Friday, June 1, 2007

Clippings from the scrapbook of a trucker's mind

UPDATE:  Norah Jones -- The Day After Red Rocks
It is Saturday morning as I write this.  I didn't want to do a separate blog entry since most of you probably haven't read the one from yesterday yet, so I thought I'd just add this bit to what I wrote.  I'm keeping it at the top so that if you've read the entry and come back, you can read the addition without having to hunt for it.

To hear the music of Norah Jones at Red Rocks was a singular experience that words will fail to reflect, but words are all I have to use, so I will try to use them in spite of the limitations.  

Seeing Norah Jones anywhere would have been a memorable, almost religious, experience.  But seeing her at Red Rocks rivals anything I've ever seen in a live performance of any kind of music.

The show started at 7:30, so we drove out to Red Rocks shortly after 6:00.  Traffic was slow for part of the way there, but I was surprised how easily we got parked.  The only challenge was hiking [huff] [puff] up the side of the mountain to the amphitheater.  I will not elaborate, but let's just say that [huff] [puff] getting up there was not half the fun for me.  But it was worth it.

Red Rocks is a beautiful state park that is breathtaking ([huff] [puff] oh stop it -- that's not how I meant it that time) in its views and beauty.  

Part of the park is the worlds largest outdoor amphitheater.  Some pictures here.

We had seats on row 22 just left of center.  From where we sat, over the mountains on the left we could see the downtown Denver skyline.  Over the mountains to the right was an idyllic natural setting with two small lakes and rolling meadows -- the views were like bookends that encompassed the essence of where Red Rocks sits.

By the time the concert started, the place was packed -- from where we sat, it appeared to be a capacity crowd.  However many people Red Rocks holds -- that's how many were there.  

We sat between two nice couples whom we got to talk to a little bit and that added a dimension to the whole experience.  The couple to my left have been to see Norah twice before when she's been to Red Rocks.  They are expecting their second child in February.  The couple sitting next to Terry were very nice and Terry got to talk to them about cattle and ranching a little bit (which will eventually happen with anyone who talks to Terry -- ha!).  

One of the most enjoyable parts of going to Red Rocks for both of us was the fact that there were thousands of beautiful women there -- an extravagent visual buffet that complemented the natural beauty of Red Rocks.  And it awoke that angst of not having someone special with whom to share such a wonderfully romantic experience.

Most of the time, Terry and I are both content not to have the complications and tribulations of being involved in a relationship.  We've both been married and are at a point in our lives when being free of those cumbrances is worth not having the positive dividends such a relationship involves.

But there are moments -- like last night -- when that lack (and in those moments, it is a lack; no other word is there for it) is felt acutely, and no amount of pre-show haircuts can erase it.  Seeing Norah Jones under the stars at Red Rock should be done sitting next to a beautiful woman -- not a trucker from Texas.  

So we did the best we could -- nudged each other until both our rib cages were as sore as our moms made them when we were little kids in church misbehaving pointing out people we would rather have been with than each other and making all the kinds of comments that attend such an activity.  

It was some consolation, but spinach is a poor substitute for ice cream.  I still left with Terry.

Norah's opening act was a young guy named M. Ward (I have never heard what the "M" stands for; these days it might not stand for anything) who was a decent guitar player and had a nice voice.  The best part of his opening act was the fact that Norah came out and did vocals with him on some of the songs.  

Then Norah came out with her band, The Handsome Band, and the mountains at Red Rocks echoed with one of the most beautiful, soulful voices I've ever heard in my life, playing and singing as only Norah can.  And as night fell over Red Rocks, stars slowly came out to shine.  One of the highlights for me was seeing the moon slowly rise and come out from hiding behind some clouds to shine down in full brilliance -- talk about romantic!  

Hearing Norah play surrounded by mountains on all sides under the stars and the fullness of the moon was mesmerizing.  She played songs from all three of her CD's and her interaction and ease with the audience was remarkable in a performer who is still quite young.  Her voice and the music just drew me into the songs as I have never experienced just listening to them in my car or the truck or (as now) on my computer.  There is something about a live performance that captures an energy and adds a dimension impossible to translate from a CD (or record or tape or whatever).

Norah was in top form last night, and the cost and effort involved in getting to see her at Red Rocks was worth everything -- even going to see her with another trucker.

Below is the original entry from yesterday if you haven't read it yet.


Hello from Denver.
  After a pretty long silence from us, I am writing from a hotel room in Denver, Colorado.  Quite a while back, we made plans to go to see Norah Jones at Red Rocks and also to just take some additional time to see things around Denver.  We got to Denver yesterday afternoon after a couple of weeks of hard running and lots of miles.  It's nice to have some downtime outside of the truck.

Running the way we like it.  I have written in this blog before about the fact that after our visit to Virginia Beach at the end of April, our miles and runs have not been as great or long.  However, since Terry wrote his entry when we were passing through Georgia and I got to see my family, we have been running just about as hard as we have been able.  And we both like it that way.

The last week just before coming here, we ran almost 7000 miles.  And none of it was in the northeast!  A good part of it has been out west.

One driver we talked to in Memphis one time joked about telling Schneider that he lost his passport to get east of the Mississippi River and wasn't going to renew it.  If there was a way to run west of the Mississippi all the time, I think Terry and I both would do it.  

The last run we had before shutting down here in Denver is a perfect example.  We picked up a load in Conway, Arkansas, last Tuesday afternoon that was going to Ogden, Utah.  On the way, we were able to pass through northwestern Arkansas and Terry got to see his daughter and her family -- especially his grandson Deegan.  :-)  

We went up into Kansas and took I-70 through Colorado to Denver and then took I-25 up to Cheyenne and hit I-80 through Wyoming and Utah to I-84 and then to Ogden.  Then we turned around with a load from Ogden to Denver and got in yesterday afternoon.  

