Friday, December 20, 2013

We are back!

In the words of Gomer Pyle…surprise, surprise, surprise. We are back! It’s been a long, long while since I last posted and I make no excuses. I just got lazy, plain and simple. But it does feel good to write again and so much has happened since my last post in May. I don’t even know where to begin.

We are currently sitting in Oklahoma City waiting to be loaded and then we are off to Charlotte, NC. Once we drop there we will be heading home for the holidays. I can’t wait to be home. Maybe it’s the Christmas spirit that urged me to write again…lol
Red Solo Truck has been performing flawlessly. We have not had a single breakdown or any issues for that matter other than normal routine maintenance. With that said we are currently in the process of looking at new trucks and hate to think about parting with this one because of its reliability. We are not sure at this point if we will trade, sell or possibly hire a driver for Red Solo. We will just have to see what is financially best for us. We have just outgrown this truck and we need more room. Comfort is #1 with us when we are on the road.

For those of you who drive as husband/wife team we have been contacted by a scout from Hollywood looking for people interested in applying for a documentary that they are doing on teams that run long haul. They are looking for certain qualifications to meet there requirements. They asked us to spread the word so if you are interested you can go to the link (at the bottom) to apply. Good luck to everyone!

I can’t believe Irene and I have been driving over 2yrs already. Wow how time flies. We have had so much fun in that time along with some hard times to but in the end I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The freedom we have you couldn’t find anywhere. We have been owners for 10 months now and have already enjoyed 3 months off…what job could ever give you that? Well I guess if you were a politician in Washington you could do better. LOL
But with another year gone I think it’s time to reflect on some of the laughter Irene has given me in that time…

1st  No matter how many times we stay in Joplin (home terminal) at the Holiday Inn, Irene will always manage to get lost traveling to and from the front desk and our room. Scary to think she drives us cross country while I am asleep.
2nd  She thinks that trains still run on coal…shhhh don’t tell her any different.

3rd  On a billboard at the California/Arizona boarder on I-8 there is an ad for tours of historical territorial prisons. Irene thinks they give prison tours these days for the convicted. Of course I told her it was something new they were trying to make prisoners feel more at home. I said they have different style prisons now and the prisoners get to choose which one they like best.…shhhh about that one also.
4th   She still struggles with Border Patrol…a common answer we use when asked by BP as to what we are hauling is freight all kinds (FAK) But Irene continuously replies…”all kinds of freight”…after 2 yrs I am pretty sure there is no hope with this one.

5th  When I wake up and it’s my turn to drive and I ask Irene what state we are in…whatever she says, its most likely wrong. At least she tries, she use to just shrug her shoulders and say “I don’t know”
I could keep going on and on with the day to day laughs she gives me but it’s time to roll so I will leave you with this.

From our family to all of yours, have a safe and wonderful holiday season. Enjoy your time with family and friends, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! See you in 2014…

Monday, May 27, 2013

A little bit of history...

Randy and I have always been intrigued with the idea of driving across the country.  We have talked about it for many years.  Then one day several years back, we stumbled upon an article in the newspaper about a husband and wife team who became truck drivers to make some serious money.  This couple put together a plan to be able to pay off their house, put money in savings, and retire after just 5 years of driving. To top it off, during the five year period they were able to spend quality time together and see the entire country.  Well, Hawaii and Alaska were excluded of course, but they had an opportunity to see every major city in 48 states.  The seed was planted in the back of my mind that day.  Randy and I both thought that driving a tractor trailer across the country would be a lot of fun.  We could see the country and get paid for it.  We definitely wanted to consider this idea when we retired from our jobs much later in life. 

In May of 2011 Randy and I both lost our jobs.  Although the company we worked for took good care of us, we immediately started looking at our options.  The job market did not look very good and nothing seemed promising.  With our kids starting college and leaving home, we felt that we needed to look at this layoff as an opportunity.  Maybe this was a perfect time to look into driving a big truck.  We spent hours and hours on researching the trucking industry.  We really did not have anything to lose so we decided to go ahead and go to school to get our CDL licenses.  In the meantime, we continued with our research.  We asked tons of questions.  Any opportunity that presented itself for us to learn something new, we jumped on it.  We talked to all sorts of people, all sorts of companies, all sorts of unhappy and some happy drivers, all sorts of owner operators and to all our teachers.  We talked to anyone that was willing to speak.  Overall the response was mostly negative.  We were disappointed and undecided.  Then we found a blog about a couple, a husband and wife team, who drove for US Express.  Their story was not much different than ours.  I contacted them immediately.  They were a happy couple who seemed to love what they did.  They concentrated on the positive aspects of the job and they definitely looked happy.  It seemed like they had a ton of fun.  They were able to enjoy themselves and make money at the same time.  I remember the excitement I felt every time they posted on their blog.

