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Saturday, April 25, 2015

My First Road Trip
I was thinking about my dad’s youngest sibling, Uncle Jim last night. I haven’t seen him in more than 20 years. He lives on Marathon Island in the Florida Keys and doesn't like to leave his paradise, or his sailboat.

I’m sure he was partly responsible for a couple of ways my life turned out.

My fascination with Corvettes started during my pre-teen years, thanks to Uncle Jim.  My dad’s brother enlisted and became a US Marine back in the mid to late 1950’s.  Four years later, when he got out of the service, he came home and with a bit of the cash he had saved up, bought a 1959 or 60 jet black Corvette convertible with a red interior.
Uncle Jim - Home for Christmas
To get up close and touch that car as a youngster was awesome and fueled my lifelong desire to drive a Corvette. I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to own two of them.

Uncle Jim also took me on my first road trip sometime in the early 1960’s when I was 9 or 10 years of age. After being trained in some type of electronics or radio while he was in the Marine Corps, he obtained a good job in Milwaukee (I think it was General Electric) working in the same field. He had a hand in building some type of computer or electronic equipment that was enclosed in a very large metal cabinet. I was too young to understand what it was all about, but they needed to get it delivered to a university in southern Michigan near Detroit (could have been Lansing or Ann Arbor). It was deemed too valuable and risky to put it on a carrier, so they asked my uncle if he would transport it in a van and make the delivery in person.

Uncle Jim accepted the assignment and asked me if I wanted to go along with him to keep him company on the overnight trip from Milwaukee. I was surprised that he asked me and said “sure”. Jim had two sons of his own, but they were much younger than I was, he must have figured that I would have gotten a greater appreciation of the experience. On the bright summer day we were to leave he drove up in front of the house with a big white panel van with this huge cabinet full of electronics taking up the entire cargo area. We were living on 19th and Chambers at the time. He came into the the house and announced that there was only one seat for the driver and we would have to figure something out. He eyed a step stool that we had in the pantry and took it out to the van, that was my chair for the next two days!

Well, it wasn't very comfortable but I had a fascinating trip with him. I remember going through Chicago for the first time, such a huge city with so many cars and trucks. I wondered how he could drive through it and not get lost. We drove around Lake Michigan and east on I-94 towards Detroit.

As we got into the early evening Uncle Jim decided to call it a day and we pulled into a Holiday Inn (or a Howard Johnson's) to check in and get a room. I had never stayed in a motel before in my life. After getting our room, it was time to get some dinner, so he took me to the restaurant at the hotel which seemed to be really fancy and high class to me. My family almost never ate in restaurants. Money was tight in our household and the occasional splurge for us was bringing home George Webb hamburgers (7 for a buck, with Green Sheet coupon!) or mom making a Chef Boyardee pizza. There were only a couple McDonald's drive-ins in Milwaukee back then and I don’t think we had even tried them yet.

My eyeballs must have been huge as a waiter handed me this huge menu to look at. I asked my uncle what to do and he said I could have anything I wanted on the menu! His expenses were being covered by his company and he didn't care what I had. I was stunned and don’t remember what I ended up having, but I’m sure it was good.

The next morning we got up and continued on. As we drove through Battle Creek, I remember him telling me that was the home of Kellogg's, where they made all the breakfast cereal. We continued on and arrived a while later at the university where my uncle went in with the paperwork. He backed up to a garage door and 3 or 4 big burly guys came out and carried the cabinet inside. Then we turned around and headed home.

I’m sure the fond memories of that road trip with Uncle Jim helped me to consider driving as a career in my later years. It’s funny how childhood experiences can influence the direction you take in life. Truck driving is not an easy life, I was fortunate to have worked for two good companies nearly all of my trucking career, made decent money and was able to somewhat indulge my passion for cars, owning a few great ones.

It’s been a great ride, thanks Uncle Jim!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Lawsuits blame FedEx, Bridgestone for I-80 death in east Cheyenne
Article thanks to Sarah Zoellick and Links provided:

CHEYENNE - April 19, 2015
A New York woman appointed as the wrongful death representative for Cheyenne resident James Ednie filed a lawsuit in federal court here earlier this month.

The lawsuit, filed by Ednie's sister, says FedEx Ground Package Systems, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations and its various subsidiaries, and a company called CLR Transportation acted negligently to cause or substantially contribute to Ednie's death.

Ednie died in November in a nearly head-on collision on Interstate 80 in Cheyenne. A westbound FedEx tractor-trailer went careening through the median into eastbound traffic, striking the minivan he was driving.

Ednie's significant other, Tanya Gooden, also died in the collision.

Her adult son, Cameron Gooden, who was riding in his wheelchair in the back of their minivan, was flown to a Denver-area medical facility where he died from his injuries the next morning.

Tanya Gooden's daughter, Alodie Gooden, filed a lawsuit on behalf of her and her son late last month, also against FedEx, Bridgestone and Utah-based CLR Trucking. An amended version filed Friday no longer names CLR Trucking as a defendant.

