The Legend-News

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Thursday, 2013 June 6 : Volume 16, Number 3
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What We Got Here

Books by Tom Claffey, featuring the trucker trilogy:
Hoot ’N’ Holler; Searching for C.W. McCall; and Bloomfield to Baghdad

Up to Speed

Medical News. Back in March, Bill Fries (The real C.W. McCall) had visited his doctor for a semi-annual checkup of his pacemaker. All was reported well; but the next day, complications were discovered. The eventual result was open-heart bypass surgery. But don’t worry, Bill is doing fine and recovering well.

Multiple Choice. Back on May 21, I attempted something new: The Legend-News of the Day (LNOTD). My intention was to use this short newsletter to send news which is time-sensitive, or at least items of interest that occur between issues of The Legend-News.

And, as some of you noticed, my first attempt had its problems. The first was that, if you wanted to get a score for the test that I had linked to, you needed to have a Facebook account; and some of you do not have one. I decided to then send a update, telling you where the answers to the quiz could be found. But after I had sent the original LNOTD, my mail server found itself on a blacklist; and when I attempted to send the LNOTD update, almost every recipient bounced that message back to me. Some of you received the update twice, with one copy routed into your inbox and the other being placed in your spam folder. Eventually, my ISP got the problem corrected — with much yelling and pounding of fists, I am sure.

For those of you who didn’t take the test, here’s another chance. You do not need a Facebook account to complete the test; but when you get to the end, where you’re asked to Like the page in order to get your score, come on back here and go to the end of this issue, where you’ll find the answers. The quiz can be found here.

And after that, check out TruckersReport for news on the trucking industry.

Should’a Been In The Legend-News of the Day. A bit late, but here’s another example of Your Government At Work. Although, as usual, I disagree with the label “novelty song”.

New Critters On The Block. Evan Snow, Chris Fletcher, Tim Ryan, J Todd Underhill, Edward Green, Ty Bradshaw, mjk1326, Scott Phillips, Fritz Campbell, Judi Anderson, Jeremy Manson, Yvette Metzger, Brian Stichter, Matt Masich, Randy Bennett, Doug Ross, Keith Love, Julie Duff, Shandi White, Jefpf Vulture, Eleanor Beidatsch, Troy Stokes, Mary Knapp, Jason (son of the belt buckle guy), Robert Greishaw, Larry T. Coffman, Gordon Keyler, Larry Waggoner, Lon Hardy, Cary Levitt, Natasha Gardner, Paul Matchett, David Landis, Blake Bogs, Shannon Keitel, Todd (CameraboyNYC), Gavin Spence, Marcus Thell, Guy Betten, Barry Wilson, Jesse Price Morris Jr., Gary Davis, Lori Rogers, David Olson, Brian J. Smith, Michael Hemauer, Ronzo Baughman, Rodney-Scott Katz, Jane Nicholls, Paul B. Walker Jr., and I think that’s everyone that I’ve failed to mention in the past 21 months.

The latest review on The Thinking Chick’s Guide: Sabrina (1954).

Over the Double Nickel

Tweets from the beyond:


Vegetarians eliminate the middlemeat.

The Google Glass app that I want: "X-Ray Specs", just like the ones sold in old comic books.

June 3: another sleepy, dusty, Delta day.

He died doing what he loved: screaming in abject terror, and soiling his pants.

A good lemming lead by example.

It's *always* the red wire.

Never seen: "50% smaller than the larger size."

Somehow, tweeting an anti-driving-and-texting message does not seem to be a good way to promote safety.

I was at a local flea market last Sunday, and saw some sideboob. Unfortunately, it was on a really fat dude with a saggy t-shirt.

"Irn Bru Man"

Bob was a man who could fill a room. Unfortunately, his 450 pounds left no room for other occupant.

I'm knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door; but no one is home and their dog just barks like a fool.

All this, and more, can be yours if you follow me on Twitter.

Looking for real estate in northern Cook, Lake, Kane or McHenry Counties in Illinois? Ask Tony Bellino.

Previously, in The Legend-News

Sometimes I think that I procrastinate too much; but then I push that thought aside and get on with my life.

What follows here are the first two installments of my version of the events known to history as “Convoy 2000”. Two days after returning home from a long, long time on the road, I started to document the trip; and 13 years later, I still haven’t finished that story. I hope that by the time that I do, I can remember what happened.

The parts of the story that I have written can be found at Convoy 2000. The articles published here are essentially Chapter 6 of that saga. Herewith, the first draft, from the 2000 June 26 issue of The Legend-News.

