Come along for the Ride!

I am so glad you are here. Stay with us as we travel everywhere. I hope you will enjoy the ride.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Good intentions

Have you ever thought of doing or saying something nice for someone, then didn't do it right away, and then it never gets done at all?
I have. And it feels rotten.
I have so many good intentions and then something distracts me from getting it done. 
Why is is so hard to keep my focus on what would so obviously bring joy and blessings?
Satan distracts. He will place things in front of me that will seem more important or of a higher priority. And I sometimes choose badly.
Lord, help me to be alert to the prowling lion that seeks to devour the right things that I know to do.

“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”
James 4:17 ESV

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The end is here

Our clipboard was inside the box. Thank goodness. Someone had moved it to the front of the box and put the freight in behind it. At least we will get all our paperwork turned in and we'll get paid for it.
We got a load picking up in Huntsville, Alabama. It would deliver early the next morning to a location near Little Rock, AR. 
As we drove through Alabama we got to enjoy some very pretty scenery. We have always liked the area of Decatur and this evening it just looked extra pretty. 
We also got to pass by the space center. Normally I take pictures of the rockets but this time I got one of the stealth bomber and one of the space shuttle. 
By the time we got to the shoe tree in Cherokee it was too dark to see if my old shoes were still hanging up there.  I had thrown out my old ones because I was wearing them crooked because of my bad ankle.
When we arrived at our destination later that night, we saw that there were already 2 others trucks sitting inside the gate. We got our clearances and the truck was inspected and then we were also parked just inside the secure gate. 
In the morning we were first to get unloaded. They must have needed whatever it was that we had on the truck. 
After that we were told to deadhead to Memphis. So we did. It took us about 3 hours of me driving to get there. Pops slept.
I parked at the Flying J in West Memphis. It was Tuesday. 
It seemed that all our load offers were for trips going to Texas or Colorado. Sorry folks, we are going home.
Then a load offer came that was picking up right away at the Memphis airport. I had to negotiate the money. But they agreed to our bid.
I drove us over to the airport. What a confusing mess that always is. It is so big and there doesn't seem to be sufficient signage to be helpful. However, we finally managed to get there. We got cleared to enter but had to be escorted. We drove around and behind, a turn here and a turn there and then we were where our cargo was waiting. It only took a few minutes to get it on the truck.
And then we were leaving Memphis. Now we were headed to a destination north of Nashville.
I drove while Pops got some more sleep. It was just a little over 2 hours.
While driving there we got a predispatch. It was picking up in Louisville, Ky going to Pittsburgh, PA for Thursday morning.
After unloading, pops took us more north to a truckstop in Kentucky. We were planning to sleep here this evening and then head to Louisville on Wednesday.
We slept there. And the next morning went inside for breakfast. Another perk for truck drivers is, for every dollar that you spend at the truck stops, you get 1 point. These points build up and then you can spend them for merchandise or food. We usually let ours build up to about $25 then we go inside and get a meal, using our points to pay. We average about one free meal for each of us about every 3-4 weeks. Today we were having the breakfast buffet.
After breakfast we watched tv and waited our time to head in for our pickup. 
We were the last load of the day heading out of there and another Fedex truck was just leaving as we arrived. We were loaded quickly but it was a cold refrigerated load and it took a while for the temperatures to come back into range. But they did and away we went. 