Believe it or not, we still walked into the industry totally in the blind.  We had no idea what this was going to be like.  I felt like we were getting into one of those pyramid companies where you were promised the world and you had a certain amount of time to make up your mind or the offer was off the table.  It was crazy if you ask me.  I was even told that the recruiters lie to you just to get you in the door.  If it wasn’t for Anne and Craig, the couple from US Express, we would not be driving.

We started school in July of 2011 and graduated in October of 2011.  Randy received the President’s award in our class and boy was he ever proud.  It seemed like driving the big rig came naturally to Randy.  I struggled a bit, but I did well in the end.  Not knowing how all this was going to pan out, we did not want to sign any contracts and be obligated.  Con-way accommodated that requirement.  We wanted the flexibility of being able to go home if we chose to.  After all, we were leaving the three most important people in our lives behind.  That was the hardest part.  Even though the kids were getting older and moving on with their own lives, leaving them behind was really tough.  Two weeks after graduation we left on a Greyhound bus headed for Joplin, MO to start our venture with Con-way Truckload.  The bus ride was definitely a memorable experience.  Let’s just say that we will never do that again.  I know, I know, you should never say “never”.  I think we spent a total of 38 hours on that bus.
To my amazement, I sincerely enjoyed driving and touring the country.  I enjoyed spending everyday with Randy.  I loved the fact that nobody was over my shoulder telling me what to do, with the exception of Randy, lol.  I got to experience new places with someone I loved and I was getting paid to do it.  Our experience with Con-way Truckload was a very positive one.  I am not saying that it went off without some hiccups, but over all we did not have anything negative to say about Con-way. 

After driving for a little over a year, both Randy and I felt that we wanted to look at other opportunities.  At this point we knew how we felt about the trucking industry, we knew the risks that were involved, we had some driving experience, and we had an idea of the possible potential.  Randy started looking and asking questions all over again.  I was desperate for us to try something different and new.  I wanted to move forward, yet not jeopardize what we had with Con-way.  Randy decided he was going to be the one to tread in the new waters.  He applied with a tanker company located in our home town and was hired.  He was very excited about this opportunity because the potential was there to make more money and be home a lot more often.  If all worked out well, then I could have joined him in the future.  For the time being I stayed on with Con-way and looked into becoming a trainer.  Teaching was right up my alley.
Randy did not want me to be out there in the big bad USA all by myself, but I insisted.  I wanted to prove to myself that I could do the job and I also wanted the new experience.  I can tell you all that I absolutely and positively hated it.  I had to do everything by myself and it was not easy.  For example, moving the tandems, pulling the tandem handle, pulling the king pin handle, strapping cargo, closing the uneven doors, putting placards on and off in the rain, parking, docking, pre-tripping, fueling, cleaning out the trailers, cleaning the windshield that I could not reach, and the list goes on.  Solo driving was not for me.  I recall telling Randy that I knew why I liked the job before he left me.  It was because he did all the work and I only drove.  Mostly, I felt that solo driving was very dangerous and way underpaid.  My dispatcher was good to me, but I still did not think it was worth the risk.  By the end of the second week I finally started to come around.  I stopped crying and I found ways to be and feel safer.  I worked out a schedule which made life a little bit easier day by day.  Of course I had my little support team.  My friend Dianna called me every day to keep me company over the phone.  Some days we talked for hours.  Dianna was my moral support and she continuously reminded me that I can do the job.  My friend Donna cared about my well-being.  She kept track of where I was at all times, she monitored my locations for weather and road conditions, and she made sure that I was safe.  The minute I was not logged into Google Latitude (a mobile location service); she was on the phone wanting to know why.  It was very refreshing to know that people out there cared for me so much. 

