Monday, April 7, 2008

Long Trips and Hot Nights

Ah, I still have the wretched cold, settled into my lungs and sinuses. Still, I managed a dance to Fat Bottomed Girls on the bar at Coyote Ugly Friday night, and fire safety training on Sunday evening.

I rode down with Larry to Vegas, we got in quite late. This is the first time I'd been to the SME plant to pick up steel. He was carrying "FAK" or freight all kinds, dunnage and welders and general crap which needed returned from the construction site in LV to the main plant in Utah. Then we pulled over the the steel staging area. The day was windy and overcast, there few shadows were indistinct smudges. There is a hay field next to the steel, no signs of life at the south end, just tattered plastic bags stuck in the fence and piss jugs truckers had tossed. I had visions of the empty industrial landscapes from Stephen King's novel, The Stand. The piles of steel are the bones of new casinos and hotels, waiting silently under their veneer of dust and rust, marked with cryptic numbers in chalk and paint like arcane hieroglyphics; construction tape fluttering in bright ribbons of pink and green and white and yellow to mark family reunions of metal. So much metal, flanges in newly welded grey, browned beams which have had time in the weather, and rust primer red; curved beams looking for all the world like a rack of Flintstone ribs. Each pile is actually carefully built into a load which will be safe for transport. Lying in their cradles of discarded beams, the steel slumbers before the trundling forklifts beep their way to lift their offerings onto the trailers of the semis. I found it disturbing, watching the workers and my husband standing inches under the tons of steel hoisted on the forks while adjusting the wood which lifts and separates the beams. Dunnage ... the brassiere of interstate trucking.

MyLarry then chained the load, reaching a gloved hand up and hauling himself onto the pile of steel. He tosses those chains as though they were ropes, I know each weighs in at 50 pounds. No wonder he has outgrown the shoulders of his shirts. And I know why they call him the Monkey Man, he just climbs up as though the steel were there for his amusement. Sometimes I think that's true.

The ride down and back was unremarkable, in fact, I was pretty miserable for some of it. Coyote Ugly was crowded, but I love Vegas people watching. Had entirely inappropriate conversation with the site foreman once more. Still think he's hitting on me, which is confusing for a fat old married lady. The Sunday ride through the desert was awesome, the mesquite and joshua trees are all green and perky, there are carpets of red and yellow flowers lining the interstate. even some of the cactus is in bloom vivid purple; at one point there were lavender flowers edged with white blossoms of some kind coated the dirt banks along the road. Virgin River Gorge is as spectacular as ever.

Sunday night was a fire safety training. This is information and skills that both MyLarry and I are familiar with, from our Navy days, plus we've been doing it for a couple years now with the Utah burners. Basically, knowing the different fuels, transport and storage, how they burn one fire toys, how to snuff a toy, how to rescue a performer who has caught themselves on fire. Fun stuff. For true breath-taking amazement, have a gander at the amazing people we are honored to work with on their demo video:

I may have been sick, but I wouldn't have missed any of it by choice!

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