The drive from Denver up through Wyoming and Utah is one of the most beautiful in the country as far as I'm concerned.  The wide open places, curtained in on every side by mountains -- many still capped with snow -- is just breathtaking.  

I don't know what the temperature is where you are as you read this, but in the past five days, we have been in temps mostly ranging from the 40's to the 60's -- if you are hot-natured like I am, it was like being in paradise.  Somewhere (I forget where), it was about 31 and we drove for a while through snow.  It wasn't a lot and it didn't stick, so it didn't affect the roads, but it was just a drastic change from the weather we were in just two days before down in Florida, near Miami.

I went to sleep in jean shorts and short sleeves, and when I woke up and got out of the truck, I was wishing for my jacket.  

Seeing people we love on the road.   One of the nice things about being on the road is being able to see people we know all over the country if the time and route allow it.

Several weeks ago, we had a load to pick up in Paris, Texas, and were able to see one of our good friends we've both known for over 20 years, Billy Day.  Hey Billy!  Hopefully we'll see you again soon.  And Corey too.

We had a layover one weekend in Dallas so Terry could have some dental work done (more on that later in the entry), and he was able to have a nice visit with his mom as she passed through. (Terry says hi mom!)

Two weeks ago, we got to pass through my hometown of Rome, Georgia, and I got to see some folks in my family.  Not everyone I wanted to see, especially some friends -- there just wasn't much time -- but I got to see everyone in my immediate family.  (If any of you ever read this, I really enjoyed seeing y'all and love and miss you all!  I'm looking forward to seeing you again, even if it means I have to come back across the Mississippi to do it.)

The trip through Rome was actually the result of a mistake.  We had asked to be passed through Dallas so Terry could visit his dentist (more on that later, as I said), but instead of routing us through Dallas, we were routed through Atlanta instead.  Some mistakes are good.  And we got sent through Dallas right after that.  

Last week, we got to see an old college buddy of ours, Van Freeman, twice when we had a couple of loads going into and out of Florida.  (Hey Van!  We sure enjoyed seeing you, buddy.  And for a rental car this weekend, we got a Ford Focus -- so of course we thought of you!)

My daddy is working up in South Bend, Indiana, for the next couple of months, and I am sure I'll be able to see him before too long.

I'm writing about all this to illustrate that one of the best things about driving all over the country is these little treasures of time to see people whom we might not otherwise get to see for a long time.  The visits are always too short, and we never get to see everyone we care about.  It's one of the compensations for the fact that we are on the road for such long periods of time and don't have the obligations to be home every week or even every month.

Life on the road can be hard, as enjoyable as it is much of the time, so getting to see people we know all over the place makes that life a little softer -- and a lot nicer.

So, if we know you, don't be surprised to get a phone call from us one day to tell you we're passing by where you are and would like to see you.

When your dentists are Moe, Larry and Curly.  Terry needed to have some dental work done.  We both needed to have done eventually.  But then, Terry got a toothache, and eventually became immediately.  We had asked to be routed through Dallas so that we could both see a doctor to get some medications refilled (and, no, neither of us is taking nerve pills -- yet) and Terry decided to see a dentist on the same trip through.

He looked at a list of dentists on our insurance plan and picked one that was close to the Schneider OC in Dallas.  The sign on the front didn't say anything like "Howard, Fine & Howard", but it probably should have.  

You can even buy a picture of them in action here.

It's not a good feeling when dental work you had done in Dallas becomes unworked in the middle of Kansas.  

So what Terry thought was going to be two or three visits has turned out to be four or five.  

It's funnier watching them on TV.

Terry has a birthday.  Last Monday was Terry's birthday.  Feel free to post birthday wishes as comments to this post.  He will see them.  Birthdays on the road tend to be low-key, but he did get a couple of cards and several phone calls.   And it worked out that we were passing by Live Oak, Florida, that evening and we had a short birthday celebration with our friend Van.  Chocolate pie at the Waffle House for your birthday . . . what more could a guy want?

Maybe a real dentist?

If you're ever in Denver and need a haircut.  One of the things we wanted to do today before the concert tonight was to get a haircut.  We wouldn't want to go to a concert looking like truck drivers.  

So earlier this morning, I did a search on Yahoo for barber shops near the hotel we're staying in.  I came across one which had a very positive review called Hube's Barber Shop.  Once we found the place (the address on Yahoo was actually in a residential neighborhood), we discovered a wonderful group of people who did a great job on both of our haircuts.

The owner of the place is a lady named Ginny -- it should be called "Ginny's" now, she said, since her husband, "Hube", passed away.  They've been there for 35 years.

Miss Ginny was amazed that we found the place on the internet ("You mean we're on the internet?") and we told her about the positive comments.  And I promised to leave one.  And now I've mentioned them in our blog.  

Of course, I don't know that the handful of folks who read this blog (that we know about) will ever be in Denver and need a haircut or not, but if you are here, stop by anyway to say hello.  They're at 3100 S. Sheridan (take Dartmouth west from Sheridan past the car wash on the right and they are tucked in the back of that shopping center).  Tell'em two truck drivers sent ya.

And, now, since it's just a little while before we leave for the concert, I'd better close the scrapbook for now.

Until next time . . . keep the wheels rollin' . . .

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Terry and Allan,

I don't know how else to reach you by e-mail other than this, so I am posting a comment that has absolutely nothing to do with your blog. I just wanted to say hi and tell you I miss you Terry. I hope all is going well. I also wanted to let you know I love it here in TX. I am so glad that I moved! Love you bunches, Sarah You to Allan