Randy was busy acclimating to his new position and learning another facet of the trucking industry.  Pulling tanker and working with different chemicals required a lot of focus.  There was much more to the job then just driving.  The majority of the materials hauled in tanks included flammable and hazardous chemicals.  One small mistake could result in a major catastrophe.  The loads were usually very heavy and more difficult to control.  Even though Randy was only in his training process, he still managed to be home quite often.  Randy was impressed by the company and the laid back atmosphere.  Everyone was always happy and very positive.  With this kind of job, a driver’s mind frame was very important.  The job included a lot of responsibility, not only to the new company, but also to himself and to the general public.  He needed to be very focused and clear minded.  Randy was about to start his one week hazmat training in South Carolina when he realized that he could not do it.  He could not move forward with a clear conscience.  He knew for a fact that his mind was elsewhere.  He was constantly worried and thinking about me.
Randy was fortunate to leave the company on good terms with an open invitation to come back.  He rejoined me at Con-way Truckload at the beginning of February.  Con-Way has a 30 day no questions asked policy which Randy took advantage of.  Both of us were very grateful for the experience and knowledge we gained during that transition and we were excited to be back on the road together as a team.
 
Not too long after being on the road together again, we started looking into taking the next step and the possibility of becoming Owner/Operators. We looked at many different options and decided that buying a used truck would work out the best.  In March of 2013 we purchased our first truck from Con-way Truckload.  We did all the research on driving for other companies and we realized that going from Company Drivers to Owner Operators at Con-way would be a very easy transition.  We had the help and support we needed, which made life much easier.  We also met some wonderful people who we are proud to call our friends.  Since we were very happy and comfortable, we decided that we would stay at Con-way Truckload as Independent Contractors. 

Today, we continue our research and look forward to taking yet another step.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Back on the road again...

Well we are back on the road again after 2 weeks of home time…plus a couple extra days. Irene’s honey do list was longer than I thought and the turkeys would not cooperate, well actually they did but they got the best of me. Turkeys won the battle. Oh well, there is always next season. Home time was great and we were able to spend time with family and friends.  We were also able to spend some quality time with our kids. Now it’s back to work! 

Right out of the gate Con-way shot us to Rocky Mount, NC to pick up a load bound for Lenexa, KS. From there we picked up in Kansas City, KS and headed to Salt Lake City, UT with a UPS load. From Salt Lake City, UT they dead headed us down to Calexico, CA to pick up a load going to Taylor, MI which we are currently on as I write. We should end up close to 6000 miles this week. That is not bad seeing we missed the first day of the pay period. Our fleet manager is awesome and we couldn't be happier with her.
While at home we sent our truck to Kenworth for a checkup and an upgrade on the oil system. I have received a lot of inquiries about our truck and what we do to achieve the fuel mileage that we get. I thought I would periodically give our readers updates and share information to help them achieve better mileage with their own trucks. We must keep in mind that our truck has a lifetime history of 6.4 mpg and our goal is to get it to 7.5 mpg.

Our 1st upgrade was to install Michelin low rolling resistant steer tires. The truck had Michelin wide singles on the drives already but we removed the Goodyear steer tires and replaced them with the Michelin XDA’s. Next we backed our speed down from 65mph to 62mph, which helped us save on fuel. We have also installed an Eco-Pure, OPS 1 oil purification system and switched to Synthetic oil. The Synthetic should help us with better fuel mileage. It may only be one or two tenth of a mile, but when you travel 280,000 miles per year, it all adds up. The oil purifier is for keeping the oil cleaner and free of contaminants.  It should hopefully prolong our oil changes from every month to every 6 months.  At $275.00 a month (times 12 months) that is quite a savings. All we have to do is change the filter once a month and send an oil sample in for testing. The results will tell us when to change the oil and also let us know what is going on inside the engine. The biggest increase we have found was in the tires and reducing our speed. With all of the upgrades so far we have taken the truck from 6.4 to 7.1 in our first 30 days. Doesn’t seem like much, but that will actually put $7k back in our pocket this year in fuel savings. Our goal is to get the truck to 7.5 mpg with a few more upgrades. Our next purchase will be the Fleet Air filter for the intake. It’s a washable/reusable filter that allows more air to the engine. We should be able to squeeze out a couple more tenths with this upgrade. Stay tuned to find out.

