Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Look Back

AS we sit waiting on a trailer at a truck stop in Denver an old friend from Greenville, NC reminded me that I should blog…(thanks Guerry).  Actually he asked me what the Blog address was…but I think that he meant get off your duff and write…lol.  Anyway, Irene and I just celebrated our 1 one year anniversary with the company back on Thanksgiving Day. We have traveled over 250,000 miles in that time with plenty of memories. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner…thank you Irene…you are hear by christened “professional steering wheel holder”

We have learned a lot over the past year and I would like to reflect on a few things that come to mind.

1)    Make sure Irene has the low cut V-neck shirts on when she checks into customers. Better service…lol

2)    When the sign flashing overhead says chain law in effect…they mean chain law in effect…I guess you either get towed or go to jail…according to California HP…lol

3)     The DOT inspectors have no sense of humor.

4)    Never let Irene talk to Border Patrol…I would rather she fake sign language and confuse them.

5)    Always take the quad lock (brake key) with you so Irene doesn’t drive off and leave you when you stop somewhere.

6)    Somehow get Irene to understand the truck doesn’t fit in all McDonalds.

I could keep going but I better end there…she’s giving me that look…lol

Well the holiday season is upon us and we look forward to getting home and spending quality time with the kids. Unfortunately it won’t be for Christmas…we will arrive a couple days late but this was planned so that we could stay for 2 weeks. Reason being we are all heading on a cruise for a week for some much needed quality time together. The Caribbean will never be the same once I’m done with it…lol

Our miles have been great lately and we have managed to do very well in our 1st year. The truck has been flawless and hasn’t skipped a beat…I am really impressed with this Volvo. I guess tonight we will see how it does in the snow as we are headed to the Pacific NW and winter storm Draco is headed towards us. So far we have managed to avoid the winter weather…I guess our luck has finally run out.

I would like to take this time to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year…we look forward to the year ahead…provided the Mayans were incorrect with their calendar…ha ha! We shall see ya again around the next curve…

Friday, November 16, 2012

Oh Deer!

Well after a quick 4 days home we are back on the road and rolling across America. Home time was pleasant and we once again enjoyed family and friends. My parents traveled from New York to stay for a few days so that our time was just a little more special. We also were able to get out and exercise our right to vote, and I was able to spend some much needed time in a tree stand which was long overdue. The good Lord and Mother Nature combined to make my hunt one of the most memorable ones yet with me harvesting my 2nd largest buck ever. I would like to thank a very good friend (David) for his hospitality during my time in the outdoors. I can’t wait to finish up deer season at Christmas time!
The funny thing about this job is you never know where the road is going to take you next. As I mentioned before my parents had visited while we were on home time. The day we headed back on the road we were sent from Charlotte to Kansas City…then KC to Silver Springs, NY, and then onto Rochester, NY where we picked up a load heading to Texas. I noticed we would be traveling right past Mom and Dad’s and I knew they had arrived home the night before from their trip to NC so Irene and I stopped in for a quick shower and snack…haven’t seen them in over a year and now its twice in a week…LOL
Another funny thing about this job is you never know what you are going to see next. While traveling up through Tennessee a few nights back we witnessed a scene where a woman apparently committed suicide and jumped from an overpass onto I-40 and was struck by several vehicles. It was a horrible scene and I cannot imagine what the drivers of those vehicles are going through. I also cannot imagine what drove that woman to the point where she felt that this was her only alternative.

Well I opened with a deer story and I will close with one. After all it is deer season…LOL
For the past couple weeks I have witnessed the rut (whitetail breeding season) while traveling in several states. I have pointed out to Irene some Bucks chasing Does along the road, across fields, and everywhere else in between trying to get their chance at a little tail. Sounds typical…right guys…LOL.  Anyway with Irene driving one half of the night and myself the other, I constantly remind her to be cautious and keep her eyes open for deer running into the highway. Well the other night while traveling through Kansas we had dodged a few monster bucks that had thought of crossing in our path, but at the last second stopped…lucky for us. Well the night before last, after falling asleep for a few hours, I woke up to Irene asking me if I want the good news or the bad news. So of course, I tell her that I want the good news first.  “The good news is that we did not crash”, she said. She continued with “the bad news is that we have killed a deer”. You mean you hit a deer right? “No” Irene said, “The deer ran into us. I maintained my lane and avoided us crashing, but the deer ran out and bounced off the side of the truck”. Did you stop and see if there was any damage Irene? “Nooo…it’s too dark outside”. Was it a buck or doe Irene? “Doe”, Irene answered. Well I’m going back to sleep; wake me up when we get to the next truck stop Irene. The Doe had hit the side skirting that covers our fuel tank and took a chunk out of it about the size of a golf ball…minimal damage.  Our people said the next time we make it into our main terminal they will repair it.  They told Irene that this is not her fault and they would rather have the driver hit the deer instead of swerving and possibly crashing.  As I questioned Irene again about the incident I got the feeling that she was maybe jealous of my deer that I harvested while at home and all the attention I received from it. Maybe…just maybe, she needed her own deer story to tell when the gangs all together. Hey, I have offered to take her hunting all of our married life…if she chooses to use the truck instead of bow or gun…so be it. Who am I to judge…LOL

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A few days I would like to forget…

I am not really sure where to exactly begin on this post.  We have been through so much this past week.  But before I begin with my story I need to bring you up to date with what Irene and I have been working on. 

I have to admit that as of late, I have been very negative.  For some reason I just assume the worst is going to happen.  So Irene has decided that I need a big dose of “positive thinking”.  She felt that if I start looking at things in a positive way, then we would have a better outcome at the end.  So I thought, why not, anything is worth a try.  So the following paragraphs to follow are the results of my “Positive Thinking”.   

