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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.


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.

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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22. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
4:46 AM GMT on September 05, 2013
joealaska has created a new entry.
21. Ylee
11:07 PM GMT on September 04, 2013
I'm sorry, I don't have UK's encyclopedic knowledge of Things Joe, lol! I saw the utube of the $1 million shot, and it does look like the same hole the cam shows!(Which doesn't look very good at the moment!)

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
20. joealaska
9:59 PM GMT on September 04, 2013
Ylee, you let me down. I have posted pics and blogged about Paako Many times.

It is a beautiful course. Best in Mew Mexico. CASA lives in that development, just not ON the course, so I go there at least once a year. Slept there two nights ago.

A guy just hit a hole in one there for 1 million bucks. Google "million dollar hole in one Paako New Mexico." That web cam view looks like the hole. Normally a par 4, but not that day.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
19. dotmom
8:31 PM GMT on September 04, 2013
Ylee: Oh yes he has been to Paako Ridge - even old Dotmom has played there! :)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
18. Ylee
7:18 PM GMT on September 04, 2013
Joe, have you ever been to Paa-ko Ridge golf course? Here's a webcam of it!

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
17. yellafella
1:24 PM GMT on September 04, 2013
i will let the dutchwoman know and the Fluffster. They will be excited. I am heading over there before classes today.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
16. joealaska
12:11 PM GMT on September 04, 2013
ELKHART, KANSAS last night. Heading east.

Hoping to post some pics later today.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
15. DHaupt
8:21 AM GMT on September 04, 2013
I'm happy to report that Livermore was truck by a rain drop yesterday afternoon. We officially got 0.01" at KLVK. My own humble rain gauge registered it as well. So why did it only make a few mud balls on my truck top? It must have been struck by a single oversized drop.

I am reminded of an old joke about a Texas cotton farmer who was struck by a drop of rain while out in his field. He fainted and it took six buckets of dirt to revive him.

I'm happy to hear the Sandman is rallying. Keep tempting him. I'm not sure how far out in the boondocks you live, but sounds like rabies and other vaccinations are definitely in order.

One of our neighbors from Mexico is going through his green card processing. He had to get all sorts of vaccinations, TB test and you name it! He came home after putting in a 10 hour day with his landscaping employer dotted all over with little round stickem-ons. Both arms and shoulders hurt. But, what hurt worse was that it cost him $610 for the pleasure. He's a really nice guy and gives us a lot of help with our yard just so he can practice his English. He'll do well.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
14. iaotter
1:10 AM GMT on September 04, 2013
Rotty, hope the kittie continues to get better. It's hard to have one of the fur-kids sick.

Joe, have fun golfing and driving! Post some pics when you get a chance. It's fun to see where you've been and golf courses are fascinating. For something that is basically 18 holes in the ground they sure do have a lot of variety. No wonder you enjoy the game. Something new every time. I would think that even with the same course it would be different depending on the weather and wind and season. No end to the challenges.

I watered the little trees in the yard this evening. 10 5 gallon buckets worth for 5 trees. No rain to amount to anything for weeks. We had a teaser on Saturday night that only yielded 1/10 inch. Didn't even green up the yards. It did cool things down some. Days are still in the 80s and 90s, but the evenings are almost cold. Down to 55 last night and it is a lovely 73 now and headed to 57 before morning.

Great sleeping weather. It finally got cool enough that dog will come curl up on the bed with me again. She was flopping out in front of the screen door to the deck. For a while I was leaving the door open a dog-wide crack and letting her sleep outside. She loved that. I figured with her out there I wouldn't get any critters in the house.

So far so good. No Hoppy foxes to invite themselves in. Mostly just rabbits and squirrels around here and if dog caught one of them over night she would bring it to me to cook for breakfast. She won't eat raw meat of any kind.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
13. Rotty3
9:00 PM GMT on September 03, 2013
Kitty update: he ate some yesterday. Finally caught the barn-raiding coon overnight, too. Hopefully, Sandman will eat more now that the raider / intruder is no longer a threat.

Thank you everyone for the positive thoughts, energies and prayers.

Hoping he will continue to improve... if not, will have to take him to the vet (of course, the ideal week with holiday on Monday and my boss out of town all week. Sigh!).

Joe, hope you're having some great fun playing golf (with Casa?)

(I'm smiling as I type since my work computer just flipped to a background of Dutch Harbor. Yes, I saved a bunch of them for a rotating background / screensaver display. It's my way of taking vacations when I can't go places. Glad I have a good collection - oh, a young Hoppy made an appearance earlier in the day :D Still thinking of him. He was definitely a one-of-a-kind).
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
12. Arbie
1:01 PM GMT on September 03, 2013
I hope your kitty is doing better Rotty. Small animal veto have always seemed ridiculously expensive to me.

I miss your pics Joe. Looking forward to the next set.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
11. dotmom
7:42 PM GMT on September 02, 2013
Rotty, I know that is a worry when you have an animal "off his/her food." Hope you get it resolved soon - for the better.

