Sunday, December 18, 2011

From the Road Again

I've been pretty slack in posting, but after you hear my excuses story maybe you'll find it in yer heart to forgive me.

Five of us went to Woodburn, OR - which is just south of Portland. I'd never been that far west before, even considering a trip to California several years ago. Of course I took a few pictures - usually at 75mph, or in Communist Oregon - about 60mph, since their truck speed limit is still 55mph. Sheesh, even Communist Illinois has raised their truck limit to 65mph. Get a clue, Oregon!

Well, before we got to Oregon, we had to traverse Wyoming along I80. One of the neat features is the Lincoln Highway Memorial located at exit 323 east of Laramie. It has a bust of Abe's head perched on a pedestal, and was originally placed on the highest point of the old Lincoln Highway. It's pretty much the highest point on I80 right now.

A slightly better view from the eastbound side. Westbound - I kinda had my hands full trying to pass a slow chicken hauler, go around a curve, and drive seventy five.

This is dropping down into a little valley where I80 heads south and I84 splits to the north. Clearly, there is no chance of going straight ahead. The valley and pass that I84 follows on the way to the north side of Salt Lake City also has a small river and a railroad located within the confines. The river is full of rapids, and during the summer, one can ride on rental rafts. Not for this fat boy, thank you very much!

This is part of the climb up Cabbage Hill on I84 between La Grande and Pendleton, OR. Technically, Cabbage is the west side and this climb has another name, but to an ignernt trucker such as myself, it's all the same and it's known nationally as "Cabbage Hill," regardless of what the locals call it.

I've posted about these forests before - this is a stand of Pacific Albus (hybrid) near Boardman, OR along I84.

Not long after running over the fairly flat farm plains of north central Oregon, I84 drops into "The Gorge" and runs along the banks of the Columbia River. It also serves as the state border with Washington. There are several locks along the way, and we did see a few barges.

Another sweeping view of the road and how it follows the winding river.

Sometimes the edge of the Gorge is deep, tall, and close to the water.

And here I am eastbound out of Cheyenne getting close to the Nebraska border, where the town of Pine Bluffs, WY is located. Why do you suppose they named their town that? Heh.

And just as a bonus - a truckin' story. When I was between Laramie and Rawlins, I saw a Wyoming State Trooper with a truck on "my side" as I went by. I wasn't breaking any laws, was empty, and all my paperwork (as far as I knew) was up to snuff. So, imagine my surprise and unease when the trooper appeared rather suddenly in my mirrors with the disco lights on.

I pulled over, and retrieved my license and all my truck registration papers, which are kept in a fabric notebook, and waited for the officer to come to my door. Sure enough, she wanted that, my physical card, and all kinds of other stuff. I had a pretty hard time understanding her, because she definitely had an accent that said rather loudly "Not From Here." She asked me where I'd delivered, so I told her. She asked if I had come across Wyoming loaded, and if I'd purchased a permit. I had, so she wanted to see it. She wanted to see my last two fuel receipts. I had those, plus my first one was purchased in Wyoming, if she needed that. Nope, just the last two. My logbook was also needed. Plus my trailer registration. We keep our trailer registration papers on the trailer in sealed containers, so I had to fish it out. It was also about fifteen degrees outside as well. I was having problems fishing out my fuel receipts from my packet in the wind, so she invited me to sit in her back seat momentarily. She was driving a Dodge Charger. The front seat was completely full of electronics - most notably the laptop placed at a strategic angle above all the other stuff in the right seat. The back seat was separated from the rest of the car by a wire mesh divider that separated the back half of the seat and the front compartment. I expect a midget could fit in - when I sat down, I could not get my head under the roof nor get my legs in the absolutely no legroom space. My knees were ten inches too far out, and my head was about eye level with the roof. I doubt the Dodge Charger will ever be a choice for personal transportation for this fat boy, cuz I'd never fit.

At any rate, Ms All Business took pity on me and told me to wait in my cab. Ten or fifteen minutes later, she came up to the driver's door and told me she wanted me to open my right door so she could climb in. I laughed, saying the right side of my cab had more junk than her car! She asked me to open the window - she'd hang off the mirror and hand me back my stuff and have me sign the paperwork, etc. After she clambered up (she was certainly well insulated from all the cold - her face was the only feature of hers exposed), she determined that would not work. I suggested we meet at the front of the truck, at least we could understand each other slightly out of the wind there. That was indeed the ticket, so that's what we did.

