That’s right, the name says it all
this week. December 2nd, 2005, I finally turned 21! That means
all partying and drinking, stumbling in the front door a few hours before
sunrise, and waking up with a splitting headache, right? Umm….not
quite; at least not for me. My birthday fell on a Friday this year,
which means I probably would have gone out with some friends (minus the
heavy drinking and stumbling), but I would find myself on the road to
Maysville, KY this year. That being said, let’s back up a bit.
My week was about an even split between working on the R/T to get it ready
for its final gig of the year, and helping Geremie and Travis strip the
near-new graphics and adhesive off of the Rammunition transporter.
Using a flamethrower technique similar to what the guys at Competition
Graphics use (see my "North and South" article), G and Travis managed to
get 90% of the graphics off in one day. The adhesive, on the other
hand, would prove to be quite a bit more stubborn. When the vinyl is
removed from the trailer, it leaves behind an adhesive film that has to be
removed before the trailer can be pulled to Detroit for new graphics; if
you don’t remove the adhesive, it will collect dust, dirt, road grime, and
other “not-friendly-to-fancy-vinyl-graphics” pollutants. Though it
took a couple days for our fingers to grow back, the work was worth it as
it cuts the down-time at CG to three days, instead of four or five.
The next trailer to be stripped will be our R/T hauler, which will begin
its stripping process this week.
The Raminator R/T hauler.
Travis and I pulled out of the shop Friday morning, with me behind the
wheel once again. This time, however, I wouldn’t have to yield to my
over-21 companion at the border, as my newly-found increase in age has now
granted me the legal right to operate a commercial vehicle out of the
state of Illinois. Somewhat ironic that this privilege is granted to
me on the same day as the right to drink legally, don’t you think?
Well, there won’t be any mixing of the two. That being said, the
drive to Maysville was pretty normal, i.e. boring. As we closed in
on our destination, however, it became apparent that this particular area
of the Ohio River Valley has been around for some time; the rustic
pre-turn-of-the-century architecture fit in nicely with the rolling hills
of southern Ohio/ northern Kentucky.
We arrived at Maysville C-J-D, and after getting acquainted with everyone,
they were nice enough to open up a service bay for us to pull the R/T into
for the night. Temperatures for Saturday were scheduled to be every
bit as cold as Friday, and with the morning being the coldest part of the
day, we figured it would be easier to fire the truck up while it was 32
degrees, as opposed to the forecasted low of 18 degrees. After
getting our loaner Dodge Intrepid sedan, we secured a hotel room and then
went out in search of a birthday dinner. While it is always best to
be able to spend one’s birthday at home, I don’t think I could have asked
for a better friend and teammate than Travis to hit the road with on my
B-day. After taking our time to enjoy a hot meal from Applebee’s
(hey, it was that or Wendy’s!), we raided the near-by Wal-Mart Supercenter.
Being on the road as much as I am lets you do X-mas gift shopping in one
of the most clandestine ways known to man. After marking off some
names on my gift list, we headed to the old downtown sector of Maysville.
Downtown Maysville is arguably one of the oldest towns in all of Kentucky,
and it has the traditional pre-1900’s architecture to back it up. In
fact, one of the downtown banks had the phrase “The Oldest Bank in
Kentucky” written on the back wall above the enormous classic-style vault
door. Located literally on the banks of the mighty Ohio river, the
town was a real treat to explore, especially considering we practically
had the place to ourselves as the clock struck 10pm. One store
window had a fascinating framed picture of the downtown area shot from an
airplane. Judging by the quality of the photo and knowing a bit
about aviation, I’m guessing the picture probably dates back to the 1920’s
or 1930’s. The centerpiece of the downtown area was the beautiful
two-lane suspension bridge that spans the Ohio river, connecting the
residents of Kentucky and Ohio. After my historic and photographic
interests were satisfied, it was time to head back to the hotel and catch
some much-needed rest.
The Maysville bridge at night.
Classic photo of
historic Maysville, shot through the window of the building. Creative, eh?
This alleyway just looked cool…like something out of an X-Files episode.
The Oldest Bank in
Kentucky! Check out the awesome (and huge) vault on the back wall.
Saturday brought cold temperatures and a searing wind, though we expected
as much, and came prepared with winter weather gear to tire up in.
The Raminator R/T is a native of warmer climes (like shop bays), so it
didn’t hesitate to fire right up after sitting all night in 70 degree
bliss. However, I almost swear I heard it griping at me as I backed
it out into the 20 degree weather of northern Kentucky. Thankfully,
tiring up didn’t take too long at all. While more people turned out
to ride the truck than I had expected, with temperatures being cold enough
to make an Eskimo shiver, the groups of ride seekers were spread out over
the length of the day. This worked out well for Travis and I, as it
gave us a chance to hang out in the showroom and warm up between rides.
I’m pretty sure I drained the service department coffee pot at least
twice. Much respect and thanks to the hard-core Kentuckians who came
out in the cold and rode the R/T; you guys made the final R/T gig of the
year a successful one!
R/T hangin’ out at Maysville C-J-D.
C’mon guys, it’s the UK, not the U of I! Back to work!
Travis looking for the Raminator ad in the local paper.
Another hapless soul gets his Ram horns, courtesy of Travis.
The dealership guys were a hoot to
hang out with, especially during the UK vs. UNC basketball game; I thought
we were going to have to get a referee for those guys! As the day
winded down, the sales staff and GM piled in front of , in, and on the R/T
to get their picture taken. As you can see, they liked clowning
around….a lot. I’m guessing that when their parents took them to
Sears for their yearly pictures as young kids, they were the ones picking
their noses and sticking their tongues out.
This is as serious as these guys get.
After a slow-paced yet [thankfully] uneventful trip home in the sleet and
rain, it was time to head home and enjoy a bit of after-birthday
festivities. Primarily napping , wrapping X-mas gifts, shopping, and
opening a couple birthday gifts that came while I was gone. Thanks
to all my friends and family for their birthday wishes, cards, gifts, etc.
It feels like just yesterday I was 18 and starting my first week of work
for HBR…now, almost three years later, I’m up to my eyes in the monster
truck lifestyle. The last 21 years have been good to me; here’s to a
whole bunch more. Like Joe Walsh says, “Life’s been good to me so
far”. Thanks for reading.
Email KD and let him know what you