The Dutch and Fluff are doing their best here in KY. I know they miss their master, but he will be back before you know it, so we are keeping them happy. FranKy just left a bit ago to go spend some time with them. They are getting friendlier to her. I think they will definitely be in till the Joe returns. We don't want to have to face Osdianna!!!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
10. Rotty3
1:52 PM GMT on September 02, 2013
Thank you for the good wishes for Sandman. He hasn't touched the dry food overnight.

osdianna: I will grind up some cooked chicken later and feed it "a la Haupty." We'll see if he touches that.
I wished I could say he is stuffed on rodents, but he's not. He's rather thin. May end up having to give some aub-Q fluids.

Something has been raiding my hay barn two nights in a row. I suspect a coon. Doubt that it is the reason for him not eating. But I will re-check the teeth / gums. They DID look pink and "normal" for a kitty. Capillary refill rate also was WNL (within normal limits), so he has me stumped.

Haupty: yes, vets, sadly have moved from the rather well going large animal practice to an 8-5 schedule with barely a weekend or night duty. And b/c they are outsourcing their night / weekend emergency calls, they have to make more money to keep the emergency place folks happy (though they charge an arm and a leg just for a person walking into the door, sigh).

I think it's a general sign of the times that we no longer can afford living on what we had, but need more, more and more. More stuff, mo' money and more everything else.

Can't hold back the tide, but it's a sad state of affairs when 20% of the US population are at or below the poverty line and kids have to go hungry like they do in Third World countries.

Well, back to happier thoughts... Sun is shining, time to get some much needed outside work done :) A Happy and Safe Labor Day to everyone in the US!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
9. joealaska
12:57 PM GMT on September 02, 2013
Spent the night in Vega, Texas. Another Route 66 town. I drove well under 200 miles, almost a day off.

It was overcast when I woke up in Shamrock, so I was thinking golf right away. The GPS led me to a course in McLean Texas. When I pulled up, it was right in front of me but I had to stare to see it. The only reason I saw it was a flag sticking up.

Pastures mowed a bit and sand / dirt greens. I saw a couple holes, but was not sure if it was even still open. Will post pics soon.

Then I saw a sign to PAMPA, where I played golf 15 years ago, or more. So I went there and played. It was actually feeling cool with a breeze.

Albuquerque later today.

Good luck with that cat Rotty.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
8. DHaupt
9:08 AM GMT on September 02, 2013
Rotty, check Sandman's mouth and teeth. We recently had a case in our neighborhood of an older cat that was getting very thin, seemed to want to eat and would try, but then, suddenly, jump back from the dish and refuse to approach it again.

It turned out that his teeth and gums were so painful and infected that he simply couldn't chew even pat. He was not our cat, but a neighborhood bum that we had fed for years. I approached his owner about the problem and she said that the vet wanted $1900 to fix his teeth! I kept him alive for another 3 months by mixing a can of Friskies with a can of water and processing it in my VitaMix until it was soup. He could drink it that way. When I first undertook this chore, he was a bottomless pit. I think I fed him 2 batches at that first setting. He actually rallied for several weeks.

His owner was supposed to be giving him an antibiotic, but she was basically a "lazy cow", as UK might call her. She let the prescription lapse. I couldn't afford to pay the probable $200 that it would cost to have him put down, so I contacted our city animal control. It was a sad thing to do, but Shadow's suffering was over.

I learned one worrisome thing out of the experience. At least in Livermore, you have to be careful about feeding or providing care to a "neighborhood" cat. Dogs are considered to have owners; cats do not have owners! The animal control lady said that the neighbors could simply say that it wasn't their cat, that it was my cat because I was the one feeding it!

I don't know what the situation is in other parts of the country, but vet bills here in the Bay Area have gotten crazy. That $1900 for cat dental work is quite believable! We're retired and have four cats that we claim (not own). The idea of taking them to the vet has become plain scary. We also have picked up on the shabby marketing ploys that vets are using to shame folks into spending money that they don't really have for preposterous procedures. One friend laid out $3200 for surgery on his 8 year-old golden retriever.

I remember that when I was a kid, our old cocker spaniel had to go to the vet a few times and a few years later our dachshund. And we had a few cats too. Those small town vets had robust large animal practices that paid their bills and supported their life style; they did pets as a side line. I can't remember dad ever paying more than $50 on a vet bill and euthanasia was free.

Dianna's advice is solid. Best of luck to you and Sandman.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
7. osdianna
2:13 AM GMT on September 02, 2013
Best wishes for Mr. Sandman...got chicken? I always offer "ailing" kitties some cooked chicken; if they don't eat that, leave them alone for 24 hrs and then it's a trip o the vet. They dehydrate really fast, so watch the fluid intake.

Lets just hope he is full of rodents.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
6. Rotty3
1:13 AM GMT on September 02, 2013
Thanks for the update and glad to hear that Fluff and Dutchie are doing well.

From all the kitty folks, I could use a few vibes for Mr. Sandman, a lil' pastel peach feline boy who has been living here as a rodent patrol on duty since January. He seems to not wanting to eat. Of course, it's a holiday weekend. For tonight, he's in the 48" dog crate in the hay barn. His special condo is complete with a nice big litter box, some warm fluffy blankets and fresh food and water.
Keep fingers crossed he will eat. Seems, he's been losing weight and this morning, he looked at the food, then walked away. I am kinda worried, esp. b/c he is a sweetie and no more than about 2 yo.

