Jul 30, 2009

If You Say So

I managed to complete my week long excursion with very little grumbling. On the way home from my final delivery, dispatch calls and asks if I want to do another scrap run.... Ummm, NO!!

I phone the shop to see if there is any news on Frankentruck.

He is finished and sitting on the yard awaiting my return. This makes me very happy. I inquire as to what exactly what causing the loss of traction and I was told that the Volvo Shop simply replaced the leveling valve.

My shop had just replaced it 2 weeks before. So that is 3 valves in 3 weeks. At first my reaction was to be apprehensive as to whether or not this had actually fixed the problem. But the more I thought about it, the more I was inclined to believe that it very well could have. I have two thoughts supporting the optimistic outlook.

1. Every time the valve had been replaced with another version, the truck continued to ride very rough. This time I was getting a factory Volvo Valve. Not some cheaper off brand model.

2. The last time I had my local shop replace a leveling valve on a different truck, it had to be immediately replaced by another shop because it was a bad valve.

Now I am wondering if the second valves were bad at all, or maybe something is happening to them during installation.

Oh well...So I have a new leveling valve. I have Frankentruck back. I have Maggie's mutilated captain's chair... Life is Sweet.

And for the record, when I say I made it through the week with very little grumbling. I sincerely mean it. All the thoughts and complaints I post on this blog are simply my way of venting my frustrations. I do not make a habit of griping openly to anyone but my closest friends. So, if you had never read the blog, you would have never guessed how disgruntled I can actually become. Don't you feel lucky?

And I realize that those last few posts may have just been a tad bit overkill for my reading public. Sorry about that.

Jul 28, 2009

Runner's Remorse

I promise that this will be my last post for the day, but given my recent history, I thought I should utilize the 23 hour detention to your advantage. It could be another week before I post anything else. LOL

So, on to the runner's remorse, as I have chosen to call it.

With all of the conflicts I have endure throughout the past few months, it has been extremely challenging trying to get back into running. I know I will never be as fleet on my feet as Miss Gabrielle, but it is not about being good enough to compete or keep up. I want to run because of the health benefits and it is true that runners are genuinely happier people, this attributed to the runner's high. It is a sedative for my soul. Helps to keep me sane.

Just one year ago, I was able to complete 6-7 mile runs with no problem. Then came the exhaust poisoning which I think has done some detrimental damage to my lung capacity. Next came the leg issues with the first permanent truck swap. The first time the pains were noticeable, they were manageable. It took awhile to figure out what was causing it. Swapped trucks, leg issues resolved. Then I stumbled through the challenges of finding the right shoes. After seeking out the help of a professional, I was led astray with the wrong type of shoe and hindered my progress even more.... Finally got the shoes I needed and swapped trucks again. Back to the drawing board, except this time the pain was so prominent, I considered ending my career as a driver.

Well, I have the "good" seat back. But I am not in my truck, so I am suffering through this week.

During the course of all of this, I have noticed I still feel very good about running. The run on the beach in Florida fueled my passion to not give up.

Knowing how wonderful I feel after running, I sought out the first opportunity I could manage to get a run in this week. I hit my little Appalachian route in Virginia. It was not to be. I could barely manage. I think the furthest I could progress without a walk break was .67 miles. My legs were dead. My lungs were on fire and there was sooooo much tension in my shoulders that the straps on my sport bra were cutting into my shoulders. My chest felt as if someone had cinched me up in a corset one size too small. ( For the record, I wore the same bra only 3 days before with no problem, so I don't think it was a clothing issue) It was only a 4 mile excursion, but I found I had to walk most of it. I was determined to not give up. As long as I could get the mileage in, even if I had to crawl.... I found myself about halfway finished, standing on the edge of the road, pulling the straps off of my shoulders for relief and crying my eyes out...

Why can I not do this.... All I am trying to do is something good for myself. Something that I want. Is that so much to ask?? Really??

I have noticed through the past few months, my distance is declining at a gradual rate. I keep trying to push myself to finish a small goal, but at the end of each week, realize it is taking longer to do the same distance.

At this rate, I will not be able to make it to the mailbox by Christmas.

I am not giving up! I will not let this defeat me. As long as I keep moving, the tide should turn eventually, right? You know, sometimes it feels as if life is out to get me.....

