31 August 2012

Year 2, Day 231 (What A Night)

My appointment to deliver this morning was for 0800. When I left from Pacific, MO at a little after 1900 last night I still had about 600 miles to go. I made it... and I was also able to make a stop at a Starbucks in the process. I arrived here at 0508 this morning, then napped until 0750. The running itself wasn't bad, it's having to do it through the night that takes a toll on you. What I'll be doing next is unknown, and really, at this point, I'm not too concerned. After all, I won't be able to drive again until 1508. The good thing about this whole ordeal is that Sabbath is - quite literally - around the corner. After these past few days, a day of rest is not only in order, but also will be well received.

May your Sabbath (if you observe) be blessed and full of joy! With Rosh HaShanah drawing near, may it be as sweet as the honey covered apples that usher in the New Year!

30 August 2012

Year 2, Day 230 (This Is Going To Be A Long Day)

Once I started off yesterday morning (about 1100 CT), I finished off the trip to Rochelle, IL. By then I had received a pre-plan, picking up in Franklin Park, IL (just north west of Chicago). I arrived there at 1700, just in time for my appointment. Sadly, the load wasn't ready, and wouldn't be until as late as 2300. I've always taken issue with situations like that. My opinion has always been that if the customer cannot keep to their own appointment schedule, then why make them in the first place? I didn't leave from there until after 0200 this morning. Since this load is due to deliver at 0800 tomorrow morning in McKinney, TX, then that means I have a full day ahead of me. Having had adequate time (an 8 hour break, a.k.a. doing a split sleeper break) to drive for several hours, I made my way to Pacific, MO, just west of St. Louis. From here I'll take a full 10 hour break then leave again (after getting fuel) at a little after 1900.

The good thing is I have plenty of music to occupy the miles, with Morcheeba's Who Can You Trust? being next in queue. With less than 600 miles to go, I still have some ground to cover.

29 August 2012

Year 2, Day 239 (If You Fly, Don't Use Delta)

Today my wife, Tikvah, has returned after a two week vacation to California. She went out there not only to visit some family, but also to check out some of the houses for sale that we had seen online. She had flown on Delta Airlines, which, she has already vowed, she will never do again. First, when her and her mother arrived in LAX, and went to the baggage claim area, Tikvah had noticed that one of her bags had been destroyed. Some machine had torn a hole into the suitcase, thereby destroying practically all the clothes that were contained within (one of which was a dress that still had the original $300 price tag on it).

The Delta representative had told her that she was very sorry, and if she would buy some new clothes, Delta would reimburse her (which was actually moot, since some of the clothes she had lost had not even been worn yet). She actually didn't want to buy new clothes, but she did. She saved the receipts from her purchases. Unfortunately, when she arrived back at LAX yesterday, she couldn't locate some of the receipts. All she is getting reimbursed is $125... that doesn't even cover the one dress she had lost (the one with the $300 price tag). Needless to say, because of this fiasco, Tikvah has said she will stick with American Airlines... and Delta can stick it!

28 August 2012

Year 2, Day 238 (So Far, So Good)

The new week has begun, though with a few hitches... such as yesterday's delivery appointment at Tyson was for 0600 (CT), but they didn't put me in a door until nearly noon, which, in turn, caused me to be late for my loading appointment. I arrived here in North Little Rock early this morning, even making a stop in Rogers, AR for my Starbucks taste. This next load has me heading up to Rochelle, IL to deliver by 2300 tomorrow. It seems as though the infamous humidity has begun its return to Arkansas. Honestly I didn't miss it one bit. Driving a truck can definitely take you through a variety of weather patterns. For example, I once left from Tulsa, OK on a Friday at about 103°, the following Tuesday in was in the mid-70's in Woodinville, WA. That was a welcomed treat indeed.

Not only are there differences in weather from one region to another, but also the culture as well (but I won't bother with detailing my observations, as it would probably bore you). Traveling about the country is nice at times, but I look forward to this time next year when my wife and I will make the final move back to California.

How I have missed California!!

27 August 2012

Year 2, Day 238 (A New Week Has Begun)

This load was scheduled to unload at 0600 (CT) this morning, but Tyson apparently didn't feel they should keep to their own schedule, thus I wasn't unloaded until 1100. This delay thus caused me to be late for my next load, which was scheduled for 1130 in Kansas City, MO, about 90 miles away. But I can't complain, really... I have employment, and a loving family.

