31 October 2011

Day 303 (Heading To Florida)

Dotle and I arrived in Ft. Smith, AR last night to unload this morning. At about 0645 we checked in (our delivery appointment was for 0700), then waited... and waited... and waited (also napping in the meantime). Tyson finally put us in a door at about 1230. Once we got unloaded, and had the trailer washed out, I began to take us to our terminal in Ft. Smith. On the way, we received our next load assignment, so I headed there instead. The load was supposed to pick up at 1100 (but as you can tell from the above narrative, that didn't happen), but we headed up to Lowell, AR anyway. This is yet another Butterball load, only this one is heading to Orlando, FL for Wednesday afternoon.

Florida is nice. It also happens to be one of the popular destination for snowbirds.. but this time of year - I prefer going into the colder regions... and the snow. Yeah, and I still plan on going to Starbucks!

30 October 2011

Day 302 (Today Is Almost Over)

I am sitting here in Bald Knob, AR, which is 55 miles north of Little Rock. In about 40 minutes I will be meeting up with my next student, Doyle. He was actually ready for pick-up on Friday, but I was still in Gadsden, AL getting unloaded, then headed to Union City, TN where I picked up this load and (unfortunately) stayed there to get a re-start. I'm meeting Doyle here because this is where he lives, which makes better sense than for him to wait in our North Little Rock terminal all weekend.

Once we met up, I'll give him a brief rundown (a.k.a. a trainer's orientation) then we will continue down the road to Ft. Smith, AR. More than likely, I'll make a stop in Conway to pay a visit to Starbucks, and possibly top off the fuel along the way. From what little I do know about Doyle at this point is he's 33, married, and used to work as a Corrections Officer at a prison in Newport, AR for about 7 years. I'll update you with further progress and/or developments as they occur.

29 October 2011

Day 301 (Almost Made A Quick Trip Home)

I left out of Gadsden, AL yesterday afternoon and headed up here to Union City, TN to pick up my next load. The good thing is, I was able to make a stop in Jackson, TN to top off my fuel AND pay a visit to Starbucks (yes, I had my trademark grande triple Marble Mocha Machiatto). I found out upon arrival that our company no longer has dropped trailers, so I had to wait until this morning to load. Had there been a dropped trailer, more than likely it would have been preloaded, and I would have made an unscheduled stop in Bald Knob, AR and had my wife pick me up, to which I would have been at home to get a re-start on my logbook. Then, once I met up with my student (Doyle) tomorrow afternoon, we both would have had a fresh 70 hours to start on. Instead, I'm getting my re-start at this Tyson plant in Union City.

Not that it's a bad thing. It's been a fairly mild day, temperature wise, though the northeast has been getting their snow early this year. All in all, it has been a peaceful and joyous Sabbath - nothing I could add would make it any sweeter!

28 October 2011

Day 300 (Are We Being Deceived?)

Recently my wife and I had a discussion regarding the Occupy Wall Street situation. There have been many other similar protests that have started around the country as well, but I'll try to put some focus on this OWS. Over time we have seen the erosion of our economy and our culture - some over a period of time, so as not to be noticeable; others more overt. One thing is for sure, I no longer think our current leaders are reliable nor trustworthy. When you look back in history, British economist John Maynard Keynes held an economic theory that, basically, believed a government could spend its way out of an economic slump... much the way our politicians are doing now - also the way Roosevelt did before... as did Mussolini.

When it comes to OWS there are so many facets to the web (source of funds raised, support groups, etc.) that it's becoming increasingly difficult to keep them all in line. Recently there were a couple young men from Cairo that joined, "in solidarity", the OWS movement. This was recently reported by Israel National News. They were part of what became known as the "Arab Spring" - the trouble is, most of those Middle East protests had The Muslim Brotherhood backing them. Also reported by INN back in early September was on how the "Arab Spring" could end up being bad - very bad - for Israel.

This also hold true when Marwan Muasher , a Jordanian, is speaking in support of the Muslim Brotherhood - and also is endorsed by George Soros. According to Matthew Vadum in his article on the Human Events website, Soros provides funding for the Open Society Institute and the Tides Foundation, as well as the Alliance For Global Justice... the organization that is now (coincidentally enough) handling all the donations that are coming in to support OWS.

In this day and age (and with the rampant corruption in our government - in ALL parties) I support the idea - as well as the actual execution - of protests... as long as they are truly against what has been going on. To protest against Wall Street is the same as protesting (nowadays) the government. The only difference is your expecting one facet of the entity to come to your aid to battle the other facet of that same entity! What it comes down to is this: certain people (inside AND outside our government) are pulling the strings in order to get the masses to do what they want, a.k.a. Hegelian Dialectic. If we don't take a real stand against ALL politicians, the result could be a grotesque Socialist/Communist/Fascist hybrid - trust me, the fuel economy on that hybrid really sucks.

