Dec 20, 2009

To Err is Human...The Finale !!

The phone call was from my Office. They needed to inquire about a few particulars concerning my load.


Yes, Winona was on the way, saving at least 100 miles. Yes Winona was actually loaded next and not underneath the Minneapolis. No, no one reloaded any of my freight, except the pallets back in Tennessee. Yes, they agreed to wait on me.

It seems the Aluminum Company got a nasty little email from Minneapolis concerning my delivery. Of course, I feel that their complaints were legitimate, and I did do everything I could to help out with the situation. I run into this problem all of the time in New England, but because I know the customer's needs, I am able to accommodate them before arriving with an undeliverable load. I did not know this customer, so I did not know I needed to make alternate arrangements with the freight.

What ensued over the next few hours was a battle of laying blame. The load planner claimed it was my fault for changing routes mid-stream and That I was obviously having my freight moved around . She knows I do this in New England, but there was no need for it on this trip. It just wasn't loaded properly. My boss waged war for me, and in the end it was revealed that I was not to blame at all. Really?

Don't you just love the fact that almost everyone seems to throw the driver under the bus, when a mistake occurs. Luckily, I have a wonderful boss who will fight tooth and nail for his team of drivers.

The best part of this little battle...The original email from Minneapolis included a paragraph about me. It stated that I was doing my best to help them out. That I had physically helped them unload over 4000k of metal. That I was a great asset to my company. The final sentence advised my company to extend gratitude to me, the Driver....You know, the one the load planner was trying to blame.. LOL

I made it home early on Friday and was scheduled to be off for the next 2 weeks. But, I just had to volunteer to work the week of Christmas....Seems, I am a glutton for punishment.

Good news, however! When I finish my run this week, I am to send my truck to Volvo to have the new engine installed....YAY This could not come at a better time, because even though my problems were temporarily at bay with the regen situation in Wisconsin. They almost immediately returned when I got empty in Missouri. Only 1200 more miles and Frankentruck goes under the knife.. Let's hope he lives through it.

To Err is Human....Almost Done

I awoke at the crack of dawn and began my trek into St Louis. I could have chosen a shorter route, but my need for fuel had me sticking to the interstates.

Upon my final descent into St Louis, I witnessed an accident. Some people are just in too big of a hurry.

Riding south on I-55, the radio was full of chatter pertaining to a trailer tire w/rim laying in the southbound granny lane. Getting close to the obstruction, I moved left and watched as fourwheelers opted for flying around the right side in order to pass my slow moving obstruction. I then slowed even more, because I could tell they had no idea what was laying in the road in front of them, the distance was too great to discern it at this point. So, I slowed even further to allow them room to make a hasty left merge once they noticed it.

The two cars noticed it at almost the last second, literally jerking the steering wheel to avoid catastrophe. The Escalade, who became agitated when I slowed him down, decided to come around on my right also. He obviously had not noticed the actions of the other fourwheelers, because he had been behind me. I guess, my brake lights and four way flashers just angered him even more. So he darted to my right. I kept waiting for him to notice the wheel... and waited and waited......Oh crap, he never noticed it and centered it perfectly, lifting his entire vehicle at least a foot into the air before the sudden stop with a very large trailer tire wedged under his motor.

The truck behind him was a daycab, and also had not noticed the impending calamity, so he had to make a quick dive into onto the shoulder to keep from impacting the Escalade. The driver was not immediately injured, but I think he will be very sore for awhile. What is even worse, this tire did not fall off of a poorly maintained axle, it was actually strapped to the nose of a flatbed trailer and bounced out under the straps. That truck was sitting on the shoulder of the road with the driver on the phone while all of this happened. Seems he had been parked long enough to have removed the obstacle from the interstate, but he needed to make a few phone calls first..We had reports of the tire for 10 miles before we got to it... Hmm, can you saw LAWSUIT!!

So, after all that excitement had passed, can you guess my next delay...

I headed east on I-70, instead of the west bound 270, I was aiming for. Just a little distracted, folks, nothing to worry about. I have a great sense of direction...LOL

Well, I got my final 2 stops off on Thursday, and just as I started to breath a sigh of relief, the phone rang...

To Err is Human...Part Two

So...I am sitting in Mauston, Wisconsin after completing a 45 minute manual regeneration on my truck. I have 2 stops in Minnesota and time is of the essence. After contacting both locations I decided to flip my route around. Minneapolis was supposed to unload next according to my manifest, but Winona's freight was next in line on the trailer, and because it was literally on my way to Minneapolis, I headed there next.

I had received 3 sets of bad directions for the location in Winona, and ended up phoning in for turn by turn instructions after I got lost riding through town. Seems I took the very long way around, which did not help my timing. One pallet removed and I was back in action. I phoned Minneapolis and alerted them to my time frame. I would be arriving at about the time they closed. They agreed to wait for me up to one hour. So I pedaled forward.

I hit Minneapolis in record time, and arrived about 15 minutes prior to closing. I was already in luck because today was their annual Christmas Party. But the tide turned rather rapidly when I pulled into the lot and noticed this was going to be a dock unload.

After everyone assessed the situation, it was determined that the only way to offload this freight, was to hand unload. Never a good situation when they have equipment to use, but the freight is loaded sothat it is unattainable. In this case, the 12 ft bundles were placed in the nose, stacked directly on top of 26' metal. There was no way their boom was going to reach it without dragging metal on metal and damaging my St Louis freight.

So we cut the bundles open and proceeded to sandbag the freight off the trailer. My job was in the nose, because the men were too tall in fit in the cramped space. My body was going to pay for this later. After an hours worth of physical labor, a few mishaps, and several strained muscles, I was unloaded. Oh, it might also be noted..I was not unloaded by the receiving crew, they were gone for the day. I was unloaded by the office personnel, and they were not too happy with the situation as they were still dressed in party attire. But they had agreed to wait, so they did not feel they should refuse me at this point, even though I volunteered to stay overnight so the labor crew could handle this situation in the morning.

My final 2 stops were located in St Louis, Missouri and there was just too much distance to cover, so I could only hope to arrive before their 2pm closures the following day. I was anxious for my shower and in no great hurry at this point. In fact, I was so resigned to the fact I might have to wait until Friday to unload, that I took a few detours on my way out of town. Rt 494 was experiencing major delays due to accidents, so I tried to find a shortcut back to Rt52. I knew where it was, but because of the jug-handled ramps and multiple turns, I got confused and ended up heading straight for downtown St. Paul.... LOL, no I do not use GPS.

It only added about an hour, taking the side streets, to work my way back toward my intended southbound direction on Rt 52. By the time I reached the truck stop, I was more than ready to be finished for the day, and decided not to push myself getting to St Louis.

But I am not one to let opportunity slip through my hands, so I got up early the next morning, with the intention of getting my final 2 stops off and heading home.... be continued

Dec 19, 2009

To Err Is Human, To Forgive....

Well, that is just part of the job. My job, at least. With so many things that can and will go wrong, it is almost a requirement to have a forgiving temperament. Otherwise, life would be pretty miserable while out on the road.

This week had so many pitfalls, I should probably do a single post for each day of the journey... But I will try to keep this one relatively in check.

