Saturday, July 30, 2011

Grimm's Fairy Tales Have Nothing On My Mother

You might know Grimm's Fairy Tales as the stories that Disney rips off, and adds happy endings to.  In fact, I have no idea why you would actually read a child the original versions of Grimm's Fairy Tales.  It would give them nightmares.  The only reason I can think of doing that would be to teach them that life is not fair, and there's a 99% chance they will die in a very horrible way.

Then there is my Mother.  She puts the Grimm Brothers to shame.  You wouldn't suspect it.  I mean, does this look like an master evil storyteller?

The Story of Little Callie and the Bull (as told to me by my Mother.)

Once, there was a little girl named Callie who helped out on her relatives farm.  This was a dairy farm with lots of cows that produced very good milk.  In the spring one of the cows gave birth to a baby bull.

(Adrian's note: Ok, that picture is a little too real.  I suspect it was more like this.)

(Adrian's note:  Ok, that's better.)  So little Callie decided to take care of this little baby bull.  She combed it's fur.  She scratched it's head where it's horns were starting to grow.  Bulls like for their heads to be scratched where their horns are growing.  It' kind of like a baby teething.  Little Callie loved this bull, and took great care in raising him. 

One day Little Callie got into the pen to take care of her beloved bull.  It was then that the bull violently gored her, and put her up against the pen.

The bull kept goring her, and knocking her around the pen.

Her screams echoed across the farm as her Father ran over to save her.  He grabbed a wooden two by four, and proceeded to beat the bull off of Little Callie.  But the bull did not want to stop it's violent attack.  It kept up it's attack of Little Callie despite the beating it was taking at the hands of Little Callie's Father.  Finally, after taking a few shots to the head from the two by four, the bull backed up enough so that Little Callie's Father could pull her from the pen saving her from certain death.

From that day on, no one could enter that bull's pen or go near that bull.  The older he got, the bigger and meaner he got.  He finally had to be put in a field with no other animals, even other cows.

Eventually he had to be sold as there was no way to approach him, or let him near other animals.

The moral of this story?  Things that you raise with love in your heart will eventually try to kill you.  Yep, that sounds like a German Fairy Tale to me.  Which is funny because my Mom is very German.

But let's talk about the aftermath.  I was only six and my sister was only three when my Mom told us this story.  My jaw was on the ground, and my sister's jaw was open so wide she looked like she was catching flies.  And then it started.  The waterworks.

Really, you can't tell a child that kind of story, and not expect it to traumatize them for the rest of their life.  I mean, I'm 34, and I still remember this story from when I was six.  What does that say?

The Story of Callie and Jenny.

Once upon a time there was a girl named Little Callie who was in the second grade.  She had a best friend named Jenny.  They would spend all day together in school, and then spend their afternoon and weekends playing.  They were the best of friends.

Then one day, out of nowhere, Jenny moved away.  Little Callie never saw her best friend ever again, and to this day doesn't know what happened to her.  Little Callie had no friends to play with the rest of second grade.  She was lonely, and no one would play with her the rest of the year.  The end.

The moral of this story?  Your best friend(s) will be taken from you, and you won't know why.  You will be lonely, and no one will play with you no matter how many Transformers/ G.I. Joe's you have.  Also, second grade is seriously going to suck.

(Adrian's note:  Really Mom, what were you thinking telling children that kind of story?  I was terrified of second grade.)  You know what happened after that?  You guessed it.

And then there is my Dad.  He has a different take on evil story telling.  You wouldn't think so.  Really, look at this picture:

He looks like a nice enough Dad, but he was also an evil storyteller.  One night as he was tucking me into bed I asked him why in the cartoons parents always told their children bedtimes stories, but he never told me any?  So he asked me, "Oh, so you want a to hear a bedtime story?"

The Story of Johnny and His Very Bad Son (as told to me by my Father with an evil smile on his face.)

Once upon a time there was a very bad little boy named Adrian.  He would come up behind his Daddy while his Daddy was watching the football game and bite him.  He was a very bad little boy, as his Daddy was just quietly wanting to watch the football game.  His Daddy had done nothing to deserve this kind of treatment. 