27 October 2011

Day 299 (Another Change In Plans)

The plan yesterday was (originally) to pick up in Rogers, AR and go to Pennsylvania. Then it changed to pick up in Lowell, AR and go to Gadsden, AL. Then that changed to pick up the load in Lowell and take it to another driver in Russellvile, AR, then take his empty trailer and pick up a load today in Tulsa, OK bound for Edmonton, AB. The word that came down yesterday evening was to stay on the load going to Alabama. This I don't care for too much, since it had the least miles of all (300 miles less than the Pennsylvania load), but I'm doing it anyway.

I stopped in our terminal in North Little Rock to get my laundry taken care of. I wanted to make a Starbucks run, but both the company vehicles were already taken, which means I either wait about an hour later to leave, or just go without.

I chose the latter.

My miles have been shorted, but that just means that HaShem has something better.

26 October 2011

Day 298 (Possibly Bound For Edmonton)

This morning I was up at 0400(CT) to make this delivery to the Walmart D.C. in Harrisonville, MO. It worked out alright... once I took care of checking in, I went back to sleep. I was also informed that I will have a new student. The only trouble is, he won't be ready for training until Friday. At this present time, I'm on my way to pick up a turkey load in Lowell, AR, swap with another driver in Russellville, AR, then head to Tulsa, OK to load tomorrow for Edmonton, AB (that's Canada, for those who didn't know). So as of right now, I won't pick him up until next week.

Since I still have to get down to Lowell (I'm in Joplin, MO right now), I will have to postpone what I originally wanted to post until tomorrow, since I want to do a little more organizing of the content. One thing I will say: it will be an eye opener... at least I hope it will be. Until then, you'll have to bear with this for today.

At least I had some coffee today!

25 October 2011

Day 297 (This Past Weekend Was Rather Productive... And Blessed)

This past weekend (rather, the last few days) turned out to be a little busy, but not hectic. If you recall, a little over 2 weeks ago, I took the day off to observe Yom Kippur (which was quite joyous, by the way), but taking the reins of TCV in my stead, was Julie Mollins of Telling Tales. I must confess that due to poor planning on my part (this is rare), I asked her just the day before if she would fill in - she obliged. In the introduction I gave on her guest post, I mentioned how grateful I was to her agreeing, since she is a journalist by trade.

To make a long story longer, she DM'd me (via Twitter) on Saturday, asking if I would do a guest spot on her blog. This made me even more honored! So I came through, and emailed it to her Sunday ( basically meaning I did 2 blog posts that day). Yesterday that post went live.

Also on yesterday, after I finished getting loaded in Wisconsin, I got together with an old friend from my Marine Corps days, Chris Sennett. We met up at the Lake Forest Oasis (the first service plaza on the Illinois Toll Road, just south of the Wisconsin state line) and enjoyed some "moderate" Chinese food. So now I'm here in Booneville, MO (about 100 miles east of Kansas City), getting ready to take off and finish the final leg of this trip (I'm so not looking forward to the 0505 appointment at the Walmart D.C. tomorrow). Unfortunately, there have been no Starbucks locations enroute.

Perhaps I'll get to one tomorrow (I'd even kill 3 hordes of zombies to get a grande triple Marble Mocha Machiatto).

24 October 2011

Day 296 (Leaving Wisconsin)

This morning I unloaded at the ridiculous hour of 0500 (CT). It took a couple hours before I received my next load, but I got one nevertheless. I picked up a load of produce (cabbage to be exact, which means I could make one heckuva batch of sauerkraut) which is headed to a Walmart D.C. in Harrisonville, MO (just south of Kansas City) for another ridiculously early delivery (0505), but fortunately I have until Wednesday morning to do so. What happens after that... well, I hope to find out, via pre-plan, tomorrow.

In the news, many politicians are gearing up the the upcoming Presidential election cycle. The late Steve Jobs once told President Obama that he would be a 1 term President. Judging from what we currently have to choose from, Mr. Jobs just may be wrong. The only potential candidate I would lean towards would be Herman Cain, then again, since I have "unplugged" from the MSM (and really haven't looked at him, nor any of the others, too ardently) I really don't know where any of them stand on any issue, let alone the ones I find important. Ironically enough, the ones who chose to "tow the party line" and call Americans (whom didn't vote for Obama) "racists" (just because he was black), are the very same ones whom are vilifying Herman Cain... who, himself (in case you hadn't noticed) is black. The only reason why these people don't like Cain is because he's NOT a Democrat. Over the past several years, I have COMPLETELY turned away from conventional politics, all for the same reason: NONE of them can be trusted. Not to mention the whitewashing effort by many to disguise the transformation of our society from a Republic into that of a Socialist mandate. Much of what has transpired - not just under Obama, but probably as early on as Bush 41 (possibly even earlier) - has similarities (some secretive, others more overt) to the policies endorsed, even forced, by the likes of not only Hitler, but also Mussolini (i.e. the takeovers of the auto industry, the banking industry, and health care). I'll close with this quote, which I think should be put into action today:

"Whenever any form of government becomes destructive, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and institute new government."

