30 April 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 119 (I Am Chicago Bound)

I got to the customer to load this morning about 1000, and, as I hoped, they were quite efficient, having gotten loaded and on the road before my appointment time of 1200. It's a load of fresh chicken, so I'm glad I got the trailer washed out yesterday (especially since THAT load was palletized topsoil).

I pulled off the road and got a little nap just east of Springfield, MO (and of course, to get this blog out to you), to which I will soon be under way again. My plan for tonight is to try to get about 150 miles into Illinois covered, so there won't be much ground to cover tomorrow, thus giving me more time to hang out with Chris (whom I blogged about in yesterday's post). Nice weather, light traffic... all the makings of a good day - a good Sabbath.

May you ALL be blessed today!

Shabbat Shalom (Hebrew for "peace on the Sabbath")!

- Another rant via BlogPress

29 April 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 118 (Hoping For An Easy Weekend)

I started a little later than I wanted this morning, but still made it to Oklahoma City, OK with a little time to spare. Once I unloaded, I got the trailer washed out, fueled up (in Tulsa), then made it to the service plaza here in Vinita, OK (a small town about an hour east of Tulsa, right on the Will Rogers Turnpike, a.k.a. I-44). My next load picks up at noon tomorrow in South West City, MO (it's in the southwest part of the state, but by no means should it be referred to, nor confused as, a city), and that will be delivering to Chicago for Monday morning. I am really hoping they are very efficient in the loading process, so that I can cover some ground as soon as possible.

My hopeful plan is to cover as much ground tomorrow as I can, so I may have more time available to me on Sunday, as I hope to get together with an old Marine Corps friend who just happens to live in Chicago. I've been unable to get together with Chris for some time now, as I'm usually passing through while he's at work, or short on time, or late at night, or any combination of the three. The last time I saw him was when I was transferring to a different unit, back in... my gosh... has it been that long?! 1987 or '88?! When does the time go? Some things I do remember about Chris was, 1) He was an avid D&D player, and, 2) he was a computer GENIUS (and, mind you, this was a few years before the advent of the internet)! I remember once, our regimental Executive Officer (or "XO" for short), a LtCol, came to Chris with a new program he just received from Base Command (on a 5" floppy - THAT should tell you how long ago that was), and the XO wanted to know if Chris could figure it out. Chris popped it into his computer, looked at it a little, then told the XO to come back in 45 minutes. The XO exclaimed, "45 minutes?! I've just spent the last 1 1/2 hours trying to figure this thing out?" Chris just looked up at the XO and calmly said, "45 minutes, sir."

45 minutes later, the XO returned. Not only did Chris know how to operate the program, he also knew every "back door" that was hidden in there, as well!

As I said... computer GENIUS!

- Another rant via BlogPress

28 April 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 117 (Still Some Ground To Cover)

I didn't get very far last night, only to Perry, MI, about 20 miles north of Lansing. I got up and running this morning about 0815 with what I suppose can pass for a decent cup of coffee (at least it was better than the swill Pilot tries to peddle). I covered about 220 miles, and pulled off into this Travel Oasis and took a little break... and, of course, to refresh my coffee cup.

This weather is really on the fritz, yesterday it was in the 70's, with some wind and a little rain, then I wake up this morning inside a 44º truck (I won't complain, though - remember, I like the cooler temps). Well, let me close this post out so I can get on the road and try to beat some of the afternoon Chicago traffic. Even though I'm south of Chicago, the traffic still gets crazy. Plus, the St. Louis traffic will have died down by the time I get there. I'll see all you cats & kittens later!

- Another rant via BlogPress

27 April 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 116 (Much Accomplished, Little Productivity)

I was up at 0400 (ET) for my appointment, assigned a door, and once I checked in the receiving office and the lumper service, I was told my product would take a while to unload (to which they got no argument from me, I just went back to sleep - early morning hours and I don't get along too well). Once I was unloaded, however, it was a while (several hours, in fact) before I got my next work assignment. I tried to make the best use of that time - made a payment on my credit card at a Bank Of America branch, picked up a few things from the grocery store (Meijer, NOT Walmart), and then picked up three 24 oz. 6 packs of Coca Cola from the Kroger down the street (they had it on sale. 3 for $9.00, as opposed to 3 for $12.00 at Meijer... and Walmart doesn't even carry the 24 oz. bottles).

I'm here waiting to get loaded in Sandusky, MI (way up in the "thumb" of Michigan, in the NE corner, about 55 miles east of Saginaw. This load will take me to Oklahoma City, OK on Friday, and right now, these guys are working as fast as they can to get us loaded, as their power went out earlier today (and since the product is outside, they're racing against the daylight). They are now starting on me, so I will be leaving before too long... though I won't be able to cover much ground, since I only have less than 3 hours of drive time left for the day. Thus is the life of a truck driver.

But at least I got some Starbucks today.

- Another rant via BlogPress

26 April 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 115 (Michigan Bound)

I picked this load up yesterday in Russellville, AR (a load of Butterball turkey) and shut down last night in Anna, IL, a small town at exit 30 off of I-57. It wasn't as far as I would have liked to get, but I schlepped around a little too long earlier in the day. I'm taking a quick break right now about 140 miles from my destination, which has a 0430 delivery time (I really don't like those early morning appointments), in order to get this post out before it get too late.