We passed the water tower of Florence, KY. It is one of my most photographed items of our journeys.
Cincinnati looked very pretty as we drove through.
And then it was bedtime for me and Pops drove us the rest of the way.
Pittsburgh is one of the prettiest cities in the US. And it sure didn't disappoint us this time either.
We had our load off by 7am.
Then we drove to a nearby rest area. We were hoping for just one more load before being done with this job. But none came and so we headed for home.
We got home Thursday evening. We were tired and filled with emotions. We talked with Bill and Starla for awhile and then went to bed.
It was going to be a busy weekend.
We didn't sleep very well. We were so hyped up about all that needed done. Pops got started very early. He cleaned the box of the truck and all the side storage compartments. I got busy inside packing up all of our belongings and then setting them outside to move over to the house. 
Ugh, who would ever think two people could acquire so much stuff inside a truck? 
A little after noon some friends dropped by. They came to welcome us home. That was so very nice. It made us feel really good. I have missed Lettie and I know that Bill missed Doug. 
After they left we got back to work. 
It was so hot and humid and that really made the job miserable. But we trudged on. 
Late in the afternoon Tom and Sophia and baby, Mason came to visit. Oh! How great it was to get my hands on that baby. My heart exploded with joy. I made us all some grilled chicken salads and we rested the remainder of the evening.
On Saturday Pops went turkey hunting. He was so looking forward to it. I had all the stuff out of the truck, so I got deep into cleaning now. I was hoping to return the truck nice and clean just like it was when we got it. It took me most of the day, but I got it done.
Pops came home at lunch time and boy, did he have a story to tell. A bear had crept up on him and stared him right in the eye. It was only about 10 yards from him. He got two pictures of it and then sat really still although he said he was a little shaky about it. He said that after a few seconds it made a sound like, "harrumph" and the turned and walked away.
Sunday was church at Wills Mountain. It was a nice service. Many of the towns veterans were there for the Memorial Day Service. Chad preached a really good sermon too. 
It was so good to be back at Wills Mountain and know that we were back for good.
After church Pops and I had to take the truck back to Mitch and Shelly, the owners. He drove the truck and I followed behind in my car. It was about a 2 1/2 hour drive to Harrisburg. 
We met Mitch and Shelly at the truckstop near their home. They checked out the truck and gave us a thumbs up. We talked with them for about an hour then we headed home. 
Tom and Sophia and of course, Mason came up again. They were spending the night. Pops and Tom were going turkey hunting in the morning and Sophia was going to hang out with me.
Starla and Bill were invited to a picnic with their friends.
I just love being a grandma. Feeding, changing poopy diapers, reading stories, just looking at him, it's the best!
The guys came in at lunch time and a little later I made a big batch of spaghetti. I make it just like my mom taught me and everyone likes it a lot.
Late in the afternoon on Monday Bill and Starla drove away, with a load of their belongings. Shortly afterward Tom, Sophia and Mason left too. Now for the first time in almost 6 years Pops and I were alone in our own house. It felt a little odd, a little quiet, but it felt good too.
It is going to take us a little while to settle in and get things just the way we want them. But we have time.
On Tuesday we woke up and sat together in the kitchen with our coffee. We were going to Cumberland today to put in some job applications. We also needed to shop for a few things like a new lawn mower and weed eater.
And then we stopped at Drew's house so that I could get Bullet. He is coming to live with me now. I'm excited to have him. But it is going to be quite a bit of adjusting for the both of us. I have always had small dogs, he is used to a fenced in yard, not a leash. 
I am sure life at home is going to be quite the adventure too. So, let it begin.