While I wait for the unloading to be completed, I've decided to partake of the last of my yogurt.

This next load is only going to North Little Rock, AR for tomorrow. As of right now, there's no telling what travels lie ahead. One thing is for certain, there will be coffee involved.

Oh yes, there will be coffee.

May you have a blessed day!

26 August 2012

Year 2, Day 237 (A Lazy Day)

Today has been just what the title implies... and much welcomed. I've spend much of the day engaged in Torah study... because I can. Perked up some coffee and occasionally watched out the truck window as the rain fell earlier. Shortly I will enjoy some of the cobbed corn that I cooked up in the crockpot.

I had somebody recently suggest that I boil it. I've had it that way when I was younger, but doing so takes away some of the flavor. Since I don't have a grill, the crockpot seems to be a pretty good alternative. I also have some leftover Caribbean Wings, so I'll finish those up along with the corn (which will be slathered in butter - or at least what is being passed off as butter - and some salt & pepper). It may not be a gourmet (or even elegant) meal, but it works. And since the corn was free, that makes it better still.

That and coffee.

25 August 2012

Year 2, Day 236 (This Week Is Nearly Over)

Today, being the Sabbath, is a much welcomed day, not only for its benefit of rest, but because it marks the end of this past week... which I do not care to repeat. Ever. I have found that when I spend time in the Scriptures daily, and try diligently to do no work on the Sabbath, but focus more upon G-d, the week I have just completed seems like a burden lifted, and the week to come is less stressful. This past week, though it was an anomaly, I view as more of a test. As servants of HaShem (God), and believers in Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah), we get spiritual tests in order to strengthen our faith and refine our character.

Though this past week was low on the productivity scale, HaShem gave me a peace and joy regardless of the sitting I had been doing, or the sudden hurdles that arose. Just so I'm not misunderstood, serving HaShem is a joy, not a burden... and He is certainly NOT a "quick fix" for all your problems. It takes devotion, study, and perseverance. Anything of a spiritual nature that can be fixed right away, won't last for very long. When we stay devoted to our studies, and keep our hearts focused on The Holy One, Blessed is He, then over time we can reflect upon our lives and attitudes and see what positive changes had transpired... we can see how our lives have been - and continue to be - transformed, by seeking His guidance, and studying His Scriptures for a deeper understanding of who He is. By doing so we also gain a deeper understanding of His Commandments (there's more than just 10).

If you have questions, feel free to drop me a line. I may not be a Torah scholar, but I will try to seek an answer, and send you in the direction that will give you your own deeper understanding of The Scriptures and their meaning.

24 August 2012

Year 2, Day 235 (An Interesting Day, So To Speak)

The day - and its excitement - actually began last night. When I arrived at the customer, I tried (operative word: tried) to maneuver around their lot to set up for a parking spot. Several factors should be considered at this point: the property was not on level ground (in fact, there were several inclines that all converged at one point, which would have been the ideal place to put a storm drain), and the employee parking was assigned in the most inconvenient place... between the building and where their own delivery trucks were parked. As I swung around on this multi-angled lot, (to make a long story short) my trailer (being positioned on one of the inclines) popped the catwalk off the frame of the truck (which was positioned on a different incline). Then this morning, the customer rejected 7 pallets of bell peppers because they were bad.

After a few hours, I've been sent to White Pine, TN (about 30 miles east of Knoxville) to get them unloaded at a different facility. Once I'm done here I'll be able to head to Shelbyville, TN to pick up my next load. We have a drop trailer there, but having been to that facility several times, the load won't be ready until just before midnight.

With the Sabbath approaching, I am really looking forward to this one... I think I really need a rest. Perhaps next week will be MUCH better.

Shabbat Shalom!

23 August 2012

Year 2, Day 234 (Delivery Has Been Changed)

My repairs were completed yesterday right around noon, but I still had to wait a couple hours before the CSR had dispatched me on a load. Once that happened, it also turns out that the load had two pick-ups, the second of which took longer than I had hoped. Because of that delay, the delivery in Knoxville, TN (between 0800-1500 today) was delayed until tomorrow morning. My next load will be just as exciting (note the sarcasm): tomorrow night I pick up in Shelbyville, TN delivering Monday morning in Sedalia, MO.

