Jan 31, 2010

WOYM # 30 -33

Eric #AsksTerry: beer or wine?

Actually I do not really care for either, but I do love champaign!! I will enjoy a cold Michelob Ultra sitting the garage with my brother on occasion. But if I am in the mood to have a relaxing adult beverage, it usually includes vodka or rum and a pretty little umbrella. Ohhhh, and Margaritas, I can never turn those down.

Eric #asksTerry: If you could change one thing about youtube, what would it be?

I personally enjoy YouTube for one reason, and one reason only. I enjoy creating the video itself. I have noticed a lot of peer pressure to join the right groups. Everyone demands that you comment, rate and subscribe. To me, this is very tiresome. I just want to create a video, I love the editing process!! It is not the social networking site of my choice because if you give an honest opinion of someone's video, their "friends" will attack your comments. Why cant we just watch, and leave real feedback. Why does it have to be so "highschool" I have been withdrawing from that forum quite a bit in the past year and only view things in silence. I just find it to be more peaceful that way.

Eric #AsksTerry: did you play any sports growing up?

I played every sport that was ever offered to me while growing up. In basketball, I was a starting guard. I was pretty good at spiking the volleyball and mastered a mean serve. I never became a dynamo in softball, but I was always running bases, so at least I held my own. And as far as track, you have never seen such short legs burn up the runway. I did okay in short sprints, but I was queen of the team in longer runs...sigh..I wish I could still run!!

Eric #AsksTerry: Whats your favorite vacation destination?

Dont really know that I have a favorite yet.. I did enjoy my Vegas trip and plan to repeat it in the future. I am taking another excursion to Disney World this year, but that is more about affordability and family. I think if I had to chose, I would wind up lost somewhere in the great outdoors and that would be just about perfect. A little more far fetched would be a tour of Europe or Australia, but since I have been to neither, I couldnt call that my favorite yet, now could I?

Ask me anything

Jan 26, 2010

WOYM # 29

List 5 place on Planet Earth you wish to visit.

Alaska, Ireland, Tanzania, Australia, and you know it is not really fair to ask for a specific number of places. I would love to visit any jagged snowy mountain peak. I would also love to visit some places like the Galapagos Islands.

I am actually quite fascinated with Alaska and would not mind a bit in the world to winter there for a season or two. I think that comes from my love of mountains and also cold climates. Being a southern girl, I have unnaturally adapted to frozen temperatures and find it to be extremely exhilarating.

While I may list Ireland as a definite, I would love to tour all European Countries! I know a few people from Ireland. My favorite band is from Ireland. And the whole fascination with leprechauns kind of lured me in. Okay, so I am joking about that last part, but the Emerald Isle is a must see for me.

Tanzania is on the list because for as long as I can remember I have always wanted to go on Safari. In my younger days, I dreamed of being a photographer for periodicals such as National Geographic and wildlife shows absolutely fascinate me. This is another place that I would love to submerge myself into the cultural experience. Maybe not so much with the natives, but more in the surrounding wildlife. And yes, I do realize that they have nasty bites and sharp teeth.

Also included in this list is Australia. I have always loved the accent, but then I love all accents. And the idea of The Outback !! I have made a few friends Down Under thanks to the Internet and hopefully one day some of these "dreams" will come to fruition.

List 5 things you want do before you die.

Sky Dive from a perfectly good plane, perform on stage in front of an mesmerized audience, climb a mountain peak and soar with the eagles, take an Alaskan Cruise, and then I would like to fall in love again..Yeah, that would be nice.

Ask me anything

Jan 24, 2010

Sour Puss

Two weeks ago, when I had the misfortune of driving 247, I arrived back at the plant in such a state of ill emotion that one of the security guards decided to cheer me up. She sent me this picture, telling me that THIS IS WHAT I LOOKED LIKE upon my return..

Knowing my CB handle, is was absolutely perfect and I laughed until I cried!!

One week back in Frankentruck, and there was the whole pine tree incident...I knew I would be back in a spare the coming week. I asked Stooge #2 which truck would that be. He updated me on the scheduled repairs for each of the spare trucks and I remarked that I never wanted to get back in 247...He claimed that as of 1/20/10 there were no repairs made to 247 and Volvo could find nothing wrong with it. My video shows different!!

Guess what....Sunday night rolls around and the keys placed in my box are for 247. I literally came unglued. The guard heard a few nasty words come out of my mouth. I even threatened to quit. Thankfully, Andy was able to calm me down I after a shed a few enraged tears.

To make matters worse, it was raining cats and dogs and I still had to load up my gear. The first thing I did was check the inspection book. The only mechanic whom I trust, had actually signed off on all the repairs I had previously requested...This brought about a sense of hope. So, I loaded my gear, dragged my trailer out of the only muddy crater in our parking lot and proceeded down the highway...

Everything seems to be in order, but there is still a hint of that horrible whistle. It comes and goes. So my sanity might prevail this week.

I am pulling a 16 stop load through Tennessee, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota. I expect it to be a long week, so no trying to race the clock. The customers are too far spread out.

The good news is that I managed to grab the bike out of my truck. I figure with all the hostility that I am experiencing, I should be able to get some good miles in this week. Kind of hard to make that 3500 mile goal for the year, if the bike is locked in a shop and I can only ride weekends.

Jan 23, 2010

If A Tree Falls In The Forest...

...and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound?

I will not be able to answer that question for you today. However, I do know first hand that if a tree falls in the forest it might not make a sound even if you are right next to it.

