Category Archives: Uncategorized

Road Trip Urges

They start off small. Very small. They start off as thoughts. Often, they’re thoughts about previous road trips. They don’t last a long time. But, they grow. They happen more often. Pretty soon, you’re conscious of them. That’s when you know. A road trip is in the making. It’s just a matter of time. I reach a point where I start thinking about planning because that’s what I do. That’s who I am.

Rest Stops

Rest Stops

When I was a young man, I road-tripped often. As I got older, the road trips became less frequent until there was a time when I never left home without my wife or some of my children. Then, as the nest emptied, I started to wander a little more. And more. And more. Today, I take several months a year, on average, and I go somewhere. Sometimes it’s in the United States. Sometimes it’s in Europe or Asia or Africa or South America. Next year, in 2018, I think that it will be in the United States in the Spring and in Europe later in the year. This post is the first one for getting my material in order for the trip.

The image that you see on the right is from a Google Map. It’s located here. Actually, there is a whole websited dedicated to the subject. I originally thought it was created by the people who publish The Next Exit, but now I believe it’s put out by Roundabout Publications, a group which publishes material for people who live the RV lifestyle and like to move around a lot.

Truck Research

Medical: All commercial drivers of vehicles in interstate commerce with a maximum gross vehicle weight rating of over 10,000 pounds (4,536 kilograms) are required to obtain and maintain a valid Medical Examiner’s Certificate (ME Certificate) (sic – no punctuation.) Medical Examiner’s Certificate – If the medical examiner finds that the person he/she examined is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), the medical examiner will complete a Medical Examiner’s Certificate and give the original to the person who was examined. The medical examiner will keep a copy of the Medical Examiner’s Certificate on file for at least 3 years. If a driver wishes the Certificate to be in card form, he/she may:

Purchase a separate “medical card” from an industry supplier of motor carrier forms (e.g., State trucking association) before the physical exam and ask the medical examiner to complete and sign it, in addition to the Medical Examination Report form; or
Print the Certificate on cardstock paper. It is permissible to reduce the size of the Certificate.

You need an FMCSA # if you weigh more than 10K pounds and haul hazmat or passengers or non-exempt freight. I’m not really clear at this point what non-exempt freight is. You only need a CDL if your total weight is over 26K pounds. Up to 26K pounds you do not need a CDL but you may need an FMCSA #. I would think an FMCSA # is a good thing and would help you get loads. It seems that there really is a viable market for people with small trucks hauling freight.

The key to making money is getting loads. I made money as a trucker not because I was a great driver. I made money because I had a computer next to me that I programmed to poll the load board I used every 15 seconds and processed what was on the board and then screamed at me if there was a load on the board that looked good. This enabled me to get a better shot at getting the load. All I had to do was to drive and wait for the computer to scream and then glance down at the number I needed to call. It would be even easier to do today. Plus today, I know how to send out emails and text messages from my PC to every broker I can get a phone number from.

Go here: https://www.uship.com/carriers/hot-shot-freight/ – this is a load board for people doing freight with small trucks. I got a login id and logged in. There were 73 loads going out within 100 miles of my house. 25 of them were “Cars & Light Trucks” that needed hauled. Some of them paid upwards of $2 a mile. 8 of them were in the “Horses”  category and were local delivery. There were 499 loads going out within 200 miles of my house. 

Go to: https://www.123loadboard.com/find-loads/oklahoma/all-cities/all-loads and click on hot-shot loads. Apparently, all load boards, and there are a bunch, have a hot-shot section as well as have loads that are less than 10K pounds.

More load boards: Hot Shot Carrier | Expedite Loads | Central Dispatch | Ship My Car

Read: Small truck, big service;

Stolen Bicycle

$300 Reward for Recovery

405-664-8145

Dahon 2013 Mu P8

Dahon 2013 Mu P8

THIS BICYCLE WAS STOLEN IN NORMAN, OK

This is a picture of a bicycle that is the same color and model of the bicycle that was stolen from my home on Thursday September 14, 2017 between 2-3 PM. I really like the bike. I prefer it to my carbon fiber road bike when I ride around town. If you can also drop off the person who stole it tied- up and unconscious with a sack over their head along with the bicycle there can be substantially more money involved.

