31 August 2011

Day 242 (On Our Way East)

It was very nice to wake up to 52° weather this morning. We made our way to Blaine, WA - which is right up by the border - where Chuck disembarked and hung out at the truck stop, while I went across the border to Burnaby, BC, to deliver the rest of this load. It was an hour wait to get through customs on the way back into the U.S. Just about 45 minutes ago we got our next load, which picks up tomorrow in Lewiston, ID (just like the last time), only this one has two drops as well: Tulsa, OK, then finishing off in Halfmoon, NY. I was hoping to have been dispatched earlier than I was, this way I might have been able to visit with my niece and sister-in-law.

While I was in Blaine, I stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few things for the roast I'll make in a couple days. I ended up also stopping into a place called The Hot Spot (wings are their specialty, in case you hadn't guessed) and got an order of Garlic Wings, then over to an "Asian Fusion" café called Tangerine Dream and picked up an order of Kim-Chee (the authentic stuff). At the moment it is taking an enormous amount of discipline and self-control to not eat any until I get this blog post finished first. Sure, I'm already late in posting this, but I'd rather get this out to you before I eat, since once I ate, I would become full, satisfied, then want a nap... then would prolong this post even longer than it already is (you get my point). Well, my self-control has held out as long as it could... now it's time to eat!

- Another rant via BlogPress

30 August 2011

Day 241 (A Walking Tour Of Woodinville, WA)

Today was a very pleasant day. First of all, the customer of our first drop unloaded us early, which meant Chuck and I had the rest of the day to shift in to "chill" mode. Since I was a little familiar with the immediate area, I took him on a mini-walking tour of Woodinville.

We stopped at several places (yes, of course I made my pilgrimage to the local Starbucks), just looking around. He grabbed an ice cream cone from Baskin Robbins (though later on, after he went back to the truck, I came upon a Cold Stone Creamery), I had a bagel with lox at Bigfoot Bagels (something which grosses my wife out), and a little later, Chuck grabbed a sandwich from Panera Bread. After he got his sandwich, he headed back to the truck, but I wandered around a bit more (being Jewish, I guess wandering is in our blood).

During my little adventure, I made a stop into a local grocery store called Top Food & Drugs, which had a very nice view as you walked out:

Inside, the place seemed unlike any grocery store I've ever been in. Like most other grocery stores, they had a deli, meat department, and pasta/salad bar. What they had that I had never seen before was a mini pizzeria and a mini sushi bar, which had some of their products pre-packaged, but you could also order something that sushi chefs would prepare for you on the spot (for the record, I picked up a roast for the crock pot - which I'll cook in the next couple of days - and a 1/2 dozen sourdough rolls to go with it).

On the way back to the truck, I stopped in at a bicycle shop. There is a Play It Again Sports shop, but you can't really count that as a bicycle shop, but they do carry bicycles... and I stopped in there earlier in the day. The place right next to it is an actual bicycle shop called Woodinville Bicycle. I spoke with Darren (the manager) for probably about 20 minutes. At first, we spoke about bicycles, different brands, and the fact that, as with many other things, you get what you pay for. We spoke about several other things, as well. We found we share a common bond on a variety of different subjects. Darren is not only a very intelligent man, but also very knowledgable in his profession - plus, customer service/satisfaction is a priority for him - a BIG priority. So if you are in the Woodinville area - and are in the market for a quality bicycle - stop by Woodinville Bicycle and pay a visit to Darren... he'll treat you right! Just so you know: I don't get any "kickback" or bonus for referring people, but you will get the satisfaction of great customer service PLUS you will be supporting the small businessman!

- Another rant via BlogPress

29 August 2011

Day 240 (Almost Done With This Trip)

Last night found Chuck and I shutting down in Caldwell, ID, just 29 miles east of the Oregon state line. I was hoping to have gotten together with Terri Nakamura in the Seattle area, but because of the setbacks resulting from the two stops we made to get a truck service (one of which was a waste of 3 1/2 hours), plus leaving later than I hoped from Tulsa, that meeting, unfortunately, won't take place. Perhaps tomorrow I will give you some details as to what type of logbook laws we truck drivers have to keep track of. The good news is that come Wednesday morning, we will both have a restart on our logs.

Chuck started us out from Caldwell, and I took over when we stopped in La Grange, OR to get fuel. I drove us over the mountain - Deadman Pass (also known as "Cabbage" among truck drivers) - through Pendleton, and into Union Gap, WA. When we stopped there, I walked over to get my coffee fix at Starbucks, and bought some garlic bread from Outback Steakhouse to go with the spicy spaghetti I'm making in the crockpot. Tomorrow I'll go walking around Woodinville, take in some sights - and a few pictures - and, as a priority, enjoy the cooler weather. The last time I was up in Woodinville I didn't really see what there was to offer in that particular part of the city. What I do remember about it, was that I really liked the area. To see so many people cycling around was a sight I have not seen for sometime. The part of Arkansas I live in may have a few children and/or teens on their bikes, but not many (and southerners wonder why there is an obesity problem?). Seeing so many people cycling around made me realize (and this may sound silly to some) how I've taken a sight like that for granted, and at the same time, reinvigorated my desire to get a bicycle for myself. That would make my downtime even more adventurous. Three things I now need to get, to further stimulate my blog's content:

A) a MacBook Pro
B) a Canon Rebel DSLR
C) a ten speed bicycle (preferably a Bianchi)

At least I can wish and dream!

