After a gruelling first session that took us to Cheyenne, starting Sunday night and arriving 24hrs later, we set off for the second leg of the road trip. Originally we had planned on going as far as Chicago, a 14 hour drive, stopping the night and then driving the rest the next day. Things however never go to plan and due in no small part to the immense manliness of us all, we pushed on non stop right through to Rochester. Operating in rotation we literally trucked on through the night with a marathon 35 hour drive.
The main concern was the temperature in the back of the truck and although we had a refrigerated unit, it was only used a couple of times when the temperature rose significantly above 70 F. Allowing the trees to get too hot in a humid and stale air environment could result in fungal problems so we kept a close eye on the temperature. Equally of concern was making it too cool and subjecting the trees to a massive temperature gradient on arrival and due to some mild weather here in Rochester, that too has been avoided. As all the trees had been thoroughly watered before loading up there was no need to water then en route, but needless to say they were checked every six hours when we stopped and changed up or refuelled.
The main reason for pushing the driving to such limits is one of tree safety, the longer they are in the truck, the highest rate of developing problems. Carefully balancing that factor with the safety of driving we managed to do it in the least amount of time possible and with only one scary point where we limped into a truck stop with the red fuel light glaring. Other than that it was plain sailing....and contrary to some comments, the clutch was not burnt out as it was an automatic. So there Snarty.
Although it sounds pretty tiring and dramatic, we did actually have fun, the conversations ranged far and wide and ae definitely not safe for publication...we talked a little about bonsai. It was mainly just guys talking rubbish. We did have a lengthy comparison of the idiotic things we did during our apprenticeship and relived some of the dark old days...although they were quickly forgotten in favour of things less cerebal.
The pressure on Ryan is very similar to that which I felt in the run up to Noelanders earlier this year. It is a huge commitment to make, taking the responsibility for the trees which are clients prized possessions into which a lot of time, effort and money have been invested. One false move, falling asleep at the wheel or losing concentration could spell professional disaster...but it is an essential part of pushing bonsai to a higher level of quality which will benefit all involved in the art. Without creating a national or international exhibition of the highest level where trees can be displayed, then the art will stagnate and the level ultimately drop. Having shows like the US national, Noelanders and also the show next year that will take place in Portland, the level and expectation of quality in Bonsai will undoubtedly improve. Raising the standard in a sustainable eay is the responsibility of professionals and if that means putting in a marathon shift behind the wheel of a refrigerated truck then so be it.
for those of you growing up in the 80's in the uk...
To bed...we have set up tomorrow mornng.