|Left side, 12 x 12|
|Right side, 12 x 12|
New red sable brush at work...
|A page from the table of contents|
|Dad's underlines in red; mine in black|
|The treasure shelf--personal reference on top; second shelf, Dad's books erect; watercolor books on the sides; bottom, notebooks, albums, over-sized books.|
|Uncle Mike and terry--at Bandelier, N.M.|
|I don't see old men.|
|The I-40 River in the Texas Panhandle|
|Truck Nation, New Mexico, on The 40. Hey, if it's blurry, look how fast I'm going.|
|I-40, New Mexico|
I've probably spent more time on what is now I-40 than any other highway. I traveled it before it was I-40 when it was Route 66, while it was under construction, and uncountable times since, especially between Oklahoma and New Mexico.
Most recently and increasingly, I'm fascinated by what I've come to call "Truck Nation." My wife hates traveling the road because of the big rigs, and I'll admit, it is much more heavily traveled than some other interstates, but still, a day on I-40 is exhilarating to the imagination.
I have two games on the road--mapping the different license plates, and counting the trucks per mile. That's where this article comes from. Based on several trips, I can safely estimate that during daylight there are about 10 semi-trucks barreling along every mile of I-40 between here and Albuquerque--on one side.
If you double it, that means there are roughly 1,000 semis on that stretch of road right now, and every hour--not counting the ones in truck stops or parked alongside the road. Multiply that times all the Interstates, especially in heavily populated areas, and boggles the mind.
Consider the costs. Consider the people. Consider the jobs. Consider the cargos. Consider the food in the grocery stories. Consider the finances and incomes and environment and sociology and families.
Writer Larry McMurtry has traveled many of them and written about them in "Roads." http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=larry+mcmurtry+roadsWhile he hasn't traveled I-40, he has "The 35," as he calls them all as specific names. Makes sense, because he compares them, not to America's railroads, but to America's rivers for delivering commerce--like the Missouri, the Mississippi, the Ohio.
And traveling The 40, you have to conclude that Ike's brainstorm of a national defense highway network is no longer that. In fact, we don't need Interstates for cars. The main reason for Interstates? Modern rivers for semi-trucks.
If you want to know what it's like driving one of these modern day river boats, here's the best source. My favorite writer, John McPhee http://www.amazon.com/John-McPhee/e/B000AQ4582/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1in his book "Uncommon Carriers," fulfills every boys dream of stepping up in such a cab. In both the initial and concluding essays in the book, McPhee crossed the United States on two different trips with Don Ainsworth, the driver an 80,000-pound eighteen-wheeler--a gleaming chemical tank carrier. What skill and adventure.
As I was heading home recently, somewhere west of Sana Rosa, I started wondering about the the costs and the numbers.
The exclamation point came up the railroad behind Burlington Northern Santa Fe (that name is obscene to me--it's the Santa Fe) locomotives and a container train....heading for more trucks.
If it's a little blurry, consider the conditions when it was taken. While between me and it, more trucks...
So i stopped at an Oklahoma company truck stop, Love's, to get a sandwich and gas up. Doesn't that tell you how Truck Nation is dominant. More questions to be answered.
|The last march...National Cemetery at Santa Fe across from Uncle Mike's home, where he will one day be buried with other veterans.|
|Grave of a WWI veteran at Santa Fe--a wounded soldier leaning against a tree with a rose in his hand.|
|Arlington, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier|
|Arlington, Audie Murphy, the most decorated veteran.|
|Confederate veterans graves at Purcell.|
|Sailor Mike Clark and I on the bridge of his apartment docked in Santa Fe|
|Sgt. Vance Clark escorting Katherine Emerson Clark to first day of school.|
|"November" 9 by 12 watercolor, 140 pound Canson Montval paper|
|To make sure we don't get lost|