Sunday night was easy enough,only 140 miles to my first customer. Well, except for the fact that the loaders forgot to strap down parts of my load. Plus they also loaded all the palletized material on one side of the trailer. That could be a problem later in the week, but did I ever tell you how much I hate to get dirty before I ever even leave the yard? So, the first chink in my armor was having to work on my load. The second would be the fact that, while I spent a day in Tennessee last week having repairs made, my truck is actually running worse. I went from an average of 7.9 mpg while loaded to a staggering 4.1 miles per gallon.

Monday started out just fine, with the previous ordeal of the straps forgotten...until the removal of some freight left those pallets in a vulnerable position. Later in the day, a small pallet double stacked did in fact do a nose dive off of a larger pallet and onto some other material, but there was nothing I could do about it. The center supports had been left off of the trailer...I was not destined to get much done on Monday, but I knew that before leaving out. So, it was 4 stops in Tennessee. I finished "working" before noon. But the drive left me grumbling, because along with the heavy consumption of fuel, there was also a very noticeable loss of power. Let's just say I climbed out of Dunlap, Tn at a whopping 12 mile per hour, and that was after I dropped off 15,000 pounds of freight. I have never dropped into the low side of my gears for this pull, so I was not looking forward to cruising through Kentucky.

Tuesday morning finds me just south of Indianapolis, In. A quick glance at my gauges alerted me to trouble...Seems I had someone steal some fuel during the course of my overnight stay. Good thing I slept at a fuel stop, because I would not have made it very far with what they left me, now that I was rolling at 4 mpg. I am just happy that they left the fuel cap, although it was not secured.

Upon arriving at the Indy customer, it is now mandatory that I do something with the overturned pallet. Good thing it only weighed about a hundred pounds. I was able to flip it off of the bundles of metal to deliver here, and thankfully, the lift driver then helped me to reorganize the remaining pallets for safer traveling. After delivering Indy, I headed north to drop off a few goodies around the Detroit area. I finished my three stops there and headed west just in time to watch the arrival of the saltshakers (snowplows). Although, I never did witness more than a handful of flakes actually falling from the sky.

Wednesday morning I awoke to the glorious landscape of winter in Kohler, WI. After making my delivery and getting my shortcut planned out, I took off down a two lane heading for Minnesota. You might find this surprising, but I was already needing to look for fuel again. This continued all week, because I was not accustomed to running at 4 MPG !! Sheesh... The route was good. My truck, not so much! I have to regenerate my exhaust every 1800 miles, which also pulls down my towing capacity. Unfortunately, my truck decided it was not going to regen and began to show the telltale signs I was in for an even longer week than originally expected.

Holy Cow, did I even mention this before.. I am going to Minnesota... That will complete my tour of the 48 contiguous United States. I have now driven through all of them and it only took 13 years to do so.

But back to the main event. So, without regenerating, the truck will eventually smother itself because the exhaust filters will become clogged. While it is having a hard time exhaling, it also is struggling to maintain the feeble job it was already performing. But, on top of that, I am now blowing out so much exhaust that it appears my truck has blown a turbo. I like to call this fumigating, and the folks behind me on this two lane stretch of real estate were not happy about it. I managed to get to the fuel stop, and decided to run a manual regen, in hopes that I could delay the inevitable.

It worked, but it took 45 minutes to complete and I was already behind schedule. I needed to make a quick stop in Winona, MN, before heading up to Minneapolis.... be continued

Route 23 near Kohler, Wisconsin

Dec 13, 2009

Out With The Old...

What can I say... Last week was pretty typical, I suppose. My route took me through Kentucky, Indiana, and Michigan. Having checked the weather (because it is THAT time of year) I knew that I really should not have any weather related worries. However, on Tuesday, each and every customer began to advise me that I might want to get the hell out of dodge. Old Man Winter was strutting his stuff and I was directly in his path.

I surprised myself by finishing on Tuesday. But then again, (AA) always tells me that I underestimate my own skills. My response to that.."If you plan for the worst, then you will always be delighted when things turn out normal, or even exceed your expectations." But I am a glass is half full kind of girl.

I make it into Kentucky that evening after battling monsoon winds and torrential downpours. I swear at times it felt like I only had 9 wheels on the ground. Not a pleasant feeling, and truthfully, I think rough weather is one of the hardest things I trucker has to deal with.

Earlier in the day, I had noticed I was having mechanical issues. I had actually noticed hints of them the week before, but this time I was parked in a dock. A dock that is inside of a building. And I was jutting out of the doorway, so that it could not be closed. And my truck did not want to start. It took almost 5 minutes to get Frankentruck to submit to my endeavors. So when I arrived in Kentucky for the night, I knew I may be down for the count. I opted to stop at truck stop with a service shop, just in case.

The next morning, with even more effort, I coerced Frankentruck into cooperating. By now I had decided no more runs until this issue was resolved, but I was already on the board for a Florida run just as soon as I could get in.

Time to make an executive decision. I had alerted the Stooges and the newest member of our in house dispatch team to my troubles. They were going to get me another truck, and line up the repairs for this one. I did not want to play along, as I do not play well with others. So, I decided to manipulate this situation just a wee bit, for my own sake.

I headed down into Chattanooga and made a beeline for the local shop there. I knew if I showed my poor little truck to the mechanic there, he would pretty much shut me down. He is such a wonderful fella, really! As soon as he inspected my rig, he was on the phone to our Headquarters and got the okay to put me out of my misery. He then called Volvo and had them awaiting my arrival. Next, he loaded me and my gear in the company pick-up and took me to a nicer side of town for room and board. During all of this, our new dispatcher was frantically trying to figure out a way to get me back to Atlanta and in another truck that just did not exist at the moment. He rang my phone just before checking into the room. I convinced him that it would just be better if I stayed and waited on my truck, rather than borrow a daycab. My truck was in a bay within 2 minutes of my arrival and after the initial once over, it was supposed to be repaired and rolling by noon the next day. If I took the daycab, what was I going to drive to Miami? hmmmm?? And then I would have to bring the daycab back to the Nugget (Chattanugget) to retrieve my truck. Only to have just enough time to grab my next trailer and head out on next weeks load...Ugh..No thankyou! Last time I pulled that one, I kind of exceeded my hours just a tiny little bit and forgot about it. Only to be reminded of it later that week.

So while I did convince the new dispatcher to cut me some slack, I know he was fit to be tied..But, this is exactly the results I had intended when I first woke that morning. Sneaky, huh??

Now why would I do this, you may ask yourself. Because in order to pull off his plan of action, I would have had to swap trucks no less than 4 times last week...That would bring my total up to 37 .... Yes, I have jumped trucks 33 times since we got these big beautiful fully ripened LEMONS just over 2 years ago. And I just don't wanna do it no more!!

But, my friends, I do have some exciting news to conclude with. Volvo has decided to reward us for our substantial failure in making lemonade, by giving us 5 NEW ENGINES!! Yep, that's right...I will let you know how that pans out.. Until then.....Truck Em Up!!

For those of you who may be new to my blog. My scheming was not a result of not wanting the extra work. It is because I knew if I took my truck back home, the Stooges would send it to South Atlanta, and it would have been out of commission for at least a week. Also....The Stooges are my mechanics, and aptly named for all of the ridiculous repairs they have made, and the ones they cant seem to figure out.

