31 May 2011

Day 150 (I Forgot The Maple Syrup)

I got unloaded this morning in Half Moon, NY, then had to wait nearly 2 hours for my next load. This one has two pick-ups: the first being in Middlebury, VT, then down to N. Bergen, NJ. Middlebury is... well... in Vermont, about 35 miles south of Burlington... and nowhere near an interstate. N. Bergen is in the metro Jersey area, just north of Newark, and across the river from NYC.

I was doing pretty good on time once I got the first pick-up loaded, but once I got to the fuel stop in Newberg, NY... well, I'll just say it was nearly a 30 minute wait before I made it onto the fuel island, as FOUR of the pumps were out of service. Needless to say, I didn't make it to N. Bergen before I ran out of hours.

Just so you know - the fuel price for diesel in Newberg, NY: $4.28/gal... and I got 119.5 gallons.

- Another rant via BlogPress

30 May 2011

Day 149 (Memorial Day 2011)

Today is Memorial Day, and while I could go on a historical lecture, I won't. Instead I'll just refer you to this link on the subject. I am sitting here in Half Moon, NY where I will be unloading tomorrow morning. Today across America people are gathering around barbecue grills along with friends, or family, or both. As for me... none of the above. The closest I am is about 130 miles from a good friend who lives in New Jersey.

Memorial Day is the day where we reflect upon those who gave their lives in the service of this country, so that we may have the luxuries as stated above. This is not limited to just those who have served in the military... at least not to me. In my humble (though some may argue that there is not a humble bone in my body) opinion, the law enforcement officers and firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty should also fall into the same mold as those who have fallen on the battlefield for remembrance (does the date 9/11/01 ring a bell?). Let's face it, as a Marine, soldier, or sailor has protected our freedoms abroad, so, too, have the firemen and police officers protected our freedoms here.

I don't want to pervert the memory of our past combat warriors, just broaden the spectrum of those worthy to be remembered forever.

- Another rant via BlogPress

29 May 2011

Day 148 (What A Blessed Day!)

Today turned out very nice indeed. Last night I shut down on the east end of Erie, PA. When I got up this morning, and after tending to my morning ablutions, I took a 3 mile walk to Harbor Creek High School, where Grace Church has set up a satellite location (temporary, of course), and pastored by Mike Watson whom I first became acquainted with via Facebook. I met Pastor Watson once before at what is now the "Flagship" location of Grace Church in McKean, PA... on the west side of Erie. Pastor Watson is still beaming with excitement & enthusiasm as this was the 5th week the Harbor Creek location has assembled.

In the two times we have met in person I have come to this conclusion about him: He is a man with a serving heart, a love of people, and most importantly, a man that seeks unity... not just within his own congregation, but with the surrounding congregations within his community as well. Should I find myself in the neighborhood again, you can bet I'll be there to visit and fellowship with his congregation again.

As for the worship team that led this morning... they were very much "in the pocket"!

- Another rant via BlogPress

28 May 2011

Day 147 (What A Nice Day)

Today is pretty nice, at least in Kentucky and Ohio, that is. I stopped in Florence, KY for some Starbucks, and I'm glad I went through the trouble of finding this particular location, as I met a young man (Joseph was his name) and we had a very nice fellowship... which turned out to be a nice bonus, since today is the Sabbath.

Joseph and I discussed a great number of things. In our discussion I found he, like a good number of other Christians I have met, has become weary of the "business as usual" traditions and practices of "The Church." The type of blasé and mundane routines that many are "comfortable" with: go to services on Sunday, listen to the Pastor speak, then go home. Sadly, there are a good deal of these congregations that do NOT do as Scripture says, "Study to show yourself approved" (2 Timothy 2:15). The sad fact is (and I personally know of a few people like this) many will go to a bible study and quote the interpretations of known "scholars" (such as Kenneth Hagen, Kenneth Copeland, or Benny Hinn - and countless others whom I personally disregard as "learned" as opposed to "famous") without so much as their own meaning of what Scripture is saying. Many of these within the followers of the afore mentioned "famous scholars" will call themselves Christians, following a Jewish Savior, yet they themselves have prejudices against Jewish people. As I mentioned many weeks ago, I am Jewish, and I am also a Talmid of Yeshua HaMashiach (student of Jesus Christ). I wasn't raised in the traditions or practices of the Judaic liturgy, but with the assistance of The L-rd, G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, I have been able to "reprogram" my thinking out of the Western cultural mindset (a.k.a. the European mindset, which gets its roots from a Greek mindset), and into a Middle-Eastern mindset - which is what the Scriptures are written in - and to use the former in order to understand Scripture (which was written in the latter) is absurd. Once you take on the way of thinking that was customary to those whom The L-rd used to document the events which make up Scripture, many passages will begin to make sense, as opposed to reading Scripture in a Greek mindset where it then is "lost in translation."

