31 January 2012

Year 2, Day 31 (This Day - And Trip - Are Almost Over)

We arrived in Springfield, MO yesterday evening relatively early, even after making a stop at the grocery store for a few things. We arrived at the customer where we were to load, and were fortunate to find they had overnight parking. Lou got us parked and we checked in, even though our window to load wasn't until 0700-1200 today. They did call us in early to load... too early - about 0300 this morning. They had us finished at around 0730, to which we just started rolling. It's not due to deliver until 1745 (ET) tomorrow, so there is still plenty of time.

To my recollection, Winter is supposed to be still lingering around, but the weather certainly has NOT felt like it the past few weeks. It was chilly - even cold - when we were up north (Michigan and Canada) a couple weeks ago... but now... 65° - in the end of January - in Indiana? Really?!?! For me (since I do rather enjoy the colder temperatures) this has been a very disappointing Winter. What I think really stinks is the fact that the American economy is so bad, we can't even afford a real Winter!

As it's looking, we will get close to the customer tonight (it's only a total of 522 loaded miles), and just kick back for most of the day tomorrow, and hopefully before then we will know what we'll be doing next. Lou will be on my truck for just a few more days, as I've scheduled for him to be released for his final evaluation next Monday.

Now I will put this post to bed, enjoy my Starbucks, and dream in anticipation of when Tikvah & I will be moving back to California (can you tell I'm excited about it?).

30 January 2012

Year 2, Day 30 (Another Day, Another Load)

Lou and I made it to the customer last night, in Kansas City, MO before we shut down. We were unloaded before our appointment time, so I drove us down the road a little to the Flying J truck stop, where we waited.

...and waited...

... and waited some more.

As I had figured, the freight was a little slow... then again, this is all part of the job. We were dispatched this afternoon to pick up tomorrow in Springfield, MO, a load going to Gas City, IN for Wednesday afternoon. The weather has been pretty mild up here in the K.C. area, probably upper 60's to lower 70's. Seeing as it's close to rush hour (and where we are - on the outskirts of the city), I'm hoping we will be able to avoid some of the traffic... but we will know for sure once we get south of here.

This load we will be picking up in a facility that has been built into a hill, a.k.a. a cave. Therefore, Lou will get some experience with loading in a cave. He should do well, especially since he knows this will be his final week with me. Next Monday he is scheduled to be released from me. He then takes his final evaluation test, and, surmising he passes (which I'm sure he will), gets his own truck

Now it's coffee time!

29 January 2012

Year 2, Day 29 (On Route To Kansas City)

Lou and I left out from the North Little Rock, AR terminal this morning and made our way to Pine Bluff to load. We have one of the recently acquired lease trailers that our employer have (since we are a little low in our trailer availability, and are still waiting for some on order), and, as it turns out, these are heavier than our regular trailers... by about 2,000 lbs. Once we were loaded at the customer, we went to scale it out only to find we were over the gross weight limits by 1180 lbs. (our limit is 80,000). We went back to the customer to have a roll of paper taken off, and waited 45 minutes. It turns out, the customer had to wait on a phone call to be returned giving them the ok to cut one roll from the order.

After all was (finally) said and done, we had some valuable time lost, and the chance that delivery could be late, but I'm hoping it doesn't come to that. The god news is I had some coffee this morning, and I'm getting ready to finish off the left-overs from my dinner at Carino's the other night.

Mmmm, Mmmm, GOOD!!

28 January 2012

Year 2, Day 28 (Getting Loaded Tomorrow)

Last night my employer got a motel room for Lou and I, since my truck was in the shop and would be sent to Freightliner for some warranty work. When we returned to the terminal this morning, I checked in at the shop on the status of the truck. The shop foreman said that Freightliner was predicting the truck wouldn't be ready until 2000 tomorrow, which would not be helpful for the load we have to pick up in Pine Bluff, AR going to Kansas City, MO.

Fortunately, I went down there earlier to pull my laundry out and discovered that the truck was ready to go. This has definitely been a blessing from HaShem!

I may head over to Starbucks a little later for my signature coffee drink (I am kinda jonesin' for it). Then again, I may have to cut back on it a little, since my wife, Tikvah, and I are planning to move out to California in 2 years. I'm hoping during that time that my company gets a solid travel lane out there, so I don't have to leave. This company I drive for is a GREAT employer... I'm treated well, and I get some pretty good runs. In the meantime, I'll just have to wait and see what the next two years will bring.

