30 June 2012

Year 2, Day 180 (Kansas City, Here We Come... Again)

Once we had finished unloading in Petoskey, MI yesterday, John and I waited for a couple hours until we were given our next run. This one had us deadheading to Chicago (about 350 miles) to load today. Our loading time was between 1200- 2200, but we arrived there last night. Along the way, John had called his sister and had her meet us in Covert, MI to bring a pizza. The pizza was from DiMaggio's Pizza in Coloma, MI, and was delicious. I had never had their pizza until last night. We stopped off in Burns Harbor, IN and topped off the fuel, then off to Chicago.

We were blessed that Tyson had us loaded and leaving just after noon. We left from there and I had John take us to the Target on the south end of Chicago, on Cicero. I stopped to pick up a few things (milk being one of them), and I also treated John to a Starbucks: a Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappaccino, which, upon tasting it (delightfully, I might add), he gave it the moniker "diabetes in a cup". We are making our way to Olathe, KS which is just south of Kansas City, KS.

The weather has been humid so far, but it looks as though we may be hitting some rain before we hit St. Louis. Either way, this is a beautiful Sabbath, because The L-rd has granted me another day.

One more thing... I saw Mario in the Chicago area:

29 June 2012

Year 2, Day 179 (What A Nice Ride)

John and I had a nice trip through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, though we would have made better time, had we not been delayed at one facility waiting for the bulkheads that the customer required. If not for that delay we probably would have made it to the customer last night (or early this morning, by Eastern Time Zone). We shut down just after midnight (CT) at a small rest area, right next to the Northern Rim of Lake Michigan. That turned out to be a blessing in disguise this morning, as I was able to get some good pictures this morning.

On the way to the customer, we crossed the Mackinac Bridge, which separates Lake Michigan (on the west side) from Lake Huron (on the east side).

The weather was very mild, getting down to about 56° where we parked, and much less humid than it was in Milwaukee, WI yesterday.

As Sabbath approaches I hope you will all take the time to keep the leaders of our country in prayer. We are facing some very tumultuous times ahead, with what we are seeing now soon to pale in comparison to what may lie ahead. May you all be blessed, and enjoy a peaceful - and restful - Sabbath!

28 June 2012

Year 2, Day 178 (Heading To The U.P.)

John and I finished the deadhead trip to Milwaukee, WI where we picked up this load. Yesterday, Monica (my Fleet Manager) said if we were unable to deliver this by 1600 (ET) tomorrow, then she would have us drop the load at the terminal in Gary, IN and get another driver to deliver it on Monday. Since we were loaded at a relatively decent time, I told her we would be able to deliver tomorrow, so the route we are taking will bring us through the Upper Peninsula (or U.P. for short). In all the years I have driven a truck, this will be my first venture into that region.

The word is out all over the media sources about the Supreme Court's decision concerning the "Affordable Health Care Law"; as of this morning, the AHCL IS constitutional. Many of us can banter and argue the positives or negatives (depending on your viewpoint) of this controversial law until we are blue in the face, or until the cows come home (whichever you prefer), but the fact of the matter is, now it's set in stone. One thing that is ever more set in stone is that G-d is bigger than ANY government entity... PERIOD! We can whine and cry, argue and debate, even throw a temper tantrum, but none of that will change what has been decided. What we can do, however, is pray. At this point, that's all that is left. Prayer can do what we cannot. History has shown what power lies in prayer (this is the part where you begin searching it for yourself). This country was started by men who feared - and loved - G-d... let's get ourselves back to those roots.

27 June 2012

Year 2, Day 177 (One Week And Counting)

John and I left out of the North Little Rock terminal at about 2215 yesterday, having had the problems with my truck taken care of. While we were at the terminal, we took care of a few things, then waited around for one of the company vehicles to become available. While waiting, we engaged in conversation with a couple other drivers, both of whom were also waiting for a vehicle. The 4 of us ended up going together to Whole Hog Cafe to get some barbecue (of course, I had the beef brisket). When we left the terminal, I did some driving, since John - being "fat & happy" after dinner - felt a bit of drowsiness setting in. I didn't go too far, only making it to Bald Knob, AR, about 60 miles away. I only went there because I knew there would be some parking spots available. As of this writing, we are about 4 hours from the customer in Rochelle, IL. From there we will head to Milwaukee, WI to get a load going to Petoskey, MI (wherever that is).

