Monday, April 30, 2012

Tumbleweeds in the Land of the Lost

As I mentioned in my Pterodactyl post, the Tumbleweeds spent a rainy afternoon at Dinosaur World in Cave City, Kentucky.

Sure, a walk through the forest among fiberglass dinosaurs is an attraction aimed at children (and we have none) but the tiger-striped T-Rex that we have passed so many times on I-65, seemed to beckon us with his tiny, tiny arms. 

So we gave in and visited and I hugged his leg.

See the blue thing
at the bottom?
That's me.

There are over 100 dinosaurs in the park, scattered among the native vegetation along a leisurely half mile walk. It was foggy and rainy the day we went which added to its appeal because:

A: It seemed more prehistoric. 
B: There were very few people. And even fewer children hogging up all the fun stuff.

For the most part, the dinosaurs weren't too cheesy and the way they were nestled in the trees and bushes looked almost natural.

A meat-eater and space traveler.
In 1998 a Coelophysis skull
traveled to the space station Mir
on the Shuttle Endeavor. 

A fast and agile meat-eater
from the Triassic Period.
The crest along its snout is thought
to be for dinosaur sexy-time.

(I made that one up)

Some were more cheesy than others.

Tsintaosaurus or Kidnplayosaurus?
You decide.

Real name, fake color.

The Velociraptor should be fearsome and wily like in Jurassic Park XXII.

Instead they did this:

Velociraptor with giant man-hands and crazy eyes.

They had a playground for children only (why do they always get to do the fun stuff?) but Kentucky is a very safety conscious state and the kiddies had to put their cigarettes out first.


Also for children only was a "fossil dig" area, but the joke's on them because I saw a Dinosaur World employee planting the "fossils" in the sand for them to find. Kids are such sissies.

There was a giant puzzle that wasn't for children only, so we put it together. Upside down. Because we're rebels like that.

A plant-eater with a
brain the size of a walnut.

Woolly Mammoth
A baby Mammoth was found in Siberia in 2010
fully preserved, hair and all.
It looks like a deflated

T-Rex sneaking up on a Triceratops.
I'll bet he's on his tiptoes.

Ultrasaurus herd.

These plant-eaters weighed
up to 80 tons.
That's a LOT of leaves.

It was a nice way to take a break from the road for a couple of hours. Even without kids.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Super Genius on a Segway

In this week's Douglas Budget my column is all about the super genius idea I have for the future of my town. Go here and read all about it and feel free to use it for your town too. Just remember to give me credit for the idea. And lots of money.

Because y'all are so special to me (and my editor at the newspaper won't let me do it there), I am sharing 50 seconds of video of the inspiring event.

I apologize for the shaky camera*, but as I had only learned how to ride the Segway five minutes before and was on a busy public street, why wouldn't try to ride the thing with one hand while filming?

My cocky attitude goes away at about the 45 second point when I ride over a bump the size of the Great Wall of China and almost have a heart-attack.

* Or am I just super cool? Because we recently saw The Hunger Games and the first twenty minutes of that movie were so shaky I felt the need for Dramamine.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pterrific Pterodactyls in Kenptucky!

 Pterosaur World would be more accurate.

Recently, the Tumbleweeds went back in time a few million years, to stroll among prehistoric creatures in the Kentucky forest.

I took a least 2.7 times eleventy pictures, so I'm going to break up this exciting visit and today's post is only going to concentrate on Pterodactyls. Because I love them.

Here at Confessions of a Tumbleweed, I like to be facty when I can, so I have to start with this:

I know that I am using the term Pterodactyl incorrectly. Pterodactyls are a subset of the order that is pterosaur. But I like the word Pterodactyl. And not only that, I capitalize it on purpose even though it shouldn't be while at the same time I refuse to capitalize internet.  

I'm such a rebel.

I fell in love with Pterodactyls from the first moment I saw them as a kid on that Sid and Marty Krofft documentary tv show from the '70s, Land of the Lost.