I am so glad that spring has finally arrived. We love the outdoors and all the colors of spring. What a beautiful ride we had from Salt Lake City this morning down I-15…no more worries about the snow for a while. I love what we do and love spending everyday with my blonde bombshell at my side, even though she still struggles with her Geography, names, and Border Patrol...but she has improved! Although this morning she referred to a Peterbuilt as a Peterborough...maybe Geography and names are getting mixed up with her...lol 



 

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Well…finally!  It’s nice to be able to blog again.  A certain someone broke the laptop in the truck, so we have been without one for about a month.  I won’t mention any names but she is my team mate, my love and my wife…lol.  We are on home time now for about two weeks and we look forward to spending time with family and friends.
 
Business has been great so far as owner operators.  We have not had a week yet with less than 6000+ miles.  As I always say “miles is money”.  We have a new Fleet Manager and she is wonderful!  She keeps us rolling and she also realizes that we are living breathing humans…unlike some other FM’s. Red Solo Truck has been running well so far and we have had zero issues.  Our fuel mileage for the first 30 days was right at 7.0 mpg.  That is pretty good for this truck.  We run at 62 mph and have done a few small upgrades to enhance our mileage.  I am hoping that by summer we will be able to bring it to 7.5 mpg, which would make us very happy.  The truck was at 6.4 mpg when we bought it.  By making some upgrades to the truck and bringing the fuel mileage to 7.5 mpg, it would put an additional $15k back in our pocket each year in fuel savings. Pretty substantial…
Well as I said we are home and it’s that time of year when the turkeys are gobbling.  I am off to the woods for a little one on one with a long beard.  Of course Irene has her “honey do list” out but that will have to wait.  We also have a long list of things we want to do to Red Solo Truck so it will be a busy 2 weeks of hunting, honey do, and truck maintenance.  Heck I will need to get back on the road just so I can get some rest…lol

I am going to keep it short for now but will write again when we hit the road with our “new laptop”.  One that Irene can’t break…ooops, I wasn’t going to mention any names. Ha ha!
I know I say it a lot on here, but I thank the Lord for blessing me with a wonderful and healthy family, a job that lets me spend every day with the woman I love, and also lets me travel the country and enjoy all the beauty that Mother Nature has to offer.  

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Red Solo Truck


Red Solo Truck…we fill you up…let’s tour the country…let’s tour the country. I love you Red Solo Truck…
We are almost a week into our new (used) truck and I can’t help but think that Toby Keith meant to sing about our truck instead of his Solo cup…lol.  It has definitely been a challenge, but we knew it would be.  Having to shift again after driving the automatic Volvo for 10 months is the biggest challenge. People have said, “Oh it’s just like riding a bike, you never forget”.  Irene has done well but for me…I crash my bike at least once a day...lol. The truck shifts very, very smooth and with Irene’s gentle shifting it goes well for her…but for me, it’s like a bull in a China cabinet. I am doing a lot better with it though day by day.

The other challenge that we encountered was “where oh where do we put everything?” You see, it was like moving from a 4 bedroom house into a 1 bedroom. Thankfully Irene is good at packing things away and she has done just that.  It’s a science now to find anything, but everything does have its place. We tell each other several times a day that this is just a temporary setting and that we will upgrade by the 1st of the year.  Hopefully when we go home in April we can remove some winter items and perhaps add a couple of shelves for more storage.…in addition, I am just like Tim the Tool Man Taylor…I can build anything. Arghhh Arghhh Arghhh!
We left our home terminal in Joplin on the 18th and relayed our 1st load at our terminal in Lancaster, TX.  From there we picked up in Dallas and headed to Kettleman City, CA to deliver a Con-way Freight load. We enjoyed this trip very much because it took us for the 1st time thru Tehachapi Pass and on up to Bakersfield, CA. It also took us just a stone’s throw from Charles Manson’s home for many years, Corcoran State Prison. Tehachapi was a beautiful ride, as the pictures attached will show.