By now, you may have heard about the bankruptcy filing of the city of Stockton, CA. This is truly sad news, mainly because of the people that will be affected, though the politicians I don't really have any remorse for. The reason I say that, you may be able to extract from the articles... I am linking two: one from the Los Angeles Times, and one (which is more of a blog post, but credits Reuters as the source) from the American Thinker. I chose two different sources due to the fact that they may each get the main body of the article from the same news service (Reuters), but they may spin it differently, depending on their own bias. Feel free to peruse the internet for other stories to compare with, but I just chose these two as an example.

I blame a lot of the city's leaders for this due to the fact that they squandered taxpayer money on many "projects" that were no doubt frivolous. I also blame state leaders because they set the example of such irresponsible practices. Most of which, these "projects" were put into motion in order to bolster their own image, with the image of the city and/or state and the welfare of the taxpayer coming in as a distant afterthought. We can see here that all politicians do NOT get behind a project proposal because it benefits the taxpayer, nor America, but because it benefits their political agendas. There are a few politicians that truly do look out for the American people, but they are either quickly swept away by the tides of greed and corruption, or they don't enjoy a fruitful career in politics for very long because they actually have scruples. The point being, we need to stand up and end the greed & corruption where it lies - in government! It's time we clean house and start from scratch!

26 June 2012

Year 2, Day 176 (Northbound, Winding Down The Days)

John and I started our day from Rogers, AR this morning. While I was sleeping, our next load was dispatched on us, so John showed initiative and wrote down all the essential information. We picked up in Russellville, AR, with a delivery scheduled for Thursday in Rochelle, IL. I also arranged to have an appointment made to get the truck in the shop once we arrive at the terminal in North Little Rock. With the weather being so hot today, it will be nice to get the truck in proper working order. Just a few more days to go, then I will be heading home, and John will take his final evaluation (on the 4th, to be exact).

The other day, when we were getting a re-start in Kansas City, MO, I was speaking with another truck driver whom had greeted me in the traditional Hebrew greeting of "Shalom." We spoke for a few minutes, during which he used a few other Hebrew terms I was unfamiliar with (since I wasn't raised in the faith, nor the language, I am trying to play "catch-up"). When we parted, he said "Layla Tov". At first I thought, "I know the term, but it just isn't registering in the memory banks." He then said, "That's 'good night.' You're really gonna have to learn this stuff... it's not right that I'm a Puerto Rican teaching you Hebrew."

Yeah, it was funny!

Starbucks, here I come!

25 June 2012

Year 2, Day 175 (A Short Run)

This morning started out less than interesting. I had been having some trouble with my truck lately (the batteries not holding the charge as long as they should). I thought it may have been just me being paranoid about the slightest of problems, so last night I turned the truck off and let the APU run. 8 hours later (about 0930 CT this morning) I tried to start the truck: nothing. I called the roadside service and they send out a guy that gave us a jump. Now the blower for the bunk area is not working.

With this load being a short run (or as I call, a crap load), I'm hoping that Monica will route me through the North Little Rock terminal tomorrow to get all this fixed. This load had us deadhead from Kansas City, MO to Sedalia, MO, and delivers tomorrow in Rogers, AR... like I said, a crap load (thank you, Tyson).

24 June 2012

Year 2, Day 174 (Getting A Re-Start In Kansas City)

John and I arrived at the customer at around 0200 this morning, got unloaded and are now on a 34 hour re-start. As I had suspected, the customer was located in one of the several cave facilities in this area. What that means is that not only is it a single business whose warehouse was built into the side of a large hill/mountain, but an entire industrial park that was carved out and sits underground, beneath said hill/mountain. It's rather impressive, to be honest.

After we went underground and backed into the dock, John and I agreed conclusively that any of these cave facilities would make an ideal stronghold in the event of a zombie apocalypse. Sure, some modifications would have to be made, such as fortifying the entrances (replace the steel gate with a reinforced sliding, hydraulic operated concrete wall) and some of the outer dock doors, but it could make a very good safe-house for a community of survivors. We make have put more analytical scenarios into it than was necessary, but it sure doesn't hurt to be prepared.

I was able to make a Starbucks run yesterday after we finished shopping at the grocery store in downtown St. Louis. Today, though, I'm getting ready to brew up a pot in the truck. I already have dinner cooking in the crock pot, and have gone through my daily dose of Torah, so this will be a peaceful, relaxing evening.