Day Two Point Five... Back To Work

I just absolutely could not finish the last post on a sour note, especially after the wonderful gift that had been given to me. A lot of people doubted me when I stated that the seat was the source of my anguish, but I am even more so a believer, however, there is more to be told....

During the 1350 mile turn around to Miami, I discovered that #1. my inverter was no longer working AGAIN, and #2. I still was not maintaining traction with my rear axle. As weird as it may seem, this is not one of my fabulous delusions. In fact , I have proof. This picture was taken with a 42, 000 lb load strapped to my back.

Notice all the other tire marks!! In the center, you can plainly see my drive axles have left no discerning tire tread marks. In the bottom picture you will notice my steer tire tread pattern and once again, the rear drive axle just seems to skim across the top, erasing the marks left by the forward axle.

What does all of this mean??

It means that because the new leveling valve did not correct the problem, and my warranty runs out in 300 miles, I have to swap trucks. AGAIN.... For the 29th time since getting the New Volvo....It is beyond ridiculous, at this point. The lack of traction results in a very dangerous situation. For instance, while driving on a road riddled with construction patches, the axles will alternate providing my point of friction. This results in the feeling of slipping and sliding when the traction changes from one axle to the other and back again. Confused yet? It is even worse in the rain. While trying to steer through a turn in the rain, the traction displaces itself and the truck will slip a few inches to either side. It is very unnerving.

But back to the matter at hand. After the Miami run, I swap into Mister T's old truck and begin my scrap run. Within one hour of setting sail, the first indications of a dismal week become painfully obvious. You see, Mister T was a pretty big fella too, and naturally his seat was also contoured to his frame, meaning I am once again doing all I can to not fall into the shifter, planting and bracing myself to stay in the sagging crater of worn out foam. Before 2 hours had passed, the nerves and joints and hairs on my leg were protesting the switch. I still cannot take any meds because my schedule is very full and I could not risk resembling a drooling half-witted moron, while maintaining my image of the most awesomest ever truck drivah, under 5' tall.

I realize that I may not get Frankentruck back for next week's run, and this is also got me feeling a bit deflated. You know, it has almost reached a point where I would possibly begin to consider looking for work elsewhere.....I cannot continue on in this fashion. I will not ruin my body for this job.

And I forgot to mention...When I arrived at the plant to grab the Miami load, the trailer had flat tires!!

As for my current load..... because the Company forgot to notify my fourth customer of delivery, I am being laid over for 23 hours. Yep. I could have delivered this customer at 10:00 am, but due to neglect on my company's part, they are holding me over until 9am tomorrow.

I am soooooooo ready to go home!!!!

Day Two... Back To Work

Okay, so I was called back into work early, yes, I got hosed!! But I informed the boss that I would not be able to make the delivery until Friday morning, because I had a doctor's appointment on Thursday and I was not going to miss it. I have been in pain for almost 2 months now. The joint discomfort seem to be directly related to the type of shoe I was wearing and after purchasing 2 new pairs of running shoe, that issue seemed to be resolved.

However, at the same time, I have been acquiring a new pain. The sciatic nerve was becoming agitated and reeking havoc on my disposition. Imagine if you will that someone has "frogged" you in the right buttock. After 30 minutes the pain begins to creep down your leg. After an hour, you feel as if your kneecap is going to blow up, and after half a day, the entire leg is revolting in discomfort. Not a pretty picture! And such is the case, every week. Thirty minutes after releasing the brakes, the pain would manifest and maintain an irritating presence throughout my entire trip, lingering into my home time. Just as the pain would begin to subside, it would be time to head back to work. A vicious cycle!! Needless to say, it has had a very negative effect on my attitude to everyone around me. For this I apologize immensely... I have literally been very 6itchy.

So, I was not going to miss the appointment.

Although, after waiting around for 2 hours, I almost did walk out of the clinic because Miami is a long drive from Atlanta, and I was not even in Atlanta yet. I finally saw the Doc...Grrrr, what a joke!! He said the swelling was because I was a girl...and that I had sciatica. Then he gave me some prescriptions for an anti-inflammatory and a diuretic. But he never once, did any type of exam or asked any pertinent questions. He just made a generalized diagnosis based on the two words that stuck out in my original complaint.. Swelling.... Sciatic nerve.....UGH!! I do not belive in medications for myself. Hey , if they work for you, go for it.. But I was willing to try anything until I could get in to see another doctor, which would be after my upcoming 7 day tour de interstate. Guess what, the meds he prescribed..well, they had warnings written all over them. May cause drowsiness.... May cause dizziness....May cause one to function as if they were a half-wit or drunkard. Great, after an hour wait for the meds, I cannot even take them due to the nature of my job, because I am highly susceptible to the side effects of prescribed medicines.