There was some pretty wicked weather last night, and apparently there is more going on right in at the yard in North Little Rock, though it's sunny with a bit of wind here where I'm at, just south of Fort Wayne. I may get some more storm weather, but, hopefully, by then I should be at my destination. One thing that can definitely lend itself to a guaranteed good night's rest is going to sleep to the sound of rain falling on the roof of the truck, while the blowing wind rocks the truck from side to side... and the truck is turned off, the therapeutic effect takes hold and won't let go - it's actually more relaxing the watching the snow fall. Then again, that's just my personal opinion, my observation.

- Another rant via BlogPress

25 April 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 114 (Holiday Over, Back To Work)

My absence the past few days has been due to my being at home celebrating Passover, and I GREATLY appreciate those bloggers that stepped in as my proxy. In case you missed any of them, here they are again:

Now I would like, if I may, to share with you what photos I took of our meal, which we partook of last Thursday. First, my wife, Michelle, made a little centerpiece bouquet from what she found out in our yard that day:

A few days before I made it home, I picked up a boneless leg of lamb (a nearly 4 lb cut), which, by the way, I did a little digging around online as far as how to cook one, since I had never done so before. With what I had uncovered, I felt pretty confident. Wednesday night, I put the lamb in a bowl, pierced it a few times, and covered it with lemon juice and rubbed it with freshly chopped garlic, covered the bowl, and let it sit overnight. The next day, I got the grill going and put the lamb on there long enough to sear the outside of it (and just enough to give it a charred taste). Once that was done, I put it in a pan, surrounded it with fresh green beans and baby onions, sprinkled a little more lemon juice on it, then covered it with a few sprigs of fresh rosemary:

Once it was finished, we then began our Seder (and since there was only three of us, that made the preparations that much easier).

When you read in Scripture the story of the ten plagues of Egypt (which is first laid out in Exodus 6, starting in verse 2), the plague of the death of the firstborn is where you will see the first documented Seder. The reason I point all this out is because our Seder was done very similarly to the Scriptural documentation (except we didn't put the lamb's blood on our doorposts), therefore, our lamb was "roasted by fire" and none was left over until morning. What I found rather interesting about the finished product was that the onions took on the lemon flavor, and the green beans absorbed some of the rosemary flavor:

Needless to say, it was a very festive Seder, and a very filling meal (which also included Matzo Ball Soup, and an Apple Kugel for desert), and absolutely great company!

24 April 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 113 (Acting Masculine, Feeling Feminine - with guest blogger The Naked Redhead)

Today's guest blogger is Sarah Storer of The Naked Redhead, another great blog of recommendation. I will be back on doing business-as-usual tomorrow.
The Naked Redhead (TNR) writes under the assumption that life is more fun when you're honest (naked), when things are funny, and when people get together to try to do the Right Thing. 
Her writing has been featured on Smitten, Glamour magazine's relationships blog, and across the great series of tubes that homosapiens like to call the Internetz.  She attempts to blog under a moniker, because there's not too much she likes more than getting tons of traffic from people searching for porn.  (Her favorite search query to date is "gigundous boobies".)  
When she's not writing, TNR enjoys a good beer, a riveting book, a rousing conversation, and relishes the simple things in life, such as coffee, warm socks, and soft toilet tissue.  She has been seen on the stage and elsewhere (she was once cast in a reality TV show that featured, oddly, Joe Piscopo), performing improvstand-up and other such nonsense, and loves nothing so much as hearing an audience laugh (preferably "with" and not "at").  She has two very quirky dogs (who are not, she says, NOT projecting their owner's personality. A-hem) and lives in Columbus, OH, which is quite possibly one of the coolest cities on the planet. Really.

I'm not sure what Doug was hoping for when he asked me to guest post. I'm sure he was hoping for some shenanigans. Today he gets a musing, instead. Thanks to you all for listening as I "soul puke."

The past six months have been a time of great change for me. I left my long-term, live-in relationship because I was drained of any and all capacity to give emotionally of myself anymore. We'd long stopped communicating in any helpful way to our relationship together, and I just reached a point where I knew we couldn't keep having the same fights over the same shit anymore if things weren't going to change.

So, I was done.

And with that doneness came freedom. And with that freedom came a new sense of independence. And with that independence came power.

Now, I'm not talking about being one of those take-no-prisoners career ladies, but I am talking about developing a sense of self where I know that if I put my mind to something, I can do it. In dating, that means I know what I want, and I know what I like, but I'm not necessarily overly analytical or picky. Instead, I'm quite relaxed about meeting and getting to know new people and I'm very, very laid back about where that journey may or may not go.

I assure you, this is a very different person that I used to be in the past. If a situation could have been over-analyzed, I'd be sure to put my Virgo sensibilities right on that shit and worry it like a dog with a bone.

But the problem is, this relaxed attitude gives me a bit of power. I often don't realize that I wield that power until far too late, and after feelings have been hurt.

