Sunday, March 26, 2017

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Trucks and Trailers

Now that we've found a truck to pull our new future home, it's on to the next project: 

    Selling our current place.

Another person is interested...and getting ready to make an offer.  (Barbara, if your friend is still interested too, have her call -- pronto.) We've got another party on the case, as well. 
     If God helped us find the perfect truck, He's got a buyer for the Castle Rock house out there. Meanwhile, we've got a lot of clearing out, cleaning up and donating to do.

Painting furniture in one afternoon.  (From The Nester)

Working for the Fair.  The Sanitary Fair, that is.  (From Brackman's Civil War Quilts)

Ten habits of self-made millionaires.  Actually, three different posts, all about the same subject -- just different numbers. (From Bloglovin')

Freezer-friendly breakfast burritos.  Except I'll add green chilies to the mix.  (From Moneysaving Mom)




How will you plan to retire? For the first part of it, when you're healthy and raring to go, OR the second part, when your health's not so good?  A thoughtful piece from Liz Weston.

"What's the most embarrassing thing you've ever done?"  Be sure to read the one from the student who walked into the wrong classroom -- and took the exam, anyways.  (From Quora)

A DIY 'pick me up' peppermint tincture.  (From Strangers and Pilgrims)

Salmon, spinach and orzo salad - with lemon-dill vinaigrette. Oh my.  (From One Hundred Dollars A Month)



How to find anything -- and everything -- used.  (From The Frugalwoods)

"Why I stopped extreme couponing."  The other side of the story.  (From Budgets Are Sexy)

Five for the road.  It's the teacup feeders and the doggie gate that got this post on the Monday Stuff List.  (From Cleverly Inspired)



Historical figures that most people remember -- for the wrong reasons.  (From Cracked) Also:

Fifteen images that...well... I have no idea who or what's showing up in them. See what you think.


Have a great week.



Friday, March 24, 2017

Log Cabin Gone Wild!

Friend Thommy sent me this photo of a Log Cabin quilt from Facebook...
          a bit different from the usual.

(I'm a sucker for unusual Log Cabins, anyways.)





I hope the escape was successful.


(Thanks, Traci Smith from Appalachian Americans.)


Map Points...And A Great Place To Buy A Vehicle

Do you know where the geographic center of North America is?

In North Dakota!




We zoomed by this dignified obelisk:





Surrounded by scruffy buildings, piles of dirty snow...and close nearby, a Case farm equipment dealer.





My dad always thought that Case tractors were the center of the universe. Guess he was close.

Plus a signpost, so you know where to head next.





I wanted to give a shoutout to the Devils Lake Chrysler Center in Devils Lake, ND.  Not only were they totally honest about our vehicle's condition and package...Jordan actually e-mailed photos to the Brick showing some of the truck's 'dings' and negative aspects!  How many dealers will do that??

Jordan, our salesman, spent a lot of time pointing out features with the Brick, and explaining how they worked. (He did a lot of "what if this happens" problem-solving, too. Impressive.)

They treated us with politeness and respect...me included. (Sometimes the woman doesn't get this. Female Gentle Readers out there, you know what I'm talking about, don't you...) We had some trouble getting funds from our bank account wired -- and they were patient throughout.

We also got advice on good hotels (since we had to stay one more night, because of the wire transfer issues) and restaurants -- and they were right, on all counts.

We got a good deal on a great truck. It was nicely prepped, as well.

If you're looking for a quality vehicle at a good price, try them out. (It's even worth driving 30+ hours to get there!)  Ask for Jordan; tell him the Bricks sent you.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

A Strange Experience in Hoover

     As mentioned yesterday, we made a flying trip to North Dakota in the past few days. Driving, actually, but we 'flew' to get back -- both of us had commitments here, and we knew the weather was iffy.

We head back in mid-afternoon, the Brick driving our new truck and me following in the Outback.

Yep, that's him.

The roads are clear, but freezing rain is threatening. Not good.