Both lawsuits filed in the U.S. District Court of Wyoming say the front driver's side tire of the FedEx tractor failed, causing the tractor and its two trailers to strike Ednie's van near mile marker 363 on I-80.

Two months before the fatal collision, the passenger side tire on that tractor also failed, the lawsuits say.

That tire was purchased at the same time and thus likely from the same lot as the faulty driver's side tire, the complaints continue.

"Bridgestone's tire was in a defective, dangerous condition at the time of its sale," the documents say.

The Gooden lawsuit adds: "FedEx's choice not to replace both steer tires ... was reckless, willful and wanton, and demonstrated indifference to the safety of the motoring public."

The Ednie lawsuit includes that language as well but also names CLR Trucking.

Both wrongful death representatives are seeking damages "substantially in excess of $75,000," to be determined at trial.

"Our thoughts and condolences go out to those affected by the tragic accident last November in Cheyenne," FedEx Ground spokesman David Westrick said in an email earlier this month in response to the Gooden complaint.

Bridgestone said in an email statement at that time that the company takes product safety seriously.

Ednie, a New York native, was well known to many in Cheyenne as a statewide advocate for suicide prevention. He also was known to be a devoted, full-time caretaker for Cameron Gooden.

Ednie founded two organizations - Rock for Life and Rock for Kids - that reportedly sprang from his own experiences dealing with depression and thoughts of suicide.

Ednie's friends said after his death that he was passionate about using music to deliver his message of hope.
Published on: Sunday, Apr 19, 2015 - 11:27:08 pm MDT

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I-80 Wyoming massive car pile up. April 2015

This is hard to watch......! Got to recognize road conditions, and act accordingly. One person was killed and numerous others hospitalized. I-8o shut down again in Wyoming. Last week was even worse.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Pesky RV Critters - What can be done about 'em
Article thanks to Links provided:

It’s that time of year again, when your RV is sitting in storage and those pesky RV critters decide to make it their winter home. Usually around this time of year I get asked a lot of questions about what can be done to control rodents from getting in your RV when it’s in storage. Now understand, I am by no means an expert on pest and rodent control but after researching the subject I can offer a few ideas that other RVers use to keep rodents out of their RVs. You can be the judge on what works and what doesn't.

When RVs are stored for the winter it’s not uncommon for mice and squirrels to make their winter home in the RV. These animals are notorious for chewing through vehicle wiring, plastic and rubber components, causing extensive and expensive damage to the RV.

Possibly, the most important step is to try and prevent mice and other rodents from being able to access your RV. This can be difficult because they can enter the RV through some very small areas. Start by inspecting the underside of your RV for any gaps or holes. Fill these gaps using silicone or expanding foam. A word of caution, if you never used expanding foam before you should experiment with it on something other than your RV first. When it dries it can expand a great deal more than you expect. Next, open drawers and cabinet doors inside your RV. Look in all of the corners and crevices, especially where plumbing and wiring enter the RV. If you can see any daylight mice can get in. Fill these areas with silicone, foam or steel wool.

Remove all food from the RV when it’s being stored and thoroughly clean the RV to remove any remnants of food that might attract mice and other rodents. If at all possible try to park or store your RV on a solid surface like pavement or concrete. Try to avoid grass, fields or wooded areas. If it’s a motorized RV start it every week to run any squirrels or mice off that may be making the engine compartment into a home for the winter. This is where a lot of expensive chewing damage occurs.

If you don’t mind the smell of mothballs scatter them throughout areas of the RV. I have been told that mothballs will work for a while but eventually rodents get used to the smell and it will no longer deter them. Other people say the alternative to mothballs is dryer sheets, like Bounce. I have talked to people who swear they work and the smell is much more pleasant. The problem with dryer sheets is once they dry out they’re not really effective. If you are close to where your RV is being stored you may want to use conventional mouse traps and check for mice every few days. The only problem with traps is that the bait in the trap can actually attract mice. I don’t recommend any type of poison. It can take several days for the poison to work and the mice will usually die somewhere that you can’t find them. If this happens it can take a long time to get rid of the smell. If you do use poison make sure pets can’t get to the areas where you put it.

I have talked to some RVers who suggest you spray some type of insect spray (that contains mint oils) around the tires to discourage mice. The only problem I see with this is you would need to do it every few days if the RV is stored outside. There are numerous ultrasonic pest controllers on the market. Some even offer money back guarantees. Again, I have talked to some people who swear by them and others who insist they don’t work. I have never tried this method. If all else fails I ran across a product called Fresh Cab that claims to put off a sweet woodsy-alpine scent that will keep mice away for up to three months.

After a fair amount of research on this topic I have come to the conclusion that the only way to really keep rodents away is to get rid of the rodent’s altogether. Continue to set traps for mice until they are gone and in the case of squirrels it may be necessary to trap and relocate them, if there is no other method available to get rid of them.