30 June 2011

Day 180 (Such A Long Day)

I started from a rest area in East Richland, OH (if you were traveling west on I-70, it would be the first rest area you come to after leaving West Virginia), and since then it has been a great big hustle (or hassle, if that's what you prefer). The customer in Indianapolis made short order of unloading me, then I had to take off right away to head up to load up my pre-plan. This one has me going from Crown Point, IN to Clarksville, AR.

I called the broker of this load to let him know I wouldn't be at the shipper until 1930, instead of the 1830 appointment time. Looking at it now, I may not be able to make my 1800 delivery appointment tomorrow either. A lot of factors are at play with these delays: the delay in loading at the shipper in New Jersey yesterday (that, plus the joke of a truck stop when I fueled yesterday, depleted at least 1 1/2 hours of drive time). Now I am here in Crown Point waiting to get put in a door, then the matter of how long they will take to load.

The only thing that makes this whole ordeal even more difficult to cope with is that I haven't had any coffee today.

- Another rant via BlogPress

29 June 2011

Day 179 (In Jersey Now, But Not For Long)

This morning I made contact with the broker and sorted everything out concerning this load, then began my trek into New Jersey. I originally wanted to head in here last night, but was unsure of this particular part of Newark (roads, overnight parking locations, etc.). If I knew for sure where this place was and where I could park, I would have tried to get together with an old friend from my Marine Corps days. I'm sure I'll get a chance to hang out with "Mojo" one of these days (and I said that to myself last time I was here).

For those who have never been to New Jersey, I would recommend studying street maps, routes, and computer/GPS images BEFORE coming... this is a very fast paced area, that can get very hectic and, if you don't know where you're going, confusing. Not to mention that the surface street network is designed to replicate the erratic path of veins in the human body.

Once I'm done here, I'll start making my way to Indianapolis, to deliver sometime tomorrow.

Of course, I'll make a stop along the way for Starbucks.

- Another rant via BlogPress

28 June 2011

Day 178 (Going Further East, Then West... For A Bit)

I shut down late last night at a service plaza on the Ohio Turnpike, just south of Cleveland. Once I started rolling this morning (with a fresh Starbucks grandé triple Marble Mocha Machiatto in hand... or rather, in the cup holder), it was, more or less, non-stop driving. The plan I had in mind was to get to the customer in Bethlehem, PA and check in... either they would take me in and unload me early, or turn me away, in which case I would have to find a place to park until about 0330 (getting an 8 hour break on my logbook), then go in to unload. My worries concerning this situation quickly faded once I arrived there, as the company I drive for now has a drop trailer at this customer (something I didn't know until today). While I was finishing the last 100 miles or so, I was given a pre-plan - to pick up tomorrow afternoon (1300) in Newark, NJ, a load going to Indianapolis, IN, to deliver by 1800 on Thursday.

So it's plain to see, I've been a little busy today, which explains why I am getting this blog posted over 4 hours past my self-prescribed deadline. I hope to, in future postings, be able to stick to this deadline, though I don't really want to post on events that have yet to happen as if they have already occurred (much like our mainstream media does on many occasions).

Well, I must sign off for now... I'm feeling a little depressed right now, the Phillies shut out my Boston Red Sox: 5 - 0.

Come on Sox!!

- Another rant via BlogPress

27 June 2011

Day 177 (Heading East)

I was unloaded early this morning, and since I didn't have another load yet, I went back to bed. Around 0900 I got my next load, and since it didn't pick up until 1230 (and about 75 miles away), that gave me time to walk to a nearby Starbucks for some coffee. This load picks up in Woodstock, IL and I will be delivering it to Bethlehem, PA early Wednesday morning.

I had hoped, but unfortunately was unable, to arrange a "meet-up/tweet-up" with Natali, a.k.a. @UberDorkGirlie, but perhaps there will be another time... possibly someplace closer to her so she doesn't have to travel as far.

On another note, I found out last Friday from my wife, Tikvah, that my passport had come in. Which means that, before too long, I'll be hauling some loads into Canada, possibly even through Seattle where I can finally another of the great "Tweeple" i've become acquainted with on Twitter (and later through Facebook), Terri (@TerriNakamura), whom also happens to have a really good blog: Confessions Of A Graphic Designer (which is much better than mine... though that doesn't say much, but trust me on this one - hers is really good!). I think now that I finally have my passport, that puts me on a list of perhaps 5 or 6 drivers in this division that can go into Canada.