Goin’ West, Part 1: Four Wheels and Rollin’

Note: Part 1 was first published on 2000 June 14, as a message on the Other Wild Places mailing list, which is long gone.

Greetings from the Space Cadet.

I think that I’ve almost recovered from my journey, but don’t bet on it. I arrived home at 4:30 a.m. CDT on Monday, having been traveling since 11 a.m. EDT on Sunday. I got about 5 hours’ sleep, then somehow managed to stay awake until 10 that night, when I fairly collapsed into bed and spent 8 hours having nightmares about driving. No, I’m not kidding about that. I don’t recall the details, but when I went to work on Tuesday I spent most of the day trying to stay upright. But today is Wednesday, and I feel alive again.

Anyway, my part of the trip started at about a quarter after 7 a.m. on the morning of Monday, 29 May, when I pulled out of the driveway and headed south along Illinois 47 to Sugar Grove. There I was to head west on Old 30, and somewhere along that road between here and Audubon, Skywalker (a.k.a. “T A Chafin”) would join up with me. By the way, I’m Silversmith, and yes, I will explain that name a bit later.

As Robert Burns said it, “The best laid plans o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley” which is almost a summary of the past two weeks. Skywalker got a late start that day, and I was already in eastern Iowa by the time that he started his trip out of Bloomington, Illinois. He was probably about two hours or so behind me at that time, a fact that I learned when I called back home to check on his whereabouts: we had arranged that my wife, Lisa, would rely messages between us via telephone until we met. Every couple of hours I called Lisa, and she told me the last location in which Skywalker had reported himself.

The trip across the middle of Illinois and most of Iowa was uneventful, although I did stop at a few historical markers along the way. I now know that one of the first three soldiers who were killed in World War I was an Iowan, and I found — for the second time — a little red brick schoolhouse just northwest of Lisbon, Iowa on the side of the old Lincoln Highway roadbed.

About 5 p.m. CDT I again checked with Lisa, and was told that Skywalker was still somewhere behind me and he said that I should just continue to Audubon where he’d meet me. So I tooled on west on U.S. 30, turned left on U.S. 71, and followed the detour signs down to the birthplace of William D. Fries, Jr.

I was sitting on Broadway, in beautiful downtown Audubon, listening to channel 13 and hoping to hear a hail from Skywalker, when about 7:30 I hear a cry: “Silversmith, this is Skywalker. You got your ears on?” Well, I tried calling back but the situation seemed to be that I could hear much better than Skywalker could receive. He was obviously within a couple of miles of town, but he didn’t hear me. But after a few minutes of trying we finally connected, and I drove a bit south of downtown to find him parked outside the local volunteer fire department. At approximately 7:45 P.M. CDT on the 29th of June, we finally met. Fortunately, we didn’t kill each other on sight. :)

Next: “The Big Sign, The Ten-Second Timer, and Officer Beane” or “Whatchu Boys Think You’re Doin’ Here?”

Goin’ West, Part 2: Officer Friendly Versus The Tourists

When last we left our heroes, they had managed — despite overwhelming odds — to rendezvous in Audubon, Iowa. Phase 1 of the Master Plan had been completed. What adventures lay ahead?

I pulled into the driveway of the fire station and parked next to Skywalker’s car, a 1993 Geo Metro, black and oily. The black was its natural color, but the oil was the unintended result of an oil filler cap that hadn’t been replaced after adding a quart. Nevertheless, the vehicle had made the journey without incident. (Those of you who like foreshadowing, add the words "…so far" after the previous sentence.)

T A showed me his laptop computer with its mapping software and attached Global Positioning System (GPS) unit, which had allowed him to accurately track his route from Baltimore to Audubon and would perform the same function for the remainer of our trip. We discussed what to do next and decided that although the sun was setting, we still had time to take a few outdoor pictures. We drove south of town to the local highway department yard. On the west side of the road, facing south, was a large white sign in the shape of the state of Iowa with the word “AUDUBON” across the middle, and a black star near the lower left corner that indicated the relative position of the town. We decided to pose in front of the sign while holding the “Convoy 2000” banner.

T A brought out his digital camera, a Sony Mavica, and looked for a place to set it. He didn’t have a tripod, and the sign was about sixty feet away from the best place on which to position the camera, a wooden post of the fence that surrounded the maintenance yard. He propped up the camera on the post, using a piece of cloth to elevate the lens. That’s when we discovered the first problem with these fancy digital cameras. Although it recorded pictures onto a 1.44 MB disk, the damned thing had a timer that could be set for only ten seconds! So while I stood near the sign, holding the banner, T A had to set the timer and then run the sixty feet uphill to stand beside me, all in less than ten seconds.

