Saturday, September 30, 2006

Deer Camp

For my 100th post I will tell you the "deer camp" story. While I neither own a gun nor hunt, I have been to my friends deer camp a couple times.

The deer camp is pretty typical of what you will find in south Arkansas. Timber land leased from a timber company that gives the deer camp the "right" to hunt and camp on the land in exchange for a signed contract that includes paying the timber company rent, furnishing insurance, and abiding by the rules the company set forth.

My friends deer camp has a clearing that contains a gas pipeline running thru it. The leased land is not fenced but all log roads and the pipeline clearing have gates across them. After you exit a gravel road onto the pipeline you travel about 300 yards and the deer camp is an acre or so clearing on the side of the pipeline clearing. Hidden from the country gravel road and no one knows you are even up there. Everyone has his own spot to park his camper.

I have been invited to their "work day" outing that take place before deer season. They are good stewards of the land and wildlife. On these work days food plots are planted (part of the contract ) for the deer and fallen trees are cleared to prevent forrest fires. Since it is not hunting season, beer is allowed and a cookout follows the day of work. Free food and free beer, that is a combination I seldom turn down.

The members of the deer camp can use it for camping year-round and my friend will go down 3 or 4 times a year just to get away and ride his ATV. He has an old recliner that he leaves down there under a tarp and likes to get a nap in it under the awning of his camper.

A couple years ago he and his wife (a few years older than me) had bought a new camper and went down one weekend to try it out. They rode the ATV and then come back to the camper for lunch. After lunch Bob left Sue (the names have been changed to protect the guilty) at the camper and went to look at one of his food plots. Sue gets a shower while he is gone and being that the day was so pretty, just slips out of the shower and lays in the recliner.

Upon returning and finding her outside in the nude, he questioned her about it even though there way no way anyone could have seen her. The answer she gave would have made a great tv commercial.

Deer Camp Dues = $200

Camper = $10,000

Giving the right answer, "If they hadn't seen one before then they would not know to look and if they had seen one then they would not want to look at this one." = Priceless

Friday, September 29, 2006

Fall has arrived!

Yesterday I made a nice little 600 mile trip from Little Rock to Fayetteville to Joplin,Mo. to Springfield, Mo. and back to Little Rock.

It was a very enjoyable trip and I was able to look over a couple of the dairies that are owned by our parent company. Everyone was extremely nice and helpful.

I needed to go to Springfield to pick up a truck. I was originally supposed to make the Fayetteville run but this came up. I rode with a new driver to Fayetteville and explained the drop at Pinnicle Foods. He then took us over to the Hiland Dairy at Fayetteville where I caught a ride with a driver from Joplin that was making a delivery. We had to switch trailers in Joplin before heading to Springfield.

After picking up my truck in Springfield, I headed back to Little Rock via US65. Branson, Mo., Harrison, Marshall, Clinton, and finally Comway, Ar. Right thru the heart of the Ozarks.

I have not had long pants on for about 3 months (great to be able to work in shorts and a company polo). It was in the 40's when I came thru Marshall and I had to turn the heater on. Just made me think how much I love to open a window, grab the covers, and sleep like a baby. I can't remember when I have had a pleasant and restful night of sleep.

It was not quite that cool when I arrived home (after a very long day), but with the vents of the motorhome open and a small fan, I still needed to pull on the covers.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The walker

Our "yard" that I deliver to in Texas is about 15 miles west of Texarkana on US82. We are just east of Lone Star Ammunition Plant. As I was finishing my duties yesterday about 6pm, I saw this man walking down the road.

I could tell by the things he was carrying that he was not a local out for an afternoon stroll. He was walking west on the opposite side of the road in the shade.

I grabbed my camera and went over to talk to him. I asked if he would come over to my side of the road where the sun would be better. The sun washed the photos a little .

He said he was walking across America to bring awareness to
  • the Minuteman Project
  • . I had heard about it but I had to wait until I could GOOGLE it to know just what he was talking about.

    He showed me a very worn Minute Man registration card with his name and address. He was from Battle Creek, Mi. and his name was FRIEND WILKINS. He assured me that was his real name.

