The Red Stick (North American Mega-Transect Saga)

A major industrial, petrochemical, medical, research, motion picture, and growing technology center of the American South. Baton Rouge was at one time or another, ruled by seven different governments: French, British, Spanish, West Floridian, United States territory and state, Confederate, and United States again (Wikipedia). Can you guess which government rules it now? It was during the Colonial Period that the French named it le baton rouge (“the red stick”), which is a translation of the native term for (“red pole”). 

A lot of sports greats are from here, and Elly May Clampett (Donna Douglas) hails from here as well.

Tonight, I am here also. So they’ve got that going for them!

Tomorrow, I’ll be in…

Don’t Mess With Texas (North American Mega-Transect Saga)

Today (yesterday actually, since it’s after midnight when I’m writing this) I crossed half of Arizona and the heel of New Mexico. 

If you ever drive through New Mexico on I-10, you have to stop at exit 322 and see The Thing. You have to.

Then drove 265 miles into Texas. 

I say “into,” because that’s not even a third of the way through this hot, dry state. To be fair, all three states from today are hot and dry. (Although I did encounter quite a bit of rain in New Mexico so I guess I can’t really complain.) the title says “Don’t Mess With Texas,” but I’m fixin’ to. “So put on your sittin’ britches.”

They say it’s hot in Texas, in fact some describe it as “hotter than whoopee in woolens.” And dry, “dryer than a popcorn fart!” So they tell you to “keep your saddle oiled and your gun greased.” Most of what I drove through today “looked like hell with everyone out to lunch!” Come to think of it, that’s what I have to look forward tomorrow as well. 

If you ask a Texan what Texas is like, they’ll tell you this.

If you ask anyone else who’s driven through it, they explain it like this.

So today, I drove through Mexico and into absolutely nothing, where I am currently waiting to get some sleep before I drive further into absolutely nothing else tomorrow. 

There are parts of Alaska where it is already snowing. We expect that up there and don’t think twice about it. However, here in Texas, they be like:

If snow flurries are in the for cast they cancel everything, because “that dog won’t hunt.” However, I’ll just stick to the hot and dry since “that’s two different buckets of possums.”

To be fair though, I like Texas. Well, east Texas, and parts where grass grows without too much trouble. You can keep the rest of it. My wife, (“She’s so pretty she’d make a man plow through a stump.”) and her family, are from Texas so there is a lot of good there. In some places. Don’t take offense at my pokes. If you love Texas, all I can say is “whatever greases your wagon.” 

Tomorrow I’ll be pointing the SaboTrain towards the Louisiana border, or beyond and I’ll be “hell bent for leather” trying to get “two hoots and a holler away.” “Easy as pie!” Come hell or high water” I’m gonna make it to Florida. “Put that in your pipe and smoke it.”

Time to Rock and Roll! (North American Mega-Transect Saga)

I have thouroughly enjoyed visiting with my youngest son here in the Phoenix area. While I was here I had some upgrades done to my truck. Not because I needed them, because I wanted them. Very different from all the past stops. I had a Banks Big Hoss system installed on my truck so it will run better and cooler than it ever has. Better than she was before. Better, stronger, faster.

After spending a few days with my son, I am now in the home stretch to my final destination. It’s time to rock and roll!

It should take me 3 days to get to

While they were installing the Big Hoss, they found a stow away hiding inside my front fender. It must’ve gotten trapped up in there during one of the two repairs I had done in Southern California. As he took out the inner fender well, this little guy dropped onto the floor and took up a defensive stance. So they scooped him up in a frappacino cup. I suggested they keep him as a shop pet. They said it was a first for them and they weren’t quite sure whether to search for more or hope he was a loner.

 Meet Klaus

This has been one helluva ride, but I’m more than ready to get back in my baby’s arms.

Although I’m not going all the way to Miami, I’ll just leave this here anyway.




Do It Right The First Time! (North American Mega-Transect Saga)

Their whole lives, I’ve always told my boys “Everything you do, do it right the first time!” Doing things right is the quickest and easiest way to complete anything, everything. Take the time to make sure, it’s your time, invest it wisely. Any other way will always, inevitably, take you longer and make you work harder because you will have to redo at least part, if not all, of what you just spent valuable time doing. Am I right?

Throughout my entire military career, besides this same advice, I would also do everything I could to teach my Soldiers similarly. I’ve always stressed “there are no shortcuts. If there were, it would be the right way to do it, not a ‘shortcut.’ Do it right the first time, always.” I’m sure there were many times that my sons and/or my Soldiers were tired of hearing it. But it’s an indisputable fact. The quickest and easiest way is the right way, always!

“Why is he lecturing me about this,” you might ask? Well, let me tell you. I just spent over a week languishing in LA while I had some warranty work done on my new engine. Had the dealer in Whitehorse, Canada repaired it the right way, none of this would’ve happened. I would have arrived safely and succinctly in Tallahassee three weeks ago. But there is a monetary lesson to be learned here as well. All told, the ‘repairs’ and expenses I had to have done in Canada cost me $18,000. It would have been about $21,000 if they had replaced the complete engine like I wanted them to do. You know, to fix it right the first time. Instead, they told me they couldn’t get a complete engine; it doesn’t need a complete engine; it will be as good as new once they’re through with it; etc., etc., etc. Yeah, right! 