The story kind of ended there as I was yelling, "No!" the whole time.  For being so hurt my Dad kind of had an evil grin his face the whole time he was telling the story.

Moral of this story:  Never ask your Dad for a bedtime story if he is a complete smartass.

Under The Mountain In Salt Lake City

As I sit here in the Flying J at Salt Lake City, Utah I realize I have a lot of time on my hands.  That means it's picture time.  I was looking at the mountains yesterday, and knew I should take some pictures of them.  However, my batteries have a habit of dying quickly.  That, or my camera chews them up like pieces of gum.  I suspect a little bit of both.  But I did manage to get them recharged, and they were ready to go this morning.

A lot of people think that Salt Lake City is in the middle of the desert, but that's not so.  It's more on the side of the desert.  It sits underneath a series of mountains.  So there is quite a bit of vegatation and water around the area.  Like a lot of Western cities they get their water from pack ice off the mountains. 

It's always an interesting trip driving into Salt Lake from Wyoming.  You go up and down the mountains for about an hour.  Going from East to West it is mostly downhill.  However, going from West to East with a heavy load is always interesting.  Going up the mountain with a combined weight of 70,000 to 80,000 pounds makes the truck go slow.  Really slow.  As in, you are creeping up the hill at 25 MPH while all the cars go by you at 55 to 65 MPH.

Once you get into Salt Lake City, and finally park you can see how beautiful the area is.  Here are the pictures I took this morning.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Adrian Gets a Ticket, Gets a Bonus Out Of It

The Scene:  My Co-driver had just driven through Illinois and Iowa, and was just entering the Flying J in Nebraska.  It was five in the morning, and I was feeling good so I took over.  I had only driven five miles when I hit the weigh station in Lincoln, Nebraska.  As I put the truck on the scales the light stayed red for just a few seconds too long.  That's when I knew something bad was about to happen.

"Driver, pull your truck to the side, come inside.  Bring your logs, licences, and paperwork," said the disembodied voice.  Just great, a D.O.T. inspection.

As I walked in, the D.O.T. Officer told me my right front headlight was out.  My co-driver had been driving all night and didn't notice.  I had only been driving for a few minutes, and didn't notice either.  What made me mad is that, this must have just happened.  The truck had a complete preventative maintenance inspection performed on her only one week before. 

I handed the officer all my paperwork and licences, and gave him all my information.  He told me he had to give me a "Fix-it Ticket" for the headlight.  What that is for those who don't know, is that, I get the part repaired that needs repaired, and have a Law Enforcement Officer sign off on the repair.  I don't pay a fine, I don't have to go to jail, or do community service.  I just have to get it fixed and signed off.  Hence the term fix-it ticket.

The officer then tells me that my paperwork inspection is all clear, and that I passed that no problem.  He then gives me the fix-it ticket and the clear inspection paperwork.  He then very nicely informs me that I can have a D.O.T. Officer at the North Platte, Nebraska scale house sign off on the paperwork. 

I then head to the T.A. to grab a new headlight.  I then had to fight Cassie the Cascadia to give up that blasted headlight.  It took me asking a mechanic how to get that stupid thing out, and even then I had to resort to breaking out my channel-locks to remove it.  But I got the new light bulb in, and got it working.

It was then, and only then that I called our company's citations department.  I told them what happened, and that I had already got the bulb repaired, and I would put the expense down on my expense sheet.  Needless to say, the citation department was happy with all my efforts.

And then!  It was then that I let my dispatcher know what had happened, and that I repaired the bulb, let citations know what happened, and would have the D.O.T. Officer in North Platte sign off on the repair. 

I also let him know what had happened the day before.  I basically sweet-talked the Sears Distribution Center in Illinois give us a load early.  There was a paperwork snafu, and we were told to get a load at 18:00 that day instead of the next day.  So I talked them into loading the trailer early, and I managed to get it out that night.  Then something happened that had never happened before.  I was given a complement by a dispatcher.  He told me, "Thanks for all the effort out there."

