Friday, February 24, 2012

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Fun never ends...

As I have mentioned in the past, Irene has had troubles speaking with Border Patrol when she is questioned at the Canadian border or at Ports of Entry in the US. I am happy to report that earlier today she made her first successful interview without a stutter or hesitation…but of course it was not quite perfect. As we pulled into the Texas Port of Entry, the officer asked if she was a US citizen in which she replied yes (good answer), then the officer asked if there was anyone else in the truck with her which she replied, my husband (another good answer)….so I’m thinking to myself, Irene is doing great, could this be the first time she gets it right without choking or asking for my help? The officer then asked the last and final question…what are you hauling ma’am in which Irene replied, “ahhh lots of stuff”. OMG I thought I was going to die. The officer who was trying his hardest not to laugh looked at Irene and said “you can go now ma’am”. I am writing this approximately 12 hours later and I still laugh when I think about it. This particular load was a hazmat load, which contained a large amount of explosives. Lots of stuff…is that all you could come up with Irene? “Well, Irene said, it’s better than saying a truck load full of explosives. He would have stopped us for sure she said. I looked at her laughing and said…I am sure he could read the placards (signs) on the sides. Two out of three questions is progress though so today she gets a gold star…lol…I am so proud of her!

Some good news from this week, as you all know I was ticketed in Arizona for not having a current registration card in the truck, well I spoke with the judge on Thursday morning via telephone, and explained myself in regards to the ticket. The judge was kind enough to dismiss the charges. Needless to say, I have no fine and no marks on my license. This makes me a very happy camper. Irene thinks we should send him a box of chocolates, but I’m not sure how he would take that.

Last week was a very busy one for us. We drove about 6600 miles and this week is no different. We are about to finish the week off with a little over 6800 miles. The road has taken us from Texas to Ohio, Indiana, California, back to Texas and now we will be leaving for Orlando. Once in Orlando we plan on taking a couple days off to visit Irene’s family and do our 34hr. reset at the same time. Funny while we were at Indiana earlier in the week it snowed and a gentleman said to me…its only snowed a couple times up here this year…yeah, no kidding I said…we have been here both times...lol

Well my honey has the microwave fired up and something smells good…so I gotta run…stay tuned!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Who said bigger is not always better?

For those of you who follow along with us you may recall a posting in regards to Irene handling the UPS loads. The simple fact is that UPS employees who are mostly men are more pleasant to the lady drivers. So to prevent my own frustration and mistreatment from UPS, we decided that it was best if Irene handles these loads. I usually hide in the cab. We thought that we have found a solution to our little UPS problem. Unfortunately Irene has met her match…

We had a load assigned to be pick-up in LA California and dropped in St. Louis Missouri. We arrived at the pick-up point and Irene went inside as planned. We had a few hours to kill before the load would be ready….so while we were waiting….another woman driver in the truck next to us got out and started talking with us. She was from a different company and I will not say the company’s name, but will tell you that her truck was Gold color. One could not help but notice she was somewhat top heavy (if you know what I mean) plus her blouse was undone about half way down, and the twins were standing at full attention (definitely fake)…LOL. She asked us where we were headed and of course we told her that we were going to St. Louis. She told us that she was heading to Irving TX and she commented on what a good run we had. Her run was much shorter for mileage compared to our run, plus her pickup time was after ours. Now that I think about it, she did ask a lot of questions and of course we gave her all the answers. I saw her walk back to the dispatch office a couple different times after our conversation and did not think anything of it.

Sometime later while we were watching TV and relaxing, we heard her truck start, and then she drove away…we thought that it was a little odd and maybe her load was cancelled, oh well. About 30 minutes later my phone rings and its UPS telling me our load is cancelled and to come inside for a new assignment. By this time Irene is sleeping so I decide to go to the dispatch counter. I asked the guy what happened to our original load and the dispatcher (male) looked at me as if he didn’t know what to say…he hesitated and then stuttering says…Ahhhh, there wasn’t enough freight for that one…sounded strange to me. “So where are we off to now?” I asked. The dispatcher looked at me in an odd way and said “Irving TX”. I immediately thought to myself that Dolly Parton, I mean the other driver was supposed to go to Irving TX and not us. As he handed me the paperwork (Bill of Laden) I noticed the name of her company had been crossed out and in place our company name was added.