27 January 2012

Year 2, Day 27 (Looks Like Another Re-Start)

Lou and I left from West Memphis, AR today at just past noon. When we loaded yesterday, I informed the broker that we would not be able to make the appointment (0800 in Searcy, AR) on time, but that I would call again later when I could give an accurate ETA. When I called again at 0200, I told the brokerage that we could get there by 1430 this afternoon. I called again this morning before we left to make sure everything was still good. The word from the representative was to head on in, and the customer would take us but we would be a work-in.

When we arrived, not only did the customer not take us, but the crew that did the unloading was gone for the day. Obviously we were misinformed by the broker (sometimes that's almost expected). We are at the terminal in North Little Rock, AR where we dropped the loaded trailer, and I've got the truck going through the shop. After getting some things taken care of, Lou and I went to grab a bite to eat... which turned out to be Carino's. I had never been there before, but it was rather delicious. Most of all, it was quite filling.

Our next load will pick up on Sunday in Pine Bluff, AR and bound for Kansas City, KS on Monday.

It is the Sabbath... I hope you are all blessed on this day!

26 January 2012

Year 2, Day 26 (Two Years And Counting)

This morning Lou and I unloaded in Atlanta, GA (with a 65° temperature), but couldn't leave right away, as we had to finish our 10 hour break. Once 1230 rolled around, and we had our break finished, as well as the pre trip inspection, we made our way up to Gainesville, GA to pick up our next load. When we were pre-planned on it yesterday, it was already predicted that we would be late for the loading appointment (which was for 1300 ET). The broker had it re-scheduled for 1500, but we arrived at 1415. It took a while for us to get in, but once they put us in a door, they were pretty quick in getting us loaded. Due to the aforementioned delay, more than likely we won't make it for the 0800 appointment tomorrow in Searcy, AR... but it will get there.

On another note, my wife, Tikvah, and I have been doing some talking and have decided that when our youngest son, Nathan, graduates high school, we will be selling the house and moving back to California, to which this news I'm rather excited about. I think I've had enough of living in Arkansas, besides, two of our sons already live there, and the two younger ones want to move out there as well (Nathan because he wants to go to college out there... probably UCLA). I'm originally from Florida, but ever since I was stationed out there in the Marine Corps, I absolutely adored it. Therefore, in about 2 more years, we will be California bound... no more dreamin'.

25 January 2012

Year 2, Day 25 (This Will Be Short)

I hope you will forgive my lack of content, but I didn't leave from Dayton, NJ until 0030 (ET), and I am just now lying down to get some much needed sleep.

More tomorrow... with coffee.

24 January 2012

Year 2, Day 24 (This Day Is Starting Off Slow... And Not Good)

Lou and I unloaded this morning in Elizabeth, NJ (which, by the way, Lou did a real good job backing into a difficult spot). Yesterday we received a pre-plan picking up in Dayton, NJ, about 30 miles south of Elizabeth. This is product from a customer we have based in Tulsa, but the logistics (a.k.a. the shipping & receiving) are handled at an independent warehouse by an outside contractor, so they're not as friendly, and we - the truck drivers - have to yeild to their schedule of loading. In other words, we may not be getting out of here until 2300 (ET)... or later. If that's the case, we would still need to make our appointment in Atlanta (over 800 miles away) by 0700 Thursday morning.

On the upside, we made a stop at the Starbucks in the Thomas Edison Service Plaza on the turnpike. Heading back, Lou, carrying two bananas (one in each pocket of his waist-tied sweat pants), an Italian Roast coffee in one hand, and a double espresso in the other, placed his drinks on the bumper of a truck in order to re-adjust/re-tie his sweats. A funny thought occurred to me then, one that had him re-adjusting his sweats, then the truck pulling away, leaving him to run after it to retrieve his coffee all the while his sweats (still not fully re-adjusted) work their way down.

He also found my thought humorous too.

23 January 2012

Year 2, Day 23 (This Has Been A Hard Run)

Lou and I shut down at 0415 this morning in Raphine, VA, more than half way across I-81. When we started rolling this afternoon, we only had about 350 miles left to go. Our next load, which I was pre-planned on, will re-load in New Jersey, and deliver friday morning in Atlanta, GA. I'm none too enthused about that load, because I've been to that customer before, and it's a very challenging task getting into their dock (it requires the blind-side backing technique).