Learning the Hebrew language will also help once you begin to seek deeper study.

- Another rant via BlogPress

27 May 2011

Day 146 (Does My Reputation Precede Me?)

Made it to our North Little Rock terminal last night, showered, and did my laundry. This morning, before I ran my errands, I found out the Andy (my new student) was not going to be my new student. I wonder if word got around how hard-nosed an instructor I am (totally untrue). Instead, he is at home right now deciding if he wants to be a driver in either the refrigerated division, the flatbed division, or even be a truck driver. I've been told he has a little daughter, and he's unsure if he wants to spend 3 weeks at a time away from home... which is what's usually the case in the refrigerated division. This is not an easy line of work to get into, nor is it for everybody. For me, it seemed to be an easy transition, as I had only been out of the Marine Corps about 4 years when I began driving a truck. I, from my time in the Corps, had already been accustomed to being away from home for extended periods. In fact, just 4 days after Michelle and I had gotten married, my unit was doing some cross-training with the DEA in Texas & New Mexico, in which we were gone for a month. So, in essence, both of us had gotten used to being separated from one another... but it also made our time together (even to this day) that much more special.

Though we've both learned over the years, in order for us to enjoy certain luxuries (each other's company, a.k.a. quality time), there are certain sacrifices that must be made (being away from home for weeks at a time). This line of work also helps to pay the bills, which comes in very useful, considering the economic shape the country is in.

Oh, and I also applied for my passport today, too.

- Another rant via BlogPress

26 May 2011

Day 145 (Leaving Tulsa... Eventually)

I unloaded this morning, and I will be re-loading this afternoon from the same customer. Though I hope I will not have to wait until 1700 to do so. This trip will put a couple hundred miles more on me, as I have to go through our terminal in Little Rock to pick up Andy, my next student.

The weather here is pretty nice: moderate temperature with a nice breeze blowing. Last night there was some wind, just enough to rock the truck ever so slightly. Since it's about lunch time, I will make myself a sandwich, or just have some flatbread & hummus (now that I mentioned it, the latter sounds pretty good), though I could go for a nice roast. Last night, and up to this point, has been a bit uneventful.

I think a nap is in order.

- Another rant via BlogPress

25 May 2011

Day 144 (Time For A New Student)

Today has been, and will continue to be, fairly easy. My delivery will be in Tulsa for tomorrow morning, where I will also re-load at the same customer a load bound for Braintree, MA, then to Half Moon, NY. Once I do get loaded, rather than head through Joplin, MO, I'll have to detour through Little Rock, AR to pick up my new student and begin a new 3 week cycle of training. This first load for him could prove to be very challenging for him, since Braintree is a suburb of Boston, and Half Moon (as I pointed out Sunday) is just north of Albany.

I've driven through a bit of rain traveling along I-44 in Missouri, and it looks as if there may be more to come. I won't complain. In fact, I hope it rains through the night. The reason for this, is that, like watching the snow fall in winter, rain is also very therapeutic. If it's a moderate shower, the "tap, tap" sound made of the roof of the truck makes it easy to drift off to sleep. Even a heavy storm has the same effect, due to the fact that with a heavy storm, there is also a wind that accompanies it, which will cause the truck to rock... and like the famous "baby in a cradle" off to sleep I go. Though such rains do pose their own problems... such as the premature need to use certain facilities, which, in turn, cause the need to exit the dry comfort of the truck, thus become exposed to the very same elements to which I have to run through in order to use the afore mentioned facilities.

On second thought, forget the rain.

- Another rant via BlogPress

24 May 2011

Day 143 (Vote All The Morons Out)

This past Saturday's post saw this blog going in a slightly different path from the norm. Today, I may explore something new.

I, as many of you already know, am a truck driver. I travel the country - a lot. There are thousands of others that do the same thing, sadly, there is just a small percentage that can actually hold an intellectual conversation, let alone enter into one. I count myself within that small number of intelligent drivers. As I have observed (and this goes beyond the truck driving community), too many people are allowing their thoughts to be formed by the "insights" and opinions of the politicians that "we the people" have elected AND the media "reporters" that "report" the same - without so much as an original thought of their own.

For example... Barack Obama. Four years ago came this man out of obscurity. Hillary Clinton would have become President if not for Obama. We didn't have much to choose from, so when he was elected, regardless of party affiliation, I wanted him to succeed. After all, the first black President - a historic milestone, just in that alone. Yet in the years since, he has done NOTHING to impress me. He made many promises on the campaign trail: close the prison in Guantanamo Bay (it's still open); bring our troops home (not only has this NOT happened, but their numbers have been increased in Afghanistan) - need I go on? Yet, he found it so important to lobby on behalf of Chicago before the International Olympic Committee. He HAS managed to pass a health care bill - against the will of the American people (and the deciding vote that passed it was cast by Blanche Lincoln (D) of Arkansas, whom, ironically enough, was ousted in the last mid-term election), take over the banking AND the auto industry - all of which are a repeat performance of what had been done some time back (research your world history here).