Joe, enjoy the trip. I know you will enjoy hitting a bunch o' balls out West ;)

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
5. osdianna
4:40 PM GMT on September 01, 2013
Thanks for the cat update Dotmom and Yellafella. They will make it...famous words, "Cats adjust." Doesn't mean they have to like it. Fluff just bides her time until things are back to normal...she is patient, and now understands how this works...he will return. Dutchie is younger and less patient, and she really would rather be free to roam...when it's drier. The anxiety connected with letting her go outside isn't worth it...hoping of course she doesn't begin to yowl when left inside. I remember that sound!

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4. yellafella
1:21 PM GMT on September 01, 2013
The cats are alive. I fed them. Fluff wants nothing to do with me but the Dutchwoman was in need of some petting. I sat over at your house for a good hour or more to keep them company. They won't admit it but I think they are missing you.
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3. insideuk
11:07 AM GMT on September 01, 2013
I have been on Google maps and dropped my little street view man onto various sections of the I-40, all along the next section of the route, to get a feel for the area.

As is my wont.

It is surprising how many lives that little Google orangey man shape has. Sometimes spinning him around to get the full 360 view is utterly terrifying, since he has an alarming habit of landing just a few feet in front of an approaching 18 wheeler on the interstate. If Google Street view came with sound it would be deafening.

So. I-40. Big Sky. A few cows. The odd local steak house advertising billboard in a field full of cows…

Which is a bit thoughtless if you ask me.

Your steering wheel is largely redundant from what I can see. Save for veering off into the rest areas or overtaking the cardboard cut out highway patrol cars – it’s pretty much straight liney from now on?

I’m imagining you just snap the cruise control into operation, climb into the passenger seat, put your feet up and enjoy the ride…whilst waving your pom poms out the side windows? Over here the football fans wave their team scarves out the window, possibly a tattooed arse every now and then.

Saturday is THE big football day and, as you can imagine with dozens of teams playing away matches at grounds located not too far from each other (in US distance terms anyway), the various supporters have a tendency to cross paths at certain crunch points.

Like motorway service areas. Rest areas as you know them. Toilet stops. Alarmingly, these days, with sales of alcohol permitted…

They are seriously scary places on a Saturday during ‘the season’. If you have your wits about you then you check the fixtures list prior to travel and adjust your bladder emptying requirements accordingly. Whilst the rivalry between teams comes with largely good natured (often hilarious) banter between supporters there is always this undercurrent, an uneasy sense of impending trubba. There remains a subsection of heavy booted Neanderthal idiots looking for a fight. For fun.

If you pull into the car park and spot a transit van full of waiting police in riot gear then you know it’s better to keep moving.

Ditto with railway stations, bus stations, airports and any area within walking distance of a football stadium. My nephew was prevented, by the riot police waiting on the Derby station platform, from getting off a train in his OWN HOME town recently because he had travelled from Birmingham, in a carriage full of supporters for the team from the town which is the next stop up the line, Nottingham. Such was the likelihood of trubba the poor lad was ordered back onto the train and ordered to get off in Nottingham, 15 miles from his home. Without a valid ticket to get that far, nor the money to get him back home again.

Fortunately a more experienced senior officer saw the look of bewildered panic on this kids face and took him to one side to show his student card as proof of address.

The system is effectively like herding cattle or shepherding sheep – keep them contained and controlled until they reach their final destination.

Though without the additional threat of becoming BBQ restaurant fodder.

There is talk here that the powers that be in the European Union are considering new laws that will insist all new vehicles are fitted with speed limiters. These electronic devices will ‘read’ the passing road speed signs and automatically slow the vehicle to keep it at the speed limit. They think it might save lives.

Not when you are accelerating to overtake a slow vehicle with something coming straight at you in the opposite direction it won’t…

Not even if you are orangey and work for Google Street View.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
2. dotmom
10:15 AM GMT on September 01, 2013
I know he will be surprised - but they are still alive. Couldn't prove that the first night as Dutchie was hiding - someplace and even though Joe's place is sparsely "decorated" we never saw her. Yellafella (FranKY) went last night and spent an hour petting Dutchie and Fluff was content to stay in her "bedroom." I don't think she was pouting, but just prefers the quiet. You know Osdianna how that is with her. We had storms and heavy rain here last night, so it was not a good night for the cat(s) to go exploring. Not sure if Dutchie will get out this week. It's a risk and a commitment. If the Dutch went out, who knows when she would come back. I would be worried. She'll have to wait for Joe's return. She'll make it.
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1. osdianna
1:33 AM GMT on September 01, 2013

"Wondering if my cats are still alive."

They better be or youse and me are havin' a talk, capiche? Or would that be Yellafella? If it is the latter, I feel for her trying to convince Dutchie she has to stay inside for the duration...or whatever the arrangement is.

Warm all over, even out here; it actually hit 75 today!

Enjoy the wide open spaces, and the ride.
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About joealaska

I have just taken a new job in Great Falls, Montana. A new state and new areas to explore.

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