 


 

 After we left Kettleman, it was off to Sacramento for a load.  However, shortly after we arrived the load was cancelled. No problem because we still got paid for the ride. They reassigned us a load, which would send us down to Los Angeles, but we could not pick it up until the following morning. Therefore, Irene and I decided to wander a little and kill time. We came across an Asian supermarket called Ranch Market.  What a treat this place was. If you ever have the chance to stop at one, you need to do it! The store had a small style food court inside where you could purchase your food and sit right there and eat. I have to admit that I was a little frightened by some of the items they had. Whole ducks cooked…with the beak. Chickens feet…no way Jose, pigs feet…not happening, and other things that I could not even begin to describe. Irene and I just stuck with what we knew…sesame chicken, chow fun, fish. After we ate we wandered the rest of the store and we were both amazed.  At times I thought we left the United States and landed in Asia. Most everything was written in Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and the list went on. They even had a live seafood section with fish tanks and OMG they had Carp in one tank!  Yep, carp, evidently a delicacy in Asia. But the funniest part for me (with my sick sense humor) was when I saw the packages of round things. Curiosity got the best of me and I had to investigate. These little round balls were exactly that…balls! There were beef balls, pork balls, and many other different balls all packaged up. They even had shrimp and fish balls. Wait shrimp and fish don’t have balls…do they? For you guys that have lost your balls…you can definitely find them here…ha ha ha…like I said, sick sense of humor.


Well it was time to go and if I hadn’t had enough fun already I believe Irene made me laugh the hardest. She said to me oh I know why everything is in Asian…we are close to Japan. I looked at her and without skipping a beat said…can you see it from your house Sarah Palin? Now I love Sarah but I couldn’t resist saying it as I laughed all the way to the checkout while Irene stood there with a puzzled look. Dang I love her…she always knows how to make me laugh…lol.


So we  picked up in Los Angeles and delivered to Chicago and from there it was onto Kansas City, then over to Pennsylvania. We are currently on our way to Oregon as I write this for our next delivery. We had a total of 5798 miles…not bad for our 1st full week as independent contractors. As long as the miles keep coming we can’t ask for much more. I have said it many times before… we are truly blessed to be able to enjoy this life on the road, the adventure, the laughs, new friendships, and everything else in between.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Great News...


Well, I figured it’s time that I share the latest news with everyone.
We have been investigating this for a while…and the timing just seemed right!  Irene and I have become Owner Operators (Independent Contractors) for Con-way Truckload.  We have purchased one of Con-way’s red 2007 Kenworth T600’s.  It has a Cat motor and we felt that this was a logical choice for dependability. These trucks have a good maintenance history and they have been very dependable for the company.  The truck is a little smaller then we would like, but this purchase allowed us to obtain the truck with no debt. Our plan is to run the truck until December and then upgrade into a newer one so that we can still run in California.  Since we are a “team”, California is usually a frequent stop for us. For those of you not familiar with California rules, as of January 1, 2014, drivers will not be allowed into the state without a DPF (diesel particulate filter).  These filters are only found on 2008 trucks or newer. Any truck prior to 2008 can be fitted with a filter but this is not something that interests us (very costly).  We would much rather put the money toward a newer truck.

After comparing several Owner Operator contracts/companies, we felt that Con-way offered the best options that fit our needs. In addition, being familiar with their system, along with steady freight and great miles, it was really a no brainer. We hope that this will allow for a smooth transition.  Irene and I are very excited about our future. Of course along with excitement comes pressure to succeed.  We are no longer company employees…we own our company so we really have to watch our every move.  Being owners allows us to call the shots now and that is a big advantage along with more freedom. The truck itself is a tad smaller than the Volvo we were driving so I know there will be some growing pains…or maybe shrinking pains to deal with. Thankfully I have a lot of patience with Irene…LOL. Actually that may be the other way around.
I guess now Irene is not only my wife, lover, best friend and teammate…but also my business partner…lol. We have attached some photos of the truck and hope that you will enjoy our future blogs as owner/operators. Wish us luck! 


Our trucks side by side.

 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Ring

This past week has been a bit of a roller coaster ride.  As drivers you have to learn to roll with things as they come up.  Although this past week’s miles are down due to a flat tire on our truck, along with a loaded DOT illegal trailer that was relayed to us and our truck going to the shop, there were still some bright spots in the week. We met some great fellow drivers that we now can call friends. Among them we met Shaun and Sean who are Conway team drivers.  The ironic part is that both of these guys live in our hometown…talk about a small world! Meeting new people, making new friends, and sharing laughs has always been some of the best parts of this job. Irene and I hope to cross paths with all of them in the future and share good times.