However, would we have been better off with John McCain? More than likely, we would be in the same situation. My conclusion from that is that D.C. politics is no longer about Democrats vs. Republicans, nor Liberals vs. Conservatives, but rather, the discreet and devious takeover of Socialism, or Communism, or Marxism - more than likely it's a combination of all three.

There is a man, he is a great orator and can stir up the crowds, he rose up practically from nowhere, and his citizenship was always in question.

Let that whet your appetite for history.

- Another rant via BlogPress

23 May 2011

Day 142 (Heading West, Just Not Far Enough West)

You are all familiar with the quote "Great minds think alike" or perhaps a variation of such, (as used by W.E.B. Griffin, a favorite author of mine) "Great minds travel similar paths". Such is the case today in regards to my occasional rants about the use of turn signals by fellow "motorists" - or lack thereof. As I read the latest of the daily offerings from those cool cats at The Toilet Paper, I've found I'm not alone in said opinion.

That aside, let's move along...
I unloaded this morning in Half Moon, NY, then headed over to Guilderland Center, NY to reload, and am on my way to Tulsa, OK. Last night this company sent a fleet wide message about a tornado which apparently travelled through western Missouri - Joplin in particular. The State Police there have closed down the stretch of I-44 and U.S. 71 in that area, which could pose a problem, as my routing to Tulsa just happen to go that way. I'm still quite a ways from there, so tomorrow I'll find out from Monica what the latest road conditions are like in that area. I am hoping that, should any damage have occurred on those roadways, that it will be (at the very least) passable by the time I get there. I hope the damage of property, and most importantly, injuries to people, are minimal - nonexistent to the latter is preferable.

Here in upstate New York, the weather has been cool and, for the most part, sunny, though there have been spots of rain. I should make it into Ohio before my hours run out for today (I did start out fairly early), but how far into Ohio still remains a mystery. This load doesn't deliver until Wednesday, and knowing the customer it's going to (and the distance involved), it will be the afternoon before it get there. More than likely, I may get reloaded at the same place that I'm delivering to. Either way, this can prove to be a win/win situation. The only thing that can make it better is an endless - and free - supply of grande triple Marble Mocha Machiattos from Starbucks (well it's nice to dream, right?).

- Another rant via BlogPress

22 May 2011

Day 141 (I'm In Upstate New York... Now What?)

I just finished the final leg of this trip, and am sitting here in Half Moon, NY, just north of the state's capital of Albany. Once I get unloaded in the morning, I'll head to Guilderland Center (just outside of Albany) and pick up my next load going to Tulsa.

I started reheating my leftovers from Wednesday (the roast) and, as it did when I first cooked it, smells delicious. I'll probably chase it down with bread & butter, and perhaps some flatbread & hummus a little later (more than likely in the company of John McClain). When I stopped earlier to top off my fuel, I was VERY tempted to pick up a 1/2 dozen Boston Cream doughnuts from Dunkin' Donuts, but was successful in warding off the afore mentioned temptation.

I haven't normally expressed my views nor opinions in the way of politics, but yesterday's post was something I felt HAD to be said. There were many other things I wanted to get in to, but I had gone on quite a bit as it was.

At least you know where I stand.

- Another rant via BlogPress

21 May 2011

Day 140 (Off The Beaten Path)

Rather than my usual banter, I would like - if I may - to veer off in a different direction.

Just the other day we were "honored" with yet another speech by The President. I didn't watch it on t.v., nor hear it on satellite radio, but was able to locate the text of what he said. However, there were a few things that stuck out. Those things I will address... but I will use his words, while attempting to not take it out of context (as is VERY common among politicians and mainstream media reporters).

I won't go through the entire speech, just a few select sections, such as this paragraph:

"For decades, the conflict between Israelis and Arabs has cast a shadow over the region. For Israelis, it has meant living with the fear that their children could get blown up on a bus or by rockets fired at their homes, as well as the pain of knowing that other children in the region are taught to hate them. For Palestinians, it has meant suffering the humiliation of occupation, and never living in a nation of their own. Moreover, this conflict has come with a larger cost the Middle East, as it impedes partnerships that could bring greater security, prosperity, and empowerment to ordinary people."

First of all, for him to say "For decades, the conflict between Israelis and Arabs has cast a shadow over the region." is a gross understatement. He is, more than likely, primarily referring to the time since Israel has been recognized as its own Nation. But the "conflict" goes back further than that... MUCH further. Rather than go into any great detail, I'll just make reference to an incident in 1929 - nearly 20 years BEFORE Israel became a nation.

