31 March 2012

Year 2, Day 91 (A Long Day Tomorrow)

This has been a nice day; for relaxing, resting, and enjoying the Sabbath. The weather is beginning to get warmer (though I don't think that Winter was even adequate enough this year), so that means my a/c is going... it's a good thing a had it checked out a couple months ago. I will be delivering in a couple hours, then after that, I'll head to Olathe, KS for my next load. I'm hoping that both Walmart (where I'm delivering tonight) and Tyson (where I pick up my next load) will be efficient in their respective processes.

This time next week will be the start of the Passover Festival (also known as the Feast of Unleavened Bread). I've had one reader ask for a little more information on the holiday, so next Saturday you will see a post giving some details of it. In honor of the sanctity of said occasion, I will take that week off, but (as I've mentioned before) there will be some guest bloggers filling in for me... therefore, The Common Voice posts will continue.

Sad, but true.

30 March 2012

Year 2, Day 90 (Who Will Meet Me In Texas?)

I made it into Illinois last night where I shut down... mainly due to almost being out of hours. This load isn't due until 1800 tomorrow, but I will be getting there tonight, and relax and enjoy the Sabbath. I made a stop in Wentzville, MO (on the north west end of the St. Louis area) to take care of a few things, and, of course, visit Starbucks. I also made a visit to the St. Louis Bread Company, which (for those of you who didn't know) is the original name for what is now known as Panera Bread. With so much to choose from, and so little stomach (and financial) capacity, I ordered the Chipotle Chicken sandwich... and it was - as my friend Lauri Rottmayer would say - FABU!

Now I'll continue this trip, and prepare for the next, which will have me going someplace I haven't been to in a couple of years: San Antonio, TX. My pre-plan will have me picking up in Olathe, KS and delivering in San Antonio on Monday.

Perhaps I can sent a message and get together with Nemo The Artist while I'm there... and in case you have forgotten (or just didn't know), Nemo was the first person I met in real life via Twitter... he does some really cool artwork too!

29 March 2012

Year 2, Day 89 (Heading To Missouri)

After getting loaded, and making a few stops along the way (one of which was for Starbucks), I arrived at my destination in Groveport, OH, just on the south end of Columbus. I had a conversation with another truck driver there who used to drive for C. R. England, in their Lease Purchase Program. To make a long story short, they were giving him a financial work-over. Basically, as a trainer, he had to foot half the bill on his students' training pay while simultaneously getting screwed over himself. In essence, his take-home pay for 8 months was a little over $8,000, while C. R. England said he made over $111,000. This is not the first time I've heard horror stories like this... yet I still wonder how they are continuing to get away with this. A possibility could be that since they are based outside of Salt Lake City (and the owners are Mormon), I would tend to think that all the Mormon lawyers in Salt Lake City may be in England's back pocket.

Once this load gets put on (here in Wellston, OH), I'll be on my way to deliver at the Walmart Distribution Center in Harrisonville, MO (just south of Kansas City) for Saturday evening. What will happen next? I'll probably find out Friday afternoon... I'll keep you posted.

Unless I find something more interesting to rant about.

28 March 2012

Year 2, Day 87 (I Hope I Didn't Choose A Bad Day To Give Up Smoking)

I made my delivery on time this morning. Unfortunately the CSR that gave me my pre-plan yesterday must not know how to tell time, since this delivery was scheduled for 1030, and the pre-planned picked up - about an hour away - at 0945. I haven't had a cigarette since about 1900 last night, so forgive me if I seem a little testy. However, since not having a cigarette in over 12 hours, I've come to realize just how idiotic people drive on the interstates. A word of wisdom to the drivers in Virginia and West Virginia: you are NOT charged a usage fee on turn signals, so please use them when merging on the highway or changing lanes... remember, they're free to use (yes, that includes my "fellow" truck drivers as well).

Once I deliver this in the morning (in Groveport, OH), I will then head to Wellston, OH for my next load which will be heading to Harrisonville, MO for Saturday evening. My next few days may not be hectic, but at least I'll be occupied (not to be confused with Wall Street, nor any other major "protest", for that matter).