    In the spring he had started in Nashville, Tn. and had walked to Texarkana, then went home for the summer. He had just arrived back in Texarkana to continue his trip to Gallup. It was his first day back on the road and was a little overwhelmed by all the traffic on US82. The Lone Star plant lets out at 4:30 and most people live in Texarkana, so he was greeted with wall to wall cars.

    We talked a while and when it was time for him to go. I shook his hand and said, "Good luck, Friend". I know, I know, that was lame.

    I update my "Sam's Fiero" link if anyone is interested.

    Sunday, September 24, 2006


    Three years ago this December I failed my DOT physical because of sugar in my urine. I was sent to the doctor only to find out I had type 2 diabetes . I was given a 3 month DOT physical card to see if I could get my diabetes under control. My sugar was just a little high and could still drive.

    Naturally at 248 lbs, the doctor said I needed to lose weight as well as eating healthier. Since I had to be retested at the end of 3 months, I knew I had no choice but do what ever I had to do go get my sugar under control.

    A diabetic diet really is easy to follow but just not the amount of food I was used to eating. I have oatmeal (the first time in my life to eat the stuff) for breakfast and my other two meals were about the size of tv dinners, 4 oz of baked chicken a 1/4 cup of two veggies and a small salad. I would have an apple for an afternoon smack.

    I also started riding a bicycle. The weight came flying off. In about 10 weeks I was down to 174 lbs. I was now riding my bike for 20 miles (about an hour and half) at least three days a week and was riding 30 to 45 minutes every chance I could.

    My doctor decides my blood pressure of 120 on the high side was perfect for healthy people but she ( yes, I have a female doctor) wanted it lower because of my diabetes. She puts me on avandia, crestor and avapro.

    The avapro is for my blood pressure and she starts me off with 1/2 the regular dose for a week and then on to the full dose. My appointments are scheduled two weeks apart. I started feeling light headed and would about pass out ( I did on 2 occasions) every time I raised up too fast.

    I checked my blood pressure at Wal-Mart and it seemed low so I checked with the pharmacist and she said I might want to see my doctor about it. I go over to the clinic and ask that my blood pressure be checked. Well after hurrying across the parking lot and being checked as soon as I asked, it was over 100 an told not to worry about it.

    On my next appointment (of course I get to set in the office for while), they have a young assistant take my BP. She didn't write anything on my chart and promptly left the room. In a minute she returns with the head nurse. After taking my BP she tells the assistant that she did nothing wrong and I didn't have any BP (72/46). The doctor comes in and tells me that she is putting me in the hospital. If you know me then you know "that ain't gonna happen".

    I tell her I have worked 12 to 14 hours the day before and I can "get some rest" at home. After agreeing to go to the hospital (had to go in a wheel chair, she would not let me walk) for a heart valve check, she said if it came back ok then I could go home rest and come back after the weekend.

    The test came back fine but showed I was 2 pints low on blood. What do you expect, you are starving me to death. She stops all my medication and they can find my reason for my lack of blood. Since I never take medicine, she surmises my body can not tolerate 3 medicines at once.

    My sugar is under control but she is worried about my cholesterol. She is very young and can only think like the "book" says.

    Fast forward, I kept my weight off for about 2 years but once I started cheating on my diet I couldn't stop. At 174 lbs I was so thin that when I lay down you could feel my backbone thro my abdomen. About 185 is about right but I am now close to 220, and eating pretty much what ever I want. Though my sugar is under control, I am having some other problems so I think I need to get back on the program. I haven't ridden any distance on the bike in over 18 months.

    My problem is my "auto-pilot" is not working anymore. I now have to think about everything I do. Even then I find myself "lost". I have to go back and go thro the sequence of events to get up to speed as to where I can while performing my everyday tasks.

    We all have from time to time been so busy thinking about other things that we momentarily get lost, but I now seem to be having this problem on an almost daily basis. My job is not "rocket science" but if you break down each task I perform then it can become overwhelming at times. Add to that the fact my mind seems to be constantly churning with ideas and it is easy to loose my way.

    I went to Monticello and Hamburg yesterday and had to set my mind at ease several times that I was even going the right way. No, they are not long spells of being "lost", but just brief moments that I have to "think" about things that should come as second nature to me.

    It may be "old age" but I am hoping it is just not eating right. I want my "auto-pilot" back. No one and I repeat no one hates to make a mistake that is my fault more than I.