Once that load is delivered, I will have about 2,200 miles for this week... which isn't too shabby. The down-side about this load is I caught a bit of a cold, which I'm presently trying to battle.

Orange juice and Halls to the rescue.

... and coffee.

22 January 2012

Year 2, Day 22 (A Long Day)

The customer Lou and I loaded at (a paper mill in Pine Bluff, AR) - even though we arrived last night - didn't get us loaded until about 0115 this morning. Lou drove us all the way to Jackson, Tn where we shut down at 0645 this morning... a total of about 260 miles. Since this load is due Tuesday morning at 0830, today and tomorrow will be kind of rough. Had we waited until early this morning to head down there, that would have been even harder on us.

As many of you already know (even if you aren't football fans... like me), today holds the final two games of the playoffs for the Super Bowl. Right now, the New England Patriots are leading the Baltimore Ravens in the 3rd quarter, 16-10. After this game will be the NY Giants against the SF 49ers. As I mentioned, I'm not a big football fan, but my prediction for the Super Bowl will be a Patriots/49ers game.

What say you?

21 January 2012

Year 2, Day 21 (I Will Be Heading To New Jersey)

Now that both Lou and I have a full re-start on our logbooks, we (hopefully) will be fresh to go for the coming week or so. The load we were dispatched on loads tomorrow, but we are heading down to Pine Bluff, AR and hopefully will get loaded tonight. If that happens, that will help us as we can cover some miles tonight, and it will be easier to get to Elizabeth, NJ by Tuesday morning. If we have to wait until tomorrow, then that could make it a little more difficult to deliver on time.

This has been a beautiful, albeit brisk, Sabbath. I was blessed to run into another of our drivers here at our North Little Rock terminal that took me out to Golden Corral for lunch. The two of us had a good conversation before lunch, but when we left, there were 7 of us then took one of the company vans to the restaurant. We will be leaving out pretty soon, and I apologize about the delay in this posting. To be honest, I lost track of time. Let's see what adventures lie ahead this next week.

20 January 2012

Year 2, Day 20 (Restart, Refresh)

Yesterday, as I mentioned, Lou and I picked up a lease trailer to bring to our North Little Rock terminal, where we shut down for the rest of the night. I checked in with my Fleet Manager (Monica) this morning to let her know that Lou and I were low on hours on our 70. I wrote the truck up for a few minor repairs, and periodically checked back with Monica. She allowed us to stay here to get a re-start on our logbooks.

Before she left for the day, she had us dispatched on a load that picks up in Pine Bluff, AR on Sunday on will have us heading to Elizabeth, NJ for Tuesday morning. That will be a good run for us to start the week off with. On another note, I was able to get my signature coffee drink from Starbucks, though my wife, Tikvah, made a trip to an IHOP... which was just about as cool.

Have a peaceful and joyous Sabbath... may you all be blessed!

19 January 2012

Year 2, Day 19 (I'll Be Chillin' Tonight)

Lou and I shut down in Ellsinore, MO last night, even though he still had 1 1/2 hours left on his logbook, but along U.S. 60 in that area, truck parking is not too common. We arrived in Rogers, AR at 1230 and dropped the trailer there. After about an hour, I got a phone call from my Fleet Manager, Monica. She had Lou & I (and Chris, another driver with the company) head to Mulberry, AR - bobtailing - to pick up a couple trailers that our company is leasing. She wanted to make sure that we inspected it "with a fine-toothed comb." After that write-up I did, I came pretty close to getting writer's cramp.

Now that we have inspected the trailers, we are heading to the terminal in North Little Rock, check them into the shop, then I will get myself a shower, do my laundry, and perhaps make a run to Starbucks.

18 January 2012

Year 2, Day 18 (This Could Be A Long Night)

We left this morning from Haubstadt, IN, which is just north of Evansville, and about 25 miles from the customer we were delivering to. Lou and I arrived at 1030, where we waited nearly 1 1/2 hours before they put us in a door. Once we were unloaded, I called the broker to close this load out, then we made our way to Robards, KY to pick up a Tyson load. The load shows to deliver at 0800 tomorrow in Rogers, AR, but since this is going from one Tyson plant to another (and because Lou, nor I, will have the hours to get there by then), then it will get there when it gets there. Last night, when we shut down, the weather was fairly cool, but the wind added some bite to the temperature.