I would really like a cigarette right now!

27 March 2012

Year 2, Day 87 (This Will Be A Short Day)

Not only did I unload and re-load at the same facility yesterday, but the customer did so consecutively... which was a nice little bonus. After getting the trailer loaded, and stopping for some ice (for my half & half tea), I was underway around 1630. I made a stop in Knoxville along the way (yeah, to get my Starbucks fix) and made it all the way to Lexington, VA, which is about 45 miles north of Roanoke. Having covered that ground, I have less than 200 miles to cover today, for a 1030 (ET) appointment tomorrow. Though when I arrived here, it was 0240 (ET), so I was ready for some sleep.

I'm going to call Monica (my Fleet Manager) a little later and pester her about a pre-plan for tomorrow. I prefer getting pre-planned because it helps me to plan ahead, and allow for whatever breaks I feel necessary.

I deliver in the morning in Greencastle, PA, which is just 3 miles north of the Maryland state line, on I-81... roughly about an hour south of Harrisburg (the Pennsylvania State Capital). There are many nice areas in Pennsylvania, one of my favorites being Hershey (I wonder why).

26 March 2012

Year 2, Day 86 (I'll Be Pennsylvania Bound Sometime Today)

This morning hasn't been too productive, yet it has. The appointment to deliver here in Lebanon, TN is an open window (0700-2300) so I didn't feel there was a big rush to get here, especially since I didn't have a pre-plan. However, I found out I was pre-planned on a load this morning, but for some reason, the system kicked it back out. My pre-plan has me re-loading at the same customer I'm unloading, but the appointment isn't until 1900. Perhaps they will load me early.

The reason for my opening sentence is because I've spent probably 30-45 minutes on the phone getting a few things straightened out, and starting new service with DirecTV. Our cable bill has gotten quite expensive ($90/month with NO premium channels... really?!), and after doing a bit of research, my wife and I found that we can get all the channels we like to watch for less than we would have paid going through Dish Network. The best part is, after all the rebates expire (12 months) we will still be paying about $60/month (probably a little less, with our AT&T bundling package). We will see how that goes.

Coffee anyone?

25 March 2012

Year 2, Day 85 (Heading To Lebanon)

I left out this morning from the North Little Rock terminal with this load I picked up on Friday. I stuck around there just in case there was a different load that needed to be re-powered, but no luck. I was able to meet up with another driver and him and I went out to grab a bite to eat and engage in some intellectual conversation (yes, there are a few of us truck drivers that are edumicated). I left this morning a little after 1000 and made a stop in the Memphis area to do a little shopping. I could have done it in Little Rock, but they don't have a Super Target... Memphis does.

A week ago this past Friday, my youngest son, Nathan, went on a trip for spring break with his high school Drama class to New York City (of which both my wife, Tikvah, and I were jealous). He returned home around 0100 this past Thursday, so I was able to spend at least a day with him before I headed back out. He had a wonderful time: eating at several different places (even having real New York pizza), attending two shows on Broadway, and visiting the Empire State Building, just to name a few. While there, his class even toured the NBC studios, in which he bought me an awesome souvenir:

At my request, he also picked up a copy of The Village Voice. He had a blast and I envy him for going... even though we were the ones that paid for the trip. Then again, an opportunity like this comes very rarely for today's youth... at least where we live. One day my wife and I will go.

Some day.

24 March 2012

Year 2, Day 84 (Getting A Re-Start, Not That I Needed One)

Yesterday, when I left out, I loaded in Little Rock. The original plan was I would pick this load up, then drop the trailer at the North Little Rock terminal and keep running with something else. The reason was because the Little Rock load doesn't deliver until Monday in Lebanon, TN, which is just under 400 miles away. As it turned out they were unable to find something else, so I'm stuck on this load.

It turned out to be a beautiful Sabbath; not too warm, not too cool. Last night was cool enough to keep the truck off and the windows up. Later this evening another driver will be pulling into the terminal, so him and I may get together for a bit. I'm debating on doing my grocery shopping for the truck. If I do it here, I would be going to Walmart (which I don't want to do), or I can wait until tomorrow and stop in Memphis, TN at a Super Target. Since I've driven a truck - and dealt with Walmart Distribution Centers many time - I have come to loathe Walmart. I won't go into detail now... perhaps another time.