-Thomas Jefferson

23 October 2011

Day 295 (Making My Way To Wisconsin)

I am less than 3 hours away from my destination of Jefferson, WI. I pulled off here in Bloomington, IL for a brief break, and the weather is quite mild. The cool thing about this load was that it was already pre-loaded and a dropped trailer, which meant in less than 45 minutes I was leaving the Tyson facility. I headed from Robards, KY up to Haubstadt, IN (just north of Evansville) and shut down for the night.

Having topped off the fuel and getting a cup of coffee, I was on the road at about 0745 (CT). I took a few highways off the interstate to try to cut a few miles. I'm not too worried about the time, since I only have about 420 miles to cover. The downside: a 0500 appointment tomorrow morning. I don't mind morning deliveries, just not that early. I have been to this particular Tyson facility before, so I know that they allow overnight parking (a plus). Where I go after that still remains a mystery, as I have no pre-plan, and the CSR's will not be in until 0700 tomorrow morning.

Wisconsin, in my opinion, has always been one of the better states to drive through; traffic isn't as crazy as most other areas, and the people tend to be more courteous and polite, both on the freeway and personal interaction. I wouldn't mind living there... but I would like to live in Woodinville, WA even more.

22 October 2011

Day 294 (Nice Weather, Good Trip Ahead)

I made my delivery this morning in Columbus, OH without any problems, though I didn't mention much about the trip yesterday, as I opined on the "Occupy" movement, and how (in my opinion) it has - for the most part - become a fraud... and a distraction for something more diabolical that socialists (posing as Democrats and Republicans) within our government are force-feeding to us - complete with a candy coating.

The weather driving through Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana (and soon to be back in Kentucky) has been pretty nice. This next load pick up in Robards, KY (Tyson) and deliver on Monday morning in Jefferson, WI. By going up that way I'm hoping to be in cooler weather again. This has been a lovely Sabbath, and the Torah cycle has begun anew in Genesis. I've also just recently begun a new program called Daily Dose Of Torah, which is a series of books that are mailed to me throughout the year, and give me little "nuggets" of insight - from the ancient and respected scholars such as Rashi and Rambam - on several different aspects in daily Torah study.

I hope you all have a pleasant and blessed day!

20 October 2011

Day 292 (What Is Up With BlogPress?!)

I apologize for this being posted so late, so here's the story:

Earlier today, as I was compiling the information for today's post, I was (as I have usually been doing) working through the BlogPress app. I had a fairly sizable piece - complete with links and such - AND it was only going to be posted 45 minutes past my deadline. I had just finished it after I had gotten a load of french fries put on in Philadelphia. Reviewed the content, double-checked to ensure nothing was left out, then hit "Publish".


Instead I get a "your connection appears to be off network" message... or something to that effect. Really? From a 3G area?! Then the app crashed.

I reopened it (and yes the post was saved), but there was no post. When I hit the "Manage" tab on the app, it crashes again.

I have always - and adamantly - tried to avoid "pre-writing" a post the day before, because I've always wanted them to be fresh. Now I guess I'll have to resort to doing just that... and this is not the first (in my opinion) really good post I've lost to an app malfunction. So if you will excuse me, I have to REALLY vent - in the comic strip custom:

I really can't @*%^$ believe this!! This $^@# piece of #~@@*%!!

- Another rant via BlogPress

19 October 2011

Day 291 (Finally Made It To Manchester)

It took all day, but I finally made it to Manchester, PA... and only 1 1/2 hours late (as opposed to 8 1/2 hours, which was the case in Indianapolis). What will happen next remains to be seen, I'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out, since I'm out of hours for today. It has been rainy all day - with the exception of a brief "dry spell" - ever since Indianapolis.

The good thing is I was able to get some coffee... not one, but two cups today (one of which was my free one from Starbucks).

I may not have a student just yet, in fact it may be a couple weeks before I get my next one, since our division now has 11 new trainers. Then again, I could be surprised... I had heard from the training center at our North Little Rock terminal that there was a waiting list of students wanting to get in our division (I can;t say I blame them for not wanting to go into the flatbed side of our company... that can be some brutal work). Whether I get another student or not, I'm still ready to head back up to the northwest again. Next time I'll try to get back in the routine of arriving in Woodinville, WA to get my 34 hour re-start. I really do like that region, it's really quite beautiful: the mountains (especially when they're topped with snow), the trees, the cultural diversity... unlike the Arkansas town I presently live in where you can find more culture in a cup of yogurt. Then again, I've always liked the big city areas, mainly due to my upbringing in the Hollywood/Ft. Lauderdale area in south Florida, though I wouldn't move back down there... too much humidity - I'll take either the dry heat, or the cooler climates, thank you very much.