Dec 4, 2009

End of The Line

I find it to be quite humorous.. My moods....

Last week, when nothing seemed to go according to plan, I got frustrated trying to get home for the Holidays. Most weeks, when I am at least a half a day ahead of schedule, I get frustrated... Knowing I am almost home, after a thousand mile ride, I enter South Carolina and get frustrated...(Hmmmm, 1000 empty miles after 2-3 days of unloading, that is)

Now, my frustrations are not lingering. They are more like short bursts of fury that vanish before I can properly express them. Well, except in SC.

This was another one of those weeks, when not everything went according to plan, as is expected in the trucking industry. Monday's deliveries were scattered out enough that I had only hoped to get 3 off. Duncan, South Carolina, and two Charlotte, NC's..The fourth stop was almost 300 miles away, but because I am so awesome, I made the fourth and fifth deliveries on Monday as well. That put me in Richmond, Virginia for the final that day. I will not bore you with all the obstacles I faced in getting there, but just know it was a hard fought battle to get the last two off, both within minutes of their daily closing times.

The next delivery was to be at a job-site in Norfolk, Virginia. I had made the necessary phone calls to ensure the time and location of expected delivery. My paperwork stated "Do Not Drive Past Parking Garage !!!" The fellow on the phone said it was necessary to follow the road until it ended... Hmmm , what to do?

When I arrived the following morning, I discovered that it did not matter about the " DO NOT" instructions, because I was already screwed before I got to the parking garage. So I followed the road to the end. Found that there was indeed NO WAY to turn around, pull forward, or even unload... I spent almost an hour with one of the contractors who eventually received word that the crew I was looking for had walked off the job the previous week and never returned. Oh Joy!!

Nothing left to do, except head for the next customer. First, I head to get out of there....With only one way in and no way for me and my 53' to turn around, I had to back out almost a mile to get situated...Dodging construction workers all the while. But I love a good challenge, and this was not challenging in the least. Just the obvious, I just wasted half a day..and could have been empty in Philly, had it not been for this little miscommunication. Oh well...

My point is this. The only time I got frustrated this week was......

Driving home through South!!

Nov 23, 2009

Murphy's Law

When I chose my route this week, I already knew I was at a disadvantage with it being a Holiday week. I was secretly hoping some of the customers would be closed and that would help me shorten my route. It has happened before, in fact, I am suppose to also make a pick up of damaged goods, but that customer is closed all week.

It is in my nature to reassess my route as soon as I pick up the trailer, to make necessary adjustments for a more efficient delivery schedule. The pencil pushers at the plant never seem to grasp that there could actually be a better way. And I have proved it time and time again. I could just go with the flow and follow the route, but that is cutting into my personal home time. So, I thrive on the frenzied melee that ensues as I completely reroute myself several times throughout the journey. The end result is that I regularly arrive home at least a half of a day ahead of schedule.

I made the initial 950 mile trek to my first customer with only one slight delay. It seems aliens had crash landed in the median..or at least that was the story told by another truck driver. I was feeling pretty good about the week. I figured if I unloaded stop 1, then stop 2, 4, 3, 5, 6 and 7, I would be at 9 the next morning and finishing up with stop #8 by lunch time. These changes were necessary due to hours of business. With a strategy in place, I snuggled in for the night.

So here is a quick timeline of how my Monday went.

  • 7:00 AM unload stop # 1
  • 7:17 AM miss turn for the Jersey Turnpike, rerouted myself to 287
  • 7:58 AM Interstate shut down for offloading of cattle
  • 8:19 AM Delays for merging (3 left lanes closed on a 4 lane hwy, construction)
  • 8:40 AM Arrive at stop # 2 (61 miles in 1.75 hours)
  • 9:06 AM Depart #2
  • 9:23 AM Delays for accident on George Washington Bridge
  • 10:02 AM Reroute myself to Queens, to avoid further delays
  • 10:23 AM Arrive at stop #4 (24 miles in 1.25 hours)
  • 10:41 AM Depart stop#4 after purchasing unidentifiable lunch item from Roach Coach

  • Reroute myself to avoid fore casted delays on BQE

  • 10:53 AM Delays due to lane closures on Bruckner Expressway
  • 11:13 AM Delays due to worker falling from Throgsneck Bridge
  • 11:14 AM Place call to stop#5 to notify of rescheduling
  • 12:02 PM Delays due to idiots not knowing how to merge
  • 12:41 PM Arrive at stop#3 (52 miles in 2 hours)
  • 12:57 PM Depart stop #3
  • 3:12 PM Place call to stop#6, begging for mercy. They agree to wait for me.
  • 3:36 PM Arrive at stop#6 (143 miles in 2.5 hours) not bad for Connecticut
  • 4:04PM Depart stop#6
  • 4:08PM Place call to stop#7, They refused to wait Grrrrrrrr!!

  • More delays for evening rush hour in Hartford, CT and Springfield, MA

  • 6:21PM Purchase FIRST cup of coffee for the day
  • 7:17 PM Arrive at stop#9 (104 miles in 3.25 hours)

Settle in for the night.....

So, it seems, when I normally am able to reconfigure my route on a weekly basis, the reward is getting home earlier than expected. During the one week when I want to get home, Murphy's Law takes affect. There is no way I can recover from the delays today.Tomorrow's goal, unload stops 9, 8, and 7. I will not be able to finish out until Wednesday morning at 4:00 am...That makes for one long ride filled with Holiday congestion...Guesstimated home arrival...2 hours after the Holiday dishes have been washed and put away. I hope somebody saves me a Turkey Leg.

Really, it is not so bad. Just for clarification purposes, I will not miss all the festivities as my Father throws his annual bash on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, so I will still be fed and able to see the whole gang.

Nov 19, 2009

Welcome Home

As is with every week, I just cannot wait to make that 20 mile trek through the last construction zone of my week. Normally it isn't too bad. But then again, I do not consider rush hour on the South Side of Atlanta to be bad either... Or New York? nope! I guess it is all of what you are accustomed too. Progressing at 20 mph in New York is considered to be good. 45mph is flying. But this construction zone, minutes from my plant, usually flows at or above the mandated 50 mph.

This week they had it shut down to one lane, and anywhere near Atlanta, one lane is never enough. There was an 8 mile back up which grew in proportion as rush hour loomed near. Thankfully I got through it before the evening stampede, but it still took me over an hour to get past the 1/4 mile closure.

Regardless of the fact that I may be an aggressive driver in other locales, such as NYC, I always abide by construction zone limits. I think I may be the only one doing 50 mph in Coweta County. I also will merge into the appropriate lane as soon as I know which lane is open. This usually means it takes longer to get through the zone, but it irritates me when folks run to the head of the line and cut into traffic at the last minute, especially Stupor Truckers !!

and the best part.... those Stupor Truckers....are usually the ones with slow trucks riding in the middle lane on open interstate. They will not respond to any radio chatter, acting oblivious, and usually claiming they had no idea that lane was closed. Regardless of the large orange signs that were posted for the previous 3 miles indicating such a closure...Once the zone opens up, they are back to impeding traffic in the middle lane. Hey, shouldn't literacy be mandatory for truckers?

but I digress.....