After hours of driving, we're both down to half a tank of gas...and in the middle of some seriously beautiful landscape. Deserted, hilly...not even the occasional farm. A few homestead buildings here and there, and some disinterested cattle. No matter -- Charley the dog finds them fascinating.

The miles spool by. Wind's picked up...but you can handle it when you're expecting it. The rain is holding off, sort of...as long as we keep going.

We're out of North Dakota now, into South Dakota, my dad's birth state. Down to an eighth-tank. Still nothing, but a sign promises 'next services: 33 miles.' Should be just in time.

More lovely, wide-reaching landscape. Once you live out here in the West for a while, you appreciate the chance to look 10, 20 or 30 miles in every direction. I get a little claustrophobic now when trees hug the road on both sides. (Makes me feel a bit squashed.)

We drive by a clump of trees, augmented with ranch buildings. A little sign on the road flashes by -- I catch the words 'Hoover fuel and groceries.' Where? I didn't see any kind of store.

More miles gone. My gauge is solidly on EMPTY now. The Brick says he has about 1/8 tank. I am desperately trying not to worry.

I mention the sign. (He saw it briefly, too.) Every few miles brings us to the top of a new set of hills. No lights, no one else is out there...but us. 

Finally, we turn back. Off the road:




And on the edge of the trees:



I wouldn't have known, except for the name and the lit beer sign in the window.

Woodsmoke is in the air -- so are frozen bits of sleet. We're surrounded by a yapping pack of dogs, which immediately catches Charles and Abby's attention. There are two rusty gas pumps to the side: one for diesel (which the truck needs), one for unleaded (for the Outback). Thank you, God.

The Brick, shivering, gets to work.




Those icicles aren't for decoration, folks.

I notice this across the gravelly area:


Must be where they live, right? I forgot to ask.

And this:




The bossy head dog, eyes milky with age, allows me to step past and open the tinkling front door.


Leader of the pack -- and guardian of the store

Full tanks of gas -- WHEW.  I realized I had probably been holding my breath at times.

The inside of the building actually looks like a store: shelves with canned goods, a cooler on the other side with beer, a bowl of grapes and some fresh edibles. A scrubbed round wooden table in the center of the room is covered with paperwork. (Working on taxes?) An equally scrubbed counter, holding the cash register... and a near-empty bowl of potato chip crumbs. Free bar snacks with the beer, maybe.

Leona, an older lady in her late 70s, bustles out to look at the gas pumps, so she can (hand)write the totals. She doesn't take credit cards. (Thankfully, I've remembered to bring along the checkbook.)

I could swear that somehow we've traveled back in time...maybe to 1976 or so, when Leona said they'd bought the ranch.




We thaw out by the woodstove, have a friendly conversation about where we came from, and how long she's been there. Her daughter's family runs the farm now -- but Leona kept the store "and 50 acres." Their area has a Castle Rock too, she said...with another store near it, tucked among the farm buildings. "But now it's closed, and the lady just lives there."

The ice is still threatening -- we have to go. The guard dog allows us out the door, after grateful thanks and a presented check. Then, Doritos in hand, we're on the road. Fifty-five miles later, a small town, Belle Fourche, appears...with food and gas stations.

While topping up, I said to the Brick, "Did we dream that?" He said, "I'm not quite sure." 

Without Leona and her Hoover store, we would have been walking.

If she and the store were real, that is.   I guess they are.


 (Found an old photograph, too.)


Headed home to our Castle Rock...Colorado.



Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Dead Beat & Plum Tuckered Out...And Other Musings

     We're back.

     The Brick found the perfect truck to pull our new trailer 15+ hours away, at a dealer in Devil's Lake, North Dakota. So what did we do?

Left Sunday around noon. Drove 15+ hours one way...got into Minot (our first hotel) at 2:45 a.m.

Spent that day test-driving the truck and taking it to a local mechanic. Made the deal around 3 p.m. Discovered we couldn't get the truck yet -- because our credit union only wires money in a two-hour period. In the morning. (They conveniently forgot to mention this to the Brick when he e-mailed to warn them about the withdrawal.)

