ARIZONA TO ALASKA

A SHAMROCK IN SHAMROCK

By: joealaska, 11:44 PM GMT on August 31, 2013

‘Twas a great day for a cruise.

Yesterday was kinda BLAH BLAH.

Today I broke back into THE WEST. I got on I-40 yesterday and will stay on it until I hit Albuquerque. OK, technically Sandia Park, New Mexico, east of ALBU-Q.

As I headed west on the interstate this morning, it struck me how enthusiastic the Arkansas fans are for their football team. The RAZORBACKS open their season today in Fayetteville, north of Fort Smith in the far NW corner of the state. Traffic was light as I went through Little Rock, but as I left town it got BUSY. Other interstates hooked up with mine, and all of a sudden I was caught up in a mad rush of fans heading to the game later in the afternoon. These folk were taking a cruise from who knows where, but even at that point it was several hours.

Their cars were obvious. Driving at 15 mph over the speed limit, many pig emblems stuck on their vehicles, and the all-too-popular pom poms stuck in opposite side windows. There were highway patrol cars here and there, but they let everyone fly by. I wondered if the pom poms were critical. So I just camped out amongst them as we flew along. No problem. I saw so many vehicles with college license plates / pom poms / team logos I thought I was back in Louisville!

There is a little football connection between Louisville and Arkansas: Coach Bobby Petrino. He left Louisville when they were a national contender and went to the pros, the Atlanta Falcons. That did not go well, so he went to ARKANSAS. But he had an accident on his motorcycle with his girlfriend and had to explain it all to his wife. Even ARKANSAS had to let him go. There are a lot of jokes about that state, but they are way out of line. That one that says, in Arkansas, family reunions are a great place to meet women is just too much.

Talking about close to home, Petrino is now at Western Kentucky where TODAY he plays against KENTUCKY.

OOPS.

At Fort Smith, most of the cars headed north to Fayetteville. But I continued west. I will make one last complaint about Arkansas. They had an exit signed as a LOOKOUT. Even when I am on the move I check these out. But this was bad. Someone decided to spend a bunch of money for nothing. I got out and walked up a small hill guessing something would jump out. Even when I stood on the picnic table was I able to catch a glimpse of some far off body of water. I took a picture but will probably delete it when I edit them. As I sat there, several people drove up and either left
before not getting out, or walked up the hill then came back down with no picture taking. As I drove up, I did see one Japanese guy taking a photo. It was the only reason I walked up to the top.

I will say that the stretch of I-40 from Little Rock to Oklahoma is very nice. Smooth road, and scenic.

But Oklahoma was better. Slowly the trees disappeared and I could see a mile away, or more. Each exit off the interstate tells you about why you should see THAT town. A big sign. I saw homes of Kelly Clarkston, Woodie Guthrie, Troy Aikman, a big country singer I cannot remember in Oklahoma City, and a few more I did not recognize. I had a great pork sandwich in Shawnee.

I also saw in Shawnee, as well as two other locations further west, gnarled trees. Tornado trees. These trees looked funny. Odd shapes. Bare mostly, missing a lot of branches. But they were not dead, having leaves. But some tornado changed stuff around.

Oklahoma City was nice, wide open. Wide open but many winding curves on the interstate. Bad drivers. A couple big buildings. Road construction. When I got through there, traffic lightened up FINALLY.

I was watching the temperature measured by my car. 102, 104, then went up to 106. Then a few times it was at 108. I am gaining time heading west, so I drove more than usual today. I got to western Oklahoma and was ready to stop. But I moved on to SHAMROCK, Texas. An intersection of route 83 (one of my favorite north south roads in the US right behind RT 93) and I-40. It includes a nice stretch of the original US Route 66.

(My High School is Trinity in Louisville. Their football team was ranked #2 in the USA this year. Their nickname is the Trinity SHAMROCKS, although they end to default to ROCKS).

Shamrock also has the tallest water tower in Texas. And there is a golf course. I went by there to see if anyone was playing (it said it was 102 by my car thermometer). The place was packed. But it was a cow pasture with greens. Yes, I would play there ONCE, but it would have to be wide open. I already know there is a course 20 miles west. The weather report for the next week is nothing but HOT. Then more hot. I will have to sweat and golf.

So I sit here and watch a little football on TV. Shortly I will head over to Big Vern’s, a local steakhouse and saloon that had several billboards heading this way. But it is on ROUTE 66, and I want to check out the old buildings in the setting sun.

Life is good.

Wondering if my cats are still alive.