He made several attempts to get the picture, but success wasn’t obvious. If he made it into position in time, then the camera failed to take the picture. If the camera did take a picture, then he wasn’t in position. Argh.

While we were attempting this usually quick and easy action of photography, an Audubon police car passed by going south on the highway. A few hundred feet south of the sign he U-turned and headed back north, pulling into the driveway beside our cars. T A was standing down by the camera when Officer Beane walked over and inquired “What are you doing here?”

We told him about C.W. McCall, that Audubon was the birthplace of Bill Fries, and that we we were the fan club and we were making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. This explanation apparently convinced Officer Beane, and his arrival was fortuitous for us because we no longer needed to rely on the unreliable camera timer. We convinced Officer Beane to take the picture for us. In return, we gave him a copy of C.W. McCall’s Greatest Hits and got him to sign The T-Shirt, which was one of the Convoy 2000 shirts that I brought along for the sole purpose of having it signed by the people that we met along the way.

Officer Beane then gave us a tidbit of information: he told us of a building to the north of us, near Beautiful Downtown Audubon and across from the Casey’s General Store, that was the location of the original White House Café, the inspiration for the Old Home Filler-Up An’ Keep On A-Truckin’ Café of the song. He then wished us well, we agreed to stay out of trouble, and Officer Beane went back to his patrol while we tooled north and got a few pictures of the old cafe building.

Clean rooms at reasonable rates By the time we finished the clock was striking 8:30, so we headed a bit further north to the local Pizza Hut, chowed down, and then crossed the street and stayed the night at the Holiday Motel. Day One was over.

Next: “The World’s Largest Rocky Mountain Oysters” or “That’s A Lot Of Bull!”

PFG Performance: full-service auto repair in Crystal Lake, Illinois.

Songs A’ Th’ Month

This month: a double feature!

(C.W. McCall, Bill Fries, Chip Davis)

[On the CB]
Ah, breaker one-nine, this here’s the Rubber Duck. You gotta copy on me, Pig Pen, c’mon? Ah, yeah, 10-4, Pig Pen, fer shure, fer shure. By golly, it’s clean clear to Flag Town, c’mon. Yeah, that’s a big 10-4 there, Pig Pen, yeah, we definitely got the front door, good buddy. Mercy sakes alive, looks like we got us a convoy…

A rubber duck Was the dark of the moon on the sixth of June
In a Kenworth pullin’ logs
Cab-over Pete with a reefer on
And a Jimmy haulin’ hogs
We is headin’ for bear on I-one-oh
’Bout a mile outta Shaky Town
I says, “Pig Pen, this here’s the Rubber Duck.
“And I’m about to put the hammer down.”

’Cause we got a little convoy
Rockin’ through the night.
Yeah, we got a little convoy,
Ain’t she a beautiful sight?
Come on and join our convoy
Ain’t nothin’ gonna get in our way.
We gonna roll this truckin’ convoy
’Cross the U-S-A.

[On the CB]
Ah, breaker, Pig Pen, this here’s the Duck. And, you wanna back off them hogs? Yeah, 10-4, ’bout five mile or so. Ten, roger. Them hogs is gettin’ in- tense up here.

By the time we got into Tulsa Town,
We had eighty-five trucks in all.
But they’s a roadblock up on the cloverleaf,
And them bears was wall-to-wall.
Yeah, them smokies is thick as bugs on a bumper;
They even had a bear in the air!
I says, “Callin’ all trucks, this here’s the Duck.
“We about to go a-huntin’ bear .”

’Cause we got a great big convoy
Rockin’ through the night.
Yeah, we got a great big convoy,
Ain’t she a beautiful sight?
Come on and join our convoy
Ain’t nothin’ gonna get in our way.
We gonna roll this truckin’ convoy
’Cross the U-S-A.

[On the CB]
Ah, you wanna give me a 10-9 on that, Pig Pen? Negatory, Pig Pen; you’re still too close. Yeah, them hogs is startin’ to close up my sinuses. Mercy sakes, you better back off another ten.

Well, we rolled up Interstate 44
Like a rocket sled on rails.
We tore up all of our swindle sheets,
And left ’em settin’ on the scales.
By the time we hit that Chi-town,
Them bears was a-gettin’ smart:
They’d brought up some reinforcements
From the Illinoise National Guard.
There’s armored cars, and tanks, and jeeps,
And rigs of ev’ry size.
Yeah, them chicken coops was full’a bears
And choppers filled the skies.
Well, we shot the line and we went for broke
With a thousand screamin’ trucks
An’ eleven long-haired Friends a’ Jesus
In a chartreuse micra-bus.