- Another rant via BlogPress

18 October 2011

Day 290 (I Finally Made It To Indianapolis)

Yet another post that has gotten published past my deadline. As I mentioned yesterday, I loaded in Jonesboro, AR. I arrived at 1815 (or there abouts) for a 1900 appointment... I didn't leave until around 0030, which posed a problem with this Indianapolis drop: I won't be able to make my 1200 (ET) on time. Regardless of the fact that my delay was due to the shipper not having all the product in time for the appointment, which ate into my 14 hour clock. Therefore, I had to drive until 0550 this morning (when I had 15 minutes left to drive), THEN take a Federal required "10 hour break", which meant I could not begin the rest of this leg until 1550. So when I arrive at the customer's facility to deliver (and fortunately this did not happen), there is a chance they will be upset because their order is late - and who gets the blame... the driver. I drove as far as I could before I ran out of hours. I even notified my company of my E.T.A. well in advance. The point is: the delivery is late and now I have to wait to get "worked in" - which just may cause this very same problem at my final destination tomorrow - all because of the inefficient system of loading. Another fortunate thing: this is NOT a Tyson load.

Not to mention I'd rather be home AND I haven't had any coffee.

I'm sure it will not be a long wait here.

- Another rant via BlogPress

17 October 2011

Day 289 (Is It Too Soon To Miss Home?)

I left out this afternoon and made my way here to Jonesboro, AR where I hope to begin loading soon. I was beginning to miss home as soon as I got up this morning. I left later than I had planned to, mainly because I was procrastinating the inevitable. During the time of meandering at home I spent some extra time with my wife (Tikvah) and my youngest son (Nathan - he didn't have school today), drank coffee, and converted a couple of my albums onto iTunes.

Once I get loaded here, I have to make my way to my first drop in Indianapolis (tomorrow at noon). It's not too bad, though it's always hard on the day I leave out. Our oldest son sent us a gift card for our anniversary, so next month we will cash it in at Outback in Little Rock, and let her do some looking around (possibly buying) for her birthday... she will be turning 45 on November 18th (and our youngest turns 17 on that same day).

Oy! We are getting old!

- Another rant via BlogPress

16 October 2011

Day 288 (Lazy Today, Work Tomorrow)

It's been a pretty nice day today. After we came home from service, Tikvah and I made our dinner: she made a really incredible potato salad (with turkey sausage) while I made a Matzoh Ball soup. Afterwards we took a little nap, which felt really good. Tikvah and I have enjoyed each other's company - and coffee.  I was able to catch up on a few shows that were on the DVR (my awesome wife and cool son recorded them for me) such as NCIS, Ghost AdventuresThe Walking Dead (which my youngest son, Nathan, now has me hooked on), and now I'm hooked on another new show - which I thank (or blame) my wife for getting me tuned on to - Pan Am (even though I can't get either of them hooked onto Leverage nor White Collar.

So tomorrow I head back out on the road. I'll pick up in Jonesboro, AR and make two drops: Indianapolis, IN and Manchester, PA. Where the road takes me... well, you'll just have to tune in and find out.

15 October 2011

Day 287 (A Belated Anniversary Dinner)

It has been a very peaceful Sabbath, as well as a beautiful day for Sukkot. Since I was on the road this past Monday, which was my 19 year anniversary, my wife (Tikvah) and I went out for dinner tonight to celebrate it. We don't go out for dinner very often, so when we do, we tend to splurge. We went to Colton's (a steakhouse chain, of which there is one in our town) and had steak; she ordered a sirloin and I went with the smoked prime rib... which was funny, since we both were originally going to just have a Caesar Salad. She went to the restroom, so I quickly sought out our waitress (Becka) and told her that we were there for our 19th Anniversary, and was there anything special that they could do... Becka obliged. At the end of our meal, when they started loudly ringing the cowbell, I noticed that Tikvah had started smiling - she had schemed to cause the same embarrassment upon me as I had planned upon her. It still turned out quite pleasant and joyous!

We know each other... very well!

14 October 2011

Day 286 (There's No Place Like Home - But I Don't Live In Kansas)

This has been kind of a lazy day... I slept in until 0930 (though I didn't get to bed until nearly 0500; updated my iTunes & iPhone to iOS5).  I watched a little bit of House, Law & Order: SVU, and I'm presently watching NCIS. I also got my hair cut, which was actually a bit overdue. So, If you will excuse me, I must enjoy my coffee and watch this episode (even though I have it DVD). I hope you will (if you are observant of such) have a good Sabbath, and a joyous Sukkot!

13 October 2011

Day 285 (Home At Last)

James and I unloaded this morning in Pine Bluff, AR after which we headed back up to the terminal in North Little Rock. The trailer I had needed to go through the shop for some upgrade to the current tracking system. I dropped James off at the training center, where he began his final evaluation... from what I gather (at that particular time) he was doing well. By tomorrow he should be meeting with Monica (whom will be his interim Fleet Manager) and getting assigned his own truck.

After all that was needed to be done on the trailer (and I had gotten some Starbucks), I made my way home. I did, however, find out where I will be going when I leave out next week: pick up in Jonesboro, AR, make a drop in Indianapolis, IN, then finish off in Manchester, PA sometime on Wednesday. I'm sitting at home and getting ready to enjoy one of the gifts my wife, Tikvah, got for me for our anniversary... Depeche Mode Black Celebration - on VINYL! She also had a t-shirt made for me that says, "Too weird to live, too strange to die. - Hunter S. Thompson." The only trouble with it is that the silk screening shop misspelled "weird" (they spelled it "wierd")... and they used a computer?! I'll take it back to them tomorrow and have them fix it. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get the vinyl spinning...