In other words, in dating, I've become a dude. And I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Many, many of my smart, determined sisters have paved this path before me, fighting so that I could even know that I had the option to date a little like a dude. But to be sitting on the other side of the fence now...to have acted masculine, but to still feel feminine...well, that feels a bit like a conundrum.

Because it's hard realizing when you've unintentionally hurt someone. At least, for me it is. And it's hard knowing that I wouldn't (...or couldn't?) necessarily do anything differently to lead to the outcome of hurt feelings. And then it's hard because I wonder about the cost of my power, and I hope that it's worth it.

I think...well, I do think it's worth it. At least, at this point in my life I think so. There is something to be said for moving through your days knowing that the buck rests with nobody else but you, that your future is entirely in your own hands. I know we often say these things to ourselves, or hear them elsewhere...but to believe it? Well, it's a whole 'nother level.

I'm pretty sure I like this level. For now.

23 April 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 112 (Boy, oh boy! - with guest blogger Chrisinda Lukens)

The guest blogger today is none other than Chrisinda Lukens of A Little Wicked and A Frantic Mom's Menu, a very gifted writer from Pennsylvania who's musings (and sometimes sudden mood swings) run the gamut - and are usually... well... as she puts it:

"Following along with my train of thought is a lot like watching one of those movies you need to watch a few times before you sort of get it."

22 April 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 111 (Coming home - with guest blogger Lori Flood)

Today's guest blogger for The Common Voice is Lori Flood of shesawake.com. Lori is a writer that spends a great deal over-thinking things and under-doing chores... but it makes her happy. If she had her way, she would be the ruler of the universe (which could be a problem for me, as I am TRYING TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD... BWAHAHAHAHA... uh, sorry) and would have a battalion of minions to do her bidding.
And her laundry.
You can read her musings over at She's Awake, where she blogs in pajamas - because her minions have yet to appear (they may be held up by customs agents... after all, she does live in Canada, eh?).



I've been given free reign to write whatever I want to write about as a guest blogger on my friend Doug's blog.  Heh. Silly Doug.  Doesn't he know how dangerous that could be?  I mean, really.  I could come in here and mess his shit up big time.

But I won't.
I won't because I like Doug.

I've liked Doug for a while now.  He had something going for him that made me partial to him in the first place.  You see, Doug's a Truck Driver.  And I have kind of a soft spot in my heart for Truck Drivers.  I have a great deal of respect for them, and for what they are forced to put up with on the roads and on the highways every day.

Of course, I don't mean that all Truck Drivers are wonderful people.  Because that would be a total lie.  I've met some real assholes that drive truck for a living, too.  I just choose to forget those ones.

I worked with Truck Drivers for a long time. Day in and day out, I spent more time with them than their families got to.  That's not easy.  It's not easy for them, and it's not easy for the ones that they leave at home.  And I didn't even work with guys that were away from home for nearly as long as Doug is.

I can only now truly understand just how difficult it is to be so far away from the ones that you love.

How the word 'home' has a whole new meaning when you aren't there.

I've learned a lot of things from the truck drivers that I have known over the years.  But one of the things that I remember the most is that they know what home means.  Home isn't just a place that you go, it's a place that lives inside you at all times.

Home isn't a place, it's a feeling.  Home isn't about where you hang your hat, it's about where you hang your heart. 

To everyone who isn't home; for anyone that longs to be home; and especially to those that are at home waiting, I dedicate this post to you.

The love that you keep in your heart will ensure that you will always have a home to be at home in.  And that the ones that you love will forever be there with you, even when they are miles away.

Thanks, Doug.

Welcome home.

21 April 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 110 (Bartlesville brews - with guest blogger Lauri Rottmayer)

Today's guest blogger is Lauri Rottmayer, of Rott-i-tude.

Lauri Rottmayer is a marketing professional with many years experience. An enthusiastic woman with an entrepreneurial spirit and love of technology, Lauri is continually learning and growing in all areas that will help her be the best in everything she does. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Mrs. Oklahoma Pageant, an official state preliminary to the prestigious Mrs. International Pageant, while doing freelance graphic design and marketing.
A passionate community volunteer, Lauri serves on the board of theBartlesville Area Marketing and Communications Association and the Marketing Advisory Committee at Tri County Technology Center. She also serves on the Grassroots Action Committee for the American Heart Association and is very involved with the Go Red for Women movement. Near and dear to her heart is the work she does as a volunteer withGrace Hospice. Lauri is an accomplished public speaker, an avid reader and loves to dance.
Lauri has been married to her best friend, David, for 32 years and the couple has 3 sons: Brandon, Geoff and Ryan and a sweet boy dog, Rabi. (above excerpt lovingly and respectfully taken from her website). Thanks Lauri!

