truck trip: day one

the trip almost started out with a whimper instead of a bang. i obviously stayed up pretty late, but i managed to get up and start getting ready (i hadn’t packed or anything). jack was giving me a ride to the airport, so i called him…no answer. i kept getting ready and called again…no answer. at this point, i was in that awkward time phase between the time it takes if someone drops you off and the time it takes if you have to park and ride a shuttle. i decided i’d better leave, and i might not make my flight anyway. as i was driving by jack’s, i called to let him know i couldn’t wait on him…and he answered. he said he was ready to go, so i stopped at his house and he took me. i arrived in time to check in, but too late to check luggage. but that didn’t matter, since i packed light. then i got to the terminal and i had to wait probably 30 minutes at least because they were running a bit behind. the flight itself was uneventful.
i arrived in new york city and jeff picked me up without any trouble. we drove down some major highway from la guardia to brooklyn, so i didn’t go through midtown or wall street or anything but i could see it off to my right. we stopped at the truck and jeff walked me through information about the truck, then we signed documents and traded tags and such. jeff took me for a short ride to let me see it in action, then he hopped in his pickup and i drove my new truck. we stopped on smith street so we could get photocopies of some of the documents. while walking around he asked if i wanted to eat, so i decided i wanted a slice of pizza. we ate at sal’s pizza, which he mentioned was the sal’s in do the right thing. which i’m pretty sure it was. then we went back to our pickups and took me to get some gas. i’m not sure i’ve ever done full service before, but i don’t think i had a choice. (i know in new jersey it’s a law — or at least used to be — that you can’t pump your own gas.) i asked jeff if he smoked cigars, which he didn’t, but i gave him a cojimar vanilla sugar tip anyway. i told him it was a “gateway cigar” since it’s sweet and tastes like vanilla. jeff then directed me to the road to get out of town. i took 287 to staten island over a bridge that cost $9 in toll. then i immediately got in a traffic jam. after 20 minutes or so of that, i got on my way. thus ends my short time in new york city. all told, about 2.5 hours.
at this point, my impressions of the truck were that it wasn’t as clean or as in good of shape as i’d expected. not that it is really bad or anything, but while it looks pretty good from 10 feet, when you get up closer to it you can see obvious spots that need to be painted. plus the “dings” and keying mentioned on ebay are more like someone scraped the back half plus of the driver’s side along something that dented scrape marks down the side. the interior is okay, but aspects of it definitely need some work as well. but it seemed to shift pretty well and had power, and it wasn’t doing anything obviously bad as far as power, handling, etc.
anyway, back to the trip. i hit i-95 and went north, then took i-80 west. after driving for some time i stopped at a gas station. i asked if they had maps, but i wasn’t sure what map i needed. i said “i don’t know where i am. i just flew into new york and bought this truck.” and the kid said “you’re in new jersey.” i figured out i was actually really close to the pennsylvania border, so the map for it included where i was. i bought a map and took some road to i-78, then down i-81 until i got to shippensburg. i didn’t really have much trouble getting to scott and kendra’s house, which is where sue and the potts kids were and where i was going to spend the night. all told, i drove around 250 miles between 5pm-ish and 10pm-ish.

technically, it’s already truck day

i left work a bit early today and went by frost bank and got a cashier’s check for the truck. so the two major things i needed to take care of (temp tag and cashier’s check) are accomplished. another thing i thought i might resolve is what i’m going to do about having something to listen to during the drive (remember, it has no radio). unfortunatley, no solution stuck out in my mind as a good one, and in the end i decided it’d be easier to purchase something on the way back than buy it and take it on the plane. my plan of course is to get the truck to subsist on a steady diet of johnny cash, bob wills, zz top, milton brown, drive-by truckers, wayne hancock, hank williams, mulehead, dale watson, etc. until it is brainwashed into being a Texas truck. then i’ll give it the gunrack and the “they can have my gun when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers” and “bob wills is still the King” bumper stickers.
after running my errands i headed over to tropioca, where the geek gathering for the radio show was happening. while there, jeff schulz (the guy i’m buying the truck from) called and we discussed plans some. the plan right now is for him to pick me up at la guardia. after the gathering i drove around a bit and ended up going by the tobacco shop where i picked up some cigars and another punch. then i headed to river oaks to catch the midnight showing of plan 9 from outer space. i was joined by lemaster, kd5, barrett, and amanda. i’d only seen bits and pieces of it before. boy, it’s a bad movie. but it’s so bad that it’s good. which is i guess why so many people call it the worst movie ever made.
i’m now home, and in less than 12 hours i should be in new york city. now all i need to do is pack. but i think i’ll do that in the morning when i get up. i’ve decided this trip is going to pretty much be planned as it happens. all i know right now is i’m getting to new york, picking up the truck, and i’m hoping to make it to shippensburg, pa, before i stop. after that, who knows. i’ll figure it out later.