23 March 2012

Year 2, Day 83 (Back To Work... Slowly)

I left out to head back on the road this morning, and my first load picked up in Little Rock, AR, but doesn't deliver until Monday in Lebanon, TN (just east of Nashville). The original plan was to have me pick up the load and bring it to the Little Rock terminal, then get something else that would keep me busy over the weekend. Unfortunately it didn't quite work out that way, as there was no other loads that needed to be covered.

These past few days turned out to be full and productive. My wife, Tikvah, and I spent the day in Little Rock this past Tuesday, but Wednesday and Thursday we were occupied with remodeling the bathroom. Granted, the weather was wet both days and I didn't get a chance to go cycling, but between laying down the new flooring (to include the measuring and cutting), and replacing the toilet and the light fixture, I'd say I got the same results... and I am feeling it today. That will turn out to be a good thing.

I hope.

Have a blessed and joyous Sabbath.

22 March 2012

Year 2, Day 82 (Last Day At Home)

Yesterday and today have proven to be a bit exhausting. Mainly for the fact that Tikvah and I have been redoing our bathroom. Last night was laying the floor down and putting a new toilet in. Today I went ahead and replaced the "guts" inside the toilet tank and making a few minor adjustments, as well as putting in a new medicine cabinet and light fixture. After these last two days, I don't even think I have the energy to go cycling tonight. At least it's done for the most part. This is one of those things we are doing in order to try to sell this house in a couple years when the times comes to move back out to California.

Oh yeah... I have also been able to get caught up on the episodes of The Walking Dead, and all I have to say is: it's going to be a long wait to October for the next episode!

Coffee anyone?

21 March 2012

Year 2, Day 81 (A Wet Day At Home)

Today it has been raining practically all day, which has put some of my plans on hold. But Tikvah and I were able to get a few things taken care of. Yesterday we had a great time in Little Rock yesterday. Naturally we made a stop at Starbucks, but that was on our way home.

From there we wandered around, made a stop at Pier 1 Imports (always a favorite place of ours), stopped into a little dessert/pastry shop (not that we really needed to)... which proved to be a bit dangerous. We left probably an hour or two earlier than originally intended, due to the fact that there was a thunderstorm warning and tornado watch in effect. We were able to get out of Little Rock and safely home, though we have been getting the rains today.

As I close, perhaps I should let you in on the news I've teased you with the past two days. I now have a way of getting around to some more out of the way places while the truck is parked, as I now have a new (to me) bicycle. In the future, you can expect to see some pictures from places not very easily accessible for a truck. By the way, it's a pretty cool mountain bike... plus I'll be able to get in better shape... maybe start training for the Zombie Survival Dash this October in St. Louis, MO - who's going to join me?




20 March 2012

Year 2, Day 80 (A Day Of Escape)

NOTE: Today this post is being set on auto-post because, a) my wife, Tikvah, and I will be spending the day together in Little Rock, and, b) to make sure that I'm doing it right in preparation for the week I'll be off for Passover, when this blog will feature guest bloggers.

Today we are in Little Rock, AR just hanging out and getting away from the small town in which we live. We were both born and raised in big cities (I in Hollywood/Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and Tikvah in the L.A. area), and we thought we could enjoy living in a small a town. We did at first when we were called here several years ago by The L-rd, but since then... not so much. Don't get me wrong, The L-rd did not lie nor deceive us, but the enemy (also referred to as Satan, or HaSatan in some Jewish communities) squashed - through the manipulation of man - what we were supposed to do. That story, however, is for another time.

I mentioned yesterday that I had some news to share, which will benefit The Common Voice, so I hope you will bear with me in waiting just one more day before I share. Trust me, the suspense WON'T kill you... but it will drive you a little nuts. Now I must go partake of some more good coffee with some wonderful company.

