Friday, April 18, 2008

The Path of Pliny

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Ok look: You’re a truck driver, the road is your disco. Dance floors, headlights, in your blood there’s gasoline. You can only hit so many truck stops before you’re tempted to buy at least one of those CD’s, you know them, most likely contain any configuration of these tunes.

Who could blame you? But really, you’ve got a bit more outlaw in you than that. Your daddy taught you well. So as you pull out of York headed East for an 11 hour run, you slip in your copy of Waiting For Columbus and settle into one of the finest trucking songs that’s ever been written:

I been warped by the rain, driven by the snow
I'm drunk and dirty don't ya know, and I'm still, willin'
Out on the road late at night, Seen my pretty Alice in every head light
Alice, Dallas Alice

I've been from Tuscon to Tucumcari
Tehachapi to Tonapah
Driven every kind of rig that's ever been made
Driven the back roads so I wouldn't get weighed
And if you give me: weed, whites, and wine
and you show me a sign
I'll be willin', to be movin'

I've been kicked by the wind, robbed by the sleet
Had my head stoved in, but I'm still on my feet and I'm still... willin'
Now I smuggled some smokes and folks from Mexico
baked by the sun, every time I go to Mexico, and I'm still

And I been from Tuscon to Tucumcari
Tehachapi to Tonapah
Driven every kind of rig that's ever been made
Driven the back roads so I wouldn't get weighed
And if you give me: weed, whites, and wine
and you show me a sign
I'll be willin', to be movin

(Lowell George)

The long road will give a man a lot to think about. Getting out of Nebraska in route to Toldeo, OH with a clear mind and the warmth of Iron Skillet still coursing through him, day three of the trip probably had Pliny The Northside just a little ticked off, but not ready to declare war. Pliny The Springhouse? None the wiser. All hopped up and ready to roll it’d have to have been the Miller Chill that everyone had their eyes on.

Rolling into Iowa not a whole lot was cooking on the left side of the state, so our driver probably had smooth sailing straight through until just before he hit Davenport. Now with these times of ours being what they are you never know who is going to see something and completely overreact without taking a second to think or investigate further.

That friends is what happened in Walcott, Iowa on the afternoon of September 9, 2007. And I will recount that tale in full with foot prints, dog smelling prints, and twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one right now.

You see it was a normal afternoon, optimism smelled like tulips and everyone was in the garden. Home to the annual Truckers Jamboree , this is a ceremonial stop for trucks and due to our driver’s schedule he’d have to save his visit for the return trip. For a sleepy town Walcott, Iowa sure does have a buzz about it. People seem busy here, well, busier than Durant, but as the locals would tell you, that isn’t much of a feat at all. In this buzz and busyness is a feeling of community, Waclotts stick to themselves and take their disruptions quite seriously. Unfortunately, a disruption is just what they got on this unseasonably warm September’s day.

Neighbors and businessmen alike started spotting fleets of planes in the distance. Some seemed to be headed straight towards Walcott, others dovetailed and spun around as if they were engaged in a serious fracas over Davenport. After they’d seen enough dogfighting and barrel rolls for one day the citizens of Walcott hit the phones. Emergency numbers, government numbers, their green oasis was one giant airwave.

Some folks began to leave town driving West ahead of the pack while others stocked up on potables at the local Super Wal-Mart. As investigations began and schools prepared for evacuation one savvy member of the local government called over to Davenport to see what was going on.

And with egg on their faces the citizens of Walcott laid birth to a story that will live on for years to come. They’d been sent into a defensive chaos all on the count of the 10th Annual EFLIOWA. How they’d avoided disaster for the previous 9 years will remain a mystery forever.

This slight stir strained traffic a bit, not because of the few who fled, but local police set up a brief roadblock on I-80 just before Walcott. Once scooting through town and around Davenport itself, our driver enjoyed a smooth ride into Illinois. As he always does, he made ready for his trip through the Chicago suburbs with a stop off at his Vegas away from Vegas, Joliet, IL. A guy’s gotta stretch his legs somewhere, right?

So one last stop before the haul across Ohio. That stop is Gary, IL. In Gary our driver parks up at the historic steel docks and wanders over to Marquette Park to stand and stare out at Lake Michigan asking himself, “What if?” over and over and over again for a while. It’s very therapeutic for him. After an episode like the one in Walcott, IA he surely had a lot for the pondering.

And really from here on out I’d have to assume the whole trip ended rounded out quite unmonumentally, I mean, Gary to Toledo is a breeze and Toldeo to KOP can be done in the same time that some beer loving blogger who sits at a crummy day job asking himself, “What if?” over and over and over again can put in a full shift. And really is driving beer across country that different than a desk job? I mean I’ve got..err some guy at a desk has google images, he can imagine they’re whizzing by at 70 mph, he’s got music, he lets his mind wander into endless daydreams as he stares forward at the same thing ALL DAY LONG.

Anyhow, Pliny, Perkuno, Black, & Bastard tap in a few hours. Our glory awaits.

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