Saturday, October 29, 2011

Happy Anniversary

Well it's not the happiest of anniversaries...but I am trying to make the best of it...I am in Missouri and Irene is in Texas. I miss you sweetie...stay positive and stay safe! It wont be long and we will be back together and in our own truck.

And thank you for the kind words you shared this morning...but understand that you made me the person I am and I thank you for that...you are my life! You are my best friend...my lover, my soul mate!

I love you!
Randy

Happy Anniversary Love...

I am missing you a bunch and all I can do is think about the day that we are back together again.
Thank you for taking care of me, for being my hero, and for being by my side.  Thank you for being a great dad to our great kids.  You are a wonderful man and you have the biggest heart.  You are always willing to help others and every time I see you do something nice, I remind myself how lucky and fortunate I am to have you as my husband.
Please stay safe…I love you with all my heart!
Your wife,
Irene

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

She's leaving me...

Well the hardest part of our adventure has finally arrived...I knew this day would come and I have tried my best to prepare for it...Irene is leaving me. Yep that's right she has her trainer assigned and she is headed for California from Joplin, MO on her 1st run at midnight tonight. We have been joined at the hips for 10 months now...working together, driving school together, 24/7 for 10 months...and now it's 3 weeks of text message's and phone conversations before we are back together. If all goes well we should be back in our own truck together in about 3 weeks and then we will hit the road as a team. Irene has already talked to her trainer (Vicki) and she seems very nice. Of course Irene is a nervous wreck but she will calm down after a few hours on the road...I hope. I will miss her dearly and it will be strange without her around but we both look forward to finishing our 7500 miles and moving on as a "TEAM" in our adventure...b/c there is no I in TEAM!


Thank you Irene for making me the person I am today...and also pushing me to do my best in life...I am so proud of you for what you have accomplished. Be safe out there sweetheart and please know that you will be in my thoughts every moment...I LOVE YOU!!


Randy

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Stress free...

Well it has been one stressful week in "boot camp" but it's over and Irene and I will be headed back to Joplin, Mo Monday morning to join up with Conway...yep we are in like Flynn! Very stressful to say the least and as you can see Irene had caught me on the front porch of the hotel a couple times talking to the bear...what can I say, he understood me.





We are excited though and have been enjoying ourselves a lot. Another guy was sent home yesterday so the final count in camp was 4...ironically the 2 guys that made it were both from upstate NY...great guys and they will both do well with there careers. We wish them the best.


The week was very rough on Irene and I didn't cut her much slack and neither did the instructors but she did fought through it and prevailed...I am so damn proud of her...I love you sweetie! By the way...you look so darn cute driving that truck. Not your average trucker...lol... I look forward to traveling the country with you.



Much better day...

The worst is over….only one more part left and then we will be on our way.  The next part is to go on the road with our trainers and put in some miles.  I am really looking forward to hitting the road. 
Randy and I both passed all our tests.  We finished everything up today and we get to relax until Monday morning.  On Monday we will go back to Conway, go thru some more orientation, and then wait on getting our trainers.  I hope that it will not take too long.  I don’t want to say that "we made it" until the next three weeks go off without a hitch.  I am not going to feel comfortable and settled until we are assigned our own truck, get on the road, and maybe even get our first delivery paycheck.  But like I said… the worst is now over and I can relax a little.


Maybe soon that will be us!  Cross your fingers...


Friday, October 21, 2011

What a day...