Half a day lost and no relief in sight, I head to the plant to begin my tour of duty. This is when I was hit with the sight of all those trucks parked on the yard and wondered why I was even here. But alas, the day was not lost. I approached the nearest mechanic and asked if any of my repairs had been made while I was away........I was stunned to hear that the list was acknowledged and although not all repairs were attended to, the most important one had been sucessfully accomplished. I was completely elated! As insignificant as it seems, I was most grateful to find that my driver's seat had been replaced.

I made the request before I left, explaining how the seat had been worn out by the 275 pound man who drove the truck for 200K. I requested a swap. Give me Maggie's seat! It is broken in to the exact specifications of my posterior, and it has a defect in it. The defect actually causes the seat to sit lower allowing me to reach the pedals with no discomfort to the backs of my legs. I was told that they could not swap seats and knowingly give someone else a bad chair, but they would put in a request for a NEW seat. This left me apprehensive that I would have to endure the leg pain on the backs of my thighs while breaking in a new one. However, I was almost in tears when I opened up Frankentruck and saw that Maggies deformed captain's chair was bolted into position behind the steering wheel.

I forgot about all of my troubles! Seriously..I let everything go and embraced the possibility that my problems just may have been solved. I know, the odds that a stupid seat could be responsible for all my problems is ludicrous, but I climbed aboard embracing the ridiculousness of it all....

My dear friends, I am happy to report that I drove the next 1350 miles absolutely pain free... Not the first sign of irritation, inflamation or swelling. I had not taken the meds, so my theory was correct. The stupid chair was throwing my body so completely out of alignment, it was all I could do to not curl up and pray for death. I would have thought the pain would have went away while on vacation, but it seems I had done enough damage that it took the entire week to heal itself. I guess me and Maggie were always meant to be together....

And as for the swelling while on vacation. Ummm, do you know how much sodium shellfish contains? Talk about water retention.....LOL... I never claimed to be the brightest candle on the birthday cake, but I was informed by my friend Shadow that eating 2 buckets of shellfish will definitely make a female swell up, espcecially during the summer months... Thanks Shadow!! for not laughing too loudly.

In the Beginning...

I really do not know where to start, because of all the topics I listed on the last post, well, they all relate to one another, so Maybe I should do this by the day instead of the trying to separate the different topics... Yeah, That sounds good

DAY ONE ( Florida Vacation )

As you should be aware, I headed to the Sunshine state for a 5 day get-a-way. The weather was wonderful most of the time. It was overcast for most of the stay, so sunburn was a minimal risk. I did get cooked on the final day, but I was too busy kayaking to pay much heed to the telltale signs that I was slow roasting. On the second day, I ventured out early and joined the multitudes that were making use of a pedestrian traffic only route through the community and ended up traversing the sand dunes of this little island retreat. The run was great, although I am still much slower than the average runner. My legs were fine all day!! ( Keep this statement in mind throughout the following posts).

Of course, while staying at a tropical destination, you must indulge in the catch of the day, or in my case, a huge bucket of steamed everything. Crab, shrimp, mussel, oyster, crawdads, clams, and some new potatoes to top it off. Ummmm, yummy!! In fact, it was so delicious the first night, I enjoyed another bucket the second night. LOL

While the vacation was a nice reprieve from every day life, I have come to the conclusion that I no longer know how to relax. Seriously, I just spent an entire 8 days away from the truck, but my demeanor and attitude have not adjusted at all. There is, of course, several reasons for that.

First, I shall mention that while my legs felt divine the day of my run, they were swollen like water balloons the entire trip (except the ONE DAY). In fact my legs have been aching ever since I got into Frankentruck (but that is another post) So, the entire vacation seemed to be overshadowed by my anguish over just what exactly is happening to my body. The only way I seem to get any relief from the sciatic nerve and hip and knee pains, is to lie down on my belly. That does not lead to a very productive day, and you cannot drive while lying face first....Grrrr, needless to say the only thing left to do was endure. Oh yeah, I totally forget about the aches and pains while I was out row row rowing my boat! Did I mention how much I enjoyed the kayak..Ha HA, you would have thought I was in a competitive race the way I was slicing through the salty waters. That is a hobby I need to become more involved in!!

