CJ-DC-and-Illiniguy.jpg

CJ, DC, Illiniguy, and Uncle Mike

“Do you get to meet with Ricochet members very often on the road?” asked Ricochet member Curious John, as he and Illiniguy and I enjoyed our burgers and beer. “Not often enough,” I said before explaining how the rigors of life on the road frequently conspire to make such get togethers virtually impossible. But, oh, how I wish the opposite were true.

I contacted CJ a few days ago to tell him that there was a chance, though not a certainty, that I would be in the neighborhood last night. I hate imposing, and I certainly don’t want to disrupt people’s schedules. But on the off-chance that things could work out, why not make the effort?  As it turned out, CJ was free, and so was Illiniguy.  

After delivering 30,000 pounds of Ziploc bags to Waukegan, Illinois, I drove north about 25 miles and found a large truck stop with ample parking just inside the Wisconsin state line where, in due course, I met CJ. He’s about as affable a gentleman as I’ve ever met, and I asked if he’d like to take a stroll in the cold wind, cross the parking lot in the back of the place and look at the Ride of Pride. He accepted. The sun had set, but the parking lot lights did a sufficient job of illuminating the truck’s artwork just a little. And since I had taken the time to clean my room, I gave him a quick tour of the cab’s interior as well. He seemed surprised by how spacious the thing was, and it seemed the highlight of the tour for him was seeing the alligator head on the night stand.  

Then it was on to a place called Uncle Mike’s Highway Pub, in nearby Kenosha, Wisconsin. What a friendly place, and I don’t think you’ll find a larger beer menu this side of Germany. We settled on a specialty beer that was brewed specifically for Uncle Mike’s Highway Pub. The waitress and CJ called it an, “IPA,” which I’m sure means something, but I forget what exactly. It had a slight bite to it, and a taste that seemed almost citric to me … but I found that the more I consumed of it the more I liked it. That’s happened before.  

The conversation was free-wheeling, including the discovery that both CJ and I do some of our best writing when behind the wheel. When traffic is calm, the ideas start to roll in. The trick, as we discussed, is keeping these ideas alive long enough to actually write them later. A speech to text electronic application of some sort is indispensable.   

And speaking of indispensable, a short time later, Illiniguy walked into the restaurant. I neglected to ask just how tall he is, but suffice to say that we all looked up to him.  Infact, I was happy that our photograph was taken while we were seated, otherwise it would have looked like bring your kid to work day, since both CJ and Illiniguy are a great deal taller than the Little Cajun here.  

Illiniguy is a tax attorney, a gentleman farmer, and a gentleman all around. With him on board, the conversation took more interesting turns than the Blue Ridge Parkway. We talked about history and how the most fascinating things about it tend to be biographical (at which point I suggested to Illiniguy that he really needs to get down to New Orleans sometime and explore the history there, since you can’t fall down without hitting your head on a fresh place where something fascinating happened at one time or another). We talked about food, and compared regional cuisines. 

Our conversation was punctuated at times by some lady with a microphone making incessant announcements. I couldn’t understand a thing she was saying since she sounded like the teacher from the Charlie Brown cartoon, only with the mic shoved halfway down her esophagus. But CJ and Illiniguy figured out that she was asking questions for a saloon-wide trivia contest that was taking place. Looking around, there were flat screens that displayed the questions for those of us who couldn’t make sense of what the lady was squawking about. One question, I believe, asked which state could boast giving the nation two presidents. Or something like that. At any rate, the answer was Massachusetts, as Illiniguy told the table next to us. They won that little round, thanks to the acumen of the on-scene Ricochettti.  

In between the trivia announcements, we talked about CJ’s hugely interesting Audio Meet-Ups, and his ideas on expanding the podcasts. If you haven’t had a chance to participate in one of those conversations, you’re missing out on some real meat and potatoes exchanges. And, as CJ and I agreed, you’re missing the chance to talk with a delightful Ricochet member, Nanda Panjandrum, who is CJ’s mainstay on the Audio Meet-Up.  