So now for our past few days…we were running a load from Lyon Station, PA down to Laredo, TX.  We then received a message on our Qualcomm to drop that load in Lancaster, TX at our terminal and then pick up a trailer at our freight terminal in Dallas that would be headed to Blythe, CA. No big deal really until we found out that it was a dedicated route and we had to cover it for 3 trips… that was problem #1.  So it was out to California, back to Dallas, then back to California, back to Dallas then back to California…boring!  We like to see different country everyday…not the same old same old.  Problem #2, on our last run out of Dallas we took a stone chip to the windshield that made about a 6” crack. I called our road service department and they advised us to bring the truck to Joplin (our main terminal) for repair ASAP.  Dispatch would work on routing us to Joplin. The entire time I am thinking “positive thinking”, I need to practice “positive thinking”. Problem #3, when we arrived in Blythe, California to drop our final loaded trailer we found out that there were no empty trailers available. Dispatch advised us to bobtail to Los Angeles to pick up an empty trailer and then head to Oakland, California for our next load. Problem #4, that’s 580 miles, our windshield is broken and we need to go to Joplin. Dispatch said they were heading us in…yeah, the long way. So off to LA…220 miles later and guess what? Problem #5, no empty trailers there either. So dispatch sends us over to Santa Fe Springs to another one of our yards and finally we have an empty. So off to Oakland we go…and at 5am the next morning we are finally loaded and on our way to Kansas City, KS. This “positive thinking” has to kick in here at any moment now.  As we leave Oakland it is 53 degrees and raining.   Ok, I’m thinking nothing has gone right so far with this “positive thinking” crap Irene, but oh well I will try to focus really really hard on it.  About 30 minutes later and with me behind the wheel we encounter problem #6.  I crest a small hill with a curve on I-80 and 3 cars are spun out with 2 cars against the guardrail and one car in my lane sitting with his 4ways on. I had all I could do to get the truck slowed safely and quickly as possible without crashing us as well. I thought for sure Irene was going to roll out of the bed and be lying on the floor next to my seat with how fast we slowed and weaving to avoid a collision with the other cars. After several deep breaths and a few choice 4 letter words we rolled on…I guess we could have crashed, but we didn’t. ”Positive thinking”, “positive thinking”. 
Ok, so maybe my luck is really changing. NOT! I noticed the temperature was dropping and the radio was saying snow in the mountains but I really didn’t think much of it. As we approached the base of Donner Pass which is an 8000’ summit that you pass over on I-80 we found the road was blocked by DOT. The mandatory chain law was in effect, which is now problem #7. Temps were in the 30’s and it was snowing. Irene and I do not have our winter clothes in the truck yet. After a few more 4 letter words I installed the tire chains and we spent the next 30 miles or so at 25mph heading up and over to the base on the east side where they allowed us to remove our chains. I was soaked from head to toe and as I climbed back into the truck I asked Irene where is the positive side to this problem?  She replied with “it’s heating up in the microwave right now”…chicken noodle soup. It did really hit the spot. So once again we are rolling and back to normal heading into Nevada…where problem #8 arrives…another stone to the windshield. This time it’s a 1” crack…no sense on calling in this one cause we are already headed in. Next stop Utah, where we made it through without any drama but a while later as we were heading through Wyoming I found myself passing another 18 wheeler where problem #9 arrived…a dead mule deer laying on the edge of the passing lane and nowhere for me to go…oh well it’s already dead so it won’t feel anything…sorry mule deer…I only ran over the legs so don’t everyone freak out on me…lol
Onto problem #10…we run an additive in our truck called DEF that we fill whenever we stop for fuel…not all fuel stops have this and we have an info sheet in our truck which tells us who does and does not carry it. So we chose our next stop for fuel and upon arriving there is a sign saying “ NO DEF”…are you kidding me…we fueled with diesel and I told Irene that we would have to stop at the next available place on our sheet to get DEF. When we got there the place had only 3 pumps working and there were about 10 trucks waiting for fuel…a few more 4 letter words and we left knowing that if our next location didn’t have it we were going to be in trouble. I couldn’t help but ask Irene how that positive thinking is working for us now…(she explained I was not using the positive thinking correctly). I didn’t realize it came with directions…lol  I told Irene I was done with the "positive thinking" crap.  Well the next stop had our DEF plus they also had a McDonalds…COFFEE YEAH!  

Well we delivered in KC and I said to Irene that looking back at the past couple of days something needed to change…it seems as though bad luck has hit us at every turn, even though we were trying to stay positive. Well they dispatched us to our next load in KC going to Springfield MO. and then onto Joplin for repair. (Finally)  When we arrived at our pickup they asked us to back up to dock #7…lucky #7…as the warehouse guy was ready to load us he said I will have you loaded in 10 minutes. I timed him and it was 7minutes…lucky #7 again. After receiving our paper work we noticed the weight was 44, 634…pretty heavy and also that we needed to be at our delivery before 3pm or they would not unload us until the next day. I wanted to scale the truck to make sure we were legal but we were short on time…the smart (and right) thing to do was scale it…but hey we have the lucky 7’s working for us. There was only one scale that we would have to cross so I crossed my fingers and when we got there it was closed…and guess what, it was on route 7…that’s right…lucky #7.

Oh yes our luck has changed! Oh the power of "positive thinking" you ask?  I don’t think so…LOL.  I will keep you all posted!      

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Date Night

Yesterday we were in New Jersey waiting to deliver our load of 60” LED TVs to the Best Buy Distribution Center in Perth Amboy.   Jersey is a little hard to get around so we were limited on where we could go.  Our load did not deliver until 10:00 am the following morning.  Therefore, Randy and I decided that we would have a date night.
We purchased a movie a couple of weeks ago and have not had a chance to see it.  This was our chance to watch the movie and just kick back.  We parked our truck   at a Service Plaza near our destination.  Randy opened the windows for the cool breeze and proceeded to make pop-corn while I set up the movie.  I asked Randy how he liked my little apartment and he said that it was more like a cubical.

So after the movie ended, Randy and I had an interesting conversation.  It went like this:
     Randy: “Oh this is our first date?”
     Irene:    Really… are you sure this is our first date?
     Randy:  Yes I am sure, why do you ask?
     Irene:    Good, then I don’t owe you anything, thanks for stopping by.
     Randy:  Well can I have a second date?
     Irene:    No, you can’t.
     Randy:  Why?
     Irene:    You did not impress me on our first date.
     Randy:  Hmmm, well to be honest, I don’t want to give you another date either.
     Irene:    Oh, why is that Randy?
     Randy:  You are way too demanding. You constantly tell me "do this" and "do that".
This morning after getting some awesome sleep and rest, we went to Best Buy to drop our load.  We are now on our way to Lyons, PA to pick up another load and then off to Laredo, TX. 