Rolling Okie

Yes, it is a real lion and yes, I am taking it on an afternoon walk. It’s not a very common photo and I’m hoping that seeing a bike like the one above will trigger your memory into remembering this picture and thinking about my stolen bike. Memories and sights are like that. One triggers another.

Lion Walking

Lion Walking

Kayak Links 450

Level 1
CHICAGO IL
NEW YORK NY
ATLANTA GA
DALLAS/FORT WORTH TX
HOUSTON TX
LOS ANGELES CA
BOSTON MA
DENVER CO
MIAMI FL
SAN FRANCISCO CA
SEATTLE WA

——————————————

Level 2
NEWARK NJ
OKLAHOMA CITY
BALTIMORE MD
CHARLOTTE NC
DETROIT MI
FORT LAUDERDALE
LAS VEGAS NV
MINNEAPOLIS MN
ORLANDO FL
PHILADELPHIA PA
PHOENIX AZ
SALT LAKE CITY UT
SAN DIEGO CA
TAMPA FL
SAN JOSE

——————————————

The following do not need to be done.
PITTSBURG
SAN ANTONIO
JACKSONVILLE
ST LOUIS
RALEIGH/DURHAM
CLEVELAND

AMSTERDAM
ATHENS
BANGKOK
BEIJING
BERLIN
COPENHAGEN
DUBLIN
ISTANBUL
KUALA LUMPUR
LISBON
LONDON
MOSCOW
NEW DELHI
OSLO
ROME
SHANGHAI
SINGAPORE
STOCKHOLM
TAIPEI
TOKYO
VIENNA
ZURICH

New Kayak

NEW YORK NY | (400)
NEW YORK NY | (400)
ATLANTA GA | (400)
DALLAS/FORT WORTH TX | (400)
OKLAHOMA CITY | (400)
HOUSTON TX | (400)
LOS ANGELES CA | (400)
BOSTON MA | (400)
DENVER CO | (400)
MIAMI FL | (400)
SAN FRANCISCO CA | (400)
SEATTLE WA | (400)
NEWARK NJ | (400)

——————————————

Level 2
BALTIMORE MD | (400)
CHARLOTTE NC | (400)
DETROIT MI | (400)
FORT LAUDERDALE | (400)
LAS VEGAS NV | (400)
MINNEAPOLIS MN | (400)
ORLANDO FL | (400)
PHILADELPHIA PA | (400)
PHOENIX AZ | (400)
SALT LAKE CITY UT | (400)
SAN DIEGO CA | (400)
TAMPA FL | (400)
SAN JOSE | (400)

——————————————

The following do not need to be done.
PITTSBURG | (400)
SAN ANTONIO | (400)
JACKSONVILLE | (400)
ST LOUIS | (400)
RALEIGH/DURHAM | (400)
CLEVELAND | (400)

Places I Would LIke To Go

I’ve been a few places. I’m scheduled to go to a few more. But there are some places that I would love to explore a bit. There are even some places I’d love to explore a bit more. There have been times in the past when I’ve been somewhere and I’ve not allocated enough time there. Some places are a lot more enchanting than their pictures can convey. But, that’s not what this post is about. This post is about those places that I have seen in an image somewhere and it strikes me as a destination that is quite possibly too good to miss.

Here’s the list. I started it because I saw a picture of a place and I couldn’t really recognize where it was. It’s a reference for the future.

Cinque Terre, Italy (Images). Technically, I’ve been there. Realistically, I didn’t spend nearly enough time there. Perfect time to go is April-May or late September to mid-November.

Cappadocia, Turkey (Images). Never been. Need to go. Think Uchisar.

Ephesus, Turkey (Images). Never been. Need to go.

Santiago de Compostela, Spain (Images). Never been. Need to go. Walk there? From where?

Besalu, Girona, Catalonia, Spain (Images). Not far from Barcelona.