With all the Gall Bladder drama in my last post I had forgotten to write about Irene’s wedding ring episode that took place while doing laundry. Whenever time allows, we like to catch up on laundry and while at our Taylor terminal that is exactly what we did. Apparently they had just installed new washers and there was a problem with the amount of water they were using during the different cycles. Irene said there was not enough water and that she had to adjust the clothes in the washer by hand to make sure they got washed and rinsed correctly. I hope Conway didn’t pay much for these machines.
Anyway, the cold water had allowed Irene’s wedding band to become very loose and fall off her finger, but it landed on top of the clothes. Thank God, she said, that she noticed it right away. “Yeah” I said with a tad bit of concern “that would not have been pleasant”. While she was working on the laundry I was catching up on other things that needed attention. A little while later Irene walks over to me and sits down.  After about 10 minutes, she says, “Where’s my ring”?  As I looked, I noticed her concern along with the fact that her ring was missing off of her finger.   I asked her if she put it in her pocket.  “No” she answered, “I had it on my finger”.  I asked her why she would do that when it already fell off her finger once and she wasn’t even close to being finished with the laundry.  “I don’t know,” she said. I just stared at her and if it weren’t for the fact that she was about to cry, I would have explained to her that now I know why blonde jokes exist…lol. We had no idea where she lost the ring this time.  I went to the washer machine that she had been using and opened the lid to see if there was any way that I may get lucky enough to find it. Meanwhile, Irene was frantic wondering if her wedding ring was gone for good.  Could the ring have slipped off her finger, fallen into the washer and gone under the center post? “Do you think you will find it Randy?” Irene asked me. I had no idea as I felt around inside the washer gently trying not to disturb things that much. This was going to be like trying to find a needle in a haystack with all the soapy water and the fact that is was loaded with clothes. Just then I felt the ring at the bottom of the drum and grabbed it while Irene was still pacing the floor and ready to cry.  As I lowered the lid and turned toward her with the ring in plain view I said, “Put it in your pocket this time”. She was ecstatic…”thank you, thank you, thank you” she said.   I looked at her and said…I know Beyonce sings “if you like it then you better put a ring on it” but I am sure she didn’t mean the washer…ha ha ha!

One other laugh that helped me get through this past week was one of Irene’s remarks she had made about a truck…a “Peterbuilt” to be exact. You see, most drivers refer to them as Pete’s and by now, I would have thought that Irene has picked up on that. So one afternoon while she was driving, I was looking through the Truck Paper at used trucks.  Irene and I are considering buying our own and I was reading the used Peterbuilt ads out loud to her. So, after about the third or fourth ad Irene says “Wow, that’s sounds just as good as Jeff’s Peter”. I believe Irene instantly knew by the look on my face that her statement was just wrong.  “It’s a Pete, Irene,” I said “promise me you will never refer to it as anyone’s Peter again”.  I believe I am going to start calling her Mrs. Entertainment…because there is never a dull moment with her on the road.
We are currently at our home terminal in Joplin getting some maintenance work done on our truck. With the truck being in the shop, our company pays for our stay in a hotel.  There are 2 of those Tornado Chaser trucks parked in the lot and I hope they are here for a convention and not to chase tornado’s…guess I need to turn on the weather channel. I hope to get pictures of them to put in a later post. They look like something out of a video game.

Wish us luck…

Friday, March 1, 2013

Scary couple of days…

Well another week has rolled by and unfortunately this one had a little more drama in it than I wanted. Sunday morning found us arriving at our terminal in Taylor Michigan where we dropped the trailer from Nogales AZ. Since we were very low on hours we decided to do our reset in Taylor. Therefore, it would be Monday afternoon before we headed back out. We decided to do laundry, watch TV, and just chill for the night.

Monday morning found us with a run from Taylor heading up to Quebec and then down toCrossville Tenn. Pretty decent run plus we had not been to Canada in a while so we were both excited. (Actually I was nervous…you know how Irene gets with Border Patrol) Around noon we were getting ready to shower and head north of the border when Irene mentioned that her chest hurt and she was not feeling well. She lied down on the bunk in the sleeper and within minutes was in serious pain. I asked her what hurt and she said her chest, but the pain was moving slowly down. My 1stthought was “heart attack” but she said it was more like extreme heartburn. I decided to drive to the store and get some Zantac or Pepcid to see if it would help. The store was just around the corner but by the time we arrived she was in excruciating pain.