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ROAD TRIP OVER THE HOLIDAY

By: joealaska, 1:43 AM GMT on August 29, 2013

Another big holiday weekend coming up. I plan on hitting the road for about a week. Heading toward New Mexico. I am sure it will be cooler than here, where it is too hot to golf. Looking forward to sitting behind the wheel of a car rather than staring a computer all day. I leave Friday morning.

But I will continue to search job listings as I travel. I search listings 24 hours old or less, and I look everyday at listings in 15 states. Normally there are between 1000 and 1200 listings. I search using various search words, but I till have to sift through a lot of CRAP. I think the employers use more hot words than what applies, so more people see the listing.

So out of 1100 listings yesterday I see a job in DUTCH. Six years ago it may have looked interesting. The biggest processor in Dutch, Unisea, is looking for an inventory manager. At the time I was looking for listings in Arizona. There is the listing, and it says RELOCATE TO DUTCH HARBOR. Why is the listing in Arizona listings? I saw it listed in other state listings too. Another game the employers play. Right now I am not looking for work in Alaska.

I did get a call about an application I sent in for a job in San Antonio, TX. I like that area. Drive a half hour west and the trees stop and it is wild west Texas. The caller was with a company doing the hiring for the ultimate employer. They liked hearing about the job experience I had in Dutch.

Will report from THE ROAD.

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WE BE JAMMIN'

By: joealaska, 9:10 PM GMT on August 24, 2013

First things first. Happy BIRTHDAY UK! You will have to get a huge cake to hold all those candles!

A couple weeks ago I was in the apartment laundry room. This is a very big apartment complex, so it is unusual to say normally nobody else is around when I do laundry. But on this particular day, there was another guy there. He was having trouble getting the washer to work. They have a card system here that requires using a machine to deposit cash that goes to the card as a credit. Then you use the card with the washers and dryers. First time I wanted to do laundry, I drove somewhere to get $10.00 in quarters, figuring I would need them for the machines.

When I got to the laundry room I saw there was this system in place. The trouble was, to deposit money and get the card “filled” I needed that ten dollar bill I just used. The machine does not take loose change. JUDAS PRIEST.

Well, this guy having the trouble had just moved here and his card was not working correctly. He asked me if I could help, and I tried. But something was messed up we could not fix. So he headed off to the apartment office. But as he left he introduced himself, seemed like a nice guy. But I figured I would never see him again. Like I said, this complex is huge.

WRONG UNCA DOG BREATH.

The door to our apartments here lead out to a hallway that is open to the elements, but covered. If I walk out my door, six feet straight out is another apartment door. That is where this guy lives. Pretty incredible odds. I saw him a few days ago and we said HEY. Last night I heard music coming from his place. After awhile I looked around the corner into his patio. It was pitch black and I saw nothing. But he was standing there in the dark smoking a cigarette, and he made me jump when he said HELLO.

He asked me to come in his place and have a drink. When I went in I saw he had a couple guitars and a huge amp. It was not long before I went to my place and got my guitar and we JAMMED. It was fun, had not done that for a LONG time. It was pretty late and probably too loud, but we never heard any banging on the walls or knocks on the door.

I am looking forward to doing it again.

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JODA KOTA

By: joealaska, 11:16 PM GMT on August 18, 2013

I continue to apply to interesting positions. My parameters change with each job. OK job in a great location still gets attention. Decent job in a mediocre location, maybe not. When in doubt, I apply. I can always laugh and hang up.

The North Dakota position comes to a decision sometime Mon thru Weds. I checked a Williston data page. I saw temperatures have gotten down to -50. But that is extreme. Typical temps during the colder months average in the teens. The area is considered arid and does not get LOTS of snow.

I submitted some photos to go on the web page (most likely www.theroadtodutchharbor.com, but still not for certain) to promote my book . The publisher seems to be plodding along on this, I expected to hear from them at the end of this past week. Nothing.

Played some golf this past week. On Wednesday I played at New Salisbury, Indiana. Had a rare birdie that I actually earned. On the way home I stopped in Corydon, Indiana and played another course - Old Capitol. Then on Friday I stayed in Kentucky. Drove 30 miles east to Shelbyville and played Shelbyville Country Club. These were all new courses, and I am up to 675 different courses.

Right now watching the ladies play The Solheim Cup, USA vs Europe. Looks like Europe will win, but USA is keeping it close. Seeing some great shots and sportsmanship. A young winner (Hull) for Europe killed her opponent for the USA (Creamer). First thing she did was get Creamer to autograph a ball for her.

The weather has been awesome this past week. Did not turn on the air conditioner until today. Next few days we are back into 90's. I have kept the patio door wide open and Dutchie and Fluff have had their way with rolling in the sun on the porch.