Here’s the breakdown of the lesson learned for them, and General Motors Warranty:

  • I paid a grand total of $18,000 to start this saga off.
  • Before I even picked up my truck the dealer had to cover the costs of me staying an extra night in Whitehorse – $175.
  • Next breakdown total cost to dealer: Towing – $2,300; Repair bill – $600; reimbursed expenses – $500; total – $3,400.
  • Breakdown in Bakersfield cost to dealer: Total repair bill – $8,000; cost of RV Park – $700; total; – $8,700.
  • Breakdown in LA cost to GM Warranty: Unknown – although they originally quoted me a discounted price of $13,000 which didn’t include a new injector pump or a fuel system flush. The injector pump replacement in Bakersfield cost $2,500, so let’s just call it an even $18,000 for comparisons sake.

So an original repair of a long block plus complete heads, which cost me $16,000, should’ve been a complete engine replacement for about $19,000. Because they didn’t “do it right the first time” their shortcut cost them about $12,500. They lost money big time, but more importantly, they lost the respect and confidence of one customer who paid a lot of money to have his truck fixed, and one who is very vocal and has no problem “telling it like it is!” But wait, there’s more! Again, because they “didn’t do it right the first time,” their shortcut cost GM Warranty $18,000! All told, an investment of over $46,500 has been put into my truck to fix a repair that should’ve been a complete engine replacement. Twice the amount it would’ve cost if they would’ve just “fixed it right the first time!” Not to mention the long delay in my trip, lost opportunity costs, frustration, aggravation, anger, resentment, and an unmeasurable amount of wasted oxygen.

Every shop that worked on the original dealer’s shortcut asked me the exact same question, “why didn’t they just replace the complete engine?” You know what, that’s a very good question. Why don’t you ask them since I’m tired of asking. 

    The moral of this story, if you haven’t picked up on it yet is this –

    Or, for you Chivers out there –

    That is all.

    Train kept a-rolling (North American Mega-Transect Saga)

    Tallahassee-Hwy-Sign - Copy

    Motor City Commercial Truck Center has finished with my truck.

    Yeah Baby, Yeah

    I am happy as crap! I’ll be on the road to Phoenix bright & early Thursday morning.The SaboTrain is rollin’ again. I’ve packed everything up, said my goodbye’s, and I’m ready to roll. Gordon Lightfoot wrote a song about State Road 74 which runs north of Phoenix. I won’t be on that road, but I’ll be driving on the Carefree Highway nonetheless.

    Turning back the pages to the times I love best
    I wonder if she’ll ever do the same
    Now the thing that I call living is just being satisfied
    With knowing I got no one left to blame

    Carefree highway, got to see you my old flame
    Carefree highway, you seen better days
    The morning after blues from my head down to my shoes
    Carefree highway, let me slip away, slip away on you.

    Phoenix is my last stop before I hit Tallahassee and my partner on the SaboTrain. While I’m in Phoenix, I’m having a Banks Big Hoss system installed on my truck. With a brand new engine, I might as well upgrade it to put out closer to what it’s capable of. That way she won’t struggle one little bit whatever I put her to.


    Tomorrow is all desert highway as I ease on into the Valley of the Sun. Me and my Navigator will push on until we finally reach our destination, Tallahassee.

    Wish us luck and Godspeed.

    Train kept a-rolling


    For your entertainment pleasure…

    We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Program…

    Let’s us take it to the side parking lot for a minute…

    Over the past couple of weeks I’ve noticed a disturbing fashion trend everywhere I go. I see people of both genders dressed in what would be considered decent clothes, decent fashion sense, looking rather good UNTIL, you look down at their shoes! I mean, I mean, I mean that just, we’re walking around town, we’re walking around town looking all trendy, but you can’t be bothered to wear a decent pair of shoes. You gotta a lot of damn gall to be walking around in public with those rags on your feet.

    Now I like a comfortable pair of loafers. But if you’ve got to wear out a pair of shoes just for them to be comfortable on your feet, then you need to go have your feet checked out. For me, a comfortable pair of shoes are comfortable right out of the box. I don’t have to wear them for 500 miles until they’re ratty and falling apart for them to “fit just right” and be comfortable on my feet. And this is with both genders! Is this something new down here in the lower 48? When did this become the accepted norm in our society?

    I’m not talking about people who are wearing the best they have now. Y’all know who I’m talking about. Heck, it might even be you! You have enough money to buy yourself some decent clothes. You’re all running around trying to look all cute, all debonaire, and you got them nasty old things on ya feet! You look like you got no class, no “fetchins up.” How are you going to pass yourself off as being attractive, good looking, but you got those gnarly feet coverings going on over there?

    Get some style! Get some class! Hell, spend a few dollars on a decent pair of shoes to go with that over-priced outfit. C’mon now.

    That is all.

    We now return you to your regularly programmed scheduling.

    Classy As Shit

    I mean, damn!