Another thing that sticks out is "For Palestinians, it has meant suffering the humiliation of occupation, and never living in a nation of their own." The mere use of "occupation" implies that the land in which they live is already theirs, which it is NOT! The land, first of all, belongs to The G-D of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. If you want to point fingers at the people of Israel and say that they took the land illegally, and they should move out, well... let's look at our OWN country. The land we live in was taken by force, illegally, so by using that same judgement, the only ones that should be left in THIS country are Native Americans and Mexicans.

Palestinians are also not a nation, but more of a nomadic people originally. They are of Arabic decent, yet their own Arabic neighbors are the ones REALLY abusing them, and propping them up for political gain. To put this into perspective, the Arab world treats the Palestinian people much the same way Al Sharpton did to the people of New Orleans did in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina: they are helpful for an agenda, but once the hype dies down - and there's no further "face time" - they are cast aside and rendered as "useless". This whole fiasco is just set up to reveal our government's intentions: to vote in the affirmative, this September, for the creation of a Palestinian State. Obama further proved that with a statement, further on in his speech:

"As for security, every state has the right to self-defense, and Israel must be able to defend itself -- by itself -- against any threat."

Basically, The President is supporting a Palestinian state, and turning his back on Israel. Israel is an ally! Correct me if I'm wrong, but if you claim a nation to be an ally, that means you stand with them - and they with you - in any battle. You may not realize this, but Scripture points out that those who bless Israel, will be blessed, and those who curse Israel, will be cursed. We went through that already, with G. W. Bush. He supported, then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to give up the Gaza Strip in exchange for peace. Shortly after - VERY shortly after - Hurricane Katrina came out of nowhere. We were held responsible for our leader's actions. If a Palestinian State is voted in this September, Katrina will seem like a light shower compared to what will befall us!

This is just some food for thought - worthy of some serious rumination.

- Another rant via BlogPress

20 May 2011

Day 139 (I Will Be Busy)

I mentioned yesterday that I was going to repower a load going to Half Moon, NY, which I did this morning. This load originated in Tulsa, OK and the other driver and I swapped in Strafford, MO, just on the east side of Springfield. Once I deliver on Monday morning, I will only have to deadhead 20 miles for my next load (which I have been pre-planned on), which will be taking me to Tulsa.

The weather was rainy earlier, but now it's just a little overcast. I stopped into our terminal in Madison, IL (just outside St. Louis) to get a routine service done on the truck (a.k.a. oil change). They got my truck in and out, which is always nice. Now that I've showered, run a few errands, and my truck service is complete, I can continue down the road on today's journey to see what adventures I can explore... ok, I'll just drive.

- Another rant via BlogPress

19 May 2011

Day 138 (I'm In Misery... Uh, Missouri)

Yesterday I noted that I was unloading in Wilmington, Il. I arrived there an hour before my appointment (which was 1700) and didn't leave from there until around 2000, only to have to hustle to get into Chicago to pick up my next load. Once I arrived there and got loaded, I made my way back south... and try to cover a few miles before I ran out of hours. Once I hit I-55 south, I also hit traffic... so, needless to say, in the period of 18 of my remaining 20 minutes, I only covered 8 miles. My delivery time for this load was for 0700 this morning, but since it was a plant to plant run, they were a bit more forgiving.

As for today, I have less than 3 hours left to drive today, to which I should be able to make it into Springfield, MO. Tomorrow I will be meeting up with another driver and re-power his load which delivers Monday just outside Albany, NY. As for right now, it's time to eat... and tonight's feast consists of chili:

- Another rant via BlogPress

18 May 2011

Day 137 (Blah, Blah, Blah... Yakkity, Schmakkity)

I am here in Wilmington, IL waiting to get unloaded, to which once that is done, I'll head to Chicago, load there and head to Sedalia, MO. How far I get tonight all depends on how efficiently I get unloaded here and loaded there... so far, it's not looking too good. My appointment here was for 1700 and I've been sitting in the dock door for over an hour now, and no movement in the trailer.

As I sit here my stomach is growling from hunger. I have food to eat, but I'm waiting until my meal - presently cooking in my new 2 quart crock pot - is ready. I bought some things for a few meals last night, and I'm cooking one of said meals now: a roast with a citrus & savory rub, a little soy sauce, fresh garlic, shallots, baby potatoes, and green beans, and all doused with hickory liquid smoke. It's been in there for a little over 3 1/2 hours... and smells SO GOOD!! I don't consider myself a chef, but I do enjoy cooking (and when I'm home, my wife makes no complaints when I express that I'll be cooking). Along with this roast, I also picked up some stuff for chili, and some Beef Kielbasa & Sauerkraut... each of which I should be able to get about 2 meals from. The next things I will have to get will be some more Lock & Lock storage containers to put my leftovers in.