The Road Scholar - Day 109 (Home Sweet Home)

Well, I made it home late last night, and had a few errands to accomplish today, but all is done. As of this writing I am marinating a boneless leg of lamb with lemon juice, fresh garlic, and a few sprigs of rosemary on top. Tomorrow I will sear it on the grill for a little bit, then finish it off in the oven with some fresh baby onions (and a couple more sprigs of rosemary) and fresh green beans. One of things my wife and I had to get was some Mogen David wine (and we got 3 kinds - Concord Grape, Blackberry, and Pomegranate) - and when you live in a dry county, that can be a daunting task, as we have to drive about 40 minutes to the next wet county in order to make said purchase. After all the errands, we had mid-week service to attend, followed by our rehearsal for Sunday's Resurrection Service, for which I will be slamming the drums.

Wine chillin', lamb marinating, and the next task (and final for the night) is making the fresh prepared horseradish... and I do that late at night, so the fumes do not affect us in what we need to accomplish. Tomorrow: Matzo Ball Soup, Apple Kugel, and Passover Cake. For those of you that celebrate Passover, may yours be a joyous and festive one, filled with much laughter and many blessings! I shall return to the regular routine of blogging come Monday, but I will pop in through the next few days to offer introductions for the wonderful women who will be filling in for me - tomorrow's guest will be Lauri Rottmayer of Rott-i-tude.com.


19 April 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 108 (The Clock Is Ticking)

I made it here to Memphis, TN nearly an hour before my appointment time, checked in, then waited... but not for long. At a little after 1600 I was called in to a door, where I now sit, getting unloaded as we speak (or more accurately, as I type and you read). I've already spoke with my fleet manager and I was informed that once I get empty, I am to go home (YAY!).

I've been out for 5 1/2 weeks, and I am most ready to go home. I don't usually stay out this long, but I extended my time out a couple times: the first time I extended a week to meet up with an old acquaintance (in which I was going to be in the group to pick up a baby grand piano that was being given to us as a donation for our congregation - unfortunately that plan fell through), and this last extension was so that I could be home for this current reason - to celebrate Passover (which began yesterday). I won't be able to stay home for Passover in its entirety, but at least I'll be there for the bulk of it.

I will post one more blog tomorrow, but as I mentioned a couple days ago (or, more specifically, Day 6, just in case it has slipped your mind), TCV will be run by some guest bloggers. Once again, here's the lineup:

April 21 (Day 110) - Lauri Rottmayer of rottitude.com

April 22 (Day 111) - Lori Flood of shesawake.com

April 23 (Day 112) - Chrisinda Lukens of A Little Wicked

April 24 (Day 113) - Sarah Storer of thenakedredhead.com

These are fellow bloggers, who's blogs I follow, but are much more epic at it than I am. I hope you enjoy their posts (but I will pop in on their respective post to give them, what I hope to be, a stellar introduction.

Blessings to you all!

- Another rant via BlogPress

18 April 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 107 (Making My Way Closer To Home)

I was dispatched on my load at almost noon, but fortunately, it picks up almost 40 miles away. Unfortunately, it delivers to Kroger in Memphis. I say "unfortunately" because, as any other truck driver who has been there will attest to, it is NOT a pleasant place to deliver to: they are slow, rude, and a couple of the front gate security guards suffer from a superiority complex (here's a hint for them - you are a rent-a-cop, not the REAL thing... get over yourselves!).

But the good thing is, I will be that much closer to home. Though I am hoping for one more short run before going home, so it will help out the paycheck a little, but if not, I know that The L-rd will provide where it's needed. The weather here in Lockbourne, OH (just south on U.S. 23, from Columbus) is actually very nice: not too hot, with a pleasant breeze. Spring has sprung back, but I wonder for how long since Winter has been trying to hold on a little bit longer.

This load is actually not a very long run, only about 575 miles to be delivered by 1600 tomorrow. But once I get to Kroger, that may be a different matter... but we shall see. Either way (whether I get one more short run, or head right home after I get empty) I will be home for most of Passover, if not all of it. Plus I'm also pretty excited that next month, my brother, Larry, and family, will be coming out for a visit from Vegas. I've been trying for quite some time to get a load going out there to visit, even for just a few hours, but have not had much luck in that quest. He will be coming out with his wife, son, and my stepmom (all of which my family will enjoy seeing as well).

When they come, I've already promised I would make my "famous" Matzo Ball Soup and Challah Bread. There will be good times to be had!

- Another rant via BlogPress

17 April 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 106 (Just A Few More Days Until I'm Home)

I'm here in Jeffersonville, OH, just 12 miles from where I delivered yesterday, and where it appears I will be until tomorrow. But that is okay, as there are a few things I'm able to catch up on.

As I mentioned in Day 103, I will be taking a few days off for Passover, but during such time, this blog will not remain dormant. There will be some stellar bloggers taking the helm of TRS in my absence. Here is the lineup:

April 21 - Lauri Rottmayer of rottitude.com

April 22 - Lori Flood of shesawake.com

April 23 - Chrisinda Lukens of A Little Wicked

April 24 - Sarah Storer of thenakedredhead.com

If any changes occur in relation to the lineup, I will post said changes. All of these women have very excellent blogs of their own, and I am VERY honoured that they have agreed to take the reigns of TCV while I'm away.

Now it's time for coffee...

... and cheesecake!