- Another rant via BlogPress

28 August 2011

Day 239 (Finally Getting The Truck Serviced)

We made it to Bitter Root, WY, again with 2 minutes left on the logbook, but that has helped to get caught up on my schedule. I have this schedule that I have planned ahead of time so that, A) I know where I need to be at the end of each day, and, B) this self-appointed schedule will help the both of us to get a re-start on our logbooks, thus we will have a fresh 70 hours to work from come Wednesday. We are here in Ft. bridged, WY, just 30 miles from the Utah state line. I'm hoping we can get as close to Ontario, OR as possible before shutting down.

A good thing about stopping here was that Chuck and I were given vouchers for a complimentary meal in the restaurant (up to $15.00 each), so I took advantage of that... free food is always good. After looking the menu over, I settled on the Cajun Grilled Whitefish (they must have known they would get Jewish truck drivers passing through):

Well, I guess I won't have to worry about making spaghetti for dinner tonight... perhaps tomorrow. I haven't had any coffee yet, but I guess the afore mentioned meal (with a sweet iced tea & lemon) kind of makes up for it. Tomorrow I will have a chance to make a visit to Cold Stone Creamery... and Starbucks!

- Another rant via BlogPress

27 August 2011

Day 238 (Colorado Now, Wyoming Later)

Today has been a peaceful and low-stress Sabbath day. We made it as far as WaKeeney, KS last night. I was told yesterday by my fleet manager, Monica (now that she's back from Korea), that my truck was due a service. Today I attempted to get said service done, but the shop I went to didn't have the oil filter for the engine on my truck. I guess I'll have to wait a little longer, since that turned out not the way I had hoped... but as the song by REO Speedwagon goes, "Roll With The Changes".

Out here in eastern Colorado, it's midday and around 91°, which is a bit cooler than Tulsa was yesterday around this time (around 97°). The further west and north we make our way, this weather will continue to decrease in temperature... which I like - a lot!

One good thing I like about being a trainer is the fact that I get students that have little to no experience driving. I have the opportunity to impart habits upon them that will be a benefit to them, as well as produce a professional driver that has values and standards that exceed the norm. I'm not trying to create a "mini me", just drivers that share the same professional attitude I do, and ones that set a positive example among their peers. The best way to put it is by quoting a great a line Jack Nicholson had in The Departed:

"I don't want to be a product of my environment I want my environment to be a product of me!"

Well, it's time for me to wrap this up, and finish my Starbucks coffee (a grandé triple Marble Mocha Machiatto), as I bask in this beautiful Sabbath day, and thank HaShem for the favor that He has shown me. May you all have a blessed day!

- Another rant via BlogPress

26 August 2011

Day 237 (On My Way To The Northwest Again)

Last night I pulled into Tyson's gate with 2 minutes left to drive on my logbook, so Chuck and I shut down on their yard. We left this morning and headed to Tulsa, where we got a shower, then went to get our load going to Woodinville, WA, then finishing off in Burnaby, BC. I'm hoping we can cover the ground and be able to get a re-start on our logbooks (as Clint and I did a few weeks ago). Speaking of Clint, I called the training center to see how he did on his final evaluation, only to find out he never showed up Monday morning. This is news that saddens me because I thought he would make a great driver, and a valuable asset for this company.

As I write this (and I apologize that it is late being posted), Chuck is driving along the Cimarron Turnpike (I-412 west of Tulsa). We probably won't make it to Colby, KS before we run out of hours, so we'll have to try and make up for lost time over the next few days. I'm also hoping I can get together with the great Terri Nakamura... only this time I'm going to try to find a place closer to her to meet up (someplace that will not give me any beef for parking a truck there). She was so gracious for meeting me last time up in Woodinville, so it's only the least I can do to meet her in her territory this time. My wife, Tikvah, have been dreaming of moving someplace else, some places we would like to live would be Pittsburgh, Las Vegas, Seattle, and northern California. At least it's nice to dream.

Tomorrow is the Sabbath, so I hope you, my readers (all 15 of you), have a blessed day - whether you observe the Sabbath or not. Be sure to drink plenty of coffee!

- Another rant via BlogPress

25 August 2011

Day 236 (This Will Be A Long Day)

Yesterday Chuck and I unloaded in Shelbyville, TN (which is not too far from where a relative - whom I have not yet met - lives), where we unloaded and finally got out of there at around 1700. It was obvious that our next load, which picked up at 1900 - and about 180 miles away - was not going to get picked up on time, so it was re-scheduled for 1000 this morning. We got loaded, scaled out the trailer, and got rolling around noon-ish. Since this was a pretty heavy load, I didn't want to take the chance of being over the gross limit (as it turned out, we weighed at 79,800). This load was orinally scheduled to deliver at 1700 today, but since it's going to Rogers, AR, we should be able to get there by 2200.

Tomorrow will bring another adventure that will keep us busy until next Wednesday. We pick up our next load in Tulsa, OK with 2 drops: one in Woodinville, WA, then finishing off in Burnaby, BC. I'm glad it worked out this way, so I get to go back up to the great northwest. Who knows, I may get the chance to meet another "Tweep" in real life. I'm hoping to keep the same schedule as I did going out there a couple weeks ago. If that happens, we will get into Woodinville on Monday night, and be able to get a re-start on our logbooks. I guess with me being the trainer, it will be up to me to keep us focused.

I stopped off and got some coffee earlier. It may not be Starbucks, but it's definitely NOT Pilot, either (though I'm still perplexed as to how they continue to pass that swill off as "coffee".