I am looking forward to driving thru Pennsylvania on I-81 heading towards Tennessee and enjoying all the fall colors.  I hope that the wind and rain hasn’t knocked them all to the ground.



Monday, October 15, 2012

Pictures from last week...

These pictures were taken at a rest area near South Carolina/Georgia border.

I can't get Randy to smile.  He is not fond of getting his picture taken.


The sunrise pictures were taken in Arizona.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Coffee with a laugh

I know, I know it’s been a while since I wrote…again.  I promise this is my early New Year’s resolution…to write more often.  I figured I would take this time to write about our experiences on the road with the younger generation whom I will refer to as tomorrow’s leaders.

Irene and I both love our coffee together in the morning…it’s one of those little things that means a lot to us…coffee and conversation in the morn. Anyway, we will usually try to find a McDonald’s if it’s at all possible for 2 reasons.  1st they are plentiful…and 2nd, we like there coffee.  Of course, Tim Horton’s being at the top of our list, if we are in the northeast, and Dunkin Doughnuts being next if it’s available.

So let me get to the point of my blog…after a year of being on the road I have observed some interesting situations at the counter while ordering our daily cup of joy. While in Atlanta to pick up a load one morning, we stopped at a McDonald’s to grab our 2 large coffees. I had instructed the young man at the counter that I would like two large coffees with cream only (no sugar) and that one would be 10 creams and the other would be 13 creams. I watched him as he filled both cups with coffee to the rim. I then asked him how he planned on adding the cream from the automatic dispenser to the full cups.  He looked baffled as he slid the 1st cup under the dispenser.  I tried to stop him and I told him not to add the cream at this point because he would have a mess.  Maybe he didn’t understand English…I am not exactly sure, but he hit the dispenser button anyway and the coffee flew everywhere.  Wait it gets even better!  He hit the dispenser button continuously trying to get the right amount of creams in the cup and each time more coffee splashed everywhere.  As he was trying to clean up the mess I stood in amazement because he was about to try it again on the second cup of coffee.  No way! This time I stood there silent…this was priceless.  Can you believe that his kid preceded to hand me the two leaking and wet cups of coffees? At this point, I had no choice, I advised him to take 2 new clean empty cups, add the cream 1st, and then pour the coffee appropriately.  Astonished after he followed my directions he looked at me and he said “your way is so much better”…ya think?

Some other things that get my attention is the math game…the automatic cream dispensers have 3 buttons. #1 for one cream, #2 for two creams, and #3 for three creams.  Very smart thinking on McDonald’s part as far as time saving, but then again, who ever thought that adding numbers would be so hard.  I would have never thought that there would be such a variance in the way that some of tomorrow’s leaders would add cream. Let’s just use my 10 creams for instance. I have seen employees hit the #1 button 10 times…the #2 button 5 times… and wait, one creative employee hit the #3 then the #2, which equals 5 and then repeat the steps.  But 9 out of 10 times the employee (whom is usually over 30) will use the #3 button 3 times followed by the #1.  This is simple enough, but now when we get to the 13 creams for Irene…mass confusion.  And there are some that cannot do the math all together and our coffee usually ends up to strong or weak…for them I suggest Micky D’s supplies them with a calculator…lol   For Irene’s coffee is a crap shoot.  She has learned to check her coffee before leaving McDonald’s.

Anyway, life is still good and Irene and I still love the road.  We are enjoying the fall colors across the country this time of year. We will be homeward bound for the 1st week of November for a much needed break. I will be in the woods for deer season and Irene will be enjoying the peace and quiet of home…so she thinks…lol  catch ya’ll next blog!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Been a while…

Wow how lazy I have become when it comes to our blog…nearly 2 months since my last post. Maybe it’s the dog days of summer. We are still here…physically, not sure about mentally though…lol. We took 2 weeks off in July and spent some quality time with the kids and family plus celebrated our birthdays…Irene a very young 28…lol…and myself a wonderful “50”…and still acting 18 though…lol. We have been very busy since returning to the road and have knocked off some great miles. Last week was our best to date finishing with 8926 miles. Speaking of last week, we have mentioned on and off in the past of a couple Ann and Craig that drive as a husband and wife team that we followed on a blog they had sharing their tails and experiences on the road. They were a very big influence in our decision to pursue this occupation and through a handful of email swaps and their knowledge is a big part of why we are here today. Well for 9 months we have been trying to cross paths with them on the highway and finally last Sunday it happened. We met up on I-40 in Oklahoma at a truck stop where we enjoyed great conversation and a meal fit for a king…well actually it was Subway…I guess a meal fit for a truck driver…ha ha! What a great couple they are and it was so great to finally meet them…I know they are reading this and we can’t wait to see ya’s again! Thanks again you two for all the insight on the industry you have provided.

We had a delivery the other day at a customer near Boston Mass. who had one of those names that you just can’t forget…unless of course you’re Irene. When I first saw their name on the bill of laden, “A. Duiey Pyle” all I could do is laugh…I said to Irene, well that’s an easy one to remember.  We picked the load up in NJ and headed to Mass.  and on several different occasions I mentioned the customer’s name to Irene…again “A. Duiey Pyle”. Well after the delivery we headed to Montgomery NY to pick up a load headed for California and Irene ask me a question about our previous delivery…confused a little I asked, who are you talking about. She says that place we were just at…what was his name…Gomer Pyle? I couldn’t resist…for those of you who are old enough to remember I turned to her and said “well golly Sgt. Carter” she found no humor in that.

It’s so nice to be back on the road…I was fearful that the time home would strip Irene of her Blonde actions but luckily as Gomer proved…they are alive and well…lol

The truck has been running great and we are enjoying our time on the road more and more each week.  We have really settled in and are finding more time to enjoy each trip…having more time to stop and smell the roses along the way…life is still good!  

