Sunday, April 8, 2007

Back Home Again

Hi it's me again, Ricky.

Boy am I glad to be back home. Traveling nice but it a good feeling to be back around familiar places. Like Borders Bookstore.

Old Dave my owner likes to frequent Borders bookstore. He like to sip on a Border's blend coffee and read home improvement or gardening magazines that he's too cheap to buy.

One day after we came home I was snoozin' in the garage dreaming about our adventures we had together in March when Old Dave opens the door and slides into the seat. My motor purrs to life as the garage door shimmy's open. The door needs a little work I think. We are on a mission today. Boards and little metal thingys to make saw horses for projects going on this summer. It's a good day to go haulin'. I just like to haul a good load.

We arrive in the parking lot of, where else, Lowe's Home Improvement store. Old Dave ambles into the store and I start looking around the parking lot for conversation.

"Hey, little Toyota. I'm Ricky. How are you today."

A sweet little voice responded, "Oh, I'm Samantha and I'm good today. What you got going on today."

"Well, I just came back from Las Vegas with my owner Old Dave. We had quite an adventure together."

With little Toyota Samantha eyes opened wide with wonder. "Las Vegas? Is it far?"

"Oh yeah it takes two days to get there. Let me tell you about how I had to fight my way through a storm in Wyoming. It all started on the day we left with nice weather in Nebraska. We made our way across the state and into the state of Wyoming making good time."

"Oh my it sounds like fun", said Sam.

"Yeah, but then it started to snow and harder and harder. The big trucks were splashing me with huge amounts of slush and I could barely see."

"You are so brave. I don't think I could have done that."

"Yeah, I know. Then we climbed into mountains and my computer had to change my fuel mixture to keep the power up. You see we needed to get to Green River to see grand children and then we ......................................................................................."

".................................................and we made to Las Vegas the next day. Las Vegas that's another story."

"You been so far away," said Sam. "Maybe someday I get to go on a trip like that."

"Ah well maybe, let me tell you about when I went to Canada."

"Oh you have been so many places," said Sam.

"Oh well I guess that story will have to wait here comes my owner, Old Dave."

We said goodbye as Old Dave hopped in the seat and we sped away leaving Sam yearning to be a traveler.

"What you been doin' Ricky," said Old Dave.

"Oh nothing. Just talking to Sam the Toyota."

"So what were you talking about?"

"I was telling her about our trip to Las Vegas about how we fought our way through the blizzard, visited the grand kids, fixed things, came home in a squall, and had such a good trip."

"Oh, what about her has she been anywhere?", said Old Dave.

"Well, I don't know I didn't ask. Then I wanted to tell her about the time we went to Canada, but you came out and we had leave so I'll have tell her about that another day."

"So, you talked about our adventures all the time I was in the store?"

"Oh, yeah she was fascinated by the places I've been."



"I know we have been a few places and have done many things, but one thing I have learned is that listening to other peoples stories is just as important as telling ours."

"Huh, they have stories?"

"Yes, they do and some are more fascinating then ours."

"Oh, Hmmmmm, I didn't think about that."

"I think I'll stop off at the Borders Bookstore and spend some time browsing the magazine rack and drink a cup of coffee," said Old Dave.

"Oh, yeah maybe I can talk with someone else."

"Just remember what I told you."

"Yeah, yeah, OK."

We lumbered into the parking lot with boards and other stuff in my back and Old Dave scampered into the book store.

"Hey, super duty, I'm Ricky."

As gruff voice came back that sounded like he had swallowed gravel, "Yeah, what do you want kid."

"Hey, I just came back from Las Vegas and I fought my way through a snow............................ yeah well it looks like your havin' a bad day huh."

"yeah, I just got back from Colorado and I hauled a fifth wheel camper on back. My back is killin' me right now."

"OK, tell me about your trip to Colorado."

"Well, we started out across the plains of Nebraska. About 3 hours into the drive we blew a tire on the trailer and my owner had to pull off the road and call for road service. We waited for ......................................................................... and before long we had arrived in Denver only to have climb the mountain to the top. Oh, my aching back. Then we .............................. finally the day ended and I got to rest."

"Hey, that was a great story. You got any more?"

"Well, there was the time we went to."

"Oh, here comes my owner. I'll have to hear the other story another time."

"OK, see ya kid."