24 August 2011

Day 235 (Soon To Head In A Westerly Direction)

We are sitting here in Shelbyville, TN waiting for Walmart to get the trailer unloaded. From here we will head up to Sebree, KY and get a load going to Rogers, AR for tomorrow afternoon... though our hours may dictate something different (also depending on how long it takes for the customer to get us loaded).

Hopefully by going to Rogers, we will get pre-planned to pick up in Tulsa on Friday a load heading for the northwest (it doesn't hurt to hope, does it?). At this point there is no telling, just speculation. I must say, Chuck is proving to be a pretty good driver. He's had some driving experience in the past, but for him it's been a while. I had him back into a parking spot last night when we shut down. Fortunately it was in a part of the truck stop where there were still plenty of spots, hence - plenty of room (this way I can gauge what kind of time I need to spend with him to improve his skills). After last night, I don't think I'll have to worry too much about his backing proficiency.

While we are waiting, we have all necessary paperwork taken care of, the chili is cooking in the crockpot, now I think I'll take a nap... at least I'm back to meeting my deadline.

- Another rant via BlogPress

23 August 2011

Day 234 (Back To Work Again)

I left out this morning, and due to some mis-communication, much later than I should have. My original load was to pick up in Jonesboro, AR and go to Wilmington, IL, but instead Chuck (my newest student) and I picked up in Russellville, AR and headed to Shelbyville, TN. This latter load was supposed to have picked up by 0400, but like I said... there was some mis-communication. The delivery is set for 1430 tomorrow, so we have some time. At least this way I can have some extra time (for this first day, at least) to help Chuck get accustomed to driving these type of trucks, and get used to using an automatic.

I'm already missing home, and (of course) missing my Tikvah. Though I did make her very happy this weekend... I hung up her blinds & curtains in the living room. I now have my new (to me) crock pot - one with a locking lid. No longer will I have to deal with broth spilling onto the outside and making it kind of greasy and an onerous task to clean up. The weather today has been hot, and I'm really longing to head back up to the northwest (which I hope will happen soon). Until then, I'll just grin & bear it.

... and drink more coffee (from Starbucks, of course, though I may have a couple of the Pacific Northwest Iced Coffees from Denny's periodically).

- Another rant via BlogPress

22 August 2011

Day 233 (Getting Old Really Stinks)

Today is my last day at home. Tomorrow, Chuck and I will get a load out of Jonesboro, AR headed for Wilmington, IL, but what the load and delivery times are still unsure. It's been nice being home and I will be looking forward to returning here in a few weeks. The other night, I was doing something on the computer (I was actually entering the codes into mycokerewards.com), when my wife, Tikvah, noticed I was really having a hard time reading the codes (they are printed on those caps so small). She walked in and handed me her reading glasses, to which I replied, "no thanks, I really don't need those, I just wish Coke would print the codes to where you could read them." She continued to hold the glasses out and said, "just try them." So I put them on (quite reluctantly, I might add).

To my embarrassing surprise, they actually worked... I could not only read the codes, but it was very clear! I have never needed, nor worn, glasses before (except sunglasses, naturally)... NEVER! As I mentioned last night, I am... well, between 30 and death (I shall not reveal my true age, and only a few people even know what it is), so imagine my shock when a simple pair of 1.25 reading glasses from Family Dollar made things less blurry to read. At some point I will go get an eye exam, but for now reading glasses will do. I always thought it rather odd that my two youngest sons wear glasses but I didn't.

At least I don't need to read a menu at Starbucks, nor to make coffee at home!

21 August 2011

Day 232 (Maybe Roger Murtaugh Is Right)

It is so nice to be home. We went to services this morning, came home, and now I have to finish putting up the blinds in our living room... a task I started doing 2 1/2 hours ago. Here's what happened: I took down the old blinds and lined up the new ones and made the markings for the anchors. The new blinds did not come with the screws needed, so I did find some anchors with screws that fit. The only trouble is, the screws have small heads, so i ran to the store to get some washers. While I was at the store, I also picked up a few groceries for when I leave on the truck (as well as a few things to pre-cook, since raw meat and pasta doesn't cook too well in a crock pot). Then Tikvah and I picked up Nathan (our youngest son), from his youth group, to which I got shystered into a game of 3-on-3 basketball.

Needless to say, we lost - but not by much (26-24). But at my age (which, for the record: I am between 30, and death), I held my own pretty good, and my teammates were Nathan and Jake (the youth group leader). I will most definitely feel this in the next few days. Now to take a shower, finish the blinds, and make some coffee... not necessarily in that order. Now I now what Roger Murtaugh (from the Lethal Weapon movies) meant when he said. "I'm getting to old for this %&@#".

20 August 2011

Day 231 (I Feel Like Nikki Sixx - Home, Sweet Home)

Here it is, the end of another wonderful Sabbath. What makes this a very special Sabbath is that I am now at home. It's been a long 4 weeks, so coming home is always a welcomed treat. Chuck (my new student) is in the motel here in town, as he lives a couple hundred miles away (in Kentucky, to be exact). At first I could only get him a room for tomorrow and Monday, because this week there are college students coming in for registration plus there is a race this weekend. He would have had to stay in the truck for tonight. Fortunately, I called the motel this morning, and, as it turned out, there were a few cancellations, so I was able to get him a room tonight after all.