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Pictures from June

I-80 Utah near Bonneville Salt Flats
This is not snow, it is at the Salt Flats in Utah
Underground Warehouse Facility in Springfield MO


It has been about three weeks since we took possession of our new 2013 Volvo truck.  All I can say is “so far so good”. We have not had any troubles to speak of. Our fuel mileage has been great and the truck has not broken down…LOL. One of the nicest features of the truck is that it has a ton of storage space. When you live on the road, storage space is a blessing, to say the very least. We also have NaviGo navigation in the new truck. Therefore, between the NaviGo,  our Garmin GPS, and Irene I now have 3 women in the truck telling me where to go. It’s been coast to coast already and from southern Texas to Detroit Michigan without a hiccup.

Speaking of Detroit…we picked up a load of truck axles headed to York, SC.  We decided to save on some miles so we took a short cut across Ohio on Route 250 to I-77.  This route happened to take us through Amish country. Wow! What a beautiful early evening country ride we had. On top of all that, I was able to see several Amish in there buggies and a team of work horses being put to use by a farmer. I am not sure why but for some reason I am very fascinated by the Amish…Irene thinks I am nuts, oh well. Maybe it’s there simple way of life…after all…I am a simple kind of guy.
Just about at the end of highway 250 (where it meets I-77) there was a little town called Strasburg that we rolled into. While driving thru this little town I noticed a drive-in movie theatre. Irene and I looked at each other in amazement. We could not believe that a drive-in movie theatre was still open in America. Honestly, we have not seen one of these drive-ins anywhere in years.  I wondered if the Amish people drive to the drive-in in there horse and buggies. It was early evening and there was a line of cars going in to the drive-in, which happened to be playing the movie “Madagascar 3”. Of course we tried to look inside the drive-in to see if there were any buggies in there, but we could not get a good look.  We are such knuckle heads. I started to think we were doing a “Back to the Future” scenario…
On another recent run we did from California to Indiana, Irene got up close and personal with a black bear. We had just fueled at a Pilot Travel Center and we pulled back onto I-80 heading east in Utah. It was late and Irene was at the wheel.  I figured it was time to get some shut eye. Now keep in mind, this was a mountainous countryside, we were traveling through. I had no more than put my head on the pillow when I hear Irene yelling OMG! OMG!  I thought to myself this is it; we are going over a cliff! Oh, I did not want to go this way. Please help me Jesus! I’m sorry for breaking that window when I was a little kid; I’m sorry for putting my parents thru hell; I’m sorry for not sharing with others; I’ll never tell another lie; just let me live through this! Then I hear Irene yelling “Holy Sh!t”.  Now I am thinking to myself…Oh Lord, this is the big one.  A lot goes through your mind quickly when your life flashes before ya! Now at this point I am out of my bunk and Irene says…“a huge huge bear just crossed in front of me, and I mean huge.”  You mean we are not going over the cliff!  Dang Irene, you scared the heck out of me!  “Scared you? How did I scare you?” Irene asked.  She was the one who almost hit the bear…but I was the one who thought we were going over the cliff. “So you think I drive that bad?” she asked.  Good Night honey…I said…love you!   
Our miles have been okay but nothing to brag about lately. We were in Joplin MO last week for some Qualcom (computer) work that needed to be up-graded in our truck. We spent the night at the Holiday Inn and we were able to relax, go swimming, and just enjoy some normal time for a change.
Later that evening Irene was showering and I was watching TV.  She yelled for me to pass her the shampoo and conditioner.  Usually Irene does not use the complimentary shampoo and conditioner from the hotels, but she happens to like the ones at Holliday Inn.  She says that they smell nice. Anyway, I quickly picked up one green bottle and one white bottle and passed them to Irene in the shower.  For a second I wondered why the hotel leaves two conditioner bottles and only one shampoo bottle.  Oh well, back to the TV.  A couple of minutes later I hear Irene say “RANDY” in that tone that tells me that I am in trouble. “What did you give me?” she says.  I headed to the bathroom with tail tucked between my legs and asked what the problem was. “This isn’t conditioner you idiot…this is body lotion!” I guess the Hotel leaves complimentary shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion.  You learn something new every day. “Oh” I said, “I was wondering why there was 2 white bottles…hmmm.” It was a very quiet night in the hotel room…rather cold to…won’t make that mistake again…LOL
Things are going well, truck is running good, the family is healthy, and we are heading home in a few weeks to celebrate Irene’s and my birthdays…big 50 for me this year. Life is good…

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Nonstop Entertainment…

Irene mentioned in her last post that I had a funny story to tell about her on a recent trip to California. Funny for myself, but a bit embarrassing on her part…well kind of. We picked up a load at a customer that was located behind a candy factory near LA. The name of the place was See’s Candy. We had some time to kill, so we decided to check out there retail store. Actually the smell of chocolate was in the air and it was hard to resist. Once inside, Irene noticed a security guard standing off to the side and of course she had to ask…why are you here? Is this a bad neighborhood or something? The woman guard replied, “it can be”…in which Irene grabbed my arm and said, let’s get out of here. However, by that time I had noticed the “white chocolates” (and I am a sucker for it). I could not leave without buying a bag. Well anyway we finished up and once loaded had headed out for El Paso TX. I had placed the white chocolates in our truck fridge to keep cool so the chocolate would not melt because it was very, very hot outside. Well the following day Irene was on the phone (Bluetooth) talking with her brother while she was driving and I decided to have some white chocolate. Being the loving husband that I am I placed 2 pieces of chocolate on Irene’s leg so that she could also satisfy her sweet tooth once she was off the phone.

