Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

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On the Road With OTR

Because of a conference call I had on Worldcon 76 business on Sunday morning, I couldn't get rolling on Sunday until later than I wanted. Lisa spotted that the RV's tires looked low, and when we checked, we realized just how low. The tires say they're supposed to be at 80 PSI, and were mostly around 30-35. So my first stop was Hanneman Service, but their pump was broken, so I drove to Flying J, where I had to pay $4.50 (three five minute doses at $1.50), and even then I could only get the tires up to 60 PSI because their compressor isn't strong enough to get more air than that. Thus I was running late from the get-go.

Fortunately, the weather was fine. And Caltrans had done stellar work clearing I-80. Even with what looked like at least two meters of snow on the ground at Donner Summit (and snow on the ground all the way to Gold Run), the roads were clear and didn't even seem that icy, although they were wet from where snow was melting in the late-winter sunshine.

As is my wont for long solo road trips, I had an MP3 player full of old time radio (OTR) programs, which in this case includes episodes of Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar from the later part of the run with Bob Bailey in the title role. I had three episodes in a row that gave me a smile for different reasons.

For those of you unfamiliar with the long-running radio drama, Johnny Dollar is a freelance insurance investigator. Episodes take the form of him narrating how he ran up his expenses investigating his clients' cases. The first episode had him flying to Reno, renting a car, driving out US-40 to Winnemucca, and there was a reference as well to Lovelock. That means Johnny Dollar must have driven right through Fernley, because Main Street is the route of (now decommissioned) US-40.

The next episode found him on the west coast again, then time looking for a wanted man (accused of murder, but Johnny was trying to find him because he was the beneficiary of a $25,000 life insurance policy) in the mountains of Yuba County. While the town mentioned doesn't actually exist, the description of the area was sufficiently accurate to suit me as a native of those parts. It would not be difficult for a resourceful person to hide out in the back-country for a long time if he did not want to be found. (In this case, the wanted man was proved innocent, the real murderer got what was coming to him, and Johnny was able to deliver the $25,000 to the intended recipient.)

The third episode made me smile for a completely different reason, caused by the actor and writer having a bit of an inside joke in the script. At one point, he calls the office of his client's sales manager (a man named George) and asks his secretary a question about something. She says that the manager isn't in, but that she knew the answer to the question. Dollar cuts her off and says, "No, that's okay; let George do it." I laughed out loud, as probably would anyone paying close attention would, because before Bob Bailey came to play The Man With the Action-Packed Expense Account, he played the role of a detective George Valentine under the title Let George Do It.

It took about the usual amount of time to get to the Bay Area, including a very brief stop at the nursing home in Sacramento, where I had things I needed to deliver to my sister. Because of my cold, I kitted up with mask and hand sanitizer, and told Kelli I could neither stay long nor come too close as I handed stuff to her. I promised to come by again on my way home in two weeks.

My usual lay-up location was available, but for some reason I had difficulty sleeping. I assume it's the head cold, which makes it hard to sleep even with medication and my CPAP machine. I'm still not well. I hope I'm better before the meetings I'll be in later this week.
Tags: health, old time radio, rolling stone

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