It has been nice to come home. I'll be here until Tuesday, and where I go then, at the moment, is still unknown. I'll call my fleet manager on Monday... or rather, my acting fleet manager, since my regular fleet manager (Monica) is away for another week, doing her annual training in the Navy Reserves. Hopefully VERY soon, I'll get another load from Tulsa, OK up to the northwest (Woodinville, WA & Burnaby, BC), since this weather is horribly sweltering.

Now it's time for some coffee.

19 August 2011

Day 230 (Heading Home, Or At Least In That Direction)

Late yesterday afternoon I was dispatched on a load, which didn't pick up until today. So, I made my way up to Joplin, MO, arrived at the Flying J truck stop, and, after some effort, found a parking spot for the night. It worked out pretty good: I was turning down one of the parking aisles just as another truck was pulling out. I arrived at the customer this morning, and was checking in 5 minutes before my appointment time of 0900, and finally left at around 1330.

I had planned to go straight to West Memphis, AR and deliver in the morning, only to find out from the broker that the delivery appointment time is tomorrow at 1630. Then I find out I am already picking up my next student, so I have to take a route going through our North Little Rock terminal. Once I get unloaded tomorrow, I'm going straight home, and Charles (my new student) will be staying in the motel. Therefore the next few days of my mindless babbling will be from the comfort of my own home. Yes, Dorothy, there's no place like home... hopefully, some day, my home will be in the Seattle area (MUCH cooler weather than here). Once I get to our terminal, I'll get my laundry done, get to know a little bit about Charles, and maybe even go get my coffee fix from Starbucks. Until then, I have some fried rice to dig in to.

- Another rant via BlogPress

18 August 2011

Day 229 (What To Do Next?)

I made it back to Tulsa, Getting into the customer's facility at around 0230 this morning. When I checked in, I found out they didn't have the delivery scheduled until 0630 tomorrow morning. It was all sorted out, though, as they did get me unloaded today. The weather (as is normal for Tulsa this time of year) is hot. Tina (in the shipping/receiving office) asked if I would take our trailer out of the door once it was loaded (it's bound for Houston), and put the trailer I brought in and drop it in then door that the previous trailer just vacated. For a while the shipping/receiving office thought I was going to be the driver taking their load to Houston. I couldn't tell them "yay" nor "nay", as I didn't know what my company had planned for me next (as of this writing, I still don't). They haven't assigned me on a load yet, due to them trying to find a load for me that will get me home this weekend... which I am absolutely looking forward to.

In the meantime I think I will take a nap, and probably snack on some tortilla chips and some pico de gallo (since I've finished the rest of my chipotle seasoned chicken strips). perhaps even enjoy a few of my miniature Toblerone candies. I've had some coffee earlier, so I'm good on that aspect. I mentioned taking a nap a moment ago, now I think I feel it coming on (or, as would be the reference by the great feline philosopher, Garfield, "nap attack").

- Another rant via BlogPress

17 August 2011

Day 228 (Back Up To Tulsa)

I made the delivery this morning in Houston, in fact, I arrived at about 0100. I'm killing a little time right now because my next load, which picks up in LaPorte, TX (about 25 miles away) won't be ready until around 1530, and it's due in Tulsa tomorrow morning at 0630 (and you may have heard me kvetch about how I loathe early morning deliveries).
The weather here is hot... as if that is some sort of anomaly for Texas in August.

I found out from an old friend (from my days in the Corps) that he is currently organizing a reunion of our old unit, which will probably be held in San Antonio (fortunately NOT in the Summer). Nothing is solid as of just yet, but, so far, the page (created on Facebook) has created quite a stir, with many (some of whom i either didn't know, or don't remember) extending their RSVP's with plans to be there. I've already spoken to Tikvah about it... we ARE going to be there.

This is day 2 that I have been without coffee. Not by choice, mind you. Yesterday I didn't have a lot of time to play with, and there are very few truck stops that have decent coffee. Many truck drivers don't understand why I frequent Starbucks. It's like this: I would rather pay around $5 for a cup (usually the grandé triple Marble Mocha Machiatto) that I know will taste good, rather than pay $1.50 for something that tastes like it was freshly dredged up from the mud hole that is between the truck repair shop and the poorly maintained restrooms, a.k.a. that which is usually found at Pilot. I'm none too fond of their coffee, never have been. The coffee at Flying J used to be good, that is, before they were taken over by Pilot. Since a feel a headache coming on (resulted from caffeine deprivation), I think I'll take a little nap.

At least I can dream about coffee... maybe that will make the headache go away.

- Another rant via BlogPress

16 August 2011

Day 227 (I'll Be Headed To Houston, Hopefully Soon)

We are still here in Tulsa, OK, waiting to get loaded, then we'll head to Houston, TX for tomorrow morning... or at least I will. Clinton will probably be meeting up with his nephew in the Dallas area, and catching a ride to Memphis, TN. He's not quitting (at least I hope not), he just needs to get to his home in Memphis to take care of some business. Which means, once he makes his rendezvous with his nephew, I'll be solo again... at least until I get home this weekend.

It's been a long (nearly) 4 weeks. I don't usually stay out this long, I did so this time for reasons that are only known to my wife and I (no, we are NOT have marital problems - in fact, quite the contrary... we enjoy each other's company). When I do make it home, I think I'll go back to my usual routine of being out 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 weeks. But I am looking forward to going back up to the northeast again, which I hope will be soon... very soon. The weather up there is much nicer, and I can get away from this awful humidity. The temperature isn't as high now as it was the last time I was in Tulsa (about 108°), so you can bet that the 70° temperatures I drove through in Washington were very welcomed indeed. Though, with temperatures like that, why would anybody want to live in Washington.