Yellafella (my sister here) visited Cybersuze in Boise. I picked her up at the airport last night. They had smoke in Boise from the fires. I heard there are 28 major fires burning right now in the west. Many in Idaho. More homes are threatened in Idaho.

Getting into writing Book #2 lately. Wrote for a few hours today.

Watching Breaking Bad tonight.

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THE MAELSTROM

By: joealaska, 1:45 AM GMT on August 12, 2013

It is surprising to see that creek behind my apartment before and after a rainstorm. Typically there is hardly any flow apparent. More like standing water. It is about a foot deep at that point. But a couple days ago there was a shower. Not a deluge, just a steady rain for an hour or so. But that was all it took for that creek to gain at least another foot of depth and a decent FLOW. That lasted a few hours, well after the rain stopped.

It would need to raise another 2 feet before it leaves its banks. I saw evidence that had recently happened when I moved in here. The good news is that my apartment is another 5 feet up in elevation. It would take a real flood to reach me. Bring it on. I could use some excitement!

Nothing is impossible, especially after seeing that film of the flash flood in Manitou Springs, Colorado this weekend. It is just west of Colorado Springs, an area that has been hit hard the last few years with fires. Hence the flood. I was there this past May.

After that shower let up a couple days ago, Dutchie wanted out right away. The grass is about 4 inches high, and it was wet. Cats do not like that. But she jumped into it and did THE PANIC BOUND. I last saw that in Ocean Shores when Dutchie ran out of the drain pipe and scurried into the deep thicket at Dianna’s place. The cat will make a series of leaps to minimize contact with the watery grass. And it will do this fast. Dutchie was afraid of me putting her back in that car in Washington. Here, it was just a fear of getting too wet. But she headed straight for that roaring stream. Curious, you know. She was smart enough to not get swept away.

So, I put a few hours into making a coffee-table style book with Dutch Harbor photos. Then I went to the local Barnes Noble and checked out similar works. They were all around 25 or 30 dollars. Mine would cost ME around $80. Nobody would want one after I bumped up that price for a little profit for me. So I am looking at other photo options for now. I still have a lot of photos to go through just to see what looks good.

So I have had a nice run where friends and family have bought my first book. But as I may have mentioned before, I am working on a website that will supposedly promote my book in ebook version. I am told this is where the masses lurk worldwide. They sent me a version that needed my approval. There were many corrections, basic English stuff. Missing apostrophes, commas, and capitalizations. It scared me a bit. So I have sent in the corrections and we will see where it goes.

Depending on the ongoing job search I may smell a quick road trip. Scratching that itch.

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OHIO REUNION

By: joealaska, 2:08 AM GMT on August 06, 2013

Dotmom and myself headed north to Ohio over the weekend to a family reunion, her side of the family. We took a slight detour through Dayton, where I went to college.

First stop was Eaton, Ohio where I have a cousin. We had an excellent lunch and caught up. But we were on the fly, and had more people to see. After a couple hours we headed north and east to Englewood, where I saw my sixth grade teacher and her daughter. Their family was friends with our family way back when, when they also lived in Louisville. So their was a lot to catch up on. And we had to still travel to the reunion, so we had to leave after a short visit.

We went east and then north, through Columbus and north to Wooster where we had hotel reservations. We wanted to be closer to the reunion scheduled for next day in Doylestown, still about 25 miles away. But there some big events going on that took up all the local hotel rooms. That golf tournament that Tiger won was in nearby Akron. The NFL Hall of Fame Game and Induction Ceremony was in Canton. Then some car race was in Ashland / Massilon.

First thing Sunday morning we took the short ride east on RT 30, then turned north on RT 57 to RITTMAN. That was the first home I remember as a kid. We moved away to Louisville from there over 50 years ago. JUDAS PRIEST! On the way we went through Orrville where SMUCKERS company is located. Jams and jellies. Took some pictures of what looked liked the sales outlet location. The factory was next, but we just drove by as it was less photogenic. Orrville and all of these towns were very inviting. They looked quaint, neat and clean. And apparently thriving!

North to Rittman where we drove around. We passed the old house. It was a great neighborhood back then where we knew all the neighbors and socialized with them. Both adults and kids. Since then the trees have grown and now form a green archway over the roads, closing everything in, but in a nice way. We felt the neighborhood seemed a bit on the downward spiral, but it was still nice to see. Hey, it has been over 50 years...