you were always on my mind

wednesday after work i dropped by the poison girl for awhile before heading to the radio show. folk that do the houstonist site were meeting up there, so a few of us that do the radio show dropped by. the poison girl still seems to be a pretty cool place.
today i was planning on taking off work and getting my temp tag for the new pickup and getting the cashier’s check or money order. unfortunately, i decided to ride my motorcycle to work and then the weather decided it should rain on and off in the afternoon. so i left later than i’d planned and by the time i finished at the tax office the banks were closed. i opted to park in the museum district and ride the light rail downtown, since i wasn’t sure about parking, the weather, or road conditions. getting the temp tag turned out to be extremely easy…probably more than it should have. the lady didn’t even look at or ask for either my driver’s license *or* the title/registration. all she used was the insurance card. but whatever the steps, the outcome is that i’ve got a 30-day temporary tag to put on the truck once i take possession of it. i’ll have to get the money tomorrow.
after that (and having to do some troubleshooting from home for a half hour or so for work), i headed to a place called monkey bizness to go to a surprise birthday party kelli planned for brad. monkey bizness is a play place for kids, with a rock wall and a bunch of big inflated jump rooms and slides and stuff (that are usually outside, but these are indoors). after that, we headed to buca de pepo (or however you spell it) for supper. good times.
my original plan for getting the pickup was to fly out tomorrow and be back on tuesday. jeff (the guy in brooklyn i’m buying the truck from) said saturday would be best for him, so i changed my plans to start on saturday. hopefully i’ll be back by tuesday night, or maybe wednesday. but i’m not trying to rush the roadtrip, and i’m hoping it’ll be enjoyable and fun. it’d be cool to have someone to go with me, but it should be a good time even without being able to share the experience. at this point i’m planning on trying to take my laptop and camera, so hopefully i can give status updates along the way. i’m trying to decide if i want to buy an ipod (or some mp3 player) and some speakers so i can have some music to listen to during the ride back (the truck has no radio). what i know i won’t have is a/c, seatbelts, power windows, power locks, airbags, or a bunch of extra computerized crap in the engine compartment…that’ll be occupied by a gas-guzzling 352 v8 with dual exhaust.
i’m also trying to think of a name for it, at this point going with country music related ideas: earl, hank, 16hp, old 97, etc. although seeing it and driving it will have to happen before i settle on something. got any good ideas?

book vs. truck

i finished reading catch-22 by joseph heller. it’s one of the books i felt like i should read because it’s considered a classic of modern american literature. there were things i liked about it, and some of the way the story unfolded was very effective. sometimes the non-stop contradictory sentences got a bit difficult to slog through and it felt like death by snarky cleverness. but when the ratio of story to “turning every sentence into a contradiction of the last one” was good, the book was a joy to read and kept my interest. still, overall it’s not going to go into the list of books i was amazed by and felt gave me a new perspective of reality and the world around me. it is still worth investing the time to read though, in my opinion.
the bigger news for me is that i decided to purchase a truck on ebay. i’d been looking on ebay at 1965-1967 chevy and ford pickups for a couple of months, and one caught my eye a few weeks ago. i bid on it, but no one else did and i didn’t meet the reserve. the truck was relisted and i bid it up in the last minute beyond the point where i was the high bidder, but i still didn’t hit the reserve. the truck was relisted again and the same thing happened. well, yesterday the seller sent me a second chance offer on the truck and today i made the decision to do it.
the vehicle in question is a 1965 ford f-100. the rub is that it is in brooklyn, new york. so part of my decision in buying it was my decision to fly up there and drive it back to Texas. in addition to the obvious hope that it is mechanically sound enough to make the drive back, i’m also going to have to deal with going to new york, buying a vehicle i’ve never seen in person from a person i’ve never met, it having no seatbelts, and driving it back to Texas with temporary tags. (in new york they keep the plates when they sell a vehicle.) hopefully i’ll be able to do everything i need to in order to get the temporary Texas tags.
anyway, all of this will be quite an adventure for me. i just purchased my plane ticket this evening. hopefully it’ll all work out and i’ll have a great time going up there and driving it back. and hopefully i’ll be happy with the truck too. i’m still processing plans for exactly how all of this will happen and what i’ll be taking with me, etc. if i decide to take my laptop, i’ll try to chronicle my adventures. if anyone wants to buy a ticket and take a few days and ride back with me, let me know. : )