Also I can make the most annoying terrifying Pterodactyl sound ever. I would love to post the sound here, but I'm afraid it would diminish the it somehow. You know, how the early Native Americans thought that having their photo taken would steal their souls? Like that.

We have passed Dinosaur World in Cave City, KY several times; it's right off of I-65 in the south west part of the state. In fact, in the last month it seems as if we were on that stretch of road 47∛ times.

Sometimes it happens that way. We get stuck in a worm-hole of sameness: pick up a load at point A. Deliver to point B. Then deliver from point B and go back to point A. Then again.

It was inevitable, after seeing the billboards so often, that we made the time to visit Dinosaur World. And I'm glad we did.

I *really* like Pterodactyls.

I ordered this cake the last year when we were home about a month after Himself's birthday.

The bakery in our town has the best birthday cakes ever--the frosting hurts your teeth it's so good--and the elderly baker wrote down my order with such aplomb, that you would think the tiny Wyoming bakery got orders for Pterodactyl cakes all the time.

Friday, April 20, 2012

What Grizzly Adams Can Teach Us About Public Urination

Have you washed your hands today
Mr. Tyson chicken pee-er?

While we're on the subject of disgusting people, what is it about men, especially truckers, peeing outside? I understand if you're Grizzly Adams, living out in the wilderness with a bear, why you'd need to pee outside. But when you're 50 yards from a building with indoor plumbing, not so much.

Grizzly and Ben,
looking for the perfect pee spot.
In the wild.

If you do happen to be Grizzly Adams walking through the forest with a bear on your back and need to pee, the dirt and grass will soak it up. Peeing on pavement just sits there in a puddle, waiting for some unsuspecting person and their dog to walk through it.

Walk through a truck stop parking lot on a hot day and you'll soon discover the pungent aroma of urine, wafting up to assault your nostrils and make you wish you had a touch of anosmia. And the ability to hover.

I realize I'm painting a rather nasty picture of truckers, they certainly all aren't that way. Himself would never in a million years pee on the pavement; with or without a bear.

But I think that being alone for long stretches of time must do something to some trucker's brains that makes them think they are all alone in the world and that no one can see them peeing in broad daylight in the middle of a parking lot.

I didn't confront the Tyson chicken pee-er because I only saw him as we were leaving the parking lot but I did call the company and let them know that they had a public pavement pee-er in their midst.

Guess where his hands are right now!

One time, while walking the Jas, I saw a trucker at a rest area peeing between his truck and trailer. I walked up to him and said he was giving decent truckers a bad name by being so nasty. He at least had the good manners to look ashamed but his wife came out of the truck and yelled at me that it's no different than my dog peeing outside.

Yes, she compared her husband to a dog.

Well lady, my dog licks her own butt and eats goose turds.

Of course I was too flustered to come up with that witty response, so I just yelled something back at her along the lines of, I know you are but what am I? The yelling went on for a while until we just kind of fizzled out and I walked away.

I'm not good at fighting.

In fact, even though I was the one who started it and it was a confrontational situation and I was being yelled at, I let it go on too long because I didn't want to be rude by walking away before the wife finished yelling. I blame it on my upbringing.

That's called southern hospitality y'all.


This is not Grizzly Adams, but I'd like to think he and Guy on a Buffalo would be friends. And they would never pee on pavement, even if they were straight up being mauled by a cougar.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Dinosaurs, Doritos, and Disgusting People

Tampa T-Rex

Last week we were in Florida, swimming and getting attacked by fish and enjoying tropical weather and two days ago we were in Denver, looking at snowy mountains and walking through a prairie dog town.

I'm going to miss that diversity.

One thing I won't miss, however, is this:

Himself: "Hi, we'd like to buy a shower, please."

Truck stop cashier: "Ok. But it will be a few minutes, they are being cleaned, but someone went to the bathroom in one and it may take a while."


