The Great Western Journey, Part Eight
Friday, 2 June
We left Ouray early on Friday morning, heading for Grand Junction. T A's appointment in Sacramento was cancelled, so we headed for our alternate destination: Las Vegas. Up U.S. 550 through Montrose, then west on Interstate 70 into Utah. When we crossed the border we noticed the same phenomenon that we'd noticed when crossing any state border: the geography just changed, and we knew — even without the assistance of a big sign — that we'd entered yet another state.
This day was probably the most uneventful one that we'd had so far. Our goal was Las Vegas on Saturday, so except for a few rest stops along the way we didn't do anything else but drive. We reached I-15 in the early afternoon, and turned south toward Vegas.
Now I've got to explain a little about the way that we were driving. If you'll recall, T A's Metro had a top speed of about 71 miles per hour. For most of the time that we drove together, T A took the lead and I followed, usually hanging back about half a mile. That might seem to be a large distance, but we did have our CBs on and every once in a while we talked. I usually kept the Saturn's cruise control engaged, but I found that no matter how I picked the set point that it was always either a bit faster than T A's speed or a bit slower than T A's speed. When I started dropping back too far, maybe a mile or so, I accelerated to 75 mph and proceeded to catch up with T A.
But by the afternoon I was getting tired. Our day in Ouray was a bit longer than we'd expected. We'd left Bill and Rena's place about 10 o'clock; but after the usual check-the-mail-and-settle-in procedure the time was midnight before I fell asleep. I think that T A stayed up even later. And without the usual sightseeing breaks during the day, I was finding that the road was making me a bit weary. I began dropping back a bit further than usual, having set the cruise control at 70 to avoid overtaking T A. This wouldn't have been a problem, but the range of a CB radio isn't unlimited, despite what popular entertainment may seem to imply, and the maximum useful distance between me and T A was about 2 and a half miles if the land was flat, and less when we were in the mountains.
So I began to get further and further behind T A, eventually reaching a point where he couldn't hear me and I couldn't hear him. Looking for some stimulation, I turned the A/C on high and the stereo up high, but that wasn't stopping my yawning. The quart of coffee that I carried wasn't keeping me awake, so I made a brief rest stop a few miles south of Cedar City, Utah. I figured on a five-minute break, then making an over-the-limit dash to join up again with T A. Well, I failed miserably. The five minutes turned into a 30 minute nap, and when I finally got back on the road the fatigue hit me within a couple of miles. Distance be damned; I had to stop.
I was coming up on St. George, Utah and there were several billboards advertising motels. I was in no condition to get picky, so I took the first exit that I saw an pulled into the first motel on the right. The time was five o'clock in the afternoon, and I was stopping for the day.
Meanwhile, about 30 south of there, T A was in Mesquite, Nevada...
Next: Places That You Shouldn't Walk In Las Vegas.
Chris Doyle sent me a copy of a cover of "Convoy" by Boxcar Willie. It's pretty good, too, and far, far better than that attempt by Prolix. It's on the FTP site as "boxcarwillieconvoy.mp3", about 2.6MB. For those of you who haven't experienced the version by Prolix, it's "badconvoy.mp3" (3.6MB)
Chris also pointed me to yet another auction on eBay, this one for a copy of a British printing of the novelization of "Convoy The Motion Picture". Fanatic though I am, I think that I'll skip this one; but over to the right you'll see a picture of the cover, courtesy of the seller. Hey, if you want it, buy it.
Texans Invade Colorado, But Escape With Their Lives
Last week, we reported on a couple of off-roaders who really went off-road. Finding themselves on the side of a mountain that they couldn't navigate, they abandoned their vehicles. Fortunately for them, they got some help and finally rescued their pick-up and Jeep from the slope on which they'd parked. The Durango Herald has the story.
It Is Polite To Point
Last year in one of the "Surfin' With The Rubber Duck" columns (I'd point to the issue, but apparently I haven't yet placed it in the "new" online archives) I mentioned the Virtual Truck Route. I got a message this week from the operator, Brian Stein, who writes
Brian also added links to this site and to Miles Lumbard's "Tales of the Four Wheel Cowboy". He's also joined the Legend-News list, so he's probably reading this about now. Hi, Brian!
Cleaning Out The In Basket
I admit it: I'm lazy, and I procrastinate. There are a lot of actions that I should have done long, long ago, but I just keep letting 'em slide. Until now, that is. People send me pictures that I file under "publish in the Legend-News", but somehow I keep forgetting to do that. This week, I remembered.
David sent me this picture of ERTL's 1/64-scale model of the Rubber Duck's Truck in the movie "Convoy". I'll be adding this to the Museum.
Also from David is this clipping from Billboard, showing the standing of "Convoy" in January 1976.
Here's Scary Sherri Skahill's first Pete; her current ride, a 1981 Mack R model dump truck, "Hound Dog"; and a friend's '74 K-Whopper.
Lastly, Bob Norton's first 4WD, in 1979. Says Bob,
Keep 'em coming, folks!
Song A’ Th’ Week
Continuing the Fries/Davis compositions from A to Z...
(C.W. McCall, Bill Fries, Chip Davis)
From the album
One night last summer we were camped at ten thousand feet up where the air is clear, high in the Rockies of Lost Lake, Colorado. And as the fire burned low and only a few glowing embers remained, we laid on our backs all warm in our sleeping bags and looked up at the stars.
And as I felt myself falling into the vastness of the Universe, I thought about things, and places, and times.
I thought about the time my grandma told me what to say when I saw the evening star. You know, Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight.
The air is crystal-clear up here; that's why you can see a million stars.
I remember a time a bunch of us were in a canyon of the Green River in Wyoming; it was a night like this. And we had our rafts pulled up on the bank an' turned over so we could sleep on 'em, and one of the guys from New York said, "Hey! Look at the smog in the sky! Smog clear out here in the sticks!" And somebody said, "Hey, Joe, that's not smog; that's the Milky Way."
Joe had never seen the Milky Way.
And we saw the Northern Lights once, in the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana. They're like flames from some prehistoric campfire, leaping and dancing in the sky and changing colors. Red to gold, and blue to violet... Aurora Borealis. It's like the equinox, the changing of the seasons. Summer to fall, young to old, then to now. And then tomorrow...
And then everyone was asleep, except me. And as I saw the morning star come up over the mountains, I realized that life is just a collection of memories. And memories are like starlight: they go on forever.