I had finished driving my 11 hour shift a little before this and decided it was time to hit the bed. Irene was good to go driving wise, and deep into conversation with her brother so why not catch some rest. After about a 3 hour nap I crawled out of the sleeper and into the passenger seat and Irene looks to me and says with this long pouty face…“I had an accident”. I freaked out and started looking in the mirrors for damage to the trailer and looking out the windows for damage on the truck while yelling “accident” what do you mean accident? With this sad puppy dog look, and about to cry voice, she looks down at the “let’s say zipper area” of her pants and says… “I forgot you put those white chocolates on my leg. I stood up and looked over at that “zipper area” and all I could see was a big white stain…I couldn’t resist, “Irene”, I said…what have you been up to while I slept? She found no humor in the question…LOL. The chocolates had managed to roll down of her leg and land in her (lap) and onto the seat while she drove, and proceed to melt leaving this big white stain. I laughed and laughed while she asked what am I going to do? Once I pulled myself together I explained that at the next fuel stop she would have to change or take a Clorox wipe and try to clean it off. The wipe worked, but left Irene with a big wet spot on her jeans and now she says…I need to use the bathroom. I couldn’t resist again…I said, it already looks like you went in your pants…she found no humor in that comment either. I said well, tie your jacket around your waist and walk on in…she did and all I could do was laugh watching her walk across the parking lot. The poor girl…she has the worst luck. Which of course I get to have all the laughs…she definitely is “nonstop entertainment”.

Our new Volvo is running great and we love it so far. Things have been going well and we have been bouncing back and forth across the country. We are currently in Pennsylvania picking up a trailer headed for Illinois and then heading out to Calexico, California to drop a trailer at one of our yards. I like the Calexico runs but last week when we were there it was 106…too hot for this guy. Well time to run…I believe our trailer is ready…stay tuned, who knows what Irene will get into next…lol.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I am not a truck driver anymore…

On Friday we were notified (by our employer) that the new truck we have been waiting for was ready for us in Joplin and we could stop by to pick it up. As luck would have it, we were driving thru Joplin on our way to California to deliver a load. Randy was ecstatic. We hurried along and arrived in Joplin about 2:30 am. We went directly to truck assignments to find out about our new truck. They confirmed that we could get our truck in the morning if we would like. Well of course Randy was not going to say no, however we were under a load which still needed to be delivered in California on time. Switching out a truck and getting everything in order could take some time. To boot, we had to sit thru a class before our company would let us leave with a brand new truck.

Well, Randy talked with the dispatch office and they were more than happy to help us out. They let us keep the load to Cali and bumped the delivery time out, they helped us with all the e-log change overs, and prepared our permit book to go. We took possession of the new truck and went to class.  All in all, everything went off without a hitch. Now the only thing left was for us to swap everything from the old truck to the new truck. Wow, what a chore…I think it is easier moving from one house to another. The old truck we had was already adjusted to our needs and everything had a place. It took us a while to get it that way. With limited space, it takes time to get everything just right. We parked both trucks side by side and started moving everything over. Now, here we are with a new truck and no idea where to put anything. The fridge did not fit, the microwave did not have a spot and the TV was way too small for its designated area. Well with the sun beating on us, the high temperature and the lack of sleep, both Randy and I decided that the organizing was not happening that day. We would just put things in place on our way to Cali.
Now, back to the new truck…I can’t even call it a truck anymore. It is more like an RV. It has way more room in it then our old truck. It has a table with benches that can seat four people. The table folds down into a bed. There is a ladder to climb up to the top bunk. The walls and seats are decorated just like an RV and not like a work truck. There are ample mirrors along with a side visor for the driver, which is nice. Both of the seats have the massage mechanism in them. It’s equipped with AM/FM/ CD and Sirius XM. The truck is quiet and smooth driving and most of all it has an automatic transmission. This means no more shifting and anyone could drive this truck. I don’t feel cool anymore, I feel like I am cheating. It was so nice to know that I could do something that big tough guys can do and now I can’t say that anymore. I am not special, just your average RV driver…lol.  The minute Randy got behind the driver’s seat he loved the truck. For me, the jury is still out even though I feel like I’m on vacation all the time.
Well, keep your fingers crossed that everything goes well with the new truck.  We are very excited and happy to be on the road.
Here are some pictures of the new truck...

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Interstate 40 and 80

Well, we are back on the road and back in the swing of things. It seems that we have spent a lot of time on I-40 lately. I can now add I-80 to that frequent list too. We drove from Washington thru Nebraska on I-80 to So. Holland IL. From Illinois we received our pre-plan to pick up a load in Indiana and deliver in Calexico California. I enjoyed our little break from the heat, but I am now looking forward to seeing some sunny weather. Randy and I had a great time in Washington, we went to see a movie, went out to dinner, walked around little shops, watched TV and we got to spend quality time with each other. It was a perfect way to get our 34 hour reset. I don’t know of any other job that allows you to have the fun that we have together. 

Oh by the way, Randy has a story to tell you all about a little incident that I had in the truck, so be sure to look for that story soon. All I am going to tell you is that the story starts with us picking up a load at a customer who was located directly behind a candy factory.

I did not bring my camera along this time, so there will not be any pictures for a while. I surely wish I had my camera when we drove east on I-80 out of Portland, Oregon. The scenery was spectacular. Driving all along the Columbia River was a memorable experience and both of us enjoyed it a great deal.

We are planning on going home in the middle of July. Randy will be hitting the big 50 this year, so we will be home for sure to celebrate. Life is good and we are getting more and more comfortable with our new life style.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Good Week...

We just finished up last week with 6900 miles. While we were leaving Texas and heading to KC we hit some high winds. Irene had all she could do to keep the truck on the road and at times we often thought about shutting down. We dropped at UPS in KC and then headed to Blythe, California just over the border from Arizona. We then were dispatched to LA California; and again greeted with high winds on route I-10. Unfortunately this time we were empty and this presented quite a challenge. With the “high wind warning” signs flashing at roadsides, we drove on noticing that most trucks had shut down and we were almost convinced that we should also. Finally we received that gust of wind we needed to confirm our decision to shut down…I really thought we were going over. It was perfect timing because I noticed a “Rest Area” sign at that moment, and to top it off, only 1 parking spot was left…thank you Lord for that sign.
After California we had a load going back to KC and once again high winds all the way thru Kansas. Luckily we had good weight on our trailer to keep us steady. Enough of the winds…send us somewhere calm! Well that wish was granted and we headed from KC out to Washington…just south of Seattle. But wait, you’re kidding me right? High wind warnings till 4am on I-70 in Nebraska and Wyoming…uhhh! And to make things even more interesting our load was only 4 skids at 100lbs. each. We made it as far as Wyoming and at that point we shut down for a few hours until the winds settled. Well is there anything else Mother Nature wants to show us…what’s that, snow…where, oh dang. When we hit the Wyoming/ Utah border it was snowing pretty good…it wasn’t sticking, but it was still snowing. The mountain tops were completely white but at least the roads were good. I love the Northwest…not much up here but absolutely gorgeous scenery... definitely one of my favorite places.

