Tuesday, October 07, 2008

"Flyin' Home"

(Actually, since I'm the only one around who probably remembers, that was the name of an old Lionel Hampton classic...)

Dottie shot this out the back window of my truck Sunday evening as we turned east and headed for Hays, Kansas on our way home from moving my nephew and his girlfriend. I was rather shocked to find out while we were there that we were closer to Amarillo, Texas than Denver, Colorado! (My sister was reading the little "welcome to town" guide.)

The trip went well, despite a slow leak in one of the trailer tires (the guy who hooked it up checked them by banging on them with his fist; the front one had 70 pounds in it instead of 65, the rear was flat but sounded exactly the same). I have to be the only dummy in the world who checks things like that I guess, especially with a real gauge...

We took the trailer to Lawrence and drove to his girlfriend's to load her toolboxes (she is a mechanic as well as he), bed and TV, as well as his tools which were there because they had been working on some things there. Then I put it in my sister's driveway (last house on a dead-end street, one of those fun ones to back into) and we spent the rest of the afternoon and evening loading it along with having my brother-in-law's birthday party.

His girlfriend's birthday was several weeks ago; his isn't until Christmas, but knowing how "tight" things were going to be for them (especially since his last boss fired him when he tried to give his notice two weeks ago) we made both of their birthdays and Christmas come early for them so they would have a bit of cash as they settled in after the move.

We took our car as well as our truck that afternoon so we could leave the trailer there overnight instead of dragging it back and forth. We got home in time to get a decent night's sleep before "the haul".

Up early the next morning, I laid out a nice breakfast for Dottie and I and we rolled out of home for Lawrence just before 7. We got there as they loaded the last few things in the trailer, my sister's van and my nephew's "little truck", stopped to air tires on the trailer and his pickup, then headed west.

We drove into the rain a couple of hours in, just as I had figured. Letting my nephew pick his route (as the crow flies) we ended up spending 4 hours on two-lane with no shoulder, most of it in the rain. Unloading took less than 30 minutes (the friends he went to school with and will be working with were there waiting) and an hour later we were headed north, because I wasn't taking the same route home in the rain. An hour on a U.S. highway that was wider with shoulders brought us back to the Interstate and we headed east at 70 instead of 60...the trip took the same amount of time as it was further, but the better road was worth it! (That two lane was so narrow there was no "wiggle room" before the trailer tires would have been off the road and I hate to think of the "flip" that would have ensued!)

We stopped in Lawrence on the way home and picked up Dottie's Malibu, and got home in time for her to get her normal night's sleep before work on Monday; all in all a very good run!

I got up yesterday and returned the trailer and took the tools and floorjack and such out of my truck (the just-in-case gear). As I settled in here to upload Dottie's sunset pictures and bloghop the phone rang. It was my daughter-in-law in Lawrence, the Buick that was her grandmother's that she's been driving was acting up and showing "low voltage" on the voltmeter in the display. I loaded the tools back up and made another run to Lawrence, changed the alternator and brought her "dead" battery home with me to charge. She has classes today and walks to campus, and I'll meet her when she gets home at 5:30 to put the battery back in and she'll be set for the rest of her week.

A lot of people think that the battery will just charge back up after an event like that, when you run off it instead of the alternator; and it will if you drive 5 or 6 hours without shutting it off, running the fans, lights and other accessories. Most people don't drive long enough to recharge it before they shut it off and "crank" it, drawing back out whatever they've managed to "put back in". Then you get a cold morning, or run the defroster or the A/C and wonder why you are having to find a jump start.

That battery drew for two hours on the "fast" side of my shop charger, and for two more on the "slow" side last night. I went out earlier and restarted it just to make sure it is fully charged when I return it...

So that's my life in a nutshell these past few days. I hope it's been kind to each of you in my absence!

May the week be kind as well!



Connie in FL said...

WOW! That sky is gorgeous! What a great photo.

You make me tired. I thought you retired!

Anji said...

I know about the battery! Fortunately I could walk round the the garage for help..

It is a beautiful sunset. Pleased to hear it all went ok and you are safely home

von Krankipantzen said...

You are a good man, Alan. I hope your family appreciates you.

Sassy said...


zilla said...

You're back!!!!!


Moose never leaves home without jumper cables, yet I have half a mind to buy ALL the kids brand new car batteries for Christmas :-)

zilla said...

PS: I did NOT just mention Christmas. I didn't! You imagined it!

LucyTolliday said...

Such a vivid and lovely sky.

robin andrea said...

What a stunning sunset. I love seeing the sky in the midwest. There's always so much of it!

You do good works, alan, you really do.

JLee said...

What a beautiful sunset! Hope you have a great weekend :)

CrackerLilo said...

Very beautiful picture! I've never been west of the Mississippi River, so thank you for Dottie's picture and your word-pictures. I'm glad you got to have a good trip, and glad you have a loving family within a drive's reach!

Debbie K said...

Hi Alan
What an amazing sky. What a delightful story from a lovely man.
Peaceful sunrise, my friend.

Carolyn Ann said...

I love the sunsets out west - and the sunrise, too. :-)

Alabama (yeah, I know - it's in the east!), Utah, Nevada and Nebraska had the best sunsets, when I was out on my trip. (I did seek out those 2-laners, with no shoulders, as much as I could. I enjoyed quite a few of them.)

That's a really good picture! :-)

I do that same tire-pressure testing... Often with similar results. LOL!

Glad it all went smoothly.

Carolyn Ann

Samantha said...

I remember flyin home, those lovely old O gauge trains of years gone by. The little pellet you'd put in to get it smokin as it went rolling along, that sound the cars made on the tracks...

Tire pressure gauge, oh yeah baby! Keep trying to get my brother's widow in the habit of checking her tires so maybe she wouldn't go through them so fast. In the last four years I've had two tires repaired (I alway get the lifetime warranties) and one replaced. During the same period of time she's had five tires replaced eight times that I can think of. I'm not even kidding, she goes through tires that fast!

I too love the skies of the mid and far west... Having lived in Denver for many years (and planning to one day move back there again) I have spent many a pleasant morning/evening, watching the sun rise and set.

Glad your travels went well, one of these days soon I'm going to have to make a trip similar out to the storage locker in New England to bring it all back here to Cincinnati. First I have to do the front brakes on the car before I tow a trailer with it.