I had passed with flying colors, and just needed to sign two copies of the inspection sheet, and make sure my copy was handed over to my company. They are required to keep those. So, now that she was friendlier since I wasn't Joe Lawbreaker, I asked - "You sure don't sound like you are from around here!" She replied that was the case; she was originally from Argentina.

There has to be quite a story there, and I'd sure have enjoyed the chance to hear it first hand. I rather suspect the amount of female Argentinian Wyoming State Patrol officers could be counted on one finger. But, it was on down the road for both of us. It took me another five minutes to get all the paperwork back into the proper places before I could go on - she took off with the Dodge V8 singing it's tune through the exhaust pipes, hammer down.

Perhaps you noticed, or maybe you didn't. Was there any sort of probable cause to pull me over?

Nope, there was not.

How can they do that?

Because I and my truck are subject to laws that suborns my individual rights to the rights of the public expecting "safety" from the behemoths of the road. By far and large, most accidents involving trucks and "four wheelers" are determined to be the fault of the owner operators of the personal conveyance vehicles. Logic would indicate that drivers of cars might, just might be subject to greater scrutiny, but since they outnumber us dumb truckers in the voting department, we're screwed.

So if using using cell phones in any wheeled conveyance on public roads is banned, don't expect any sympathy from me. Y'all let me dangle on that and so many other issues a long time ago.


KurtP said...

Ya know what really sucks about that?
They're probably going to include the C.B. radio in that banned list, too.

I don't give a sh1t about cell phones and texting.
I DO want to be able to talk to other drivers,

drjim said...

Good to hear you got through it all, Jeffro.
Drive safe out there!

Earl said...

I have been on that road, have seen the bust of Lincoln. Nice story about the State Trooper from Argentina, ever wonder why she left?

Brcki said...

Jeff, I know that interstate I-80 is a booger. Very interesting about the theory of safety, and law enforcements ability to pick you at random. Not that I am making much sense here. I do have a point to make.

Yesterday morning I was watching something ( we shall just call it that, because I don't know what it was), and the discussion was the legal ban of cell phone use while driving. The statistics they provided was that by doing this they were increasing the number of accidents caused by driving while using a cell phone ( talking and texting), because ppl were trying to hide the fact that they were still doing this by placing said electronic device in their laps to hide the fact they were breaking the law. Thus they are not watching the road but looking into their laps. Just saying'

Becki said...

Stay safe baybeeeee

jed said...

Hey, Jeffro. I saw you were back on the road. Now you're in my old stomping grounds. You should see if you can get back through the Gorge during the summer, maybe stop off at Rooster Rock. Too bad you made it all the way to Woodburn, and your trip didn't require a U-turn by way of Canon Beach. Next trip, maybe tell the boss that the Iranians hacked your GPS, and next thing you knew, you were in Astoria.

Jeffro said...

One of our guys had hauled in and out of that area quite a bit in the past and was telling us the tale of the nudist island, with some of the local truckers pitching in to get him caught up.

All in all, I'd rather have seen a barge coming through one of the locks! Mr. Excitement, I am not!

jed said...

Did you look at the pics of some of those nudists? Did you say 'barge'?

Hmmm'kay, well maybe you'd be better off taking a swing past the Port of Portland then.

Jeffro said...

Snork! It was too cold to be runnin' round in yer birthday suit anyhow.

Anonymous said...

why did she need 2 fuel recipes? what laws could you possibly violate if you didn't have them? obviously, you are on the road, so you got to this point somehow, and there is only so much your tank can hold.
I think she was a bit lonely and bored on that empty h'way, Jeffro. Either that or you posses personal magnetism attracting Argentinian women in uniform.

Beautiful photo of the Gorge, J

Jeffro said...

eTat: Receipts - proof that I did spend so many dollars on x number of gallons at a particular business.

I expect the reason why she asked for them is for collecting data for IFTA record keeping - just to make sure we are reporting our fuel purchases and mileages in each state correctly. If, for instance, we run in Kansas and Nebraska, and fuel only in Kansas - Nebraska wants some of the fuel tax we've been spending in Kansas to help pay for their roads that we use.

Heh. Any personal magnetism was wasted on her - she was all business, and it was just too freaking cold!

Anonymous said...

Would she enjoy visiting St. Jacobs Well? sa