Of course with all the miles this past week there had to be a few humorous moments from my wife. I hope our readers understand that I am not picking on Irene nor trying to mock her…she just comes up with the funniest stuff…and of course being a blonde…okay now I am picking…lol. I love her more than life and she knows that.

We were merging into traffic on I-10 near LA, California when I said to Irene, make sure you don’t go all the way into the left lane when she interrupted and said “I know that’s the HIV lane”…I think you mean HOV sweetie…she said yeah whatever.

While at a rest area in Wyoming this past week, I remembered back to a recent trip thru Montana where we had stopped to use the restroom. It was late at night and while I waited for Irene to come out of the ladies room I read a warning sign about the Bison in the area. It basically explained that they are free roaming and not to try and approach them..Duhhh! Anyways once Irene came out she looked at the sign and asked me, are we safe…will they attack us? I couldn’t resist…no keep your eyes open and hurry to the truck…they are known to attack and kill their prey, just like Lions…she almost believed me.

While traveling thru Wyoming we chatted about how there is not much around and the houses are few and far. I noticed a helicopter and pointed it out to Irene and she said…that’s how you visit your neighbor in these areas…too far to drive to them…lol

Well enough for now…we received our dispatch from Portland, OR heading to South Holland, IL.

Stay tuned!


Monday, May 21, 2012

On the road again...

Back on the road again…Well after spending a week on home time it feels rather nice to hit the road again. We had quality time with the kids, visited with family, took care of some home projects, and managed to squeeze in 2 full days at the beach. Our daughters have completed their first year of college successfully and both are all set for next year. One will be staying at home for the summer and the other is staying at school. I can’t keep track of these kids. Our son is also at home and will be finishing up his Paramedic schooling this year. He is our caretaker of the house while we are on the road. Brave aren’t we…22 year old with full run of the place…we must be crazy…lol. Everything seems like it is falling into place and we are more content with being away from home. We miss our kids dearly, but they sure do appreciate everything we do for them.

Anyway when we came off home time, we picked up a load in Rocky Mount, NC headed for Vernon, California. We are now sitting in LA waiting for a load headed to El Paso, TX. This is not the best of “hoods” but Irene has my back…speaking of Irene, her geography hasn’t gotten much better. We were heading past downtown LA on I-10 and she says “wow, the city is huge, have we ever been there”…OMG Irene, you drove in there on the NOKIA theatre run. Oh that’s where it was she says…LMAO! Time to get the map and pointer out I guess. That girl never leaves me bored…I love sharing the road with her and each day brings a new laugh.

It’s funny when we mention to people that we drive as a team, some of them say how wonderful that must be to spend each day with one another and see the country. Others look at you like your nuts or they look at you like you are a 2nd class citizen. I have news for them, they have no idea what they are missing… The money is excellent running team, the view from our window every day is beautiful and constantly changing, and I spend it with my best friend, my love, my wife!

Friday, May 11, 2012

My…how times have changed!

Irene and I have been on the road now for about 7 months. Over that time I can’t help but think about how things have changed over the years in trucking. Growing up, my Dad was a driver for many years…I had uncles that drove, and my older brother is still a driver today…so I know a little bit about how it used to be.

Let’s start with the days of old…the early truckers who had no GPS, no laptops and Google maps or smart phones. They just had a map, CB radio, note pad and a pencil…oh, and a dime if they needed to make a call from the pay phone. These are the guy’s who paved the way for today’s truckers. Best known for their thermos’ full of coffee, driving for long, long hours, and of course always stopping off at the truck stop for a little diner food. And we cannot forget the hat, boots, and a giant belt buckle. There are not many of these Icons left out there but occasionally Irene and I will come across one at the truck stop sitting in his truck with his map, pad, and pencil mapping out his route for his next run…almost like stepping back in time when you see them. That’s just the way they learned the job, and it’s always worked for them and that’s all that matters. I have a lot of respect for these old schooler’s…and wish that a lot of today’s drivers could take a lesson or two from them.

Speaking of today’s drivers…oh here we go!

First let me start off by saying that not all of today’s drivers fall in this category. There are a lot of good drivers out there today, both male and female who do things right…present themselves professionally…and take pride in who they represent. We have met some great drivers along the way…and made some great friends…and to them I say, thank you for making a positive impression to the public.

As for the small group that I am about to kick in the ASS…shame on you for the nasty impression you leave!!! Here it is plain and simple…

If you want to wear your pajamas while you  are driving…please change into your work clothes before you exit the truck. So many times I have seen drivers delivering to their customers, or at truck stops, and yes even at their own employers place in there pajama bottoms…if you worked for me, I would fire your ASS!

Next there are the ones who feel the need to drive  with  flip flops or slippers on…boots okay, sneakers okay…anything else I would fire your ASS!

Here is another little tip for some of you guys and girls…the truck stops have showers…use them! They are usually free if you have a rewards card at some of them. When I can smell you from across the store that’s gross…and when I climb back in my truck and can still smell you that’s just NASTY and you are going to a customer and representing your company...oh hell no…you guessed it ,your ASS would be fired!

For the ones who can’t take their lazy tail out of the truck and walk to a trash can, to dispose of their garbage…that would rather just toss it out the window…yes once again your ASS would be fired also!

Here is another clue to help ya along with your career…when you stop for fuel at the fuel island, fill your truck first, and then pull forward, so the next person coming in can fuel while you shop or use the restroom. It’s not rocket science…it’s common courtesy!

Oh…and speaking of using the restroom…when you finish, wash your hands, and this includes women too…where the hell were you brought up in, a barn?

The CB radio is used to relay info regarding weather problems, traffic delays, where a radar trap may exist, and other useful information. It’s not meant to talk about your personal life, sexual experiences, or other personal matters…oh and cussing on the CB radio…if you worked for me…you guessed it…FIRED!

