Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest

Monday, June 29, 2015


My wife and I got home Saturday night after ten days and 3600 miles on the road. We drove to Sioux City, Iowa to visit her father at the Holy Spirit retirement center. Usually when she goes, she flies, but this time she thought she might want to bring some stuff back, so we took her car, a 2006 Mitsubishi Endeavor.

Decker Truck on the way to Iowa.
   On the way there, not far out of Portland, I spotted a semi-truck from the Decker Trucking Company in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Fort Dodge is only about 20 miles from Rockwell City, my wife's home town. We used to fly into the small airport there. So right off the bat we know we're on the right road. We saw the same truck several times over the next couple of days. I'm pretty sure it was the same truck. We saw another one on the trip home. This one had a shinier trailer, and once again we saw it several times over the three days it took it us to get home.
    Eastern Washington is the most desolate looking place on Earth. Nothing but dry, brown scrub as far the eye can see. Once we got to Idaho things turned green. It was nice. Not much to see but grass and cows, but at least the grass was green. Much more pleasant than Eastern Washington.

Harleys parked in front of the Holiday Inn in Sioux City
    We got to Sioux City on Saturday evening, a week ago. There is major road construction going on downtown, so getting to the hotel required some wandering around. Just when we think we've got things sorted out we find our way blocked by the biggest gang of bikers you ever saw. News reports put the total at 25,000. I know we saw thousands of motorcycles parked in the street. Getting to the hotel required more deviations. Sioux City isn't that big, downtown is maybe ten blocks square, and our hotel and the biker party were both there. These weren't your regular bikers, they had filled the hotels. There were probably a hundred Harley's parked at the Holiday Inn where we were staying.

Sioux City, the morning after
    After the big biker brawl in Waco (Warning: CNN takes forever and a day to load, not as bad as some others) earlier this year, and seeing that Iowa does not require helmets, I was expecting a blood bath. I got up early the next morning to look for evidence, but the street cleaners beat me to it. All the evidence had been washed away.
    Rockwell City is still hanging on. Grandpa was selling his cars to the local dealer, so we paid him a visit to take care of business. I was surprised to see that he had a lot full of new cars for sale. There must have been a hundred, this in a town of maybe 1500 souls. He seems to be doing okay. Matter of fact, the whole area seems to be doing okay. I suspect things have consolidated some and now there is enough business to support the reduced population.

    We covered 3600 miles, burned 140 gallons of gas, which works out to about 25 miles per gallon, which is pretty durn good considering we were cruising at 80 MPH for most of the way. South Dakota had the highest speed limit at 80 MPH. Normally I set the cruise control to 10 MPH over the limit, but 90 was a little unsettling. The car handled it fine, but there was something in the back of my brain telling me we were in dangerous territory. There wasn't much traffic, but there were still occasional incidents of people not paying strict attention. Besides, the little computer display claimed our mileage had dropped to 15 MPG, the lowest I had ever seen it.
    The trip cost a little over two grand, hotels were almost half of that. We ate in 'nice' restaurants mostly, so our food (and beverage) bill was a little more than the gasoline. Premium gas (required by our high performance utility vehicle) averaged $3.29 a gallon, but we saw places where it was only $2.65. We only ran into one place that did not have premium, but there was another station a mile up the freeway that did, so it wasn't a problem.
     We saw a lot of Minervas. We ate at the one in Rapid City twice, and also at the one in Sioux Falls.


Ole Phat Stu said...

I'm planning to ride my bike over to the Ukraine later this year, so I just went to the doc to get the needed vaccinations.

For which I had to pay more than I expect to pay for petrol for the 3000+ mile trip :-(

AndrewP said...

Hello from Spirit Lake IA. Cool & green, refreshing compared with Martian scape of Tucson AZ. It's good to be alive.
I came within milliseconds of eternity at a Kansas 2 Lane intersection, 800 mile fatigue, reality differed from my minds eye, focused on traffic to right I pulled in front of a 80mph car from the left, "WTF?" the almost-last thought for both drivers.
I've never had that happen b4, tired, GPS map cell phone distraction, I always look both ways twice. Now I know how accident happen on wide open highways. The poor soul in the other vehicle would have never had a chance.

AndrewP said...
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