We would like to say how much we appreciate all of you that faithfully read and followed our blog. And a little surprised that many of you have asked us to keep it going. I am not sure that we could possibly be very interesting in our home life but I'm not going to close the door on the idea. 
Please continue to pray for us as we readjust. Pray that God will help us to find jobs. 
And do check back from time to time. Who knows? You just might find an update or so.
Love you all.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Next to last week

Monday morning we got a dispatch picking up in Batesville, Mississippi. Ever heard of it? There kind of famous for one thing---caskets. We see their trucks all over. I guess that's one company that will never shut down or go out of business and people are dying to get in. Haha.
Anyway, we weren't picking up caskets. We were headed for a pharmaceutical load going to Baltimore, MD. 
It was a nice morning for a drive and we got there, there was another truck there like ours. They had just been loaded for another location. Our load wasn't ready yet so we talked to them for a bit.
It really seems like the drivers are pretty fed up with our company and the lower rates and lack of business. Seriously here it is the third week of May 2016 and it's been bad since the first of the year. And ALL the drivers are mentioning it. I just don't know what happened or why but we are getting out at a good time, I think.
Once our load was on we were heading toward the east coast. But we had Tennessee and the Appalachians to cross first. That was a nice drive, the whole length of Tennessee from Memphis to Knoxville. Then I slept while Pops drove us to Baltimore. 
I woke up in the tunnel under the harbor at Baltimore. I guess the sounds had changed or the strobing of the lights, I don't know but that's where I woke up.
We had accepted a short Dulles airport load next that was only going 10 miles but put us in a better position for a load and because the run was less than 75 miles it automatically bumps you to the top of that areas list for loads. 
Normally we hate airport loads because they are tedious and time consuming but this one was done before we knew it.
Then a big load came. The money was great. It was delivering in Houston. We accepted the offer. We were one of 6 trucks here and all of them were checked in before us. We waited a full 10 minutes to find out that we got the load.
This one started out tedious though. It was a refrigerated load so we got that going, set on the proper temp. Refrigerated trucks cost extra to run. They run on diesel fuel. And if the temp is much different than ambient, which is room temperature, it has to run harder. Some of our loads are below zero. Luckily, this one was ambient, 70 degrees.
We got to the pick up but the load wasn't ready yet. We couldn't turn off our reefer because the box had to be right the moment they were ready. We sat there unloaded for over 5 hours. Finally we got loaded. Then off we went. I was driving first. 
It was rural roads for the first part until we reached I-81, then all interstates from there. 
I was just loving it because here we were yet once again in just a short time traveling back across my all time favorite places, Louisiana and Texas. God is so good.
I drove until evening then Pops took over. We were still in Virginia. He would drive us south through Tennessee, and Alabama and get us into Mississippi before I awoke.
I knew instantly where we were when I opened my eyes. I could see long stretches of highway, lined by very tall pine trees, and beautiful, blue sky. But these pine trees are tall trees with no or few branches until close the top. Mississippi. Yep, that's how they grow there. I love it.
I drove while Pops slept. Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas until we got to Houston.
The drive was great. Baton Rouge is so pretty. The Mississippi River was so muddy. The bayou looked so peaceful, even though I saw several fishermen. And then of course my favorite little truckstop, Peto's. One more chance at some boudin balls. Yes!
When we reached Texas the beautiful day disappeared and it got dark, very dark. And then the rains came. It rained so hard that I was so glad to be almost done for the day. 
We got to our truckstop in Houston and got parked. The parking lot was laying full of wAter. That's okay, we didn't have to get out.
The rain slowed to just a drizzle and the laying water began to run off. 
Pops got a call from a younger man from back home. He is now a truck driver too. He had seen that we were in Houston and he was too so he called to see where we were. It wasn't long before there he was sitting right in our truck visiting. How cool is that? 
It was getting late and we both had deliveries early in the morning so he went back to his truck, parked right next to us, to sleep, and we went to sleep too.
In the morning we drove across town to make our delivery. It was medical supplies but it went to a building that was right beside the astrodome and NRG stadium and arena. That was pretty neat.
After that load came off we headed back toward the truckstop. There were 5 other trucks here already, Dallas had 8, San Antonio had 2 and Memphis had 8. We thought we might be stuck for another day. But before we even got to the truckstop we had a dispatch. It was picking up in Laredo and going to Chattanooga. 