My wife, Tikvah, is still in California, but she heads back home next Wednesday. I was due to go home on 5 September, but, after some considerable contemplation, I will extend that out to return home in early October... this way I will be home for our anniversary. Sure, I have to stay out a few weeks more, but I will NOT miss this anniversary, as it will mark 20 years she has put up with me.

I think a bottle of Chateau Montelena chardonney would be in order!

22 August 2012

Year 2, Day 233 (The Repairs Are Being Done)

This morning repairs began on the trailer in order to get me back on the road. The technicians that were working on it did so for a little over an hour, then left again, presumably to get other parts... though it's not exactly clear, as they didn't express so prior to leaving. When they did leave, I went to the back of the trailer to check the progress to find they still had some work ahead of them. It is all still in the hands of HaShem, my G-d (for those who may be unfamiliar with this Name, it is one of the Hebrew Names of G-d... one of the many Names. HaShem literally translates to The Name, implying that His Name - written in Hebrew as יהוה - is so sacred within Judaism, that we don't read it as it is written, but rather shorten it to HaShem).

Years ago (possibly even this time last year) I would have been fraught with frustration at such a delay because it detracts from my making money. What's happened now? I've been trying to be more focused and diligent in my involvement of Torah study. On the road I'm trying to become more disciplined in waking up at least 1 1/2 hours before I need to start driving for the day. During that time, I am going through that day's section of the weekly Torah portion (reading the commentaries of the various Sages, as well) and following it up with the Daily Dose of Torah section for that day. Trust me, this is not an easy path to navigate as I wasn't raised in Judaism, nor do I have a Rabbi or Torah scholar whom I can study under (where I live in Arkansas, the local idea of going to a deli is in making a trip to Walmart).

Though I have been here since early Sunday morning, I am still at peace. I can't change the circumstances. Besides, why would I even want to change them? Each day we are presented with a variety of decisions to make and paths to choose... we should also be willing to accept the consequences for those paths & decisions that we make, should they prove to be the wrong ones. Today it's become all to common that people do NOT want to take responsibility for their actions (a case in point is this news from 3 months ago, or this blog from yesterday - which includes a 4 minute video worth watching).

Every day is a learning experience. The question is... will you choose to learn from it, or blame somebody else that it happened?

You choose.

21 August 2012

Year 2, Day 232 (I'll Be Back On The Road Today... Hopefully)

Yesterday turned out to be a dead end, since the shop (still searching for the parts for disc brakes for a 53' trailer) was unable to make any real progress, but today may have some progress. It's a good sign when I received a pre-plan on a load bound for Tennessee. In the meantime, while I'm still waiting, I think I should walk over to the Starbucks for a little "taste." My wife, Tikvah, and my Mother-in-law are still out in California. Tikvah will be coming back next week, but Pat will be staying out there a few weeks more. Yesterday they made the drive up to Las Vegas to visit with some family I have up there (and so Tikvah can finally meet - and begin the process of spoiling - our nephew, Liam). This morning, she so happily unformed me, my brother, Larry, is bringing over some bagels & cream cheese. I shouldn't be too envious, as Nathan and I had some lox & bagels a few weeks ago when he was on the truck with me.

Tomorrow or Thursday Tikvah will more than likely check out the houses in the Hemet area, where we plan on moving to next year. She has seen the listings on the internet, but she's taking the opportunity to see them "up close and personal", that the photos online match the real thing (people use Photo Shop to sell a house?!). I am very much looking forward to moving back to California... my heart is no longer desiring to remain in Arkansas.

20 August 2012

Year 2, Day 231 (Blessed Beyond Belief)

Yes, as the parenthetical title implies, I am blessed beyond belief. One would think that something spectacular has happened - it hasn't. In fact, I am still sitting here in Oak Creek, WI, waiting for the repair shop to get the parts needed to fix the brakes on the trailer (apparently, disc brakes on a 53' trailer are still considered uncommon), and the load going to New Jersey had been taken off of me. How much longer will it take to get the parts is unknown, as is what my next load will be... but one thing is certain, I am here for a reason, a purpose. In fact, we ALL have a purpose, not just to wander through life aimlessly or "try to be a good person."