23 June 2012

Year 2, Day 173 (A Long Night, But Almost There)

John and I had finally left from Martinsburg, WV yesterday around 1530 (ET) and began the trip from there to Kansas City, MO. We made a stop in one of the service plazas on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and took a 45 minute break; for food, and more importantly, Starbucks. We shut down this morning at almost 0215 (CT) at the rest area just west of Indianapolis. There was a 4 mile traffic backup in Ohio, going into a construction zone, that delayed us, otherwise we would have made it into Illinois before shutting down. It is very frustrating when going into construction zones nowadays, because there are ample warnings beforehand telling people what's ahead and which lane is closed; yet people are so self-centered nowadays that - even though there are a long line of vehicles that have merged into what will be the open lane - they will continue past the line, all the way to the merge point and force their way in. This is the society we have become? Really?!

Now that I've gotten that out of the way. As John makes his way down the road, we will be making a stop at the terminal in Madison, IL; get some laundry done, perhaps even make a grocery run. The weather is a little warm outside, but very clear and sunny. As we make our way westward, we are listening to the soundtrack for Schindler's List (not exactly what one would expect two former Marines to listen to by choice). Looking out the window at the passing fields, I see the various stages of the different corn fields: some halfway to full maturity, while others yet are little more than mere seedling fields. The sights such as this make me realize how much more blessed we are as a nation, and that I am able to view such a sight on this glorious Sabbath day.

Be blessed!!

22 June 2012

Year 2, Day 172 (Waiting, Waiting, And More Waiting)

John and I arrived here at the customer in Martinsburg, WV last night around 2330 (ET) last night. This load was dispatched on us through a broker (UGH!) yesterday. Once we were emptied out in Bedford, PA, we headed down here in the hopes of getting loaded before our appointment time of 1400 today. A few red flags popped up about this broker; they didn't have directions OR a phone number for their OWN customer, they said we might be able to get loaded earlier than 1400 - not only will that most likely not happen, but the customer told John to check back about 1400 and they might have a door for us at around 1600. In my opinion (as humble as it may be) the broker is "batting 1000".

The load isn't that bad; it's due by 1700 on Sunday in Kansas City, MO. I'm hoping we can get it there by tomorrow night. I actually wanted to get loaded earlier and get it kicked off by 1700 tomorrow, but that doesn't look like it's going to happen now.

John has 1 1/2 weeks to go before he gets released for his final evaluation, and so far, I think he will do very well. I mean, he's already doing practically everything that I do on a regular basis (it helps when he's done this type of work before, but is not cocky about it). He's pretty much got it all down, I just have to keep him on the truck for a minimum of 3 weeks.

As the Sabbath approaches I pray you are all blessed with peace, joy, and prosperity.

Shabbat Shalom!

21 June 2012

Year 2, Day 171 (The Weekend Is Somewhat Covered)

John and I arrived in Bedford, PA yesterday evening, and were able to find one of two remaining parking spots at the fuel stop about 2 miles from the Walmart D.C. We left there about 1500 to head over to (hopefully) get unloaded early. Since this is an ice cream load, their window for ice cream deliveries is from 1430-1900. Our appointment is for 1900, but we are hoping they pill this off earlier. As of the time of this writing (1735 ET), we are just now getting put into a door... seems standard for Walmart (and people wonder why I have such disdain for them).

Once we are done here, we will head to Martinsburg, WV to pick up a load heading to Kansas City, MO for Sunday. We have a loading appointment of 1400 tomorrow, but since it's not Walmart, we may have a better chance of getting loaded early. If we by chance get loaded tonight, we will be able to cover some ground and possibly get this kicked off Saturday.

I foresee a visit to Starbucks in my very near future.

20 June 2012

Year 2, Day 170 (About 24 Hours To Go)

Yesterday John and I left from Avoca, IA (which is 40 miles east of the Nebraska state line), and were able to cover quite a bit of ground. John drove nearly 600 miles before we shut down for the night in Fremont, IN. Along the way, during one of the stops for the required load checks (and an essential restroom break), I saw this really cool minibus driven by a couple of guys making their way to Vermont. In fact, the bus was too cool not to get a picture of.

Sure, it may look like the typical hippie/surfer bus, but the designs and the artwork looked as though there was time and thought put into it (and obviously very good use of color).

