28 February 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 58 (This Could Get Interesting)

Today, as it turns out, I did get a load, but since it delivers Wednesday afternoon just north of Indianapolis, IN - and I am due to go home Thursday, with Indianapolis being nowhere near where I live - well... I'll just say that The L-rd has it all worked out. Sure, I could wait until Friday, but I have a dentist appointment that morning.

I'm presently sitting in Rogers, AR waiting for my trailer to finish loading. Once it's done, I have a drop in Shipshewana, IN, then Indianapolis, then finally Gas City, IN on Wednesday at around 1500. Needless to say, these next few days will be adventurous.

Earlier this evening, my wife and I were talking (wishfully at this point) of moving back to California. IF we do, it may be several years down the road, and The L-rd would have to direct us there... but we are dreaming. Looking around online, she did find a 2 bedroom condo in Merced for about $49,000 - and in a gated community. WOW!! that's a steal! But like I said - dreaming. I do miss Cali, the variety of food, cultures, nightlife... and, of course, the beaches. One of my favorite beach communities to visit when I was in the Marines was San Clemente - just north of Camp Pendleton, and a lot to do, from hanging out at the beach, to browsing through the different stores, to just relaxing in one of the coffee shops (go figure). San Clemente is also where I got involved with the Community Theatre, and had done a few shows - there, as well as in Westminster. I have some fond memories of back then. One day we will go back and build some new ones.

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27 February 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 57 (All's Well That Ends... With Starbucks)

Low productivity day, but it's all good... after all, it's the Sabbath. It's been a peaceful day. I may be here at our Little Rock yard until Monday, but I'll be able to get a few issues taken care of: new truck, reset my hours, sort out the new Qualcomm (as the old one needed a new brain - much like Paris Hilton & Lindsey Lohan).

I was able to relax and it was a nice day, though after I go home next weekend (and get my tooth fixed), I'll be ready to hit some good miles. I can tell how there have been many improvements since this division was started last year. There is still a long road ahead, but it's good that this company is always improving and moving forward, planning ahead for a future of progress and prosperity.

It's nice that I work for a company that I not only believe in, but also one that treats me with dignity and respect. Companies like that are few and far between - especially these days, when most trucking companies are more concerned with the bottom line than employee welfare. I'm treated well, and I'm not given demands that are unreasonable - what more could you want?

Besides Starbucks, that is.

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26 February 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 56 (Russellville Has 3G?!)

I made it to Russellville, AR, but I didn't leave Robards, KY until 1600 (ugh!), only to find out when I got here that they now are on 3G... but the smaller town I live in got it FIRST (nyah, nyah).

I'm here... I'm tired... please forgive me for this post being so short (it's bad when you can't even straight think - good thing I have auto-correct).

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24 February 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 55 (What A Long Day)

I started from Monroe, NC, a city about 20 miles east of Charlotte, and drove about 560 miles to where I am now, in Robards, KY, and rather than bore you with the mundane details again, I'll just refer you to the post of Day 11 (which does lay out in detail, or lack thereof, this area). The security guard and I had some good conversation, and that usually occurs when encountering a brother of military service (or in this case, the term "sister" is more apropos, since he was in the Navy).

Tomorrow I pick up here and take that load to Russellville, AR. More than likely I'll get routed to our Little Rock yard to move into my trainer truck. I'm due home this time next week, in which time I'll get this toothache attended to.

Want pictures?

I didn't think so.

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23 February 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 54 (It's Got To Get Better)

So I delivered in Salisbury, NC this morning, sat around for a few hours, went to Starbucks, then shuffled my tucas down here to Monroe, NC to pick up a load heading for Robards, KY. Yesterday my Qualcomm (on board computer & electronic logbook) did an update and has yet to recover. Therefore I'm (temporarily) back to running with a paper log. I think once I get to KY, I may get something that will route me through our Little Rock yard, and I can then move into my new truck... and begin, all over again, the process of working out all the kinks that usually come with a new truck.

