Emergency Scene

Uranium Hexafluoride

We made it home, without incident, but we did see some things along the way. We were in Illinois, when we passed two flatbed semis, each of which were hauling a single large metal cylinder. I looked up the code on their hazmat sign and it indicated was carrying uranium hexafluoride. This is a molecule that has one uranium atom that is surrounded by six fluorine atoms. This substance is highly toxic. It is radioactive, poisonous and very acidic. Typically, the pictured cylinder only lasts a few decades before it is corroded. Uranium hexafluoride is used to enrich uranium for both purposes of nuclear energy and nuclear weapons. As far as I could tell, each truck only had a single driver in the cab and no other escorts. Uranium hexafluoride is used for enrichment at sites in Oakridge, TN, Paducah, KY and Portsmouth, OH. So, the stretch of I-70 that we passed them on would roughly be in the middle of these three places. Shortly after we passed these vehicles, we encountered what we first thought was just another construction site, but the orange signs were different. They read, Emergency Scene. This scene caused a traffic slowdown and those two trucks caught up with us again there. The emergency appeared to be the result of a previous truck wreck. Huge metal tubs were strewn along the shoulder, carrying who knows what. Workers were busy gathering up these tubs and their contents. Like I said, we made it home, but there was some excitement along the way.

Travel Tales

Untitled, Luchita Hurtado, 1969

Monday morning, we caught an Uber to Logan. Gerry, our driver, a former cab driver was an exceptional Uber driver. He greeted us after getting out of the car and individually loaded and then at the airport unloaded all of our bags. Quite the gentleman, but as Harry would complain, he was a talker, except in a driver that is to be expected. Still, he entertained and educated us on our trip to the airport. Our flight to Detroit was uneventful. Jane picked us up. We were looking for her Golf and didn’t see her when she pulled up next to us in our RAV4. Shades of Ferris Buller. We took her out for breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies or maybe lunch, what have you. After our meal, we took possession of the golden yellow dresser of Antioch. Its disposition is our next trip after we get home. Dinner with Harry was excellent as always, especially in his new digs. I somewhat paid for dinner by negotiating with AT&T over the issue of the nonfunctionally of his Wi-Fi. I was successful and I checked that I had not first done any harm, but I left the network name all AT&T bland. At Purdue, Dave’s roommates named their Wi-Fi, Dave Sucks. Not the best, except that the cute girls next door named their network, Dave’s not so Bad.

Did They Ever Return?

Water Lilies, Claude Monet, 1907

Friday, Dave and Maren had to work, so Anne and I did the Boston tourist thing. It is hot here in town, hotter than it is in Saint Louis now and for August that is hot. We went to the Boston Museum of Fine Art, which regularly sends shows to Saint Louis. In fact, a show from here about ancient Nubians is currently ongoing there. I hope that we got a heads up on any future shows to come, like the Monet one that we saw. We took the T, Boston’s subway system. Years ago, in the 80s, I spent a summer working here in Boston. I was working at MIT and I was staying at the Park Plaza Hotel, so I would take the T everyday to and from work. Not all of the cars were airconditioned back then. In fact, sometimes I rode what was effectively a street trolley, except that it was underground. Those cars featured a train turntable. Everyone would get out, the car would revolve 180º and then everyone would get back on again. Today’s T was thankfully airconditioned, but it was also extremely noisy, with godawful screeches that sounded like the train car was being rend in two. We kind of screwed up on the ticketing and the two of us ended up riding back and forth on one one-way fare. I had visions of ending up like Charlie, who like in the 60s era Chad Mitchell Trio song, MTA, had to ride forever, beneath the streets of Boston and never return, no never return. Return we did though, in time for dinner at nearby Davis Square. We met Maren’s parents, Bruce and Kim. Dan and Britt joined us too. It was a lovely to meet them and we had a great conversation.


Driving the Big Dig

The Boston tradition of getting over height vehicles stuck apparently dates back further than we thought. High-loaded wagon hitting trolley wire.” The term Storrowed was born from the phenomenon of over height trucks which are often be cut open like a tin can by the low bridges on Boston’s Storrow Drive. In Ann Arbor, at the bottom of Washington, there is a railroad bridge that creates the same effect. We just never knew that there was a name for it.

We landed at Logan, where Maren and Dave picked us up and whisked us away. We went through the Big Dig, the most expensive road construction project. We also drove Storrow Drive. They dropped us at our hotel and then later we walked the few blocks to their place. They live in a nice neighborhood. They made dinner for us, while Puck their dog entertained us. Dave grilled salmon and asparagus, while Maren fixed a salad and then for dessert a cherry galette. It was all so good. After dinner they walked us back to our hotel through a route that seemed much nicer than the one Google had picked for us.

Maren’s Cherry Galette