As the evening went on, we discussed our respective prognoses for the republic (fair to mostly dire), but eventually came around to the conclusion that, at some point, events will overcome and expose Barack Obama’s inability to lead and perhaps undercut current liberal trends. The magic question, of course, is how much of our liberty will be salvageable by that point. But that question would have to wait until next time, as we needed to adjourn and get some rest before reporting to work the following day to earn someone else’s “fair share” of goodies.  

But we left secure in the knowledge that friendships were forged, and happy that Ricochet has become such a delightful community of interesting and talented people from so many walks of life. As I told the gentlemen, I don’t get to meet nearly as many Ricochet folks as I’d like.  Hopefully I can improve on that this year which, come to think of it, would make for an excellent new year’s resolution.  

  1. 10 cents

    Last year Dave Carter was on the Member Audio Meet-up. I was impressed. I could tell that he really likes people and had as much fun listening as talking. Reading about this account gave me mixed feelings. The fun part is obvious whereas the sad part is the time goes by to fast with the regrets of “I wish I had said that.” or “I should have kept my mouth shut more.”

    This shows the amazing lodestone that Ricochet is. That people from all walks of life come together and become friends. I still cannot help but think this is a great start to a joke.  You know, “A truck driver, a tax lawyer, and a retail guy walk into a bar”.  It might not make a great joke but I have a feeling this would make a great sequel if RightinChicago made it a foursome. 

  2. Crow
    Kay Ludlow: IPA = India Pale Ale. So named because when the English transported ale to India, they found that they had to brew it with more hops than usual as the hops helped to preserve the ale on the long journey. That extra hops gives it that extra “bite” that you experienced.

    Sounds like a wonderful visit!

    Nothing like a lady who knows her beers!

    Sounds like you guys had a great meetup, Dave.

  3. Giantkiller

    Dave – let me second what others have said – seeing your byline draws my immediate attention.  It is always a treat to read your posts – well-written, insightful, funny.  And what man can honestly say he is not fascinated in some way by the thought of driving a huge rig across the country?

  4. Kay Ludlow

    IPA = India Pale Ale. So named because when the English transported ale to India, they found that they had to brew it with more hops than usual as the hops helped to preserve the ale on the long journey. That extra hops gives it that extra “bite” that you experienced.

    Sounds like a wonderful visit!

  5. Peter Robinson
    C

    Aw, Dave, but I wish I’d been there!

    And a question:

    “ A speech to text electronic application of some sort,” you write, “is indispensable.”

    Which software do you use?  And what do you talk into?  An iPhone or some such?

  6. Dave Carter
    C
    Peter Robinson: Aw, Dave, but I wish I’d been there!

    And a question:

    “ A speech to text electronic application of some sort,” you write, “is indispensable.”

    Which software do you use?  And what do you talk into?  An iPhone or some such? · 4 minutes ago

    I use a couple of things, Peter.  The Evernote application on my Android phone (they are available for iPhones, iPads, Macs, etc) has a voice to text function.  The most reliable for me, however, is the Siri function on my iPad Mini.  I say “take a note,” and it does so very reliably, with no loss in translation due to engine noise either.   The iPad Mini is the perfect size device for people who travel frequently.  

  7. jarhead
    C

    Dave, if you ever get down into Florida, let me know, as I’ll be glad to meet you at any truck stop restaurant within 100 miles of Tampa. 

  8. Dave Carter
    C
    Kay Ludlow: IPA = India Pale Ale. So named because when the English transported ale to India, they found that they had to brew it with more hops than usual as the hops helped to preserve the ale on the long journey. That extra hops gives it that extra “bite” that you experienced.

    Sounds like a wonderful visit! · 19 minutes ago

    Thanks so much for the explanation!  CJ (peace and blessings upon him) tried to explain this to me last night, but it went in one ear and out into the beer glass.  