But don't quote me on that number, I could be wrong... it's happened before.

- Another rant via BlogPress

26 June 2011

Day 176 (I've Always Liked Wisconsin)

Here I am in Oconomowoc, WI, a small city about 30 miles west of Milwaukee, and it's quite a lovely day. Unfortunately, the one important thing missing in this town (at least when it comes to my line of work) is a truck stop, as there are a scant number of places that are "truck friendly". But I shouldn't complain too much... after all, the temperature is mild, the sun is shining, and, most importantly, I have coffee (Starbucks, to be exact).

My delivery appointment isn't until 1 minute past midnight, so I have time to kill; perhaps watch a movie, read, nap, or even peruse the activity on the interweb. Though, at this very moment, my possibilities may be limited, that doesn't mean they have to be. I hope my next load tomorrow will take me into Milwaukee, then I may have the opportunity to meet Natali, a.k.a. @UberDorkGirlie (one of the "tweeple" I know, via Twitter and/or Facebook). Should that happen, she will be the third person I've met in real life who's acquaintance I've made through Twitter.

We shall see what tomorrow will bring... hopefully NOT a zombie apocalypse.

- Another rant via BlogPress

25 June 2011

Day 175 (On The Road Now)

I had mentioned yesterday (or perhaps it was Thursday) that I was picking up a load going to Wisconsin. Well, believe it or not, Tyson actually had my trailer loaded early. Instead of having it loaded no later that 1920 tonight, it was loaded last night. I signed for the bills, hooked up to the trailer, and waited until this morning to leave (in order to get a restart on my logbook). So I am now on the road, making my way to Oconomowoc (try to say that 5 times fast).

I hope to make it to South Beloit, IL tonight before I shut down, then finish the trip tomorrow. There is a chance I could meet another person whom I know from Twitter & Facebook, though, if that happens, I will blog about it tomorrow.

Thus far, today has been relaxing (as far as working goes) and low stress, as it has usually been on the previous Sabbath days since I have been working for this company. That, among numerous other things, makes for a very pleasant working atmosphere... an environment which is rare these days...

Wouldn't you agree?

- Another rant via BlogPress

24 June 2011

Day 174 (Feeling Adventurous)

Today finds me in the same place I was yesterday: the Tyson in Rogers, AR. I will be able to find out in a couple hours whether or not I can get loaded early (which of course I hope I can). Seeing as I am sitting here at their facility, and having all day, I decided to walk about 1 1/2 miles to get some business taken care of. After I took care of said business, I ventured to get some coffee. The nearest Starbucks was showing to be another 3 miles from where I was, taking me further from Tyson. Normally that's a good thing, but when you're walking... not so much. I perused my "Around Me" app on my iPhone, and found two places not too far from me. Little did I know, my quest for coffee would soon become a mini walking tour, which itself, was very nice. As some of you already have surmised, I am a frequent patron of Starbucks, but when one is too far, and there are independent shops around, I will gladly partake in helping the local business to survive.

On my way to the first coffee shop, I found this walking tour was taking me into the downtown area of Rogers... and very quaint it was!

As I approached the first coffee shop, Hookah Java, I saw a young lady walk in just a few steps ahead of me. Since it was the last little shop, right on the corner,that must be it. I walk in and noticed the young lady glancing back at me a few times, as she walked toward the back. I knew something was odd about this, and while my eyes were adjusting from the bright outside to the darker inside, I deduced why. So I politely said, "you're not open yet, are you?" She confirmed this to be true, and that they would open at 1500. I walked outside and looked at my iPhone: 1430. So I ventured south on 1st St. to the other coffee shop, Iron Horse Coffee Company. This was a very nice place with a relaxing atmosphere. It almost felt like the type of artsy locale where poetry readings on the weekends would not be out of place, nor out of character. I ordered their Machiatto. The barista told me that their Machiattos were different than that of Starbucks. Good! I like that, because now I get a taste of the personality of this independent business. If I want it to taste like Starbucks, I would go to a Starbucks.

My next visit was of a local business I passed by on the way to IHCC, and almost forgot about visiting on the way back, a place called Méridienne Dessert Salon • Café.