I definitely would!

- Another rant via BlogPress

15 August 2011

Day 226 (Here In Tulsa... Until Tomorrow)

We arrived here in Tulsa yesterday late-afternoon, and made a semi-scheduled stop at a Super Target not far from where we are delivering. We went there mainly at my request, Clint was there because I was. My purpose was to pick up a new shower curtain (at my wife, Tikvah's, request) and to get a 5-quart Crock Pot. I have a 2-quart on the truck, but the only problem is it leaks (not so much on the floor, but along the side and into the heating element area) while I'm driving. I bought a 6-quart oval Crock Pot a few years back (with a sealing/locking lid), but the inverter I had then was inadequate, so I left it at home. Tikvah said I could take it with me on the truck (now that I have a reliable way to power it), on the condition I buy another one that she can use at home. Since my 2-quart is a little too small for her and Nathan (our youngest son) - and there was nothing in between - I bought the 5-quart... and the shower curtain.

When Clint and I picked this load up, we had to send our company some p.o. (purchase order) numbers off the shipping bills, so they could schedule the delivery time, which we did on Thursday. The time wasn't scheduled until today, so we are here until our appointment tomorrow. I haven't been here 24 hours yet, and I'm already missing the weather from the northwest (70° in the middle of the day - even for a couple days - can easily spoil you... now I know why Terri Nakamura lives in the Seattle area - and it's also VERY beautiful). I was able to get some coffee from the customer's cafeteria. It may not be as good as my Starbucks grandé triple Marble Mocha Machiatto, but at least it's still better than that swill that's served at the Pilot truck stops that they try to pass off as coffee.

I did get TWO cups from Starbucks yesterday, so it's all good.

- Another rant via BlogPress

14 August 2011

Day 225 (The Final Leg Of This Trip)

Our day started in Colby, KS this morning, where we topped off the fuel and I made my trip to the local Starbucks. We only have 470 miles to cover today, though I'm still unsure what these next few days will be like, as I'm trying to get Clint back to our North Little Rock, AR terminal so he can get his own truck and I'm due to go home for a few days later this week.

This last week has been nice, going up to the northwest into areas I've always liked (plus I get a break from the madness one encounters when going east or to the southern midwest), as well as into cooler climates - which is always a welcomed change this time of year. I'm sure that once I head back out on the road next week, I'll probably (hopefully) get another load taking me to the northwest. Clint has done a good job these past 3 weeks. He's been willing to learn what's required (as per company policy) and he's absorbed what I've shared with him, from experience. I hope he does well, not just for this company, but especially for himself.

As we travel south of Wichita, KS, I can already feel the outside temperatures getting hotter, which means it's time to turn up the a/c... full blast. I will be so glad for Fall and Winter to roll in, or at least to get a load into the desert regions (Vegas would be nice - I could visit my family there).

- Another rant via BlogPress

13 August 2011

Day 224 (Still Working Our Way To Tulsa)

Last night we shut down at the Flying J truck stop in Casper, WY, giving Clint a day of 619 miles. The Flying J is the only truck stop in Casper, but it is located in a good part of the city... having many places within walking distance: Arby's, Burger King, On The Border, Safeway, and, of course, Starbucks (in fact, there were 2 locations within walking distance). There is a reason that Wyoming is called "Big Sky Country" - there's not a lot of populated areas, just open plains... and sky.

We made a stop in the Denver, Co area, mainly to get a truck wash. Now the truck is looking much better. We will probably end our day in Colby, KS, which will leave us less than 500 miles to finish off tomorrow.

This Sabbath, as with the previous ones, has been pleasant and peaceful. This week's portion continued in Deuteronomy. Within the next several weeks, Deuteronomy will be concluded, then the cycle will begin anew. Hopefully, I can get the finances to get an open order established to have the volumes of the Mishnah mailed to us (since that has been the latest request by my lovely wife, Tikvah... though I would like to begin getting the Talmud sent to us - but she is "The Queen"). I hope this day finds all of you, my wonderful readers (all 5), in good health, and joyous spirits. May you all be blessed!

- Another rant via BlogPress

12 August 2011

Day 223 (Still In Montana, Then To Wyoming)

Today's journey began from the truck stop we parked at last night, just on the east end of Missoula, MT, where I awoke to this stunning view outside my windshield:

Our travels yesterday took us from Ellensburg, WA to Lewiston, ID (where we loaded), then ending the day in Missoula. I haven't been up this way in yonks (a new word I picked up from a really cool mate I know via Twitter, ernmander, and it basically means, "a long time, ages"). The landscape is quite beautiful. as you can see from these following shots.

As you can see, there are some stunning areas. Areas I will probably photograph again come Winter, since they will look a bit different with snow.

Some of you may have noticed a weird looking code of some sort at the beginning os yesterday's post. That was there as part of a verification process in connection with Empire Avenue. Once I acquired a certain number of recommendations for my RSS Feed, I needed to include that code in a post in order to upgrade it to Blog status. For those that are unfamiliar with Empire Avenue (or EAv), don't feel so bad... I'm still a little unfamiliar with it myself, since I just started tinkering around with it within the last few days. The best I can gather, it takes your social media status and puts it in relation with a stock market setting (you buy shares in your followers - if they are on EAv - and they buy shares in you; watch your social "stocks" rise and/or fall; etc.). There is still quite a bit for me to learn about it, so if any of you who reads my daily verbal meanderings are on EAv... I would greatly appreciate any tips/advice you can give.

