Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

Rolling along towards Lincoln NE

Man. Nothing much new to report. Bertha is still running too hot for my comfort, the front tires are still too old, but we are keeping on as only we can. Stupidly, not quite ignorant but not quite smart enough to do anything about it.

Last night we filled up at a gas station, then drove until we got to a KOA campground. Donnie figured out how to do the night check-in thing and we had a great dinner if I do say so myself. Donnie had meatloaf for lunch and had gotten a slab to go in a doggie bag. I cut that up, fried it with garlic, fennel seed, basil and oregano in some oil, then added a can of tomato paste, some water and a pkt of powdered sloppy joe mix. Cooked up some angel hair pasta and garlic toast, stirred the pasta into the sauce and topped with parm cheese. Had wax beans on the side. Yum!

Before we slept, the cats were looking out the window, “barking” at something (where their bottom jaw quivers and they make a “eh eh meh eh” noise under their breath.) I got a little worried that the pillows we have stuffed up under the dash might not be enough to keep some determined raccoons from getting in (under the dash are a few small gaps that lead to the outside). In the end we slept pretty well until the dawn chorus woke us at 4 a.m. Central. Which was 2 a..m. Pacific. The cats joined in, doing a jig on our faces. This morning, I saw what the cats were probably so interested in the night before. Not raccoons. There were a few little ground squirrels running around, and the guy with the lux 5th wheel next to me pointed out a hole in the ground where they had been watching a mother and son come and go.

It never fails, no matter where we park, we always end up with the neighbors talking behind out rig, and I get all paranoid about the 10 year rule (because our Bertha is usually without fail one of the oldest things in the park) and wonder if one of our tires are flat, or our waste tanks are leaking or something. Well, and then it turns out to be they are talking about ground squirrels.

I think it was my sister Lucy who pointed it out to me, right before Donnie and I left Cleveland. She read a blog of mine and said she was surprised to learn how paranoid I am about stuff. I also worry about everything. This trip I have had plenty to worry about, but not a lot to do to combat those worries. But I don’t have that switch that some people have where they can just say “well, nothing I can do about it,” or “I’ve done all I can, no sense in worrying anymore” or, “it’s in God’s hands now.” I worry in the hope that if I worry about it, it won’t happen. Or if it does, I have a plan to deal with it, or it turns out to not be as bad as I imagined it could be. For example, when I worry that perhaps our front tire will blow out and flip us into the path of a semi that will then smash us to scrap, what really ends up happening is we pull off to the shoulder and call Progressive Roadside Assistance. That way, I prepared for the worst and when the worst doesn’t happen, I’m happy. Actually, what ends up happening is nothing – our tires are fine, Bertha’s hot but the radiator fluid isn’t boiling or anything, and even the little electrical stuff we’ve had to deal with fixes itself. I wish I could know all that before hand and just be able to enjoy the scenery. But even if I did have 20/20 future vision, I think I might still worry.

This morning we made French press coffee and oatmeal with sugar, butter, nuts and cranberries in it. My friend Kathy had given me the coffee and the trail mix of nuts and cranberries and it made for a mighty fine meal.

Took a lot of 35mm pics of interesting rigs at the KOA.

Sarah’s 4th of July Essay

How can I justify driving 2000 miles in a 30 year old vehicle that gets 9 miles per gallon on the weekend with the highest gas prices on record? Why should I? The answer to both questions is easy; I am an American.

I live in the richest, most powerful country in the world, according to most people and media outlets. It is the United States of America. The USA. We call ourselves Americans, to the chagrin of some people who live in South or Central America, other parts of North America, other parts of the world, and even, some people who live in the US. This country is huge. It is complex. The people are amazingly diverse. The land is wild and developed, tamed and hellishly unforgiving. I love it, I fear it, I wouldn’t leave it, I abuse it.

Today is the day this country became a country. 200 years and 4 months before I was born. So recent compared to a lot of countries, a long time for others that still may be trying to gain the freedom we did. We have done a lot of good will with our freedom, but at the same time, we have done a lot of harm with our freedom. We create magical medical advances, we extend life, we feed people, we also shoot each other, we do drugs for recreational purposes, we destroy wildlife and wild lands and we also preserve huge chunks of land and save many species.

Donnie and I bought this RV from a couple who had had much joy from it over the years. We supported a lot of local blue collar jobs by having as much work done to this thing as we have. We contributed very little to any landfills by reusing and rebuilding parts – from the radiator, to the couch, to the refrigerator. Yes, we are contributing to global warming by running something so fuel inefficient, but except for gasoline, we are using very little of anything else. We are sleeping at rest stops, using a tiny amount of propane to boil water and run our lights off the battery which is charged each time we drive down the road. Even now, the computer I am typing on is running through a power inverter that is running off the coach battery which is constantly being charged by the vehicle alternator.

Also, this is a once in a lifetime thing.

So, I can’t, and I don’t have to justify anything. But I try, since I am a human who likes doing good. I like recognition for doing things well or doing things right or doing things that others want to do or may imagine doing, but for one reason or another can’t or won’t. What I am doing is stupid. What I am doing is important. What I am doing is letting me see the country, letting me contemplate life, letting me see the hundreds of truckers that are moving goods to and fro across this country.

At the end of this trip, I think I will be a more religious person. I think I will be a better American. I would like to think that this once in a lifetime trip is also a life changing trip. And I would like it to change my life for the better. As an American, my power is as great as my freedom. To find out how to use this for good, you have to find out what good is.

4:31 Central Time

In a rest stop that has Wi Fi – finally in Iowa!!! Not sure where we’ll be seeing fireworks tonight. Gonna have a late lunch / early dinner of mac and cheese here, then take off again.

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