19 March 2012

Year 2, Day 79 (Home At Last)

I made it home this afternoon, and Larry caught a ride from another driver in our company. Tomorrow, more than likely, he will take his final evaluation, then get assigned his own truck. I made it home and my wife, Tikvah, and I did a little running around (which explains why I'm late in posting this), then had dinner at Sakura, the new Japanese restaurant here where we live. We didn't sit at one of the hibachi tables (we were too hungry to wait for the other seats to fill up), instead we sat at one of the regular tables... and the food was delicious! Tomorrow we will take a little getaway to Little Rock and just hang out.

It's great to be home again, to refresh and relax (for now). Tomorrow I will share with you the recent blessing I just received... which will prove to be beneficial for The Road Scholar.

18 March 2012

Year 2, Day 78 (Guest Bloggers For The Week Of Passover)

As I have mentioned a couple times already, I will take a hiatus from posting during the week of Passover next month. In my stead, I have lined up some great people to "take the helm" (if you will) during that time. Their posts will actually be scheduled to auto post on their respective days, so this way I can take a break in observance of the sanctity of Passover, AND The Common Voice will still have its daily posts. I recently had a reader that wished to know more about Passover, so I will compile a summary of this holiday, which will appear on April 7th. The next week will feature these great people:

April 8 - Bruce Burger
April 9 - Blanca Raygoza
April 10 - Lori Flood
April 11 - Kirk Provo
April 12 - Julie Mollins
April 13 - Natali Heuss
April 14 - Ern Mander

Each of these people will not only provide a good post, but I am honored and blessed to know them (not just because they're filling in for me). I hope you will all tune in to this channel and show each of them some love and support.

17 March 2012

Year 2, Day 77 (On The Way To Memphis)

Today has been mild for weather... very mild. I'm still disappointed about this year's winter - or lack of it. Larry and I loaded this morning in a small town called Meta, MO, which is just south of Jefferson City. To give you a little background, let me point this out: on a Motor Carrier's Road Atlas (a.k.a. Trucker's Atlas), the U.S. highways and state highways that are permissible for trucks to travel on are usually highlighted (most commonly in an amber color). If there are roads (and there are quite a few) that are not highlighted, it is highly advised NOT to travel on. That having been said, the state road going into Meta is NOT highlighted. Therefore, that 15 mile stretch takes about 23 minutes to drive on with an empty trailer... about 10 minutes longer if you're loaded.

We are making our way to Memphis, TN to deliver on Monday morning... to which I suspect I will be heading home after that. This Sabbath (like any other Sabbath that The L-rd has blessed me with) has been a nice one... a bit rainy at times, but still a nice one.

As I had mentioned a few day ago, I will be taking a week off from The Common Voice for Passover. However, there will still be postings going up. I'll release the list of my Guest Bloggers soon - I promise!

16 March 2012

Year 2, Day 76 (This Will Be Short)

Here's the story thus far: out of Atlanta, sent to pick up a load out of Shelbyville, TN bound for Hutchinson, KS. Originally I was told to bring it to our Little Rock terminal and it would be re-powered by another driver, then Larry would begin his final evaluation, I would go home. Then it changed. Instead of the load getting re-powered at the Little Rock terminal, now it will get re-powered from the terminal in Madison, IL. The load I was dispatched on later picks up tomorrow in Missouri and delivers Monday in Memphis. So I won't be getting home until then. Sure, I could take the load home, but, a) why just spend the night at home after nearly 5 weeks on the road, and, b) that would not be fair to Larry, who would have to stay in a motel, and has been away from his family just as long as I have. Needless to say, I am a trifle miffed... so I think it's best to leave it there rather than go on a verbal tirade.

I know that The L-rd has something planned through all this (though I don't know what just yet), so I'll have to focus upon Him in order to keep my temper in check. May your Sabbath fill you (as well as I) with joy and with peace.