Old Dave slid into the seat and we drove out of the drive onto Maple homeward bound.

"Well, hear any good stories, Ricky?"

"Yeah, you were right. It is good to hear other truck stories."

"Told ya"

It's been a good day. There sure is a lot to be learned about life. Sometimes I wonder if I can ever learn it all.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

2007 Las Vegas Trip Part 4

Well, that fateful last day arrived. Old Dave and I made that last drive past the Railroad Pass Casino over the hills and viewed the valley of lights for the last time. We arrived at the casino for breakfast just as usual. Old Dave went in to eat that final breakfast before leaving and I had my last conversation with the old wise truck.

He told me to remember what we had talked about the last two weeks and to be loyal to my owner. I really respected that truck and made a pledge never to forget about what I had learned the last two weeks in the wee hours of the morning in that parking lot. The time seemed to pass quickly this morning and before I knew it Old Dave and I were whizzing down the highway headed for home.

It was pretty routine the first couple hundred miles. Old Dave directed us a different way back home. We spun off on highway 70 headed for Denver and high level mountains. Little did I know what lay ahead.

We climbed up to a quite high elevation and scooted across the high plains. As we got closer to Denver we started to climb. Higher and higher we climbed. My computer chips began compensating for thinner air. Still we climbed higher. Past 5,000 feet. Then 6,000 feet. Still we climbed up and up. 7,000 feet, 8,000 feet. Was there no end to the climb. Digital signs began indicating commercial vehicles needed chains ahead. Great! Not only did I leave my chains at home, but my snow shoes and extra weight were in the garage at home. Now what would we do.

Old Dave never flinched a single wink, but pressed on as the road conditions began to get worse. Cars and trucks were spinning and off to the side of the road because of lack of traction. Still we edged on climbing up the grade toward Vail Colorado. Soon the road traffic ground to a halt and no one could get started again which blocked the road. So there we were stuck on the road in the middle of the night.

I couldn't believe it when Old Dave talked with a State Trooper and found out that there was no turn around and the road we were traveling was another 5 miles to the top. Old Dave just smiled and popped open the cooler and began to eat a sandwich. What was he thinking? We could be stuck here all night and he was eating and drinking as if nothing was wrong. I have to confess I was getting a little impatient.

"Here comes a tow truck. Wait Old Dave is getting out."

"No don't get out. No wait .....don't ......get out. Aaaaaah, he never listens."

"Don't talk to the tow truck driver. No way am I going to be embarrassed by being towed. No way. I'm telling you no way. Computer send out a signal and lock up the ABS bakes. I'm not moving. I'll just sit here til' summer. I'm not gettin' towed and that's final."

"What Old Dave's getting a shovel and helping the road crew throw something from the side of the road onto the road for traction. He just can't keep from helping no matter where he is."

"OK, Old Dave's coming back to the truck. The left lane is open and it looks like we are going to make a try at going up the hill. Well, what do you know the road crew is going to help me get going. I guess Old Dave knows how to make friends and get going."

"OK, a little boost and we're moving. I know I can. I know I can. We're doin' it. Oh yeah I'm good. Oh yeah, I'm good. We moving 20 MPH....25MPH......30 MPH. We're making our way up the hill. Around the corner and ........... Oh no a blocked road ahead. Both lanes blocked. OK, slow down and maybe when I get there the road will be opened. Just keep moving and no stopping. Come on people move it. Move it will ya."

Slower, slower, creeping, ...... stop. (Big sigh)

"I just know we are stuck. I just know it."

"OK, traffic's moving."

"My turn. Here we go. Oh no my wheels are spinning. Come on Old Dave give me the juice and I'll burn my way up the hill."

"Why is he stopping. What now we're backing up just 10 feet. OK, give me the juice and I'll get up the hill. No, don't stop because I'm spinning. Why is he backing up again? Now we're trying to go again."

"Wait I feel a little traction. I'm moving up the hill. Yeah, we're going faster.
5 MPH ....... 7MPH ........ 10 .... 15 ..... 25. Oh, yeah we're makin' it. Oh not again. Another blocked road. Don't these guys know how to drive in the state."

Three more times Old Dave masterfully maneuvered me up the slippery slopes of Vail Colorado before we made it over the top. We made our way down the back side past Copper Mountain, past Breckenridge, and into the town of Dillion. We were moving now. Then we began to go up again.