I then made my way to the North Platte, Nebraska scale house.  The D.O.T. officer was less than nice to me, but did sign off on my paperwork.  I then faxed it to the citations department along with the clean inspection report.

And then, something happened that had never happened before (yet again.)  I got a message across the Qualcomm (our truck computer) that I had gotten a bonus for a clean inspection, and it would appear on my next paycheck.  My co-driver had to tell me that the amount for a clean inspection was $75.00.  I had to ask him, "So I just made $75.00 for a blown light bulb?"  Sometimes this is one weird company. 

Now, I will mail in the signed off fix-it ticket to the Nebraska D.O.T.  I will chalk this up to one of my weirdest days of work in a very long time.

Sights and Scenes From The Road, June 29th Edition

Just when you think you have seen everything, something else comes along and makes you question just how much crap is out there in the universe.  Three things have stuck out to me this week.

1.  I was driving my giant semi-truck through a work zone on the interstate.  There were concrete barriers on each side, but it did have two lanes open.  There was not much room on the shoulder of the highway due to the concrete barriers.

    It was then that the semi trucks in front of me started diving out of the right lane and into the left.  I immediately looked to my left, and saw no car(s) were there.  I then turned my own semi into the left lane, and that's when I saw it. 

A Mexican:

On a lawnmower:

     Driving on the shoulder of the interstate.  He had a little cart he was pulling behind him.... on the interstate.  Remember when I said that thing about there being very little shoulder on the road, and concrete barriers?  Yeah, his left tire was over the white line on the road.  In other words his lawnmower was in-between a concrete barrier and a semi truck.  Not exactly a good place to be. 

     He was kind of freaking out, but in all fairness no one should be driving a lawnmower on the interstate through a work zone.

2.  As I was driving my giant semi truck through Nebraska on interstate 80 I saw something that caught my attention.  There was a motorcycle underneath an overpass in the shade.  It was pulled about as far as it could be off the interstate, but still be on the shoulder of the road.

    I then looked in the grass on the other side of the metal barrier.  It was a biker passed out on a blanket.

     I don't know if he wanted a nap, or just a tan.  I do know that he was completely out of it, and catching some serious Z's.  But, I am glad that if he decided he felt too tired or drunk to drive, he should pull over.  To be honest, there's not much out in Nebraska except corn.  Really, it's 430 miles across interstate 80, and it's mostly corn. 

3.  I had drove to pick up a load when I had a bit of a disagreement with the security guard.  He was a old bossy black man with a mustache like the Monopoly man.  You know, this guy:

     Seriously, I can not make this stuff up.  He was bossy, and just kept talking all the freaking time.  He wanted to waive his metal detector over me to make sure I didn't bring weapons into the shipper, or steal anything from the shipper.  He had a huge white mustache that must have taken him years to grow.  All I could think was, "Shouldn't you be on a board game?"

     I think he was at the age where he was old and bossy.  But I will give him credit.  He took his job more seriously than 99% of people out there. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Cassie the Cascadia

I have told my friends about the new truck I'm driving.  It's a Freightliner Cascadia that I've named Cassie.  She's very German in that, the seats are very stiff, and almost L shaped.  The transmission is also very stiff and rugged as well as unforgiving.  She has a Detroit Diesel 15 engine.  Right now the odometer reads 255,000 miles, so she's not quiet broke in yet. 

I just had the mechanics do a preventative maintaince performed on her.  That's when they go over everything, and make sure she can pass a D.O.T. inspection.  So right now she is running pretty good for a Freightliner. 

It's always weird driving someone else's truck.  You never know how long you will be driving that truck.  For me, I never know if it will be two weeks or another year.  I once had a truck that I really liked get called in because the mileage so too high.  So that meant it was time for them to sell it. 

But all I can do right now is treat her as well as I can.  That's what I plan on doing, and to keep rolling down the highway.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I Now Own The Ring Of Marvolo Gaunt

That's right.  After much research and travel, I have found the lost ring of Lord Voldemort's ancestor, Marvolo Gaunt.  For those who don't know what the Hell I'm talking about, you should probably just shut your browser now. 