I should also mention the little adventure we had whilst parasailing... LOL....I am sooooo mean!!

I have been wanting to go parasailing for quite some time, and thought this was the perfect opportunity to do so. Of course, all adventures are best when shared with someone, so I loaded up my two nephews and one's girlfriend. I was going to ride with the youngest nephew, while the other rode with his girlfriend. Once we hoped aboard the boat, the first mate began preparations. Me and Asti Spumante(not his real name) were first, and after a brief trip around the bay, we were submerged in the water before being reeled back onto the boat. Next up was the Kiddo and Miss Ashlee. They had instructed the first mate that they were not to be dunked into the water. But I had alternate plans for them. So after another bayside boat ride, the captain asked if I wanted them dunked...." Well, of course, I paid for it so I think they should abide by my wishes. In fact, you should probably just let them soak for a bit!!" While slowing reeling them in, the first mate dropped them low enough to skim their toes across the top of the water, that is when I busted a gut laughing. Ashlee knew she was in trouble!! They were submerged and then dragged for several seconds...... Afterwards, everyone was in good spirits, even the victims of my little prank. You see, I think Ashlee really wanted to get dunked, but Kiddo is growing up and he had teenage things on his mind...Oh well, hope he forgives me!!

So yeah, all in all, it was a good trip, but I seem to need to learn how to relax again. I am going to practice this on the coming weekends. Hopefully I will have more non-trucking adventures to report in the future.

Jul 27, 2009


I have got umpteen posts to present to you , my friends and followers. But unfortunately, I just do not have the time to write them.

As of Thursday (when I was so rudely called back into duty) I now have over 3000 miles under my tires and still have 2 days left before I head home. Um, yeah, I have been a busy Little Trucker. Atlanta to Miami to Atlanta to Nashville to Atlanta to Baltimore to Charlotte.......Well, not exactly those cities. But that is the general route. Hope fully, tomorrow I will get a chance to toss out a few words.

Until then, here is the short list.

1) Para~sailing hijinx

2) Lower Body Pain and the Doctor

3) Shellfish

4) Frankentruck, Maggie and Mister T

5) Runner's Remorse

6) Towanda!! and The Cruise

By now you are probably scratching your head wondering what all of this means, but this is just a reminder to myself to salvage these specific posts for your reading pleasure. You see, if I don't type them up pretty quick, I lose them. You have no idea how many have already slipped out of my noggin.....

Yikes!! Time for bed....Talk at ya soon!!

Jul 24, 2009

Confucius Say

Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart!!

Oh well, maybe Confucius is not the correct title for this post. Let's try again, shall we....

How about CONFUSION !!

When I was told I would have to return from my vacation early, naturally, I thought it was because of Jeremy's accident. But then I was told the reason was because the man who is going on vacation NEXT week, needed to leave early ?!?

Um, did I really come back early to let someone else start their retreat??

But the most confusing part about this is that when I got to the yard to pick up the load, there were 6 trucks sitting on the yard......Now why was it so important for ME to return early?

Anyhoo, I made it to Miami and it is a balmy 98 degrees....Because I took this load, I have actually started next week's journey. I did get a scrap run to fill in the down time on Saturday, but I am now facing 7 full days in the truck........WAH!!!!!

yes, I think I am a little too spoiled myself...LOL

Jul 23, 2009


Afternoon Showers!! But then it does rain everyday in Florida!

To beat the crowds, we headed out early for a little parasailing.

Well, of course you have to leave your mark in the sand...

And yes, we did manage to catch crabs!!

If you look really close, you will notice kayaks!! I spent the entire afternoon OUT in the ocean on a kayak. Too much fun. It was a two person craft, but I had more luck maneuvering it alone! And just for the record, it is best to hit the waters early when the waves are non existent.

Here is the old pier that sustained major damage from a hurricane. While exploring on the kayak, I was able to spot huge jellyfish near the pier AND watched the dolphins playing. They were literally just feet from my vessel. The dolphins, that is.

The view from the balcony!

Jul 22, 2009

On The Job Accidents

I received a bit of bad news this week while on vacation.

One of our regular drivers was injured in an accident while delivering in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Not sure of all of the details, so I can only presume how this might have happened.