I wasn't raised in Jewish traditions, in fact, quite the opposite. However, I have been try to live my life as if I had, which means I've been trying to catch up for the past several years. This past year I have been diligently trying to really get involved in studying the Torah, by taking each weekly portion and breaking it up unto daily readings, and accompanying it with that day's section of Daily Dose Of Torah. There have been several times where I fell behind, but I have made every effort to try to recoup. The point of all this is that, even though I'm sitting here waiting for the aforementioned part (or parts), then I'll have no real idea what my next load will consist of, or where I will head to, I am still blessed. HaShem blessed me with another day of life... He has blessed me with an awesome wife and four wonderful sons... I have a place to call home. These are things that all of us take for granted daily, yet very seldom are we thankful, TRULY thankful. I had been one. For some reason it's as if my heart has been overwhelmed with gratitude and joy.

HaShem, my G-d, is truly an awesome G-d!

19 August 2012

Year 2, Day 230 (All's Well That Ends... Not So Well)

When I shut down this morning in Cedar Falls, IA I was nearly out of hours, and exhausted. When I got up 8 1/2 hours later, I found out I had more hours come back (using the split-sleeper method) than I thought. So I left out for Ottawa, IL, in order to get there before 1600. It worked out, having a 2 hour break while getting unloaded. On the way up to Green Bay, I stopped at one of the Travel Oases on the I-294 Toll Road in Illinois (for Starbucks), and stopped in Oak Creek, WI to top off the tank for the reefer fuel and get the trailer washed out. About a 1/2 mile down the road a tire blew. To make a long story short, not only did I lose my remaining drive time waiting for the tire to get replaced, I also had to return to the truck stop (and being in violation of my logbook) because the brakes locked up on the axle that the tire blew on, and it may not be until Monday - maybe even Tuesday - before the service is able to get the parts to replace the caliper, disc pads, and the rotor on that tire.

As of right now, I have no idea what's going to happen with this load, and I don't want to leave an unresolved issue for another driver to deal with. No telling what's going to happen next. I would say, "what else could go wrong," but that would just be an invitation for something else to happen. Maybe I'll get an opportunity to get a bike ride in.

And Starbucks.

18 August 2012

Year 2, Day 229 (Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, New Jersey)

I waited a few hours after getting unloaded yesterday before I received my next run. Although about an hour earlier I received a message to head to the Tyson (UGH!) in Storm Lake, IA. I knew how to get to Storm Lake, but since there were no directions nor phone number that I could refer to, I stayed in Mason City until I could get such things. This load only goes to Ottawa, IL, then my next run doesn't pick up until Monday in Green Bay. That load I am NOT looking forward to, since it goes to New Jersey. I have come to loathe the east, from New Jersey to Georgia, and the states west of there (Louisiana, Mississippi, the Carolinas, etc.). I have been trying to get a load to the northwest for a couple months now, especially as of recently, since I have my bike on the truck with me. There are several reasons why I desire to go up to that area. One is the bike path in Woodinville, WA. Another is the bike same in the same, so I can get my bike looked at and tuned up. Since I am acquainted with the manager there, I trust them (plus I can get a few pointers on maintenance/tune ups), plus my brakes are feeling a little weak - since I've never worked on disc brakes, I'll leave it to somebody that knows what they're doing... and I don't trust basically any business in Arkansas, let alone just the bike shops (as few as they may be).

For some reason over the past few months, the CSR's at the company I drive for like keeping me in the east. I have driven the east so much in the past several years that I can't stand going out there anymore. Screw it! I'm so frustrated right now... I give up!

This being the Sabbath, I am trying very hard to leave it to HaShem's control... He knows better than I do anyway. People often wonder why I consider so few people as "friends". The reason being I just don't trust people in general. Very few I do trust, and that is the result of either a very long - and trustworthy - relationship, or being tied in together through adverse circumstances... sometimes a combination of both, which has culminated to form a strong bond between us. So, yeah, my list of "friends" is short. The years have taught me who I can fully trust.

Who do YOU trust?

17 August 2012

Year 2, Day 228 (It's Friday, A.K.A. Sabbath)

I arrived in Mason City, IA at nearly 2030 last night for my delivery this morning. I was fortunate to have checked in early, because I found out my appointment was for 1000, not the 1100 as put on the work assignment by the CSR. As of right now, all I know is I am to head to Tyson in Storm Lake, IA, but have no clue as to where it is, let alone the weight & temperature of the product, nor its destination.

Surprisingly enough, the temperature this morning was quite cool, I would guess somewhere in the low 60's. I've always enjoyed waking to mornings like that.

