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!