Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday 11/15/2010 Trip To Sells, Arizona

A very interesting drive on a road that I don't ever remember travelling before today.
The cruise down I-10 to I-8 to Trekell road - same thing I've done too many times in  the past.  I know this drive well.
But, after that, I hadn't seen any of it before.
Heading south, passing 2 separate locations with Sheriffs pulling over vehicles, the road ended on the "American" side and started on the "Native American" side.  Indian 15.  That's what the 2 lane, 55 mph highway is called. It is a sign with an icon of a Tomahawk.  15 in the center of the tomahawk and Indian on top of it.

It was an amazing drive.  On several fronts.  First, I had never been on the road before, or if I had, possibly on one of the endless road trips my parents used to take, I certainly didn't remember it.  Second, the vastness of the desert.  You could see - if mountains weren't in the way - for miles and miles, just endless desert.  Third, the crosses.  This road had very little traffic on it. I am seriously saying that I saw more Border Patrol vehicles on that road than ALL other vehicles combined.  I did not encounter another tractor-trailer rig on that road either, which was quite amazing to me.

Let's visit the crosses.  This is what they do nowadays: someone dies, they put up a cross.  I came across one cross - very well kept.  Fresh paint, fresh flowers.  I came across another, another.  Then I came to one where about 12 of them were grouped together.  That was amazing.  Did that many people die in one accident, out here, in the middle of nowhere?  And if so, what happened?  I came across several crosses that had elaborate structures built over them.  NONE of them were unkempt.  The individuals that put each, respective cross or set of crosses out there were taking care of the "upkeep" of them.

The highway itself was - yes - out in the middle of nothing.  There would be a house here, a grouping of houses there, there was no rhyme or reason to it.  Why did someone choose to put a house THERE?, I asked myself several times over.  I attempted to recreate thought processes that would go into a person's mind in determining why, exactly, a person would set a house plump out 20 miles from the nearest village.  I had no answers to the question and the wildest of thoughts didn't come up with anything concrete, etiher.  But, it was fun to muse.

I also came across a rock quarry.  It was about 200 feet off to the side of the highway.  I was scrutinizing this quarry from the point that I could clearly see it until I passed it.  Machinery there, yes, but no machinery to move it from the ground to a truck.  That's how quarry's work, they have all kinds of huge equipment to process it, but to get it from the ground, where the machinery eventually dumps it via conveyor belt, to the bottom of a dump truck or a belly-dump trailer, a (front-end) Loader scoops it up and dumps it in there.  No loader out there. Not any equipment with a bucket there.  Yet, I wondered, in this almost primordial type of setup I had been seeing for a while now, was it that they just hauled a loader in there when they needed it?  I couldn't answer that question, either, there was no-one out there.

Yet, another 10 miles down the road, I saw a loader on top of a huge pile of sand.  This was also out in the middle of nowhere, literally.  When I got past it, I was travelling over a small bridge that gapped a wash.  There, up in the wash, was a HUGE hold where that loader had been digging out the sand and making a pile on the side, out of the wash.  Question answered there, at least for me.

On I went.  I couldn't help the feelings I used to have when I: was doing OTR trucking.  I used to go off the Interstates as much as possible and take the 2-lane highways because of the tremendous views that America has to offer - all over.  I started remembering winding, 2 lane highways going through rolling hills and seeing farms, pigs, cows, giant red barns.  Fall leaves on trees - those memories stand out predominately.  Next to streams or rivers.  I was flooded with memories of the past in trucking and when I used to love OTR - just because I was seeing America and saw more of it than most people will ever see.  I haven't just BEEN in 48 states, I have seen a LOT of many of those states, and not just from the Interstates.

I remember hating Interstate Highways. After driving and driving, it all eventually looked the same to me.  The only thing that made my heart leap was the highways that I could take.

On with today's trip.  A coyote leisurely trots across the highway.  When I get up to where he trotted, I couldn't see him even though there wasn't much brush there.  His colorings blended in perfectly with the desert floor.  I eventually came to a "town".  The road actually didn't go through it, you could see it off to the left.  I passed dozens and dozens of small, dirt roads that led seemingly to nowhere.  My mind wandered to what it would be like to turn down one of those roads and explore.