    Wednesday, September 20, 2006

    A road less traveled

    Yesterday after exchanging a trailer at Camden, I headed across the state to Dumas to swap out their truck. It has been years since I traveled this road and I caught myself looking around the yards for the old cars and trucks that used to be on this road.

    I wasn't even thinking about any one vehicle in particular but as I passed house after house my mind would visualize what used to be in those yards. After close to 15 years since traveling these roads there was 2 cars and 1 truck still sitting where I remember them. Needless to say, I guess they are not for sale.

    When I visited my friend Jimmy last week, he told of a friend that had bought a old pickup that many had tried to buy over the years. Sometimes you just have to be in the right place at the right time.

    We all have tried to buy things that just was "not for sale", only to find out later that it was given away or just trashed. is a great way to find people that want and NEED things you no longer have a need for. I urge you to sign up for a group in you area and start recycling things instead of filling up our landfills. Truly, "one man's trash is another man's treasure".

    Gosh, I start writing about one thing and it just leads to another. I wonder if it is because my mind has so many "roads" in it for my thoughts to travel on. Nah, probably it's because there is so much empty space that my thoughts have no direction to head.

    Monday, September 18, 2006

    I need to "get a life"

    As I work six days a week and never seem to meet anyone interesting, I start to wonder what I can do to "get a life". My run to Texas is not conducive to meeting people. The rest area on I-30 if more of a "take a leak and go" type place and I haven't found a good place to pull in for coffee.

    Part of this has to do with leaving about noon (sure like that is happening) and being to warm to want coffee. The other part has to do with pulling "doubles" (7/06/06 post).You have to circle around with them as you "don't" back the pair, making a spot to pull in hard to find. I don't care for large truck stops in that all you see are truckers.

    I know, you think I am a "trucker", no I am not, "I drive a truck". There is a big difference.

    On a different note: How many blogs do you visit on a regular basic?

    Sunday, September 17, 2006


    Last week I made a run to Fayetteville with cream to a plant that makes Swanson tv dinners. They use the cream for batter and to make gravy.

    It was good to be on the road that I used to drive. I stopped at my usual
  • c-store
  • for coffee but as with most c-stores there wasn't anyone working there that I recognized.

    At the
  • rest area
  • there wasn't much activity. I guess I just hit it at the wrong time of day.

    They still are not finished with
  • the lake
  • but the thing that really seemed strange was at Fayetteville for the first time in 10 years I did not think about trying to call my son or meet him for lunch. Time marches on I guess.

    It was an unevenful day but it sure was nice to be on the road that has provided me with many great memories.

    Thursday, September 14, 2006

    Can openers

    For the past several years finding a can opener that will actually open a can has been a "crap shoot' at best. I am left-handed. No, I am not ambidextrous, I am left-handed, left-handed, left-handed. Heck, I can't even wave with my right hand without slapping myself. Every can opener I find is designed by and for right-handed people. Add that to the fact that the lids of cans are not uniform, plus the quality of can openers leave a lot to be desired.

    I have tried several styles of electric models from the cabinet type to the portable type and never found one that I can use very easily. My right hand just will not cooperate. It's like shooting a rifle off your right shoulder but aiming with your left eye.

    The old fashion hand operated can openers work best for me. Until now I haven't found one of the quality that my mom used.

    Enter Lehman's. They are located in Ohio and are a major supplier of goods to the Amish. I purchased this can-opener from them.

    It may look like a Wally-World special but it is far from that. It appears to be made of tempered metal and the twist handle is welded to the gear instead of pressed on. The twist handle is "oversized" and the cutter is gear drive. It is an absolute pleasure to use. It clamps and cuts a can like no other can opener I have ever used.

    By the time you get you electric can opener lined up, I will already have my can opened. I could not get the URL to pre-load so if you want to see the page you will have to "copy and paste". If you have never seen their catalog, it is worth checking out.

    Tuesday, September 12, 2006


    Ask me who my best friend is and I will say without hesitation that it is "Jimmy". I stopped by his place today and had a three hour visit. Truly an enjoyable afternoon.

    Jimmy had been my best friend for over 30 years, so we go back a ways. We have overhauled our share of engines together and shared many happy hours working in his home shop. You see, Jimmy is a "car guy" and 7 years older ( I should look so good). He is one of a dying breed of shade-tree mechanics, and I use that term with the utmost respect.