15 March 2012

Year 2, Day 75 (I'll Be Home Tomorrow Sometime)

These last few days have turned out to be a bit quirky. A load that was going to get re-powered, didn't, so Larry and I ended up delivering it just outside of Atlanta. This next load doesn't pick up until tonight, and hopefully it will get re-powered. I can't complain too much... at least I not only have a job, but I'm with a company that takes care of their employees. This is one of those situations that doesn't happen very often. Once we do get this load picked up, we will make our way to the Little Rock terminal, so Larry can unload all of his things from the truck. They may go ahead and give him his final evaluation tomorrow... but we will have to wait and see what tomorrow will bring.

I've said it several times already, so at the risk of repeating myself... this has been a very disappointing winter this year! I look forward to the cold and the snow. Sure I did get some of both on my journeys... but not enough!

Winter - you're such a wimp!

14 March 2012

Year 2, Day 74 (Getting Home... Tomorrow... Maybe)

Larry and I ended up having to take the load on to the Atlanta area, due to the fact that the other driver we were going to swap with was going to run out of hours before he got to us. Right now there is no solid plan on exactly what we will be doing next, but one thing for sure is I (as well as Larry) am ready to get home. We've seen a lot of the country, and covered a lot of ground, but I've always maintained that when on the road - I work hard; when my time to go home comes, I expect to do so (i.e. play hard).

Next month will bring the Festival of Unleavened Bread, a.k.a. Pesach, a.k.a. Passover. I have contacted a few people to do some guest posts, as I will be taking that week off. As things begin to get lined out, I'll fill you in on whom will be posting, and on which days. I may not be doing the postings, but the daily blog will continue... even though there's only about 6 people who read it anyway. At least I can say I have a readership.

13 March 2012

Year 2, Day 73 (In Limbo)

Last night, Larry and I shut down in Olive Branch, MS, which is just outside of Memphis. Looking at our hours, there was no way that will will be making our delivery today, since we both have less than 5 hours left... and there's still nearly 400 miles to cover. I updated our ETA for Wednesday, which of course, poses a new problem: if we are delivering in the Atlanta, GA area on Wednesday, how will Larry get to Little Rock to take his final evaluation (and I to get home)... on Wednesday? This morning I began a conversation (via the Qualcomm) with my Fleet Manager, Monica, on this issue. As it stands right now, we are waiting here at the Flying J in Olive Branch, hoping everything works out, and we do a swap with another driver who will take this load on to Suwanee, GA, and will get us heading back towards Little Rock.

It's been a long 4 1/2 weeks, so I am ready to get home. I did, however, have a nice breakfast this morning: (instant) oatmeal... Strawberries & Cream (with extra cream), and a glass of milk.

But no coffee yet.

12 March 2012

Year 2, Day 72 (2 Days And Counting Until I'm Home)

We unloaded this morning in Tulsa, then waited for a little while until our next load was assigned. This one has us picking up in Stillwell, OK (not far from the Arkansas state line) and delivering by 2300 (ET) tomorrow in Suwanee, GA (which is just north of Atlanta). As of now, it's unknown as to if Larry and I will take this on, then get another load back to Little Rock, AR so I can go home and Larry can take his final evaluation, then get his own truck. I say that because we are both low on our available hours on our 70 hour clock (we each had less than 14 this morning).

If I may, I'm going to make a detour from my usual banter...

A news report just released by the BBC is telling - or at least trying to tell - of the daily lives most Israelis endure on a daily basis. I've heard the protests of pro-Palestinian groups, even our own media reporting on the "attacks" allegedlt "perpetrated" by the IDF (Israeli Defense Force). Ironically enough, these very same entities FAIL to tell of the ongoing rocket attacks upon Israel from the Gaza strip. If Israel retaliates upon the terrorists and geurillas, they are immediately vilified... yet when the rockets are fired from Gaza (and there are MANY) - to include civilian victims - it is then my ears begin to throb in pain at the deafening silence. When Israel is attacked with rockets from Gaza, the UN has the audacity to tell Israel to use restraint... but nothing is said to the terrorists who fired those rockets.

Can you begin to see the worldwide political trend that is being set?