This road was something I won't forget anytime soon.  I couldn't believe the lack of traffic.  After being on that road some 40 miles, I came upon a Border Patrol checkpoint.  They have them all over southern Arizona.  You are involuntarily stopped and asked if you are an American citizen.  I have very strong views about that subject, but today was not a day I wanted to go into that.  I slowed down - to about 15 mph.  Cruised through it.  Agents were sitting under a canopy on lawn chairs.  Didn't try to stop me and I didn't bother to ask.

The road eventually ended.  At highway 86.  I got on that highway.  Much narrower than Indian 15, yet it had a speed limit of 65 mph.  I was on that road for a 1/4 mile before passing an "outpost" they like to call them, just a convenience store, albeit out in the middle of, literally, nowhere.  There was a line of trucks I caught up with, I was cruising.  Let's get there and get this truck unloaded  - this highway was nothing like Indian 15.  The trucks were speeding up, slowing down, I hate that kind of driving.  Pick a speed and keep it.

I eventually got to Sells, AZ.  I was informed to turn onto the road just before a Shell station.  That road led to a building that houses - federal police, apparently.  It's border agents.  Not going to go into too much of the unload process, but the septic tank I was delivering was dropped.  It flung upside down and a barbed-wire fence post plunged right through one of the screw-on lids on it.  The foreman got mad, started cussing and blaming the water inside the tank.  There was some water in it, but not hundreds of gallons as this guy attempted to ascribe.

It took a while to get out of there, he was scrutinizing the blue prints and wondering why this that and the other thing hadn't been sent.  I looked at the blue prints and agreed - the salesman should have sent several Tee's, more Wye's and some other fittings.

I finally was able to leave, but not before watching a Border Patrol helipcopter land next to the building.  Also not before seeing individuals with t-shirts on that said federal police get out of an SUV, shotguns in hand and head into the building.  Don't know, exactly, WHAT they do in that building, but - this entire area was obviously a hot-spot for illegal alien crossing.

Back on the road.  Pass a propane truck - he's going 55 mph on a 65 mph road.  I sped up much more than I realized, I was cruising, enjoying the day.  I come around the corner and there is a police SUV parked on the other side of the road, facing me.  I look down at my speedometer:  74 mph in a 65 mph zone.  Uh-ohhh.  I slowed down, of course, but I was already caught.

I pass and see the turn signal of the SUV come on, I'm busted, I thought, darn.  No, she got on the highway and headed the other direction.  I didn't fool anyone, she let me go.  She could have pulled me over and issued me a citation and there would be nothing to say about it.  Thanking God that the day hadn't been ruined  by my stupidity - I moved on and got beyond that.  I stopped at the convenience store in the middle of nowhere.  I got a sandwich - with no condiments as I didn't want any - and a bottle of cranberry juice.  Hit the spot.  Got back on the road, hit Indian 15 and cruised back.  I had different views going the opposite direction than I had going through the first time.

I was also stopped at the Border Patrol checkpoint. "Hello,sir, how's it going today", the agent said.  "Great, thank you, how're you doing?" "Good", he replied, "Have a nice day". "You do the same", I said in genuine honesty and glad that I, an American, wasn't asked on American soil IF I am an American.  I drove the rest of the way - followed the entire way by a beat-up, grey, Dodge Ram pickup with the same intrigue I had coming through that area.  I had no clue why the pickup wasn't passing me, there was ample opportunity.  I passed a couple of cars along the way, he passed them as well, but didn't pass me. No idea what that was about.

Got back on Interstate 8, then to Interstate 10.  Came to a rest area and decided that I would take my break there.  I got a 15 minute nap in when an RV pulled up right next to my truck.  I wish he would have opted for the NUMEROUS other parking spots that were empty - my nap was done and over with, but it did feel good.   I was going to take the entire 30-minute break napping. no biggies.  It was a great drive, I wish I could get more of them.

There's more to this day - it's benb's world, lol - but, who cares.  There are no great negatives today.  One tenant paid up, cash, and is current. That was nice as well.  Very nice, really.  Umm, and I'm going to go to bed early, again. Why?  Cause' I tend to get a good night's sleep that way, even if I wake up in the middle of the night, which usually happens.  Weather's beautiful.  I'm feeling at peace right now and I have no cosmic explanations of why.

G'nite.

ben

And so, here I am on the cusp of a Monday morning and whatever adventure lays ahead of me.  Whatever happens, it appears likely going to be ...