"Oh boy here we go again."

This time though the sand trucks had been here and it was a uneventful climb up to the Eisenhower Tunnel. After the tunnel it was down hill all the way into Denver. The roads cleared and dried up and our travel home continued.

We did our routine fueling in Denver and sped off into the darkness on I-76 with visions of home dancing through our minds. The rest of the trip home was pretty much routine and we arrived in Omaha about noon the next day.

I for one was glad to be back home. So reflecting on all the adventures of the last two weeks I drifted off into a sleep in my nice garage room as Old Dave did pretty much the same.

This vacation adventure came to a great end.

Monday, March 26, 2007

2007 Las Vegas Trip Part 3

Hi, it's me Ricky again. Has any of you had to deal with energetic 2 year old human? Here's my story of my first day in Las Vegas and about my encounter with Bradley Old Dave's Grandson.

The morning after we made it to Las Vegas I was sleeping peacefully in the spot Old Dave parked me among many other cars from Las Vegas. I was dreaming about smooth white fenders and dreamy head lamps and pink hearts on the tailgate, when my driver door opened and Old Dave jumped in. He fired up my engine and headed out down the driveway.

Old Dave said, "What cha been doin' Ricky?"

I responded, "Oh, nothing. Just sleeping."

"Well, we have a full day ahead of us so here we go."

"OK" (Big yawn)

It was still dark and as we headed toward Las Vegas from Boulder City where we had spent the night with Old Dave's sister, I could see a glow in front of us. We came closer and closer to the glow and finally popped up over the hill. There was a whole valley of lights below us twinkling in the darkness. It was a magnificent sight and one that I would see every morning while we were there.

We whizzed on down into the valley and made it to a small casino where old Dave parked me in the parking lot and seemed to be waiting for someone. Soon another Ford Ranger came creeping into the lot. He had a look of wisdom about him and a shell cover on his back. Old Dave hopped out and locked me up and wandered over to the wise old truck. It turned out that Old Dave's Dad owned the wise truck and parked it not to far away from me. As Old Dave, his Dad, and Sally made their way into the casino for breakfast, I decided to strike up a conversation with the wise looking truck.

He told me many things over the course of the next two weeks. We talked about pistons, injectors, carburetors, tires and all the things that trucks talk about. He shared many things about not just Las Vegas but about life in general as a truck. He truly was a wise truck and by the end of the two weeks I knew that Old Dave was right about not going for a ride with Pink Hearts on the tailgate.

After breakfast, Old Dave came back and together we headed out to see a Grand child named Bradley.

We found the apartment where Bradley lived. We had many places to go with Bradley today. First order of business was to put a car seat in my seat. The belt went through the back side of the Bradley seat and buckled up to keep the seat firmly in place. Ok, ready to go. Here comes Bradley. Cute little human. Isn't that cute that he can climb into the cab all by himself.

"No wait, don't touch that. Stop twisting that knob. No don't push that. Get in your sit please. Stop pulling on that. "

"Aaaaaah, can someone strap that kid in his seat. Quit kicking my shifter. Oh man the feet do not belong on the steering wheel. How many hands and feet does this kid have anyway?"

Finally, he's in the seat and my knobs, and buttons get some relief.

Over the next two weeks, Bradley went through his antics many times, but I got to like him. He was filled with energy to the max and sometimes he really did behave good.

You can tell me about your experience with 2 year old humans if want.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

2007 Las Vegas Trip Part 1

I would like to tell you about the trip Old Dave and I took to Las Vegas. I can always tell when Old Dave is getting ready to leave on a trip. He starting putting things in this box with zippers on it. He calls it a suitcase. However, I never see him put any suits in it. This time he loaded me up with some furniture and covered them up with a tarp. He kept telling everyone we were going to a place called Las Vegas. I ready didn't know where that was or what kind of place it was.

We were to visit Grand children on the way in Green River, Wyoming. Where ever that was. I guessed that it was far away by the way old Dave wrapped the furniture I was carrying.

The day came for us to leave. Old Dave put the box with zippers in my storage behind the seat along with another case that had latches on it. We headed out of town Friday afternoon with hopes to be in Green River by Noon on Saturday. All things were going as planned. We stopped in the town of North Platte. Old Dave filled my tank and drained his tank. It was the second trip this month and I really like being on the road again. Old Dave bought a big coffee, two sandwiches, a bag of chips, and a bottle of Pepsi. I knew he was loading up for a 5 hour drive. We have been traveling together enough for me to know his traveling habits. So we headed back out on the highway toward Wyoming. It was a good day. It was a warm sunny day. It just doesn't get any better than a sunny day and the open highway. My cruise control was set for 75 and we were making good time.