The Cost of Milford Sound

Milford Sound is, at least theoretically, New Zealand’s #1 attraction. It is located towards the southern end of the country’s south island. Getting there isn’t a problem. There are lots of ways to do it. Finding a place to stay isn’t really a big deal either. However, if you think you can just waltz into Queenstown, New Zealand, the jumping off point for Milford Sound, in the summer months and find a cheap place to stay then you don’t really understand how popular the tourist attraction really is. I’m here now and I haven’t seen anything but No Vacancy signs up at all the local accommodations that have signs out front telling the public whether they have vacancies or not. I would say that someone without a reservation who is looking for a place to sleep during the high season should expect to pay a significant sum of money for their accommodations.

jucy

jucy

But that’s not what this post is about. What I’m looking at in this post  is what I would have to pay to get to Milford Sound from Queenstown on a one day trip. I’m going to compare that to what I paid to get there using a rental car. I paid significantly more than someone who was taking a bus trip but there was a reason. I’ll get to that soon. Most of the trips to Milford Sound are tour buses that take you from either Queenstown or Te Anua and put you on a boat where you spend somewhere between 1.5 and 2.5 hours riding around the sound, looking at one of Mother Nature’s better creations. The bare minimum price for the ride is $45 AUD with either Orange or Jucy. Both those cruises are first-thing-in-the-morning cruises. Mid afternoon cruises can cost twice that due to simple supply and demand. The $45 AUD does not include any transportation. If you want to throw in a bus ride from Queenstown the price goes up to $125 for Orange and $115 for Jucy. The trip from Queenstown will take 4+ hours to get there and 4+ hours to get back.

I rented a car at the Queenstown airport when I went to Milford Sound.. The car cost me $123 AUD for a 3 day rental. I didn’t have to pay the $12 AUD to get from the airport to Queenstown and the $12 AUD to get back to the airport. that the vast majority of people pay when they ride the public bus to and from the airport. My cruise wound up costing me $22.50 AUD as I rented a car from Jucy and got a 50% discount. I didn’t have to stay in Queenstown. I stayed in Te Anau, a small town located half way between Queenstown and Milford Sound. That means that my trip to Milford Sound wasn’t a 4+ hour drive there and back. It was a 2+ hour drive each way. While I would have liked to have had someone else drive me there and back, I didn’t want to sit on a bus for almost 10 hours. Plus, I would have had the cost of buying a lunch somewhere and it’s muyunderstanding that those bus lunches don’t come cheap. I went to the store and just grabbed a couple of cheap snacks for my trip. This saved a few AUD for food. Another thing I could do with the car was to go out sightseeing. I did a lot of that. I could stop the car anywhere and get out and take some photos. I couldn’t do that on the bus. One thing I did have to do was to buy fuel and that was what really shot the price up. I spent a total of $xxx AUD on fuel. That was the major cost difference as far as the rental car versus bus trip was concerned.

Was I glad I got the rental car? Absolutely. It was great. I could go wherever I wanted and I put a bunch of miles on the car wandering around places I would have never been able to go without the car. Yes, it wound up costing me some extra money but I feel the cost was worth it. There’s not a lot of public transportation when you get into rural New Zealand. A car is important if you want or need flexibility. Plus, I got to experience what it was like to drive around New Zealand.

Asia 2017 Local Transportation

This is the transportation breakdown for local transportation in the cities I visited. Some cities had no cost because they were small and I didn’t require local transportation. Often, I tried to get day passes when I though they were worth it and they were available. Other times I just paid by the ride. Continue reading

Asia 2017 Day 1

Today I leave for Asia. Luckily, I  happened to have done things right for the departure of this trip. I booked a flight from OKC to LAX for 6:00 PM. That’s actually an excellent time to leave for an 11:00 PM departure from the Los Angeles LAX airport. I was able to get through security quickly with my new TSA Pre number. I arrived into LAX in 4 hours and 20 minutes after the plane left the Jetway and that included a one hour delay on the tarmac as weather conditions in Los Angeles were bad. I had built enough time into the layover at LAX that the one hour delay didn’t cause me any problems and I still had a couple of hours to wander around the Los Angeles airport. I had forgotten just how big the Tom Bradley Terminal is.