- Another rant via BlogPress

16 April 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 105 (Go Away Rain)

I didn't quite make it to Indianapolis before I shut down last night, but I came close (about 12 miles). I finished the trip to Washington Court House, OH, a small town just south of Columbus, and I did not get preplanned on a load yesterday, so I may have to wait until Monday for my next run. But it works out alright, today is the Sabbath, so I'll relax when I get done here. I plan on heading to the Flying J, about 11 miles away, and get into a good Torah study.

There may have been a bit of rain, with more on the way, but that will make for good sleeping weather, not to mention the therapeutic effect the sound of rain falling on the truck creates. The subtle "tap, tap, tap" sound heard overhead always creates such a soothing, calming ambiance which, of course, induces the sleep rhythms into a deep state very effortlessly (and depending on what I may have eaten just an hour before, can also invoke some weird dreams - I wonder what kind of dreams I can get from eating cheesecake).

- Another rant via BlogPress

15 April 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 104 (Back To Work, But Only For A Few Days)

Left out this morning after 1 1/2 days of visiting my sister. Before I made my way back down to Olathe, KS, I ran a quick errand to make a deposit in the bank. Just recently, my youngest son, Nathan (whom is 16), told us that his Drama teacher is planning a trip that the entire class will be taking next year, during spring break. My wife and I are now putting money aside for this trip now, so his share of the trip will be paid for before then. You see, - and I am so jealous of this - his class will be going to New York City, during which they will be visiting various sites (I believe Ground Zero will be one of them), as well as attending two plays on Broadway. I guess it's my fault, really... since I was bitten by the "theatre bug" when I was younger, perhaps that "sickness" was passed on to him.

After I made said deposit (and grabbed a Starbucks), I made my way to Olathe, hooked up to the trailer my load was put on, then made my way east. As I head to Washington Courthouse, OH, I've run into sporadic bouts of rain, though at present, it still just looks overcast, as if the thunderstorms know it should get busy, but is just too lazy to put out full effort (it is Friday, after all). I'm bound & determined to, at least, get to Indianapolis before I shut down for the night, but no telling what weather awaits me before then. Besides, I just finished eating my half of the leftover Reuben sandwich from yesterday's lunch at d'Bronx (I had 1/2 a sandwich left, as did Denise - and she insisted I take both, to which there wasn't much protest on my part, as I like Reuben sandwiches).

By the way, d'Bronx was a pretty nice eatery, good atmosphere, reasonable prices, and, yes, tasty food. Which reminds me...

Did you hear about the new restaurant on the moon?

Great food... no atmosphere.

- Another rant via BlogPress

14 April 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 103 (Still In Kansas, Hopefully There's No Twisters)

I called Tyson earlier, but to no avail, since the load may not be ready until tomorrow, which works out for the better, since by the morning I will have a restart on my logbook. Today was very relaxing, just hanging out with my sister Denise (whom I haven't seen in a few years).

When I spoke to my wife, Michelle, last night, I told her I was visiting Denise, and that I may be going to IHOP (International House Of Prayer) today... which made her a little jealous, since that is the home congregation to one of our favorite Praise & Worship leaders, Misty Edwards. Denise and I went by there earlier, and I found out that at their 24 hour prayer room, Misty was going to be leading worship there from 1400-1600 (2-4 p.m.). Needless to say, I went back this afternoon, and the worship was, indeed, very deep and spiritually fulfilling. One of these days Michelle and I will have to make a trip up here so she can enter into a deep worship as I did today. I would have liked to talk to Misty Edwards afterwards, but being on a worship team myself, I understand the demands involved in ministry... but not the demands that come with the larger congregation that she's involved in - much larger congregation.

I will, however, be back to work tomorrow, making my way to Washington Courthouse, OH for Saturday afternoon (1730 ET, to be exact). On a side note: I will be absent for a few days this time next week, as it will be Passover. But there will be some excellent bloggers filling in for me during that time, and I will fill you in with the details a little later.

- Another rant via BlogPress

13 April 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 102 (We're Back In Kansas, Toto)

I started this morning from Mt. Olive, IL, having parked outside a very quaint little restaurant called Crossroads Diner. On the outside it didn't look like much, but on the inside, it seemed as though it was snatched right out of the 50's.

In fact, it would have made for an ideal setting for a movie, had the story been written by Stephen King with the cast of Twin Peaks to star. All eerie ambiguities aside, it was a very cute place.

I set my estimated arrival time (which I had done last night) for 1600 today, which I made with 5 minutes to spare, despite the fact I had to take a detour (there was an accident on the westbound side of I-270, just before crossing the Mississippi River, with ALL lanes closed - therefore, I had to continue south into St. Louis, as opposed to west across the north end), and I hit the afternoon traffic on the south end of Kansas City (on the Kansas side). Even with those delays, I am now here in Olathe, KS. By the looks of it so far, I may have to wait until tomorrow to find out where I go next.

But all is good... I may not have Starbucks readily available, but I do have milk...

... and cheesecake.

I bless you, Adonai, my G-d (one of His many Hebrew names), for such a culinary delight!