There was also a bit of a situation that arose last night. My son, Sean-Patrick, was on something of a road trip with his roommate, Brooke. I'm still a bit unsure of all the details, but what it comes down to is she gat arrested, and he was, therefore, stranded in Raton, NM. My wife, Tikvah, got him a bus ticket to Las Vegas, and I made a call, so he will be staying with my brother there for a few days... until we figure out what's next. The ticket: $140?! It turns out the bus goes from Raton (which, by the way, is just south of the Colorado state line), to Denver, then to Salt Lake City, then to Vegas.

Sean-Patrick is 19, and no longer lives with us, which explains why he went on the road trip (from hell, as it turns out). I did suggest to him that perhaps he can open up a restaurant in Santa Fe.

You get brownie points if you caught my reference in the previous sentence... or at least some coffee.

17 January 2012

Year 2, Day 17 (Heading To Kentucky)

Yesterday evening, Lou and I shut down at a Pilot truck stop on the north end of Monroe, MI. The load we were dispatched on (via broker) did not pick up until 1300 today in Adrian, MI. I called the broker last night to get all the necessary information, and was told that the customer with which I was picking up from, did not allow passengers on the property. I asked about that "passenger" being a student. They were unable to get an answer, due to the fact that the customer was closed for the night, but they (the broker) would get back with me this morning. I also informed our night dispatch crew of the situation. When we got up this morning, I called Monica (my Fleet Manager) to fill her in on what was going on, to which she replied, "That is unacceptable! How can a student receive training when they can't get inside!" She further went on to investigate the matter further. A short while later she sent me a message telling me that all was ok, and I could take Lou into the customer's facility.

We arrived at the customer just before out appointment time, only to find out that the load wasn't ready. It took about an hour before we were called in. Once Lou backed into the door that we were assigned to, they made short order of getting us loaded. So I guess that made up for the wait. We are currently heading through Indiana, on I-69 south to Indianapolis. Hopefully we will get tot the customer tonight before we shut down, but only time - and traffic - will tell.

I really need some coffee right now.

16 January 2012

Year 2, Day 16 (I'm Back In The U. S. of A.)

It took a while, but Lou and I finally got out of Canada. It wasn't too bad really, just waiting for 4 hours that was no fun. Though over the weekend we did listen to the NFL playoff games. N.Y. Giants, S.F. 49ers, Baltimore Ravens, and N.E. Patriots are the only ones left standing. Next Sunday will knock the survivors down to two... for the Super Bowl. Who are your picks?

The day has been fairly uneventful, so I'll close for now.


Year 2, Day 15 (A Late Post, Due To Being In Canada)

*Author's Note* This post was composed on the day stated within the title, but was not posted until the following day (Monday) due to being in Canada... and the author did NOT find it prudent, nor feasible to pay $15.36/MB for data usage.

Today was rather interesting. Nothing spectacular, mind you, but interesting. For one thing, the electronic logbook portion of the Qualcomm (on-board communication device, which allows me to send & receive messages to our home terminal dispatchers) decided to go on the fritz. Therefore, I got in contact with the weekend dispatch crew, was forwarded to the IT guy, finally our maintenance shop, and had them send out a reboot message to the truck's computer. That was finally sorted out, then Lou and I (I did the driving for the stretch into Canada, and on to Brampton) set out to finish this run.

The weather has been quite chilled, showing a temperature at one point of 12° (yes, that's still in fahrenheit). We will be unloading this in the morning, and where we go from here... well, we'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out. After some coffee, of course.

14 January 2012

Year 2, Day 14 (771 Miles To Go)

Lou and I arrived at our Madison, IL terminal this morning about 0330 this morning, and finally got a good night's sleep. When we woke up, I had to get myself motivated, but finally went in to get a shower and do my laundry. I try to plan things in advance in order to make the best use of my time. Unfortunately, as it so happens, there were also other drivers that decided to do their laundry as well, which put a delay on my schedule. To top it off, one of the three dryers in the driver's lounge went on the fritz. After about 45 minutes, I finally got my clothes in to dry. I usually plan accordingly so that when I do laundry, I only have one load, thereby occupying only one washer, then one dryer. Sadly, there are drivers (even in this company) that do not share this same consideration for others, as they will accumulate about 3-4 loads worth of laundry... thereby occupying all the washers and dryers for at least an hour.

