As you may have noticed my daily postings ended abruptly after last Wednesday. That should provide some indication of how the past few days have gone in my corner of the world.
As I left off with this saga last Wednesday we will bring you up to speed beginning with Thursday. The day started off on a normal footing – a breakfast of oats, wheat toast, fruit, and strong Irish tea followed with a little Bible reading, Psalm 103, a quick check of the email and news headlines, and a shave and shower.
On most mornings my dearest friend and I often pass like a graveyard and day shift employee. Still, there is always time for a word of encouragement, a prayer, and a hug.
The morning was absolutely gorgeous so I decided it would be a shame not to ride the bicycle. I am limited on the routes available to work but still manage to find a different route for every day of the week.
In spite of this limitation it seems I always find new surprises that enhance the enjoyment of the ride. On this particular morning these took the form of a remarkably original Chevette Scooter, sharing the road with a vintage Whizzer, and riding along Route 66 as a small herd of Harley Davidson motorcycles flying German flags roared past.
My job is never dull but in recent months it has entered the realm of bizarre. As a case in point consider this conversation from Thursday.
The phone rings and I answer, “Penske Truck Leasing, may I help you.” The response, “Yes, is this Uhaul.”
At that juncture there was little doubt it was going to be one of those days. After all, this was five minutes before we opened.
The conversation continued. “I need to know how much it would cost to rent a truck for a move from Fort Mohave to Spokane. Wait. My wife says we are moving to Sparta not Spokane.” I can’t make this stuff up, I am just not that talented.
My question, “Sparta, Tennessee?” receives no answer so I ask again. The response, “Just a minute, she is checking.” Then, “Yeah, but just in case can we get a rate for Spokane as well.”
Next I ask, “When will you need the truck?” The response, “Can we get it in a half hour?”
Then comes the million dollar question, “What size truck will you need?” This was followed by a long pause and then the beginning of a lengthy listing of every item owned from cat carrier to grand pa’s chair.
I politely interrupted and asked, “How many rooms do you have in your house?” This was followed by a listing of each room, including the bathroom and attic, and a question, “Does the garage and shed count as a room?”
Once we had established a truck size we began discussing towing equipment. “Will I be able to tow my pick up behind the trailer?” “How about my travel trailer?” “Are there limitations regarding people riding in the towed vehicle?”
After this strange litany was resolved we came to price negotiation. We had just started discussing this fine point when the customer interrupts and says, “Let me get back with you in an hour. I want to see which will be closer, Spokane or Sparta.”
At noon the customer calls back. “I spoke with a dude this morning about a truck to Sparta but I don’t remember his name.” I reintroduce myself.
Then I get this. “Yea, man, we will just need a small truck as the furniture company just repossessed most of the stuff. So can you get us that 16′ truck one way to Batavia, New York.”
Well, the last time I saw the customer they had their truck, a Rand McNally print out with directions to Batavia, New York, and they were headed west on I40 towards California.
Granted this is an extreme example but increasingly I deal with similar circumstances every week. Well, the rest of Thursday and the week were rather anti climatic at the office as well as on the home front.
Thursday afternoon my wife called to inform me that Alfred, a neighbor with a passion for old Chevies, had stopped by to inquire about the wagon. That evening after I got home we culminated a deal and the Ford wagon found a new home.
We rounded out the night with an Easter week tradition in our home, watching the Passion. This powerful movie never ceases to bring me up short and sharpen my focus on what is truly important in this life.
Saturday was a half day and the plan was to round up a few components to work on the Jeep, our latest acquisition. As it turned out I had to go to Napa as well as Auto Zone to get the parts wanted but was still home in time for lunch with my son, who had stopped by for a visit, and my wife. Ah, the joys of small town life.
Sunday was a day of reflection which included a long walk with my dearest friend high into the Cerbat Mountains. We followed this up with some prayer, phone calls, and that evening I completed the column profiling Charles Nash for Cars & Parts.
Monday I took the Jeep to Steve’s Route 66 Auto Repair for assistance with things not figured out on Saturday. I now feel that with the exception of a couple small issues, such as not being able to open the drivers door from the inside, the Jeep is ready to take us most anywhere we choose to go and back again.
For a maiden shake down voyage the game plan is a trip to Windy Point high in the Cerbat Mountains above the ghost town of Chloride for a picnic lunch with my dearest friend and a little photography. As the trip will be on Sunday, I should have photos to post on Monday.
If all goes as planned then I will set my sites for a mid May, birthday cruise to the old mining town of Crown King nestled among the pines of the Bradshaw Mountains south of Prescott. My dearest friend hasn’t made this trip so I think a cruise along the time capsule that is the Senator Highway is in order.
As I promised to use this long winded post to bring you up to speed word has been received that final edit for Ghost Towns of the Southwest will commence in June. This should put us on track for a first of the year release.
I am still in limbo with Ghost Towns of Route 66. In spite of this minor setback research is progressing and loose plans are being made to cruise Route 66, seeking out the earliest alignments where feasible, from Kingman east to at least Amarillo. The rough time table for this is to take a weeks vacation in late Mayor early June.
One final note from my vantage point on Route 66. Most folks who visit Kingman ask how we can live here without real seasons.
I am always polite when I respond by telling them we have seasons, stick around a week and you will see. Sunday and Monday were picture perfect with slight breezes and temperatures near seventy five degrees. Today the wind is howling at around thirty mile per hour with gusts topping fifty.
Wednesday the high temperature is supposed to be around fifty degree with an overnight low in the high twenties. We are also expecting rain, thunderstorms, and possible snow flurries. By Saturday the projection is for temperatures near eighty degrees. Welcome to Kingman!