Sunday, August 26, 2012

H-m-m-m-m-m. Beep! Beep! Toot! Toot!

By James (the Long, Dark, and Handsome Buick)

Hi, I’m James and I thought you might enjoy hearing a little bit about the newest member of Joann’s family. I was hoping Joann might showcase me sooner, but she hasn’t, so I decided to do it myself.

She drove me off the dealership lot right before Christmas and she was eager to take me out for some backroads photography. However, it didn’t snow for several weeks and (I hope I don’t get in trouble for this), but rather than revel in the joy of having a new vehicle, she kept talking about how much she missed Good Car. If you want to understand why, check out all the bragging Good Car did about herself in a previous blog post.

Towards the end of January, there was finally a chance to capture some snowy scenes, so we took off early one Sunday morning and headed towards one of their favorite abandoned churches. About halfway to the church, it began to lightly sleet, so they suggested that I move them along safely, which I did. When we arrived at the church, there was no place to park because the tractor lane where they usually park was plowed in. So Joann parked me on the road and put my flashers on. If you look closely in the photo above, you will see me down the road from the church.

It was sleeting more heavily as Joann finished taking photos of the church, so they decided that they’d better start heading towards home. However, not wanting to go home with just a few photographs, they decided to make two stops on the way home. The first was a chapel designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. When Joann got out to photograph it, she realized (after some flashing on my part) that the entire front of me, including my headlights, was coated in ice.

The final stop was to be Hyde’s Mill, which would be reached by traveling numerous backroads, some of which had steep embankments instead of shoulders. I could tell that Joann was getting a bit nervous, but I showed her that my big Michelin tires were pretty trustworthy and we arrived safely at the mill. Joann quickly took a few photos, hopped back in and said, “Home, James!”

In March, Joann and Ruth began talking about taking a 10-day trip to Ohio and I couldn’t wait to hit the open road. But I had to wait several weeks before we could actually leave. And, in the meantime, you wouldn’t believe all the fuss they were making about how to load me up. What was the big deal, anyway? Okay, so maybe I don’t have all the little compartments and nooks and crannies that Good Car had. But I thought that would prevent them from taking so much junk along. Alas, I thought wrong. For some reason, they think they need all that stuff. But I’m much longer than Good Car was and my cargo compartment can hold way more than she could ever have hoped to carry.

However, that meant that they couldn’t just load the compartment in the same way as they did with Good Car (you know, a place for everything and everything in its place). So, if you can believe this, they actually had a dry run of loading me up with everything the weekend before we left. I was all loaded up with nowhere to go. Sigh.

Finally, we hit the road and then the fun began. Ruth spent an awful lot of time with her nose in her research materials and saying to Joann, “Keep your eyes peeled.” It seems to work for them, but it sounds awfully painful. And speaking of research materials, Good Car was bragging about carrying a 40-lb. bag of research materials in her back seat, but that bag weighs a lot more than 40 pounds. And then, since I have so much more cargo space, Ruth brought along a large box overflowing with two additional stacks of research materials. But I knew I could handle it.

The first day we photographed our way across Illinois. The second day we photographed our way across Indiana. On the third day, we started some really serious photography in Ohio. They had me out on the road for about 14 hours each day. But I don’t mind because I get to see all sorts of great things and we stop for meals at some really nice places, like the covered bridge above.

One morning, we stopped for breakfast by an old church and cemetery. Joann asked Ruth to get breakfast ready while she “hurried” to photograph the cemetery. I now know that she can easily lose track of time in cemeteries and this was no exception. After about an hour had passed, Ruth began talking to herself, or maybe she was asking me, “Is she ever going to come back? We have so much to photograph today.” Finally, out of desperation, Ruth tooted my horn in hopes it would bring Joann running, but she didn’t come. When she eventually returned to the car, Ruth asked her if she had heard the horn and she said she hadn’t. Either she didn’t yet recognize that beautiful sound I can make or she was so engrossed in her photography that she tuned it out.

Speaking of sounds, I have a lot more I can and do make. At the start of the trip, both Joann and Ruth were annoyed by all the beeping I do. Then Ruth told Joann that it sounded like I was playing a harmonica. Joann couldn’t seem to hear it. Then Ruth said, “Well, maybe it’s more like a tuning fork or a pitch pipe.” Finally Joann said she heard it, too. So I decided to add a few more sounds, like tooting and whistling. And every time I do it, they start giggling. What’s the big deal? They never turn the radio on, so I have to entertain myself.

I’m not really an off-road vehicle, but sometimes they do take me off-road. On the sixth day of the trip, after a long and hard search, they finally found an old abandoned church they were looking for. They had even flagged down the local mail carrier to ask if she could help them. She gave them some directions, but said she wasn’t sure they were correct. They followed her directions and we did find the church. It was set way back from the road, so I took them in a ways until it got muddy and Joann was afraid to go any further.

Our most recent trip was just a week ago, and we left Joann’s house at 4 a.m. Joann said that she wanted to photograph Bethel Chapel in the one season they hadn’t – summer. Around 5:30, we arrived at the church and I carefully backed into the tractor lane. Joann then set up her tripod in the dark and waited for first light. When it got light enough to see my beautiful black body, she took my picture with the church in the background. Don’t I look awesome?! Okay, so it’s a picture of my rear end, but still, don’t I look great?!

They really tired me out that day. We were out for 16 hours, returning to Joann’s house at 8 p.m. They really know how to work a guy! But it was great fun and I can’t wait to hit the road again.

Happy Shunpiking!

1 comment:

  1. Great story, James! certainly are handsome - I was just thinking about how handsome you are when I saw you on Saturday! I always love the stories by Joann and Ruth but I also have liked hearing from Good Car, Irwin, and now from you, James. I hope Joann lets you write stories from time to time - it's fun hearing about Joann's and Ruth's antics from your perspective!!