Tomorrow this load delivers at 1900 in Bedford, PA, though the delivery time shows a window: 1430-1900. I called about this, to find out that's the window with which Walmart receives ice cream. Even though our appointment is for 1900, we can (supposedly) go in at 1430 and they will work us in... we shall see. What our next run will be has still yet to be determined... hopefully it will be a really good one.

19 June 2012

Year 2, Day 169 (When Will America Wake Up?!)

As we draw closer to the Presidential elections, the talking points of each party are being parroted by their hard-lined minions, like ravenous wolves on the hunt for a victory. Personally, I'm getting nauseous by all of it; what the politicians are telling us can only be likened to audio ipecac. You want talking points? Take a moment and think about these for a moment:

*Politicians (from both sides) are trying to get you to believe that it's wrong for people to be rich, while each of them lavish in 6 figure salaries and don't pay for their own healthcare.

*The Democrat party preaches against corporate greed, while their own "golden child" gives billions in "stimulus packages" to corporations, unions, and federal programs (all designed to feed personal agendas).

*Republicans rally behind their "golden child" who has already allegedly claimed he would NOT overturn the universal (albeit unconstitutional) healthcare, mainly because his own law passed for Massachusetts state when he was governor was the model for what was forced down our throats.

*If Democrats are so "pro-Union", why are there states, with a Democrat governor, that still have "right-to-work" laws, which limit the power that unions have in relation to their corporate employers?

*If Republicans are so "pro-Military" (not that Democrats are any better, they are far from it), why have our veterans been tossed to the side like an old shoeshine rag?

*Why do both sides - and the media - paint Israel as a "villain"? Last time I checked, it was not Jewish people that pose a violent threat to us, but Muslims! Jewish people have given THE WORLD a long list of technological and medical advancements/breakthroughs, while the Muslim nations mainly seek to destroy Israel... then US!!

The answer to all of the above is pretty simple: our Republic is quickly eroding due to the actions and policies of those, whom WE elected, who do NOT serve the American people, but themselves. They all point fingers at the corporate "elite" while they themselves fit that very same description AND accepting donations from the same "evil" corporations they are vilifying. Liberals (as distorted as their ideology is) and Conservatives (as politicians, they are just a bunch of pansies) are fading away from existence, as Socialism gradually takes over. If you doubt me, think of all the key words used today: "Social" programs, "Social"equality (the "No Child Left Behind" program - everybody is equal, started by George W. Bush and Ted Kennedy - see the pattern yet?).

America, stop playing patty-cake while the battle rages on around you!

18 June 2012

Year 2, Day 168 (This Is A Cool Run)

This morning John and I finished our re-start on our logbooks here in Sioux City, IA, where we also unloaded. It's been fairly uneventful, except for the movie fest we had yesterday. Today, however, it's back to business as usual. Once we were unloaded, we came up to Le Mars, IA (about 30 miles away) to pick up our next load: ice cream; heading for Bedford, PA (as I said, this is a cool run).

Lately, I haven't paid attention to the news, for several reasons: a) all that is really being put in the foreground are politics and the upcoming Presidential elections; b) the media "machine" will only "report" what fits in with their own ideologies and/or agendas (this is inclusive of ALL of the mainstream media - ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CNN, MSNBC, and whomever else I missed); c) between the media, the candidates, and the spin doctors, there's no real way to tell the fact from fiction, even with the internet. Everybody wants their candidate to win. I can no longer trust our current administration due to the failures they have (broken "promises", questionable allegiance, etc.), nor can I trust the nominee of the other side. They each align with opposing parties, yet they also share some of the same ideology. I've said it before, it bears stating again: that leads me to believe that both candidates are Socialist in their policies and/or viewpoints.

Take a closer look at each of them.

Things are NOT always what they seem.

17 June 2012

Year 2, Day 167 (Father's Day)

John and I are sitting here in a McDonald's parking lot in Sioux City, IA, where we shut down last night. Our delivery is not until tomorrow morning, so we are getting a re-start on our logbooks. This is a moderately difficult Father's Day, not because I am on the road, but because (as I had posted a couple weeks ago) my wife's Father had passed away recently, and my Dad passed a couple years ago.

The death of a loved one is not easy to deal with, and people deal with it differently. Though when certain days of the year arrive (Mother's/Father's Day, birthday, etc.), dealing with that loss - as well as the memories - can be a tough task. No matter how each of us deal with these situations, one thing that never fades are the memories. The pain eventually fades, but one thing that we should always embrace and try to keep ahold of is the memories.

Never forget!