Found another hotel. Crashed. Couldn't sleep -- we were both too fired up. Plus TMC had some weird 'bad guy' movies on, including Psycho, Peeping Tom and Robert Mitchum in this creepy child-snatching movie, Night of the Hunter.
     Gives you a whole new perspective on the hymn "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms."



(Peeping Tom was weird, too. Yes, stranger than Norman Bates and his zany mom. Watch the whole movie here, if you like.... but with a friend. )


Two nights in a hotel were fun, sort of. Two nights in a hotel with the Brick were definitely better than being by myself. (True to nature, there was very little on tv. With as many cable channels as hotels have, wouldn't you think there'd be more to choose from than old episodes of Supernatural and American Pickers?)

Next morning, trudged over to the dealer. (It's the Chrysler dealer in town -- ask for Jordan, by the way.) Got the truck -- formed a convoy -- and drove the 15+ bleary-eyed hours home.

We pulled into Castle Rock at 3 a.m. this morning. I had a piano lesson to do this afternoon, and wanted to be sure we made it in time. (Ironically, the lesson didn't happen.) Thank God for the chance to sleep in, fresh eggs from the chickens, and canned beef stew over rice. All easy things to do.

It was icy cold in Devils Lake, and windy as all getout. We fought the wind, and had to keep moving to miss the freezing rain that kept creeping in around the edges. We were traveling through incredibly beautiful country in the Dakotas -- but it was also very isolated. (More on this tomorrow.) And we were tired. A big batch of scary fog in Wyoming, plus the highway closed, only a few miles from our house, just topped things off.

We're glad to be home.

The truck is big, rumbling (diesel) and more than capable. The Brick is thrilled -- it really did turn out to be the perfect truck, for what we needed. I just have to get used to climbing up to get in. Not only was the price right, but it has all sorts of additional goodies. Apparently it includes a custom package, including seats that not only heat themselves, but have air conditioning in each seat, as well!
     Front and back.

     I can just hear what my dad, the tough Dutch farmer, would have said about that. After he stopped laughing, that is.

We came home to an armload of daffodils, blooming their heads off. Just in time -- we're due for a snowstorm tomorrow night.





Sunday, March 19, 2017

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Yes, It's Early

I have deadlines to meet early this week, so sent the weekly post on its way today. Get your coffee cup, sit in the afternoon sun...and enjoy! 


Ten strange discoveries archeologists can't explain. Yet, at least.  (From Listverse)

A guy walking barefoot across America is hit by a car, 100 days into his trip. Weirdly, Mark Baumer's last post showed his toes next to a yellow-lettered word: 'KILLED.'  (From Men's Journal)

Twenty liars who kept lying. And got away with it...for a while, at least.  (From Cracked)

Fifty years of "Alice's Restaurant" -- and how Arlo Guthrie feels about it. (From Rolling Stone magazine) If you've never heard this very funny, thought-provoking song, click below. Settle in first -- it takes almost 20 minutes.



Ten strange (and wonderful) discoveries that have updated archeology -- big-time.  (From Listverse)

More dog shaming.  Yes, these are silly, including:



"Saving history by stealing it." Or in artistic terms, copying it. I'm still not sure what to think about this angle...

A Wisconsin farmer dies, along with 16 of his cattle...in a freak methane poisoning accident. This one is really strange.

One of the best modern tap dance scenes out there -- "No Dames" from Hail Caesar!  Channing Tatum definitely got some of his chops from Gene Kelly on this one.


Too bad the rest of the movie was mostly stupid.

 I kept thinking of a similar theme in Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers' Follow the Fleet:






A tiny house, custom-built in Alaska.

Irish treacle tart.  A holiday offering from yours truly. (This tasted quite different from what I thought it would...maybe it's the lemon juice, combined with the sweet flavor. Not sure.)

What's today's cooks can learn from yesterday's tenement cooks.  Some real-life examples here. (Thanks, Kris Driessen, for forwarding this on from the New York Post.)


Have a great week. Stay sane.