I won't elaborate any further, other than to say that the shower rooms at this truck stop have no toilets in them. And she wasn't talking about pee.

To help you erase that lovely image from your mind, I leave you with this picture, showing what happens to a bag of Doritos when it travels from sea level to the Mile High City:

You should see what it does to a squirt bottle of mustard when I open it, but you have been traumatized enough. For today.

Monday, April 16, 2012

How to Win Friends and Alienate People with Sand Flea Knowledge


As you know, we survived the Great Vicious Fish Attack of 2012, but I have more to share with y'all from that Sarasota, Florida trip. And no, it's not pictures of me in a bikini, I won't traumatize you with that image. Just picture a pasty Shamu in hot pink and you'll have an idea.

The Tumbleweed's beach ride, Mr. Blue.

After Himself saved the toadfish from certain death by herding it away from the crushing waves, we had to amuse ourselves on the beach while the vindictive toadfish went back to be among his/her own kind.

Normal people would have walked the beach, but that's too much like exercise for me, so we did what we always do: dug holes in the sand.

I don't know what it is about digging in the sand, but I find it very relaxing.

We were at Turtle Beach, where the shore is coarse and not "sandy" at all. A close look at a handful reveals gazillions of small, various colored shells.

But less than 10 miles up the coast, on the north end of the same key, the sand is totally different. There, on Siesta Beach, the sand is pure white and powdery. A fact that the city never tires of touting.

I like the rough feel of the sand at Turtle Beach better and it's also less crowded and has vindictive fish and stuff, so that's where we go.

As Himself and I were busy digging holes, we found another creature to torture play with; sand crabs, aka sand fleas.


I didn't take the pictures of these fellas because neither I nor Himself wanted to quit digging for them, wipe off our hands, and fish the camera out of the bag. We were having too much fun catching them. (Yes we have the maturity of 11 year-olds.)

Sand fleas burrow just under the sand and they do it very quickly. They're fun to catch and their little feet tickle when they crawl around in your hands.


Sand fleas don't bite and have no claws. That pointy thing on its underside isn't used for digging either, it's used to protect its tender belly and as an anchor while feeding. It's called a telsor and on the female it also hides her eggs.

And now you can alienate impess your friends and co-workers with a bit of useless knowledge; why not try to work telsor in a conversation today?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Great Vicious Fish Attack of 2012

Himself in the distance,
before the vicious attack.

It was The Great Vicious Fish Attack of 2012, a day which will live in infamy. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Ask not for whom the bell tolls and call me Ishmael.

To be fair, if the fish were telling his side of the story, it would be The Great Vicious Human Attack of 2012, but it's not my fault fish have no internet access. Or fingers.

Himself and I were swimming around innocently in the Gulf of Mexico in Sarasota, Florida. Which is not Mexico, just to be clear.

We were still close to shore, relishing the after shock of cold water as it began to feel warm and embracing. As I swam out further, I looked back at Himself and saw him standing in about 5 feet of water, holding something under the surface.

Me: "Did you just catch a fish with your hands?"

I have to admit, I felt a rush of love and pride for Himself and his manliness at that moment. The primal part of my brain kicked in and I felt pretty satisfied that I had picked such a mighty hunter and good mate. I wanted to bear his children.

I swam over to him as he held up a dark, wriggly thing out of the water, then threw it back in.

Himself: "Ow! It bit me!"

Maybe it was a good idea to remain childless.

Me: "What was it?"

Himself: "Some kind of vicious fish. It bit me!"

It was swimming slowly in circles in front of us, unperturbed by our presence and kind of confused looking.

Me: "Did it have teeth? Let me see your hand."

There were no marks on his hand. He said the bite felt more like pressure than anything sharp. But vicious pressure.

We looked back at the fish for a closer look and now he didn't seem confused; he was swimming with purpose toward Himself. The vicious fish was about 5 feet inches long, with a kind of flat, wide head and skinny eel-like tail.