The driver was waiting for the customer to unload and during the process, several bundles of aluminum toppled off of the trailer, knocking the driver to the ground and breaking his pelvis multiple times. He was taken to the local hospital and endured surgery. Thankfully, no other serious injuries were reported. We are hoping to have him transported back to Atlanta fairly soon, so friends and family will have more immediate access to him.

The last time one of our drivers was injured while unloading, it was life threatening. He remained hospitalized in critical condition for an extended period in Texas, hundreds of miles away from home. He recovered.

So, I am cutting my vacation time short to go help out. But most importantly... Jeremy is not fighting for his life. He is stable and only time will tell how well he recovers.

Jul 19, 2009

In Case You Were Wondering...

I am on vacation......

Jul 11, 2009

Fishin' Season

Last week, I received a surprise phone call from none other than the Fisherman. I have to be honest and say that a few years ago, when he left the company, I was a little more than relieved. I have never known a pathological liar, but I am feeling pretty secure with my assessment that the Fisherman is just that.

So, after a few missed calls, I finally decided to see what he could possibly want. It seems that he keeps in touch with quite a few of our drivers and while his phone call was apparently harmless in nature, there was a particular reason he had phoned me, although he never stated it. I will get to that portion of this story soon enough.

The amazing thing about the Fisherman, is that he has not changed one iota. After catching up on all the going's on, he casually mentioned that he was going in for retesting. Retesting? He then elaborated by telling me that he had been diagnosed with cancer and had been going through a series of chemo and/or radiation therapy. He was going in for more testing to make sure he was still in remission.


I, of course, offered my support and sympathy. I wished him well. Oh yeah, he also mentioned that he had been running about 4000 miles and it was wearing him out. Okay, so I had officially took the bait, but felt that perhaps there were some inaccuracies in his tale. He was also quick to inquire how my week was going. At first, I thought nothing of it.

BUT, this week did hold a few surprises for me, which had me reeling with a mild anger.

My trip was to be routed through Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, and Kentucky before returning home. Whew! Big Trip, lots of miles and with the first stop being only 3 hours from the plant, I was in no hurry to leave out on Sunday.

That morning, while I was still tucked snugly in my bed, my phone begins to ring at an indecent hour. It was the Mayor, calling to say hello ?! I did not answer the phone, and his message was just that. "How are you? I have not spoke with you in awhile and just wanted to check on you."

When I returned his call a little later, it was once again just superfluous jargon with no hint of urgency. I finally arrived at the plant around 8pm and that is when I found out that my first stop had been omitted and my trip was now a 10 hour run straight into Louisiana. YIKES! I was not prepared for an all nighter. After dissecting my trip numerous times, and trying to reroute myself for efficiency, I finally decided to stick to the original plan. After all, the second customer had no clue that they had become the first, so there was really no harm in not arriving at 7am. They were not expecting me until lunch anyways. I drove my three hours and went to bed. If you know me at all, you would be aware that I had a very hard time not forcing myself to pull the all nighter. I am the epitome of efficiency when it comes to making my deliveries. I could not fathom not being at the customer upon awaking. It was just not acceptable (to me). But I gave in after completely stressing myself out.

I had no problems making all my deliveries. I even completed the task before expected, because I do reroute myself for efficiency. I felt very good about everything. Until.....

I received a phone call from AA. He was concerned about my trip and asked if I was okay. A little clueless, I inquired as to what he was referring to. It was then that he alerted me to the fact that the Mayor had looked at my bills and knew that my trip had been altered. I had originally panicked (mildly) when I saw the changes. Now, I am furious. You see, the Mayor knew. The Mayor called me that morning (which would have been ample time to for me to make the Louisiana destination at 7am) But the Mayor never said a word.

It is not often that I receive phone calls from other drivers, especially those who no longer work with us. I should have known something fishy was going on. I received multiple phone calls that week. Everyone curious has to how my week was going. I guess everyone else already knew that the Mayor had been privy to information that would have been helpful to me. And I suppose everyone knew that the Mayor kept this information to himself.

Now I know why the Fisherman called me. And for the record, I was also told that NO, the Fisherman does not have cancer, nor has he been through chemo. Yeah, I thought 4000 miles a week would be a little difficult to manage during treatment. I cannot believe the depths this man will go in weaving his delusions.