[On the CB]
Ah, Rubber Duck to Sodbuster, come over. Yeah, 10-4, Sodbuster? Lissen, you wanna put that micra-bus right behind that suicide jockey? Yeah, he’s haulin’ dynamite, and he needs all the help he can get.

Well, we laid a strip for the Jersey shore
And prepared to cross the line
I could see the bridge was lined with bears
But I didn’t have a dog-goned dime.
I says, “Pig Pen, this here’s the Rubber Duck.
“We just ain’t a-gonna pay no toll.”
So we crashed the gate doing ninety-eight
I says “Let them truckers roll, 10-4.”

’Cause we got a mighty convoy
Rockin’ through the night.
Yeah, we got a mighty convoy,
Ain’t she a beautiful sight?
Come on and join our convoy
Ain’t nothin’ gonna get in our way.
We gonna roll this truckin’ convoy
’Cross the U-S-A.

Convoy! Ah, 10-4, Pig Pen, what’s your twenty?
Convoy! Omaha? Well, they oughta know what to do with them hogs out there fer shure. Well, mercy
Convoy! sakes, good buddy, we gonna back on outta here, so keep the bugs off your glass and the bears off your…
Convoy! tail. We’ll catch you on the flip-flop. This here’s the Rubber Duck on the side.
Convoy! We gone. ’Bye,’bye.

’Round The World With The Rubber Duck
(C.W. McCall, Bill Fries, Chip Davis)

Previously, in “Convoy”: Rubber Duck, leader of the mighty convoy, had brought himself and his compatriots to the Atlantic shore of New Jersey, after crashing through the toll gates at ninety-eight miles per hour. Pig Pen — a Jimmy haulin’ hogs — was bringin’ up the rear, which was currently near Omaha, Nebraska. And the suicide jockey’s luck was holding, as he and his cargo were bein’ protected by a chartreuse micra-bus full a’ Friends a’ Jesus.

Now, in an effort to elude the still-persuing Smokeys, the Duck proposes a untested, possibly disastrous plan: to drive across the Atlantic Ocean!

[On the CB.]
Breaker, one-nine, this here’s the Duck again. You got a copy on me Pig Pen, c’mon? Ah, negatory, Pig Pen, there ain’t no way out ’cept for that one Atlantic Ocean. Now listen, drop them hogs off in Omaha and get over here in a short, ’cause it definitely looks like we got us a problem.

A globe of the world Bears to the left; bears to the right
We didn’t have no place to go.
They had us backed up clean to the shore,
And them cab-over Petes don’t float.
I says, “Pig Pen, I got me a good idea.
Them Friends a’ Jesus gonna save us!
“So praise the Lord and Mister Ford,
And follow that micra-bus, ten-four.

[Now, imagine a bunch of rowdy pirates — the buccaneer type, not software — chanting the Chorus.]

Yo ho ho, and a thousand trucks
Gonna take a bath with a Rubber Duck
Yo ho ho, and a lots a’ luck
’Round the world with the Rubber Ducky!

Yeah, we drove on the water like diesel whales
Sank about a hunnert-and-ten of ’em
I says, “Pig Pen, they just didn’t have no faith
“They definitely gone ten-seven.”
By the time we got into that Piccadilly Town,
’Bout half of ’em was lost at sea
I says, “Break one-nine for a ten-thirty-three”
What we got was the cotton-pickin’ BBC

[Spoken, in a sorta British accent]
I say, Fabersham. Looks like the Americans have got themselves another bloody Convoy.

Yo ho ho, and a thousand trucks
Gonna take a bath with a Rubber Duck
Yo ho ho, and a lots a’ luck
’Round the world with the Rubber Ducky!

[Spoken, in the same sorta British accent]
Good heavens! Look at them all! Half of them are sinking in the Thames! Hello! Some of our truck chaps are assisting them. Good show, actually. Oh, well, ten-four and all that rubbish.

Well, we crossed that Channel like snakes on glass
And stormed the beach about dawn
I says, “Grab your shifters and punch 13
“We all goin’ truckin’ on the Autobahn.
“Now, Pig Pen, this here’s the ultimate slab
“’Cause there goes a Mercedes truck.”
He says, “Break one-three for the Strudel Machine
“Ya just blew the doors off’n the Duck. How ’bout it?”

[Spoken, in a sorta German accent. A really bad German accent.]
Oh, zehn-vier, Rubber Duck. Ve are receiving you vall-to-vall, but the schpeed limit on za Autobahn is triple-nickels. You travel too schlow, Rubber Duck. We gonna see you around. We gone. Wiedersehen.