Now if you'll excuse me, I must find some coffee... and figure out how to get to Tyson in Storm Lake, IA.

May you have a joyous Sabbath!

16 August 2012

Year 2, Day 227 (Another Week I Won't Be Heading West)

Yesterday proved to be more of a productive - and less exhausting - day. After arriving to the customer in Owingsville, KY (about 30-45 minutes east of Lexington) at around 1430 (ET), and thus being quickly unloaded, I made my way to Mt. Sterling, KY, which was only 8 miles away. Before leaving Owingsville, I called the customer in Mt. Sterling to get some accurate directions (just by looking at the directions that were put in the system, I could tell they were wrong: I-65 does NOT go anywhere near Mt. Sterling), only to find out that the CSR had another driver pick the load up for me (since it was unsure if I would get there before the customer closed for the day), yet I found out initially from the customer, not from the CSR. I met with the other driver, swapped trailers, and I am now on my way to Mason City, IA for tomorrow. I'm bummed because I'm anxious to take my bike on the trail in Woodinville, WA, but in order to do that, I need to get to Woodinville... and those loads only come out of Tulsa, OK on Fridays.

As of yesterday, my wife, Tikvah, and I have caused each to be jealous of the other, in a good way: she is spending a couple weeks in California, and I had some lamb for dinner the other night (and I still have plenty of leftovers). Today, I started the day from the rest area of which I parked last night, somewhere between Champaign and Bloomington, IL. The day is already starting out wet.

I need coffee!

15 August 2012

Year 2, Day 226 (What A Taxing Day)

After just a few hours of sleep, I was up at around 0900 (CT) to try and sort out the whole fiasco of the 72 rejected cases. Once I had things started concerning that, I tried to get a little more sleep until the claims department had done what was needed on their end, after which I took the product to a facility not far from where I delivered to "pass it off" to them. That in itself threw the day off track. While I waited for that facility to work their end, I put the butterflied Leg of Lamb in the marinade to sit for a while, then put the lamb and the baby potatoes in the crock pot, where it simmered on low all day.

Finding the customer where I was loading was not a problem, getting the load put on efficiently, however, was a little arduous. By the time I was loaded, with bills in hand, my remaining drive-time had already begun ticking down. Racing against the clock is not fun, especially if your sleep had been broken throughout the day. I almost made it to Charleston, WV before shutting down, plus made a stop at a Starbucks earlier in the day.

Oh... and the lamb (in the words of my friend Lauri Rottmayer) was "Fabu"!

14 August 2012

Year 2, Day 225 (What A Day... And Night)

When I was finally loaded yesterday (it took them a while) I made one stop along the way (to get some Starbucks) then arrived at the customer in Aberdeen, MD 3 hours early for my delivery. The brought me in about 1 1/2 hours before my appointment, but didn't start unloading until about 3 hours after. To make matters worse, they rejected 72 cases of product (frozen cookie dough). Now instead of heading into New Jersey for my next load, I'm going to have to wait until I find out where I need to go to get rid of this damaged product.

In the meantime, I'm going to attempt to get a few hours of sleep until Monica gets in, or even when Lance takes the helm... an hour before Monica. This doesn't happen very often. When it does, we usually have to go to a food bank to donate the product. Only time (the next few hours) will tell, and hopefully it won't continue to be a fiasco.

13 August 2012

Year 2, Day 224 (A Short Day)

I arrived at the customer in Harrisburg, PA yesterday evening at around 1745 (CT), even though they don't start receiving until 2100 (ET). Today doesn't pose a big emergency, as the pre-plan I was given on Friday is, well, basically a waste of time. It loads today in Allentown, PA and delivers at midnight in Aberdeen, MD... not even covering 200 miles. Needless to say, I was none too pleased to get this load. The CSR, however, is trying to make it up, since I received a pre-plan for tomorrow, going from Mullica Hill, NJ to Owingsville, KY for Wednesday at noon.

Now that the Olympics are over, we can get back to the more pressing issues at hand... like the media bombarding us with more politics and the upcoming election. Obama/Biden and Romney/Ryan... we are really in trouble regardless of what the outcome is. I nominate, for the office of The President, The Chemical Brothers: Charlie Sheen/Rob Lowe

Methinks I'll stop by a Starbucks.