I know this post is running rampant, but as an added bonus, I thought I would share with you the first thing I encountered after learning my trip had been altered. I had been blocked in. The truck on the right was hooked to a trailer and ready to leave, however the driver was at home relaxing by the pool. He did not do this intentionally, but he also did not notice that my truck was now barricaded into position. I called him to see if he would move his rig, so I could begin my altered trip. Good thing he only lives 5 minutes away. All the other drivers live no closer than 45 minutes away. And our trucks are not keyed the same.

It was a good week all in all. I completed my route on Wednesday, and got to run with Gabby and James back into West Memphis... Good Times!!

Jul 7, 2009

And Speaking of the Big A

Oh gosh, I hope you did not think I was referring to my beloved New York City....

No, the Big A , I am referring to is Atlanta.

Last week, while cruising around the Watermelon 500, a lively conversation was taking place amongst the Truckers as to just "Why exactly is everybody in such a hurry in the ATL?" You see, while the speed limit is set at 55 mph, there are only about 5 people who actually abide by it. As for the rest, they will run you over.

Of course, everyone had to put their 2 cents worth in. Although some remarks were meant to be humorous, the initial inquisitor was actually quite disgruntled

"...because they are trying to catch their spouse cheating on them."

"...because their spouses' lover will drink all the beer, so they are trying to catch them."

"...because they want to get home and be the first to the mailbox to get the welfare check."

"...because Judge Judy comes on at five."

after a litany of not so clever responses, I casually pick up the microphone and inform the masses that the real reason everyone is in such a hurry in Atlanta, is because the last one in is a rotten egg.


And then the airwaves were filled to capacity with bellowing laughter. Between gasps, sighs, cackles and guffaws, the original initiator of the conversation thanked me for my insight and assured me he was in a much better mood to deal with the rest of his lap around the loop.

Hey, it was the least I could do!!

What's In A Name

Everything has a name. Whether it is a common noun, or Proper Name, all things are identified. Some of you may be unaware of this (not the part about nouns, duh), but most of our States have been renamed by the Truck Driving community. Of course, some of the nicknames are fairly obvious and we cant lay claim to be the brilliant ones who thought of such wonderful nicknames, but some are truly generated from the minds of my fellow Concrete Cohorts. For example, can you tell me which State would be known as the Keystone? How about the Bluegrass? Of course you can. But how about the Bikini , Shakey or the Hillbilly. Well maybe those are fairly obvious too.

Okay, let's try cities......Smoke? No, I am not asking you if you would like to....Which city is known as Smoke? Guitar? Circle City? MonkeyTown, MickeyMouse, Little Cuba, Cigar, Cowtown, Armadillo, Brickyard, Beantown, K-town, E-town, Big A, Big D...

...and I am seriously digressing. So, back to the matter at hand.

Missouri is most commonly referred to as The Show Me State. This may, or may not be appropriate in all aspects, but today, it certainly was, and naturally, I think kudos are in order.

Today, while traversing the I-70 Corridor, I was pleasantly surprised. Every time I turned my blinker on, a car slowed down and let me change lanes. Every time there was merging ramp traffic, all vehicles accommodated those who wished to enter the rat race. Every time a Police Officer had a subject apprehended on the shoulder of the road, everyone moved to the left. Every time there was a lane closure, everyone had merged well before the lane ended. Everyone! Every time!

Show Me, indeed. It seems that we can get along and behave properly on the interstates. Of course, there were alot of girls showing their legs as well, according to the truckers. But that is not what made me so proud.

Thanks Missouri, for showing me a good time. Thanks for giving me reason to have a little faith in my fellow travelers. Because , you know as well as I do, that there are a lot of idiots out on the roads who are only concerned with themselves.

Jul 4, 2009

Update for Gabby

I suppose the rest of you could not really care any less about my running adventures, so this will have to be a post for Gabby. After all, she is my current inspiration. Well, maybe Indy.....I think he pays attention too, and has been inspired a little himself.

So, I had a wonderful day. Absolutely beautiful. Tried out a new running trail which just happens to be only a few miles away. I am so glad I went to that running store and felt inquisitive. They turned me on to alot of information. In fact, the trail I ran today is proposed to be a 40-50 mile circuit meandering through much of the area by the time it is completed. I believe they have 4 distinct sections finished and the one I was on today was a 4 miler (out and back for 2 each way).