My clothes are drying now, so I should quit kvetching. Besides, it's been a peaceful - and quite brisk - Sabbath day. Temperatures are in the mid-30's here just outside of St. Louis, and several drivers (Lou being one of them) are in the tv room watching the Saints vs 49ers game, which has just begun. As soon as one of the company vehicles return, I just may make a Starbucks run before we head out.

When we do head out, there will be a sumptuous aroma emanating with the confines of the truck cab, as I am cooking a roast in the crock pot for tonight's dinner. A roast with some soy sauce & liquid smoke, pepper, chipotle seasoning, garlic, and onions. A little later I'll add the powdered gravy mix and potatoes, then put in the fresh mushrooms & green beans for the last hour.

I'm getting hungry just blogging about it.

13 January 2012

Year 2, Day 13 (A Full Weekend)

First, allow me to apologize for this post going live so late... this has been a busy 24 hours. Last night I picked up Lou (my new student) in North Little Rock around 2045. We loaded up his things, then I continued on the road to Ponca City, OK. We made a stop in Conway, AR (yeah, I made it to Starbucks before they closed) for about 15 minutes, then pushed on. Once we crossed the state line into Oklahoma, I pulled into the Welcome Center to do (and show Lou the procedure for) the required load check: 2-3 minutes, back on the road.
I drove us into Tulsa, where - because my hours had become scant - I had Lou get a little time behind the wheel. I had him drive the remaining 100+ miles into Ponca City, where we shut down for the night, arriving at 0440 this morning.

Just before lunch, I received a pre-plan which had us going to pick up a load in Tulsa (which is what I wanted) delivering Monday in Brampton, ON (which is Canada, just not the part of Canada I wanted to go. Oh well. We got unloaded, fueled and re-loaded in Tulsa (also making a stop at a Super Target), then Lou took over when I pulled off into the service plaza in Vinita, OK. He is going to try to get us to our employer's terminal in Madison, IL (just outside St. Louis) before we call it a night. Tomorrow, if all goes according to plan, we are hoping to make it all the way to Brampton, ON by tomorrow night, which means I will have to do a double post, as I won't have any cellular access while in Canada. I will keep you posted.

Have a blessed and joyous Sabbath!

12 January 2012

Year 2, Day 12 (Onward To Oklahoma)

I made it to my final drop this morning at about 0100, then checked in at about 0700. They didn't take too long to unload me, but once I finished, I still had to wait for the CSR to find my next load. The only problem is, though the customer is only 5 miles from where I delivered, the appointment is not until 1700. I'm hoping - may HaShem be blessed - that I'll get loaded earlier. Once I do get out of here, I'll make a stop at the North Little Rock terminal, then proceed on to Ponca City, OK for tomorrow.

It has been snowing off & on here, which has been pretty, but still not enough to satisfy me. There is no telling (as of just yet) where I will go next, but I am really hoping it will be from Tulsa, OK to Woodinville, WA, then to Burnaby, BC. I'm hoping I'll be able to stop long enough to get some laundry done... or at least some Starbucks.

11 January 2012

Year 2, Day 11 (This Day Is Kinda Jacked Up)

I arrived at my first stop yesterday evening in Goodlettsville, TN (just north of Nashville) at around 1900 or so. I had trouble getting to sleep, probably because my body was still a bit whacked out from this past weekend... you know, leaving from Livonia, MI at zero-dark-thirty (0230 to be precise) in the morning, then driving through the night to make my first drop on time. I was up at 0530 this morning, checked in at 0540 (old Marine habits die hard) for a 0600 appointment. The thing I don't understand - and it annoys me to no end - is when a customer makes a delivery appointment for a delivery... then can't keep their own appointment schedule. It has been some time since I've been to this customer, and I had since forgotten their lack of efficiency, but to continually show such a lack of efficiency is beyond comprehension.

They finally put me in a door at about 0715, then took about 2 hours just to pull off and break down 5 pallets. Had my employer not been so strict about their "no driver unloading" policy, I would have pulled it off and done the breakdown myself, pocketed the $100, plus had taken less time than the lumper service the customer used. I finally got out of there, made a stop in Fairview - about 30 miles west of Nashville -
(I was craving for some Boston Creme doughnuts):

then one other stop in Jackson (time for Starbucks):

then finally up here to Humboldt, where my appointment for this drop isn't until 2215. Once I'm done here, it's off to Southaven, MS - just south of the Memphis area, and just across the state line - for my final drop tomorrow morning. Hopefully this afternoon will bring me a pre-plan that can get me to the Little Rock terminal so I can finally pick up Louie, thus begin his training. He has been waiting for nearly a week now, though not due to any fault of mine.