Today was a very difficult day.  We initially started with six drivers and now we are down to four in boot camp.  The first person left earlier in the week and today the second person was sent home for not driving up to standards.  It’s kind of like being on survivor; you hope that you don’t get sent home.  Both Randy and I were distraught by what happened this morning and after that we did not drive well at all.  It was one of the worst driving days we have had.  We did not do anything bad or anything, it’s just that we did not drive well.  Tomorrow is our last day in boot camp with only two skill tests left, and I’m hoping it goes better.  After tomorrow we will have about 7,500 miles to really learn how to drive.  We will be sent out with our trainers to finish our training and perfect our abilities.  There is so much more to it than I thought there would be and it is not easy.  If it was just driving, then it would be cake, but it’s all the other stuff that I will be responsible for.  For example…if a car runs a red light and T-bones me (the truck), I will still be charged because it’s my responsibility to prevent this collision from happening.  I am accountable for searching and scanning all potential hazards.  The other driver will get a ticket, but I will be charged with a preventable accident.  Is this crazy or what?
ATTENTION:  ALL CAR/SUV drivers…please keep in mind that most tractor trailers when loaded weigh close to 80,000 lbs. and are unable to STOP fast.  In perfect conditions, going 55mph it will take about a length and a half of a football field to come to a stop.  Now add rain, ice, snow, or higher speed and it is almost impossible to stop in time.  Our only chance and yours is to avoid an accident all together by being prepared.  Also, please keep in mind that most tractor trailers need a lot more room when making turns.  Their only option is to borrow some of your lane.  Please be kind, as the streets were not designed for big vehicles and give them space.  When you see a tractor trailer, the best thing to do is to stay out of their way and NOT try to beat them by getting in front of them or close to either side.  However, if you have to pass a tractor trailer, always pass on the left as the right side is the driver’s blind side and he/she cannot see you.
OK, enough of me whining like a baby…there are lots and lots of drivers who have driven for many years without accidents and who have had successful careers in trucking.  Today one of the instructors gave us some advice and I can’t stop thinking about it.  I think that this advice can be applied to anything in life.  The instructor said that I should attempt to be a better driver than Randy, and Randy should try being a better driver than me.  I also should try being the best driver over everyone else and the same goes for Randy.  This is how we can push ourselves to the next level of driving safely.  This process should never stop.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Night drive...

Never really thought that my 1st night drive that I would ever do would be at 3am but it was. The instructor picked us up at 3am sharp from the hotel and asked who was 1st...I figured what the heck I may as well get it over with...Irene probably would have but the caffeine hadn't kicked in yet...lol We rolled away from the motel and the instructor informed me that we were going into town to drive a truck route thru downtown...great, not only dark as heck out but also maneuver through this little town of Neosho. It was about a 45 minute run and I got everyone back in one piece...definitely a different beast in the dark. Irene went 2nd in the rotation once the coffee brought her to life and she had a good drive as well...I think she got a little testy with the instructor but we wont go there...lol...shes not a morning person.

After breakfast we headed out to practice our coupling and un-coupling of the trailer and then sliding our trailer tandems (axles). Once finished the fun began...we headed to the obstacle course. I have to admit the course is very challenging...we will definitely need some more hours on there...lol

It's been a great week so far though and although we spent 7 weeks at driving school in Wilmington, what we have learned here is the next level. Once we finish Saturday we will start with our Conway trainers next week and they will bring us up one more level over the weeks we will be together on the road. The excitement continues...stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pics of Randy

Today we got to see the obstacle course that we will need to get thru in order to move on to the next step.  Tomorrow we are getting picked up at 3:00 am to start night driving and after that we will be heading for the obstacle course.  Yes, that is 3:00 am.  If getting up so early does not kill me, then NO coffee will.  Not cool at all…
These are a couple of pictures I snapped today of Randy.  Oh by the way, it was in the 30’s today.  I froze my behind.  Tomorrow it is supposed to be even colder.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Different life...