This is not the type of place you visit expecting a selection of Betty Crocker "straight from the box" baked goods, everything here is prepared "from scratch" (can you say that when referring to a pastry chef's masterpieces?).Originally I just stopped out front and scanned the menu in the window, until one certain menu item caught my eye:

Inside the Café had the feel of one of the pastry shops you might see in New York City, where if you place an order to go, it's put inside a cardboard box, not a styrofoam container:

I had only planned to get just the Caramel & Chocolate pastry, until the gentleman (who's wife is the owner/pastry chef) told me about the cake of the day. I didn't catch the entire name, but when I heard "Apple" in the title, I was sold. The photo below shows the pastry I first purchased (on the top) and a close-up of the Apple Cake (on the bottom). I took a close-up of the latter because, during my 1 mile walk back to Tyson, some of the frosting rather slid off.

My final stop was rather an "official" visit to Hookah Java, since by now they were open (I also wished to apologize to the young lady, as I may have startled her earlier, by walking in so soon after her, and before they were open for business).

This place appeared to get quite a bit of business from the coffee and tea drinkers in the area, but the Hookah may well be their main source of revenue and/or customer base, though I can't be absolutely sure until I make a visit in their evening or nighttime hours. By the way, yes I did purchase a coffee from them, as well.

So that was my day, my adventure. It was a little warm, slightly breezy, which made the walking a little tiring, then again, how many truck driver do you know would actually, and willingly, walk about 5-6 miles. I myself know of quite a few that gripe if they have to walk across the parking lot of a truck stop.

- Another rant via BlogPress

23 June 2011

Day 173 (A Nice Change Of Scenery)

This load I picked up yesterday in Dexter, MO was actually ready when I arrived (around 2315), but the paperwork wouldn't be ready until 0200 this morning. I had run out of hours around 0200, so I couldn't leave until 1000 this morning. When I went into the shipping office, it was never billed out (in other words, 3rd shift never printed the bills). The load was originally due at noon, but because of my hours I didn't get here (Rogers, AR) until 1700 today.

I was pre-planned on one load earlier (which I liked better) which would have me dead-heading all the way to St. James, MN and delivering Monday afternoon in Wilmington, IL, but that changed. I will now pick up my next load at this Tyson (in Rogers, AR) and deliver Monday morning in Oconomowoc, WI (which is located west of Milwaukee). I liked the first pre-plan better, simply because it had 400+ more miles on it, but I guess beggars can't be choosers. The trouble with this load, is Tyson's "load by" time isn't until 1921 on Saturday. Which means I won't have any time to play with. Hopefully they will load it earlier than that... much earlier. Not only that, but I should be getting my passport in any day now. What does that mean? Since there are so few drivers in our division that have one, and our company is getting quite a few loads out of Tulsa, OK going into Canada (at least one a week), that will mean I will be getting some of them - which means MORE MILES! Who knows, I may even get one of the ones going to Vancouver, B. C., with a stop in Seattle, WA, and finally get to meet @terrinakamura (one of my Twitter & Facebook friends) in real life.

I smell a coffee "tweetup" in the near future!

- Another rant via BlogPress

Day 172 (Back To Work For Another Few Weeks)

These last few days have been nice and peaceful, but now it's time to get back out on the road and start paying the bills. I left out today just before lunch, have to take the empty trailer I had back to our terminal in North Little Rock, AR, to get some work done on it, as well as a few minor things on my truck. As it turned out, I left the trailer and hooked up to another one to take to Dexter, MO, to pick up my load. The load there is only going to Rogers, AR (about 310 miles west), but at least it's a start.

When I arrived at Dexter, my load was already pre-loaded on one of our drop trailers. The problem is, the bills won't be ready until 0230. Since my day started just before noon, I'll be out of hours by then. The good news is I had Starbucks when I was in Little Rock.

These past days, while I was at home, were nice and quiet... very relaxing. As I mentioned this Sunday past, my wife, Tikvah, gave me a framed picture of The Rat Pack - at least most of them, as Peter Lawford was cut from the print. Although, when I mentioned said picture on Sunday, I realized I failed to include a photograph of the picture... so here it is:

As you can see, it's NOT some small desk top sized snapshot, it's fairly sizable. The type of picture that no entertainment room (or "man cave" if you so prefer) should go without - ever!

- Another rant via BlogPress

21 June 2011

Day 171 (My Last Lazy Day)

Tomorrow I head back out on the road, something I usually dread the night before. It has been a nice and peaceful last few days. NCIS, Law & Order (both the original and Criminal Intent), CSI were all on the agenda, but didn't take in any episodes of House. This weekend I also got around to watching the remake of True Grit, which I thought was very good.