Now I think a nap is in order... after I finish my coffee.

Wait... strike that... reverse it.

10 January 2012

Year 2, Day 10 (Cruising Through Tennessee)

I made it into Tennessee last night, stopping for the night at the Tennessee Welcome Center, just across the state line from Virginia, on I-81. Since the past few days have wreaked havoc on my sleep schedule, I decided to sleep in this morning, leaving out about 1030 (CT). Once I made it into the Knoxville area, I pulled off to the Turkey Creek Shopping Center, where I parked behind the Super Target there. I picked up a few things inside the Super Target, then (instead of going to the Starbucks in S.T.) I walked across the parking lot to the free-standing Starbucks.

Many of you recall my beverage of choice (grande triple Marble Mocha Machiatto), but I've never really elaborated as to what exactly is in it. With the latest app that Starbucks had put out a few months, you can build (or create) your own drinks. I have done just that for my drink which I, for some strange reason, have named it "The Road Scholar":

Once all my business was tended to at Turkey Creek Shopping Center, I drove about 5 miles down the road and topped off my fuel at the Flying J, on the west end of Knoxville. The shower felt very refreshing, now I am on my way to finish this leg, stopping for the night at the customer in Goodlettsville, TN... on the north side of Nashville.

Oh yeah... my drink from Starbucks was (to coin a term so frequently used by my friend, Lauri Rottmayer) Fabu!!

09 January 2012

Year 2, Day 9 (On The Road With A Light 3-Stopper)

I was up this morning at 0500 (ET), and my body was reminding me that it was 0400. I made my delivery, then - once my 10 hour break was over - made my way to Marysville, PA for my next load. This load was actually pre-planned on me yesterday (which came as a surprise), and has 3 drops on it: Goodlettsville, TN (just north of Nashville), Humboldt, TN (just north of Jackson), and Southaven, MS (just south of Memphis, TN). This load turned out to be light... really light... less than 11,000 lbs. All of it is baked good... pies, etc. I did go to their outlet store before they began loading me, and got quite a deal... all of this for just $7.65:

Though before I went to the customer, I made a few stops. My first was to get the trailer washed out, then up the road about 1 1/2 miles to scan my paperwork in from the previous load, and finally, to the grocery store - Giant Food Stores, to be exact (to whom I had delivered to this morning) - and, for the first time in a little over a year, splurged on a treat:

Because Boar's Head is a little pricey ($11.99/lb) I don't get it very often. Actually, this is the first time I've bought some since I've started working for my current employer, in who's service I have been for nearly 2 years. Over the years I have tried many different brands of deli meats from many different delis, and Boar's Head is - by far - the best I have tasted (Walmart's brand being the worst).

As I make my way to my first two drops (for Wednesday), then finish this load off on Thursday, I wonder where the roads will take me beyond that. So far I have (finally) driven through some snow, in Virginia. Not very much, but enough to keep me on my toes (light loads and slick roads DO NOT mix). Don't get me wrong, the roads aren't treacherous in any way, but as long as I respect the road/weather, I'll be just fine.

You know what would go great with my Boar's Head roast beef sandwich? An ice cold coke (you probably thought I was going to say a grande triple Marble Mocha Machiatto from Starbucks... but that's for dessert).

08 January 2012

Year 2, Day 8 (One Down, One To Go)

This has turned out to be a load I hope to NOT get dispatched on again. The customer in Livonia, MI had this as a 2300 appointment time last night, of which I didn't get out of there until 0230 (Both times being of the Eastern Time Zone), with my first drop being due at 0700 this morning in Cleveland, OH. I made the delivery on time and, fortunately, they allowed me to park in their drop lot to take an 8 hour break, so, A) I could catch a little nap, and, B) that aforementioned break also allowed me to, more or less, put a "freeze" on my 14 Hour clock.