Today's good news was a got Starbucks!

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The Road Scholar - Day 53 (I Wish I Was In MA)

Peroxide: check

Aleve (liquid gels): check

Orajel (for severe toothache): check

Starbucks: check & mate!

I got some stuff to continue my battle against toothache pain, at least until I get home. Starbucks? Well, when you're at a Super Target (and haven't had coffee in 3 days), then that is a necessity for survival (my youngest son, when he was about 13, would say that about Jelly Belly's). Today I was able to eat food... not the stuff you would feed a baby once they've grown past the Gerber stage (such as mashed potatoes, PB & J sandwiches, and overcooked pasta) but real food (that is if Subway can be considered as "real", ever since the late 80's to early 90's, when they stopped slicing their own meats in favor or pre-sliced, pre-frozen, over processed dreck).

Tyson finally got me loaded and I left a little after midnight on Tuesday. The corporate powers have this brilliant idea when shipping their product, which I'll relay this in a simple way: if the delivery appointment is, say 1100 (ET) - as was mine - then the latest it can ship is midnight. Sounds great when you apply it to their computer software program that's used, but in reality, it's humans that are doing the driving. Is it me, or does it seem that whenever a person accepts a job in a corporate management level position, they seem to lose all faculties of common sense.

I made it as far as Cookeville, TN before I shut down, which was almost as far as I was legally permitted to go. Since Tyson can't get with the program, then I won't put mine, nor others', lives at risk.

I made it to Salisbury, NC (which I don't think this is the place of origin for the "Salisbury Steak"), with a temperature of 28°, when, just about an hour ago, it was in the mid to upper 40's. I guess winter is not ready to give it up yet, so I say: BRING IT ON!!

I would have much rather been heading up to Methuen, MA, because, a) it's Massachusetts, and, b) it's cooler weather. Methuen is located on the NW end of the I-495 loop, outside of Boston, and just a few short miles from the NH state line. Beautiful area, and, by the way, THE BEST place to go for New England Clam Chowder (yes, I've had some, but that was before I knew what kosher was.

My appointment has already been rescheduled for 1115 on Wednesday, and where I go from there... well, that will be the new adventure.

NOTE: This post had been done last night (Tuesday), but due to some fluke of BlogPress, not only did it not post, it didn't save either. My apologies for this delay!

21 February 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 52 (Tyson, You're Mean)

I went to bed early this morning, after giving my load to another driver, then heading on towards Shelbyville, TN. Originally, I was to pick up a load (from Tyson) going to Methuen, MA - which I was VERY stoked about - only to find out this morning that it cancelled. Instead, I'm picking up a load with less than 1/2 the miles as the MA load.

This particular Tyson plant is unique in that it has a prayer room for the Muslim workers.

My 14 hour time limit started at 1245 today, this load delivers tomorrow morning at 1100 (ET), over 400 miles away... and Tyson doesn't "have all the product." When my clock runs out, I'm shutting down. The load will be late. Perhaps, maybe just one day, Tyson will get the picture and actually use a little common sense (at the corporate & lower management levels) when scheduling loads. Yeah... right... and Fidel Castro will denounce communism as a political hoax.

In other news... I found out today that my dispatcher will try to get me through our yard in Little Rock so I can move into another new truck - a trainer truck: it will have a double bunk. Pretty soon we will start getting students in our division, and mine will be one of the trucks they learn to drive in. Exciting? Scary? You be the judge!

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The Road Scholar - Day 51 (Ow... Oow... OOW!!)

I finally got my trailer loaded in NC (although it took them FOREVER), made it to Tunnel Hill, GA and swapped with another driver. I'm done for the night, being just outside Chattanooga, TN. What made today harder was choosing a route (which was shorter) that took me through some curvy areas. Pretty, but curvy. To top it off, I've got a toothache. Gargling some hot salt water does help, in case you didn't know.