So where was I? Oh yeah.. Eight mile back-up, one hour delay, and a little trucking female who can do no wrong *smirk*.

I was already in the right lane (unobstructed) at the end of the line. Traffic was piling up, and I watched truck after truck jump to the left, to race to the head of the line. After about 20 minutes, guess what I did.... I jumped left, too. So out of characteristic for me, but then again, I had been following this guy for almost half an hour and I was starting to feel disoriented.

I have heard that once your body has been poisoned by exhaust fumes, it is highly susceptible to future reactions with only minimal exposure. I have been poisoned twice! Seriously exposed, and I do not mean just a raging headache. The first time, nearly ended with loss of life. The second time only resulted in severe disorientation. I was not about to chance it. So I dived left and proceeded to clear the offending six-wheeler. Rest assured, I merged back to the right almost immediately, thanks to another trucker understanding my predicament. And no one yelled at me :)

Nov 13, 2009

Take It To The Limit

Took these a few weeks ago when I was running around Michigan. I have no idea why, but I am always impressed by the site of the local trucks of Michigan. Heavy Duty, indeed.

and how is this for the American version of a road train. Wish I could have gotten a picture of the guys hauling double 48'ers. Since I do not get to see these too often, and never on the East Coast, I thought I would capture a few to share with you.


Yes, I am guilty. But what else are you going to do when you have been sitting for an hour.

That must have been one hard hit!

Up Close and Personal

I thought I would give you a breather, as I have noticed my rants have been very long winded lately. And this would be a good time to clean out the memory on my camera.

Here are a few shots I took while heading into Ringtown, Pennsylvania last week. It is a beautiful drive over a scenic ridge and the valley below could be the back drop for one of those Hidden Valley Dressing commercials.

Okay, so the only thing I captured was the windmills, but I have seen so many of these being transported, it was the perfect opportunity to get up close and personal with the fully assembled version.

The Results Are In

I really never seem to be able to muster any enthusiasm when it is time to head back into work. But then, who does? However, this week, I was a bit anxious to find out whether any of the repairs had been made to Frankentruck. We normally have a 2 day wait period on ordered parts, and as far as I know, the Stooges had not properly diagnosed any problems to necessitate the need for placing that order. I did call in the previous Monday and issued a demand for certain items. I just figured they would have to assess the situation for themselves before following through. I did entertain the thought that something might possibly be done, because when I rolled in at the end of the week, I was able to place my repair request with the only mechanic who seems to be able to get things done correctly.

As I drove into the yard, late Saturday evening, my first reaction was a feeling of dismay. I am very over the idea of continuing to drive malfunctioning equipment, but it appeared as if my truck had not even been moved.

I grabbed my flashlight, and upon further inspection, my fears slowly subsided. First , I noticed the telltale signs that someone had been at least lingering about the frame of my truck. Then I spotted the new leveling valve. Ohhhhh, if only.... You see, this is the 4th valve installed on this particular vehicle. Maggie had at least another 4 placed on her. Why is it that NO ONE else has these problems?? I think perhaps the rough terrain of New York and New Jersey may play a role, that and the fact that I do not keep up with other driver's repairs. LOL

With mounting excitement, I quickly made a tour of the outside of the truck and noticed the shiny glint of new wheel hubs on my steer tires. This is not something I had previously written up, so I was shocked to see this repaired so efficiently . I had lost the rubber plug on one wheel the previous week, which almost seems suspicious. And the other one was apparently beginning to show signs of leakage. This is one of the requests I had made via phone call...

Next, I pulled back the hood and was even more pleasantly surprised to note that the air boot had been replaced.

I also noticed that the missing bolt was , well, still missing. After finishing my inspection, loading up my gear and warming up the engine, I decided to take him for a quick spin. Yep, my deductions had proved to be correct. The horrible air sucking screech was no longer present. Glad I made the judgement call and phoned in my repairs, otherwise they would have just replaced the bolt and I would be wearing ear plugs to work.

With renewed enthusiasm, I decided to test my suspension. It was a simple test actually. Simply hooking to the trailer. You see, for the past 3 months, whenever I pulled under the trailer, my bags would not inflate and I would have to work overtime trying to raise the dolly legs. So I pulled into place, watched my gauges for a moments and noticed there was virtually no change. I climbed out, hooked up the lines and raised the landing gear...still no change...

At this point, even with all the repairs having been made, I was completely deflated, as were my rear air bags. Anxiety set in. Should I call the Stooges and wait for a spare truck? This would take hours...My first stop was 16 hours away, and I did not have hours. But, I cant pull a load with deflated bags, and knowingly cause immense damage.Anxious and angered, I decided to make a few laps around the yard just to see if I could wiggle a response out of it.

It felt okay when moving. My gauge showed inflation. I stopped to check out the progress and my bags were responding appropriately. HUH? That is when I remember something minutely important to this scenario. Our trailer drop line has a few points that are significantly raised. Humps, if you will. I was parked with the rears perched atop one of the humps... Yeah, no wonder it was not responding. In order for a raised frame to appear to be level, the bags have to exhaust air. Okay, I feel like an idiot. But in my defense, it was 9pm and very dark out.

Anyways, in an extremely long nutshell, all my hopes and prayers had been miraculously answered. All repairs were made. As is with consistency, I also was aware that some new malfunction would occur within a short amount of time, and I should embrace the positiveness of my current situation, as it would not last long.

Lo and behold, my next dilemma appeared before I ever even made it out onto the asphalt. The faux toggle switches began to fall out of my dashboard. Well, two of them. I am thinking, if I do not actually tell anyone, then this could be my last malfunction. I gathered up the parts, which do not control anything, and tucked them away in a cubbyhole. Keeping my fingers crossed that this assures me some much needed relief from actually needing legitimate repairs. Besides, as long as I do not stare at it, I will not even notice the abysmal holes leading into a snakelike labyrinth of wiring....Right? Oh well, at this point I will settle for a good ride, rather than a good looking ride.

Nov 5, 2009

A Bad Impression

I have decided that I cannot let you think that I am always this wonderful person, full of sunshine. So, I have decided that I should probably share one of my Not So Shining Moments, and because it happened this week, and that makes it very convenient.

One of my particular pet peeves, is that I absolutely cannot stand to listen to someone whine. While I am very aware that we all have our moments, myself included, it just absolutely infuriates me to listen to someone complain, just for the sake of complaining. Sure, if you have an issue and need a shoulder for a moment, I am there. If you are struggling with situations in your life that you cannot change fast enough, I will listen. But to mutter nonstop about how EVERYTHING in life is horrible and unjust, I would just as soon shoot you as to listen to another word.

Tuesday evening, as I was leaving New Hampshire, I ended up cruising along behind one such fellow. Everything he commented on was derogatory. His truck, his trailer, his load, his paycheck, his boss, the traffic, roads, cities, food, truckstops...Grrr. He had an opinion on everything, and they were all negative.