He poked his head out of the water and swam right at Himself, like he wanted revenge. Himself danced out of his way and I swam back to shore to get the camera.

At this point you may be thinking I'm cold-hearted to leave Himself in danger while I went to get the tools to document his disembowelment. But even though the fish was obviously targeting Himself, he was doing it slowly. And I still had confidence in Himself's manliness, despite the fact that he screamed like a girl when he got bit.

Plus, I knew it would make a great blog post.

And he was the cutest vicious fish I had ever seen! With little round, tiger-striped eyes and a wispy beard, sticking his head out of the water as if to get a closer look at his prey.

I wanted to video it, but the camera isn't waterproof and the waves were splashing up, so I snapped a few shots, swam back to shore and put it up and ran back to the water.

Himself had led it toward the beach and the waves pushed the fish onto the sand.

Me: "You can't leave him there, he'll die!"

Himself: "He bit me!"

Me: *evil stare*

Himself: "Oh, all right."

Himself waited for the next wave to come over the beached, flopping fish and then pushed it towards the open water, while it was still disoriented. Then we got out of the water before the fish could get his bearings and lock onto Himself again, ready for mortal combat.


The vicious fish that Himself fought with mightily, is a Gulf Toadfish. Male toadfish have special swim bladder muscles that are used to make noises (like a toad) to attract a mate. Ours didn't make any noise. Himself most likely was attacked by a girl toadfish.

 A vicious one.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tenacity Lane is a Dead End and Other Bird Brained Ideas

You know how last time, I said I was in a super secret location that may or may not be your closet?

Well, I'm still holed up there, only now it's somewhere else.

Where am I going with all this secrecy? I have no idea. I just thought it sounded cool.

Were the neighborhood planners
being ironic or were they
just depressives?


Why is it that a week away from the internet feels like a year?

The Tumbleweeds have been doing a Grand Tour of Florida as our Swan Song out of trucking.

And by Grand Tour, I mean visiting family and eating too much. There were no actual swans involved, singing or otherwise, but there were some shady-looking sandhill cranes.

Sandhill cranes lurking around suspiciously.

Very suspicious indeed.

Y'all probably have super glamorous, busy, and fulfilling lives and didn't even know I was gone from the internets; but it seems like an eternity from my point of view. And, I have to interact with real people. In the real world.

In the real world, I can't just leave a witty comment and move on. I have to talk to these real people. And listen. I have to listen and respond as if I were listening.

Being a Professional Passenger for the last 5 years has not prepared me for this. In less than a month, I'm going to have to deal with all this so-called reality all the time. 

Oy vey.

But I'm having fun.

And just like I have no real idea of why I'm telling you I'm in hiding, I have no idea of what the future outside of trucking will look like.

And that's ok. I'll make my own reality.

Or reality will smash me in the face. It could go either way really.


In completely unrelated news, Himself was attacked by a vicious fish while swimming in the Gulf of Mexico but you'll have to wait for that story until I get settled back in the truck.

Until then I leave you with this product from the shelves of a Sarasota toy store:

Yes, for $3.99 you too
can have fresh breath just like
Kim Jong-il.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Mild Winter, Ticks in Minnesota, and Why New Jersey is Wrong. Again.

At this very moment I am at a hidden secret (because that's how you hide) location, from which I am posting my latest Douglas Budget column.

This is not the hidden secret location,
so don't try to triangulate it with
Google Earth.

You should go there and read it in case the secret hidden location I am located in, is your closet.

You really don't want me hiding in your closet. Because I am scary.

Unless you want it rearranged.

Because I am helpful.

This bull is in Missouri, not the
 hidden secret location.
I call him Ice Cube
because of his scowl.

Because of the hidey-ness circumstance, I have no facts. Except for this:

Honey bees in New Jersey are not doing well because of the mild winter.
Honey bees in Iowa are doing well because of the mild winter.

Way to go New Jersey. Way. to. go.