we went 160 miles out of our way to visit a place in Nebraska called Carhenge. Without looking at the link I'm sure you can imagine the likes of this tourist trap. Think STONEhenge. But not as mysterious.
I wonder if they sell tshirts, coffee mugs and postcards at Stonehenge?
Anyway, I stumbled across this place while searching around for "important things to see" across I-80. Honestly, I was giddy at the thought of seeing this. I'm all about stupid and silly. This kind of tops the list. However the idea of driving 80 miles north then turning right around to continue on our way was...well, not something I wanted to tell Troy.
So I didn't. Don't judge me.
I didn't tell him until we were 20 miles north and he asked how much longer it would be. When I replied about 50 miles there was silence. For about 5 seconds. Then he looked at me and asked what in the world I was thinking. "This better be worth it." Dang. It's not like it was Wizard of Oz related. I thought HE would enjoy it, too.
Yes, I was worried. But I was also in my "seeing the country" mode and refused to let his perpetual pessimism bring me down. We had a few good laughs on the 80 mile trip, but in the back of my mind I was REALLY hoping this wouldn't be a complete bust. Troy would never let me live it down and I would no doubt be paying it back for the rest of the trip by having to stop at every single WWII museum and exhibit known to man.
As we approached the general vicinity, Troy saw it off in the distance. We were both quiet with anticipation and as we got closer we both burst in to laughter.
We bought t shirts. And postcards. And left a donation. Then started the 80 mile trip back to I-80.
Carhenge was a hit.
But not nearly as big a hit as THIS:
We didn't get a t-shirt. Or even a book of matches. They were closed. But we've got the picture...and the memory of the locals looking at us as if we were crazy as I ran from the car while my camera's self-timer was counting down.
Soooo….things just happen to us on vacation. I’ve mentioned this before. I’ve blogged about it before. We are cursed.
This vacation is no exception.
We survived the Virginia earthquake on Tuesday. At the time of the quake we were in Washington DC visiting the Holocaust Museum watching a video on Antisemitism, just a 1/2 hour in to the first floor. This California bred girl hit the floor as soon as the shaking started and was getting ready to grab my husband to get under the bench when it stopped. It lasted about 2 minutes but seemed like forever. I understand how some folk in this country aren't "earthquake trained"....I'm not "tornado trained"....but to think the quake was part of the film was interesting to me. It's not Disneyland, people. This is not an attraction with special effects. It's the Holocaust MUSEUM. TAKE COVER!!
This is the only picture we were “allowed” to take in the museum. Evacuation.
And this is us sitting outside amidst the chaos: sirens, helicopters, horns honking, whistles blowing, people yelling. We are calmly eating a hot dog trying to figure out our next move.
Our next move turned out to be arguing back and forth about what our next move was going to be. After taking exactly 4 more pictures, (2 of the Washington monument with dozens of people wandering in and out of our pictures and 2 of the Capitol with those same people wandering around in the background) the next move turned out to be cramming on to the DC Metro with everybody else who didn’t really have a next move after the museums closed for the day and Federal employees were sent home. Yes, Troy was THISCLOSETOME when taking the picture. 3 more people that I never met were also THISCLOSETOME. We exchanged phone numbers at the end of the line. (I'm joking, of course).
Just another day on vacation with the Pryors. We left before Hurricane Irene came so we can’t be blamed for that.
Whose idea was this cross-country road trip, anyway? Oh, yeah. Mine.
Here we are leaving Sacramento. Don't we look excited and happy to be on our way? We really had no idea how loooooong and lonely I-80 can actually be. Actually, *I* wasn't remembering from a previous road trip with my bff many years ago across PART of I-80. Troy had already done this exact road trip several years ago on his Harley. That could explain the look on his face vs. the look on my face.....
I have to say that Day 1 was by far the best day for me on this trip. I slept most of it away having just come off of night shift. But that meant my poor husband had to drive and keep himself entertained while I snored next to him. That's hard to do for 400 miles. Music helps. And of course there is no "Welcome to Nevada" picture to memorialize the event. Did I mention that I slept the first day?
But we did snap pics entering most of the other states. Well, Troy did while I was driving....and yelling at him that the photo op was coming up. Yelling. He was tense the entire trip. I can't understand why.