I'll probably come back to the northwest area in a few weeks, though it's not soon enough (remember, I do not like humidity, I do not like it - woe is me). I spoke with a friend earlier on the phone, where I expressed my reluctancy to head back into Oklahoma, Arkansas, etc. She asked, "who would want to live in an area where it's basically Spring all year... uh, me!" I would absolutely agree with her... I could see myself living in the Seattle area: coffee, culture, and cool weather.

Yeah, it's nice to dream!

- Another rant via BlogPress

11 August 2011

Day 222 (On The Way To Tulsa)


Clint and I left from Ellensburg, WA this morning with cool weather to drive in. We arrived there last night, topped off the fuel, and I decided it would be best to call it a day there, mainly because the routing we were taking (more than likely) would not have many places to park a truck. I'm glad we did shut down there, as there was a Starbucks just walking distance from the truck stop, so I could get my coffee fix before we left. Along the way this morning I found some very panoramic views, such as this in Vantage, WA:

The back roads we took were very nice, though I think the town of Starbuck (in Washington) was mis-named, as there was no Starbucks anywhere in town. We arrived in Lewiston, ID right at 1300 (Pacific time), and the customer was very expeditious in the loading process. I was hoping I would have had time to make a stop in Clarkston, WA, to visit my niece and sister-in-law, but the time, unfortunately, didn't permit. When I spoke to my niece, we discussed (the next time I'm in the area) how we can get together and, as she put it, have a couple cup of coffee at Starbucks (Erica, you speak my language!). Now that I have a passport, and will be taking loads up to British Columbia, hopefully I'll have the chance to make that stop in the near future.

This load delivers in Tulsa on Monday, and an option that my fleet manager is looking at is to put Clint on another driver's truck (to get him transported to our North Little Rock terminal so he can test out and get his own truck), then have me shuttle a load toward the northwest, swap with another driver, and have me back in Arkansas in time for me to go home... but right now, it's just a possible option. When I find out on Monday what will come next, I'll be sure to let you know.

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10 August 2011

Day 221 (Goodbye, Northwest... I'll Come Back Again)

This morning I gave Clint a break and I drove up to Blaine, WA, where I dropped him off at a truck stop before I went across the border into Canada (he couldn't go because he doesn't have a passport). I arrived at the final stop in Burney, BC, unloaded, then came back out. We are presently on our way to Lewiston, ID to load tomorrow afternoon, which will have us heading back to Tulsa, then, hopefully, something that will bring us through the North Little Rock, AR terminal so Clint can get assigned his own truck.

It's been quite pleasant driving up this way, especially since I was afforded the opportunity to get a few pictures taken. I've always liked this region because it offers a view that make me wish all the more for a Canon Rebel DSLR (to which I am still accepting donations for), due to the fact that the iPhone camera just doesn't the adequate justice the scenery deserves.

Of course I can try to spice the pictures up a little by using different photography apps (such as the Hipstamatic, which I put to use for the above photo, or Camera Genius from Codegoo for these next 3).

There are two things I most enjoy about driving a truck: meeting people I wouldn't ordinarily meet with a regular job (such as Terri Nakamura, from yesterday's post, for example), and being able to view the beautiful scenery, as created by G-d. Yet there is still much more yet to be discovered. Hopefully, one day, I'll be able to get a DSLR. Though I may not be a professional photographer, I like to think I have a pretty good eye for pictures... plus I have a Banana Republic photojournalist vest, so at least I can look like I'm professional (now I just need the camera to complete the set).

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09 August 2011

Day 220 (Terri Nakamura - In Real Life!)

Today turned out to be a splendid day! First of all, the weather was very nice (who would complain about 64° temperatures in August?), but most importantly... I finally got to meet IRL (In Real Life) another of my Twitter mates: none other than the great Terri Nakamura!

What made this a very special meeting was she was kind enough to drive up to Woodinville from Seattle, which is not what one would consider a "hop, skip, and a jump" away. Terri is a graphic designer (I'll post her links at the end), in the business for about 30 years. It was a very joyous time. We went inside the restaurant (McCorry's On The Slough), had coffee (as if you would be surprised), and, of course, GREAT conversation. I'll have to find out from her later when her anniversary is, because - and in today's society, this is a great landmark - it will be 30 years of marriage.

It was such a blessing to finally get to meet Terri... somebody who is consistent in posting quality content on Twitter, and one who is very disciplined in her daily regimen (i.e. balancing her work with social media and her personal life, and trying very diligently not to blur the fine line between them). I hope one day to bring my wife, Tikvah, up here, then be able to have dinner with Terri and her husband.

Coffee is always a good start for the better things in life.

Before I forget, here's Terri's links:

You can find her on Twitter

or follow her blog.

For the record, I totally dig her '76 BMW!

I hope Terri's day turns out to be very pleasant and joyous... I know my day has turned out to be that much better having just met such a wonderful person! May her and her family be blessed. Should her and her husband get together with my wife and I... dinner will be on me!