That is exactly what happened to me only FIVE HOURS after I got back in Frankentruck. Sweet little Frankentruck, who was doing his best to not disappoint me.

I was minding my own business, heading north on Interstate 95 through South Carolina. It was late evening, so the sun had already vanished from the sky. The rural areas of South Carolina are densely populated with pine trees, therefore the night sky is even darker. I could clearly see the tail lights of the Big Rig less than a quarter of a mile in front of me. There was absolutely no indication of any obstacles blocking the Interstate as the lead truck had not so much as tapped his brakes.

In a split second, there is a horrific noise as my windshield is filled with pine branches. It all happened in less than 2 seconds. Thankfully, I am not one of those who panics, and I was able to stay the course. There was a car just about to pass me and he was able to clear the obstruction because my initial reaction was NOT to swerve. In fact, he never even tapped his brakes until after I collided with the evergreen.

I quickly made my way to the shoulder of the road to assess my damage, but not before grabbing the CB microphone to alert other truckers of the debris. Too late! Two other trucks ran through the remnants, but lucky for them, I had obliterated the mass of potential lane blockage. After a quick summation of the destruction, I eased further down the road into a rest area. It was there I stumbled upon the preambulatory driver. He asked what happened? I asked why he did not mention the *#@$#!% tree that was blocking the road. He knew nothing of its existence, and I did (and do) believe him. His previous actions did not indicate that anything was even remotely near the asphalt. We determined that the tree must have been falling at the moment I was passing through, because I did not run over it. Had I done that, I would have flat tires, busted wheels, defective brakes and missing airlines.

The severe damage was limited to the right front end of my hood. It also managed to knock both the spot mirror and passenger side mirrors loose. I had pine straw wedged under my wiper blades and under the tank straps and a dozen smaller branches pushing out of every crevice visible..

The good news is that nothing had happened to the braking system, the tires , or the engine/radiator. So while I impacted, I was mobile!! The bad news...

I WILL BE IN A SPARE TRUCK NEXT WEEK !! argghghghhhhhh!! That is 4 trucks in 4 weeks, bringing the total to ?? 40 swaps in 28 months?? But who is counting.

He's Alive

You have no idea the relief I felt when I pulled into the yard on Sunday and saw Frankentruck sitting in his designated parking spot. The sheer joy, I felt to open the doors and see all of my creature comforts...er, um piled high on the bunk. The passionate abandon I experienced , when I pulled the hood to see his shiny new heart! (even if the motor was the wrong color).

Everything I had been through the first few weeks of the year suddenly melted away into oblivion. Albeit an ephemeral oblivion!

As I started to reacquaint myself with the interior, and load my weekly requisition of staples, I was quickly forced into battling a surge of negative emotion. Poor Frankentruck was trashed! When I left him, I made sure everything was tucked away, so it would not hinder the task at hand. But who knew certified mechanics would need to root around in the sleeper just to replace an engine. It was bad enough that when I first attained Franky, the previous driver had already done enough damage to the interior, to make sure it never really ever felt clean enough. What I mean by that is, even though I could obtain the look of cleanliness, the scarring and tearing of the paneling and cabinets would never be up to my standards. I like my truck to continue to look new for as long as I am in it. All the screw holes and ripped upholstery would prevent that from happening. But still I claimed him and mustered through as best I could.


The filth left behind from the mechanics had me in a blinding rage. Even the rugs I had folded and placed out of the way, were covered in grease. But I decided to try and ignore it. I did not have time to do another thorough cleansing, so I covered the muck and proceeded to test out his capabilities. I did have to wipe down the steering wheel and shifter and cover the seat in a towel, but the flooring and side panels would have to wait.

As soon as I put him in gear, I knew ! I knew that everything was going to be okay. I hit the Interstate and he churned away in a dignified fashion, making each hill seem less of challenge than it had ever been before. And I could hear myself think, for once.

Could I be dreaming? Is this real?

Frankentruck survived his surgery and has come back to life as the Monster Of The Highways, and even with all the deep cleaning he will endure in the next few days, his performance is nothing less than stellar.

For those of you not familiar with how he got his moniker, Frankentruck is named for the fasteners mounted on his shoulders, as well as the internal upholstery scarring.To me, he resembles Frankenstein's Monster!!


WOYM # 28

I have recently read on lady truckers blogs that it is very difficult to get showers.I have not noticed you complaining about this and was wondering, if you find it hard as a woman to keep clean out on the road? -Cindy

Thanks for the question Cindy. This is a subject I have also seen floating around cyberspace, and to be honest it makes me want to cringe.

Personal Hygiene is always a matter of personal preference. For myself, I work in a very dirty portion of trucking because of physically handling the trailer and freight numerous times throughout the day. The last thing I want to do at the end of the day is crawl inside my clean sheets with a filthy body. Therefore I allow myself that extra hour to stop and get a shower.

I would think that all Truck Stops and possibly 80% of all Fuel Stops have showers available to the drivers. Most truck stops will give you a free shower for purchasing a minimum of 50 gallons of fuel. There are still several Mom-n-Pop operations that provide FREE showers to drivers, as well as free coffee. Now, bear in mind that there are times when I have had to wait up to an hour or more for my turn in the shower, but I am willing to wait!! Without the purchase of fuel, you have 2 options to obtain yourself a shower. The first is to outright pay for it, usually $8 -$12 bucks. The second option would be to redeem reward points for a free shower. Each truck stop supplies the driver with a Reward Card, and every single gallon purchased applies points to the card for free merchandise, free food, or even free showers. Surprisingly, I have even had drivers offer to give up their shower coupon for me. Had one do that last week because my reward card was out of free showers. Often you will hear drivers on the CB asking if anyone has a spare coupon they can have, and there are quite a few drivers willing to help each other out.

