Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Truck Tires, Titles, & Tents

Two days ago while Allan was fueling up the truck, he noticed a bulge extending out of the side of one rear tire. It seemed like just the other day that we had gotten new tires for the truck but after looking at our truck records, it turns out to have been over 60,000 miles ago. There was only one commercial truck tire dealer in the area where we were staying and they would have to order the tires, but yesterday the tires arrived and we drove over for a 20 minute transaction of two 10-ply rear tires replaced for a cost of over $400. That was surely not in our budget for this month, I can tell you.... but it is worth it to know that we will not be having a blowout while pulling the rig. To the left is a photo of one of our new tires. What was on our budget for this month was a screen canopy room so that we could sit outside when the mosquitos were out and about. After Cape Cod, where I got over 50 bites while sitting outside one night, we realized we would have to take some action or I would be confined to quarters for a good part of the trip. For some reason, Allan is not bothered as much by them as I am although he does occasionally get bites too. We did some research on-line and although there were a number of brands of screen canopy out there, none of them got good reviews. However, the L.L.Bean screen tent canopy got high to medium reviews and they have a full return policy so that seemed the way to go. We were going to wait until we got to Freeport and go to the Mother Store but when we were out the other day we ran into a small store nearby and purchased it there. I can definitely say it went together quick as a wink, it only weighs 15 pounds, and it fits under our awning which is where we wanted it to be placed. On the other hand it is only a screen room and is not waterproof so we will probably get a piece of clear plastic from Home Depot to hang from the outside of the awning if we should have some rain. It looks tiny in the photo but is actually 6'6" high and the dogs like it because they can walk around free of their leashes while we are sitting inside reading. Although for the most part we don't have a mosquito problem when we are traveling in the West, we really could have used this screen room when we were in Chama, NM last year. We had intended to stay there for 3 weeks but I couldn't go outside without mosquitos landing on my arms or face, so we ended up leaving early. One mosquito in Chama was practically swimming in the insect repellant I had on my arm, but was still resolutely drilling for blood. So hopefully the screen room will solve some of that problem. . . . . While we were hanging around Foxboro doing all of these tire and tent errands, we drove to a nearby town called Franklin to visit the Shire Used Bookshop in a converted mill. It was enormous and all of the original windows, fixtures, and wood floors were all still in place. We knew as soon as we stepped in the door that we would find some new treasures, there were dust motes shining in the air and the owner stood up to say hello and offer us some tea as we browsed. There is a quotation in Anne Fadiman's book Ex Libris by Vincent Starrett who said about book collecting in his book Penny Wise and Book Foolish, "Every new search is a voyage to the Indies, a quest for buried treasure, a journey to the end of the rainbow; and whether or not at the end there shall be turned up a pot of gold or merely a delightful volume, there are always wonders along the way." Well we did find some delightful volumes. Allan found the "Four Voyages of Columbus" with 5 of the 8 documents inside written by Christopher Columbus in the original Spanish, with English translations. He also found Toynbee's Greek Historical Thought, Combined Operations (the Official Story of the Commandos), and the Explorations Of Captain James Cook In The Pacific as told by selections of his own journals, and a few others along the same vein. I found Seven League Boots by Richard Halliburton, Sea and Sardinia by D.H. Lawrence, Travels With A Donkey by Robert Louis Stevenson, a couple of books of essays, and Bone In The Throat by Anthony Bourdain. Anthony Bourdain is making quite a literary presence of himself after his career as a top chef. First the books that he wrote on food, then the travel books, now he has embarked on mysteries. As we stepped up to the cash register, I couldn't help thinking of Henry Ward Beecher when he said "Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore!"

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