16 June 2012

Year 2, Day 166 (A Revelation During Torah Study)

John and I arrived in South Bend, IN just as we ran out of hours for the day. He lives about 30 minutes away, in Michigan, so I allowed him to go home for the night. I must have been pretty wiped out from yesterday, since I didn't even hear my alarm go off this morning. Instead I awoke to the sound of John opening up the door. He climbed in, cheerily saying, "Good morning, sunshine!" I replied with a "Bah, humbug!" to which he handed me a Starbucks cup... that only makes for a tolerable morning. What would have made it a good morning is if that cup were being handed to me by my wife, Tikvah.

We left out around 0945 and continued heading west. I had us make a stop at the terminal outside of Gary, IN. I took a shower at the Pilot last night in South Bend... but they didn't have any laundry facilities (not good!). It worked out, kinda, because I did get my clothes washed at the Gary terminal, but the dryers: one was out of service, and the other was not far from it. So I did what any Marine would do - improvise, adapt, overcome.

On the way, I engaged in this week's Torah portion (Numbers 13:1 - 15:41) and the accompanying Haftarah (Joshua 2:1-24), to which the Spirit of The L-rd opened my eyes to a parallel between the two that was not brought up in the commentaries. In the Torah portion, you can see where The L-rd is preparing to lead the Children of Israel into the land that He promised them, at the original time. However, the Children of Israel wanted to sent in spies to check out the area beforehand, to which HaShem acquiesced. There were 12 leaders that were chosen: one from each of the tribes, except Levi (for that, there was one taken from Manasseh and one from Joseph). Of those 12, 10 of them gave their report from a negative standpoint, which lowered the morale of the rest of the nation. The two that gave a positive report were Caleb and Joshua. That's when the "40 years of wandering" began, because the nation chose to believe the negative reports. Then, 40 years later, when the Haftarah took place, the leader, Joshua (also the successor of Moses, and the same Joshua who gave the positive report), sent in spies. Though this time it was onlytwo - symbolic of the 2 spies that were obedient, and stood strong in their faith to the word of The L-rd.

I found that parallel to be quite interesting.

15 June 2012

Year 2, Day 165 (Iowa Bound)

John and I had a loading appointment for 0600 (ET), so we headed up to Newark yesterday evening and parked outside the customer. There was some construction going on the New Jersey Turnpike, which delayed us a little. Then again, when there's road work going on in that state, it usually causes traffic to back up a lot more than it was. We were loaded and leaving about 0730. I had John doing the driving so he could get some experience, considering he had never driven in New Jersey. Again, he got lucky... traffic was mild.

As we make our way through Pennsylvania, with the sun shining, and Morph The Cat (by Donald Fagen) playing on the stereo, I glance out the window and capture a few pictures of the scenery as it passes by.

If my estimates are correct, we should be able to get to Sioux City, IA sometime tomorrow night. Then again, I may just take it a little easy on John and stretch the trip out so that we get there sometime Sunday. I haven't quite decided yet.

Have a joyous and peaceful Sabbath.

Shabbat Shalom!

14 June 2012

Year 2, Day 164 (Heading To Iowa)

This morning has been rough, as we had to pull an over-nighter. The customer where John & I loaded at didn't have us ready to go until after midnight (ET), which made us late for our first two drops, but we were a little early for the final drop. We grabbed a nap at the Flying J in Carney's Point, NJ, where we headed to the customer to load tomorrow morning in Newark, NJ. This load will have us heading to Sioux City, IA for Monday morning. Not only is that a pretty good run, but it also gets us out of the east.

The weather here is very mild (upper 60's), which makes it good sleeping weather. We were fortunate that we ran in to 2 traffic backups... going the opposite direction of where we were heading. Driving through New Jersey is not that bad, but because of the road network, it's easy to get confused and lost; paying attention is very vital. The roads have more twists and turns than a Tom Clancy novel. That, and the fact that many of the people are rude & inconsiderate doesn't help either.

13 June 2012

Year 2, Day 163 (This Will Be An All-Nighter)

When we arrived in Bethlehem, PA last night, we were put in a door right away. Unfortunately, since we didn't have a drop trailer there, we had to wait to get unloaded. What made things really frustrating, was that the graveyard shift at the customer waiting until our appointment time. While we were waiting, John and I ran out of hours. They normally don't allow for overnight parking, but we actually did. The graveyard crew didn't bother us at all, but when the day shift crew came in, the yard driver had to be a hard-nose.