Here I am in the middle of the United States, not knowing one single person (other then Randy), in a low end motel, with no transportation and no way of even remotely thinking about eating well.  The name of the motel is “BooneslickLodge”, if that tells you anything.
I am praying and hoping to get thru this next step of the job hiring process.  Yesterday I failed the fitness test.  Yes, I sure did!  I can’t believe it.  It baffles me, because I really did not think that I was that bad off.  If I do make it past this Friday, I will have to separate from Randy for THREE weeks.  I am not sure how that will go over.  I hate even thinking about it.
Today was most definitely a better day.  I am truly hoping that all this is worth it.  Sometimes I ask myself “what am I doing?”  I am impressed with the company that we have signed on with, but I do continue to have doubts about this industry.  It feels more like one of those get rich schemes, and everyone promises you everything in the world.  The reality of it is that only a select few survive.  Not many people make it past 6 months of trucking. 
I did get a little taste of living on the road and it’s really not that bad (with the exception of the eating and the accommodations).  I am not itching to go home, so I think that I have overcome the first hurdle.  Randy and I walked from our motel room to Wal-Mart to get some necessities earlier today and I said to Randy “I feel like poor people”.  Randy looked at me and replied “we are poor but we are rich in health and family".  I said to him " you are rich in health…I failed my fitness test, remember?" (lol).  This experience has definitely humbled us both.

What a differance 24 hrs. makes

Woke up this morning and it was 48 degrees...not really liking that. They are saying tonight it is going down to 34...hello we came from NC where it was high 80's when we left...heading to the store after dinner to buy some warmer clothes...LOL

Well we have made it through the 1st day of boot camp. We had a great day and actually was able to get some seat time after lunch. The school has top notch equipment and our truck this afternoon was a 2007 Kenworth T2000...what a sweat ride. We spent the afternoon driving around an old military base that has been closed for years. It was very nerve racking at 1st but after a few minutes of seat time everyone settled in and the driving got better. Irene and I are not use to such new equipment and neither were the other 3 students in the truck with us. Half way through the afternoon we had one student get called up to the front office and we all thought oh no...another one gone. Luckily though he had his discrepancy straightened out and he rejoined us later in the day.Tomorrow we will head onto the highway (as long as we don't freeze to death...lol) and get our city driving in...later in the day we will do some defensive driving moves on the campus at an obstacle course that they have set up...that should be a white knuckle experience...stay tuned!

Monday, October 17, 2011

1st day done...

Well the 1st day of orientation is over and Irene and I are very impressed with Conway. They are very organized and everyone is very professional. They really like the husband/wife team thing so I feel we were special to them. We passed all our test and DOT physical and I passed the fitness test...but someone else (Irene) didn't quite cut it...something about her heart rate got to high...guess I have to whip her into shape I guess. She was fine though b/c this fitness test is something new they are experimenting with and it doesn't count towards employment. It will someday but not today.

We have moved now to Neosho, MO where we will attend Crowder Comm. College for Conway's "boot camp" for one week. I am in paradise here...we are staying at the Booneslick Lodge and from the moment we pulled up I knew I was home. There was a deer antler light hanging on the front porch, walked in the door... pine log furniture, walls done in tongue and groove pine...what a man's paradise! Even better was a billboard ad of a store on the way over, it was called the Outdoor Enthusiast...on it was a picture of a riding mower,chainsaw,shotgun, and handgun...talk about getting your testosterone level up...argh, argh, argh!!

Well enough for now...big day tomorrow...stay tuned!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

This sign is around the corner from where we are staying...and of course Randy wanted me to take his picture.

We made it...

Sitting in our room at the Holiday Inn located in Joplin MO and figured I would bring everyone up to speed. Irene is sound asleep...she is still battling a cold that she has had this whole trip and has been quite the good sport considering her condition.

We arrived here at 1:30 this morning and the company had a taxi take us to the hotel. Along the way the cab driver was kind enough to take us through the area of the city that was destroyed by the tornado this past May. Even in the moonlight you could clearly see the devastation and loss that took place during this tragic event. Mother nature can be so powerful at times...homes, apartments, businesses, and life...totally gone in seconds.