The desert mountains in Utah were beautiful. And what a treat to see the Salt Flats for the first time! The quote of the day came from Troy: "I wonder if fish fart?" What goes through a mind that you would even wonder that? The tension for pictures was raised for Troy when a photo op was missed. But the fun really ended at the campground. WORST. SLEEP. EVER. We found out the inflatable mattress we bought had an ELECTRIC pump. What? What happened to the battery operated pump?? *sigh*. So we got to sleep on rocks. And it was cold. I didn't plan for cold weather. It IS August for Pete's sake! Just miserable.
Missed photo op of entering Wyoming. I think I'll let up on Troy a bit. I mean, at least he is staying awake in the passenger seat. I'm pretty sure we would miss ALL the signs if I was the passenger because I would be asleep.
There's not a whole lot to say about Wyoming. But this is the point of the trip where Troy started to become VERY troubled over the road work. LOTS of road work. So much road work. Question of the day came from me: "I wonder where they store all of these orange construction barrels?" There was seriously close to 1,000 of them across Wyoming. I'm imagining a HUGE warehouse for these things. I wonder how much those things cost....someone's rich. Just sayin'.
Troy wrestled a dinosaur in Wyoming. I guess wearing the cowboy hat in the gift shop made him feel like he needed to. The dinosaur didn't put up much of a fight. We did finally get a good night's sleep because we rented a cabin at KOA just outside of Cheyenne. Tornado warnings sent us inside instead of sleeping under the stars. Why do storms follow us on vacation? Remember this? Yeah. So I got to look at a pretty spectacular lightening storm that night....which would be great if I actually LIKED spectacular lightening storms. I don't. I like them about as much as I like the dark.
Updates to come....let me just say we saw a lot of corn fields. We played the game "how many things can you think of that contain corn?" There's a lot.
And just one word to keep you hanging on to the edge of your seat until the next update: CARHENGE.
The weather has taken a turn for winter (again) this past week. And while driving on the freeway I made note of a few things.
Some people drive entirely. too. fast. when it is pouring down rain.
Some people drive entirely. too. slow. when it is pouring down rain.
Why can't the rain fall consistently? Wipers full blast....wipers on slow intermittent....wipers on full blast....wipers on medium intermittent....all within the distance of 1/2 mile. I drove 120 miles that day. Sweet.
That much water makes me have to pee.
Semi trucks splash 4x the amount of actual rain falling from the air directly in to your windshield as you drive by them. I drove through 4 tidal waves. Have you ever tried to see through a tidal wave slamming across your windshield?
I am very thankful that I work indoors. Even bright orange reflective vests are hard to see in torential rain.
My car is very clean now. On the outside. Rain makes mud that clings to your shoes.
Talking about all this water makes me have to pee.
I thought all these showers were supposed to be in April. Where are the May flowers? I'll tell you where they are....washed away with ALL. THIS. RAIN.
and without going in to too much detail, I have to say I am wondering what in the world I was thinking. On my first official nerve-filled-wanna-puke day (after I was released following 2 months of training) one of the directors told me, "You'll find out that this desk is the most satisfying one in the control room." I'll have to trust him on that. To say this job is challenging is probably the biggest understatement I have ever made on this blog. I am the queen of exaggeration (c'mon, people...we all know this) but this new position is seriously kicking. my. mental. butt. I am mental. Okay, *more* mental than normal. I mean, I'm not normal. Whatever normal is.
See? Rambling like a fool. That's what this job has reduced me to. Because we all know I speak only with an air of wisdom and maturity otherwise. Stop laughing.
I suppose I should give you a tidbit of information here. I don't want you to think I am a stressed out mess because I'm making coffee for caffeine-deprived people at 5:00 a.m. Although when you think about that I'm not sure I would want that job, either. I know how I am when I haven't had *my* coffee. It's not pretty.
I've worked for the same company for almost 14 years. Here's the website. It's public, so I'm okay with linking it here. My actual job is related to the California Energy Market so if I give you any more information than that I may have to self-destruct my blog. Plus I could land in prison. And I don't look good in stripes.
For the past 5-1/2 years I was a "Scheduler". My new title is "Generation Dispatcher" and it pretty much sounds exactly like what I do.....dispatch generation within the state of California. Easy enough, right? Yeah. Plus I get to do that within the confines of standards... tariffs... policies... procedures... guidelines... voltage... limits... contingencies... market rules... signing things in blood... giving away my first born... being tortured... etc.