Well I may not be a rocket scientist but I quickly realized what happened. “Ole Double D’s” went in there and must have sat them on the counter, batted her eyes and sweet talked her way into getting our load. As I climbed back into our truck, Irene asked me where we were headed, and all I could do is laugh and say, Victoria Secrets honey! After I explained to Irene what I felt had happened we laughed halfway to TX. I told Irene that when we go shopping to Victoria Secrets and they ask us how they can I help us, I will respond with…”do you have something for my wife that can guarantee us a 2000+ mile runs?”…LOL …What an interesting day it was. When we are at UPS we have to wear a fluorescent safety vests…I will have to see if Victoria Secrets carries anything fluorescent….

All kidding aside, Irene and I try to bring a very professional appearance to each and every customer. Our goal is to break the typical stereo type “truck- driver” image. I am not going to lie; there is a lot of nasty in this business, but on the other hand there are a lot of good professional drivers who care not only about their jobs, but also about their health, hygiene, and environment. The industry is changing rapidly and we are noticing a lot of husband and wife teams. There are more women on the road than ever before. I hope that in time we will be able to erase the black eye that we receive from the general public.

Stay tuned!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Just when we thought it couldn’t get worse…

Well it’s been another eventful week in the truck while zigzagging across America. We had a good run last week that took us back to California but unfortunately that was met with a some misfortune. We rolled into Arizona the early hours on Wednesday morning and at the 1st weigh station I was stopped and asked to come inside with my permit book. No worry right…were a big company and are very compliant with the rules and regulations….WRONG! It seems that when our permit book was put together and given to us, someone dropped the ball and forgot to put in the current registration card. The registration was current but the law states we must carry the card at all times. Well unfortunately the DOT officer who reminded me of my 5th grade teacher (Miss Crabtree…lol) had no sense of humor and would not let me have the current one faxed while I was there…so you guessed it...a ticket was issued to me even at the disbelief of her co-workers who rolled their eyes and shook their heads. Really…next thing you know she’ll say I J-walked in the parking lot. Well we hit the road and rolled thru Arizona in disgust but the bottom line is it’s my responsibility to make sure we have all the paper work at all times…as much as I would like to blame the company I can’t. Life goes on…but the State of Arizona was not done with me yet. As we came to the AZ/CA border we were pulled over by the Highway Patrol…at mile marker 1…I could see the welcome sign for California while we waited to see what he wanted. He walked up and said he was going to perform a level 2 inspection on us…1 being the most intense and 3 being the simplest. Are you kidding me…I asked Irene if we did something wrong last time thru Arizona that I didn’t know about. Well we went through about a ½ hour of questions and equipment checks before we were given a thumbs up on our inspection.

So off to California we went where we made our delivery. We then were given our new assignment to pick up a load just outside of LA. This load was bound for Kansas City, and as we looked at the map we quickly saw that a direct route would be I-15 out of California thru Las Vegas…wait, Las Vegas? We have never seen Las Vegas and the best part would be seeing it at night all lit up. So as the excitement built we headed out towards Las Vegas with Irene driving and me relaxing. I must have fallen asleep cause what seemed a short time later, I felt the truck slow up and come to a stop. Irene pulled into a truck stop to fuel the truck. I asked her how long it would be before we got to Las Vegas and her reply was…”oh that was back about an hour or so ago”. WHAT?...are you kidding me…why didn’t you wake me up? She said “you were sleeping so peacefully I really didn’t want to bother you”. Please tell me your joking Irene…right? She say’s I’m sorry…I felt like some little kid whose parents let him sleep thru Christmas. And to make matters worse she says …”oh it was absolutely beautiful”…I saw the Mirage, the Trump, Mandalay Bay…stop Irene! I don’t care to hear about it…I will get my revenge…LOL