With only an 8 hour break, we were able to legally drive over here to the customer in Souderton. Our appointment time here is for 1800-2300. Since we are already backed into the door, there's a slight chance we may get loaded early. I hope so, this way we can head to the first drop and get a nap before we unload.

Our next load will have us busy for the weekend. I'll fill you in tomorrow, so I'll have something to talk about.

12 June 2012

Year 2, Day 162 (Pennsylvania Bound, Then New Jersey)

Due to our delay yesterday, John and I only made it as far as Woodville, OH, just east of Toledo. This leaves us with about 490 miles left to go. We did, however, get pre-planned on a load that picks up tomorrow evening in Souderton, PA, which is only about 25 miles from Bethlehem. The only problem is that this will be one of those all-night runs, as it has 3 drops, finishing at 0930 Thursday in Bridgeton, NJ (about 1 1/2 hours south of Camden).

Being as I drive a truck, and I do get the occasional "live on the edge" streak, I wish I had an L.A. Kings jersey to wear during my drops (in case you don't follow the NHL, the Kings defeated the NJ Devils 6-1 last night, taking the Stanley Cup for their first time in their 45 year franchise history). Some would say that's a little crazy, some would say it would be a stupid move, but hey, they would probably do the same thing (by the way, the MVP award went to Kings' goalie, Jonathan Swift, for his most impressive performance).

Congratulations to the Kings... L.A. is VERY proud of you, as am I.

11 June 2012

Year 2, Day 161 (Not Much Progress Made)

John and I left from Rochelle, IL this morning at about 1030 and made our way to Woodstock, IL for this load of pickles heading to Bethlehem, PA. We arrived at the customer just a little past 1200 for an appointment time of 1230... only to find that the CSR that dispatched us on this load gave us incorrect information, as our loading appointment was for 1100. Since we were late, we fell under a "work in" status. We were finally loaded and leaving at around 1630, just in time to get caught in Chicago rush hour traffic.

I was driving for that fiasco, which actually wasn't too bad, considering it was Chicago. I took a slight detour to Merrillville, IN to pick up a few groceries (and John did, as well). We did pretty well, in and out in less than an hour. I took us to the Indiana toll road and pulled off into the first service plaza to get this load scaled, and to let John take over.

Despite the SNAFU of being given the wrong information, getting delayed at the customer because of said SNAFU, then hitting the Chicago traffic (all of which affected our drive time), this evening is turning out pretty good. I found out a little while ago the update of Game 6 of NHL's Stanley Cup game: end of the first period, L.A. Kings are leading the NJ Devils 3-0.

Keep the pressure on, Kings... you take the Cup if you win this one!

10 June 2012

Year 2, Day 161 (Relaxing, Refreshing)

Today has been pretty relaxing. It's nice to re-energize once in a while. The other good thing about getting a re-start, is John and I will have our logbooks in sync, as opposed to the way it was, me having run a few days before picking him up, where he starting with a fresh 70. I took this downtime as an opportunity to show him the procedures for getting a truck wash.

We've engaged in some very good conversation, of an intellectual and Scriptural nature. John is fascinated with Biblical history, and I enjoy imparting the topics & insights that I have studied over the years. We also discussed politics, as well as technology (he, also, is a tech geek). Tomorrow, though, it's back to business as usual, as we will be picking up a load in Woodstock, IL and heading to Bethlehem, PA.

09 June 2012

Year 2, Day 160 (Trip Accomplished, Now A Re-Start)

John and I made it as far as Neelyville, MO where we shut down for the night. When we left out this morning, I drove us to the Madison, IL terminal, where we took a break (shower, etc.). To get a feel for his driving abilities, I had John drive us up to the customer in Rochelle, IL. When we arrived here, we had a drop trailer, but it was an inbound trailer, so it's still loaded. We dropped our trailer and bobtailed over to the truck stop. In the morning I will check in (via phone) to see if one of the trailers have been emptied. If so, that's the trailer we will take. Come Monday, we will head to Woodstock, IL and get our next load, then on to Bethlehem, PA.

08 June 2012

Year 2, Day 159 (New Student, Busy Weekend)

This has been kind of a busy day. I started experiencing some problems with the reefer unit last night, which - since I had a fresh load on - had mandated that a road service tech be called out. The tech came out and, since he didn't have the part needed to perform the repair correctly, he gave the problem a "quick fix". After I unloaded in Russellville, AR, I took the trailer to a shop to get the problem fixed properly, then off to Con Agra to get my next load. This load (which is taking me to Rochelle, IL) was already loaded up and ready to go, actually last night. I went to the North Little Rock terminal, and picked up John, my new student.