On another note, I finally got around to cleaning out (expunging) my "friends" list on Facebook... and I will say, all who are currently subscribed to this blog have NOT been removed from my list (after all, that would be rude, disrespectful, and just downright uncool). There's no telling what the coming weeks will bring. One thing is for sure, I won't be going to Canada, as my passport has yet to come in. This weekend was also complete because of two things: coffee and cheesecake.

20 June 2011

Day 170 (It's Nice To Relax)

Today has been a "do nothing" day... and it felt good. Except for taking our little dog, Maria, to the vet, for a rabies shot, I've done pretty much nothing. I was also able to watch a few episodes of Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

So what shall I do now?

Oh yeah, NOTHING!

19 June 2011

Day 169 (Happy Father's Day)

Today was Father's Day, and first of all I would like to apologize to all of you for slacking today. Lately I have been trying to become more organized and disciplined with this Road Scholar series, by getting my post up by 1630 each day. As you can see, it's well past that. I guess I tend to put things like this off when I'm home.

This has been a nice day, very peaceful and relaxing. After service this morning, Tikvah and I, along with our youngest son, Nathan, and my in-laws had lunch at a local Mexican restaurant (which put a little spark of inspiration in me, so I made some Pico De Gallo when we got home). My Father's Day gift from Tikvah was absolutely awesome: a large framed picture of The Rat Pack (for those of you who may be unfamiliar with this gathering of legends, The Rat Pack was Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin, and Peter Lawford - though my picture doesn't have Lawford in the shot). She wasn't sure if I would like it or not, but I told her, "if I had a framed movie poster of The Godfather, both would be on the main wall - next to each other - in the den." I'm sure she got the idea that I really like The Rat Pack.

I hope all the fathers out there have had a wonderful day with their families, and I hope they all were honored by the same.

18 June 2011

Day 168 (Gradually Making My Way Home)

Started the day a little later than expected, but it all still worked out. Tony, the driver that is taking the New York load, arrived around 0900. After our brief exchange of "shop talk" we just began talking in general. Tony is a retired Marine (lucky dog!), and his wife Bonita - or "Bo", as she likes to be called- is originally from Boston (GO RED SOX!!). Tony, Bo, Joseph, and I had a good conversation, finally having to pull ourselves away, so they could start making their way to Half Moon, NY, and so I can get Joseph to our North Little Rock terminal... then I can get home.

All things considered, this has been a joyous Shabbat... and it's not even noon.

The weather here in Northeastern Arkansas is cool, but it looks as though there could be a storm moving in (there goes the neighborhood). I won't complain, as I like cool weather. If a storm does come in, the temperatures may drop, but nowhere near where I prefer, but it will be cooler. I hope a storm does come in... my truck needs a wash.

- Another rant via BlogPress

17 June 2011

Day 167 (Taking A Long Way Home)

Yesterday, after we got unloaded, then reloaded, the plan was to go to the Flying J in Tulsa and shut down for the night, then find out this morning what the plan was to swap this load (bound for Half Moon, NY) out. However, when Joseph drove up to the Flying J (about 2 miles away) the parking lot was completely full... at 1830! I found that both surprising and frustrating, but what can you do.

We made our way to Big Cabin, OK (about 45 miles away, and all our logbook would allow us) and shut it down for the night. The first plan of action was to meet a driver in Springdale, AR to swap... but then that was cancelled, and we were about 50 miles away. We found a parking spot at the Pilot truck stop there. That itself was very surprising, as that Pilot is nearly always filled up. We went in, took care of our essential business, then climbed back in the truck with the orders to head east with the load.

There was a bit of confusion with the details of the swap, but the other driver and I had sorted it all out. He is delivering his load to Union City, TN, then heading back to Hayti, MO to meet Joseph and I to swap. Tony takes this load on up to New York, Joseph and I take his empty trailer, head to the North Little Rock terminal (where I drop Joseph off), then I head up to home.

For those of you that have been keeping up, this has been a crazy week: unload in Osceola, AR, then a load from Dexter, MO to Rogers, AR; from Tulsa, OK to Carrollton, then Houston, TX; La Porte, TX to Tulsa, OK; now this load - all since Monday.

Who said being a truck driver was easy?

Have Starbucks, will drive!