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08 August 2011

Day 219 (Here Until Wednesday Morning)

Well, first I'd like to apologize for the delay in getting this up... I'll explain momentarily. We made it into Ontario, OR last night and ended our day. We left this morning from there, making one stop in Union Gap, WA (just outside Yakima). We walked around the area there a bit, making a visit to Cold Stone Creamery and (yes, you guessed it) getting my coffee fix at Starbucks. If you'll allow me to take a slight detour... Yankees won Friday night against Boston. The Red Sox came back Saturday, giving both teams the same stats (wins/losses/pct). Last night, the tie was broken by...

BOSTON RED SOX: 10 innings, Boston won 3-2!!!!!!! Now back to our regularly scheduled blog...

When we arrived at Union Gap, I was approached by a gentleman whom inquired about my faith, to which we ended up in fellowship for about 1 1/2 hours (perhaps longer). His name is Ross, and we discovered some similarities in one another. We were both raised as Christians, discovered we had Jewish lineage late in life, we're both on the spiritual quest for Truth, and we just happen to live in the state of Arkansas. The only difference between the two of us is his journey is fairly new, whereas I've been submersed within Judaism for several years now. He isn't looking to forsake his belief in the Messiah, just seeking to establish his Jewish roots. Ross and I exchanged phone numbers and email addresses, as I told him I would help any way I could on his new journey, beginning with a small list of reference sources to help him get started. This will be a long journey for him, sometimes even a bit difficult. I have no doubt he will absorb this new knowledge like a dried sponge does water, with what little I shared with him I could see that process beginning.

Let the adventure begin.

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07 August 2011

Day 218 (Covering A Lot Of Ground)

We made it to Rock Springs, WY last night before we shut it down. I've been able to get a few good shots along the way, one in particular (which was taken yesterday, just west of Elk Mountain, WY) that I think has a pretty cool effect:

Another that I took, I didn't use any special effects on at all, and taken today right around Morgan, UT, just before you get to Ogden, on I-84 west bound:

It's scenery like this I don't get to see very often, so it's something of a treat when I do get the chance.

We're driving through Idaho right now - potato country. Idaho is rather unique, in that we are traveling on flat road (Kansas-type flat) right now, yet surrounded by mountains, though Clinton will be getting some good mountain driving experience once we hit Oregon. Oh yeah, there's this truck stop with a name we all know:

... and, yes, it even has a snake (not real, of course):

At this rate, we will probably be in Oregon - perhaps about 50 miles in - when we call it a day. Should that happen, we will have less than 500 to cover tomorrow... and we're not due in Woodinville, WA (Seattle are) until Wednesday morning, then finishing off in Burnaby, BC that afternoon.

Ok, I need some coffee now.

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06 August 2011

Day 217 (I've Missed This Part Of The Country)

This morning, our day started in Colby, KS, a small town on I-70, just 54 miles from the Colorado state line. Another beautiful Sabbath day, with mild weather (84°, as opposed to the 100°+ temperatures we've been enduring lately), and, of course, a grandé triple Marble Mocha Machiatto (extra hot) from Starbucks. We topped off the fuel and continued our westward journey.

As we made our way across the Colorado plains toward Denver, I did a little more experimenting with one of my favorite camera apps, Hipstamatic, where I got this shot of eastern Colorado (around Kiowa) from the passenger seat:

... then, using a different app (and you will see the difference), here is an area further west, toward Denver:

We made our way through the north eastern end of Denver, on made a pit-stop at Johnson's Corner, a well-maintained truck stop in Johnstown, CO (just south of Ft. Collins, on I-25). If you recall, from my post on Day 192, I blogged about the monster of a Reuben sandwich I got from Izzy's Deli. If you don't recall, here is the sandwich itself (and you will also see its weight):

The reason I brought up Izzy's 110 Reuben is I think I may have found the dessert to accompany the aforementioned sandwich should somebody find they are still hungry... though I find that to be highly unlikely. At Johnson's Corner, they have a cinnamon roll that is huge:

Though I'm sure there are people who make their rolls this size regularly, but Johnson's Corner is the only place I've seen that sells them this large (and at $12.99, that's a pretty good deal).

As an "added feature" to his training, I had Clinton take more of a scenic route. Most drivers will stay on I-25 to Cheyenne, WY, then jump on I-80 west to Utah. I, however, had Clinton get off the interstate in Ft. Collins and take CO 14 west, to U.S. 287 north, which will bring us to I-80 in Laramie. It may take a little longer, but it shaves off some miles, plus it has a really nice view.

On another note... this weekend will find the battle of the ages, a long held rivalry that may never be quenched: New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox. Yankees took it last night (3-2). Two more games to go. Where do I stand?

Wait for it...

Wait for it...


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05 August 2011

Day 216 (Hittin' The Road)

Our loading time for this load was anywhere from 1700 until around midnight, so that left a big window for the customer to work with. However, the loader at this facility (which is their corporate headquarters) came out and had me sign the paperwork - at 1430. Basically, we are loaded, scaled out and heading west long before 1700.

Yesterday was, well, less than eventful. When we left from Ft. Smith, AR, we were asked to shuttle one of our trailers up to Lowell, AR (which is just between Fayetteville and Bentonville) and drop it at a shop for some repairs. While we were in the area, Clinton and I went to AQ Chicken House (in Springdale) for dinner. I've been there many times. Each time I go, I always plan (for my next visit) to try one of their other recipes, and each time I get the same kind as usual: the "Over The Coals" recipe of fried chicken.