But let's be honest.  You came for the pictures.  Here they are.

I know it makes my hand look evil, but does it make my fingers look fat?  I know some of you will say, "Hey, Prof. Dumbledore destroyed that thing years ago."  Well, all I have to say to that is, have you people heard of jewerly repair?  There's at least 3 jewerly repair stores in every mall plus all the gold buyers, plus all the independents.  It's not hard to repair people!!!!

I'm not planning on doing anything evil yet.  But I won't say that it's out of the question.  Now I just need an elder wand.

Adrian Visits The Incline Railway, Goes Up

I always said that when I had the chance I would visit the Incline Railway.  It's a train that goes up Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga.  Here's the whole story:

I paid $1.00 for parking.
I paid $14.00 for the round trip ticket.
I went up.
I bought 3 postcards for 99 cents.
I went down.
I had one of the workers there take a funny picture of me.

I also took a picture of the train.

I then took some photos from the top.  The view was kinda nice.

I also took some film of it. 

So overall, I think a real train ticket would have cost less and been more fun.  I should have saved my money for hookers and beer.  

Monday, July 18, 2011

I Was Young Once, And Very Angry

I just recently came across a letter that I wrote to my friend Wes.  I wrote this letter back in 2003 when I was very angry at life.  A lot of things were going wrong for me then and I think I let it all out.  So, here it is.  Unedited, unfiltered, and extremely angry.  It is funny in a way, in that, I can use some pretty colorful langauge when I'm angry. 

From the National Affairs Desk of

Adrian Ray Long

Date:  August 30, 2003

Dear Wes,

      I've been stuck in a rut the last few months, maybe the last year.  On the greater scheme of things, I've been in a rut my whole life.  To live in the past is comfortable, it is assured.  Living neither here nor there is where we run into trouble.  That's why I am writing to you.  To discuss an enlightening I have had. 

      America's present was killed when our beloved President John F. Kennedy was murdered that fatal day in Dallas so many years ago.  However, we recovered.  Not well mind you, but the future continued.  America's future was destroyed when Robert (Bobby) Kennedy was killed.  He was to bring about change.  Civil Rights, Equality, and Prosperity.  He was going to be our next President, and everyone knew it.  No Democrat would run against Bobby in the primary because everyone could see the future rested with him.  When he died in a pool of his own blood at the Democratic National Convention in New York, it was the opening of Pandora's Box.  It let the Third Incarnation of Richard Nixon creep into the White House.  When Sirhan Sirhan pulled that trigger into Bobby's gut, the bullet severed the backbone of Bobby and America.  Never forget my friend, when they try to pull this political correctness bullshit on you, that the first terrorist act from the Middle East on America was the killing of America itself that consisted of six bullets into the chest of Bobby Kennedy.

      As I said earlier, I was neither here nor there, stuck not in the past, present, and no future could be found.  My first act to get out of my own rut was to graduate.  An accession of sort.  I am a changed man, but a man none-the-less.  Like child abuse, I needed to break the cycle.  I went on vacation the day after graduation.  I first made my way to Alabama, but I could not find any help here.  These people were as lost as I was.  There was no sense in staying more than 48 hours.

      I moved on to Tennessee, where I briefly met my sister and her boyfriend.  I saw the look in his eyes.  Not all was what it appeared to be.  They say that when an object draws too near a black hole, the gravity is so strong it bends light and time unto itself.  These objects of the universe are great, but terrible.  And that's what I was dealing with.  She-who-must-not-be-named (known also as my sister) has done great, but terrible things.  I felt the breath being drawn out of me.  You know what I mean Wes.  Terrible things.  I thought I was weak from the injuries I sustained while playing football and painting my signs.  I was wrong.  For nothing could have prepared me for the level of hate, jealously, rage, and raw emotion that were directed at myself.  I thought, what could I have done to warrant such loathing?  It was the cycle.  I was breaking the cycle.  People are controllable when they are just barely content with going along with life.  Numb, like I was.  Numb, like you were at Guitar Center.  I had made a conscious decision to look for my future, or at least my present.  I could not look inward anymore, for I was like she-who-must-not-be-named.  I was a black hole myself.  I needed to look outward, elsewhere. 