I could go on and on about the 10% that ruin it for the rest of the industry…but I am probably boring ya’ll, so I will stop my rant. I just wish the few bad apples out there could take some lessons from the old schoolers. And if they couldn’t figure it out after that…then they need an old school boot in there ASS…notice I said boot and not flip-flop or slipper…lol

I’m done with my rant…and feeling better now…lol…ya’ll be safe out there and do not forget MOM this Sunday on Mother’s Day!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Life is good...

Another month gone and only two breakdowns…things are looking up! Luckily they were minor and one only kept us down for the day. We have made the decision to hold out till June and at that time the company will give us a new Volvo to drive. Nice trucks and we can hardly wait.

We still ended up with decent miles for the month along with some good trips. We had one run that took us from Illinois up thru Wisconsin and Minnesota on I-90/I-94 across North Dakota…a route we had not seen in quite a while…at least in the daylight. Not much to see in Dakota but the rest of the ride is fabulous. We had a trailer we were dropping in Tacoma, WA and for the 1st time since we started…we managed not to see any snow in the northwest…just high on the mountain tops is all.

Once we dropped our trailer we headed to Oakland CA where we picked up a UPS load that was heading to Denver and then from there onto Chicago…quite a nice loop we did in a handful of days. From there it was down to Miami where we enjoyed the sunshine.

We have been on the road a little over 6 months now and there is never a dull moment. We have met some great people along the way and made some good friends. The road never gets boring and of course Irene is always entertaining. I have to admit at 1st it was very frustrating at times but each day life on the road gets easier. It took us about 4 months just to silence the interior of the truck…all the rattles and squeaks that come from the rough ride. In addition, a lot of the runs we are doing now are ones we have done before so you know what to expect in advance. It’s just wonderful seeing the sun rise and set every day through the windshield, along with the moon as well…Kids are healthy and happy…mom and dad enjoying life…what more can I say.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Here we go again...

I just finished up writing about how March was a disaster mileage wise for us with break downs and all. Well guess what…yep, truck is back in the shop. We had our best week ever last week with 8370 miles and then this. We were on our way from LA California to Columbus OH and as we were heading through Tulsa OK on I-44 the truck up and died. Luckily Irene was able to get it to the shoulder of the road and out of the way. We instantly smelled a strong odor of diesel fuel and I knew that was not good. Upon opening the hood I could see the engine was saturated with diesel and it appeared to be coming from the fuel pump. After several hours of tow trucks and relaying the trailer at a secure location and then getting to the International dealer we learned that the fuel pump had cracked and they would have to order the part…Uggggg! I want to scream. I called our Joplin terminal and spoke with truck assignment and it looks as though we will be getting a 2013 Peterbuilt…YES! But it will take a few days so I guess we have to take the good with the bad. We really like our 2012 International but it has had to many issues and it is time to move on. If it was just our truck it would be one thing, but everyone we talk to with the Internationals are having problems and our company has even decided to stop purchasing them along with the Freightliners…nothing but Peterbuilts, Kenworths and Vovlos from this point on is what we have been told.Okay…enough complaining.

We did have our best week last week since we started driving. We finally had a chance to run from southern California all the way north in it and that was interesting. About a month ago I remember saying to Irene that every time we are in California we never get to go all the way up through it. The farthest north we have ever gone is Sacramento. You know how they say be careful what you wish for? Well we dropped our trailer in Calexico at our drop yard on the Mexican border. We then found out there was a loaded trailer there waiting for us that was bound for Argona, Washington. We headed north through Cali and I was more than excited to get this opportunity to see new landscape. Well I should have looked at the map when I made my wish…it is damn near 800 miles to the Oregon border from Calexico…I felt like a little kid whining to Irene time after time…”when are we going to get there” how freaking long is this state? When we finally reached the Oregon border I said to Irene “I never want to do that again…way to long in one state”. Well we reached our drop in Washington and upon checking in with receiving, the gentleman said to me…”I think we have a load for you going back down to Calexico”…whatcha talkin bout Willis” is what I wanted to say but in a nice professional manner I said “oh that’s wonderful”…NOT! Nevertheless, that afternoon we were back on our way to Calexico…oh joy!

There were some good things along the way though. We did get to see Portland Oregon at night on the way up. It was beautiful! The mountains in California and Oregon were also a sight to see. I did get to see my 1st Elk ever in the wild that was along I-5 in Oregon. In addition, about 20 minutes later I saw a second one…so I can take that off my bucket list now…lol. We had a chance to travel past Mt. Shasta as well as Lake Shasta in California, and that was one long climb up and the ride down was not any shorter. Very beautiful area of California but what I found more interesting was our fuel stop…it was in a town called Weed, California…okay I maybe almost 50, but seriously who named this town? Are we talking “Weed” as in I have Glaucoma and I need to buy a bag…or “Weed” as in I need to buy some roundup weed killer? Oh well I wasn’t about to ask. My fuel stop went off without a hitch. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I walked into the Pilot truck stop, but everyone seems to look normal. No homemade brownies for sale, no paraphernalia to buy…okay, we were good…lol! It was a very nice area and the people were all very nice…you know me, I just couldn’t resist the urge to poke a little fun and write about this.

Overall the trip was great and I didn’t even whine to Irene as we headed back south through Cali…it’s amazing what a little “weed” can do for a guy…HA! HA! Couldn’t resist, again…(I am just kidding)So now we sit in a hotel patiently waiting for our new truck…I hope. We are more than ready to get back on the road…stay tuned!