I personally think that there is no reason any driver should have to go without a shower, unless of course it is their own personal decision. I really do appreciate you asking this question, and I hope I have helped you in some way. If you are looking into becoming a trucker, please do not believe everything you read on the Internet. Feel free to ask questions, and always get more than one opinion. I have noticed some very disgruntled drivers who try to tell it like it is, only to be misleading the readers, simply because they are not happy with their jobs. If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask!!

Ask me anything

WOYM # 27

what is your all time favorite movie?

This is a very hard question..Hmmm, my all time favorite movie...Sorry, I cant name just one, but there are a few that really stir the soul for me.
RUDY, Mr Holland's Opus, Pride and Prejudice, Serendipity, and The Count of Monte Cristo are probably the ones I could watch over and over again. In fact I have... I could keep listing the good ones, you know!!

Ask me anything

WOYM # 24-26

What got you interested in commercial trucking and was it due to family careers or something that sparked your curiosity in driving semis?-John II

Hey John, actually I am the first commercial driver in my family and I think my initial decision probably frightened every member of my family. I was introduced to the industry through my job at a Lumber Mill. During that time I developed a great respect for Truck Drivers. When my job came to an end at the mill, I was asked what line of work I was going to pursue. I decided right then and there I was going to drive. I was told I would not be able to do it, and 12 years later, I am still trucking up. The initial conversation had been more like a dare, so I think I was challenged into proving myself...

What do you think of the trucking industries future? amremann

, I do not really consider myself to be directly involved in the Trucking Industry. I feel I am more related to the Aluminum Industry because I haul freight for one company only. I do believe that the larger "training" companies are ruining the respect that the general public has for the drivers by churning out less than qualified drivers to fill their trucks. I would never want to be a part of "Big Trucking" because of the lack of value placed on the individual driver. I know this does not answer your question, but until I am in a truck, not knowing who, what , when, where or why, I don't feel like I can give you an informed opinion. I prefer to stay out of it, and as long as aluminum is in demand, that is where I will be!

If you could design your dream load for the week were would it take you?Henry

Henry, what a great question. I don't think I could cover my dream load in just one week. I would have so many roads I would like to cover and the sights to behold are limitless. I absolutely love running into New York and New England, but if I had to pick one area to spend the week traveling through, it would have to be Big Sky Country and the North West. That has got to be the most beautiful portion of the 48 contiguous States...That is of course, unless I could get a load to Alaska..

Ask me anything

Jan 22, 2010

WOYM ~ Eric

Eric #asksTerry: Would you consider yourself to be more of a dog person, or a cat person?

I am no doubt a DOG person. I don't have anything against cats, but DOGS are just so much more social, affectionate, and loyal. I have had several really great dogs in my life and I cant say that I have had one favorite, because like people, they all have very unique personalities...I wish I could show some pictures, but they are in an album tucked away for now. My first love was Whisky. He was a mutt that came into my life at a very difficult time. He was extremely sensitive to my moods and was my best friend for years! Then, there was Tequila. He was a very devoted Chow Chow who would have defended me to the death, but he was tragically murdered! Then came Warrior. He was an Alaskan Malamute. He could speak human, I swear!! I had to give him up when I started driving, but he went to a very good home. I think he was my most playful pup. So, yeah, I am definitely a dog person, and always will be!!

Eric #AsksTerry: When you first joined @Twitter, you had a cartoon lookin background pic on ur home page of a cute Girl with fluffy hair, did you sketch that? & if so, who was it? =]

wow!! I think you did not get a very good look at the image. It is actually a woman who is experiencing anger...rage if you will. Say, perhaps, a bit like ROADRAGE...The is an image that was emailed to me because of the curly hair and the angry characteristic of the image. I have no idea who drew it, but I thought it was a pretty good representation of what I would look like when dealing with the Stooges..

Eric #asksTerry: Chocolates or Roses?

I am definitely NOT a chocolate girl...I know, right! Don't get me wrong, I love receiving little gifts from the special someone, but flowers are better. I prefer Tulips....and for the record, I really don't like a lot of chocolate. NO cakes, no cookies, no brownies, no ice cream, no dark chocolate..Hmmm, about the only chocolate I care to partake in is the "skin" of a candy bar. And it cant be one of those really chocolaty candy bars. Yeah, I am weird!!

Ask me anything

Jan 21, 2010

WOYM # 20

What is your greatest, yet private passion?

Hmm, not sure what exactly you mean by private? By as far as my greatest passion that is unknown , that is easy.

My greatest passion is acting. Theatrics. Drama. I want to be a thespian!! This started at a very young age when I would perform entire stories to the viewing audience of about 50 stuffed animals. It followed me through highschool, and if I had a regular job that did not require travel, I would almost guarantee you would find me on a stage performing for the local population.

As a child, I would play act for hours, and to this day I can still recite most of those vinyl albums from memory. My school did not offer a drama program until my Junior year, but I jumped at the opportunity. We performed at a National Competition and took second place. My senior year, Mr Hope (the drama coach) encouraged me to chase the dream, as he felt I had great potential. But life was full of changes at that time, and I never pursued it. I still enjoy watching the local theatre troupe performing, but a part of me still longs to be on the stage. And when the day comes that I park my rig for good, I fully expect to find my name on a cast list, even if it is a small community production.