11 March 2012

Year 2, Year 71 (A Few More Days, Then Home)

We covered a lot of ground the past couple of days, of course it helps when customers are efficient during the loading process. Take for example this past Tuesday: we loaded in Tulsa, OK. Our loading appointment was for 1330 (CT), but the customer didn't even start on us until 1530 and we didn't leave until a little after 1730. When we loaded this past Friday in Guilderland Center, NY, (which was an open appointment: 0800-1600 ET) we were loaded and leaving within an hour. I've always seen it as if you can't keep your own loading schedule, then why bother even making a schedule.

Last night I had Larry take us to our terminal in Madison, IL (just outside St. Louis, MO) where we called it a night (which is rather redundant... it was dark out, therefore it IS night). We ate the chili I had made, then I washed up my dishes and went to bed. I woke up this morning, took a shower, and made a run, with Larry and 2 other drivers in this company, to Starbucks (I really should be getting some sort of bonus from Starbucks for all the suggestive sales I make for them).

Carpe Java!!!

10 March 2012

Year 2, Day 70 (About Half Way Done With This Run)

Larry and I parked for the night at the T/A truck stop in Lodi, OH (about an hour north of Columbus), where, surprisingly enough, there was still quite a bit of available parking spots. Surprising because it was around midnight (ET), plus I had him park there because we may not have been so lucky a little later. Before we left this morning, I went inside the truck stop which so conveniently had a Starbucks location. We topped of the fuel just north of Columbus, then on to Dayton to do a little shopping. As I compose this post (shortly to be put to bed), I have some ground beef (with taco seasoning) in the crock pot, along with some beef sausage, to cook in preparation for the chili I am making tonight.

This has been a beautiful Sabbath, although warmer than I would hope for (probably somewhere in the 50's), but still a beautiful Sabbath... then again, any Sabbath that The L-rd blesses me with is beautiful!

09 March 2012

Year 2, Day 69 (On Our Way Back To Tulsa)

Larry and I unloaded this morning in Guilderland Center, NY (at 0300 ET), where we went back to sleep for a few more hours, then went back into the Industrial Park to get loaded. This load, at only 32,000 lbs, is heading back to Tulsa, OK for Monday morning. When we stopped to do the first required load check, the both of us made a visit to the Starbucks in the travel plaza on the New York Thruway. It's been a brisk morning so far, and Larry has driven through three different snow storms. So far (as I commented to him) he has driven through snow on both sides of the country.

We still have quite a trek ahead of us, but we will get to Tulsa on time. From there, it's only the matter of two days before I release him to take his final evaluation test... and I go home for a few days. This has been a good training experience for him, as he has been through Tulsa, up to the Seattle area, back to Tulsa, up to New York state, now making yet another trip to Tulsa. We've seen quite a bit of the country, as well as driven through a variety of different weather conditions and terrain (rain, snow, wind... flat land, mountains, curvy roads, and straight runs). He's gotten the hang of the important things, but only time will strengthen his skills in things such as backing, tight turns, and direction finding.

As the Sabbath approaches, I hope you all will be blessed with the joy of G-d, The Most High!

08 March 2012

Year 2, Day 68 (This Trip Almost Over)

The day has been bleary, weather-wise, since Larry and I left from Harbor Creek, PA this morning, rain pretty much all day (so far). We will be arriving at the customer this afternoon where we will deliver at 0300 ET tomorrow (ugh!). The good thing is, our pick up tomorrow is in the same Industrial Park where we make our delivery. Aside from the weather, this has been a blessed Purim today! Another good thing is I'll be able to make a visit to Starbucks pretty shortly (there's one here on the New York Thruway, in a Service Plaza).

On a different note, there was something I came across while perusing the timeline on Facebook (and, no, I haven't acquired their new timeline system yet, since the mobile site nor the iPhone app allow for many things, such as sharing most other posts, nor "copy & paste" utilization). The story is not very long AND it's very funny... well worth the short time it takes to read it. The story is found on the website for Happy Place, which was the first I had ever heard of them. Either way, enjoy the link, and enjoy the day... and I will enjoy my Starbucks!