After the first few minutes, I simply turned off the CB so as not to have to endure his rant. But due to traffic delay, I turned it back on and he was still just a fussing. At one point he told how he needed new wiper blades. He works for a small mom and pop company, and his boss did not have time to get any for him. So the boss handed him $20 and a handful of tools and told him to replace it himself the next time he got to a truckstop. The fellow then came unglued and supposedly told his boss that he was a DRIVER, not a MECHANIC and under no circumstance whatsoever, would he ever be making any repairs to his equipment (This is one of the things that is wrong with the new breed of driver, in my opinion) and he still has bad blades. He then commenced to griping about having to use his driver reward points to purchase showers, and cleaning supplies and foodstuff. He thought his boss should provide everything for him. EVERYTHING, because it is too expensive to live on the road.

Well after about 50 minutes of picking up his conversation periodically, I just about had my fill. Another driver had now joined in and was encouraging his negative speak. Just as I was about to turn the radio off again, he finally pushed my button. The next thing I heard over the airwaves was " I do not think I am cut out to drive for this company... "

The rest of what he said was silenced in my mind as my hand reached for the microphone.

Normally, I do not interject my opinions onto other people. I will simply tune them out, if I disagree. I never butt into a conversation that does not apply to me, but when I have had enough, I cannot be held accountable :)

In an instant, the mic was in my hand, and after he finished his next statement, I quickly spoke up.

" I would have to agree with you driver, I do not think that you are cut out to be a truckdriver period. After listening to you complain for almost an hour, you make me want to open the door and fling myself out on the asphalt. I have heard you complain about everything under the sun. Life is not that hard out here. You can buy a cooler and fill it with food, you can purchase fuel and claim your free shower. If your boss is so terrible, you could search for another job. It takes all of two minutes to attach new wiper blades, be thankful he handed you the tools and money If you really want my opinion, I think you should use your driver reward points to purchase a bigger pacifier, because honestly, you need to find some contentment, or get out of the industry."

He never said another word, at least until I was out of range.

Nov 3, 2009

A Picture IS Worth A Thousand Words...

And when it comes to getting repairs made on my little truck, well, I have wasted thousands upon thousands of words...

In the past, I have tried several different methods in order to get work done. There was the eyelash batting method (only works at other shops). There was also the direct approach, the indirect approach and finally, my latest method, the IN YOUR FACE approach.

The Direct Method. Simply put, I would tell the Stooges exactly what the problem was, and which parts needed to be repaired or replaced. How much more simple could it be, but yet, this method failed.

Thinking it was a matter of masculine pride, I then altered my approach to be indirect. By playing the role of the uninformed female, I decided to let the Stooges figure it out for themselves. My requests would be simple. "There is a funny noise" or "My truck is broken". Surprisingly, the big tuff guy mechanics still did not get it.

My newest method will be fool proof. I think.

A few weeks ago (no surprise there) I requested an exhaust leak repair. It is still not repaired...(no surprise there, either) The head stooge did inform me that he thinks it might be missing bolts on the intake of the motor, as our little Volvos are constantly losing these. He Thinks.... Okay, so why not look and see.

Well, I did look. In fact, I have looked several times to make sure the damage is not getting worse. So far, so good. And even though I would like to have the missing bolt replaced, me thinks that if THIS

is replaced, then maybe my screeching exhaust leak might disappear too. Hmmmm, maybe??

I figure if I actually leave a picture with the request repair, they might just get a clue.

Nov 2, 2009

Just The Right Moment

Whoops, There I am in the left lane , yet again!!

8:30 AM
Who says NYC traffic is horrible?

It was just another day making my way into New York, but it turned out to be my lucky day. Normally, while traveling through this section of the Country, I have my radio tuned to AM. I figure since I know some really good shortcuts and 'go-rounds', I figure I just might need to know if I need to use them. With real time local traffic reports every 10 minutes, this usually spares me some unnecessary delays. Of course, as an added bonus, I get the scoop on all the major events happening in NYC. Today there was a major event.

There is nothing like the view of the George Washington Bridge displaying Old Glory. This signifies a celebration of Nation, of Pride, Of the People. And the sight always gives me a feeling of warmth.

Today's tribute.....The arrival of the USS New York. The construction of this vessel includes the use of more than 7 tons of steel from the Towers that fell on 9/11. Upon arrival, the voyage halted in front of the site of those attacks and paid tribute to all who were lost. It then continued north on the Hudson towards the GWB, before turning back to the port. And guess where I was when it was making its way to the GWB.... I was on the Bridge.

Just another reason I love running this route. The opportunities that arise !! There was a very limited window of opportunity to actually be on the bridge and see her sitting in the foreground of her namesake.

I only wish I had a better camera.

Rebel Without A Cause

My buddy AA always gives me grief about the actions I take and the deductive reasoning behind it. For example, most states have a regulation in place that states that if there are more than 2 lanes, Trucks are restricted to the right two. Great, no problem. Except, when someone does something stupid directly in front of you and the left lane is your only means of avoiding a collision.

For example, a few years back, I was cruising the middle lane in Connecticut passing the slower traffic in the right lane, when a lady in a four wheeler decided to dart in front of me. I slowed to accommodate for her erratic decision. But then, every 100 yards or so, she would slam on the brakes, slowing to well below the posted speed limit. Eventually, she is able to maintain a constant speed and we are flowing nicely. But, I suppose her phone must have rang, because, after a few minutes, she really locked it down. I know, you are probably thinking I should have left more space between vehicles, but lets face it. That is just not possible on the 95 corridor around NY/CT. So, rather than plow into her, or slam into vehicles on my right, I dodged and weaved my way into the VERY RESTRICTED left lane. I was in it for maybe 30 seconds, but it was 30 seconds too long. In an instant, there were blue lights behind me. I received a very lovely driving reward, and of course, preventing an accident was not a good enough excuse to be there.

Another example would be the time I was empty running up a steep incline into the Allentown area of Pennsylvania. I was in the middle lane, again. But, I was empty, and it was a steeeeeep grade. About half way up the hill is a high volume traffic entrance ramp, usually filled with heavy trucks trying to merge into traffic at 20 mph. That was exactly the case this time. Except, it was two trucks. Both were heavy, but the second truck was moving 3 mph faster than the lead truck. So what does he do. He comes off the ramp directly into the middle lane at 25 mph. Now, at this point I am flying up the hill at about 65 and could have never stopped in time. SOOOOOO, my only option? Go LEFT. Yep, another 15 seconds too long. As soon as I passed the idiot in the center lane, I immediately cut back over in front of him, but it was too late. I pulled off at the next exit and although I had just saved my own life and prevented the interstate from being closed extensively, my reasoning was not good enough for the Officer.

Therefore , I do NOT EVER resort to using the left lane in Connecticut or Pennsylvania. Been there, done that, paid for the experience. And the Pony Car insurance was not cheap to begin with. But here is where my logic becomes the topic of AA's amusement.

I will not run the left lane in CT or PA, but since I have not been busted in NYC.....LOL.....Well, you get the idea. Heck, the left lane is the only way to fly on the Cross Bronx.

But of course, I am not stupid, so no, I dont abuse the "privilege" on the other expressways around the city. However, today, I managed to try out a new left lane. That being the one belonging on the Long Island Expressway... Definitely a NO NO. Supposedly, the two right lanes were blocked ahead for a Pothole Patrol, and well, by deductive reasoning, that only leaves the HOV and left lane open. Right? Not being one to dilly dally, I quickly jumped left along with a few more brave souls and we got through the back up with very little delays, but only a few others followed. The rest were busy telling us we were not allowed over there. Until a few miles down the road, when they figured out they had to be there.