- Another rant via BlogPress

12 April 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 101 (Back In Chicago... For Now)

Unloaded in Columbia City, IN, made a stop in Merrillville, IN (groceries and Starbucks - not necessarily in that order), then up to Lake Station, IN to send in my paperwork and get the trailer washed out, now I'm in Chicago. I
have an old friend (from my Marine Corps days) that lives in Chicago, but, unfortunately here too, I won't be around here long enough to visit with him.

As you may have noticed, I know many people in many places, may it be friends, family, or other. If I didn't have to be in Olathe, KS by 1200 tomorrow, that would give me some time here to, perhaps, grab a bite to eat with Chris (and I'm sure if he reads this post, he will want to skin and roast "The Duck" for dinner). Chicago is one of those places that I've learned not to appreciate, but rather tolerate, as the experience of driving through this metropolis is enough to lead even the most patient of men over the edge of sanity, causing him to become a lawyer, or worse, a politician. This happens to be one of those cities that you either love or hate... though I am of the opinion that "hate" is a rather strong and brutal word, so in my case I shall say that I aberrantly detest coming to Chicago. If it wasn't for the fact I have a good friend that lives here, I would just as soon avoid it here altogether. It could be worse... I could be in Detroit. But I won't completely discount Detroit - they DO have a good hockey team (you hear that C.J.? The Redwings rule - The Penguins DROOL!!).

- Another rant via BlogPress

11 April 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 100 (I'm On My Way... But Not Home, Sweet Home)

I actually unloaded in Bedford, PA last night, and waited a few hours this morning until the CSR (Customer Service Representative, a.k.a. the cat whom finds our loads) got me my next load, which, as I mentioned yesterday, was a broker load. It picked up in Turtle Creek, PA, which is a suburb (one of many) of Pittsburgh. If I wasn't pushing to deliver this first thing in the morning, I would have tried to spend a few hours with one of my best friends (whom lives in Pittsburgh), unfortunately, I don't have such luxuries as much, since, as this company is transitioning all the trucks over to electronic logs, I'm working on a set schedule once I go "on the clock."

It may work out for my benefit, as I have just gotten a pre-planned load, that will pick up in Chicago tomorrow, which means that once I get unloaded in Columbia City, IN (just west of Ft. Wayne) in the morning, I'll have to jet the 137 miles, get loaded, then head to Olathe, KS (which is just south of Kansas City).

Who knows... I may just get a load back out of Olathe and head west, perhaps Salt Lake City, UT... but as soon as I find out, I will be sure to let you in - I promise. As for right now, I'm going to eat some Popeye's while listening to satellite radio (Dire Straits is currently talking about "Money For Nothing" on one of the classic rock stations).

"... I want my,
I want my,
I want my MTV..."

- Another rant via BlogPress

10 April 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 99 (Bedford Is Still Here)

I didn't make it to Jane Lew, WV as I hoped last night, it turns out I underestimated the distance, so I shut down in Nitro, WV instead... about 15 miles west of Charleston. I was able to squeeze into a parking spot and go to bed, then get up this morning and get a shower and top off the fuel.

I arrived at the Walmart Distribution Center here in Bedford 1 1/2 hours before my appointment time, where I am sitting right now waiting for them to put me in a door. The weather is mild (in the low 70's) and the sun is finishing off it last couple hours of work. At this point I'm not sure where I will be going next, I may have to wait until tomorrow, in which case - and more than likely - I may get dispatched on a broker load, since we don't have very many customers established out here yet. Either way, I hope it's a good run (Wisconsin or Minnesota would make for an adequate run).

This afternoon my youngest son did his final performance of Camelot for his school, unfortunately I am here.

Thus is the life of a truck driver.

- Another rant via BlogPress

09 April 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 98 (Goodnight To Kentucky... Soon)

I didn't cover a lot of ground yesterday (only about 180), but that's alright, because I've until 2000 tomorrow night to make it to Bedford, PA. I'm presently in Glendale, KY (although Glendale, CA would be so much more fun to be in), and if all works out, I'll be able to get to Bedford around mid-afternoon and get together with a friend whom just happens to live in Claysburg - only 15 miles away.

For the most part, today's weather has been around the mid 80's, but it's now cooled down a little more. As i mentioned, I'm in Glendale, which is about 10 miles south of Elizabethtown, and THAT is about 30 miles south of Louisville... that should give you some idea of my general location. However, once I get to the south end of "E-town", I'll continue east, towards Lexington, then to West Virginia, etc., etc., etc. My current prediction is I will probably shut down in Jane Lew, WV (yes, that is the name of the town), giving me less than 300 miles left of this run.

The company I drive for (most specifically, the division I'm in) is really wanting the drivers to get their passports, since we now have a customer in Tulsa, OK with freight that goes into Canada. So, while I was at our terminal yesterday, I got the paperwork (application) for such, so the next time I get home, I'll have to get my birth certificate (and I actually have one, not to be confused with a "Certificate of Live Birth") for when I submit the application. Therefore, within the coming months, "The Road Scholar" series may take to the international stage... in a manner of speaking. Until that time comes I'll be preparing, by end all my sentences with "eh" (and I hope that @loripop326 doesn't get upset at me for that one), if you know what I'm talking "aboot" (nor for that one).