12 October 2011

Day 284 (Onward To Pine Bluff)

James and I left from our company's terminal in Madison, IL this afternoon, and are making our way to Pine Bluff, AR for a delivery tomorrow morning. By tomorrow afternoon James should be going through the process of his final evaluation and getting his own truck. When he first started with me - just a little over three weeks ago - he was pretty shaky (and quite nervous) with his backing skills. Now, though he may still be a little nervous, he is a bit more confident and his skills have improved. Over time he will overcome that nervousness, but hopefully not to the point where he begins to get complacent... which could (and most likely would) lead to an accident.

The purpose of being a driver trainer (which should be applied into ALL careers) is to show others the tools we have available, and how to utilize them... in other words, how to be successful in what we do, and to ALWAYS strive for excellence. We can never be PERFECT (if you claim to be perfect, I challenge you to walk on water), and many of us cannot be the BEST... but we - simply by applying ourselves, and using the proper "tools" for our chosen career paths - can be EXCELLENT. Hard work and perseverance is what it takes to become excellent and successful. If they were around today, people like Milton Hershey (Hershey chocolates), Walt Disney (the Disney empire), and - as of recently - Steve Jobs (Apple and Pixar) would agree... not to mention the additional factors of Vision and Passion that are also mixed into the fray.

Vision & Passion mixed with hard work and perseverance... a concept that appears to be lost to the clowns at OWS.

- Another rant via BlogPress

11 October 2011

Day 283 (Outside St. Louis)

Arrived yesterday in our terminal in Madison, IL, which is just outside the St. Louis area. Today we swapped with another driver, so he's taking our load on to Dayton, NJ and we deliver Thursday in Pine Bluff, AR. It works out well, because we didn't have very hours left on our logbooks. Bt the time we leave out in the morning, we will have a full 70 hours to run on... even though I'll be going home this weekend, and I'll start fresh again on Monday.

These last few weeks started off shaky, then picked up - it all balanced out, though I wouldn't mind running a couple trips back-to-back between the northwest and Tulsa (I can dream, right?).

I have just a little over 2 1/2 months left of my 1 year challenge. At times it gets challenging, just trying to have interesting content, but I may have found the niche for which I am more suited. Not so much the day-to-day drivel, but more of the addressing of current issues. Sure, there may be tons of other blogs out there that do just that, but they are usually laced (even filled, sometimes) with the talking points of their political leanings. I have tried to express views of a neutral standpoint... something that has been lost, even forgotten. My political support has shifted over the years: I was a Democrat... until Clinton, then I became a Republican; I remained a Republican until G. W. Bush's 2nd term, then I became fed up with the entire system, and remain so now. It has gotten to the point where the American people are used as political leverage to push certain programs or policies. Case in point: when the majority of American people were against the Health Care Reform bill, how did it get passed? If you recall, the deciding vote that "tipped the scales" and passed the bill was cast by Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Arkansas), but as of the last mid-term election, she no longer has a job... coincidence?

- Another rant via BlogPress

10 October 2011

Day 282 (OWS = Socialist Inaction)

For a couple weeks now we have seen this Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement playing out in the media... kind of. For the most part, what has been publicized about this "protest" is the police brutality. What is talked about were these cases of brutality, mainly from videos posted on YouTube, but how much credence can we really put into such videos? With current events being what they are, even YouTube videos that "document" social unrest have to be taken with a grain of salt. Keeping that in mind, U2's Bono was way ahead of his time when he wrote, "when fact is fiction, and TV a reality" (from the song "Seconds" on the 1983 album War).

Though the OWS movement doesn't have anything "official", they do, however, have certain "proposed" list of demands that some would like to see met. An acquaintance of mine, whom I know through Twitter (now no longer an active account), Facebook, and the posts on her website, Jillian gave her view on yesterday's post, which, unlike most of those actually taking part in the OWS "protest" in NYC, was thought out... well thought out.

However, what makes me shudder is how OWS - should they succeed in whatever it is they want - will affect the Dagny Taggarts, Francisco d'Anconias, and Hank Reardons of today... even more chilling is how the work of Ayn Rand has become almost like an outline or a blueprint for this "new and improved" society which they have envisioned... only for them to (once they get what they want) propel it to one that's an Orwellian perversion. Though we have a plethora of media sources (not just network news) to refer to, we must still scrutinize most of what we see. For example, yesterday there was an article in the U.K.'s Daily Mail which tells of how OWS has created such an increase in the accumulated waste on the streets (it was Sunday, so sanitation workers and garbage trucks will not be running), even showing images... to include a picture of a "protestor defecating on a police car." Is this a legitimate story? Are the pictures authentic, or have they been "doctored"? Too many people take what is in the print media, or on the evening news as fact... If you don't believe me, try arguing the existence of UFO's with someone who gets their news from the magazines found in the check-out isle at Walmart. What has become fact is that a large portion of the news that is "fed" to us has some sort of slant or bias already "pre-loaded" (at this point, you may have those words of Bono's echoing through your head). When we lost the likes of Walter Cronkite and Edward Murrow, we also lost true, unbiased reporting. I could still take issue with this, but I'm going to leave this picture at face-value:

- Another rant via BlogPress

09 October 2011

Day 281 (A Few More Days, Then Home)

As you had by now noticed, I was absent yesterday in observance of Yom Kippur. First, I would like to extend a special "Thank You" to Julie Mollins of the blog Telling Tales (you can also follow her on Twitter: @tellingtales).