    With all the computers on automobiles today, there are no mechanics just technetions. Plug in the computer and it will tell you what is wrong and all you have to do is replace the faulty part. No one repairs anything anymore, just replace it.

    Our visit was to short as always. One would tell a story and then the other. We talked about cars we have had, cars we have worked on together, and cars we always wanted but never could afford. The past is never better than when it is shared between friends. It amazes me that true friends can get together after months or years and just carry on conversation like they saw each other yesterday.

    Jimmy is the most liked person I have ever known. Not once have I ever heard anyone say anything against him. That is saying a lot when he has lived all his live in a town with less than 200 people. He is my best friend and I feel privileged that he calls me one of this friends.

    Sunday, September 10, 2006

    Losing it

    I was in a "funk" all last week and really couldn't think of anything positive to post. It all started last Monday (on my shorter day). I called to check on the status of my load and was told it would be ready about noon. It takes at least an hour to do the necessary paper work and get my trailer hooked up and be ready to go.

    I get to the dairy about 10:45 am and was told they still owed my load some milk that hadn't been run . We bottle different labels of milk for various stores and naturally they do not have the same UPC (that little label they scan at the register). Sometimes you can substitute another label if they happen to carry COLEMAN brand milk as well as their store brand. This store did not,so I "had " to wait on the right milk. No big deal as it happens on a regular basis.

    When they finally get around to bottling the milk ( I say "bottling and not producing" because it is the same milk just labeled differently) I am waiting for, I drive out of the dairy about 6:10 pm. Plus I have extra milk on the trailer that must be put on a different truck. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper. I arrived back at the dairy after 3am and after finishing fueling and doing paper work it was 4 am when I made it home.

    The week just went down hill from there. Every day it was something until Friday when I really lost it and told everyone what I thought about the whole situation. Most of the time I try to "grin and bare it". On Friday I told them I was going to "grin and bare it" and when I did they could kiss what I was baring. They took it all in stride because they knew I had every right to be upset.

    We are 2 drivers short and I knew this wasn't the best time to ask for a vacation because of that fact. Well one of our drivers is on vacation for 2 weeks. When I said something about it, I as given this explanation. "He does the kind of run we can put anyone on, even a new hire." The answer did not sit well with me.

    We hire ON-SITE MOBILE WASHING to wash our truck and trailers on Saturdays. They do a terrible job at best. After they "washed" my truck, this is how it looked.
    The passenger side mirror was not touched (never is). The frame was not washed. If is wasn't painted white, it did not get washed.
    A clean truck is more than an image issue. It is also a maintenance issue. If you look at the last photo, you will see what looks like a small mushroom. That is the "vent " for one of the rearends. When the gears turn inside the rearend it builds up pressure and that pressure is released thru the vent . When it get stopped up from road grime the pressure has to go somewhere so it blows an axle seal. That's $$$'s plus down time.

    OK, enough of this. Would someone help me down, I'm getting dizzy up here.

    Tuesday, September 05, 2006

    Old friends

    Since living in the motorhome I have had my main tool boxes in storage and just making do with a small tool box that I can carry around behind the seat.

    This weekend I measured my large "top box" of my set and found it will fit under the fiberglass tonneau cover on my truck

    The tools in my main tool boxes were used to make my living for many years. When you opened the boxes you did not find rows and rows of one brand of tools but an assortment that I had collected over my life time.

    As I was cleaning and caressing my old friends ( many that I have not fondled in years), they began to speak and boy did we have a wonderful reunion. Several that were in pristine condition had little to say. Others really had a story to tell.

    From the screwdrivers with orange paint overspray on them from holding the dash of my 1947 Ford street rod, to the ground down 1/2" socket I modified for more clearance, on and on they talked and I listened to the stories they were telling.

    Every tool with a gouge, nick, bend had a story. Like the "broken" 3/8" ratchet that couldn't bring itself to leave the tool box even though it knew I would never have it repaired. To the 1/2 boxend wrench that still laughs about the day the battery exploded in my face ( he only laughed after he knew I was not hurt and only had my face stinging from the acid).