Once at the store I grabbed some Zantac and Pepcid and hurriedly ran towards checkout. Of course…18 checkout lanes and 3 people working. Wait, I know, self-checkout! Of course another guy is just walking in that lane but he happens to notice my urgency and politely says “go ahead”. “Thank you sir” I replied. He then says to me“if you need a restroom they are right over there”. Totally stunned I stared at him and then it hit me…oh no! “My wife is sick in the truck and I am just trying to get out of here quickly,” I told him…I guess he thought I had a potty issue…lol

So off to the truck I sprint and this is where it begins. As I opened the door there were voices coming from the back that I had only heard once before and then I saw her…it was Linda Blaire from the Exorcist in my sleeper. Irene was screaming things at me I never heard before. As I looked at her I asked, who are you and what did you do with Irene…”GIVE ME A PILL” was all I heard. I swear her head rotated 360 degrees just like in the movie. I was so nervous I dropped the 1st pill on the floor as Irene screamed at me to hurry up! Finally I gave her a Zantac and water but it was too little too late…she looked at me and said, “it feels like labor pains”… wait a minute, what do you mean labor pains…”hey Lucy you gotta lot of explaining to do".

Just then a guy beside us was getting into his car so I asked him where the nearest Urgent Care was. He directed me to Oakwood, which was only a few blocks away. “Thank You God”, I thought to myself. Meanwhile, Irene was doubled over and moaning in pain pleading for me to do something. I told her that we were on our way to Urgent Care (while I held 2 pens in the sign of the cross as I drove…just in case Linda Blaire came at me)...ha ha! The next thing she yells at me is “why are you hitting all the bumps, it makes it worse” in which I answered… “Irene we are in Michigan there are no smooth roads”. When we arrived at Urgent Care the staff took one look at Irene and immediately told me to bring her into an examination room. All they asked about were the symptoms, they told me that the name and the usual paperwork can wait…all attention was on Irene. Of course I was praying the Dr. had Holy Water and a Bible because I’m was pretty sure we were going to perform an exorcism…lol.

Anyway after an EKG the Doctor assured us that it was not her heart. They then gave Irene a GI cocktail along with 2 shots one for pain and the other for nausea. Finally Irene started to settle down…The following day we had more tests, but the end result after all the testing was done was a Gall Bladder attack and the Gall Bladder needed to come out as soon as possible. We decided to contact our own family physician and get a referral to a specialist back in North Carolina to get another opinion before we decide. Irene is back to herself and feeling well right now. In fact she is currently behind the wheel heading us to our Lancaster terminal as I am writing.

Irene and I laugh about it now but it was pretty scary at the time…we are both glad that it wasn’t something worse. A lot of crazy things run thru your mind when a loved one is sick or in pain…we are blessed though that everything will be fine and we look forward to better days ahead.

Sunday, February 24, 2013


Russell's Museum 

 
What a great week we have had…we are finishing up with 6143 miles for the week.  Last week we had a last minute save that put us at 5760…not bad for this time of year. On Wednesday morning we were in Lancaster, PA dropping a trailer at QVC.  We found out that we would be picking up in the afternoon and heading for Nashville, TN. Oh what to do with our free time? 
The shipping and receiving clerk at QVC had mentioned to us there was a Mennonite store just down the road and she highly recommended it.  I was excited because as I have mentioned in the past I am very intrigued by the Amish and the Mennonites. There way of life is just simple. Irene, on the other hand, was very skeptical as she is with everything. I was telling Irene that I am getting baked goodies! All their products are cooked and baked with all natural ingredients and none of that chemical crap that the food industry puts on us. Irene’s reply of course (and I expected nothing else from her), was that they probably buy the stuff at Wal-mart and wrap it in their own packages…she kills me. Once we were in the store I was like a little kid. Let’s get this and oh I want that…Irene on the other hand just walked and looked but said nothing. Well not until we reached the baked goods. Banana bread…bingo! She couldn’t resist…”but Irene, don’t you think that may have come from Wal-mart” I asked?  I had to poke some fun at her, I couldn’t resist. Wait…what’s that Éclair dish you are holding? Irene managed to find this Éclair in a plastic dish that looked incredibly delicious. After our shopping excursion we headed back to the truck to put away our groceries. By this time it was getting closer to lunch and instead of making sandwiches or soup, someone (Irene) decided to try the Éclair.  Well by the moans and sounds coming from Irene you would have thought she was…well never mind. Anyway I asked to try a little and OMG…it was incredible. Irene asked for it back and I said “no, it’s probably from Wal-mart”, I told her.  The fight was on!  We looked like two seagulls fighting over a fish on the beach for that Éclair. I did give it back so she could enjoy…I’m such a softy. Well after that wonderful desert and the Banana bread Irene has a new outlook on Amish/Mennonite baking.