Once we ate, we finished our trip to Tulsa, making one stop on the west end of Springdale and a few stops in Tulsa: the Flying J, Super Target (which has a Starbucks - closing probably at 2000, and we arrived there at 2045... to which my wife taunted me, saying, "you can't get no Staaar-buuucks!"), then finally, around the corner from Super Target to a free standing Starbuck (hey Tikvah - I got my Starbucks... NYAH, NYAH, NYAAAH!). Finally going to the customer where we shut down for the night.

I stood outside last night for a little bit before I went to bed, noticing that even though there was a bit of humidity still lingering, the Tulsa area still has a certain quality to its atmosphere. Then it dawned on me... this is a higher plains region, where the air is still humid, but it's on the cusp of the drier regions.

I'm getting closer to the higher altitudes and the dry climates.

I can deal with that.

Soon... the mountains.

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04 August 2011

Day 215 (A Change Of Plans)

Clinton and I got up and started driving about 1000 this morning, to make a stop at our Ft. Smith, AR terminal, then head out to Tulsa, OK to pick up our load going to Edmonton, AB. Unfortunately, the load cancelled today, so we are no longer heading to Alberta, Canada. After about an hour, we id get a new load... this one picks up tomorrow (in Tulsa) and delivers Wednesday afternoon in Burnaby, BC (which, I surmise, is in the Vancouver area). This also has an additional drop, in Woodinville, WA, which is just north and slightly east of Seattle.

Seattle area? Wait, I think I know somebody (via Twitter, of course) that lives in that area... OH YEAH... none other than @terrinakamura. Perhaps we may just get the chance to meet IRL ("In Real Life" just in case you are one of those who didn't know). Terri and I have interacted several times over the last year or so. It will be cool to finally get to meet her.

Perhaps we'll have coffee (methinks "yes")!

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03 August 2011

Day 214 (And Now For Something Completely Different)

Clinton and I just happen to be in Clarksville, AR - still. We did get a load, but it doesn't pick up until tomorrow at 1700, in Tulsa, OK, which means I'll be able to get a restart on my logbook. There is a twist to this: the load delivers Monday in Edmonton, Alberta, CD. As I mentioned in my Day 201 post, I don't like the idea of getting a Canada load, leaving the student at a truck stop (or in this case, a motel) at the border, then picking him up on the way back. Clinton appears to be ok with it... I might find my way around it, eventually.

As my parenthetical title expressed (and to use the popular Monty Python phrase out of absolute admiration & respect for them) - "And now for something completely different!"

There may be some of you who are fans, or at the very least occasional viewers (as am I) of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). I don't watch it often, but every now and then, one of the fighters will catch my attention. One such fighter is Timothy Kennedy. It's not his style, nor his technique that garnered this attention, rather what he does at the end of his matches. He does his usual expressions of gratitude, but usually ends up shifting the attention to the troops in the Middle East (but don't take my word for it - read the article on the MMA website). As I told Mr. Kennedy, via Facebook message, if the Hollywood "celebrity whack-jobs" can make political statements while receiving an Oscar award, then I salute him for what he's doing. Some in the audiences at the fights may not like what he does, but the point is - he's trying to keep the awareness on our troops, that we should NEVER forget.

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02 August 2011

Day 213 (What Do You Expect From Tyson?)

We arrived here in Broken Bow, OK at around 2330 last night, and (as is par for Tyson) didn't begin loading until 0300, finishing at 0445. This load was scheduled to deliver at 0800 this morning in Clarksville, AR. This obviously didn't happen, since our 10 hour break isn't over until 1445.

Once we do start rolling, I'll drive us to Clarksville (though I've already informed dispatch that I have less than 9 hours left on my 70 hour clock). The weather has already kicked into high gear, but, hopefully, this means we could be in for a cold Winter - which is what I hope for. My wife calls me a lizard because I prefer dry heat, but in Winter... well, let's just say, that's my favorite season. Driving in snow doesn't bother me. Ice is a bit trickier. In either condition, the stress comes in when idiots drive the same as they do on dry roads... Hello, McFly - that's how accidents happen! Like last year when there was the "Snowpacolypse" that hit Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, etc., a moron (and a "fellow" truck driver) didn't think I was going fast enough for him. He barreled past me on the ice covered roads in Missouri, probably doing about 60-65 (which is not a good idea). About 15, maybe 20, miles later, guess who was in the ditch - that same moron.

Need I say more?

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01 August 2011

Day 212 (I'm Going To Rant Again)

We shut down last night at the Texas Travel Center rest area in Texarkana (on the Texas side), mainly because I knew the closer to Dallas we got, the more scarce the available parking becomes. Once we get unloaded here in Grand Prairie, Clinton will drive us up to Broken Bow, OK. The load is due tomorrow morning at 0800 in Clarksville, AR, but since it loads at a Tyson facility we may run out of hours before we make it.

According to the Weather Channel app on my phone, it's showing to be 108° (with only 20% humidity) at 1700... but it certainly feels a bit warmer than that. If this was Phoenix, AZ or Las Vegas, NV or even Barstow, CA, this would be a dry heat - and more tolerable to deal with - but I can only sit and lament my disdain for humid weather.

On a different note, I am troubled. Yesterday my wife told me that our youngest son (who is 16) had his life threatened - because he is Jewish. This is distressing enough, but when this matter is mentioned on Facebook... I'll put it this way: there has been some positive support that we have received, but mostly from people in other states. I have seen almost nothing from people in our own community - people that would call us "friends" - by some minor show of support - ALMOST NOTHING. This is the very reason why there are very few people that I consider a friend.

Now let's see how this post will stir things up in our "community" - if at all.

Now back to my coffee.

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