In another life, I was once a sign maker. I did mostly vinyl letters on just about anything that I could stick them on. I also dabbled in the old school way of sign making, using paint and brushes and stencils and pounce bags and … you see what I’m saying.
I can sit at a computer all day and bang out Helvetica letters, but the real talent lies in layout. I don’t care how colorful and pretty a sign may be, if it’s poorly designed, it will fail its purpose to inform. I was decent at layout, but I never truly understood it until I started painting. Some of the people I met along the way helped guide my understanding and showed me many tricks of the trade.
My sign painting career culminated in one of the most memorable events I ever took part in … a Walldog event. Now, I’m sure most of you have never heard of the Walldogs, but they are a group of sign painters, doing it all by hand, that gather once a year or so in a town that chooses to commission them and decorate the walls of the community.
The history of the town and it’s businesses are studied and appropriate murals designed by the project leaders. Once the painters descend, all the t’s have been crossed and the i’s dotted so that the brushes can swirl their magic. The entire event may welcome 100 or more sign artists, housed by local citizens, and last 3 or 4 days. In that time, there could be 15 murals or so that get accomplished. No joke, these folks hustle!
While I in no way consider myself in the same universe, talent wise, with these amazing artists, I joined them in August of 2009 in Pontiac, Illinois. I rode into town, not knowing a soul, and stuck to the first person I came across. He invited me to work on his mural with him, and the rest is history.
This was the mural I worked on and that is me standing against the ladder.
Here’s another from the same event …
CLICK HERE to see all the other amazing work done that summer.
So what does any of this have to do with trucking? Well, I was reminded of this event this morning as I was headed west with the sun coming up in the east.
You see, the first time I experienced what I call, “chasing the dark,” was on my way to the Walldog event. I was on my motorcycle and had stayed the night with some friends of mine who live in Ohio. I awoke at some hour not meant for the living and pointed my two wheels westward.
I rode for a couple hours before the sun started to brighten the sky behind me. The landscape in front of me was dark and ominous as the sun continued its ascent in the east. At first, I thought I was heading into a major storm. It took me a little while (I never claimed to be a smart man), but I finally realized I was chasing the dark, or the night if you prefer. I raced my motorcycle into the dark as the sun chased me across the sky.
So, back to today. I was up and raring to go hours before the sun woke. When it finally started peeking at me from behind, I once again found myself chasing the dark westward. Those few summer days spent with such amazing and talented people came rushing back in a flood of memories I hold dear as a significant point in my life. Just thought I’d share.
What about the rest of the day, you ask? I drove. And drove and drove and drove some more. I was racing the clock to get my load delivered and get to a truck stop before I ran out of hours. I made it. With 8 minutes to spare. Whew!
Phil got a couple fill-ups this morning, Charlotte drove effortlessly and Tom & Jill had their usual arguments about which roads to take. Despite the running clock, it was a fairly easy day with little traffic, open roads and lots of sky. Lots and lots of sky!
At the truck stop that I will call home for 34 hours, the sun winked at me before settling below the horizon, resting for it’s next race to catch the dark.
As for me, it’s been 11 days since I last had off, and I’m tired of chasing hours. And I’m just tired. I’ll spend tomorrow catching some zzzz’s and doing some housekeeping chores. I also hope to work on the blog and see if I can address some of the things that need cleaned up a little. I’m glad you’re all enjoying it and want to make it as reader friendly as possible.
I think I figured out what I did wrong with last night’s post, so I’ll see if I can fix that and put it back in the right place. Hopefully I won’t do the same thing tonight. That would be …. silly.
Thanks for joining me for a ride down memory lane today. I appreciate you coming along. A couple more pics below!
Until next time then …