[During the next verse, the chorus (the singers, not the words) is heard in the background. What they’re singing is what’s printed in the tiny little letters. No, I am not making this up. That’s what they’re singing.]

Well, we stopped for a coffee in West Berlin
Dumb, dumb, dumb. This is
The British had hundred-mile tea
dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb.
I says, “Pig Pen, from here on it’s wall-to-wall bears.”
Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb,
Says, “Bash the Wall; we gonna see.”
Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb.
Well, them big red bears must’a been in the bush
Dumb, dumb, dumb. This is
’Cause we didn’t see a one all day
Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb,
So we raked up the leaves and we shook out the tree
Dumb, dumb, dumb. This is
’Til they finally had something to say
Dumb, dumb, dumb.
You got it.

[Spoken in a bad Russian accent. A really bad… you know the rest.]
Comrade Duck: you have been given until daybreak in Murmansk to get your cotton-pickin’ trucks out of the U. S. S. of R. You will copy!

[That ‘dumb’ chorus continues.]
Well, we shot them rigs through salt-mine city
Dumb, dumb
With a hammer and a sickle on down
Dumb, dumb
Then we hit the fan through the Sea of Japan
Dumb, dumb
Tooled into Transistor Town
Dumb, dumb
I says, “Pig Pen, this here must be the place,
Dumb, dumb
“’Cause everybody’s eatin’ with sticks.”
Dumb, dumb
He says, “Ten-Four, this here is CB land
Dumb, dumb
“’Cause my channel knob just went crick.”
Dumb, dumb

[Spoken in a really bad Japanese (fill in the blank)]
Ah so, Lubba Duck. You have a nice day today, betta day tomollow. We catch you on frip-frop. This one Kamikaze Ozzie; we gone. Sayonara.

Yo ho ho, and a thousand trucks
Gonna take a bath with a Lubba Duck
Yo ho ho, and a rots a’ ruck
’Round the world with a Lubba Ducky!

[Obviously, political correctness hadn’t yet permeated the U. S. of A. :)]

Tasmanian Devil [On the CB.]
Ah, ten-four, Pig Pen, what’s your twenty? Australia? Mercy sakes, ain’t nothin’ down there but Tasmanian devils and them Q-alla bears. What’s that? No double-nickel limit? We gonna be there in a short, Pig Pen. This here’s the Rubber Duck, ten-ten and doin’ it to it like Pruitt used’ta do it to it. We gone. ’Bye-’bye.
q-alla bear

Historical notes: In 1974, during the first so-called “Oil Crisis”, the Federal Government lowered the maximum speed limit on Interstate Highways to 55 miles per hour (“double-nickel”). “Pruitt” refers to Sonny Pruitt, the character played by actor Claude Akins in the 1974-75 NBC television series Movin’ On, which, coincidentally, was about truckers.

“Q-alla bears” is actually “koala bears”, which aren’t really bears. “Zehn-vier” is German for “ten-four”.

If you need any painting or construction done in northern Illinois (and elsewhere),
talk to Ivan at Diamond Painting Services ’n’ Construction.

The Answers To The Quiz

So, you’ve tested your knowledge of trucker talk, but you don’t have a Facebook account and can’t get The Answers? Well, lucky you: here they are!

Any spelling errors are the fault of the person who posted the answers.

Are you fluent in trucker lingo?

What’s another term for the State Police?
Boy Scouts
What does someone mean if they ask if you’ve ‘got your ears on’?
They’re are asking if your CB is on
If you heard the words ‘Bear Den’ over the CB Radio, what does it mean?
Police headquarters
If you’re located on the “Dirty Side”, where are you located?
East coast
What do you call a motorcycle rider with no helmet that you see out on the interstate?
Organ donor
When on the road, you might run across a “Kojack with a Kodak” here and there. What does this refer to?
Police that are using a radar gun on the side of the road
If you’re told to “Go to the Harley,” what should you do?
Turn your CB to channel 1
If someone tells you to watch out for “nightcrawlers”, what are they referring to?
Police in the area
What does it mean to “Drop the Hammer?”
Hit the accelerator
What does the “10-20” CB number code represent?
My location is…

The Legend-News is published by TechRen Enterprises, wanna make something of it? Copyright 2013 TechRen Enterprises. Send subscription requests, unsubscribe demands, complaints, kudos, suggestions, news and other contributions to Almost everything in The Legend-News has been written by Ed. Floden, except for the stuff that he blames on someone else. “Mister Brummel, would you do me a favor?”