- Another rant via BlogPress

16 June 2011

Day 166 (Back In Tulsa)

Once Joseph and I picked up our load in La Porte, TX yesterday, we headed back north as far as we could, making it to Centerville, TX. Centerville is a little over 100 miles north of Houston, on I-45. There was a little truck stop that we parked at called Woody's. It was actually more that just a truck stop, as the proper name is Woody's Smokehouse, and they bill themselves as "the jerky capital of the world". I went inside and I was quite surprised: they had all kinds of jerky (beef, pork, turkey, venison, elk, and buffalo), not to mentioned the deli. All of the jerky processing and smoking is done on site. I must say the smell was... well, it would draw one in like a moth to a light, one would go crazy, and eventually leave feeling like a bloated tick (and possibly a little lighter in the wallet).

We started rolling this morning a little after 0600 (again) and made it into Tulsa just before 1400, got unloaded, now we are sitting in door waiting to reload, with this one going up to Half Moon, NY. This is a good run, but we won't be taking it. Joseph is due to head to our North Little Rock terminal to take his tests, then get assigned his own truck. As for me, I'm due home this weekend for my time off... and to take care of some other matters (possibly even get a few hours on air with a local radio station).

Should that last one come to fruition, I'll probably post a link here... just in case you may be bored.

- Another rant via BlogPress

15 June 2011

Day 165 (In Texas, Is It Still Called "Texas Toast" or, Just Simply, "Toast"?)

We made it to the first drop (Carrollton, TX) only 30 minutes late, and down here in Houston an hour late for our respective appointments. Though I am one that doesn't like to be late, this will happen when I have run out of hours on my logbook. Yesterday, Joseph and I also got a pre-plan for the next load, which will pick up in La Porte, TX (a port city on the east side of Houston). This one will send us back up to Tulsa for tomorrow, but with our logbooks running out at 2000 tonight, we will see how that goes.

It's a bit warm here (though "hot" and "Houston" are pretty synonymous with one another), and I really don't want to be here when this time next month rolls in. Several years ago, when I pulled a flatbed, picking up a load of lumber out this way - at this time - was, shall we say, torturous... especially if that lumber had to be tarped. I hope, when we get to La Porte, our trailer (I guess it's a drop & hook facility) will be ready, and we can get out of the area before the afternoon traffic picks up.

It wouldn't be so bad if there were more Starbucks locations that allowed truck parking... at least nearby.

- Another rant via BlogPress

14 June 2011

Day 164 (A Farewell To Arfs)

Today we lost a beloved member of our family. Not a son or daughter, in fact, not even a human. Carrie was our Chihuahua. I used to think it silly, even absurd, how some would get emotional at the loss of their pet... now I find myself in that same state. Carrie was almost 4 years old. Had she been a couple years older, her passing could have been age related. Alas, that is not the case... she was hit by a car. My wife, Tikvah, is taking it pretty hard, as Carrie was, pretty much, her baby (though we all enjoyed her company and antics).

Carrie had a great personality... and funny too. She would sleep in our bed, under the covers. In the mornings, when we were tending to the usual morning ablutions, she would poke her little snout from underneath, look at us, then pop back under and continue her siesta.

In my younger years, the loss of a pet would cause me to be "bummed" or slightly depressed, but never in this way. The way she would greet us at the door as if we had been gone for a couple days, when, in truth, we may have been gone for 1-2 hours. The way she would curl up on my lap and snooze while I watched House or NCIS on tv. Even the way she would come up and nuzzle my hand with her nose, wanting - no, demanding - some attention.

I'm going to miss that silly mutt!

Maria (top) and Carrie (bottom)

- Another rant via BlogPress

13 June 2011

Day 163 (Westboro Baptist Church Gets A Taste Of Their Own Medicine)

Today has not been very productive: we got unloaded this morning, and we are presently waiting to get loaded here at Tyson in Dexter, MO. I did, however, read something if interest.

While waiting here, I decided to peruse through the latest posts on Facebook, when one of those on my friends list (whom will NOT be faced with be expunged from the aforementioned list) had posted a link to a delightful article. Radio personality Charley Barnes, of country radio station K99 (based out of Greeley, CO) wrote an article of a trip he made just a little over a week ago to Topeka, KS where him and a couple other biker friends paid a visit to the Westboro Baptist Church. I won't reveal any spoilers, but it is well worth the read. Interestingly enough, Mr. Barnes did reveal some information about WBC that has been so conveniently left out by our own mainstream media (though we know just how passionate they are about reporting the full story - with all the facts - and allow us to draw our own conclusions on the topic being reported upon).

