Monday, December 31, 2007

Today is the finale of 2007. Greetings from Doe Bay Resort on Orcas Island!

Froseph and I made it over multiple abominably icy Rocky Mountain passes yesterday afternoon and met up with our companeras, Tiffany and Casandra, in Seattle. From there all four of us boogied north to the ferry, arriving with only a minute to spare. Upon arrival at Doe Bay, we promptly stripped down and soaked with other weary revelers.

I arose at 5:30 this morning and strolled to Otter Cove, where I watched the moonset/sunrise. Now the french toast . . . I'll need nourishment for tonight.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Part 1:
Dad picked up Froseph at the Amtrak station in Stanley two days ago. What is a Froseph? Webster's defines one thusly: 1. a dark rainbow, 2. an avalanche of cheer, 3. potential blood beneath the tractor. I'll add a supplemental description: a Froseph is a free-thinking anarchist scavenger with cherubic features and long dreadlocks.

Indeed, my friend Froseph makes your average citizen do a double-take. When Mom took him to the Buckskin Bar for pizza, they were greeted with a friendly but gender-inaccurate Western welcome: "Take a seat, ladies!" Froseph's attire consists of the traditional black anarchist garb plus his own signature pink scarf. He was something perhaps never seen in person by Dunn County eyes. It was as if Chief Sitting Bull's most flamboyant son had nonchalantly walked into General Sully's Army camp prior to battle and helped himself to the slushie machine.

Part 2:
Froseph and I are hurtling west at at 35 miles per hour along icy I-90 like two Jedi pilots navigating through starry snow. We are following behind a snowplow, because the left lane is filled with five inches of powder. We haven't even begun our ascent of Lookout Pass and the roads are as bad as Bryan Adams (Froseph's metaphor, not mine). We are debating whether to pass the plow. The good thing is that at this speed we probably won't get into a serious wreck if we slide off the highway. The bad thing is that we're in a huge hurry to catch the 6:30 ferry out of Anacortes tonight.

Parts 3 & 4:
Days are blurring. Two days ago on my birthday I woke up in Vancouver, British Columbia (auspiciously the city of my birth), and unloaded 10,000 pounds of live fish.

Shawn, my boss/co-driver, recently confided to me that he has trucked over five million miles in his 25-year career. That equates to driving to the moon and back 10 times! By the time I reach Orcas Island tonight, I'll have traveled 5,000 miles in five days.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Silent day, holy day. I've seen not a soul in the last 24 hours. The parents and grandparents are in South Dakota celebrating Christmas with the Spearfish Sands.

Last night I was invited to the Fischer's (my friend Lacy's parents) for walleye and lefse and about 25 other edibles. Delish!

I wake up tomorrow at 4 a.m. to leave for a five-day super adventure. It will culminate with a ferry ride to Orcas Island on January 30th. Once there: music and hot springs.

Monday, December 24, 2007

What child is this, you ask?

Meet Jefferson "Little Bear" Sand, son of cousins Kirby & Megan. Cute!

Merry Christmas, 2007!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Just returned from Vancouver, BC, this morning. Off to Calgary in about 5 minutes. See ya when the days start gettin' longer!

Monday, December 17, 2007

I let go of Excalibur today. Took him to Rummel's Wrecking Yard and got paid $75 by Mr. Arnold Rummel himself.

I'd purchased Excalibur from another wrecking yard, in Salmon, Idaho, three years ago (which is where I turned my silver 1984 Subaru, 319 JOE, loose). Excalibur, like Joe, was a fine automobile. He took me thousands of miles and, against all odds, never let me miss a show or left me stranded somewhere I didn't want to be. He gave his all, no doubt, and for this I give a HUGE thanks.

And a song:
Exalibur is a mighty fine car
And a mighty fine car is he.
He'll rock it to the east and he'll rock it to the west
From the north to the south country.
He knows how to travel, he can ride on the gravel
He can ride on the super highway.
When a maiden's in trouble, he'll arrive on the double
With a whoop and a yippee-ki-yay!

Excalibur is a mighty fine car
And a mighty fine car is he.
918 is his license plate
He's a Buick Century.
If he runs out of gas on a mountain pass
He'll take it to the very tip top.
And then he'll coast, to the town most close
On the vapors from the tank's last drop. Boom!

(Farewell, old friend.)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

I, like most trucking troubadours my age, wallow in existential agony 99% of the time. At any given moment we're either angry, depressed, worried, confused, apathetic, isolated, or achy--usually all at once. It's hard on a body, I say.

I have empathy for food inhalers, sleepwalkers, TV zombies, suicide rockers, cutter queens, bank drainers, adrenaline junkies, porn pilgrims, whiskey drifters, runaway brides, et cetera.

Everyone needs escape.

But then there are those who appear to fit in well on Planet Earth. The pure ones. The tranquil ones. The selfless ones. The steadfast ones. The independent ones. The eternal ones. Ones, ones, ones, ones . . .

Ones & zeros. Bums & heroes. Nuns & Neros. Scums & Cheerios.

The world operates on a spectrum system; it's neither black & white NOR shades of gray. There is right and wrong, and there is truth. But it's every color, every combination, every emotion, every texture. It's all-encompassing, messy, & wild. It's up for discussion. It smells like roast beef & diesel. It's something I'll probably regret writing about tomorrow morning.

Welcome to the world-as-I-feel-it: Sandland. A place where blogging is meditation sans destination. A coyote cave littered with skunk bones. My home away from home when I'm already home.
Just returned from another wild Canadian fish chase. Starting next Tuesday, I'll do three consecutive runs with only a day off for Christmas. Then, the day I return (December 29th), I'll have to somehow get back to Washington for a New Year's Eve show at Doe Bay on Orcas Island.

Here's the promo write-up they posted on their website last spring:
Come and shake out the old year and ring in the new with one of the best and most unique acts to be seen on either side of the Hundredth Meridian. Package details to be announced in June. Drinks, desserts, a brunch, and the superlative soundings of Sandman make the year start off with a hipster twang of joy and cheer.

P.s. This is a small trucker's prayer I created to calm my nerves while driving:

Lord, teach me to feel that Thou art the power behind all internal combustion and the stopping ability behind all air brakes.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Happy 60th Birthday, Dad! I love you.

I dedicate this song to you, written by Gene Autry in 1932.

Back when your hair was golden brown.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

This driving 1,000-miles-a-day business does strange things to a human body. It's as if magic highway dust enters one's bloodstream like an anti-depressant. The moment the wheels stop rolling, though, you feel lost. Your bones ache.

What a winter this will be--different in every way than anything I've known! Filled with financial gain, icy terrors, roadkill, and celibacy. What kind of monk am I becoming?

As for music: I'm Mt. Rainier, waiting.

And as for the documentary: I'm the gander, not the geese.

As for women: I'm Neil Young, circa 1971, and I just wrote "Heart of Gold."

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

We take off at 5 a.m. tomorrow for another Renville, MN, to Vancouver, BC, flying fish adventure. Protect us.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Can't think of what to write this week. A lot has happened, but I'm not too inspired to write about it.

It was pleasant to visit Canada. Unloading live fish in the Chinese district of Vancouver, B.C., is something I'll be doing a lot over the next year. I was impressed watching Shawn navigate a 64' tractor-trailer unit through 48 city stoplights (I counted). It takes plenty of skill to weave through those hilly, narrow streets during morning rush hour.

A batch of Minnesota tilapia were fed some bad pellets and perished, so we're unsure when we'll have our next load. Had to cancel the Calgary run on Friday and might lose our Vancouver run this week, too.