip 2.0

We're between mountains, like in Colorado, or Utah. Wall! Border wall. To our left, to the north. Contiguous. Iron? A rusty red. Eight feet high? It cuts into the hillside.

Suddenly it's a little greener. Wind in the palms. Some flattening out. By the looks of it, the playa at camp will be windy. Stones, boulders on the hillsides. I've lost sight of the wall as we've tended south.

This is a smooth road. Turning to the south. Large round boulders. Accesso planta dart. Windmill. This is the back way into camp. It has a rural feel but there's actually quite a few plants or factories back in here. The road has gotten very rocky. A metal structure manufacturer. Galvanization. A burned area. Car carcasse. Lots of old tires. A guy in a chair under the shade of a tree just looking out at the road. Railroad.

We take a right onto a much smoother, paved road. There are lots of cars stopped on the side of this road. There are canopies set up. Lots of them. Is it a market? We're close to camp. Turning right, I know this road. There's the old, snub-nosed flatbed lorry. The silo-like red cylinder lying on its side. Dust! At 14:42 we are at the Amor Hacienda Camp...

Continue with this Tijuana 2019 travelogue...

Farm Draft

Every car and truck that could've passed us has done so by now.  Oh wait, here's a couple more.  I will need to make a stop for gas; the tank is about a third full.  I'll stop in Vienna or maybe at that gas station along the jog at 133 and 42.  Two choppers appear, now three.  Low.  Military.  Black and grey.  A fourth.  The Cards and Nats are knotted at two after six innings.  Where are those choppers going?

Bob's Gasoline Alley.  Old filling station signs and alpacas.  Vacuum Museum, exit 195.  This semi I'm tailing is going a little slow but sitting content in its draft takes all of the decision work out of driving, a relief and a condition necessary to the drafting of this travelogue.

Click here for the full account

Eagles in Winfield, MO: Lock and Dam #25


We left here at two minutes to nine—nine being when we were to be at the Vaughans' house.  I had rushed to get my backpack filled with the right things.  As I sat it in the backseat, I remarked to myself, "This bag is heavy."

At the Vaughans' place, Anne-Marie was ready to greet us as we made to knock.  We piled into her Scion, for what reason I never inquired. I was kind of disappointed because I really like riding in Pat's Vibe.  Pat still drove.  I rode shotgun and felt I had nothing to say.  Pat made the left from I-170 North to I-70 West (a turn he once made in error, begging Billy's chagrin at the White Birch disc golf course, but I digress).  I thought: he's done it again—why are we getting on Interstate 70 West when Grafton and the eagles are east of here?  But I didn't say anything, except for a small prayer that I said only to myself (and God).

Through the airport area on Interstate 70 is a nasty speed trap—Berkeley, Edmundson, St. Ann: the various airport municipalities, some more obscure than others.  Pat wasn't exactly laying off it but I didn't see any cops.  Eventually they were there (two of St. Ann's finest), but one had gotten out to share some hot intel with the other and Pat saw the guy's fluorescent highlighter vest and eased up. 

That disaster averted, I got back to worrying about where in the hell we were going.  I thought, "Is he going to take Lindbergh to 367?"  That's not the way I would have gone, and we would lose a little time, but it would get the job done—I guess.  Nope.  Then we flew by the ramp to get onto I-270 and I was completely confused.  I resorted to consoling my worry by thinking, "Okay.  There's some other place, along the Missouri River that's really good for seeing eagles, that Pat knows about because he's got the whole St. Charles County-sort-of country street smarts thing going on."  Except that B and I had recently mentioned to Pat and Anne-Marie that we (me and B) had driven up along the Great River Road to Grafton on Christmas (with my sister Emily and her boyfriend, Rob) and we had seen a boatload of eagles along the way.  If Pat knew about a sweet spot for eagle watching that was somehow better, he didn't mention it then.

I started to worry that his plan was to take a series of ferries to get us to Grafton, something we had done once when we all went to Grafton for my birthday one September.  On that occasion we first took the Golden Eagle ferry across the Mississippi to Golden Eagle, IL before then taking the Brussels ferry across the Mississippi yet again to Grafton.  This possibility concerned me because I was pretty sure that neither of those two ferries was running today.  I'd checked.  The winter has been quite cold and best I could tell from the websites for those ferries—and from Twitter—the ferries were shut down because of ice build-up on the river.  The Winfield ferry, which I'd never been on and didn't even realize existed, had apparently started running in the last day or so, but Winfield was a bit further north.  If we headed up that way, it might be our only option but even then: if the Brussels ferry wasn't running it wasn't clear to me how we'd get to Grafton.  Either way, it was looking like we were going to be spending more time in the car than I had imagined and I was starting to fret just a bit...

The eagles are just ahead...

Driving Along A Highway In Missouri

Alright, um, it is 19:28 on June the 10th, 2004. I just drove by a mailbox that said Paul Brewer on it. I just drive by mailbox #175. I look over to the left, I’ve got hills, I’ve got the rolling hills of central eastern Missouri. Lots of trees.

But also rain. So, a grey sky is what I see. The road is pretty windy, and it’s wet. In some places there’s been some standing water. Um, no cars either in front of me or behind me right now. Although, I have had cars both in the front of me and behind me.

I saw a little blue sky out there in the distance off to the southeast. Which is basically the direction I’m heading. Take a look at the compass…goin around a curve. Been in the car for at least thirty-six minutes. That’s the time I’ve got. I’m heading south right now and it’s 68 degrees Fahrenheit outside...

Full story here...