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2:42 am EDT 37°F (3°C) in Bunker Hill, KS
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I've had a couple of hellaciously long days of work in the past few days. Yesterday, I was assigned to pick up a load in the tiny potato-farming hamlet of Center, CO (in south-central Saguache County, in the southern part of the state). Were it not for massive traffic problems around Denver, including a fatal car/truck accident that shut down Interstate 70 for much of the day, I might have had a shot at making the pickup yesterday. As it was, I arrived there late last night and had to wait for this morning to get loaded.
I wake up when my alarm goes off, and what do I see but a damn-near-blizzard outside. The shorts-wearing weather of Tuesday had given way to two inches of snow, 25-mph winds, and about 25°F temperatures. For those of you who are clueless about trucking, let me just tell you that it's a ton of fun to try to slide your trailer tandem axles with snow on the ground. (Those axles are movable to allow for proper weight distribution among all 18 wheels. You pull out the locking pins, ensure that the trailer-axle parking brakes are set, and push/pull the rest of the rig relative to the axles — but it should go without saying, you need traction to keep the trailer tires from moving.)
Even in the snow, the San Luis Valley of southern Colorado makes for some pretty boring scenery; it is sort of a miniature version of the Great Plains at 7,500 feet elevation. It finally starts to get interesting as the valley gives way to the Sangre de Cristo mountain range; however, La Veta Summit (elevation 9,413 ft.) is not a lot of fun in the snow. (In fact, there were several accidents near the summit.) Fortunately, by the time I got down to 6,000 feet (and on Interstate 25), the snow had turned into rain at the lower elevations. The amazing thing is that the sun was out in Pueblo, a mere 70 miles from the crappy weather at La Veta Summit; I went from winter to summer in an hour and a half.
Driving through western Kansas tonight, I tuned in the final presidential debate between John Kerry and George W. Bush on AM radio. A few times, I had to hit the radio's "scan" button to locate a clearer station, but I managed to hear the majority of the debate. My take is this: When Bush didn't have an answer, he went back to old campaign rhetoric usually unrelated to the question at hand — he kept answering questions about affirmative action, the economy, and Social Security with references to education and his so-called "No Child Left Behind Act." (In other words, he doesn't want to help today's out-of-work adults; he wants to make them wait until their kids grow up and can support them.) On the other hand, Kerry answered the questions more topically, more calmly, and more correctly than Bush; based simply on the virtues of the debates, I would have to say that Kerry won all three of them. It is quite obvious that electing Kerry to the White House is going to be critically important to this country's future, as Bush has done nothing but fuck up everything he's touched in his term. I sincerely hope Americans will choose not to flush the future down the toilet — a fate that would be sealed with a Bush victory.
I hear sleep calling my name, so it's about time to bring this to an end.