This food will be SOOOO worth the wait!

- Another rant via BlogPress

17 May 2011

Day 136 (Is It Time To Go Home Yet?)

I just left out this morning and I'm sitting here in Jonesboro, AR picking up this load that's going to Wilmington, IL for tomorrow evening. I already miss my family! After all the years I've been driving, that still happens. The weekend had been busy and somewhat productive, and most enjoyable; a lot of fun, food, and laughter being with family, but, as they say, all good things must come to an end. However, bills have to get paid somehow.

Going through the last of my record collection that was brought in from Vegas I found a few titles I had forgotten were there. Titles such as the movie soundtracks for The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Flash Gordon, as well as John Lennon's Double Fantasy, Julian Lennon Valotte, and Speaking In Tongues by The Talking Heads (which the copy I have was pressed on clear vinyl, but over the twenty + years it has sat in a box, along with surviving Hurricane Wilma, oxidation has given it a reddish tinge). When I get back home, the process of integrating those into the (somewhat) organized shelves will begin... not to mention the task of replacing some of the plastic sleeves on a few of the jackets. Many of today's youth have never heard of vinyl records, let alone seen them. I've spoken with a few that have NO historical knowledge of the music they listen to: for example, they didn't know that "Careless Whisper" by Seether and "Word Up!" by Korn were big hits in the 80's, nor did they know the original artists who recorded those songs were Wham and Cameo, respectively.

Though the music industry is a lot to blame for this dilemma, as they are only concerned about "the next big hit." There are no longer artists that are groomed for longevity within the industry. Though I personally don't care for him, I feel sorry for Justin Bieber, as by the time he's 22, he will be considered "yesterday's news" - a.k.a., a washed-up has-been. You can even see this pattern in American Idol. All the years the show has been on, Carrie Underwood is probably still the most prominent name to arise from the show. If you notice, the ones that create the most controversy are the ones exploited most by the industry, vis-à-vis, music sales (can anybody say "Brittany Spears"?).

In the words of Forrest Gump - "That's all I'm gonna say about that!"

- Another rant via BlogPress

16 May 2011

Day 135 (Much To Do, But That Will Have To Wait)

Today I got quite a bit done, but there's a few things that will have to wait until the next time I get home. One such thing is organizing the rest of my albums. My brother brought the rest of my record collection with him from Vegas, but I have yet to collate them into what I already have on the shelf (and to give you some perspective, my collection is a couple hundred titles).

Alas, tomorrow I'm going back to work. Though I don't really want to, but we all have to earn a living. I'm still trying to find that one job where I can take a two week paid vacation 26 times a year... but so far, no luck. It was nice seeing my brother and step-mom, and I'm hoping to get a load (sometime soon) that will take me out there to see them. The weather is fairly cool tonight, though I know summer is just around the corner, which means just one thing - MAX a/c temperature on the truck. Be cool - be safe!

Day 133 & 134 (Busy Weekend, With Family)

Well, this has been a busy weekend. First of all, in order to make my logbook legal, I had to sit (nap) in Pontoon Beach, IL until 1900, then make my way home. I finally made it home at around 0100, only to be back on the road around 1000, with my youngest son, along with my brother and step-mom (who were visiting from Vegas), and headed to Milan, TN. We went out there to help my step-mom get here things from when she lived out there a while back. Surprisingly enough, we were able to get all of her things in both cars, grab a bite to eat at a local Mexican restaurant (which, by the way, was so NOT impressive), then make the 200 mile trip back to my house - where we unloaded said items into our house. Barbara sorted through everything to consolidate it in order to fit it into one car (not an easy task).

There are a lot of things that she is having us donate to our local thrift stores, as well as a few boxes (mainly photos & photo albums - which reminds me, I really need to "acquisition" some of my pics (from my teenage years) before my wife finds them, and BURN them. We were given some VERY nice items: a Seder plate, a Challah bread dish, and most importantly, a napkin holder once owned by my grandparents (may they rest in peace).

This afternoon my wife and I went to the Jewish Food Festival in Little Rock, which was very enjoyable... though the food was a bit pricey and NOT commensurate with the portions served: for example, 2 cheese blintzes were $5 (ugh!). We did find a really nice Kiddish cup, and pretty reasonably priced too. We headed home, after a stop to Starbucks (which some of you have come to expect from me), and then my brother, Larry, and I took control of the kitchen to make dinner: Matzo Ball soup, Pita Bread & homemade Hummas,  Lemon/Rosemary Chicken, Latkes (potato pancakes), Falafel, and Cheesecake for dessert (that was bought from a store). Tomorrow Larry and Barbara head back for Vegas. I hope they have a safe trip, though it's sad to see them go... it's been a busy, but VERY enjoyable and productive weekend.

13 May 2011

Day 132 (Unilever In Chicago = SLOW!)