Oh, and I wish I could have got a picture of Saturday Night's big adventure. Little Trucker riding the HOV lane in Atlanta... This time I was the only truck to do it. Accident ahead, and we were merging from 7 lanes down to 2. One of them being the HOV. Will naturally, I am there.

I personally do not think that in an emergency situation, the Law Enforcement Officers are going to penalize you for riding in a restricted lane, especially if the only lanes available are restricted. Might as well, go for broke. But I can guarantee you that it will be a long time before you catch me in an HOV lane again...

Oct 31, 2009

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumbass

I have not done one of these posts in a while, but the Stooges are at it again.

This current scenario started 3-4 weeks ago. I noticed my suspension was started to ride rough (again). This is also about the same time that I noticed my air bags would not inflate when picking up a loaded trailer. Normally the suspension adjusts to the weight placed on it, and after a few short minutes the bags should air up to accommodate for the added weight. Mine do not. I have to climb back into the cab and race the motor for at least five minutes to get the bags to fill, and even then, they do not do the job. ALSO, if I ever use the dump valve (which evacuates the air bags) it continues to exhaust the air until the bags are EMPTY, only then trying to re inflate. This can take up to 15 minutes. Of course, if you are driving down the road and the suspension readjusts for every bump, you do not have 15 minutes for the air to find its appropriate pressure.

If I check the ride height (which one cannot do while driving) I also have noticed that the suspension always looks to be riding low. This my friends, leads to some very hard riding, reminiscent of the old spring ride tractors of yesteryear. I might mention that a malfunctioning suspension also leads to unnecessary and rapid deterioration of key components, including the entire drive line.

But wait, there is more... During all of this, I have developed a very loud groaning noise, that at first only sounded off during the evacuation of the air suspension. Now, it continues to groan whenever it pleases and can be heard at 68 mph on a bumpy road.

Also, this situation means that EVERY trailer is now set too high for me to grab without having to crank down on the landing gear. I did almost run into a nose of a trailer because the king pin slide over the top of the fifth wheel. Caught it in time, because I visually noticed the trailer getting a little too close to the back of the sleeper.

With all that being said (whew!!) I will also mention that all of this was explained to the Stooges three weeks ago. It has been written up for repairs each consecutive week. Last week, when I got back to the shop, I asked if the parts were in for repair (as we stock nothing). I was greeted with a deer in the headlights expression as I was told no parts were ordered. HUH?? It was then explained to me that each week, as the request was rendered for repair, one of the stooges would climb into my tractor, turn the key and note the air pressure in the supply tank. Confirming that the truck was holding at least 100 pounds of air in the tank, it was assessed that no repair was necessary.

I am at a complete loss, but then again, no.

I never once said I was having a problem maintaining suitable air pressure. My requests stressed the dump valve, leveling valve, ride height, groaning noises, and horrible spring-like ride.

Sheesh!! Well, at least I am now comfortable in my seat. Because, you see, from this point on, whenever I take the NYC route, I will be pulling a 45' spring ride trailer. This combined with my spring ride tractor will make for an even more disgruntled Little Trucker. YAY!!

The 45' trailer is a demand placed by the New Hampshire customer, as weather is turning cold and a 53' will not allow them to close the dock bay doors while unloading. All of our 45's are old spring rides!

Oct 30, 2009

Jumping the Gun

Perhaps, just maybe, I might be posting this a little too early. BUT...

After experiencing pain and discomfort for the past 10 MONTHS, I am very happy to report that I have had ONE FULL WEEK of entirely no pain whatsoever. Well, maybe one little twinge, but I readjusted to eliminate that one immediately.

You have no idea what this means. Seriously..I have been living in extreme discomfort while at work, only to slowly begin to recuperate while at home. At the point that my legs, knees, joints and hips were finally easing up, I would return to work with the pain flaring up literally within 30 minutes of driving. No way to live.

I think this definitely accounts for alot of my foul mood this past year.

It all started with changing trucks. The seat .... The seat caused excruciating discomfort, numbness and swelling in my legs. I had it replaced with the seat out of the old truck, but this only offered a temporary solution. I bought a deep tissue massager. I purchased 3 new pairs of running shoes. I have had personal massages. I decreased mileage in my exercising. Nothing seemed to offer any real relief. In fact, it had gotten so bad, that when I was off of my feet, the only comfortable position I could relax in was laying on my belly. But even then, the nerves and joints remained irritated.

I was actually beginning to think I would have to give up running completely. I was going to schedule appointments with doctors. Orthaepedic, nerve, circulation, whoever needed to be seen to get this diagnosed. The pain was too much and I was forced to live with it...


So, now it seems to have disappeared. Just like that!! I went through 2800 miles of driving with only one tiny remnant of pain flaring up this past week.

The remedy...

I know it seems ridiculous, but I think all of my physical problems may have just been solved, And as further evidence, I dropped 5 minutes off of my 4-mile run this morning!!

I bought a $10.00 cushion and placed it in my driver's seat. It works like a charm, so far!! No pain anywhere

Oct 29, 2009

Nuclear Disaster

Along with pulling a flatbed and hauling scrap, I also get the pleasure of picking up certain items and delivering it to numerous power plants. I am a busy girl!!

This week it was 4 18'pipes, weighing in at a total of 1700lbs. Not much of a load, but for some strange reason, I always enjoy riding around the big power plants. That is, until today.

I checked in with security and he gave me explicit directions on how to find the warehouse. I set forth, checking and rechecking my route. These folks do not like you to stray off course. He had told me to follow this road, Stop sign, turn right, take immediate left, go through another check point, stop sign turn left, dead end turn left. Ware house on the left. WHEW!! I did exactly as he told me, except when I made the immediate left, it put me into a contractor's parking lot. I followed the painted arrows trying to find the next check point and actually saw a gate, but nothing resembling an entrance for big trucks. I made the entire lap around the parking lot and headed back for that road, thinking maybe it was the second left (since the first was a parking lot). I proceed to the next left and there is a check point (unmanned) and directly past it is a stop sign. Beside the stop sign is an informative sign claiming the ware house is down the road to my left. If you are paying attention (or have referenced back to the original instructions, you will notice that this road allows me to follow my original instructions.) So I make the left, go to the dead end and what do you suppose is sitting a little off to my immediate left. Yep, the warehouse!! Bingo! So, I am feeling pretty dumb about driving around the contractor's yard, but no harm, no foul. Oh well. I make the delivery and retrace my path back towards the exit.

I had just about made my escape when I notice, not one, but two Power Plant Security vehicles chasing me down. I was stopped in my tracks and grilled intensively about where I had been and why I took the route I did.... " I was just following security guards orders!!" They lectured me and with raised voices, informed me that I had taken the wrong route, and would not be allowed to do that again.

" I was just following the directions given to me" I even had them written down on a scrap of paper and offered to show it to them. Finally, after they had achieved satisfaction by badgering a little girl, I was allowed to leave. But not before they informed me that the first immediate left was indeed through the parking lot, although I have no idea where I was suppose to come out the other side. Remember, I went that route first, but, I am sure they will lead me by the hand next time.