12 August 2012

Year 2, Day 223 (It's Nice To Catch Up With Old Friends)

Yesterday was mainly spent immersed in Torah, which, in this line of work, is always nice when I just just shut down and have the Torah as my only focus for the day. Once the sun had set, just on the spur of the moment, I decided to call a friend, whom I hadn't spoken to in some time. Mike and I had served together in the Marine Corps, and because of the things we had done together during that time, is one I can truly refer to as a friend. After 4 years in the Corps, he ended up going into the Army (why a Marine would do that, is beyond me). He apparently enjoys it, as he has served his country for over 20 years now. He and his wife live in the Nashville area, and though I've passed through there on several occasions, I have yet to get together with him, either because, a) I was limited on time, or, b) he was unavailable.

Mike was a good kid back when we served together, and has become a respected man, Father, and husband. I asked his when he would ever retire from the Army. He said he wasn't entirely sure, since he was "still having fun." He was always gung-ho like that. Once a Marine, always a Marine... even in the Army!

Semper Fi, brother!

11 August 2012

Year 2, Day 222 (Getting A Re-Start In North Carolina)

North Carolina may not be my ideal choice to shut down for 34 hours... in fact, it's on the opposite end of the spectrum of choices. But I'm here. I really don't need a 34 hour re-start on my logbook, but since this load doesn't deliver until 2100 (ET) on Sunday, I decided to shut down here in Jonesville, NC for the Sabbath, and since I'm here for the Sabbath, I may as well stay for a re-start. Had it not been for the traffic in the Atlanta area, I may have even made it to Ft. Chiswell, VA... but what is done, is done.

Surprisingly the weather in central to southern Georgia was mild yesterday, around the mid-70's (for anybody who has been in Georgia in August, that is quite mild). The weather up here in North Carolina was about the same. In fact, cool enough to turn the truck off and sleep without the use of the APU (Auxiliary Power Unit, providing heat or air for the sleeper without idling the truck), which as people of the south and east know, this time of year is usually hot, or humid, sometimes both... even at night. Some truck drivers will turn their truck off and roll the windows down at night. I don't. Call me paranoid, but I don't like allowing access to unwanted visitors, be it mosquitos or thieves. Besides, since I close the "wrap-around" curtains, having the windows open would be counter-productive.

Now it's time to brew up some coffee and engage in this week's Torah portion,

10 August 2012

Year 2, Day 221 (I Want Away From The East)

I made my delivery this morning in Forest Park, GA then made my way to Unadilla, GA, a little more than 100 miles away. This run will take me up to Harrisburg, PA for Sunday night. There are several things I don't like about the east. For one thing (and this holds especially true in many of the "southern" states) the people are quite rude and inconsiderate. Another thing is that there are more congested areas as you go east. Sure, there is congestion in places like L.A. or Seattle, but at least you know where it begins, ends, and when you won't have any traffic for miles. Whereas is the east, it seems as though it's one big traffic congestion, with a periodic break every now and then. Denver is rarely as bad as Atlanta... even with construction zones.

The way this load is set up, I'm not due for delivery until 2100 (ET) on Sunday, so I may do some driving once I get loaded, then shut down for the Sabbath and finish up on Sunday.

Speaking of the Sabbath, may yours (if you keep the Sabbath) be full of abundant peace and joy!

Shabbat Shalom!!

09 August 2012

Year 2, Day 220 (A True Audiophile)

This past weekend, when I was at home, one of the tasks I take on from time to time is converting some of my vinyl records onto my iTunes library. There have been many people that have asked me how that is done. Anybody who is a tech geek (like myself) will either find the technology or find a way. Fortunately I have the former, a turntable that plugs directly into the computer via a USB cord.

I have sporadically gone through this conversion procedure for the past few years, sometimes a song or two from an album, sometimes an entire album. This weekend was a little of both. One of the complete albums undergoing said process was one which I had not heard in its entirety in years (since high school, to be exact), yet still remains intact as one of his best albums, period. the album: The Nylon Curtain by Billy Joel. Though radio stations still play "Allentown", and occasionally throw on "Pressure", there are still many solid gold gems among those grooves, including the Beatles-esque Magical Mystery Tour era flavored "Scandinavian Skies" as well as Joel's tribute to Viet Nam veterans, "Goodnight Saigon".

Even though there is a program - which I have - to clean up the "pops" and "hisses" that are trademarks of vinyl record, I choose not to simply because that's the beauty of music via vinyl. That, and the fact that, even decades later, vinyl is STILL superior for the quality and depth in music.