The flight was relatively smooth. The only problem was that the 13 hours of sitting in an airplane seat wasn’t kind to my buttocks. I vowed spend an extra $3,000 USD to fly First Class the next time I flew that far, a vow I know that I’ll never keep. However, thanks to the fact that I cycle a lot the damage wasn’t too bad. I got off the flight, got some money and bought a card for the local bus/train/ferry system. The bus/train ride into the Auckland Central Business District (CBD) set me back about $4.70 USD and took me about an hour. Along the way I got to see some of Auckland. At the downtown transportation center I got off the  bus and walked to the hostel. By the time I arrived I regretted not having done a little training for the trip by walking with a loaded rucksack prior to actually taking the trip. Once at the hostel I got a bed in a dorm which set me back about $21 a night for two nights. I occupied one bed in a six-bed room with a bath down the hall. Not luxurious, but the room was very clean and there was a security locker with an electric outlet in it for charging my electronics overnight. That’s a nice touch that I haven’t often found in hostel dorms.

I left the hostel and went exploring. I caught the bus to the transportation center in Auckland which is in the heart of the Central Business District.  Auckland seems to have a nice public transportation system. By the time I would leave Auckland I would found that I became attached to their system. It helped me to travel around town nicely and at a very reasonable cost. The trip from the hostel the heart of Auckland had only cost me $0.35 USD. I decided I was going to be taking the bus a lot more in Auckland and walking a lot less. I could see a mi-afternoon nap or two in my future. While I prefer not to take taxis because of the potential cost differentiation between taxis and public buses, I’ll be the first to tell you that taxis will almost always be more convenient than buses when getting around a large city. I’ll also tell you that learning a bus system in a city can be something of a huge pain and it’s almost always a bit challenging at the very least. Bus systems can easily take a week of trials and errors for me to become acclimated to them and I am often out of a city in less time than 7 days if the city isn’t a major tourist destination. The only salvation I can see for riding buses hours and hours in the wrong direction is that I get to see a lot of a city. If that view of the city ever becomes a little “rougher” than I might want, I simply get off of the bus, walk across the street and find a bus top where I can board the same bus number going back to where I came.

My first stop in the tourist areas of Auckland was the Sky Tower, an observation and telecommunications tower which rises to a height of almost 1,100 feet making it, supposedly, the tallest freestanding structure in the Southern Hemisphere. I wanted to see it because statements like that impress me. I’m into statements like “tallest freestanding structure in the Southern Hemisphere” and other superlatives. While I consider worshiping at the alter of superlatives a character flaw, I, like most people, seem to get hung-up in it. The Sky Tower is also a part of the SkyCity complex which houses a casino, hotel and events center in downtown Auckland and I have another character flaw of enjoying a cruise through a casino. There is something that’s sadly exciting about it. The big thrill of the Sky Tower isn’t the proximity to the casino, it’s the SkyWalk and the SkyJump. To get the full impact of the experiences you might want to start with the videos. If you want to know whether I even considered either of the extreme sensual stimulations the answer would be a resounding “No!” I didn’t part with the $20 USD it costs to go to the observation deck. While I would have liked to have gone up there, it just wasn’t worth $20 to me. Another option, which was my first preference, was to have lunch in New Zealand’s only elevated revolving restaurant that is located even higher up the tower than the observation deck. The restaurant, however, has a $21 USD minimum purchase for lunch and a $28 USD minimum purchase for dinner. I think I would have done lunch there if I hadn’t been in more than my share of observation towers over the last few years and I had been in a more significant tourist location than Auckland. The potentials for the SkyWalk and the SkyJump did cause me to spend some time watching the video. Do I think I could ever be persuaded to do either of them? For the right amount of money, sure.

I spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the Auckland CBD trying to get my bearings and seeing how difficult it was to find some of the landmarks and attractions I had on my list. This was also my first real effort to use my new phone and the maps.me software to help me find my way around the city. The maps.me software allowed me to use the built-in GPS on my phone to be able to pinpoint my location on a very detailed map without having to be connected to Wi-Fi. I could actually watch my position on the moving map which would help me to find some of the attractions I wanted to see and to find them with relative ease. I had practice with it at home but I knew that my familiarity with my location in Oklahoma City meant that I wasn’t learning how to use the software as well as I would have liked. Trying out the new moving map technology without the aid of an Internet connection was my goal. I wanted to learn how to use the technology really well so that I could find tourist attractions with relative ease.