I was delayed at the yard longer than I had wanted to, so, because of my hours, I am unable to make it to the yard in Madison, IL. We shut down in Neelyville, MO, which is just across the state line from Arkansas, on U.S. 67. This load delivers between 0600-2359 on Sunday, but I'm hoping I'll be able to drop it tomorrow night, then get a re-start in Rochelle. Monday, however, we will be picking up a load in Woodstock, IL going to Bethlehem, PA for 0300 Wednesday. Since we have a drop trailer at the receiving customer, that will make things easier.

Tomorrow will be a full day... hopefully things will go according to plan. May you all have a joyous & peaceful Sabbath!

07 June 2012

Year 2, Day 158 (The Deception Of Perception)

Some time back, during the week of Passover, some fellow bloggers filled in for me while I took a brief hiatus from the aforementioned Holy Day. One of whom was Natali, a single mom from Wisconsin, and she offered up an excellent - and rather transparent - post.

Today, Natali posted something on her own blog, Life In Monkeyland. In fact, her post speaks of not only the opportunity that was before her in getting her dream, Uber Dork Cafe (with an official website in the works), another step closer to coming true, but also to get it a little more local exposure, and possibly a little media coverage... at least state wide. As I understand it, there was a competition for local entrepreneurs, with the winner receiving a $10,000 prize.

This is where the story and event become a bit shady.

As Natali posted in her blog, the organizers were "on the hunt" in Milwaukee for local start-ups, yet, of the eight finalists (unfortunately, Natali was not one of them), only 3 were from Wisconsin... the rest were from out of state... one even being based in Chile. How is a company based in Chile going to be good for American business?! The winner? A company who had direct ties with the organizers themselves! THAT was uncovered by Natali herself! Then, to make matters worse, the journalist who covered the event, Kathleen Gallagher of the Journal Sentinal, not only took Natali's comments completely out of context in the article, but added the devious connection THAT NATALI uncovered - which is supposed to be the journalist's job - AS AN AFTERTHOUGHT.

This totally reaks of personal agendas, politics, favoritism, and whatever other thing you wish to come up with!!

06 June 2012

Year 2, Day 157 (On The Way To Tennessee)

I was loaded and leaving from Chicago at around lunch time today, this time I'm heading to Covington, TN, just north of Memphis. This is a fairly heavy load (about 42,000 lbs - that's a lot of Tootsie Rolls), but still not too terribly bad. They were fairly efficient in getting me loaded, and the traffic on the interstate ran pretty smooth... it helps when I can get through before any rush hour. Since there is a 48 hour D.O.T. blitz going on, I wanted to make sure my weights were legal and NOT draw any attention to myself. This 48 hour blitz is something that happens every year. A 48 hour period where D.O.T. officers nationwide do a lot more vehicle inspections than the rest of the year... or, at least they are supposed to.

I also found out this morning that I will be getting a new student. My latest victim... uh, I mean trainee, will be ready to be picked up after noon on Friday. So far, all I know is his name is John, and he's from Dowagiac, MI. I'll touch bases with him a little later this evening and find out a little more about him. Therefore, he will be a recurring subject for the next few weeks.

I was able to get a good start to the day this morning by paying a visit to the Starbucks, which was inside the Target that I parked next to last night. Now that I have found a suitable replacement for my previous mug, which was an arduous search in itself (the previous mugs I had purchased just didn't keep the drink hot long enough, so I ended up going back to my old mug). The previous mug lasted me about 6 years or so... yes, it had seen a lot of coffee fills.

Carpe Java!

05 June 2012

Year 2, Day 156 (Another Trip Done)

Last night I made it to our terminal in Madison, IL, where I shut down. Originally I was scheduled to bring the trailer in and have the shop take a look at it. Earlier in the day, when I ran the pre-trip program, it failed the pre-trip, but continued working as expected. Then I had seen a "Check Battery" message on the display, but it still kept running. When I brought it to the shop at the Madison terminal and explained all this, the shop foreman said he needed a fault code. I ran another pre-trip, but this time everything ran flawlessly. As we spoke, we surmised that because this is a new trailer, plus the fact that it had sat dormant for the previous 5 days, it may have been a battery issue... but since the unit had been running all day, it seems to have worked it all out.