We crossed the Wyoming border and continued to press on toward Green River. The sun began setting and soon we were cruising in darkness the state of Wyoming. About 10 pm it started to rain. It rained harder and harder. Then it started to turn to snow. The roads began to get slushy but still we pressed on toward our goal of Green River. The roads never got to bad but those pesky car carrier trucks were the worst for spraying dirty road water on me as they passed us. They always seemed to travel faster than anyone else on the highway. I could hardly see when they zoomed past with a comment of , "Hey buddie move over I'm coming through" in their growly biker voice.

We did make it to Green River by noon and checked into the Super 8 motel. Old Dave called the Grand kids and we made a visit to them. I got to take Sage for a ride to the restaurant. It was a good young man and I enjoyed have him ride in my passenger seat. Sky, Liberty, and Mom went in their car to the restaurant. Old Dave seemed to have a really good visit with all the members of the family and sooner than we wanted it was time to bed down for the night.

The next morning we woke up to frost on the windows and a chill in the air. We set our sights toward Las Vegas. All went well and soon we began heading through the mountains. Wow, I never have seen anything so big in my life.

We crossed the divide and came down out of the mountains into Salt Lake city and began our journey down the I-15 which follows the high plain of Utah all the way to Arizona. We hit the 25 mile mountainous corner of Arizona in early afternoon.

We finally made it to Las Vegas in late afternoon. As we pulled up to the first stop light in the town a cute little girl white Ford Ranger pulled up beside us. Oh my goodness she was the cutest thing I have ever seen.

She batted her head lamps and looked over at me and said, "Hi there big fella. Wanna go for a ride?"

I almost dropped my oil pan and said, "Oh yeah. Can I Old Dave. Can I"

Old Dave began to explain to me that everything in this town is not what it appears to be. He said that what looks good on the outside surface is usually rotten on the inside. He explained further that this town is all about money. We have it and they want it. Then they deceive you into believing that you had a good time giving it to them.

"So Ricky, the answer is no, you can't go. Just cool your injectors and focus on why we came here."

"Aw gee whiz. I never get to do anything fun."

The light turned green and the white girl truck sped off. "Oh man she had little pink hearts on her tailgate." Old Dave reassured me that I didn't want to have anything to do with a truck like her, but I wasn't convinced just yet.

This was a very different kind of place we had come to. Lights everywhere. Signs with flashing lights and digital billboards like I had never seen before. So much to see and look at.

Little did I know that the adventure was just beginning.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Where did I come from?

Hi my name is Ricky. I'm a Ford Ranger and my full name is Ranger Rick, but my friends just call me Ricky. I'm three years old. My first memory was being on a car lot in Liberty Missouri. I can't remember being born, but the other cars and trucks on the lot said it was most likely a place called Detroit. I've never been back there so I don't really know where that is.

It was an exciting time being on the car lot with all the other new cars and trucks. People would come and look at the many new cars and trucks and then take one home. I wanted to be taken home with someone. Men, Women, and Families would come and take a truck or car home, but I never would get picked. Every day I would make myself look as good as I could for those coming in hopes that they would pick me and take me home with them. Always they would pick a truck or a car that had automatic transmission, I had standard shift, or 4 wheel drive, I had two wheel drive, or bright shiny red, I was blue. As time went on all my car and truck friends were picked, but no picked me. Soon others that came to the car lot after me were picked, but no one wanted me. I began to wonder what was wrong with me. Why didn't anyone pick me? I could haul stuff. I got better gas mileage than a 4 wheel drive. I was bright and shiny too. Why didn't anyone want to pick me? Weeks passed by and then months came and went, but still no one picked me. It was real hard to look bright and shiny everyday and see the people come and not pick me. I had given up hope of ever being picked and taken home.

Then one day a man came down the row I was parked in with a manager of the lot and stopped in front of me. I heard them talking about finding a blue Ford Ranger truck.

Then they looked at me and the manager said, "Yup, that's the one. I'll have it brought up front and get the paper work done to sign it over to the Blair Nebraska dealership."