You know, there is very little that still intimidates me about this job. I have been doing it for over a decade, and with New York City being my stomping grounds, well, you cant get into any harder situations than that. But for some strange reason, today's little misadventure did not sit well with me. In fact, I was so rattled by those men chastising me, that I missed an easy turn heading for home and ended up driving 20 miles out of my way.

Oct 23, 2009

Another Golden Moment

I absolutely live for those opportunities in which I can do something that will brighten someone else's day. This, in turn, sends me to cloud nine for a few days myself.

I had one such opportunity recently. If you have followed through this blog any length of time, you may be aware of how proud I am of our Military. I consider myself to be extremely patriotic. So, last week, while I stopped to refuel the pony car, I quickly noticed a small convoy parked at the fuel stop. It may have had 7 soldiers in total. After purchasing my fuel, I wandered around the store until I found one of the soldiers. I then told him how thankful and proud I was that he and his fellow servicemen had volunteered to protect my freedoms. Without a moments hesitation, he replied, " Thank you for recognizing our sacrifices!!" He had the most sincere look in his eyes, and it made me sad to realize that with all of the bickering amongst ourselves, has America forgotten to show the true heroes that we are still behind them, still proud, and still very thankful. I then offered to buy the group's meal for the evening. It was only fast food, but I wanted to show my appreciation. Support My Troops. They were grateful, but declined as they were transporting certain equipment and were due back on the road. I once again thanked them for serving and made my way to the restroom.

When I returned, I noticed one was loading up on supplies, coffee, gum, etc...I patiently waited until he had retrieved everything he needed, and as he made his way to the counter, I slipped in front of him. When the cashier asked me if I needed anything else, I said. "Yes, I am going to pay for everything this man is purchasing!!"

That is when the room started buzzing. People stopped and noticed. People started talking to the soldiers, showing gratitude. I think I ended up buying 3 cups of coffee, 3 packs of mints, 3 packs of gum, and one canister of over priced Maxwell House. It was not much, but it meant so much to me to be able to do that. I think what made it even more special is that people reacted to my gesture.

No... The best part was when the soldier hugged me and said that I probably had no idea how much that small gesture meant to him and his group. The look on his face was so serious when he had remarked about 'recognizing his sacrifice'. So, no matter what you believe, I sincerely hope you are supporting our troops, too!! Because that one moment of sincere gratitude in his eyes, for my recognition of his sacrifice was worth a thousand fast food dinners!!

Oct 22, 2009

DisHonorable Mention

Even though I are truck driver, I can never resist throwing a few jabs at some of my fellow freight relocators. I believe that there are many very nice, respectable, courteous highway heroes cruising around on eighteen wheels of thunder. But, let's face it. There are many more less desirables strutting their stuff, as well. Many, many more. I don't know what it is about the size of the vehicle or the anonymity of the CB radio that makes drivers feel the need to behave their worst.

This post is not about driving skills, but rather, the disposition of a few of those less desirables.

Today, I had the opportunity to be reminded several times that the negative trucker image is sustaining life with the help of those lacking morals or self respect.

First off, I stopped to shower in New Castle, Pennsylvania, and was surprised (and tickled) to find a sign from the management hanging in the shower room.

Please leave provided towels in shower
room when finished.
If you would like to purchase one,
the cost is $10.00.

Are they serious? Who in their right mind would be stealing towels from a truck stop. Obviously this was what the sign was signifying. Ummm, don't they realize just how many nasty arses have been swiped with those things. Not to mention what ever else they have been used for. GROSS!!
I, myself, prefer to carry my own. At least I know what body parts they have been touching! And I personally do not care how hot the water in the washing machines gets. There are some nasty people out there!!

The second offensive reminder belongs to a female trucker. While at another truck stop, a man was begging and pleading over the radio for any female to give him a hooter shot, as it had been years since he has had one. We have all heard this song and dance before. But lo and behold, Miss Thang not only obliges him by baring the big guns, but she has the indecency to jump out of her truck and sashay into the middle of the parking lot where she then bared herself for EVERYONE to see. Of course, boys will be boys and she did receive a round of horn toots for her presentation. But unfortunately, it is women like her, that make it rough for other ladies who drive for a living. Not me, of course, as I have my own personal means of survival.

Thanks guys, while I may not always agree with your methods, at least I can always count on your consistency to make a fool out of yourself, which naturally leaves me looking even better!!

Oct 21, 2009

Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, TN

Last week, I had a little time off and had scheduled a nice weekend getaway. During the course of said rendezvous, I made a few new friends.

I thoroughly enjoyed the petting pool, where I was able to caress Bamboo Sharks, some Rays (not sure if they were Sting, Manta, or otherwise) and a Guitar Fish ?!? In fact the little fellows in the tank were quite happy to be rubbed. There was one Ray in particular who returned every few seconds for a gentle caress. And I think the Bamboo Shark loved me as much as I loved him.

Overall, I was not pleased with the Tennessee Aquarium, often boasting to be the best Southern Aquarium. I beg to differ. While the main Ocean Tank was very nice, there was very little variety as a whole. And the River Tank, held even more salt water aquatic life....Hmmm??

I think I still prefer the Georgia Aquarium with it's many diversified inhabitants.

But it was a treat to play with the sharks in the petting pool. Now, I would pay just to do that again. And just for the record, did you know Rays are related to Sharks? Yep, I think I made some new friends......

A Tale Of Two Roads

Hello ??

Anybody still here? Life has been crazy lately with so much going on, but it is time for a little breather. So, in order to dive back into the world of blogging, I think I will begin with my current status.

The past few weeks, AA, has been taking my New England route, and I have been stuck fighting amongst the drivers in search of extra miles. Because I live so far from the plant, if there is nothing available relatively quick, I tend to head home with whatever I have managed to scrape up for the week. This week, a load fell into my lap that offers plenty of miles, but will take all week to deliver.

Starting near Atlanta, I will head to Chattanooga, and then deliver in South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, western Pennsylvania and finally finish up a rock's throw from Niagara Falls.

Currently, I am waiting to see if the second shift near Pittsburgh, Pa, will unload me tonight, or if I will have to sleep on it before heading up to Lock Port, NY. I would have been here in plenty of time for the first shift to receive me, except for the massive delays I experienced in Delaware this morning.

I was heading north on 95, making a beeline for the 95/495/295/NJTP split. Just after passing the point of no return, traffic comes to a complete halt. No big deal, as there is a tight construction zone ahead which requires traffic to slow to 25mph due to excessively narrow lanes. After a few minutes, it became obvious that we were not going to be moving any time soon. Finally, a southbounder notifies us of an overturned dump truck blocking both lanes in the zone. Not one to fuss over things beyond my control, I set the brakes, shut off the motor and grabbed my latest read. A few motorist began to climb out of the cars and wander around. Because I have the luxury of communication, I was able to find out all the information being broadcast. I then jumped out of my truck and played hostess with the mostest, informing everyone of the accident and alerting them to alternate routes of escape. The Smokeys were allowing automobiles to back down the shoulder to the previous exit and be on their way. I helped several vehicles, stranded in the left lane, to make the necessary maneuvers in order to get the right shoulder runway. After the cars were cleared from the interstate, the 6-10 wheelers were then cleared for take off.

Finally, when all was clear, the big lumbering giants were allowed to back out of what could have been a very long delay.