Yom Kippur was very pleasant, though it was a bit of a struggle (trying going without food or drink for over 24 hours), but at the end - before I ended the fast - I felt quite exhilarated, energetic.

James and I are having to play a little bit of "catch up" with this load. Normally, it would get loaded in Lewiston, ID around lunchtime on Thursday, then delivered in Tulsa the following Monday, but since the customer didn't have enough of an order to build a full load, we didn't get it put on until Friday... but it still delivers on Monday. Fortunately, it's not due until 1230 Monday (instead of first thing in the morning), so we have a little extra time. We have been able to make up for lost time, as we are traveling through Kansas right now. I was impressed with James yesterday. Being as he's never driven a truck before, his focus & determination was outstanding. We started from Rocker, MT (on the west side of Butte), and we switched over (I had a couple hours more than he available to drive) in Casper, WY - just over 500 miles away, which he drove nonstop. I drove us from Casper in to Cheyenne. About 40 miles north of there, we noticed signs of a recent snowfall... shortly thereafter driving into a snowfall ourselves. It was very pretty, but this was no light flurry, as you can tell from this pic taken this morning as we were leaving Cheyenne:

From Cheyenne, we have 780 miles left to cover by lunchtime tomorrow. If we can't cover all of that tonight, we will at least be close.

I did get some Starbucks today, which is always a nice little treat after a fast. Speaking of coffee, my friend, Lauri Rottmayer (whom also has a blog and is on Twitter) had recently returned from her birthday trip to Spain... and brought me back some Spanish coffee! When she mentioned (via Twitter) that she was there I jokingly commented to bring me some back... and she did! I am humbled, grateful, and a bit embarrassed that she brought it back (not to worry, Lauri... I will savor & appreciate EVERY drop).

I guess that is why I have chosen a motto for myself: Carpe Java (Seize The Coffee)!

- Another rant via BlogPress

08 October 2011

Day 280 (Julie Mollins, Guest Blogger)

During my absence (in honor of Yom Kippur), I am very grateful for Julie Mollins filling in for me (especially since I asked her at the last moment). Julie, aside from being a London-based journalist working at Reuters (AlertNet) with an interest in the arts, also has a couple blogs of her own: her self-titled Julie Mollins, and one she calls Telling Tales. Clearly, she's a very busy woman, which makes me even more honored that she agreed to cover for me... so without further ado, here's Julie...

Battling borders

I’ve often thought about how much more difficult setting up a new life in London would have been without social media.

Through Twitter, since moving to London from Toronto in 2008, I’ve been able to make new friends in England and keep in touch with old friends in Canada.

When I was a child, my mother -- who is English and emigrated to Canada with my Canadian father in the 1960s -- relied on snail-mail letters from family and friends to stay in touch.

I’m lucky because I have a Canadian and a British passport, which means I can travel freely to Canada, Britain, the United States and the 27 countries of the European Union without needing a visa.

Last weekend I went to Berlin, where invisible and visible borders destroyed so many lives in the 20th century.

Nazi rule in Germany after 1933 destroyed Berlin’s roughly 200,000-strong Jewish community by enforcing exile to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp or to death camps.

After the Second World War, Berlin was divided first into four sectors among Russia, France, Britain and the U.S. and later, in 1961, split into communist East Berlin and capitalist West Berlin.

The Berlin Wall, constructed to prevent an exodus from east to west during the Cold War, separated families and friends again until it was smashed in 1989.

Now the city commemorates the Holocaust with the dramatic Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, designed by Patrick Eisenman, and engineer Buro Happold, made up of concrete slabs, and via tributes in the decade-old Jewish Museum, designed partly by architect Daniel Libeskind.

The divisive wall is also commemorated throughout the city with markings on the ground, pieces of wall and a museum at Checkpoint Charlie, which marks the border crossing between the old East and West Berlin.

Estimates vary, but between 100 and 200 people were killed trying to escape from east to west.

To a tourist, reconstruction, reconciliation and remembrance characterise modern-day Berlin.

Old scars remain.

- Another rant via BlogPress

07 October 2011

Day 279 (A Family Visit In Idaho, And Yom Kippur)

Today James and I picked up a load in Lewiston, ID (the same place I've been to the previous 2 times I've been up here). Once the trailer was loaded, I took us to the south end of town, parked at an old Walmart building, and met up with my niece and her husband & son at IHOP:

It was a nice visit, seeing as I haven't seen her in many years. She tried getting in touch with her mom (my sister-in-law) to join us, but had no luck... perhaps next time. It was a very enjoyable gathering, and one that was long overdue.