Ask me anything

Jan 16, 2010

The Last Straw

My last post was written in Mt Jackson, Virginia. I had decided to wait on AA, who was only a few hours behind me. I figured as long as we were running together, I might not be so volatile in regards to the behavior of my truck. I was more than willing to wait, even though it would require a 12 hour break. If you know me at all, you should be well aware that I do not linger..The second I am able to roll, I am gone. So this should reveal how distraught I was.

We proceeded south first thing Wednesday morning. Surprisingly, even though the noise was still unbearable, the performance was up to par. I still maintain that I was having injector cup problems but they seem to have reseated themselves after the engine cooled off. Such as the first telltale signs of cups going bad. We made it 200 miles before parting ways. During this time, AA complained that his truck was not running efficiently. My spare was racing down the interstate like hell on wheels. But as soon as we parted company, the truck I was driving decided enough was enough. I immediately began to have performance problems again. I later joked with AA that his truck was having sympathy pains for me.

The next 400 miles had me dropping gears like crazy, pulling my empty wagon over the crest of tiny mounds, that normally offer no resistance even with the heaviest of loads. I could barely do the speed limit of the flat stretches.

I finally made it back to the plant and was feeling so dismal, that I just about lost it when I did the final write-up before turning the truck back into maintenance. It was after hours, so I had no one to yell at.

First I noticed that the previous driver had not been turning in any of his write-ups. How are the mechanics supposed to fix anything if they don't know it is broken?

Next, I noticed the previous driver's write-ups were marked NO DEFECTS. How can this be, if even the Stooges knew to tell me that the truck had problems.

The previous driver was The Mayor....This is the second time I have followed him into a truck. This is the second time his write-ups were not turned in to maintenance. This is the second time his write-ups were bull-shit and left me driving faulty equipment.

So I wrote up everything I could remember ( I did forget to mention the inverter did not work, but I am sure someone else will figure that out, maybe even the effing Mayor..) And before saying my farewells, I had a little fun !!

This picture was suppose to show the carelessness of previous drivers, with the broken pieces, but it you look closer, you will notice I did a little 10 wheel mudding to alleviate my rage.

On Friday, I received the news that Frankentruck is back in action, with a shiny new motor donated by Volvo. I am going to test this motor, and I am pretty sure any small glitches I stumble upon will be more readily acceptable than to continue to endure what I have already become accustomed to . Thank God this is over!!

Enclosed you will find a short clip I produced to show you just how miserable this week has been. WARNING...when you get to the portion that says OUTSIDE THE TRUCK, you may want to turn your volume down. I did not alter these noises at all. This is what I dealt with all week. The last segment of the video is so you can hear how terribly the engine was performing. ENJOY!!

With those noises and performance, the traffic issues I encountered seemed somewhat trivial...Well, except for the embarrassment factor.

PA Toll Booth I-78 (3 mile back-up)

Bruckner Expressway, Bronx, New York @ 1pm

WOYM ~ Jeff

Thank you for answering my question on Queens.It is so nice to see someone with such a positive attitude towards the trucking industry.I was raised around trucks and it is truly in your blood, unfortunately I had to get out of trucking when I was 25.-Jeff

Well Jeff, Thank you so much for asking. I have been in the industry for 12 years and still love it to this day. There are a lot of negative souls out there driving these highways, and I just do not understand it. Why make yourself miserable. I personally think if you do not love the industry, it would be better if you were not involved in it. But that is just my opinion. I try to be a positive influence and I appreciate you noticing! It is in your blood. I was told very early on, You will either love it, or hate it! I see way too many people who drive for the paycheck and that breaks my heart, as they are usually the ones complaining. But, to each their own!

Have you ever been to Canada? and if so where?-Jeff

I have never been across the Canadian Border, but I would love to go. I have been close to many of the crossings, but we have/had a sister plant in Canada, so no need for me up there. I have traveled all 48 states from Miami to San Diego, up through Bellingham, WA and across to Biddeford, ME. For now, I run the East Coast and love that too. I do miss the views from the Rockies, but there is something to be said for familiarity, and NYC gives me that. Those people are more than customers. They are now my friends!!

It is said the longest word in the English language is "antidisestablishmentarianism"Can you use this word in a sentence?-Jeff

Well, I have always believed that unless you want to get into a heated discussion, it is best not to discuss politics or religion with your peers. Therefore I must say that the idea of discussing antidisestablishmentarianism on this blog, is pretty well off limits. I am neither British, nor Anglican, so I think my arguments would come across as dim witted. However, I do love to watch period movies based on the politics of such countries, along with their religious struggles..... How was that?

By the way..I think it is funny that Blogger does not even recognize that as a word. It was having fits wanting me to spell it properly...LOL

Ask me anything

Jan 15, 2010

WOYM # 14-16

Do you wear make-up while on the road? Rob

While I do want to look nice, I usually do not wear make-up while making deliveries, for 2 reasons. 1) Some of my customers start early, and I am too lazy to get up even earlier to apply make-up. and 2) Being a flatbedder, I get pretty dirty, so I don't want to get dolled up, just to wash it all off with dirt or my afternoon shower. On driving only days, I do like to look feminine :-) Seriously, and I don't mean this in any sort of egotistical way, but I get enough attention without the enhancement, so sometimes it is better to fly under the radar...Surely you understand.

If it were possible for you to be taller, would you want to be? & if yes, how tall, and why? Eric.