I know I shouldn't poke fun, but I just cant help it sometimes. After sitting for nearly 2 hours while traffic dispersed in reverse, I took an alternate route to the Delaware Memorial Bridge. Mr Smokey gave me exact directions and they worked like a charm. I also noticed, that they had Highway Hero trucks set up at all the turns to help everyone find their way through. But, I just cant help but giggle a little when I think of all those truckers who got lost and were begging for help. I think I was the only truck in my immediate vicinity who followed the alternate route. The rest missed the first turn due to someone's miscommunication of directions over the CB. I tried to interject , but you cannot tell a truck driver anything....

Especially ME !! LOL

I was only 1.5 hours late....due to a 2 hour delay plus detour...Oh well, cross your fingers.

Oct 2, 2009


Once again, I have managed to take a break and put in a personal appearance on my blog. Lots of things going on. New Changes, Upcoming events, and Birthday plans. No, not my birthday. But I do love a good birthday. This month, the little blond girl turns 9 years old. She is such a girl, too! Which is so much fun. Also, Shadow has a birthday this month, and we are going to hide out in a distant city for a birthday bash!

Also, on Tuesday, my brother and nephew are going to meet me in Atlanta to pay homage to Bono, the Edge, Larry, and Adam! Yep, we have tickets to the U2 360 tour! This will be the Wonder Boy's first concert. No better way to start than with U2. Of course that means I had to give up my NE run, but some things are just worth it.

Also, I have finally found a local hairdresser that I think I am going to be very happy with. I stumbled on to her, while trying to set up an appointment with my Mother's hairdresser. I think I got lucky, because April is so much fun and did a wonderful job with my unruly hair! YAY!!

Hmmmmm, the running is not so much of a priority anymore. Well, at least the numbers. I have discovered that I have a much better time running without the garmin. I can put more focus into the enjoyment of running, because I am a numbers freak, I seem to put too much emphasis on time and distance. I have a local running trail that is 4 miles, out and back. So, I have been doing that as much as possible. I still seem to have a few complications from leg pain that I believe are associated with the truck, but I will no longer be using them as excuses. If the pain continues to persist, I will see out a reputable orthopedic doctor to diagnose my problem. By the way, the pain is none existent while running.

Well, I guess that about covers all the basics for now. Hopefully, I will be able to squeeze in a few blog posts as the events of October take place. Good Times!!

Sep 25, 2009

The Scenic Route

or my new favorite road...

Last week during my trip through Massachusetts, a new location was added to my regulars. Well, it is not necessarily new, but I have only been there one time before and that was during the blizzard-like conditions of 07-08. (I think that is correct, when the New York Upstate was covered 10-12 feet of snowy goodness.) Needless to say, the location was unfamiliar to me. On the previous excursion to North Adams, Mass, I was advised to NOT take Route 2 because of the weather conditions. This trip, however, it is just the beginning of Autumn and the road beckoned to me. I was heading back to New Hampshire, and this was the most direct route back east. Besides , I can never resist a good scenic route.

Without further ado, I will present my findings. I hope you enjoy these as much as I did first hand!!

The customer! Nice little out of the way place!

Route 2 following the river through the Mohawk Trail State Forest.

Lots of curve and twists!!

...A view from the top, if you look closely, you just may see a Moose!!

And finally, the first telltale signs that Mother Nature is ready to strut her stuff!!

Sep 18, 2009

In Remembrance... Lance Cpl. Christopher S. Fowlkes

I am at a loss for words as how to go about writing this post. I am very patriotic and emotional when it comes to our Country, our Freedoms, and the men and women who willingly give their lives to protect us. Not since Vietnam has there been a draft. This means every soldier has willingly volunteered to give their life.

On Wednesday, a young Marine was brought home after being killed in Afghanistan. The entire South Carolina Upstate turned out to pay respects to this young man. The overpasses and service roads were lined with men and women bearing flags and flowers. It was a very emotional experience for me. Fire trucks, police cars, ambulances, and ordinary citizens. I was touched!

He was to be flown into Greenville, South Carolina, and then transported back to his hometown of Gaffney. I just happened to be driving south towards Greenville, when I noticed the procession heading towards me. It was amazing. There had to be over a hundred law enforcement vehicles alone, much less, all the others involved. I wanted to pull over to the shoulder and say a prayer and offer my gratitude to this man. I am forever indebted.

I noticed the cars on either side of me wanting to stop as well. So that is when we made a unanimous unspoken decision to do what is right. The five cars surrounding me, as well as myself slow to a stop with headlights on, and waited for the procession to pass. Me, with tears in my eyes!! This man gave his life for ME.. My freedoms, and did not even know me. He gave his life for everyone of us, regardless of our beliefs concerning this war! He is my hero!!

I felt so proud to be a part of this, to be able to say a silent Thank You! I know there are many others who have given their lives and I wish to Thank each and every family who supported the decision of a loved one, to fight for this Country.

However, I am also angry. I am very angry and outraged even at the attitudes of some of those around me. Truck drivers, in particular!! Over the airwaves, the CB radio came alive with complaints of traffic delays. Arguing and cursing. It was just unreal. What is wrong with these people. When we stopped traffic, the drivers around me were screaming obscenities and blowing the horn. The lady in the Schneider truck beside me was actually shooting me the bird and yelling at me to move!! I have never wanted to slap someone so hard in my life.

So yes, I am very proud to have shut down the interstate. You idiots will give me my moment to say Thanks... I know, every thing is about you, but this man gave his life for you, TOO. The least you could have done was give him less than a minute of your time without complaining..I don't understand what is wrong with people today.

Kill The Wabbit

There is nothing like the feeling of knowing my trailer is empty and I am heading home.

That is, of course, unless, there are torrential downpours, flash flooding, and magnificent ground strike lightning only feet from your truck. That is what happened this week.

I was heading south through Qwinnett County when the lightning started to hit. The skies were a foreboding shade of grey and the strikes were smacking the ground as close as a hundred yards from me. You have never heard a little girl shriek so loudly. I was amazed to learn that the air turns a nice shade of lavender when the energy is that close. Just before making the 285 split, one more bolt shot through the sky and nailed the Quik Trip Fuel Stop sign. A huge ball of sparks and a nasty cloud of brown smoke erupted. YIKES!!!!! It was soooo close. Hurry up people, get me out of here!!

That was not going to happen any time soon, however, as much of 285 was under water. Several ramps were closed due to extreme amounts of water and Dekalb County was doing their best to slow traffic as to eliminate any hydroplaning. It took an additional hour to arrive safe and secure back at the yard. Thankfully, the ground was dry and I had no issues unloading my belongings. A few weeks ago, I had to sit for over an hour to wait for the storms to subside, and even as I felt the rains has slacked off enough to head home, I still got soaked in mere minutes trying to load the car.

Ahhhh, there is nothing like qualifying for the Watermelon 500 in the middle of a beligerent thunderstorm. Amazingly enough, there were NO ACCIDENTS !!

In case you were wondering, the above title is in reference to the Opera performed by Elmer Fudd when he commanded the weather !! Norf winds bwoah!!! Souff winds bwoah, stwike up the wightning!! Sorry, I am still a kid at heart.... Oh no! What have I done...I killed the wabbit!!