I will leave you with some funny conversations from the week…Irene hates driving mountains and while we headed east towards the Rockies and she complained I asked her if she knew what was on the other side of the mountains…she asked what…I told her more mountains. While she drove I-15 heading out of California she looked down off one of the mountains and said…we probably could have taken that road down there and it would have been easier…ahhhh Irene, that’s a railroad track down there…lol And finally while driving down a large mountain in Utah on I-70, myself behind the wheel and Irene in the sleeper, she happened to look up and say Holy Sh!t Randy floor it. What she saw was the runaway ramp in case you lose your brakes…I calmly took the curve to the left and let Irene figure the rest out on her own…lol I love having her in the truck…it’s a comedy show on wheels!

Well I need to run b/c my comedian co-driver just made me an awesome lunch…I love you Irene Bridge!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Can’t always be peaches and cream...

Well it’s been one of those weeks that Irene and I would like to forget. We started the week in Kansas City with a hop across the river to St. Louis picking up a load bound for San Antonio Texas. After dropping the trailer in San Antonio we were told to head to Midland Texas where we would relay with another driver and take his trailer on through to Ontario California. This was the beginning of our downward spiral. The load was 5 hrs. late…no problem, caught up on some much needed sleep. Once we received the trailer we weighed it and it was overweight. We went to El Paso Texas and spent all day waiting for our freight division to rework the load to make it legal…after 2 attempts we were on our way, but way behind. After all we had been through already we still managed to deliver on time. We had received our next planned load which was to run from Los Angeles to Illinois…after a few minutes we received a message stating the load was cancelled and we were given a different run from Calexico California to Missouri. We were 5 miles from our pick up when we received a cancel on that one and were told to head to San Diego to relay with a truck that had broken down and take his trailer to El Paso Texas. Well the 1st run we lost was 2400 miles the 2nd one we lost was 1400 miles and the final one we received was 700 miles. Miles means money and 700 is not much. Needless to say we were not very happy and after a very disgruntled phone call to dispatch from myself we were on our way. About an hour later Irene received a call from the manager of dispatch who was very sympathetic to our unhappiness. That said a lot to Irene and I that he would call and tell us he would do all he could to make things right…and he did…with in a couple hours we received our next planned load that would take us from El Paso Texas to Marion Ohio…1700 miles…now that’s better…we ended the week with just over 5000 miles. A little short from what we like to run but hey freight is slow right now so we will not complain. We are currently sitting in a truck stop in Columbus Ohio waiting to pick up our load a few miles away then heading out to Laredo Texas for a nice run…back to where it’s warm…we saw a little of that nasty white stuff they called snow on the way here so we wanted out ASAP…we have been spoiled since moving to NC.

I know when I write I usually pick on something Irene has said or done in the past week…and I will get to that, but I need to tell you of my bone headed move this past week. We had a pickup at a customer and the loading dock was in a very tight area that was downhill to the dock. After several attempts I finally managed to get it to the dock so they could load us. When it was time to pull away Irene asked me if we would make it up the ramp…I laughed and said of course. As I let out the clutch the tires began to spin and we did not move…Irene looked at me and said now what? I tried 2 more times and we just sat and spun…it was about that time I noticed I had the truck in reverse…I very smoothly put it in 1st gear and pulled out…Irene asked what was the problem…I couldn’t lie…I could tell by the look on her face she wanted to call me “DORK” but all she could do was laugh. Okay now my turn…while heading down I-70 through Missouri Irene glanced over at a building that had several hundred boats parked outside…she says to me, “why would someone order so many boats with the economy the way it is”…he will never sell them…Ahhh Irene, that’s the factory I told her…oh that explains it then…I had to laugh.

We are presently on the lookout for our remote to the TV…this truck is not very big inside but we manage to lose a lot of things…we know it’s here…just not sure where. Super Bowl Sunday and I am blogging…something wrong with this picture…not even sure who is winning. Actually I don’t want to fight Irene for the TV…lol. Well time to run and get ready to head out of here…Stay tuned!