      I looked towards the Gods.  That's right Wes, the Gods, Herne and Hecate.  For salvation is not found by taking a bath, or jumping in the river.  Interaction, people needing people.  People being happy with who they are, and not worrying about controlling every nuance of their live until death.  You know what that's called?  Being that controlling, fearing every sin?  That's called being stuck in a rut, although they call themselves Christians.  I shall look into the unknown, and I shall not fear it.  I will gather with other seekers of the unknown, and shall not fear it.  For fear is a manner of control, and so is Christianity.  But you already knew this didn't you?  This is what you kept trying to drill through my thick skull.

      I had finally broke free of fear, and free of my rut.  I was now on my path.  The Present.  However, I had no idea the hated and fear, yes fear, that I would incur because of my new found freedom.  And if you only understand one part of this letter, understand this, freedom is the most difficult idea and practice to obtain.  There are hordes of those who will try to take your freedom away.  Even if you do not believe in "The Opponent" like myself, remember what he said.  He said, "I am called Legion, for I am many."  You should worry about the many, but more importantly, you should worry about "The One."  This is where I made my mistake.  I did not look out for "The One."  "The One" attacked me not where I was weakest, but where I was strongest.  She-who-must-not-be-named attacked my faith, my insight to my newfound present, and soon to be future.  In layman's terms, she outright attacked my faith in front of my Mother.  I have always kept quiet about my faith to my Mother.  I did not want to throw it in her face.  In a fit of rage my sister threw it in her face, and enjoyed every second of it.  I was appalled and disgusted.  I had never been ashamed of who I was, or what I had done.  The shock to my newfound strength almost killed me like Jack and Bobby.  My present and my future.  The shock almost forced me into my past, to do something that I truly would have been ashamed of.  The violence executed upon myself, almost begot violence.  Not that day, however.  And since I realized that I am in control of me.  I immediately did the only thing I could do.  An option that left me in control of myself, while escaping the black hole.  I left.  It was the best damn decision that I could have made, and I don't regret it one bit.  Just remember a poem I heard.

      A pig will walk in the wilderness
      A pig will walk on the sea
      A pig will walk wherever he wants
      But no pig walks on me

      I moved on to West Virginia.  These are a mean people.  Don't let that 49th in crime, in the nation fool you.  It's hard to charge a crime when there's no body to be found.  This is a dying state my friend, it's all cemeteries and antique shops.  I walked into an antique shop and the first thing I encountered was a mounted deer skull with antlers.  The fact that a deer skull was mounted was in itself unusual, but the fact that the skull had an ancient looking arrow smashed in-between the antlers, it made the scene all the more eerie.  Someone wanted you to know that they had killed this poor beast by smashing an arrow into its forehead.  Like I said Wes, these are a violent people.  I wanted to leave, but something kept tugging at me, telling me I had to see more.  All the mounts were works of terror.  I saw a rainbow trout that looked like it did not belong on this earth.  It looked .......... you guessed it Wes, violent.  All the deer mounts were the same.  If you ever read the works of the great H.P. Lovecraft you would know what I mean.  In this forgotten Massachusetts village, the people born there are of a different kind.  They look human enough, except for the eyes, it's always the eyes.  But eventually they all turn, they are called back to that ocean-side town to live under the reef as the ancient ones do.  That is how West Virginia is Wes.  They all have the same eyes.  Some will leave but they come back, they always do.  Like my Uncle Watson.  He's a cheapskate millionaire, who could do anything he wanted.  Of all the things he wants to do, he wants to move back "home." 

      Anyway, the deer were all the same except one.  The mount was not a particularly good one.  The taxidermist had to cut slits down the eyes of this deer.  At first, I thought this was a weak animal, and there is no place for a weak animal in West Virginia, but I understood.  It was one of the changed.  Only a fool would have put an animal like this on display for the whole world to see.  He had to change it back, make it look weaker, use false eyes.  All of the things to hide what really goes on here.