First of all, I apologize for yesterday's blog not posting until today... wait, why am I apologizing for Blogger, after all, they were the ones that went down for maintenance. Anyway, I got to the shipper yesterday afternoon around 1500, and my appointment was for 1700-1900 (a two hour window). At around 1730 I asked about, roughly, when I would get assigned a door, only to find out that their production line was down for maintenance (just like Blogger) and had just started back up. When they finally called me, I dropped my trailer (so the yard jockey could put it in the door) at about 1945. What time did I get out of there, you may ask... after 0200!

I got rolling, and about 100 miles from my destination, I pulled off to grab a nap. I really wanted to get to the customer before I did that, but my body began to protest. So now, in order for my logbook to remain in a legal status, I have to wait until about 1900 to head home.

At least I'll be home.

Perhaps until Tuesday.

Oh, and by the way... the Detroit Red Wings are OUT of the Stanley Cup Playoffs... and today is Friday the 13th?!

How much worse could it get?

Don't answer that!

- Another rant via BlogPress

Day 131 (Soon, I Will Be Home)

Unloaded this morning and waited a few hours for my next load (while I sat parked behind a Home Depot). When it did come, the facility where I'm loading was, quite literally, around the block. Though it only goes to Pontoon Beach, IL (about 280 miles, and right outside St. Louis), I've been told by Monica to go home once I get unloaded... to which I replied, "you don't have to tell me twice."

I'm very much looking forward to going home, not only for the obvious reasons (I always enjoy being with my family), but because my brother & step-mother are coming out from Vegas AND this Sunday, in Little Rock, will be the annual Jewish Food Festival, which I - along with my wife and youngest son - will be attending. I would invite you to meet me there, but for me to say "just look for the Jewish guy" would hardly be helpful, since it's a Jewish Food Festival... Jewish guys will be in abundance, but not as plentiful as, say... New York City, so there's a good chance we may bump into each other.

It's been a long 2 1/2 weeks. I'd like to relax when I get home, but I hardly think that's going to happen, since I will be making some Challah bread and Matzo Ball Soup, making a "relocation" trip to Tennessee and back, and the afore mentioned festival.

No rest for the weary!

- Another rant via BlogPress

11 May 2011

Day 130 (At Least My Laundry Is Done)

This morning I called the broker of this load to see about getting it unloaded today, but to no avail. I, therefore, have to wait until tomorrow to unload, which means the pre-plan I had for today went to another driver. I, then, will have to wait until tomorrow to find out about my next load, which will get me home.

This week has been a bit sketchy, with having to deal with brokers (which I don't like doing), and trying to get home. As I sit here at our terminal in Gary, IN (where I stopped to grab a shower and do my laundry - and I try to get all my laundry done before going home so my wife doesn't have to deal with it), I'm getting ready to head into the Chicago area (now that the traffic will have died down) and, hopefully, be able to park overnight at the customer, so I don't have to deal with morning traffic... and in Chicago, it can be horrendous.

I can just hope for the best.

- Another rant via BlogPress

10 May 2011

Day 129 (Monday Must Want An Encore)

This morning, as requested, I called the broker concerning the load I was to pick up in McCoole, MD. At first, he said there was some miscommunication with the pick-up number, but called back a little later to say that the load wasn't going to pick up until tomorrow. I sent a message to Monica (my fleet manager), to which my company changed the load (apparently, the load cancelled). I am now sitting in McKees Rocks, PA getting loaded, after which time I will run as far as possible before my hours run out. The delivery isn't scheduled until Thursday, in Cicero, IL (another Chicago suburb), but I want to get rid of it tomorrow.

There are two reasons for this: A) I want to get my next load, unload it, then go home; and, B) my next load is scheduled to pick up tomorrow, in Monee, IL.

So now you can see the type of day that I've had so far.

I. Need. Starbucks!

- Another rant via BlogPress

09 May 2011

Day 128 (I REALLY Don't Like Mondays In The Eastern U.S.)

I arrived in Frederick, MD yesterday afternoon, unloaded this morning... then sat for most of the day. You see, this company I drive for has been around for over 25 years, but a year ago (this month) they expanded to include a Temperature Control Division (of which I'm in), to keeping that into account would explain why it's hard to get freight when in the east... mainly because they are gradually building up a customer base. Not to mention that most of the freight in the east mainly within the east, and since I'm due to go home this week (NOT in the east), would explain the afore mentioned difficulty in the available freight.

However, I did get a load this afternoon, but it doesn't load until tomorrow morning, of which I "strategically" placed myself within a reasonable distance from the customer. The load will be going from McCoole, MD (out in the middle of nowhere) to Sauk Village, IL (on the outskirts of somewhere... that is to say, Chicago) for Wednesday. From there, I am told, I have a pre-plan on a load going to Osceola, AR - from which I will be going home once that load is delivered.