There's no telling how many people have posted this link on Facebook, or "tweeted" it, but I plan to send this post to Mr. Barnes in the hopes that he will see that his story is indeed getting out. If I was at a Starbucks right now, I would order a second grandé triple Marble Mocha Machiatto, extra hot, and raise them BOTH to Mr. Barnes and his merry band! I can't wait for round 2!

- Another rant via BlogPress

12 June 2011

Day 162 (A Quiet Sunday, But Tomorrow May Be Different)

Joseph and I are still here at the truck stop on the west end of Osceola, AR, a small town about 22 miles south if Blytheville, AR and 48 miles north of Memphis. It has been a week since he was assigned onto my truck, and I'm hoping we can get him assigned to his own truck later this week.

This Friday will have been two weeks. Usually a student is on a trainer's truck for 3 weeks, but since he was with another trainer for a few weeks, then he doesn't have to go another 3 week term. What I'm perplexed by is the fact that the other trainer only pointed out that Joseph wasn't very good at backing. On his second day with me, I, through observation, discovered where the problem had lied... mirror adjustment. Joseph would have his mirrors pulled in too close, thus making the task of backing a truck & trailer more difficult than necessary. Since then, his skills have been improving (and I discovered this problem after only 2 days, when the other trainer gave up after 2 weeks). Skills like this don't materialize overnight, they take time, but when a minor adjustment can only result in improvement, well... perhaps it's the trainer and not so much the student.

- Another rant via BlogPress

11 June 2011

Day 161 (Another Short Day)

Joseph drove us the rest of the way here to Osceola, AR. I had him park at a truck stop on the west end of town, where we are about 6 miles from the customer. It's been a quiet, peaceful day (we hit a little but of traffic, but since it's the Sabbath, I didn't worry over it too much).

We didn't leave from Effingham until about 1115 this morning, then topped off the fuel in Matthews, MO, before finishing the day/weekend here. I figured it would be better to stop here at this little truck stop so we would at least have a restroom facility available. Once we got here and parked, we sat for about 10 minutes before the wind really started to kick up. Right now it seems to be blowing rather relentlessly.

On another note, I've been thinking of doing a little "cleaning" of my Facebook friends list, as there are a few that I either don't interact with (for some reason or another), or their is just no connection worth maintaining. I posted as my status what my intentions were (and of course giving adequate warning - 1 week), and also stated that there were those whom have nothing to worry about. For those who may be expunged will probably not even comment, or even plead their "case" as to why we should remain "friends." The term "friend" is one I no longer throw around too freely. For me to consider one as a "friend" does take into consideration a variety of different factors. My wife, Tikvah, is my best friend (that's a no-brainer); C.J., whom lives in Pittsburgh, is also a best friend, since him and I have been there for each other on many different occasions over the course of 20+ years; Rich, whom lives in New Jersey, is also a good friend, since we were in the combat zone together. There are people I've known for many years that I don't call "friend", primarily for the reason that if I don't think they would be there if my life (and possibly their own) were at risk, then they are not worthy of being called a friend.

By the way... I also had Starbucks today.

- Another rant via BlogPress

10 June 2011

Day 160 (I Made It A Short Day)

Joseph and I made it to the Tyson plant in Chicago at around noon, and (luckily) they made short order of the unloading process. That was a good thing, as we had to be at our pick up by 1430 to get our next load. We got to Monee, IL (just south of Chicago, off of I-57) at about 1400, and they made short order of the loading process there. Once we got loaded, we started heading south. At first, I was only going to stop in Effingham, IL long enough to make a run to Starbucks, but when I thought about it (and realizing that it would be more difficult to get a parking spot later tonight), I decided we will just shut down there for the night.

There is only about a 4-5 hour drive left for us, so we (actually Joseph, since he is in training) will finish the run tomorrow and be able to get another 34 hour restart on our logbooks by the time we get unloaded on Monday. More than likely, he will get released from me next Friday and get his own truck. He's coming along pretty good with his backing skills, and I'm pretty sure we can hone them up even more this next week.

It has rained a couple times this evening. It even rained where we shut down at last night (early this morning) in Wilmington, IL (a small town off I-55, just south of Joliet). It was also cool enough for us to sleep without the APU running last night. The good thing about being here in Effingham tonight, is I will be able to get a grandé triple Marble Mocha Machiatto (or triple Tuxedo Mocha, if that's how you prefer to call it) before we get under way tomorrow.

Until tomorrow's post, may you have a blessed Shabbat!