Okay, I'm exaggerating. I haven't signed anything in blood.
I was fortunate enough to be placed on the same crew when I moved to the generation desk. There are 6 crews and 3 gen(eration) dispatchers on each one of the crews. They are referred to as Gen 1, Gen 2, and Gen 3. Gen 1 is the "driver" and dispatches generation to maintain 60 hz on the system. I promise that's as electrically geeky as I get in this post.
This past Friday was my first day "driving". I didn't sleep well. I wanted to throw up. I was nervous and upset. My fellow crew mates were very....ummmm....supportive and understanding and kind and helpful given my state-of-mind. So supportive and understanding and kind that they took this picture of me.
If you can't read the sign it says "CAUTION: Student Driver". Yes, my coworkers are THAT nice. Please don't mistake the look on my face for anything other than sheer terror.
You'll be happy to know I survived that first night. And the second one. Then I was off to Gen 2. I still have A. LOT. of things to learn and study. I figure I'll be done learning sometime in 2081. That's 70 years away. I'll be 115.
Entire cast of characters provided by my Madame Alexander Wizard of Oz Collection.
Oh, this road! It was soooooo long! And Dorothy was getting very cranky and tired from all the crying and carrying on from the Tinman and the idiotic questions from the Scarecrow. Toto was getting on her nerves, too. He was misbehaving from the lack of attention. He actually peed on the Tinman's leg. Which made the Tinman cry. Which made Dorothy have to oil him up after he rusted.
She just wanted to go home. What possible motive could that sparkly, pink witch have to make her walk all this way. Maybe she should have befriended the nasty cat-smelling witch instead. She possibly could have been home by now.
Dorothy's thoughts were immediately interrupted as she realized they had walked in to a scary forest. Dark and creepy. The tinman started crying because he was scared. Schweet. More oiling. More explaining to the Scarecrow what she was doing.
Holy cow! What in the world was THAT?
"RRROOAAARRRR!!" And out popped the cutest little lion Dorothy had ever seen. Oh, he was just adorable!!
Well, Toto wasn't having any of this. Nobody but nobody was cuter than he was. So what if he was having issues with his backside. Scooting wasn't at all adorable but he could still perk his ears up cuter than ever. What was Dorothy thinking?
Toto ran up to the Lion and started barking his head off. As loud as he could. Nobody was going to be cuter than him and take what little attention Dorothy had left for him away.
The lion cowered away and started sulking behind a tree. Dorothy stopped dead in her tracks. This simply could not be happening.
"Not another one. I simply am not mature enough to handle another high maintenance companion. I'm a teenager, for crying out loud. I've got enough of my own issues! But whatever. I might as well drag him with me. He needs therapy, obviously. I can't give it to him."
So off the mixed up, emotional, needy group went. Skipping along the yellow brick road to find the wise and wonderful dude who was going to make them all better.
Entire cast of characters provided by my Madame Alexander Wizard of Oz Collection.
Oh, what a long way Dorothy had already walked! Toto had run off a couple of times chasing squirrels and she was getting very tired of the Scarecrow and all his mindless ramblings. It was very clear after just a few minutes how little brain he really did have.
"What is that animal you have with you?" He asked about 5 minutes in to their journey. "A dog."
"Oh." was his reply.
"What is a dog?"
*sigh* Dorothy really hoped this Emerald City place wasn't far away so the wise and wonderful man could get her out. of. this. PLACE. Ugh! Besides, Toto was starting to scoot around on his rear. He needed his worm medicine. Or maybe he needed some fruit in his diet. Either way, none of that was to be found around the likes of this place.
But Dorothy had no sooner had the thought when she saw an apple laying on the ground. Fruit!! Food!! She was feeling a bit hungry, after all, and this would be a perfect snack. She doubted the Scarecrow was hungry. He probably didn't even know what an apple was.
"Toto! Stop lifting your leg on all those trees! Let's pick the apples from them, instead!"
"STOP PICKING MY APPLES!"
What in the heck?? Dorothy dropped the basket of picked apples all over the ground. She couldn't believe it! The tree was actually talking to her!