I was rejuvenated. The shoes worked very well. I was a little timid at first thinking that with all the pain I had been through lately, maybe I should just stick to walking. But after a 10 minute fast walk, I was ready. The shoes are awesome and felt like I was running on clouds. I never once felt the urge to stop before my predetermined time was complete. In fact , I wanted to keep going. So, I am back on schedule for the program I started several weeks ago. Therefore, I did not continue on, but I am looking forward to my next run, and trying out the other trails.

Jul 3, 2009

Riding High

Just a little update on Frankentruck. I get very tired of posting my trucking issues here, but I sincerely feel the need to document them because I have never in my life been witness to, or experienced such complete mayhem when it comes to Big Trucks. I swear, this series of Volvo is such a complete joke. You know, they actually had a good reputation with their trucks several years ago, but I suppose as it is with just about everything else, quality is no longer a standard when it comes to production.

My beloved Frankentruck is in the shop this week. Are you surprised??

I do not know if I had mentioned this before, but for the past few months, I have been losing traction, sliding, and living in constant fear of an imminent jackknife. I have mentioned previous occasions where I had concerns about suspension problems with the other trucks, primarily Maggie, but this is altogether something completely new. I was breaking traction when taking off from a complete stop. My rear axles seemed to be sliding every time I made a turn. And, I would slip and slide continually on wet pavement, to the point that it felt as if I was driving on pure ice. I have registered many complaints. I have had everything checked from airbags, bushings, springs, traction bars, tread depth on tires, everything, shocks, everything! Nothing looked damaged. Nothing looked worn or cracked. Nothing!! The ride itself does not seem to be affected. No bronc riding, no bouncing out of control, no hardness at all.

I have been very zealous in taking care to not let Frankentruck take me for a wild ride, but the tension it was placing me in was beginning to wear on my nerves. This week, when returning to the shop, I slipped and slid through the yard and just as I thought my frayed nerves would finally snap, I decided to try a little test. I proceeded to play in the dust and gravel. Yanking the steering wheel as hard as I could to the left, I accelerated. Man oh man. Now that was a good time. Have you ever seen a Big Truck that could turn on a dime? Well, Frankentruck can. Seriously!! While studying my drive axles in the mirror, I noticed my pivot point was on the forward axle. I was literally able to turn at a 90 degree angle. I continued doing donuts for awhile, just to relieve a little stress and afterwards I got out to look at my tread marks in the dirt. That is when I noticed that my rear axle tires were barely touching the ground. I was leaving absolutely no tread marks in the dirt. Now the forward axle would leave a pattern, but the rear axle would brush lightly over them, smoothing them out. Okay, I thought, maybe it is only doing that because I was playing around while bobtail, and the leveling valve could not keep up. So, I hooked to a 45,000 lb load, and you know what? Still no tread pattern.

After making that delivery, I headed back into the shop and proceeded to show one of the Stooges my discovery. He had never seen anything like it. Next Moe was notified, and after a brief consultation, he decided to exchange the leveling valve and all four drive axle shocks. Hopefully, this will take care of the problem, but if not......Frankentruck goes back to Volvo for more complete repairs.

Good thing I noticed this when I did, because it looks like the warranty for this part of the truck runs out in 7000 miles. That means we only have two weeks to figure it out. I know, you are probably thinking, 'Why not take it in now, while it is still under warranty?'

Well, shocks and valves are not covered, and we do not have permission to go to the big shop except as a final measure, so that gives us 2 weeks to get it straight and determine if the problem has enough merit to be sent in. Confused yet? Me too!!

Either way, this needs o be resolved before winter strikes again. It is bad enough driving in ice and snow, but to only have one axle making contact one hundred percent of the time is frightening enough of warm, dry pavement. Because, when the second axle grabs the road, it tends to throw me sideways for a brief moment before recovering.

I will admit however, me and the Ol Boy sure had alot of fun relieving some anxiety out there in the dirt! Git R Done!!

I cannot believe I just typed that, but it was that much fun............

Running Scared

It seems I just cannot get ahead. Whether it concerns trucking, or any number of different aspects regarding life outside of the truck. I don't feel as if I complain too much openly, but I do feel the intensity of it all weighing down on me physically.