Tomorrow is the Sabbath, as well as Yom Kippur (Day Of Atonement, the highest of the Jewish holy days). With many things going on in my life at present (which I may fill you in at a later time), I didn't plan accordingly, so I may have to do a post on Sunday to cover the weekend (as I will be "unplugging" tomorrow). I hope you will forgive the absence of a post tomorrow, then again I doubt if it will be missed. At times, my post can be rather droll and mundane, but I try to make it interesting... and many times I fall short. As my friend Terri Nakamura once said, "it takes a lot of dedication to blog every day." That it does... as well as an equal amount of discipline (to keep a deadline) and creativity (i.e. interesting content). Will I take this blog in a different direction? Will I end it after this year? The answer to both of the questions is: I don't know... yet.

I don't get very much feedback, even though I have had over 3,000 page views to date, so there's no telling what will happen.

I must close... have a blessed Sabbath and a successful - and repentant - fast this Yom Kippur.

- Another rant via BlogPress

06 October 2011

Day 278 (The Passing Of A True Icon)

It's no longer "breaking news" now, everybody knows of the passing of Apple's co-founder/former CEO/Chairman, Steve Jobs. I won't go into any type of analysis, nor diatribe, of Mr. Jobs' life and/or legacy. I will, however, just direct you to a couple posts of note I came upon while perusing the webosphere (yes, on my iPhone). A few articles that caught my interest were The Daily Dose blog, and the article 10 Things To Thank Steve Jobs For, both of which are from the Entrepreneur.com website, and a very incredible story (not to mention the re-designed homepage in tribute to Mr. jobs) on Wired.com.

"The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve's success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented."
— President Barack Obama

Sadly, though, there is another side to this sad story... one that only fills me with contempt and disgust - but not for Mr. Jobs. It has been reported on the Inquisitr.com website that those (whom we Jews can only describe as meshuga) folks from Westboro Baptist Church have decided to protest Steve Jobs' funeral. Protest? Really?! Here's the funny - and hypocritical - part: Megan Phelps (daugter of the "church's" pastor) tweeted these plans from her iPhone!! Need I say anything more about how misguided these folks are? Yeshua (Jesus, in Hebrew) taught about love... the only thing WBC ever seems to speak is hate.

I'd better go get a coffee (no nearby Starbucks) before I really go on a tangent.

- Another rant via BlogPress

05 October 2011

Day 277 (Burnaby, BC: Done... Plus A Visit To The Hot Spot)

This morning James and I got up around 0530 (0730 CT), walked down to Starbucks for the morning fuel, then made our way up to Blaine, WA (right across the border from British Columbia). I dropped him off at the truck stop then went into Canada. I've been to the customer a couple times before, so finding my way around is no longer a problem. What became the problem was getting through Customs on the way back into the U.S. Not any major problem, just a long line of trucks doing the same thing I was. In all, the wait was about 1 hour, 45 minutes (that's not counting the 10-15 minutes I spent in the Duty Free store, to get a couple bags of wafer cookies for my Tikvah).

Once I made it back into the U.S., I hooked back up with James. I told him about a wing joint just walking distance away that has a wing challenge: 3 wings/dollars/minutes. The owner, Mike, has a sauce - which he called "Stupd" (not a typo) - and consists of Jalepeño, Seranno, & Habenero peppers, onions, garlic, and Frank's Hot Sauce. However, there is one other ingredient involved: pepper extract. The extract Mike currently uses for his sauce/challenge is 6,000,000 Scoville Units. To give you and idea of how hot this can be (and you can compare it to this handy, dandy chart), the average Jalepeño ranks 3,500-4,500 Scoville Units; the Habenaro: 200,000-300,000. If you happen to stop in and take the challenge, Mike does require you to sign a waiver. They can be found at:

The Hot Spot
1733 H St. #260
Blaine, WA
(360) 656-5489

... or you can "like" them on Facebook, as well. By the way, I didn't take the challenge... I went with the Chipotle/Garlic wings.

- Another rant via BlogPress

04 October 2011

Day 276 (In Washington State)

James and I left around 0730 (CT) from Jerome, ID and began our trek up to Woodinville, WA. Traffic hasn't been too bad, and the weather has been just a little cool. Along the way I've been able to get some good shots:

(Baker City, OR)

(La Grande, OR - using the Instagram app)

(Kamela, OR - just before the final decent down the west side of "Cabbage", a.k.a. Deadman Pass)

We made it safely to the bottom, which, as any truck driver who has ever driven knows, is not always an easy task, especially a 6% grade winding around for about 6 miles... not really the type of task you would want to undertake if you've never driven a truck in mountains before... just ask James:

the good thing is we both had coffee (to calm our nerves) beforehand... imagine if we had not.