I did, however, make some coffee last night before I left, and re-heated it after my nap. My next - and final - stop for this load is to the Giant Foods Distribution Center in Carlisle, PA. I'm already familiar with where it is, as I have been there a few times in the past. That appointment is for 0530... I so detest those early morning deliveries. Hopefully tomorrow morning, there will be a load dispatched on me right away that will get me to Little Rock, AR, so I can pick up Louie so he can get his training started. On another note, something that goes very well with coffee: Almond Rocha (which is another treat I received from Tikvah for Chanukah) -

07 January 2012

Year 2, Day 7 (A Cool And Peaceful Day, And A Late Night To Follow)

The load I re-powered yesterday was unloaded with great efficiency last night. However, since I am re-loading at the same customer (and my appointment isn't until 2300), I don't think I can get lucky twice. I am, therefore, taking advantage of the opportunity to enjoy the Sabbath. It's been pretty cool today, weather-wise. Tomorrow may start off a little hectic, but once I deliver the first drop, I should be able to get back in sync... hopefully.

This week's Sabbath portion (for those who may be following and/or interested) brought the end of the book of Bereishis (Genesis) and saw the end of the lives of Yaakov & Yosef (Jacob & Joseph). There is much that can be learned from the Torah, though I sometimes find myself disagreeing with some of the commentary of the Sages. As a Rabbi friend once told me, "it sometimes makes you wonder what they were smoking in their hookah pipe."

May the rest of your day be blessed!

06 January 2012

Year 2, Day 6 (No Telling What Lies Ahead... Yet)

I mentioned yesterday that I re-powered a load going to Livonia, MI, only to pass it off to another driver, who would then deliver it. I arrived in Daleville, IN (just south of Muncie) at about 0300 this morning (0400 local time). After my 10 hour break is up, I am to head up to Fremont, IN and re-power another load (this one I will be delivering) to Livonia, MI. I am hoping to get something that will get me through Little Rock, AR so I can stop by the terminal and pick up my student.

This new student I know very little - practically nothing - about, other than his name is Louie, and he's from Tennessee. We spoke briefly on the phone, just to touch bases with him and fill him in on what is going on (which is still a little unclear to me at this point). Once I find out more, I'll let him know... and once I found out more about him, I'll let you know.

On another note, as practically everyone knows, the Iowa Caucus was held just the other day, and the results showed the 3 leading contenders for the Republican Presidential Candidacy are (in this order) Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul. One thing I've learned from the Iowa Caucus is... you can learn nothing from the Iowa Caucus. In the past it was speculated that the leading contender would garner the Party Nomination in the upcoming Presidential race. However, we have seen from the last go-around in Iowa... that is no necessarily true. If you recall, 4 years ago Hillary Clinton led the polls coming out of the Iowa Caucus. We see how that helped her. As it is right now, the Republican Party (of which I do NOT affiliate myself, nor do I align with the Democrat party) doesn't not have a lot to choose from. Let's hope a LEADER (NOT a politician) comes out of the woodwork soon.

May you all have a good Sabbath! If you don't keep the Sabbath, then may you have a blessed day!

05 January 2012

Year 2, Day 5 (Quite The Busy Day)

I parked this morning at about 0130 just south of Harrison, AR. It wasn't as far as I had hoped to go, but it was quite a push since I had been up since 0700 yesterday. I didn't leave out until about 1400, because Monica had me wait until she found out when the other driver would make it to Springfield, MO, the other driver she wanted me to swap with. Him and I just finished swapping trailers and now I am heading up to do another swap in Muncie, IN. Where I go from there is what I will probably find out tomorrow.

Now that the holidays are over, the CSR's are trying to get us back in the swing of things, and getting some good freight to haul. It looks as though it may be another long day, as Muncie is still another 500 miles away.

Busy, busy, busy... and I still need some coffee.

04 January 2012

Year 2, Day 4 (Not Very Productive, But I'm Rolling)

This morning I treated myself (if you could call it a treat) to a raisin bagel with butter, and a coffee with cocoa mix, compliments of the motel I stayed at last night. Today, my truck was getting worked on, but since it wasn't expected to come back from Freightliner, I was put in a loaner truck. However, since I had a bad experience with a previous company (I was in a "loaner" for 2 weeks... and my belongings with me were minimal), I decided to just move all my things into this truck. I was originally going to pick up a Tyson load in Dardenelle, AR going to Pennsylvania, but 2 hours before my appointment, the load was changed. I am now picking up in Pine Bluff, AR and delivering tomorrow in Kansas City, MO.

I will make tonight's post a bit brief, so I can make some sort of attempt to organize this truck. I'll try to have some more eloquent prose on the morrow.