      If you look around, you'll see what I mean.  A lot of the women here are truly works of art.  In other words, they are delightful in their appearance.  But, there's a catch.  It's only the ones under twenty-one.  Once they get older, they start to get hideous.  Like I said, mean, Wes, mean. 

      I have the saddest story to tell you about this very thing.  On two different days we stopped at a Wendy's for lunch.  There was a beautiful young girl who worked at the register named Danielle.  She had bronze hair and light brown skin with freckles all over her face and arms.  She was a sun-walker.  At maybe a hundred pounds, she walked though the forest, letting the sunshine fall upon her delicate body.  She may have only been about seventeen at the most.  Her innocent movements told me so.  I wanted to take her away from this place.  I know there are laws against that kind of thing, but I could not damn her to this violent and rigid community.  We all know what happens to the weak ones here Wes. 

      On the second day that I saw her there, I said, "Rules, laws, and police be Damned!"  I was going to take her away.  I walked up to her, not as a knight in shining armor or any crap like that, but as a simple person helping another person.  You know, people helping people.  I walked up, and looked into her eyes.  They told me everything Wes.  She would turn on me Wes.  She would turn just like the rest.  Just like my Uncle Watson.  I could take her away from this place, live happily together until her pain would start.  She would have to come back.  There would be no denying it.  There was nothing I could do.  Later on that evening, I sat down by the river near my Grandparents house and cried.  It was the kind of feeling where you try to save someone's life, but they die in your arms anyway.

      Anyway, as I was saying, these are a mean people.  Someone was shooting people at gas stations, for who knows what reason?  Three people dead.  It even made the national news.  They say it was about drugs, and I wouldn't be surprised one bit.  West Virginia is one of the largest producers of marijuana in the world.  However, the crystal meth has been moving in, and we all know what crystal meth does.  I saw the houses, the ones that were blown up from the inside out.  The meth lab they had in the basement burned everything into carbon ash.  Only parts of the foundation and bricks remained.  Oh, and insurance doesn't cover meth labs, but it's not like these kinds could even afford insurance.  Besides they don't know any better, the meth rots their brains, and turns them cannibalistic.  This sick breed feeds on the death of others.  To understand these people a little better, read this old parable, it will tell you much.

      An old woman was walking down the road when she saw a gang of thugs beating a poisonous snake.  She rescued the snake and carried it back to her home, where she nursed it back to health.  They became friends and lived together for many months.  One day they were going into town, and the old woman picked him up and the snake bit her.  She screamed, "Oh God, I am dying! I am dying!  Why did you bite me?" 

      The snake looked up at her and said, "Lady, you knew I was a snake when you first picked me up."

      Remember this Wes, not everyone will tell you that they are, and were, and will continue to be a poisonous snake when you pick them up.  Look at the eyes.

      While I was in West Virginia I made a couple of finds in these old antique shops.  Firstly, I found a print by a woman named Jan May.  It is a dark print my friend.  It is the image I see when I read The Lord of the Rings.  You know, the part about the dark forest near the beginning of the first book?.  I wish it had made it into the movie.  I keep looking at it, and expect to see the Dark Riders come out of it any second.  I got another print of a dead tree on a prairie.  It's all yellow and burnt orange.  Most importantly I got two guitars.  The first one is a Les Paul Jr. copy by a company called Cahuenga.  What the fuck kind of name is that?  It has these funky single coils that look like mini-buckers.  It has the greatest single coil sound.  I love it.  It's fucking weird, especially for $40.00.  The prize however was a jumbo cut-a-way acoustic spruce top, everything else maple.  Even real maple sides.  It only has a G on the headstock and some numbers printed in ink on the inside.  I've never seen anything like it.  Especially a jumbo.  I'll have to do some looking for a case to fit it.  This thing looks like it was made by a local who actually knew what the hell he was doing.

      On to the homecoming.  Oh, and weird news.  My birthday was August 27th.  On the 27th I turned 27.  It was also a New Moon.  It was also when Mars was the closest to the Earth in almost 6,000 years or so.  All of this means ........  didly-squat.  I may be Pagan, but I'm not an idiot.