Monday, April 9, 2012

March… a month I would like to forget…

March was one of the worst months we had since we started. Anything that could go wrong did! It seems that we spent more time sitting rather than driving. Every trailer that needed repair happened to have our name on it. We also had issues with our own truck, which resulted in cancelled loads and short mileage trips. I have said it before and I will say it again, if the wheels are not turning long distance, the wallet stays thin. Of course we did take a week off in March to spend time with family, which did not help, but it can’t be about the money all the time. We did have a few good trips though, and we had great weather all along. Everywhere we went the bad weather had just finished up or it was set to start soon after we left.It’s been refreshing to see all the spring colors popping out all over the country. With all the different colors and everything in bloom it really makes the job that much more enjoyable. We had to drop a trailer in Michigan and as we headed south our next run took us thru the Cumberland Mountains, Appalachian Mountains, and the Smokey Mountains. For Irene it was just a ho hum ride, the beach girl that she is, but I was in my glory. I love the mountains…. We picked up a trailer in Bryson City, NC in the Smokey Mountains. That load was bound for California. After reviewing the GPS route and the atlas, we headed south/west not realizing our route would take us thru the heart of white water rafting in North Carolina and Tennessee. For those of you who do not know, one of the items on Irene’s bucket list is to go white water rafting. Unfortunately this was not going to happen at this time. A, because we were under a load, and B, the road followed the river for miles, twisting and turning along with Irene’s stomach…yes, she got car sick. I should have known better, because years ago, when went thru the Adirondack Mountains, Irene was sick back then as well. Needless to say, the dozens and dozens of rafters we passed that appeared to be having the time of their life, Irene would never get to see, because she was in the sleeper hanging on to her stomach. After stopping for a bit and giving her a little Coke Cola she started to feel better.…Dramamine next time definitely…lol

We had the opportunity to do our 1st ever trip into the heart of Chicago. A very nice place as long as I never have to go back…lol. We had a 44,000 lb load of paper that we delivered to a place that was not truck friendly. Once again as luck would have it, Irene was behind the wheel. Just turning the corner onto the street that the business was on was a challenge in itself. I had to get out and hold up traffic while Irene turned the corner onto a street that was lined with cars on both sides. It left her with one lane to share with oncoming traffic…oh and let’s not forget that I was the one trying to stop traffic…in Chicago…oh not going to happen! I must have had a death wish…wait a minute, Irene sent me out there…ohhhh now I get it…I need to have a word with her about that.Anyway, she made it to the gate of the loading dock, and as we pulled up another driver said to me…“Dang, she’s good”. I wanted to say “wait a minute pal, did you see me dodging cars in the street?”…that was suicide in the making…but I just shook my head and agreed. I told the guy that I taught her everything she knows…ha ha! Once we checked in with receiving we learned that we would have to back into a long narrow alley from the street to the dock…this was going to be a challenge. I learned my lesson the night at the Nokia Theatre and I was not about to ask Irene if she wanted me to do it. I could tell she already had her game face on, so I along with 2 other drivers held up traffic while she maneuvered the truck into this alley. The drivers again complimented on how well she had done and with a couple of adjustments she was at the dock. After a short time we were unloaded and on our way…I looked at Irene and said…please get me out of this city! The area we were in reminded me a lot of where Archie Bunker lived. The houses were all very close together and it brought back memories of something I would see on “All in the Family” or “Laverne and Shirley”…lol. It was a beautiful day and it seemed like every one was on their front steps enjoying the weather, and of course all the kids wanted Irene to blow the air horn as she passed by. I remember doing the same thing when I was a little kid…I guess I didn’t realize then that I would be on the other end of the horn 40 years later…funny how things turn out.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I love LA

My apologies for not posting in a while. With Irene’s grandmother passing away, time ran out quickly each day while we were home. Along with all that we spent some quality time with the kids, re-landscaped the front of the house, laundry, visits with friends and family, getting our taxes done, fixing my daughters car, shopping, sorting through 8 weeks of mail, Dr’s apts, dropping our truck off for service…holy cow it’s great to be back on the road. Going home is soooo exhausting!! Irene says no more going home…it’s to stressfull.

Well as the title says…I love LA…we went back on the road on the 15th and picked a load up in Charlotte NC and ran it to Calexico California. From there we dead headed to LA and were instructed to pick up at the Nokia theatre. Upon arriving downtown Irene was driving and she started to get a little nervous about the tightness of streets. She wanted me to drive, but I told her that she had to do it. With traffic and the amount of people walking around it was tough. Let’s see…it was St. Patty’s day, there was a LA Kings hockey game, and a concert at the Nokia…wait concert? I looked at Irene and like I always say, you got this babe. She pulled us in front of the Nokia and I asked the ticket office where they wanted us still not knowing why we were there. They instructed us to pull to the loading dock on the rear street and they would let us in from there. That is when we learned that we will be hauling (to Texas) stage and band equipment for a singer named Arjona who is some pop star from Guatemala…sorry no cowboy hat or boots…never heard of him…even though he has won 2 grammys. After being cleared by security and given all the details the huge roll up door opened and I said to Irene…OMG, you better let me do this one…heck no she snarled at me…yes maam…I know my place. This was a 45 degree angle from the street backing down hill under the theatre while holding 4 lanes of traffic up…and there was a huge crowd gathering to watch this blonde bombshell back this giant truck underneath. They were cheering Irene on and some were helping watch to make sure she was clear on her blindsides while she backed. Honestly these people were having more fun with her than they did at the concert I think. Well my sweetheart got it in the dock on the 1st try. I taught her so well…lol This is when it became even better…there were 4 more of our company trucks due in, but seeing Irene and I were early they let us under the huge rolling doors and were given backstage passes and allowed to wander and enjoy…as long as I promised not to show up on the stage…Dang!

So we decided to wander downtown for a bit and grabbed an awesome dinner at Lawry’s Carvery and took in some sights. What a busy night it was, but it was awesome being down there. We headed back to the Nokia and decided to get some rest in the truck for our drive that awaited us…nope not going to happen. We may as well been sitting in the front row…Latin Pop music for the next couple hours blared through the Nokia…lol…the sound was great though so we enjoyed the concert from the comfort of our truck. When it ended we watched the band file into the limos that were waiting in front of us. The door opened to a mob of people that were waiting with banners and all screaming for this Arjona…who by the way was not even in the limos…he slipped out another door and disappeared…to funny! Well the roadies broke everything down and packed it up in our truck and a couple hours later we were on our way. Next Conway truck please…and the work continued. There were 5 of us hauling his equipment and we dropped it in Laredo Texas at our Terminal where Mexican drivers picked up and hauled our trailers across the border for another concert later that week…Adios Arjona!