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Monday, July 13, 2009

HOM: A Trypical Tip: Part One

This is a composite trip. Jerry built some book boxes, 24" long and in assorted depths & widths. We remodeled the "Gold Room" so that we could stack these boxes on their sides to be used as shelves or tipped upright to be used for transporting books. This saved a lot of handling on our part and a lot of wear and tear on the expensive books. We bought a sturdy little hand truck that fit nicely in the back or on top of the rig that I still have & use. All we'd have to do is pop out a couple of screws on the brackets holding the boxes in place, stack the boxes on the hand truck, wheel them out to the Datsun and stack them in. At a gun show, it was fast and simple to drag the boxes out, wheel them into the show, and stack them on the tables. Instant shelving. We'd load the Datsun topper with those boxes and put in cardboard boxes of extra stock, then I'd toss in camping gear, personal stuff and some emergency supplies at the back. The briefcase that served as a mobile office rode in the front with me and handy items were stashed on the shelf in the front of the topper that I could reach while I was driving. Bec & Lyn would stay home, with Jerry keeping an eye on them. I'd leave fairly early in the morning, heading south on Hwy 93, east on I-90 to Butte, then south on I-15. Heavy books and a low-powered pickup made for slow travel so I'd generally spend Wednesday night in Pocatello, putter into SLC around noon on Thursday and get checked into a motel, then go book scouting. I'd be at the Salt Palace Friday morning well before they opened the doors to dealers so I could get a reasonably close parking spot. Laziness and bulky books weren't the only reasons to park close by the entrance -- nasty weather sometimes meant books could get damaged between the truck and the door to the exhibition area. The shorter the trip between the two, the better. The trip to SLC was usually the slowest part of the trip. I'd have the heaviest load then and the long slog up over Monida pass meant creeping along at 25 or 30 for mile after mile. If the weather was good and the traffic light, I got in the habit of reading as I drove during the climb up the Montana side of that 6800' pass. I've always considered that road to be the safest highway I've ever driven on, wide and straight and not carrying a lot of traffic, and I never had any scares or close calls. You could tell when you hit the Idaho border. The road tilted downhill, lost most of its width and got a heck of a lot rougher. I couldn't go much faster than I had been, but I had to pay a lot more attention. Idaho didn't spend a lot of money making it easy to go to or from Montana in those days. TBC (Me) (Blacktail Books)