08 August 2012

Year 2, Day 219 (What Shall I Do Today... I Think Drive)

I completed this trip by arriving in Hanover Park, IL (a suburb just west of Chicago) at just after 2300. My day started (actually continued) from Matthews, MO yesterday at around 1400, since I didn't leave North Little Rock until, well... late. Along the way, I made a stop in Effingham, IL mainly for the purpose of visiting the local Starbucks, but also popping in to Panda Express (which also served as this morning's breakfast). This load, though, had me up at 0330, for a 0400 appointment (i quite sure I've mentioned it before, but I loathe early morning deliveries). After this delivery, and the subsequent completion of the mandated 10 hour break, I headed into Chicago to pick up a candy load.

I had very much hoped for a load that would put me in position to load out of Tulsa, OK on Friday, going to Woodinville, WA/Burnaby, BC. Now that I'm no longer training, I have my bike with me, and I am very anxious and eager to hit the bike trail there in Woodinville. Instead, I'm picking up a load of produce in Wisconsin going to Forest Park, GA (just outside of Atlanta) for Friday. Obviously nowhere near where I would hope to be, but that's the nature of the beast... and I certainly don't plan to go cycling in that area - it's flippin' humid down that way!

At least my Starbucks will help ease the sting of rejection... temporarily.

07 August 2012

Year 2, Day 218 (Today Could Have Been Worse)

So I left out from home yesterday to head back out on the road, only to be told to head to the North Little Rock terminal. The reason for this was there was another driver whose load I was going to re-power. This driver (whom I already knew) was not only bringing his student in to be released, but also getting some work done on his truck. He arrived after 2200 to which I hooked up to that trailer and left, in order to get a couple hundred miles covered before shutting down. It's due in the Chicago area tomorrow morning at 0400, so I'm glad I covered some ground, since that is over 600 miles from North Little Rock.

This new truck seems to be running pretty good, so far. After the past several months of being in a truck that only ran 62 mph, it's a change of pace to have a truck that can go 65. Granted, it's only a difference of 3 mph, but that subtle change can (and does) make a difference in the overall travel time. Plus, with this new truck (and not having to worry about space limitations between two people) I now have my bike with me, and I am eagerly awaiting for a load going up to Woodinvile, WA so I can hit their bike paths.

But for now, I need coffee.

06 August 2012

Year 2, Day 217 (Back To Work)

This is one of those days I usually dread, the reason being I know it's time to go back to work. I've had a very nice time at home, even getting some very quiet time yesterday (Nathan spend the night at his Grandmother's house - my Mother-in-law - to help her with some things, cleaning up the yard, etc.). Last night we purchased an iPod Shuffle for my wife, Tikvah, her first. She had been looking to get an mp3 player for work, and asked me if she did that, could she load some of the songs from our iTunes library on it, I told her only if it was an Apple product. Once we made the purchase and returned home, she asked if I would show her how to put songs on it (since she had never dealt with such an item before). Once we registered the Shuffle, we went through the library to create a playlist for her. I then showed her how simple it was to load songs on the playlist, and that loading them onto the iPod was even easier. She will be trying it out for the first time today, since she received a call yesterday asking if she could help out at the farm.

Relaxation, family, and copious amounts of coffee... yes, this was a VERY good weekend.

05 August 2012

Year 2, Day 216 (A Good Start To The Day)

This is my last day at home before I head back out on the road. I was up this morning at 0630 for the express purpose of getting a ride in for two reasons: a) the weather was a bit cooler, thus more tolerable, and, b) there would be less traffic to deal with. Since I'm still trying to get back into the whole cycling thinig, my trip was 6 1/2 miles, but there were a lot of hills. It may not show on this map of the route I took, but it was causing my thighs to do some screaming at me.

Since I'm no longer training, I've decided to take the bike on the truck with me, this way I'll be able to get the exercise that my line of work is lacking in. I plan on getting my various routes, as well as some pictures, post periodically over the next few weeks.

Now it's time for some coffee.