07 March 2012

Year 2, Day 67 (A Day Of Fasting)

Once Larry and I were loaded yesterday, we began making our way east. Monica (my Fleet Manager) sent me a message that my truck was due a minor service, and that I should stop to get it done at either one of our terminal shops, or at a T/A truck stop... I chose the former. We shut down for the night at the terminal in Madison, IL, just outside St. Louis. We left this morning at about 1145 to continue this trip east.

As we drive through the afternoon rush hour traffic in Indianapolis, I am continuing with the pre-Purim fast. As I meditate upon Scripture, and engage The L-rd in prayer, it does help to reflect upon history as to why those of us whom are Jewish celebrate this Holiday... and how past events (primarily found in the Bible, vis a vis the Book of Esther) are eerily similar to current issues. Rather that give the entire outline of the background of Esther, I'll direct you to a more detailed summary, as found at the website for Judaism 101. For those who don't celebrate this Holiday, I hope this gives you some understanding as to why we do. To my brothers & sisters, may you have a Happy & Joyous Purim!!

06 March 2012

Year 2, Day 66 (Heading To The North East)

Larry and I unloaded this morning, but, unfortunately, had to wait a few hours until we were dispatched on our next load. It picked up about 12 miles from where we were, so it didn't take long to get there. The downside is we are getting this through a broker. This load will take us to Guilderland Center, NY... whenever they begin loading us, that is.

It's been rather windy here in Tulsa today, with the mild temperatures (again), but perhaps - nay, hopefully - I'll get some more of the cooler weather while we head up to the (not-so-great) northeast. Only time will tell.

05 March 2012

Year 2, Day 65 (Getting A Re-Start In Tulsa)

As expected/planned, Larry and I arrived at the customer in Tulsa, OK last night. I stopped off just a few miles away to top off the fuel before coming in, so that we would be good on that. It was fairly cool last night (probably upper 40's to lower 50's), but not quite cool enough for my liking. I slept in, studied a little from this week's Torah portion, then meandered around for a bit. Larry and I walked north from the customer to a laundromat, probably about a mile away, to get our laundry done. It turns out that it's cheaper here than using the (sometimes less than par) machines at a truck stop. Here, I'm using one of the front loading machines, and it's $1 - 1.50 cheaper than the standard washers at the truck stops. Perhaps I should go to a laundromat more often.

Once we're done here, we'll head back to the customer and chill out for the rest of the night... until we deliver tomorrow.

04 March 2012

Year 2, Day 64 (Our Goal Should Be Reached Tonight)

We made our way to Limon, CO last night and shut down for the night. Yesterday did provide some good training for Larry. It was a little windy when we arrived in Casper, WY (where we fueled and did some shopping), though as we ventured further south toward Cheyenne, the wind made sure we knew it was there. It usually get pretty windy in Cheyenne, and extends to the north and west... yesterday was no exception. Some areas were estimating gusts of 50+ MPH, which isn't too bad when you have a heavily laden trailer, but in our case (having only about 17,000 lbs, as opposed to 40,000 lbs) proved to be more challenging. I've been through the area many times, si I could have taken over, but that would not have done any justice for Larry's training... and he handled it quite well.

Just as I had predicted, once we left the Cheyenne area into Colorado, the wind dissipated dramatically... which is always odd, considering the difference is going from 50+ MPH crosswinds to almost nothing in a period of less than 20 miles.

We just left a short while ago from Colby, KS (where I got some Starbucks), where it's a little windy, but also warmer than what we have been in the past week. The temperature is showing to be about 45°, but it sure feels warmer than that... though I'm already missing the north west region AND the colder climate.

We should be able to get to the customer in Tulsa, OK tonight (which is what I hope to do), then get another re-start on our logbooks before delivering Tuesday morning. What happens next is still a mystery. At least I have coffee... and fresh made Pico De Gallo.

03 March 2012

Year 2, Day 63 (The Wintery Adventure Continues)

Larry and I made it into Wyoming before we shut down, though the last 10 or so miles proved to be more challenging for him, as we hit some snowfall, just before shutting down in Sheridan, WY. We pulled off into a rest area, ate, and watched as the snow drifted down.