Just this week, for instance, I have been having major problems with my legs. In regards to the running shoes, it seems that having been so determined to have a good mileage to record for the month, I may have possibly harmed myself by wearing the wrong shoes. In fact, for the month of June, I completed a total of 60.25 miles, which is my highest mileage ever for a one month period. While that may not be so impressive to die hard runners, it is quite a respectable accomplishment to me. The problem is that I was using a rigid shoe for stability. Not what I needed!! This in fact threw my entire body out of alignment and every joint began to ache. So, I opted to use my alternate shoes which were less rigid. And, while they were great for my foot strike, they had absolutely no cushioning, which resulted in very tender knees. I pressed on however.

This week, I was almost in panic mode when I noticed my knees and ankles were swelling, and there was an unusual amount of numbness in my legs. I did work a very high mileage week with very few breaks to stretch my legs, but the discomfort was so intense, at one point I had begun to worry that I would have to give up exercising, driving a truck, or possibly both. I believe I would be more able to give up running, as I could swap it for something of lower impact such as cycling. But driving? It is my livelihood. How would I cope? What would I do?? I regret to announce that I am not trained or educated to the degree of earning a salary to that which I am accustomed. I am completely self dependent, and if I had to give up driving, I have no idea what would happen to me. I thought about looking for a rich old man to fall in love with, but decided against that option. It would be nice to have someone to fall back on, if times got hard, but sadly, I have no significant other. And truthfully, I have never had any intention of growing old in a truck. Guess I better start making plans for my future, eh?? I don't think it would be too bad, if I could find something local and was home every night, but I just do not see me driving all over God's Creation when I am a little old lady.

So, for now, I have made a few alterations.

I have purchased a pillow to sit on, to raise my derriere up and prevent the seat from cutting off my circulation. I am planing to stop more often for walk breaks, and I got fitted (once again) for new running shoes.

Amazingly enough, I found out today that I have a perfect foot strike!! YAY!! What that means is the only requirement that my feet have when it comes to running shoes is the level of cushioning I require. That is exactly what I thought even when the other store recommended a rigid shoe for stability. I was videotaped while running and my foot strike is perfectly aligned. I got back into a pair of Sauconys and felt as if I was walking in the clouds. Took them for a test run, and had no immediate discomfort. So, I now have 3 pairs of running shoes. This is getting expensive!! sheesh... I do have the option of returning this pair if they do not work out, but they felt divine. I will find out tomorrow how they feel with several miles on them. The last pair of comfortable shoes I had were also Saucony, but they broke down quickly. I was told that this pair was rated for about 400-500 miles. The last ones I was able to run in only lasted about 200. Here's to hoping I can get more than 3-4 months out of this pair. But I am stoked!! I also learned of a few running trails in the area, and of some weekly fun runs. Also got signed up for event alerts. Sadly, the store did not have its own running team, like Gabby and her Cabot Cruisers, but later when I get a little more confidence built up, I will search for my own local crew to run with. The fun runs will be a great place to start as far as meeting some running buddies.

I seem to be rambling, but that is my latest update on the misfortunes that are ever present. Hopefully, I can get the leg issues worked out...Stay tuned....

Jul 2, 2009

Busty Wonder

Rest In Peace

I loved this little guy. Meet Rusty. Rusty was my brothers dog. One day, several years back, he came strolling through the neighborhood (a victim of abandonment) and decided that he was going to make himself at home. It did not take long at all to claim him as a member of the family.

Rusty was well cared for, and absolutely cherished. He was one of the best tempered dogs I have ever been exposed to. We all loved him. But last Sunday, Rusty was savagely attacked by some neighboring canines. Rusty has always been confined to his yard and was never allowed to roam freely about the neighborhood. One of the neighbors had a female who was in heat and they decided it was a good idea to let her roam about freely at night. Of course, you can imagine the havoc caused by this. Not only was Rusty attacked in his own yard, but another family pet who lived two houses away was also injured in another battle. I am not sure if the other innocent dog survived, but Rusty died from extensive injuries 5 days later. The offenders were owned by a man who lived a few houses away and he refused to keep his dogs in the fence. In fact, his dogs are now somewhat running with a pack of strays.

I am very sad! And I could rant and rave about this for quite awhile.

What we have here is just another prime example of people being stupid and irresponsible. This did not have to happen! Rusty did not have to be killed this way. He was still young but because one person thought it was okay to let a bitch dog in heat run wild at night, and another thought his not so friendly beasts were also not required to be confined, and then there are all of those people who want a puppy and after a few months, they drop them off in a field or down a deserted road because they no longer want the responsibility. I am angry!! so very angry!!

but mostly

I am very sad.... I love you Busty Wonder!!