04 August 2012

Year 2, Day 215 (What A Nice Relaxing Day)

Being as this is the Sabbath, it is a very relaxing day. The weather has been a bit humid, which would explain why I have stayed indoors. However, this time next year, I will not have to have to worry about the humidity, since I will be living in the low desert region of California... hence, low humidity (obviously, that time could not come soon enough). I was born and raised in South Florida, so I spent much of my life in humidity. Ever since being stationed in California while in the Marine Corps, I have come to enjoy those temperates much better. Dry heat is much more tolerant than humidity.

I have missed living in California. But if I can endure just one more year here in Arkansas, I'll be alright. Coffee will help... and scotch... just not combined.

03 August 2012

Year 2, Day 214 (People Are So Easily Distracted)

I have noticed for some time, and most particularly within the past few months, just how unfocused our society is, and how easily their attention can be diverted from what's impotant. Case in point: the Chik-Fil-A "controversy". Things have obviously been blown out of perspective, all thanks to the Main Stream Media. As I have seen it, the comments made by the company's founder were a by-product of the overall interview, but the MSM have zoomed in on one small aspect of the overall issue being discussed. Think about it, because one person has a viewpoint different than your own, makes him (or her, as we have seen in other issues) a "hater" or "bigot"? The bigger picture is not the viewpoints/opinions expressed, but, in fact, the idea that that particular story take precedence over the issues that really matter, such as jobs in America (or lack thereof), the economy, and/or what legislation is being passed, while we are currently being kept occupied with frivolous issues.

For example, Obama's minions talk about the jobs he "created", which are really nothing more than more positions in the government sector and more favors for the union bigshots - a form of "outsourcing", no different from Romney's outsourcing of jobs to India (which is speculated, since the majority of that took place allegedly after he left Bain)... which is no different than what has already been happening at the hands of the "customer service" departments of AT&T, MSN, Verizon, etc. The current Administration "created" jobs, yet there is already in place a program within the Department of Transportation, CSA (short for Compliance, Safety, Accountability), which, when it was put in place, was retroactive. In essence, a driver - whom may have been hit with a couple of speeding tickets in the past few years and is trying to correct his or her mistakes through the passage of time, as well as policing themselves - is graded on a safety score. If it gets to a certain point, they get terminated, regardless of what actions they are currently taking to correct their wrongs. In summation, this is not job creation, but just the opposite. This is no different from NAFTA, the bill that was probably started by the first Bush, then signed into law by Clinton. They said it was going to be good for America, when, instead, it became the "blank check" many companies needed to shut down their operations here in America and move to Mexico. We didn't see the fallout of NAFTA until 5-10 years down the road... do you still think it's "good for America"? Sift through the news and weed out the unimportant, turn off Dancing With The Stars, American Idol, or whatever "reality show" you watch, and focus more upon the important things, like the politicians that are passing legislation that bleed us dry, yet bring them countless benefits.

Have a blessed and joyous Sabbath!

Shabbat Shalom!

02 August 2012

Year 2, Day 213 (There's No Place Like Home)

Nathan and I made it home at just after midnight, getting home much later than I had wanted. I am officially no longer a trainer, though I'm still a little perplexed as to how that came about. I moved into the new truck yesterday, which - because of Nathan's help - took less time than expected. After the move, with some organizing afterward, some minor things were done on the truck (in the shop), but what took so long was the tire seal (and subsequent bearing) on the trailer that had to be replaced. We finally left out of there at a little after 2200.

The good thing is, I no longer have to share what little space those trucks have with another... besides Nathan and Tikvah, that is. I went to bed late last night, but there was coffee this morning (thanks to Tikvah, who, unfortunately, had to work today), so all is good.

01 August 2012

Year 2, Day 212 (On The Final Stretch)

I had hoped to make it to the customer last night before I shut down, but with the hours I had available - and the various delays along the way - I ended up shutting down in Ripley, TN, just 15 miles away and only 7 minutes left on my logbook. I parked at a Walmart for the night only because there was no truck stop. Once I started moving around this morning, and had read today's section of this week's Torah portion, I made my way to the customer to do a drop & hook. I had to make a stop in the North Little Rock terminal to take care of a few things before heading home.

I have enjoyed having Nathan with me for these last few weeks. I was rather bummed than I was unable to secure a load that would take us to the northwest, but at least he was able to get into Canada. This may be a difficult year for my wife and I, for the simple fact that Nathan - the youngest of four boys - will be graduating from high school this upcoming school year. His plans are to go to college, but it's still hard because we will be faced, after all the years, with the "empty nest".

Maybe we'll throw a party.