We arrived at the hotel and as my luck would have it they were booked solid, so much for the company getting us set up with accommodation's...lol...we went over to Denny's at the corner and had a bite to eat while they figured things out. I have to admit when we walked into the restaurant I was a little frightened at the way people looked and dressed out here...then I found out these patrons had just got off work from a local haunted house open for Halloween...silly me. Finally some solid food and not out of a bus terminal vending machine. After we ate everything was straightened out and we got in our rooms at 5:30am...hot shower and to sleep in minutes...a bed and pillow...heaven after 38hrs sleeping upright in a bus seat.

Ironically while checking in at the Holiday Inn we met a driver from Conway Truckload who was there for the night while his truck was being serviced...he had nothing but positive things to say about the company. That's nice to hear and reassures us in our decision to go with Conway...stay tuned!

Ty (Aka Randy)

My Hot huband! I think he can replace Ty....

Saturday, October 15, 2011

St. Louis Mo. almost there.

About 28 hours into this trip and counting...10 more to go...I have to be insane to have let Irene talk me into taking a bus. Actually Conway truck is footing the bill so I cant argue. I have to admit I have not been the easiest to deal with so far on this trip. Irene is a saint and has been enjoying it all the way...for the most part, except when I whine. We have been through NC, SC, GA, TN, KY, and now MO...I have seen a lot of unusual and interesting things along the way...trust me. I now know where Jerry Springer finds his guest for his shows...Greyhound terminals!

When we rolled out of Nashville TN at 4:30 this morning I was shown just how much I have to be thankful for...and how bad things could be. We rounded the corner out of the bus stop and came to the stop light and there sleeping on the sidewalk outside a building was a homeless family (mother,father,kids). I haven't complained about the trip since. If there was anyway I could have stopped that bus I would have...one does not truly know how wonderful there life is until you see a situation like that. Its hard to get a memory like that out of your head...wish that I only could have helped them, even if it was just a warm meal.

So now we sit at the city with the Arch...it is beautiful here. Atlanta was wonderful all lit up at night...these cities are to hectic for this country boy though. As we drove through Illinois and Kentucky and now Missouri I couldn't help my mind from going into hunter mode. Now I understand why the deer are so big here, Soybean and Corn fields everywhere...my kind of living now. Hurt a little to think that today is the opening of deer season back home and I will not be there to enjoy it. 1st opening day I can ever remember missing...but I have to work and that comes 1st...the deer will always be there...but jobs are hard to come by...takes me back to the family in Nashville...just not fair.

Bus Ride to Joplin

To make things easier we decided to take the Greyhound bus to get to Joplin.  We are currently in Vienna Illinois.  It is 10:30 am and no coffee in sight.  I can't believe that we have spent the last 24 hours eating out of vending machines.  Wow what a life...but believe it or not, Randy is having a harder time with all this then I am.  He made me promise that we will never ever take another bus.  But you know what they say...don't ever say "never". 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Thank you…

Thank you Randy for being so kind and supportive. 

We have been hired...

Been a while since I posted and felt this was a great time. Let me back up a bit 1st...as Irene had mentioned in an early blog we have graduated from driving school. I would like to take this time to thank my wife for pushing me to do my best in class and in the truck. I would also like to tell my wife that I am very proud of her for sticking it out and battling through all the tough days we had in the heat and the pain she fought from her knee being injured in class...not to easy using that clutch with an injured left knee. I love you Irene...you are one tough cookie!

Okay...now back to the present. We have been hired by Conway Truck out of Joplin Mo. We are scheduled to start orientation on the 17th of October. We will spend one week in class and then 3 weeks or (7500 miles whichever comes 1st) on the truck with our trainers. After that we will come back to Joplin and at that time receive our own truck. We are very excited and cannot wait to start traveling the 48 and Canada...best of all I get to do it with my best friend, my partner, my wife.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

President's Award

Congratulations to Randy, the love of my life, for getting the President’s award in class.  We both have passed the class with A’s and we now have our CDL Class A licenses.

Now we are in the process of taking the next step and sign on with a good company.  Wish us luck...