It made for a good "wind-down" period just before getting to bed. This morning, there was still quite a bit on the ground, but the roadway on I-25 was clear. With all the snow that had fallen - and that which had still remained - made for some beautiful scenery. There were some areas that the snow covered terrain almost gave the illusion of torrential ocean waters, with the salty foam at the ebbs & peaks of the waves:

Then there were also the stretches where it looked like the white sandy beaches often seen in some areas in Southern California or South Florida:

Overall this has not only been a nice day, but also a beautiful Sabbath... though the weather has been a little brisk and windy.

We topped off the fuel in Casper, WY, then parked the truck and walked over to Safeway to do a little grocery shopping... and, of course, I made a visit to Starbucks. I am hoping we can at least get to Limon, CO before shutting down for the night. That way tomorrow will be the final stretch for this run, and we can get another re-start before unloading on Tuesday morning in Tulsa, OK.

02 March 2012

Year 2, Day 62 (Such Beautiful Scenery)

Larry and I didn't make it as far as I had hoped, but we did cover some ground. The customer where we picked up at was, as usual, very pleasant to deal with. Even though the load wasn't ready yet (in fact, they weren't expecting us until today), they did what they needed to ensure an efficient loading process... even getting with the delivery customer to get all the logistics sorted out. When we left Lewiston, ID the weather was cool and the roads were clear... up until we started climbing the mountain on U.S. 95 north to Genesee. In about the distance of 5 miles, the roads went from dry & clear to this:

It was still a lovely ride. The thing about driving a truck in weather like this is it's not too bad when you have a load around 35,000 - 40,000 lbs; but when you have a load that is just slightly over 17,000 lbs, you definitely use a little extra caution (as Larry did). The roads weren't bad going across 4th Of July Pass in Idaho, nor on Lookout Pass crossing into Montana, but with a load this light, you still want to be careful. We ended up shutting down in Haugen, MT, about 8-10 miles east of the Idaho/Montana state lines. I had hoped we could have made it to Bonner (just east of Missoula), but a lot of time was eaten up by dealing with the present conditions.

The scenery is already beautiful out here in Montana, but the addition of snow certainly adds to it:

One more thing... this is the view we awoke to this morning:

As Sabbath approaches, I pray The L-rd's Shalom (peace) upon you, and may He bless you all!

01 March 2012

Year 2, Day 61 (A Fresh Day After An Interesting Night)

Yesterday turned out to be far from uneventful. Larry and I were finally dispatched on our next load which picks up (as I thought it would) in Lewiston, ID. When we left Woodinville (although I was rather reluctant to leave) we made our way south to I-90, then east. I had heard that is was being predicted Snoqualmie Pass may get 7-10" of snow by morning... along the very route we were taking. It began alright, then evolved into all white (or at least getting there). We pulled off onto the shoulder - along with many other trucks - and began doing something I hadn't done in about 10 years... chaining up. It was an interesting "re-introduction" for me, as well as a new experience for Larry. Mind you, we had an empty trailer to take across the pass, so that added to the excitement.

Larry started out pretty slow which caused quite a bit of rough travel, but as he gradually increased his speed (never getting over 45, of course), the ride smoothed out. It was very pretty as the snow fell, even creating a more calming effect, but he never lowered his level of caution.

The snowfall increased as we gradually made the climbs and falls through Snoqualmie Pass. Even though the cars - and many of the other trucks venturing through the pass - passed us, I told Larry not to worry about it too much. The main goal was too get to the other side of the pass... without the aid of a tow truck and/or an ambulance.

Once we made it to the other side safely (and in a designated area to do so), we removed the chains and put them away.

We pulled off into the Flying J in Ellensburg, WA to top off the fuel before pushing on a little further. While we were there, Larry made a visit to the rest room, to which I commented, "Did the pass scare the crap out of you?", to which he replied, "Yeah... I think so." He did a very good job, considering he had never gone through this in a truck before.

When we arrived in Royal City, WA, I had him park the truck and call it a night. Besides, the second half of this leg I would prefer him taking in the daylight: Washington state road 261, from Washtucna to Starbuck... a route not for the faint of heart.