I left this morning and continued making my way to Rochelle, IL. My appointment was for 1500, but I arrived at 1440. Since this is a new trailer, I wanted to keep it for a while, so I asked if they would live unload (we do have a dropped trailer here), which they agreed to. There's really no rush to get out of here; my pre-plan picks up tomorrow morning in Chicago (about 80 miles from here) and heads to Covington, TN for Thursday morning.

The weather has been pretty mild all day, only getting up to about 78°. The humidity was pretty bad for a couple days in the small Arkansas city where I live, but it did cool down enough for me to get in my 2 rides.

I'm ready for more cold weather, but I guess I'll just have to wait until Winter.

04 June 2012

Year 2, Day 155 (Back On The Road)

Even considering the circumstances of the past 1 1/2 weeks, this past weekend turned out nice. We were able to see some family, catch up on each other's lives, and honor the life & memory of a good man. I left out today, just after lunch, and headed over to the customer (which just happens to be in the same city I live in). The loading appointment wasn't until about 2330 tonight, but they loaded me early and I was leaving at around 1530. That works out better for me, since I can then get a jump on the trip.

This past weekend, after having a mountain bike for 2 months now, I was finally able to get a couple rides in as I begin my journey of getting back in shape. I'm currently posting my progress on the website for 1-2-Sports (and as soon as I figure out how to link my profile, I'll be sure to get that up). The two rides, for a total of 12 miles, was very exhilarating, though since it had been a long time since I've been cycling, I could feel the burn. But it's a good burn.

I can't wait until my next ride.

I feel an 8-10 mile trip coming on soon!

03 June 2012

Year 2, Day 154 (Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2)

Today was the day both Tikvah nor I were looking forward to: our oldest sons leaving to go back home to California. Our son Sean-Patrick left yesterday to head back up to Missouri, where he is currently living. Today was harder, though. It was very nice to have Erik and Paul around for a few days, but hard to see them off.
 Tikvah and our oldest, Paul

Tikvah and Erik

Although, after this parting, Tikvah and I have decided that our goal will be to move out to California by next July. We have missed living out there, and, frankly, I was ready to go about 2 years ago. We have been holding out so that our youngest son, Nathan, can finish high school. Since he will be graduating next Summer, our time here is done. Two of our sons already live out there, and Nathan plans on moving back out there, so we want to be where our boys are. Mind you, that is not to smother them, or to intrude on their lives, since the older ones have wanted us to move out there for some time. So that will be the plan.

We know that HaShem will work it all out.

02 June 2012

Year 2, Day 153 (Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow)

This morning, Tikvah and I met up with her two sisters, Theresa (with her husband, Scott), and Chris (with her husband, Bob, and youngest daughter, Nikki) for breakfast. We did this because Theresa & Scott were leaving out today to head back to California. We all had a good time, and good conversation. It was nice for them to get together again, though we all wish it were under better circumstances.
                Theresa, Tikvah, and Chris

Afterwards, Chris, Bob, Nikki, Tikvah, and myself went to a couple antique stores in town, as well as a flea market, before we all went to my Mother-in-law's house for a while. So that Pat (my Mother-in-law) wouldn't have to cook (and so that Chris, Bob, and Nikki wouldn't have to leave earlier to go out to eat) I decided to make my famous (at least in my household it is) Matzah Ball Soup... which turned out to be a hit. Tomorrow we will be taking our two oldest sons back to the airport for them to head back to California as well.

I really miss California... I'll be back home soon!

01 June 2012

Year 2, Day 152 (The Final Farewell)

This morning was the day we held the Celebration Of Life service for my late Father-in-law, LeRoy Bennett. The service was very beautiful, a great memorial in honoring him. Many people spoke of their love, admiration, and respect for him, and the many wonderful memories they had of him, myself included. My wife, Tikvah, even sang one of his favorite songs in a cappella. Afterwards we went to the cemetery for the internment. At the conclusion of that portion, people hung around to pay their final respects. My 19 year old son, Sean-Patrick, then contributed with his own special dedication for his grandfather: he sang "Death Is Not The End" by Bob Dylan, while accompanying himself on guitar & harmonica. It was very beautiful... and moving.

We've all experienced our ride on the emotional roller coaster this past week. It's never easy to lose a loved one, and you are never really "over it." But the key to moving on is in learning how to live without someone, but not forgetting them.