"That tree is talking to me!" she yelled at the Scarecrow.
"Oh." *silence* "What's a tree?"
Oh, mercy. This guy really was needing help from the wise and wonderful man just as soon as possible. Dorothy wasn't sure how much more of his nonsense she could take. She gathered up what apples she had dropped, grabbed Toto and yelled at the Scarecrow to run. Of course, she had to stop several times to pick him up. Then she spilled the apples all over the place again. Ugh! Maybe getting Toto to stop scooting all over the place wasn't worth the hassle of collecting some fruit.
As Dorothy picked up one of the last apples she came across a strange looking sculpture. It was certainly different than the sculpture that she had seen in the museum that Auntie Em and Uncle Henry had taken her to last year.
"Did you hear that?" she asked the Scarecrow.
"There it is again! It sounds like it is coming from this sculpture."
"Oh." *silence* "What's a sculpture?"
Even Toto was getting sick of this dude. He needed those brains STAT. And now it looked like they were going to be joined by some strange metal looking man. No telling what issues HE was going to contribute to this journey. Oh, joy. But Toto couldn't spend any more time thinking about it. He had an itch he needed to take care of.
Dorothy finally figured out the sculpture was trying to get her to oil his tired old joints with the can conveniently sitting right next to him. After doing so he went in to some song and dance about having no heart or some silly something. Everybody was so in to singing and dancing around here. Why couldn't they just have a normal conversation? And WHY couldn't that prissy beauty queen-of-a-witch just have transported her in that flashy bubble? Dorothy's feet were killing her! As she sat down to give them a rub she remembered that she wasn't allowed to take the shoes off. Great. No relief anytime soon.
"Waaahhhh!!!!!!" the metal man started wailing. What the heck was wrong with him? He rusted his eyelids shut with tears so Dorothy got up and oiled him again. "Thank you! I have no heart so I am sad. And when I am sad I cry. And when I cry I rust."
Great. Another needy companion. *sigh* Well, what would it hurt to invite him along? Maybe the wise and wonderful man could give him some heart so he would stop bawling like a little girly girl. "Metal Man, do you want to get yourself all fixed up with a heart? We are going to see some dude who may help us so maybe he could help you, too."
"I am made of Tin. Not just any old metal....but do you think he help me, this wonderful man you speak of?"
Toto had just about had enough of this. How many of these needy idiots was Dorothy going to invite along? She was already completely preoccupied with helping the stumbling idiot along, now the crybaby.
I had no idea what I was in store for when we headed here.
Of course, HAD I known I would have prepared myself with a camera other than my cell phone. I'm not sure you can see with clarity the giddyness (is that even a word?) on my husband's face as we approached the entrance. For those of you have not had the pleasure of visiting a Bass Pro Shop I will tell you it's huge. HUGE. The title of this blog post is not an exaggeration.
It is epic for the first-time shopper.
They have everything you can imagine for the outdoor enthusiast. But more importantly for a Bass fisherman like the giddy man pictured above. Hence, the giddyness (again...is it a word?)
This was him BEFORE we even got to the parking lot. It was just a distant vision. Okay, it was a big gigantic building in the middle of nowhere. We could see it from a far. A long-way-away far.
Just entering through the front door was amazing. It's HUGE, people. There was a pond with live fish. And a waterfall. Yes, I said waterfall. And I'm not talking about a waterfall the size of the one you can buy at home depot for your back yard. I'm talking Vegas Casino-sized waterfall.
My husband was so excited he just left me standing there looking at all the wonderfulness of this place. It took me 20 minutes to find him because I took 3 more pictures after this one:
This is where I found him:
They simply had everything. EVERY. LITTLE. THING. I have never seen so many fishing lures in one location in all of my life! Rows and rows and rows of fishing lures. Like, how does someone even invent a fishing lure that doesn't already exist? Seriously?
Isn't this one cute? And it was fairly big. Kind of scares me to think of what you would want to be catching with that....and that it may be living in a body of water I'm swimming in.
Fish net anyone? They have one in every size, color and weight you could want.
Reels? They had approximately 4,278 of them. This is a horrible picture, but also only one of THREE counters full of reels. My husband liked the one that was $749.00. We bought two. Kidding.