NO Eric, I would not want to be any taller than I am. I think my size and personality are a perfect fit. The only increase I would like to have, would be my feet. I wear 4-5 in ladies, which are extremely difficult to find. I love my size. And actually, I do not even realize that the world considers me to be a shorty. I have always looked people directly in the eye, and that makes a difference. The first time I realized how small I actually am , was looking at a high school photograph..The rest of the clan was already a head taller, and I had already stopped growing.

A few years ago, I was cleaning around the house. I decided to wear a new pair of heels I had purchased (to break them in a little before wearing out on the town). I was absolutely amazed and disgusted that a mere 4" heel could be so enlightening... The world looked completely different, and a whole lot dustier from the staggering heights...Guess I wont be cleaning in heels ever again. LOL

What are those plastic things at the end of your shoe laces called?-Jeff

AGLETS...why do you ask?

Ask me anything

WOYM # 12-13

How did you do the dash-cam sorta videos? Tripod? Specialized camera mount? Pillow and luck?

It is actually a specialized camera mount that costs about $20 dollars and is attached to hand rail of dash with ZipTies....I have also tried the TriPod in the center of the sleeper, but you really need a lot of weight to keep it steady. I have found that mounting directly to the dash is a lose/lose situation because the camera shakes entirely too much no matter how much duct tape you use. You need to mount to the most immobile portion of the truck, which happens to be the handrail by the dash panel on a Volvo. I should show a picture, but it is mounted in my truck at this time, and I have not seen my truck in 5 weeks.

Do you blog on the road via a laptop and wireless or do you save it all up till ye get home?

I do blog in my head when I am on the road, and I try to get it posted as quickly as possible, but I am very busy from sun up to sun down and usually do not allow myself the time. So when I get home, the emotion of the moment is lost, and I blog what I remember... I would probably do better to go ahead and do a draft then edit it when I get home. For the most part, you will find new posts Thursday thru Sunday. I will comment, that I seem to lose readers, by waiting to post..but that is just the way it is. I am a very busy girl, when out on the road. Thanks for the questions!!

Ask me anything

WOYM # 11

I used to have my own "large car" running Toronto to NYC 2or3 times per week my favorite part of the city has to be Queens because of the great people I have met. Whats your favorite part of the city and why?

Ohhh, I love this question!! I love New York and most people don't understand that. I would have to agree, I love Queens. I do have wonderful customers in Bronx, and Brooklyn, but my best trucking stories always happen in Queens.I almost feel like a local because I spend so much time there and the Natives know me. So, free meals, good stories, and plenty of laughs....almost guaranteed to in happen in Queens. In fact, the first time I ever got lost was in Queens. The local garbage service blocked the roads for me so I could make a turn. And there was that time I got bombarded with Krispy Kreme donut holes...The morning after was hilarious.

Astoria Blvd, Queens, New York

I have had plenty of good times in Queens, but I do try to make all my stops good ones. That isnt too hard running dedicated. The Bronx stops are fairly easy, and Brooklyn can be a pain, but I love all parts New York..

One of my favorite videos to produce was this one, with quite a bit of footage in Queens, New York. Hope you enjoy!! I know I did!!

Ask me anything

Jan 14, 2010

WOYM # 9-10

Have you ever been arrested, if so, what for?

No, I have never been arrested..The worst conviction I have ever faced was my moving violations...and those have mostly occurred in the Big Truck. Seems I have difficulty slamming on my brakes when folks in the middle lane make erratic and just plain stupid decisions. So, I have a collection of left lane violations...Yes, the left lane is restricted for Trucks on most 3 or more laned interstates. That does not mean I have not been in a few shady situations...but I have never been arrested

When was the last time you flew overseas?

I regret to admit that I have never been overseas. Not for the lack of desire, as I would love to get out and travel the world. My lack of exploration is due to the fact that I prefer to have a companion on my adventures, and I have never talked anyone in to jetting off into a foreign sunset. I grew up with some form of social anxiety, and found it hard to be thrust into throngs of strange people, without at least one ally. Although I have outgrown this anxiety, I am concerned it might reappear, and 5000 miles from home is not the place to freak out!! Hopefully, one day I will either meet friends abroad and establish that much needed ally, or I will find someone itching for the same adventure and agree to make a go of it!

Ask me anything

WOYM # 8

Will you be posting anymore youtube videos? I enjoyed watching your other ones.

Thanks so much. I had a really good time editing those videos and seem to have developed quite a fan club. I do hope to posting more in the future..

It is all a matter of creativity and leisure time. This past year, I have been through the mill with work and home. I am also having a bit of difficulty with my laptop, camera and software. Hoping to purchase a new HD camera and possibly a new laptop. Then I should be back in the swing of things. Since I am somewhat a perfectionist, I have become frustrated with the viewing quality of the current videos...that is probably also why my creativity seems to be stifled at the moment. I want my new ones to be even better, and just don't enjoy producing a lesser quality..Kind of a complicated answer, but YES, I do intend to post more videos!!

Ask me anything

To view my videos, click HERE and for those of you who are curious, but have not watched them, Check this OUT!! My first video!!

WOYM # 7

What are you wearing? OK not the right question for this forum?Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Denver SB

I am wearing the perfect outfit to appear on the "People Of Wal-Mart" website, but it is my first day home and I tend to be lazy. Ewwwwwwwww!!