Then we went to nearby Doylestown and saw the graves of too many relatives, including my moms parents. We then went to mass at the church where the graves were located, the church the family had attended for many years. It was the first mass I have attended in GOD KNOWS how many years.

Then we went to the reunion, after picking up a bunch of fried chicken and picnic food at a local pizza place. JAKES. Very good!

Moms family is big. Ten kids, and now they have kids and grand kids. I have a hard time keeping track with them all, as I have not attended that many reunions. Living in the west and Alaska did not help. But let me tell you, those people know how to party and picnic. Everyone brought food, and there was too much too even sample. It was awesome. And it was great to catch up with people I have not seen in 40 years or more.

One in particular was special. Cousin Joe. Special for what he went through as a kid. I was just barely old enough to remember it.

For the elder of all of you, do any of you remember smudge pots, or smoke pots, that they used LONG AGO at constructions sites? They looked like a cartoon bomb, black and round about the size of a bowling ball. They were lit up and burned for a long time. I think that the small flame that came out the top was supposed to alert oncoming cars that there was road construction going on. And they also smoked a lot, maybe as a daytime warning sign. They were metal.

Cousin Joe was at such a site. There was a deep trench that people were working in. The trench caved in, and he fell in, along with one of those pots. You can only try to imagine the rest. And you would probably be wrong. He was buried and that pot burned on laying against both his legs. When he recounted the tale to me, he said it went out in about a half hour (way to casually) and I am sure that metal canister cooled down immediately...

Chunks of his legs were burned away. Over that half hour and more. Judas.

It was lucky he even survived. Many skin grafts later, many, he was able to get out of the hospital. For some crazy reason, he turned to religion. Yesterday we talked about a lot of stuff before he finally asked me if I was SAVED. Normally that is enough for me to get up and walk away. But for him, I sat there through his pitch. Especially after he showed me the scars that were 50 years old. I told him he was talking to the wrong guy, but he certainly had my deep, deep respect.

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FRACK IT.

By: joealaska, 3:12 AM GMT on August 01, 2013

Earlier today I watched some of the TRIAL DE JOUR on CNN/Headline News. The opening arguments in the trial regarding the murder of Trey Zwicker. And it all is coming from right here in Louisville on national TV.

It is too complicated to go into detail right here. His stepfather, Josh Gouker, has already been convicted of the murder. Sentenced to life. He admits doing it. He is a real animal. He says he does not understand why there is such a big deal about it. "It's just one murder." He did it because his ex-wife aborted his child. Now he says "We're even."

This trial is for Josh Young, Little Josh, Goukers son. He may have helped in the murder of 14 year old Trey a couple years ago. Little Josh is a young punk too, who follows after his dad. It is thought Little Josh helped one way or another in the murder. Trey was beaten to a pulp and left in a creek near his house and school.

This Big Josh is the lowest of the lowlifes. Stay tuned.

I went golfing today for the first time in 3 weeks. It was 73 and overcast, perfect for golf. Hit a couple decent shots.

Watched the last episode of Deadliest Catch last night. Did I hear that someone off Time Bandit lost a hand screwing around with firework? That would be pretty funny. Right now I have on another good show regarding repossessing airplanes. Airplane Repo? On Discovery also.

I had that PHONE interview today. It is for a position in NW North Dakota. Williston, right in the middle of all the fracking that is going on. I went through there and even stayed the night a couple years ago. There is a golf course, but that will not matter.

The position is Operations Manager for an extended stay "camp" for all the frackers and other new employees coming to the area. There is a shortage of housing, just like Dutch. But this is not really a CAMP. It is very nice, like a Comfort Inn or Best Western. Maybe nicer. And brand new! 240 rooms. Singles and doubles.

25% more money than Dutch and HIGHLINER FOODS. There, I said it. Maybe the best part, it is 3 weeks on and one week OFF. AND, they fly you home and back at their expense. I could live anywhere. Hey, maybe DUTCH!!

It sounds really good, but there could be issues. As part of the job I would run a security team and a housekeeping crew. Never did that, and I do not think it is a big deal myself. But they brought that up. There would be a lot of people under my direction, more than i ever had before.

But they liked my experience in remote areas, as well as the food experience. In this case, the room includes a breakfast and dinner buffet, and a bag lunch.

There are flags already that I will not get this job. But I got past the first interview, and the second is tomorrow. There could be more, depending on if I can explain to them I can handle this position with little direct experience.

Just like I did for my last two jobs…

Updated: 3:13 AM GMT on August 01, 2013

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About joealaska

On June 4th I left Kentucky driving my RV known as Leggs. The trip is mostly unplanned, it will be interesting to see where I end up. Let's GO!