      Now for the bad news.  It seems those bastards at Guitar Center have done it.  They put up a store, right under my nose, in my town.  Un-fucking-believe-able.  I was even watching for this.  I knew about the one in Lakeland, but not the one here.  I even checked the website for this kind of shit.  I am so sick to my stomach about these gold grabbing weasels. 

      Well, it's time for me to go.  I miss the whole gang.  I really liked Sam, Sarah, and of course Kathy.  And the funny thing was, Monica and I were just starting to get along.  I really admire her strength.  But she's in Houston right?  Also, I hope I didn't cause you too many problems in GC.  You were right when you said that you still needed to go in there.  God I'm a selfish bastard.  Now that I think of it.  Those bastards still have $10.00 of mine.  Slimy scum-fucks!  Be careful out there Wes, Miami is kinda like West Virginia, without all the inbreeding.

Cautiously, Your friend,


This Is Not A Nice Place

About a week ago I picked up a load of building materials from one of Covenant Transportation's biggest contractors, Shaw Enterprises.  We mainly haul carpet for them, but they do make other building materials.  This load was heavy.  Extremely heavy.  It was mostly raw materials for building houses/ roofs for houses. 

When I looked at where I was going it kind of surprised me.  It said Greenville Prison.  "That couldn't be right?" I thought.  You can't fit a semi truck inside a prison.  But I was wrong.  We (my co-driver and I) did have the consignee right.  We were delivering to the South Carolina Department of Corrections at Greenville Prison. 

We were to take the semi in the front gate to the back where it would be unloaded.  That's when the guard said something to me that I will never forget.  "This is not a nice place.  There are a lot of guys who would like to take this truck, and drive it as far as they could go." 

The general feeling of the place was one of severe stress and evil. There was a real edge to everyone at the facility.  I know a lot of people will wonder what it looked like.  Well, it didn't quite look like this:

But I can't say that it was far off.  The entire place had razor wire and guard towers.  It was tight.  Real tight.  Only my co-driver was allowed in.  One driver, one vehicle.  I had to stay in a fenced off area outside the main fence with all of our electronics and my co-driver's Grizzly dip.  I had to say the twenty minutes he was gone were kind of nerve racking.  After just a few minutes waiting I just wanted to be gone from that place. 

I remember the TV special, "Scared Straight."  I remember just how hardcore it was for the teens to deal with real prisoners in a real prison.  I have seen "Oz."  I have seen all the prison specials on MSNBC.  But being there really put a chill down my spine.  All I could think about is what the guard told me, "This is not a nice place."

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Bonneville Salt Flats

And there I was.  It was 7 PM, and the sun was setting.  I wanted to get a few pictures, but the sun was glaring off the sand.  Every time I have gone through Utah it has always been night.  However, this time it was finally daytime as I drove through the Bonneville Salt Flats. 

I will always remember the first time I drove through Bonneville.  It was nighttime, but a full moon was out.  The salt sparkled like a million diamonds for miles and miles.  There was just me, the moon, and the biggest sandbox I had ever seen out at that time of night.

I vowed to make sure I took pictures the next time I drive through Bonneville.  And that's what I did.  Even though it was not a great time to take the best pictures, I did the best I could. 

You can see the long shadows from the sun setting in the West.  I took these pictures on July 1, 2011.

Snow In The Summer

This has been one strange year weather-wise.  Due to the strange weather patterns this past winter we have a ton of snowfall and pack-ice.  As I drive across I-80 the rivers, streams and ponds are just filled to the brim with water.  Even in the deserts out West, the rivers are just amazing to watch.  But the funniest thing I've seen?  Well that would be snow on the mountains of California.... in July.  That's right.  There was still snow on the mountains despite it being warm in the valleys.  To have it be July, and still see snow covered mountains was just amazing.  But I wouldn't leave my readers without photographic evidence.  Here's the pictures:

These pictures were taken on July 1, 2011 in Nevada County, California.  They may not be the best pictures, but they are pretty good for trying to drive a semi, and snap photos at the same time.