They even had things for women. Lots of things for women...lots of pink things and pretty things and clothes and STUFF for women. See the pink camo teddy? Yeah....we DIDN'T buy that.
And things for kids:
We didn't leave empty handed. I mean, we went there with PURPOSE. My husband joined a Bass Fishing club and had a tournament to prepare for. I think he over prepared. Do you see the length of that receipt? I made him collect aluminum cans for a month to help pay for it.
Oh, by the way....I don't fish. But we both love to camp. And they have an entire 2nd floor dedicated to hunting and camping.
We were there for over 2 hours. We never made it to the 2nd floor.
Other family members always seem to have something urgent and important they must do on the day I announce the house needs cleaned. Urgent and important does not include helping me clean the house.
I hate carpeted stairs on cleaning day.
The chance that my 3 dogs will drag crap in from outside through the dog door is much greater if I have just mopped the floor.
Newspaper cleans glass better than anything else. For this reason alone I hope on-line media never makes newspapers obsolete.
I think my dog door might have been dirtier than my toilet. How is that even possible? Mostly likely because I clean the toilets every week and the dog door gets neglected for months.
Emptying the vaccuum cleaner 5 times while cleaning just the living room and hallway tell me that my dogs and cats shed entirely too much. Or maybe I have too many animals. I think they shed too much.
I wonder if auto degreaser would be too harsh on my kitchen stove/backsplash. I've used 2 Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, 27 paper towels and Dawn dishsoap and very. hot. water. I'm still not perfectly happy but my kitchen is VERY clean!!
I want to go out to dinner. Not only because I'm tired from cleaning but because I don't want to mess up my kitchen.
I want to go out for breakfast tomorrow. I'm sure I will still be tired. And I don't want to mess up my kitchen.
You know the rule: if something falls on the floor you have 5 seconds to pick it up and eat it before it is considered poor taste. Or white trash. Or glutonous. Or something.
Anyway, I'm on a string of night shifts. I got up this "morning" (aka 1:30 p.m.) and made some coffee. I had exactly enough half and half to make ONE. CUP. OF. COFFEE. One cup of delicious, soul-awakening coffee.
After I mixed this blessed cup of goodness I noticed something floating on the top. Hmmm....what is this? A small gnat?
Is it wrong that I actually considered removing the bug and still drinking my coffee? It was technically within the 5 second guidelines.
I used to. Heck, it was just about every color you can buy out of a box over a period of 7 years. I blogged about going gray here.
Almost 2 years later and I still don't regret it.
But recently a co-worker and I had this whole debate about me coloring my hair. He said it aged me and he thought overall I just looked better with my hair colored (refer to my blogger profile picture). I guess it's a good thing I'm married to the Mr. and not him, eh? Anyway, during this debate I was trying to find some examples of women who I think have pulled the gray off beautifully and gracefully.
Up first: Jamie Lee Curtis
There is no denying that this woman is gorgeous. She may want to rethink her bra choice when wearing black when she knows she is going to be photographed. But she even rocks THAT. Hmmm...I wonder if those have been lifted? That's an entirely different post.
Next: Emmy Lou Harris. This was the picture I used as an example of gray-haired beauty to my co-worker.
His response? "Yuck." Seriously? Who would NOT want to look like that? Emmy Lou Harris totally rocks the gray. She has embraced her aging process since it began.
I wonder how many teenagers she raised?
The other part of this debate is about men going gray. Why is it that a man is considered distinguished when he goes gray? And why is it fair that a woman's gray is considered...well...aging? I mean that IS what we are all doing. Aging. Why can't we just be okay with that? Men or women. It is just a natural progression of life. Kind of like needing to be closer to a bathroom. Oh, come on. You know it's true.
I have some friends that color because of the way the gray is coming in. Spotty or in chunks around their temples. Well if you are going to color anyway, why not investigate coloring/highlighting to mock more of the gray so it all blends in while it comes in?
Apparently I'm pro-gray. I certainly don't begrudge a woman for coloring. I did for years, afterall. And coloring is kind of fun. I will probably debate this to death with my co-worker. Or not since I don't think either of us has a chance of swaying the other person to their side. We'll just agree to disagree...and I will continue to make tally points of the compliments I get on my gray. (And for you, Rick, since I know you might read this: I've had 3 since our conversation. I'll name names if you would like but I don't really see the point.)