What's worse... NO COFFEE!!!

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08 May 2011

Day 127 (A Long Way From My Wife On Mother's Day)

I have arrived at my destination in Frederick, MD to deliver in the morning, and today is Mother's Day. Not to confuse anybody - I am not a woman, but my wife is (though there have been occasions where I have been called a "mother," but those times have usually been quickly followed by a more unpleasant adjective). She did get some lovely gifts from our sons: the 2 that live on their own in California sent her an L.A. Dodgers shirt and a box of Bordeaux Chocolates from See's Candy; our youngest (he's 16) gave her some money for her to get what she wants (which I suspect will be used to purchase a cd by Ofra Haza), and our 18 year old... well, he's 18 (need I say more).

Though I am not at home lavishing her with love, affection, and gifts, she already knows what gift she is to get: a full length mirror/jewelry armoire (to be clear - NOT already filled with jewelry, as she will fill it with what she already has, which, by the way, is sufficient enough to require the ownership of said armoire).

In closing, I leave you with this little thought that a dear friend sent me, via text:

The word for Momma in Hebrew is Eema when broken down letter by letter and defined it means "the one who controls the chaos of the house and produces what is necessary to bring forth good results for life". Thank you all for being a TRUE Eema to your children for Yeshua (Jesus)! ~ be Blessed today! (courtesy of Rabbi Hezekiah Ross)

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07 May 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 126 (Still Maryland Bound)

As I write this, I'm sitting in Greenfield, IN, a small town just east of Indianapolis, having just stopped to get some fuel, some buffalo wings, and get this blog posted. A very nice day (about mid 60's) to be wandering about, but, alas, there is still work to be done. Once I get moving again (which will be very shortly), my plans will be to probably shut down in eastern Ohio for the night, which will give me less than 350 miles to finish tomorrow.
From the west it appears as if there will be more rain on the way, the skies in that direction looming about as a cat studiously lurking in a bush, waiting for the perfect moment to pounce upon the seemingly unsuspecting bluejay, as it searches the ground for worms.

The day has been quite peaceful, as most Sabbaths are for us of the Jewish faith. As many Christian friends and acquaintances are beginning to discover, our walk is a very difficult spiritual journey - one that is neither "cool" nor "trendy" - that must not only embrace our roots & history, but also must persevere in our faith of the one true living (and loving) G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Throughout scripture, it can be seen that He has many names: Adonai, Elohim, I Am... and a numerous many others (allah NOT being one - but I will save that diatribe for another time). Though, as you may (or may not) have noticed, "God" is NOT a name, but His title - hence, as one of His commandments: "you shall have no other gods before me."

I could elaborate further, bit I wanted to throw just enough out there to whet the appetite of any whose curiosity just may lead them to either search it out for themselves, or (possibly) begin a correspondence with me (which I do welcome, by the way).

So... (and to quote a line from the movie My Big, Fat Greek Wedding) there you go!

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06 May 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 125 (Soon To Be Eastbound)

I unloaded this morning in Ochelata, OK, then made my way back down to Tulsa, topped off my fuel, then made it to the customer to load. The weather here in Tulsa is very nice: moderate temperature with a nice wind blowing. The load I'm picking up has some good miles on it, delivering in Frederick, MD on Monday morning.

There was another one of our trucks here loading as well, in fact, a fellow trainer in my division, but his load is taking him to Brampton, Ontario, Canada (which I hope to be able to start hauling... as soon as I get my passport, that is). Him and I talked shop for a while, then of course, moved on to more important issues - like music. As I get ready to hit the road, I'll make my way through St. Louis, thus avoiding some of the weather affected roads (since I-40 is closed about 55 miles east of Little Rock, AR, and I'm glad I don't have to take the alternate route of U.S. 64 - which will now be insane).

I must get to work.

Sadly, without Starbucks - at least for now.

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05 May 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 124 (So Much For Plans)

Well, whatever I had on the agenda for today has been completely blown out of the water. My plan was to make it to our terminal last night and take care of this passport business. The company sent a message yesterday afternoon saying that a stretch of I-40 would be closed in Arkansas, due to flooding. So I took the detour, as prescribed, but about 2 miles before the exit, traffic came to a standstill for nearly 45 minutes. Once it started moving again, it rolled pretty smooth... for a while. After we got on U.S. 49 going north, we came up to another backup - this one lasted for about 2 hours. Apparently, on this two-lane highway, a truck broke down, during which time I ran out of hours - and no place to park!

So, I did NOT make it to Little Rock... hence, I did not (and will not have the time) stop to submit my paperwork for my passport.

Not starting out to be a good day... but I have to calm down and realize that my G-d must have a purpose in mind. We may not know right away what these purposes are, but He makes them known IN DUE TIME. When they are made known to us - and we recognize it - we (at least I do) are held in awe & amazement that He had it under control all along.