- Another rant via BlogPress

08 April 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 97 (Running Solo To PA)

Alan got his truck today, and, as of this writing, is getting his information (his first dispatch) written down... he is picking up in Dexter, MO, going home for a little bit, then delivering in Russellville, AR on Monday morning. As for me, I'm waiting on another truck to arrive in our terminal and taking his load to deliver Sunday evening in Bedford, PA.

It's been a slow day, but I've gotten a few things done. By the time the other driver gets here, I will have gotten a 34 hour restart on my logbook, which will work out pretty good for me. However, by the time I get unloaded, I will, more than likely, have to wait until Monday before I get my next load assignment. It's all good... tomorrow is the Sabbath, and, though I will be driving, I will thank and bless The L-rd for all He has given me, all He has blessed me with.

I will be getting home on the 20th and spend a few days of Passover, relaxing, reenergizing. By the time I get home I will have been out 6 weeks (not something I will make a frequent practice of, as I enjoy being home with my family). However, I plan on picking up a nice lamb roast and some horseradish root before I get home.

It's been fairly warm, with a moderate breeze here in North Little Rock today... I'm missing the winter weather already. It seemed as though the temperatures weren't cool enough, long enough... then again, that's just my opinion.

- Another rant via BlogPress

07 April 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 97 (Farewell, Alan)

This morning we made our delivery early, and in the process I had the opportunity to chat with an old acquaintance, as well. Once the trailer was unloaded, Alan and I headed to the terminal (which was a whopping 16 miles away) so the he could take his final evaluation tests. He had to take a couple tests in order for the company to ensure that he understood what was expected of him AND to make sure that I was doing my job accordingly. This afternoon (out of sheer curiosity) I spoke with one of the instructors in the training center how Alan did, and I was told he did very well. Also, I wanted to know, not because I doubted my abilities as a trainer, but for self-validation - to ensure I was doing my job up to the company's standards and expectations.

Needless to say, Alan now has his own truck, and will meet his fleet manager (Monica - the same one I have) and get dispatched on his first load as a solo driver.

There are a total of six trainers in my division, and I happened to be the second driver to be one of those trainers. So far, there are two of those six whom have not had a student yet, which basically means, it may be a few more weeks before I get my next student. The company I drive for has been around for over 25 years, but they just started this (Temperature Controlled) Division just last May. It's been a slow road building up the fleet, as well as the customer base, so quite obviously, new drivers, fresh out of trucking school, are not exactly going to be swarming us. Besides, this company is organized enough to not bring in more students than trainers that are currently on hand.

So... Alan is now officially in his own truck - and his first as a professional driver - and because he no longer has to endure my antics, he will soon be able to have his sanity restored.

- Another rant via BlogPress

06 April 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 96 (A Short Run, An Easy Day)

Unloaded in Joplin, MO this morning, ran down the road to fuel and wash out the trailer, then back up the road to load at Pillsbury... right across the street from where we unloaded. I'm one of those drivers that I prefer to load with a full tank of fuel, so a lot of problems can be avoided.

Hypothetical: let's say I go into a customer to load, with my tanks 1/2 full, and I scale after loading to find my total weight is 79,800. I would have no room for extra fuel (since 2 fuel tanks, at 100 gallon capacity each; diesel is about 8 lbs/gal x 100 gals = 800 lbs of extra weight). However, if I go in, get loaded, and my gross weight is over 80,000 lbs (with a full tank of fuel, and I bring back a certified scale ticket as proof), then the customer HAS to remove enough product to get me within legal limits.

Joplin is a nice little city, just a few miles from the OK state line, and a little more than 150 miles south of Kansas City. One of Joplin's notable residents, at one time, was baseball legend Mickey Mantle, and was also the birthplace to actor Dennis Weaver, most noted for his police drama series McCloud.

As I mentioned earlier, we loaded at Pillsbury. To be quite honest, this is the type of facility that truck drivers like best. We got there, parked, checked in, backed into the dock and got loaded, then went down to the truck stop and scaled out - all within 1 hour! Places like that really help us to make the most of our drive time; very little wait time = maximized productivity. Would I go there again? In a New York minute! Once we get empty tomorrow, we'll be heading to the yard so Alan can get processed out of the training program and get his own truck. Granted, the delivery is only going to Little Rock, but that allows for some extra leisure time: sit down and eat, relax at a Starbucks (where else?), etc.

In fact, I think I hear a Mocha Marble Machiatto calling my name!

Yep, that's what that sound was!

- Another rant via BlogPress

05 April 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 95 (What Was I Thinking?!)

After perusing the last couple weeks worth of posts, I'm thinking of (if you'll pardon the pun) shifting gears and taking a different route with this blog. There's even the option (though I'll still wait a few more months) of aborting this whole effort, due to the fact I know absolutely about promoting/marketing, which, as I've seen from other blog posts I've read, does play a key role in generating traffic, hence, a successful blog.