I have been drained a little by the driving, but mostly from the tooth. Anybody know where I can get an ice skate blade?

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20 February 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 50 (or, Why Am I Still In NC?)

Not only am I still in NC, I'm still here in Clayton... but it's all good, I've been able to enjoy the sweet peace of the Sabbath - in G-d's rest. There is a lot to be learned in scripture! Deep truths!

There may be some readers that would shy away from this topic, primarily because they are "not very religious." That is fine! The truth is, I'm not religious either. Religion is harmful because the policies & doctrines of any religion are just that - policies & doctrines; many of which (and I would even venture to say most of which) are man-made, or mistranslations, or both. What I have is not religion, rather a relationship with my G-d. I am Jewish - that is not so much a religion, but a belief system; I also am a student/follower of Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah) - that is where my faith & trust lies in conjunction with my belief system.

This blog post, though it will be brief, is not so much to preach to you, but to offer a little more transparency to you about who I am and where I stand. In this age when we are bombarded by televangelists (many of whom are giving false and/or misleading teachings - don't even get me started on Benny Hinn or Jesse DuPlantis), most no longer have faith or trust in many of those who teach, let alone what they teach. What I will say is this: should you have any questions about what I believe, what references I use mean, or even a scriptural question in general, then feel free to post a comment, email me, message me, tweet me, etc.

I'll say, up front, I don't have ALL the answers - and if somebody claims to have all the answers, challenge them to walk on water!

- Another rant via BlogPress

19 February 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 49 (Starbucks Makes It Mo Better)

Last night I shut down in Stoney Creek, VA, for several reasons... ok, maybe just one primary reason: not only was there a truck stop with plenty of available parking, but also because this truck stop had a Starbucks - which makes the second truck stop (that I know of) that has a Starbucks on the premises (the first being a T/A Travel Center in Rockwall, TX).

Every Starbucks location I've been to has a very pleasant ambiance, one that beckons its patrons into relaxation mode. The workers (formally referred to as Baristas) are not only an extension of said ambiance, but also give each location its own unique personality. Every Barista seems to enjoy what they do, and their attitudes are nothing less than perky. Cierra (the Barista I encountered today) is no exception... in fact, her bubbly demeanor was akin to infectious. One could walk in with a dour attitude, and leave with not only a cup of coffee, but also a smile, thanks to Cierra. Hence, with my grande triple Mocha Marble Machiatto in hand, my day could begin.

I made my way to Mt. Olive, NC where I would not only unload the 5 pallets I picked up yesterday in Lancaster, PA, but also meet up with my oldest son and his wife (my favorite - albeit my only - daughter-in-law), who had driven up from Camp LeJeune. We spent about 1 1/2 hours together, and it was, as always, a very great time. I am blessed that they took the time to drive an hour for (what I consider a never-long-enough) visit. As of right now, I'm shut down in Clayton, NC, which is about 49 miles from where I delivered earlier. From the information I received earlier, these next few days could be busy... I'll fill you in more as the events unfold. If all plays out as expected, I'll have some nice pics to share, as well as some great travels (that's, hopefully, enough of a teaser to whet your appetite).

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18 February 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 48 (or, What I Don't Like About The East Coast)

Picked up today in Lancaster, PA - a whopping 5 pallets. Turns out, it's product being shipped back to Butterball (sliced turkey, to be exact). After waiting a couple hours until the load was ready, I ended up having to wait another 1 1/2 hours before I could leave, due to a discrepancy on the paperwork, only to see that it was 1530 (ET), and that can only mean one thing: a traffic nightmare!

Heading back to York, PA, then down to the I-695 loop around Baltimore, MD wasn't that bad. Even I-95 to D.C. was fairly moderate. But once I got on I-495 (a.k.a. The Capital Beltway) and around the west side, was when traffic started getting a bit hairy... and once I got back on I-95, on the south end - FORGET IT! It was 20 miles to the weigh station/truck rest area and jacked up traffic. From where I started (in Lancaster) to that rest area was 152 miles, a stretch I could normally cover (just about anyplace else except D.C.) in about 2 1/2 hours, but because of their notoriously horrendous traffic, that stretch was nearly 4 hours long! I would much rather be in L.A. traffic than D.C. Anybody who has had to suffer through that ordeal will know EXACTLY what I mean (and water-boarding is illegal?!). Just dealing with that ate up a lot of my driving time.