    My jumper cables reminded me of the "jerk" electrician that charged a service charge to drive to my house but threw a fit when I charged him a service charge ( about 1/4 his rate) to come to his house to boost his pickup after he left his lights on.

    Then another spoke up and said, "Yes, but remember the retired school teacher that included a jar of homemade jam or jelly everytime she paid her bill, and what about the old black man that wouldn't let anyone work on his car but "Mr. Sam".

    True friends they are and I am pleased to have them back in my life, but you know how it is. You have your favorite knife in the kitchen that might not be the "correct" knife for the job at hand but you dig thro the drawer until to find it.

    Monday, September 04, 2006

    Truth, always funnier than fiction

    We had a little family get-to-gather at my sister-in-law's house on Sunday. It was great to see all my brother's family that could make it.

    All the usual stuff took place and a great time was has by all.

    My sister-in-law invited a female friend from her church to attend and we all enjoyed Mrs. Russell's company. Helen asked Mrs. Russell to tell the story of her trip and the lost luggage.

    Mrs. Russell's luggage was lost along with several other passengers. Someone came around getting information to try to find the luggage. The man asked one gentleman his man and the man said "Gary Cooper", the next man's name was "John Wayne", then the somewhat perplexed man said to her, "and I guess you must be Marilyn Monroe!"

    She said , "No, I am Jane Russell". Miss Jane said everyone had a good laugh.

    Saturday, September 02, 2006

    B & B and Lazy Daze

    I guess you think I am going to tell you about goofing off in a Bed & Breakfast. No, what I am going to tell you about is the reason we went to Wisconsin on vacation.

    A few years ago we were down at Camden, Ar. to grab a burger in a shopping center that has several fast food joints and a Wal-Mart. As we entered the parking lot, I spotted a Lazy Daze motorhome. They are one of the top rated class c motorhomes make. They are built in one factory in Montclair, Ca. They have no dealers and you can only buy a new one at the factory. You have to place an order and wait several months until yours is built. They produce only what is on order. Needless to say there are very few to be seen in the south.

    It is sitting in the parking lot and the driver is looking at a map. You know I want to look the rig over, so I walk up and ask if I can help him with directions. We chat a little and I ask if I can peak inside his Lazy Daze ( can't imagine me being so bold, hehe). He says "sure" and motions for me to bring my wife.

    Inside we learn they are Beckie & Bernie and they live and travel full-time in this 26.5ft. motorhome.

    He has retired from FORD where he assembled Ford Rangers ( so if you had one with problems, we knew who to blame)at the Minneapolis-St.Paul plant. They sold their home in Wyoming, Mn. and hit the road. They had been to California and were heading back to Wisconsin (where they own a lot on a lake) for the summer.

    We exchanged contact information and vowed to stay in touch. I called them a few days later to check on their progress and we have been friends ever since. They go out west every winter and when they are heading home, they will drive out of their way to stop and see us. After several such visits we told them we would try to get up to Wisconsin to see them.

    Judy's family reunion was being held in central Missouri, so it gave us the perfect opportunity to drive on to see B&B. It was a great vacation and good to see Beckie and Bernie in their neck of the woods. Without having them to visit, I doubt I ever would have made it to Wisconsin.

    Friday, September 01, 2006

    September Book Review

    The Good Life,
    by Scott and Helen Nearing . This book takes the principles of Walden, by Henry David Thoreau, to heart .

    What? You haven't read Walden, shame on you.

    In The Good Life you are getting two of Scott and Helen's books, Living the Good Life and Continuing the Good Life.

    Scott and Helen were educators and in 1932 at the height of the Great Depression moved from New York City to a run-down farm in Vermont, hoping to live a simple life. The Good Life chronicles their adventure in great detail. From telling how to build with stone, to raising a garden in an 85 day growing season ( and eating year round from the garden with very little canning and no refrigerator) , to stumbling unto their cash crop from their Maple trees. Doing all of this with only laboring for half of their time. They believed half of ones life should be devoted to leisure.

    In Continuing the Good Live, Scott and Helen were at the age when most people are thinking about retirement, move from Vermont to Maine and start over. Their place in Vermont had become so popular ( from Scott's writings) that they thought of it as a "zoo".

    Scott and Helen have almost a "cult following" in the back to nature community.

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