  9. Dave Carter
    C
    jarhead: Dave, if you ever get down into Florida, let me know, as I’ll be glad to meet you at any truck stop restaurant within 100 miles of Tampa.  · 0 minutes ago

    I’ll do it.  What I’m going to have to do, is put together a database of people and locations so I’ll have one-stop access to a list of who is where.  

  10. RushBabe49

    I’m here to say that audio-meetups are WAY fun!  I participated in my first one on Monday, and as Tom Lehrer said “More, more, I’m STILL not satisfied” (Song called “Smut” from the 1970′s).

    I’m looking forward to organizing a personal Ricochet Meetup in Seattle in May.  The week before Memorial Day Hillsdale College is holding a National Leadership Seminar, and hubby and I would like to get something going.  I’m guessing there will be more than one other of us there.

  11. Habumike

    Thanks for another interesting and enjoyable post. I don’t suppose you ever RON (remain overnight) in the Omaha metro, DC (including Council Bluffs, IA)? Most every night I could get over there. I’d sure like to buy you a beer or three and chat.

  12. Nick Stuart
    Dave CarterAs the evening went on, we discussed our respective prognoses for the republic (fair to mostly dire), but eventually came around to the conclusion that, at some point, events will overcome and expose Barack Obama’s inability to lead and perhaps undercut current liberal trends.

    Our lips to God’s ear.

    Glad you guys were able to get together just over on the free side of the Cheddar Curtain. It isn’t for nothing that the People’s Republic of Illinois is known as the “Sucker State.” Just look at how it votes.

  13. EThompson
    Dave Carter

    jarhead: Dave, if you ever get down into Florida, let me know, as I’ll be glad to meet you at any truck stop restaurant within 100 miles of Tampa. 

    I’ll do it.  What I’m going to have to do, is put together a database of people and locations so I’ll have one-stop access to a list of who is where.  

    Pls don’t forget about Naples if you’re in the whereabouts of SW Florida!

  14. CuriousJohn

    Dave,

    Thanks for making the one and only time, Kenosha mini-Meetup, the highlight of being a Ricochetti 

    If you could, please, post the picture I asked you take for my dear friend. It screamed,  Nanda when I saw it. ….  Last night couldn’t have gone better. DC is “as advertised” folks. There’s no snake oil in those boots.
  15. Dave Carter
    C
    CuriousJohn: Dave,

    Thanks for making the one and only time, Kenosha mini-Meetup, the highlight of being a Ricochetti 

    If you could, please, post the picture I asked you take for my dear friend. It screamed,  Nanda when I saw it.

    Mobile-Chapel.jpgHere ya go, CJ and Nanda.  There is a thriving chapel program at many truck stops:

  16. CuriousJohn
    DocJay: I really have enjoyed CJ’s podcasts. What a great addition he has been here! I wish I did them more but the last time my wife thought I was having an affair and kept asking me what I was so “curious” about and if I was the John. · 7 hours ago

    That’s a first in many ways. 

  17. CuriousJohn
    10 cents: , “A truck driver, a tax lawyer, and a retail guy walk into a bar”.  …. I have a feeling this would make a great sequel if RightinChicago made it a foursome.

    Which one has a parrot on his shoulder?  and I see RightinChicago as the bartender in this joke.

  18. Whiskey Sam

    One of the great joys of Ricochet is Dave Carter’s accounts of his interactions with everyone else.  

  19. Illiniguy

    It was a pleasure meeting you, and if you find yourself again staying overnight in our area, please let me know. Be safe.

  20. GLDIII

    Dave

    I tried to cheer you up at your beside when the stones came to visit you  when you were passing through Rising Sun Maryland. The offer to connect always stands. Just ask the the Instugator, Western Con, or the Cons (Ray and Linda) of Colorado spring fame.

    III