03 January 2012

Year 2, Day 3 (I Need A "Do-Over")

Today has turned out to be very unproductive and uneventful. This morning when I called Monica (my Fleet Manager) to find out if I had a load yet, I also let her know that I needed to get into the shop. When I turned on the truck, the "Check Transmission" light started flashing on the dash. I didn't have these problems when I parked for vacation. Monica just had me head to the North Little Rock terminal and made an appointment for 1100. When I arrived and checked in, I wandered around for a bit to try and kill some time before I checked on the status.

A few hours later I went to the shop and they told me that the transmission issue (since the truck was still under warranty) had to be taken care of by Freightliner. Needless to say, I'm staying in a motel tonight. Hopefully the problem will be taken care of in the morning and I can get on the road. Especially since I found out earlier that our company is beginning to take loads to the southwest. One of the other drivers in the division picked up a load today in Russellville, AR going to Riverside, CA, and another driver was sent to pick up a load in Nogales, AZ. Slowly, but surely, our traffic lanes are increasing.

At least I was able to get a coffee from Starbucks... so there was a positive from today.

02 January 2012

Year 2, Day 2 (Another Day At Home)

This morning I made my final preparations (while drinking coffee) before heading out on the road. Afterwards I called  Monica, my Fleet Manager, only to find her line was being forwarded to the after hours crew. I spoke with one of the guys on the after hours crew and found out that the regular operations people were off today, plus that they really wasn't any freight going out today, as most of the customers were also closed. It turned out to be for the better, since my wife, Tikvah, is feeling a bit under the weather. I made some Matzo Ball soup for her last night, and I think it helped her out a bit. There is some left over, so she will have dinner tomorrow night.

She has been relaxing today, mainly because I've been trying to make her relax, get some rest, and drink some orange juice. That, in itself, is a feat, since she doesn't like orange juice. She is feeling better tonight, because she chose to have pizza for dinner instead of more soup (which has a chicken broth base). Since she has been relaxing, on the couch, in the den, she has found a new show that she likes: Next Great Baker. So we have been watching back-to-back episodes (and it's pretty good, I might add).

Let's see what tomorrow will bring.

01 January 2012

Year 2, Day 1 (Back To Work Tomorrow)

This is the first blog of the new year, and I'm rather bummed that my vacation ends tomorrow. It's been nice being home. Today my wife, Tikvah, had a relapse of a flu or cold, so I've been letting her relax and get some rest. Earlier, as she was telling me what she was going to make for dinner, I told her, "how about if I make you some Matzo Ball Soup?" to which her reply was, "Ok, sounds good to me." I've spent most of yesterday and today trying to recover some music that was deleted from my external hard drive. Since what was lost was still on my iPod, I've put off updating it until I've been able to transfer the songs. I've also converted a couple albums from my record collection as well.

I've really enjoyed being at home, and I kind of dread going back to work... but I need to provide for my family, so it's back on the road. I think this new year will bring some good adventures, so I hope you'll come along for the ride.

Day 365 (Goodbye 2011)

I apologize that this post is getting up so late, so I'll explain why. Our son, Sean-Patrick, whom was visiting from Missouri had a ride going back up today, but this morning those plans fell apart. He contacted us this morning ask if we could help him out. Being the parents that we are, we set out this afternoon on a bit of a road trip to Springfield, MO. He (and especially me) kept in touch with his roommate, Brooke. I talked to her a few times to help her with the directions to our rendezvous point (being a truck driver does come in handy sometimes). We finally met up at a Price Cutter grocery store in Springfield where Sean-Patrick moved his things to Brooke's Jeep. We all chatted a bit, then Brooke and Sean-Patrick left to make their way home to Jefferson City, MO, and Tikvah and I went in search of food.

We settled on a nearby Qdoba Mexican Grill. I've been there a couple of times, but Tikvah had never been there. Tikvah had a taco & quesadilla combo plate, while I ordered a Mexican Gumbo:

Before I forget, here is a pic of the pita bread I made yesterday (from a recipe I requisitioned from Lauri Rottmayer):

After eating, Tikvah and I went back to Price Cutter and paid a visit to Starbucks (can't close out the year without at least one more visit), then got back on the road for our 3 1/2 hour drive back. Though it was a long day, it was fun... and it was just Tikvah and I on the way home:

Happy New Year!! Tune in tomorrow for the launch of The Road Scholar, Year 2!