If you are ever in the Lancaster, PA area you may want to check them out. It’s located at 820 Ivy Road Lancaster PA, 17601.  The name is Forry’s Country Store, or you can visit them at www.forryscountrystore.com.
 
Another great find we had this week was Russell’s Car Museum located off I-40 at exit #369 in New Mexico. Actually, it is a very nice truck stop, which has a museum, a travel/gift store, and a restaurant. The car museum is a definite “Man Cave” and a must see. Mustangs, Corvettes, Model A’s, 57 Chevy Belair the list goes on…all I could do was drool. There were also a few motorcycles along with a Willy’s jeep on display. One of the bikes was a 42 Harley Flathead. We have posted some pictures to tease everyone into stopping in if you are ever out that way. The people were very friendly especially Art. He is a super nice guy who took the time to tell us all about the place and where to get the best pictures.  He helped us in capturing as much of the collection as possible and he also took our photo…thank you again Art! If only we had more time I would have stayed all day. The store was also very nice with lots of things to purchase for the gift or souvenir seeker. We did not have time to eat there, but if the food was anything like the rest of the place, I am sure it was 5 stars! For those of you wanting a closer look check them out at www.russellsttc.com …we hope you enjoy it.


As I am writing this we are cruising across Texas headed for Michigan and realizing just how blessed we are to experience all we do day in and day out.  We get to meet some wonderful people along our journey…like Art from the museum. Keep the cars looking pretty Art…we will definitely be back!



Monday, February 18, 2013

So much has changed...almost.


Wow it seems as though the last few blogs I have written I have started out with….it’s been a while since I have blogged.  Well guess what…yep it’s been a while since I have blogged. So much has happened in the past 30 days I am not sure where to start.

We spent 7 days in the Caribbean on a cruise that took us to Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and St. Marten. We had a wonderful time with our kids but it was a much older crowd on the ship with a lot of walkers, wheelchairs, and electric scooters. My son summarized it best by saying “ it was one of the nicest nursing homes (the ship) he has ever been to”…he gets his humor from his mother…lol

After the cruise Irene and I had a long talk and decided it was time that we part ways. Yes I am sad to say that we headed in opposite directions, it just made sense at the time.

Oh wait yall are thinking we are divorcing. Shame on you she is the best thing that has ever happened to me…no I took a job with a local company that at the time seemed like the right move but it wasn’t to be. Everyone can relax I am back in the truck with Irene and life couldn’t be better. She did run by herself for about 3 weeks and did an awesome job as a solo. She managed to keep it together dealing with broke equipment, snow storms, and creepy guys who like to hassle women drivers. I am very proud of her! The thing is in this business there are lots of opportunities to get ahead.  Irene and I saw a chance that allowed me to get my foot in the door with a company that was in our home town. This company would have allowed me more home time and better money. There was talk of Irene coming on at a later date possibly; the only problem was I am not sure the money was there. So I passed on it and called Conway back and was reinstated (they have a 30 day no questions asked policy) Life is good again and every day is spent with the woman I love…it doesn’t get any better than that.

Freight has been a little slow as of late but tis the season…it should pick up here in a couple weeks. We managed to squeak out 5700 miles last week but would be much happier with 6700. We just brought a load from California and are currently leaving Atlanta heading to Pennsylvania and then to Nashville…kind of a slow start but maybe the week will get better…at least I hope so or the “blonde bombshell” I call my partner will be on the phone chewing someone’s A$$. That’s one of the nice things about her and I teaming…she handles all the paperwork and phone calls and I do the muscle work…basically I get the dummy end of the teamwork…she doesn’t trust me what can I say…ha ha ha.

Well it’s great to be back and I look forward to sharing our adventures with everyone as we zig zag back and forth across this beautiful country we live in…we are so blessed!