- Another rant via BlogPress

09 June 2011

Day 159 (Almost To Chi-town, Then Back To Arkansas)

Last night, after taking care of essential business in Russellville, we made it to Fayetteville, AR where we loaded this morning. This load delivers tomorrow in Chicago, and I was hoping we could have made it there tonight, but that may not happen. The reason it may not happen is A) the trip is over 600 miles (and only Joseph is driving), and, B) if we did get up that far, we wouldn't make it to our destination because there is road construction going on just south of the customer.

Once we do get unloaded tomorrow, we've already been pre-planned to pick up in Monee, IL (south of Chicago, but on I-57 instead of I-55), and that load delivers Monday in Osceola, AR. In short, we will both be getting another restart on our logbooks, but neither of us will be able to get home, as our respective homes/families are too far out of route. I'm sure it will all turn out for the better anyhow.

Driving a truck is not a bad line of work, but it's also not the greatest either. As with any line of work one may be in, there are always the "bad apples" that make it less respectable for the rest of us (though I often wonder if the "bad apples" from other lines of work were dumped on us - it seems that we have more than our fair share). This is a pretty good job, but I'm still looking for that one job that would allow me to take a two-week paid vacation, 26 times a year.

So far, no luck.

- Another rant via BlogPress

08 June 2011

Day 158 (Heading To Chi-town)

We made our appointment in Russellville, AR only about 10 minutes late, but it's still all good. Once we dropped our loaded trailer and got an empty, we headed back to the Flying J to scan in our paperwork and get a shower. After all that was done, we ate (I had been cooking a roast with baby potatoes, shallots, garlic, green beans, and seasoned with Mesquite flavored Liquid Smoke all afternoon in my 2 quart crock pot). It was, in a word, delectable! This next load will have us heading to Chicago for Friday.

The weather continues to be hot. If it's this hot now, I'm going to dread it when July and August roll in. I don't mind a dry heat. In fact, dry heat is more bearable... but this humidity is horrid. But that's just me. For some reason, my imagining a snow storm just doesn't seem to be doing the trick.

Can't we just cancel the rest of Summer and just have an extended Fall?

- Another rant via BlogPress

07 June 2011

Day 157 (A Tyson Load? UGH!)

Joseph and I got unloaded early this morning in Albany, KY, then made our way up to Corydon, IN where we are now sitting waiting to get loaded. I don't like dealing with Tyson, because no matter when you get there, they load you when their computer program tells them to.

Either way, I know The L-rd has a purpose for all this... He usually does. It's been hot everywhere today, and my air conditioner is in good working order (though I'm still ready for winter to come back). Being a truck driver is not as easy as it may seem, there are a multitude of laws and regulations you have to be aware of, along with maintaining a logbook, plus the skills needed to actually operate the truck & trailer in a safe and professional manner. Though sad as it may seem, there are plenty of truck drivers out here that really show little to no courtesy - professional or otherwise. So if nothing else, at least I can instill my professional driving habits upon others, one student at a time. Let's see how far that goes.

- Another rant via BlogPress

Day 156 (Back At Work, And I Still Don't Like Mondays)

Joseph and I are out on the road after a nice quiet weekend, though it's always hard leaving home... and, of course, leaving Michelle. We got the trailer loaded at around noon, got scaled out about 25 miles away, then went another 90 to get fuel. When we got to West Memphis, AR, there apparently was an issue with the fueling network, and we lost about an hour getting everything lined out.

Once the fueling issues were dealt with, we continued on. Joseph did most of the driving (after all, he is the student). I took over from Bald Knob, AR to West Memphis so that he could eat, and I finished the trip from just west of Cookeville, TN to where we are now in Albany, KY. When we got about 35 miles east of Jackson, TN, I climbed in the back and started on what we had for dinner: chili. It's simple, really: a can of Rotelle, and a can each of two different kinds of Bush's Grillin' Beans, along with some sliced beef Polska Kielbasa, let it simmer a few hours in the crock pot, and voilá!

Now it's time for bed!

- Another rant via BlogPress

05 June 2011

Day 155 (Playtime Is Over, Back To Work)

It's been a quiet week at Lake Wobegone... wait, that's not me. It has been a nice day, Joseph joined us for service this morning, then came over afterwards for lunch. A very good time: food, fellowship, and a few laughs. Alas, tomorrow it's back to business as usual. The good thing is the pickup is just at the other end of town and heading for Kentucky.