I was confused. This man didn't look like he was picking me to take home. What was going on. Was I being taken somewhere that trucks go when no one wants them? I started getting scared. One of the young men that moved cars on the lot jumped into my driver seat and started up my engine. He drove me up to the front of the lot where the man from Blair Nebraska was finishing with the transfer papers. My heart pounded as this man took the driver seat and zoomed out of the only place I knew as home. He didn't talk much and twisted the knobs on my radio to a station that had some really awful music. After a few miles, I wondered about the place I was going to. Was it a warm place? Was it a quiet place? Was it a good place? Was it a bad place?

When we left the Liberty car lot, I had a total of 5 miles on my odometer. By the time 100 miles had passed, I began to wonder if we would ever get there. It was such a long ride. I was really starting to get scared. We passed by many towns and finally came to Blair Nebraska. I remember coming up over the last hill and my heart sank as I saw hundreds and hundreds of cars and trucks all parked in row after row in the hills around the town. I knew for sure that this was the place that cars and trucks are taken to when no one wants them. I almost started to cry knowing that I would end up on one of those hills forever.

I ended up in a smaller lot close to the place where people come and take cars and trucks home. I heard other cars and trucks in this lot talking about waiting for some one to come pick them and take them home.

Then one asked me, "Hey, when are going home with some one."

I responsed with a stammer, " I ... I ....I didn't know. I am going home with someone? No one came and looked at me. No one picked me."

"Well, some one did to get you in this lot, Ranger."

I was really scared now. How could anyone pick me and not come see me? What if who ever it was didn't like me when they saw me? What if I would be put up on a hill and never come down. What if .....sniff......I got sent back to Missouri.

Someone came and got me and put me inside. They scrubbed me down and cleaned me inside and out. I heard them say that whoever picked me was coming the next day. I couldn't sleep at all that night trying to keep from being scared. The other cars and trucks tried to make me feel better by saying nice things, but I just kept thinking about how could some one pick me that hasn't even looked at me.

The next day came and I watched people come and go picking up the other cars and trucks to take them home. I began to wonder what about me. Maybe who was coming to pick me up changed their mind and wasn't coming. As the day went by my hopes began to go down. All the others had left and been picked up and more were moving in to get scrubbed and cleaned for the next day. I just knew that no one would pick me. Especially since they didn't even want to come look at me before taking me home. I just knew it wasn't going to happen. I started to cry.

Then I saw a tired old van come down the road and turn into the parking lot. It looked old and worn out and ground to a halt in the place where other cars came when new cars and trucks were picked up. The driver jumped out and ambled across the parking lot. He shook the hand of a salesman and both went in the building where paper work happened.

Could this be the man that picked me? He didn't even give me a glance. He didn't even look my way. It really couldn't be him. I just resolved to the fact that I was doomed to be on a hill for ever.

After a time the two of them came out the door and began walking toward me. I could hardly keep from weeping from the emotion inside me as they came closer and closer.

They came right up close to me and the saleman said, "Well, here it is. What do you think?"

My heart was pounding and my tires were shaking as Old Dave replied, "It's just what I wanted. Thanks for all your effort getting him here."

Him? I'm a him? What's a him?

The salesman smiled and gave Old Dave my key. As Old Dave grabbed the door handle I could just tell that there was something different about this man. He climbed in the cab for the first time and started my motor up. I still couldn't believe I was going home with someone and that someone had picked me.

As we left the parking lot Old Dave began to talk to me and tell me about how I was picked to be a mighty steed that would carry a warrior. I didn't really know what that meant, but it began to make be feel good. Old Dave explained how I was a chosen truck and had a purpose in life. That purpose was to help those people that needed help. He explained that together we would be a team that would be called upon to move things, bring things home from the store for thoses that didn't have a truck. We would be hauling important things, hauling things to far away places, and hauling things that weren't so important just needed to taken to the dump.

These words were strange to me and me start to feel like an important truck. The words were encouraging and soothing. They made me feel secure and a sense of worth began rising up inside of me.

Old Dave continued to tell me about how he had a special place for me to stay which was right under his bedroom inside the very house that he lived in. I could hardly believe what I was hearing. Old Dave continually told me how together we would have wonderful adventures and be friends with exciting people.

So that's where I came from and how I found what my purpose in life was.