If D.C. traffic is that bad - the epicenter of our government - then how do the politicians expect us to have trust in their leadership when they can't even arrange a more efficient system of the interstate network in their own back yard!

There... I feel better now... a little.

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16 February 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 47 (I'm In Pennsylvania, Not England)

Yeah, I almost feel like I'm in England... I'm delivering here in Manchester and loading tomorrow morning in Lancaster, PA embarking on a shorter run than this one I'm currently on - going to Mt. Olive, NC. These last couple days have definitely been active, as I left Jonesboro, AR about 2130 Monday night, made a stop in Indianapolis, IN yesterday at 1800, now here I am in Manchester, PA. Once I'm done here, I'll head to Lancaster for the night.

Hopefully soon this company will start getting loads going west. I enjoy going out that way... lots of open road, plenty of peace and quiet... and mountains. Being a truck driver, and a former active duty Marine, there are not many places I go to where, should I get stuck without a load and have to sit for a day or two, either, a) I know where I can hang out and enjoy the area I'm in and take in some good food, or, b) I have a friend or relative with whom I can hang out... and in many cases I have both options at my leisure. I've even had the opportunity to meet some people I've known via Twitter, such as an incredible artist, simply known as Nemo and a sweet woman (also a former Marine), whom also blogs named Lauri Rottmayer. There are still many other
tweeters and/or bloggers I have yet to meet. One day that will happen.

In all these years I have actually driven through all 48 states in the continental U.S. - and I have a coffee mug from each one to prove it! I've seen some really cool places as well, such as the 1800's Town in South Dakota, the Great Salt Flats, just west of Salt Lake City, UT, even through western North Dakota in a heavy snowfall - in July. Some may look at the Mojave Desert and see desolation, I look at it and see the beauty for what it is - a part of G-d's creation! Beauty is everywhere... it's all around us... all you have to do is open your eyes and look. You don't just see beauty, you have to look at beauty. There is a difference.

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15 February 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 46 (Indianapolis, Still PA Bound)

I'm sitting in the dock door at my drop in Indianapolis with still yet another 550 miles to cover by 1800 (ET) tomorrow. I probably wouldn't have such a time crunch if I could have been loaded yesterday in a more timely manner. Yet, this is part of the job.

It seems that every couple of years the federal officials seem to want to modify the hours of service laws we as truck drivers must abide by, when, instead, they should put a few of those regulations on the facilities we load & unload at. Granted there are a few that are rather efficient, but places, like Tyson, who treat the driver like he or she is the computer program that they use when coordinating their shipments and do NOT take into account that each driver has different sleep schedules - that they are HUMAN. where the real irony lies, though, is with the bureaucrats themselves - they are dictating to us truck drivers how to do our jobs, when those politicians can't even do theirs. Am I off base with this?

It's a little chilled here in Indy, so far the traffic has been less congested than usual. Once I'm done here I may stop at Super Target to pick up a few groceries before continuing this trip. The upside to this day... I GOT STARBUCKS!!

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14 February 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 45

I was ready to go this morning, but the load information wasn't finalized until this afternoon. I'm presently sitting at Butterball in Jonesboro, AR, picking up a load that has a drop in Indianapolis, IN then finishes in Manchester, PA.

As I sit here, waiting to get loaded, my Angel of a wife is sitting at home watching the Westminster Dog Show... a treat she hasn't partaken in for several years, mainly because we didn't have cable nor satellite t.v.