Perhaps I was being a bit delusional in thinking I could blog about being a truck driver, since, as has become apparent, many don't care about what a truck driver does (or endures) on a daily basis (if you want to know what many people think of truck drivers, just bring that topic up in conversation... chances are, most opinions will be negative). I'll admit, there are a lot of prime specimens of the low class lot that permeate this industry, but there are a few of the respectful professionals (myself being one) that get a bad rap because of the rest. I tried to carry this blog in a way to shed a little light that we're not all dirtbags.

I don't know what I expected from doing this blog... perhaps I was having delusions of grandeur. I really enjoyed writing when I was younger, at least I could find people to read it - and a select few I could count on to be honest... brutally honest. However, it's hard to gauge (amid all this technology) where you rate in your own writing abilities when your blog is posted online, then tweeted, only to have little to no feedback... other than the usual handful of friends & family that already read it.

So how can I shape this better?



A fond "farewell"?

- Another rant via BlogPress

04 April 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 94 (Why Are Chicken Plants So Slow To Load?)

Our delivery was made this morning in Lenoir City, TN, then we went 7 miles up the road to the Flying J on the west end of Knoxville to send in the paperwork. Our next load picked up in Morristown, where we STILL are. This customer has us back into a door at 1515, where we have been sitting for nearly 2 1/2 hours with no movement in our trailer (no movement = not loading). Sometimes I wonder if these chicken plants book loads on chickens that are still in the growing stages. The rain has been off & on, and the skies still look, shall we say, a trifle unfriendly.

This load is bound for Joplin, MO, but still unsure if we are to route through Little Rock, AR so Alan can get his own truck. At least he is seeing this job isn't always "peaches & cream", that occasionally there's a jam thrown in.

Looking in the distance, as dusk begins to segue in, the skies look as though they are plotting a tempest for tonight... one I wouldn't particularly want to be around for.

- Another rant via BlogPress

03 April 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 93 (The Start Of A New Week)

Today is another relaxing day, but tomorrow could be hectic (it could also be fairly uneventful, too). It's showing to be about 55° here right now. It's a nice day, one that would be awesome to enjoy in California (can you tell I miss it out there?). Now that I have a restart on my logbook, I may head to Super Target and browse through the shops nearby, even get a Mocha Marble Machiatto from Starbucks.

I've always been fond of the northern states, even the north east, mainly because it's, generally, cooler. Although I have ALWAYS liked it out west much better. I was born and raised in S. Florida, but dry heat is more bearable (much more bearable) than humidity. Granted, it's more expensive to live out west - though I would like to know who it is that determines property value, and why they are making 6 figures a year to tell us that one state is more expensive to live in than others - but it's still where I would much rather be.

I wonder if my wife and I could qualify to get a loan and purchase that $49K condo in central California, then when our youngest son moves out, sell our current house and head back to Cali?

Just a thought...

... and a dream...

... a wish, even.

02 April 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 92 (Another Beautiful Sabbath)

It's nice to have an office with a view... at least, my version of it. I'm still here, just west of Knoxville. Since the delivery appointment was changed to Monday, Alan and I are parked (in a good spot, I might add) at a truck stop getting a 34 hour restart on our logbooks, actually there are three truck stop here: Petro (where we are), across the street is a T/A, and across the interstate there is a Flying J. There's also a moderate variety of food to choose from: Popeye's, Pizza Hut, and Burger King (all at T/A); Iron Skillet (Petro); Denny's (Flying J); and, of course, all three have the usual "grab-and-go" selections you would usually expect at any gas station/convenience store (hot dogs, etc.).

But I've taking advantage of this downtime to get into my study of the Torah (after all, it IS the Sabbath). No matter what the weather may be, whether it's nice out (as it is today), snowing, or even if I'm in the middle of the California or Arizona desert, I'm always amazed by the beauty of my G-d's creation.

I'm very grateful for days like this, where I take advantage of the time at hand, as opposed to taking it for granted, which is something we all find ourselves doing daily. In our hectic & busy daily lives, we should - at the very least - clear our schedules for at least 1/2 a day, just to slow down and catch our breath.

I dare you to try it: 1/2 a day with nothing to do, completely unplugging from work related tasks.

Then talk about how it felt.

I dare you!

- Another rant via BlogPress

01 April 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 91 (Congratulations, Redhead!)

We didn't make the delivery appointment on time today, so it was rescheduled for Monday morning, which kind of stinks, but at least Alan and I can get a restart on our logbooks. It works out well, since the Sabbath begins tonight, I'll be able to really dive into study and worship The Lord and be thankful for this downtime.

Things like this happen... it's all part of the job (you can add any other cliché that you wish, as well, here).

However, there is some rather cool news I've recently learned. Last month (I think it was last month) I was honored with the opportunity to write a guest post on another's blog. Even though I'm using Blogger more exclusively than WordPress (I'm slowing phasing that blog site out), it was a wonderful experience to write a post on The Naked Redhead's site. But the latest news is... well, you can read her latest post for yourself (and it is a great post). In the time I've dabbled with Twitter, and since I've begun blogging, I've met some truly amazing people, from all over the world (more commonly here in the U.S. and the U.K.), and Redhead is absolutely among them.

I pray you will be blessed beyond measure, TNR!

- Another rant via BlogPress