Okay, seriously. I seem to one of those people who are caught up in the here and now! I would love to be able to see myself in the future, but I just dont. It has always been hard for me to look past the immediate future. I think that would be a good task for me. Set up a few long-term goals and make decisions to get there. But as for right now, I can only hope that I am as happy and somewhat more healthy in 10 years. I think my first challenge is to find a place that sincerely feels like home. A friend of mine labeled me as having a "wanderer's disease" and I think that it fits. Thanks DenverSB for the thought provoking question.

Ask me anything

WOW, I have had a huge response to this, so if I have not answered your question, just sit tight. I will get to it, I promise!!

Jan 12, 2010

WOYM # 6

How come the sunrises in the east and falls in the west? ~ Anon

Well, I think perhaps the main reason the sunlight proceeds in this pattern is because I am typically heading east in the morning. And likewise heading west in the evening. It is just another one of life's designs to annoy me...You may also notice that the days are shorter in the winter..That is because I tend to sleep more when I am cold, so there is no need to irritate me with excessive sunlight...

Anon, you do realize that the sun actually does neither..It is the Earth's rotation that gives the illusion of the sun's placement.

Ask me anything

Tuesday 1-12-10

I was finally able to get some decent sleep last night, having decided to just go with the flow. I get ready to make my next delivery and the truck starts just fine. I don't know about you, but when something is wrong with my truck, I am almost embarrassed to drive it. Thankfully, I eased out of the parking lot without making a single screech. As soon as I entered the roadway, it started.

I get to Southington, Connecticut and enter the first of 2 indoor deliveries for the day. Once again, the truck remains quiet throughout the whole process. Back to the big road and all hell breaks loose.

The aforementioned injector/cup troubles have reignited. At least I am able to make all my deliveries, and will be heading southbound. This is not MY truck, so if I end up having to get repairs made on the road, I will not be a happy camper. I don't mind waiting, if I reap the rewards. But babysitting a spare truck is not my idea of a good time.

So, I have discovered that as long as I am creeping along, the truck remains somewhat quiet. But in order for this beast to pull, I have to keep the RPMs almost maxed out. Conflicting interests..........And for the record, the truck feels like the whole motor is coming apart, but the Stooges knew that before they put me in it..I will drive until it quits...At this point I am not concerned with creating more damage. Bastards knew better than to do this to me.

So, as the day progresses, I am slowly losing my cool. Along with all the noises, I now have to endure these surges. The best way I can explain it is 1) It feels as if a 3 stage jake engages every 15-20 seconds, but only for a moment 2) remember when you were a kid, and just as you were about to run after something, your older brother snatched your shirttail and halted you in your tracks, repeatedly!!

I spoke with the boss and asked if Frankentruck would be joining me next week... The verdict is still out. They are hoping to have him finished on Friday. If that is not the case, I might just take next week off. I have endured enough tension over the previous 4 loads with faulty equipment, that I am almost willing to park this one deep in ravine. I joked with a friend earlier that this truck is making me feel suicidal/homicidal. Not sure which one, but I have definitely had my fill.

I am currently about 10 hours away from the plant, and the good news is.....

OH, the good news is that even though I have not been into New England since November of last year, I still received 3 Christmas presents this week.. Awwww, they missed me!!

Jan 11, 2010

Round Two

The first week of 2010 did not treat me to kindly.

The second week does not seem to fare any better.

I had been informed at the end of the week, that I would be taking another spare truck this week. I assumed this was due to the fact that the Regen repairs could not be made in time, at least that is what they told. But with the way this week is turning out, it almost feels like a revenge tactic. You know, to get me to shut up about how crappy our trucks are.

The last words spoken in the ominous message were "You SHOULD be able to make it". BOY, that instills confidence!

Well, there is a very annoying screech that has been piercing my brain ever since I put this beast into gear..I have searched for the cause with no success. I have checked belts, pulleys and hoses. Almost sounds like a bearing, but not quite. It sounds like the intake is sucking air. It sounds like the Turbo is not working.It sounds like if I had to deal with this constantly, I would lose my mind.

Oh wait, I do! The good news is that the noise disappears entirely when I turn off the truck.

It actually increases in volume with the rpms, it also increases in volume with the engine brake engaged, it also increases in volume if you press on the throttle, the brake, or even if you are just idling. When does it not increase in volume?...when it is turned off.

I was not too overly concerned about it though. Worse case scenario is that I would end up in a hotel room. Well, that is not quite true. I never want to be deterred, but I try to handle it with a sufficient amount of grace.

I had made all of Mondays deliveries and was heading for Hartford, Connecticut when the motor started grumbling. The previously mentioned screeching was not affecting performance, but the sudden loss of power and angry mechanical stuttering I felt in New Rochelle was cause for alarm...Hmmm, crap!! I think I just lost an injector/cup or 3...

I made it to the Milford Pilot and after several successful attempts to engage the engine, I alerted my boss to the fact that while the truck is running, it will possibly not make it all the way back to Atlanta. I am concerned because two of my remaining deliveries are inside a building. Should the truck fail to start, I will be blocking the entire receiving lane and one of these lanes is literally a 10' wide aisle in a warehouse. The only aisle that is used for all motor and pedestrian traffic.Not exactly the predicament I want to be in.

Oh, in other good news...The inverter does not work in this truck. Very thankful I brought a few books to read, because waiting 15 hours to unload could get boring without the TV, computer, or phone to play with. Yeah, I cannot charge my phone either....

Jan 10, 2010

WOYM # 5

Whats your opinion? whats the difference between a large car and a big truck?