Jonesboro is a college town, Arkansas State University - Jonesboro to be exact. The university has an NPR affiliate radio station, which, by the way, has a good jazz format. It's a pretty good sized city... lots to see and do, and they even have a Starbucks. I've been here, on the south end, many times. There are a lot of cold storage facilities and industry here: Nestlé, Kraft, and Marie Callender's to name a few.

I miss living in the big city. Being born & raised in Hollywood and Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and being stationed in California, where I spent a lot time (and money) in L.A. and Hollywood, (the CA one), I still find it hard to live in an area where a cup of yogurt has more culture than the entire town itself. When I was in the Marine Corp, I remember cycling from the north end of base to San Juan Capistrano, then back later that afternoon... about 30 miles round trip. I would do that every Saturday and Sunday for a couple months. I did that to get off base and hang out. Many times I would stop in San Clemente on my way back, which was one of the cities I would frequent, either to go to the club, the beach, or to just hang out and enjoy merely being in California. I have many fond memories of Cali... the mountains, the beaches, the food, the culture. The most important being that is where I met the woman who became my wife. I may not have accomplished much in my life, but my greatest achievement was convincing Michelle to marry me.

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13 February 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 44

This is my last day at home... tomorrow, back to work. Today, we did some moving around. My youngest son moved into the room vacated by my 18 year old, and the room my youngest vacated will soon become our t.v. room. That would have happened today except my wife and I realized that the cable connection would not reach into that room, so we will have to wait until the cable company comes out to make the appropriate modifications before we can complete the transition. The next time I come in will be a little busy... you know, emptying the entertainment center, partially disassembling it, etc., etc., etc.

Now our youngest is chillin' in his room, my wife is surfing the 'net, I'm sitting here watching Harry's Law, and blogging during the commercial breaks. I have to say, this show is pretty good, and Kathy Bates carries it quite well.

12 February 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 43

Nice relaxing day. My wife and I had our taxes done today, we are getting a refund (which is always nice). Right now, she and my youngest son are watching Pit Boss as I post this. The last 30 minutes or so, I've been tinkering with the layout for this Blogger site. I've added a few things, so I guess it's safe to say I'm preparing to transition to here from Wordpress.

Tomorrow we have worship services, then when we get home, the three of us will have a full afternoon. Since our 18 year old has (more or less) moved out, our youngest will be moving into his old room, then THAT room will be our t.v. room. So I get to (partially) disassemble our home entertainment center, move it into that room, then reassemble it. Sound like fun? I can't wait (and I'm sure you picked up on that tone of sarcasm). It's been a more or less a lazy day today, then again - it's the Sabbath.

It's a chilled 48 degrees tonight, and hard to believe just two days ago, the temperatures were about 30 degrees less. But I have mentioned this is the weather I enjoy, and though I may hear about it tomorrow, I would like some more snow... we shall see.

11 February 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 42

Today started at 0930, had a class for about an hour. After that class, a list was passed around to everyone for their lunch orders - except me... I was excluded because I was told that "something special" was set up for me. Halfway through the next class, another instructor pulled me out to which I was met by my fleet manager, the department head and the training department office manager. I then found out I was being taken to a Chinese buffet for lunch (a total nom!).

After lunch, we all went back and it was laid out what was expected of me as a trainer. It all finished off when they got my shirt and jacket sizes (yes, I get personalized shirts). My orientation actually concluded at 1500, but I didn't leave until 1830 as my truck was still in the shop. I finally got my truck, made my way home, and now, as I write this, watching NCIS, I'm winding down before bed. Now to enjoy a few days off.

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10 February 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 41

Yesterday was shortened due to the weather, today was cancelled altogether. Tomorrow we will resume our classes, but hopefully I will be released by the mid afternoon so I can finally go home. Here in Little Rock it was said we got about 6" of snow, but in northwest Arkansas they were hit by as much as 24". Here is a time lapse video of Fayetteville, AR.

Needless to say, I didn't go much of anywhere today. But now since most of it has melted off, our training classes will resume tomorrow.

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