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04 May 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 123 (Soon To Be On My Way To Oklahoma)

I got to a small fuel stop early this morning to shut down with 28 miles to go to load and 30 minutes left on my logbook. I didn't go all the way because I knew that I would have run out of hours before I got to the shipper, as the route was taking me through town, hence stoplights, resulting in slower travel time. I arrived here in Lebanon, TN at 1245, for a 1700 appointment, though they did put me in a door early - at 1600. It turns out the load will only be about 25,000 lbs, so I won't have to scale this one out.

I plan on getting to our terminal tonight and shutting down, then tomorrow going in to get my application for a passport submitted and processed (that, and a trip to Starbucks), then to finish the trip to Ochelata, OK. There's not much to Ochelata, a small town about 30 miles north of Tulsa. There is a small truck stop just south of the Walmart Distribution Center.

Oh... I almost forgot... that visit I had with my friend Chris on Sunday, here's a pic from that day:

He's put on a few pounds (but so have I - 20 years tends to do that to you), and grown a beard (again, so have I), but he still looks the same... though he does point out that I've got the grey hair.

That may be true, Chris, but I'm still all different flavors of awesome!

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03 May 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 122 (I Made It To London... The One In Kentucky)

I was loaded and scaled at around 2200 last night, and made it as far as Whiteland, IN (just south of Indianapolis) before I shut down for the night - which was around 0200 this morning. I left a little after noon and travelled the remaining 240+ miles, only making one stop along the way to get my Grande Triple Marble Mocha Machiatto at Starbucks (which, by the way, has been nearly a week since I've had one... needless to say, I was seriously jonesin' for one).

I've already been pre-planned on my next load: picking up in Lebanon, TN (just outside Nashville) and going to another Walmart, this time in Ochelata, OK, which is not far from Bartlesville, current home of fellow former Marine, fellow blogger, and friend Lauri Rottmayer (whom, by the way, filled in for me on Day 110 - and did an absolutely splendid blog).

Where I go from there is still unknown at the moment. One thing that is known, is that less than a week later I will be home (just in time for Mother's Day), and entertaining my brother and stepmom as they visit from Vegas, AND my wife and I will be going to Little Rock on Sunday to take part in the Jewish Food Festival (I can almost taste the blintzes, knishes, and the lox & bagels now).

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02 May 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 121 (Goodbye Chicago, Again)

My appointment time to unload was 0530, but the process didn't actually start until 1425, not because they were that busy, but because the product was not up to par with this customer's standards. Which, of course, let to some headbutting between the customer, the broker, and the shipping facility. Once the customer sorted out the issue with the broker (which resulted in a 10¢/lb discount), the the unloading process was rather quick. I'm now in Wilmington, IL (which may not be in the middle of nowhere, but it's certainly not very far off) picking up a load going to a Walmart Distribution Center in London, KY.

I so enjoy delivering to Walmart (note the emphatic sarcasm), because they are so friendly & efficient (more sarcasm). In my years as a truck driver, I have seen many things about Walmart that only strengthen my resolve to detest them more and more.

By now, the news of the "death" of Osama bin Laden has probably pervaded the airwaves, hence, everybody's life... though I have my personal skepticism on the whole affair. For one thing, bin Laden was killed in a raid, yet according to Israel National News, the U.S. government "honored" the Muslim custom of burying his body within 14 days. We are also soon to be beginning the campaign cycle for the 2012 Presidential Election, AND yesterday also just happened to be HaShoah ("The Remembrance" in Hebrew, or more commonly referred to as "Holocaust Remembrance Day"). I chose to site the Israel National News website on the story because, I've found it does tend to be more accurate than our own media (and in a few cases, they've given more of the news, more of the facts, even when CNN, "the alphabet networks", or even FOX diluted the stories.).

Though it may be "just a movie," I refer you to Wag The Dog from 1997.

It's just too convenient.

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01 May 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 120 (Chicago Is... Still Here)

I just pulled into the Chicago area a little while ago... in fact, I'm parked next to the place I will be delivering to in the morning, a city known as Alsip, within the Chicago area.

[insert dinner length hiatus here]

I took a break from this post to grab a bite to eat, as my friend, Chris< had shown up on his motorcycle. We walked up the street about a block to one restaurant which, as it turned out, closed at 1500 (it was 1505 when we walked up), then north about a 1/2 block to a Mexican restaurant. There, Chris and I caught up on some old times and got each other up to speed on what we had been doing the last 15-20 years.

It's hard to believe it's been that long, but time sure does fly. He's on his way back home, about 31 miles north of here. Hopefully we'll get together again soon. We are both hoping it will be somewhere between June 1-3, since there will be another mutual friend in the area then... let's just see if the fickle finger of fate happens to point that way for us.

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