Ohhh, this one is easy. Any commercial combination vehicle with at least 3 axles is a Big Truck. All Large Cars are Big Trucks, but not all Big Trucks are Large Cars...

Okay...The top photo is what one might consider to be a Large Car..extended sleeper, all the bells and whistles. But really, that is just a nice house!!

The Volvo is a perfect example of a Big Truck. It is simply a tractor for hauling trailers. Does not matter how it runs, how many lights it has, or what trailer it is pulling..It will always be a Big Truck.

A Large Car has class...It will run as fast as the driver allows, not being governed by a computer. It has style and can usually be seen from a great distance because of the many "chicken lights" mounted on its shiny chrome. Now, I am aware that the Volvo can be adorned with lights and run screaming down the highway, but a Volvo will never have class. Usually a Large Car is piloted by an "Old School" mentality driver. A Big Truck can be driven by any Class A bozo. A Large Car is rarely ever dirty. A Big Truck, well that depends on the bozo driving it. A Large Car is typically owned by an individual, but there are some company trucks that earn the moniker of Large Car....Hmmmm, where is this going..

Okay, A Large Car is the essence of trucking...and Big Trucks are a dime a dozen.

Whats On Your Mind # 4

I decided to give you, the reader, an opportunity to ask me anything you want to know. Of course, it is with my discretion that I post the answers. I figured this is a good way to get to know me better and perhaps get a few more posts out of me. So, have fun with it!! Just click the link at the bottom of the post and ask away!!

Whats the white stuff on top of chicken poop? Anonymous

Well, the text book answer would be mostly Uric Acid. Birds do not urinate, so this is how they excrete waste from their kidneys. BUT, in my opinion, the white stuff is just the instigator of my anger, because it usually appears on the Pony Car within moments of a good wash job!

Ask me anything

Jan 9, 2010

What's On Your Mind ?

Have you ever tried Moxie soda?

I have never even heard of Moxie..Is it anything like JOLT Cola? I see it a New England beverage, wonder if I can get it in Mass? I will look for it.

Ask me anything

What's On Your Mind?

Terry, what is favorite ride at Disney World? Eric.

I would have to say that my favorite ride would be the Hollywood Tower of Terror..It is the one I laugh the hardest on, but Expedition Everest if almost as good!!

Ask me anything

Jan 8, 2010

A Year of New Beginnings ??

As is with every year, there is a part of us that reflects where we have been and where we would like to be. A time to readjust attitudes and motivations...

I think my attitude is just fine and considering everything I have been through this week, I think you will agree. At least I hope so. Or maybe, with everything I tend to encounter, I am no longer thinking clearly and lunacy is fast approaching...But, I did find myself laughing through most of my pitfalls, because crying only makes the mascara run....

It all started about 30 minutes before I arrived at the plant on Sunday night. The Mayor called to inform me that I would not be driving Frankentruck this week, because Volvo had not even started on him (after 2 weeks). That little piece of news would have been greatly appreciated, had I known before I left the house. It is too far to return home to renegotiate my supply list for the week, so I was faced with running my route without bedding, a coat, work gloves, work boots,tools, microwave and cooler. Essentially, I would be deprived of all creature comforts and work essentials. At least they left me a cheater bar so I could unstrap my load. After the initial angst, I made a purchase of Truck Stop bedding at an exorbitant cost, but I should get reimbursed for that. What is even worse is that the Mayor called several more times, (I believe to gloat over my angst) and informed me that he knew of these circumstances for at least 5 days. I was enraged that NO ONE informed me, not the boss, not the shop, not even the Mayor until after the fact.

Monday morning, after a 2.5 hour wait to unload (this rarely ever happens) I set out through the mountains of north Georgia, when the truck suddenly loses power. Oh Great!! I knew exactly what was happening and within minutes, I noticed the telltale smoke which indicated my regeneration filter was clogged and needed cleaning. This is a simple mechanical task, and can be completed in 2 hours by the mechanics. The frustrating part is that when I had done my inspection, I noticed the truck had been written up for this problem 5 times in the past 2 months. I assumed it had been taken care of, but alas, I assumed incorrectly.

Having just dealt with this situation in Frankentruck when I was in Minnesota, I was not going to allow it to continue in another truck. Because when I say smoke...what I mean is enough exhaust fumes to kill every insect in a ten mile radius and reduce visibility to 10% for those traveling behind me. I called the Stooges and asked for another spare. I was told I would have to drive this one, and I lost it....With temper at full throttle, I blurted into the phone, " This is a piece of crap, and why have you not fixed it. It has been wrote up 5 times for this shit!!" Moe stated that he did not care what the inspection book had written in it. He had placed a temp driver in the truck for the past 3 weeks and they said nothing was wrong with it.. ??

That is when I aborted the call. Nothing else said, I just hung up on him and started laughing to myself..The inspection book indicated that the Mayor had driven the truck the previous week, so Moe's statement was bull. But in dissecting what he said.... A Temp driver said that there was nothing wrong with it....I would like to point out that the majority of all temp drivers do not even do inspections, and could care less about the state of someone else's equipment. But to take the word of a disposable temporary employee over my 12 year experienced ass, was like a slap in the face. Therefore...I simply hung up..and LAUGHED.

The fumigation process finally ended as I got back to the interstate, so I trudged along to my next customer. At this point, I should have 1800 miles before the environmentally friendly Volvo exhaust regeneration system commits genocide on all flying life forms again.