Today we are going to try to get to Woodinville before we shut down for the night. Tomorrow, after we unload the first drop there, I'll drive us up to the border and drop James off at the truck stop there, then deliver the rest of this product in Burnaby, BC, head back across the border, and, hopefully, start heading to pick up our next load. Chances are, we may be heading out to Lewiston, ID (as I had done the previous two trips out here). If so, I'd like to get out there tomorrow night and pay a visit to my sister-in-law and niece.

We shall see.

- Another rant via BlogPress

03 October 2011

Day 275 (Getting My Re-Start In Idaho)

James and I are parked at the Flying J truck stop in Jerome, ID, just north of Twin Falls. Since we are getting a re-start on our logbooks - and have all day to wait - I figured I would take a walk into Twin Falls and head to Starbucks... which is where I am at as I post this. Needless to say, I will be sleeping well tonight. It's times like this I really wish I had a Specialized Camber Elite mountain bike (I may have to look into some possible sponsorship). I did however get some really good shots (from an iPhone... not quite as good as a Canon Rebel, but it'll work) of the Snake River as I crossed the bridge going into Twin Falls:

(Taken from the north side of Perrine Bridge, facing west)

(Taken from the north end of Perrine Bridge, facing east)

(Taken from the south side of Perrine Bridge - at the Buzz Langdon Visitor Center)

For those of you who may remember (as I do), the second photo is a view of the Snake River, facing east, which, just 2 miles from that spot, was where stuntman Evel Knievel made his famed - and failed - jump in 1974.

Fortunately the weather is rather mild, and a nice breeze blowing. It's only about 85°, but the headwind on the walk down here did make for more of a workout than just a casual stroll. By the time I get back to the truck, I will have walked just under 12 miles. It may be quite a stretch, but I look at as an experience, a stretch, of what I am capable of doing. As some of you already know, I'm not like most truck drivers because, a) I am a Starbucks aficionado, where most truck drivers are satisfied with the swill that is often trying to be passed off as "coffee", and, b) I'm willing to walk (though I'd rather cycle - hint, hint) several miles, not just for Starbucks, but to explore the areas I'm in, where most truck drivers consider it an inconvenience to walk all the way across the truck stop parking lot, because they couldn't find a parking spot closer (and they wonder why they can't lose weight).

- Another rant via BlogPress

02 October 2011

Day 274 (What A Long And Productive Day)

James started driving this morning from Limon, CO (about 60-70 miles east of Denver), where we shut down last night. Driving up around the north eastern side if the Denver area, up to Cheyenne, WY (making a pitstop in Laramie), then west to Evanston for another quick break. Evanston, WY is just a few short miles from the Wyoming/Utah state line. When we left there I took over the driving duties, since I had just under 4 1/2 hours to drive, while james had 2 hours less than that.

I just finished fueling and parked about an hour ago (2105, to be exact) here in Jerome, ID, just about 4 miles north of Twin Falls. When we pulled in here I had only 4 minutes left. So you can see that we covered quite a bit of ground today; a grand total of 794. Which leaves only 635 to cover by 0900 (1100 CT) Wednesday morning. We are shutting down here to get our 34 hour re-start, then leave out Tuesday morning to finish this trip. Before I start heading back east too far, I'll have to stop in a grocery store to pick up some more Mocha Mix creamer (which is the absolute bomb - if you've had it before, you know exactly what I mean). The bad news is the truck cannot move for that full 34 hours... and the nearest Starbucks is 4 miles away (guess who may be going on a "walking tour" tomorrow).

At least this blog won't be posted late tomorrow... I hope.

- Another rant via BlogPress

01 October 2011

Day 273 (On The Way To Woodinville)

We left this morning from Tulsa, OK to make this trip up to Washington state, then up to British Columbia to finish off. By the time we arrived in Tulsa and did what needed to be done, there were only 37 minutes left on our logbooks... which would not have gotten us out of the Tulsa area and into some sort of a parking spot, so we just parked at the customer's facility for the night.

James has been doing pretty good these last (almost) 2 weeks. Once we get this delivered, he will be taking care of everything needed; checking in at customers, route planning, fuel stops, etc. while I just observe (and offer advice where needed). The bad thing about this trip up to the northwest is, due to the inadequate efficiency of the employees when we loaded in Davenport, IA, we will be unable to get a restart on our logbooks. At least I (hopefully) will be able to wander around Woodinville for a little while on Tuesday.

It was nice waking up to 47° weather this morning. Another beautiful Sabbath as we make our way the the mountain regions, which, of course, will provide for some good training for James. Once we get up to La Grande, OR if he doesn't feel confident enough to drive over Emmigrant Hill (a.k.a. Deadman Pass, a.k.a. Cabbage), I won't force him to. After all, I don't mind driving it, since I have done so on several occasions, and in different types of weather. I do plan on making a few stops along the way for my coffee drink (grandé triple Marble Mocha Machiatto) from Starbucks.

I still want to get a Specialized Camber Elite mountain bike.

I'm accepting donations...

... anyone?

... anyone?

... Beuller?

- Another rant via BlogPress