This weekend I was able to learn a bit about Joseph, which will help me as a trainer in order to help him to become a better driver. My goal is to be able to get him in his own truck by about the 17th of this month. As of this writing, my wife, Michelle, is playing Foreigner on the turntable. We've been playing several records this evening, just reminiscing... some old disco (Donna Summer), 80's pop (Madonna), some 80's alternative (The Cure), and 70's pop (Harry Chapin). I'll have to wait to until I come back home to play some more of the old "licorice pizza".

Day 154 (A Full, Yet Relaxing, Day)

Today, being the Sabbath, was a peaceful day, plus I got a lot of other things accomplished. The rest of my record collection has been sorted through and added onto the shelf along with the rest. I went over to the motel where Joseph (my student) is staying and brought him over to have some dinner and enjoy more than just a motel room can offer. We all listened to music, ranging from John Coltrane, to Bruce Springsteen, to Cafe Jacques, to Carl Reiner/Mel Brooks, to Tears For Fear (which is playing as this post is being written). For dinner, Michelle made a splendid Taco Soup and Cheesecake Swirl Brownies.

Now that the den is beginning to take shape into something of an organized state, which, by the time it's done, I'm sure there will be other things to do... but at least there will be vinyl records to provide an adequate soundtrack for what ever that may be.

"Something happened, and I'm head over heels,
I never found out, 'til I'm head over heels... "
                                - Roland Orzabal &
                                  Curt Smith

03 June 2011

Day 153 (What An Unexpected Surprise)

I unloaded this morning at 1130 in Little Rock, AR, well, actually, I arrived at the customer at 1030 and was put in a door right away. Once I finished unloading, I went to our North Little Rock terminal to run a few errands and take care of some business (Starbucks being high on the list of priorities). I picked up an interim student, one who was with a trainer already, but was sent to the terminal to receive some additional training to hone his backing skills. He (Joseph) lives in Little Rock, but was unable to go home due to his wife having to work, and he would not be able to get a ride to the town in which I live (that's where our load picks up on Monday).

Yeah, that's the unexpected surprise, this next load picks up about 2-3 miles from my house. So what we (myself in collaboration with my employer) have done, we put Joseph up in a motel (a rather nice one at that) literally next to the truck stop where the truck is parked. But tomorrow, I'll pick him up and bring him into my home for a few hours. Then on Sunday, he will be joining us and our congregation for service.

Then when I got home, and got Joseph settled in his room, Michelle picked me up, and we saw our youngest son, Nathan, as he played a gig at one of the local coffee shops. He did very well, for somebody who has only been playing guitar for about 6 months. Way to go, Nathan!

02 June 2011

Day 152 (A Long Day, A Lot Of Miles)

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, today would be a long day... and it was. I started out a little after 0800 and I've covered a little over 630 miles in a time of 10 hours, 39 minutes, averaging about 60 miles an hour; not bad, considering the hills I had to venture over in Virginia and Tennessee.

Right now I'm 68 miles from the Tennessee/Arkansas state lines, then another 130 miles more to my destination. The only stop I made is to get fuel and my usual grandé triple Marble Mocha Machiatto from Starbucks (definitely not in that order). Today has been a hot one, very humid. It seems that this year Winter left early and unimpressive, and Spring left whimpering after Summer arrived early, and if I may say, unwelcome. I'm hoping that Summer will be just a big-talking blow-hard much the way this Winter past was.

It's been a taxing day, time for me to grab something to eat and call it a night (after all, that's what it is).

- Another rant via BlogPress

01 June 2011

Day 151 (Making My Way To Little Rock)

Finished my way to my second pick-up in North Bergen, NJ this morning, then waited a few hours before actually getting loaded. Once I did get the rest of the product on, then the fun task of going south (about 10 miles) to a truck stop to scale out, then getting out of Jersey. The delay, as usual, affected my available driving time.

For those of you whom have never been to New Jersey, all I will say is it's an experience you would never forget. Over my many years of driving, I've learned to adapt to many cultural driving habits. In the New England areas, it's very fast paced and hectic. For example, in the Metro areas of New Jersey & New York, if you use your turn signal to change lanes, many around you will take it as a personal challenge (here's a hint: ALWAYS yield your right of way to somebody driving a severely damaged vehicle).

I've only made it as far as Racine, VA, which is about 60 miles north of Roanoke. Since I'm looking at another 800+ miles to cover by 1130 Friday, making that appointment will be rather tight. Tomorrow will be a rough one, a lot of catching up to do.

- Another rant via BlogPress