I arrived at my next customer and was forced to wait an additional hour at this facility. At the third stop, another lengthy delay. I still had over 7 hours to drive to my Ohio delivery, and I was just not in the mood for it. I only made it to the Kentucky State line before calling it a day. But the stress of the past 24 hours was kicking me in the arse, and while I noticed no visible symptoms, I struggled to get any sleep that night...and failed miserably at that.

Tuesday morning, I head into a wintry mix with minor delays in traffic due to road conditions. I finally made Columbus around lunchtime (Yeah, only minor delays..lol). I was then informed that my customer would not be taking any deliveries due to their annual inventory process. More laughing to be heard coming from me.... But as I was preparing to leave the premises, a man flagged me down and said he would go ahead and offload. This is the first instance when the work gloves would have been very handy, because there nothing worse in cold weather, than wet fingertips...I do have to use those slushy covered straps, you know!! But my work gloves are locked up tight in Atlanta...

Because of my late arrival, the next two customers will have to wait another day, so I go about my business and stop early just south of Sturgis, Michigan.

The next morning, I peek out of my sleeper around 4am and notice a fine sheen of ice glazing everything in sight, so I turn over, curl up and sleep for a few more hours. Thinking the sun might help a little, I discovered the sun does not rise until 8am in Sturgis, Michigan. I could not delay any longer and after unloading, I head towards the Indiana Toll Road and my final customer of the week.

But it couldn't be that easy, now could it. I made the turn approaching the only toll lane that was open and noticed that traffic was not proceeding through it. After a few minutes, thinking someone did not have correct change, I asked if there was a problem...Seems the truck at the booth was broke down....more giggling.....We waited for 45 minutes before someone decided to open another lane and let us proceed. By this point, I am regretting my excessive slumber because I am now aware that the Arctic Blast is making its final descent, and me with no coat. The highest temperature I had seen all week was 24 degrees, and the arctic chill had not even arrived yet.

I arrive at my final point of delivery and endure yet another extended delay, this time due to the snow covered ground. In order to get unloaded, I had to wait for the trailers inside to be loaded and pulled out of the way. I was finally heading southbound around lunchtime on Wednesday. A very long week considering I only had 6 customers on the trailer to begin with.

But this story is not over. On Thursday morning, I write up this truck after having endured another barrage of "Did you blow your Turbo, driver?" on the trip home. I walked in and handed the slip to the closest Stooge, and without a word, I slipped out of doors and headed for the front office. While finishing up paperwork, Moe calls in and says I should be aware that I would still not be in Frankentruck for another week. I politely asked the assistant Boss to remind Moe to repair the regen on the spare truck.

I make it home with only minor deterrents (that will be another post in itself) only to receive a phone call from the Stooges. I was informed that I would be driving an alternate spare because they had purchased the wrong parts for the one I had been driving. I call bullshit. I think they just did not feel like doing the repair, so they gave me another temporary fix. BUT....the call (which was actually a voice message) also informed me that the new alternate spare had problems that they were very aware of and I should not write them up, but that I should be able to make it to New England and back....So basically, I am driving a broken truck to replace the broken truck I drove last week, while my Frankentruck remains broken. Ahhhh, you just gotta love it.

Three trucks in the first 3 weeks of 2010....That makes 37 !! 37 times that I have jumped ship since the new fleet arrived only 28 months ago. Nope, doesnt look like anything is changing this year...LOL

What's On Your Mind...

What was the worst movie you've ever seen?

ABOUT SCHMIDT...Considering how much I love Jack Nicholson and Kathy Bates, I was completely disappointed to see them ?? naked....Ohhhh, my eyes!!

Ask me anything

Jan 1, 2010

Twenty Ten

Hello Friends and Happy New Year.

I suppose now would be the perfect time to reflect upon last year and see where I have landed.

First, although I had high hopes of becoming more fit, seems I have let that resolution slip through my grasp. But then, don't most resolutions fall by the wayside rather rapidly. With nearly an entire year of physical problems, I only managed to run/walk for a total of 389.26 miles. I added in a stationary bike (deciding to go the no impact route) late in the year and accumulated another 229 miles on it. In 2010, my goal will be to ride no less than 3000 miles... Seems like a huge jump, but in reality, it is very attainable.

The year in Trucking has been a prosperous one, with so many other drivers losing their jobs to a slow economy. I am now 6th in seniority, which doesn't hurt my feelings at all. I have struggled to get comfortable with my truck, due to exhaust leaks and uncomfortable seats, but in the end...I am still very confident that I am at no risk of losing my job, so the rest kind of seems irrelevant. I will be climbing back into Frankentruck on January 3rd to test out a new motor, courtesy of Volvo...Seems they are adding a little sugar to my lemons.

Financially I am better off, but I think emotionally I may have taken a step backwards. This year was spent in a very subdued and tense state. I do not like suppressing my tension, because inevitably, it always affects those near and dear to me. But it affects me the most, and I am very good at not showing my cracks...Believe me though, I am cracking!! I already have plans made to eliminate most of this tension. Plus, another trip to Disney World in the Spring should help out.

The jury is still out as to whether or not I made last year count. Kind of a depressing reality check, in fact. I did make some new friends, lost a few friends, and had some friendships stall out. I really need to work at keeping in touch with people, but it is sometimes difficult to over come the influences of your earlier years, so that is one I will have to prioritize.

Guess that about sums it up, back to that reality check....ugh!!

Well, I thought I should at least stop by to Welcome the New Year to my Blog. With that done, I look forward to a very prosperous and rewarding 20-10. 10-4