Are you wondering why we got the load and not one of the other trucks? Yeah, so did we. Well, first, I believe that God is directing us to all of our favorite places at least once more. Plus, it is a heavy (>13,000 lbs) of sloshy liquid that requires extra training and endorsements on your license and few of our drivers have it, but we do.
Laredo IS NOT one of our favorite places. But it was giving us another chance to drive in Texas. We LOVE Texas, did you know that? 
I was driving first while Pops tried to nap. He would drive all night. We were scheduled to pickup at 5 pm local time, and I needed to drive a steady 60-65mph to get us there on time. 
I was doing well until traffic came to a standstill. And we sat for almost 2 hours. Our company bumped our time, thankfully, because it's Friday and we didn't want this load to bump to Monday or worse, cancel on us.
When I got to where the wreck was, it was bad. I only saw what once was a tractor trailer. If other vehicles were involved, they were under the truck. He was carrying a load of pvc pipe. He was sitting in the median. His wheels sunk in up to the axles. The force of his load, although not heavy, had pushed through his cab and sleeper. It was ugly to be sure.
I prayed as I drove past. 
We made it to Laredo by 6:15. Our load was being loaded, Pops was putting placards on our truck, I was getting things inside ready and finally time to go. But where was our clipboard with all our paperwork? We could not find it. We got out and looked around. No one could help us because no one spoke English. We just hoped that it was inside our box. But we wouldn't know until Monday because the doors were now sealed. Ugh! Our clipboard still had paperwork from our last dispatch that I hadn't yet completed for our pay. What would we do if it was lost forever? Would we get paid for our load without the paperwork? 
Oh great, 2 and a half days of worry ahead. Oh well, it is what it is. 
We got moving. We stopped to walk at Lytle, Tx, north of Laredo. We stopped at a grocery store called HEB. We shopped and bought some of our favorite foods like real tortilla chips made fresh as you wait, tres leche cake,(so so good) venison sausage, Mexican cheese, and a personal watermelon. It is a small thing the size of a cantaloupe. I also bought a pan of cornbread, some produce (it's really cheap there) and some Texas BBQ sauce to use on my chicken next week. 
After putting the groceries away, we completed our walking, sucking in as much Texas air as we could.
It was dark and getting late. Once we got to where I could get one more glimpse of San Antonio all lit up, I went to bed. I was content. 
I slept all night and when I woke up we were still in Texas, yes, it's that big folks. But we were just about to leave it. 
We ate some breakfast then I began to drive. Again I was going through Louisiana and Mississippi. I didn't stop at Peto's this time although It was hard to keep from driving off the exit ramp. 
The day was great and I let my mind drift over so many memories. 
Then I was going through Hammond, LA behind a horse trailer. But there was no horse inside. There was a camel! A camel in a horse trailer in Louisiana, right in front of me. Cool.
By the end of my day we were inside the state of Mississippi. We weren't going to make it to Chattanooga to church like we planned. So now we had to rethink everything.
We made it as far as Tuscaloosa, AL. Then we both ran out of driving hours. We have been running hard including over this weekend so now we were done until we had each gotten 34 hours off.
This meant we would have to enjoy assembling with an online service. I like to let them know ahead of time when we do that. Mostly because I feel a sense of accountability to someone then. 
We "assembled" with Crossroads Christian Church. Barry Cameron is the preacher. His sermon was part of a series from Luke chapter one about Elizabeth and Mary. It was really good.
We will be able to leave here early in the am, just in time to make our delivery.
What a week. I love it. I sure hope we find our clipboard.

Batesville casket company truck

Rains in Houston

Visit with Buddy Bower

Rice field




The bayou


The wreck

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The last times

We were a little worried on Monday morning because we did not have a dispatch and there were a dozen or more trucks just like ours at the same truckstop. But by noon we had accepted a load, had it loaded and was now on our way to Mississippi. 
Yay, we would drive across Interstate 10 the whole way. Ever since we gave our notice, We have been getting to travel all the major east/west interstates and after this trip we just need a trip across I-90 yet. We have been getting to see and revisit a lot of our favorite things.
But it makes us sad to leave a place knowing that it is probably the last time.
We drove out of California and into Arizona. We enjoyed the desert driving and then passing through Phoenix and Tucson. 
Pops drove throughout the night and when I woke up we were already through El Paso, TX. We were passing through the widest part of Texas, over 900 miles. I began to drive.
We had a little extra time on this drive and we got to San Antonio in time that I got to meet up with My friend and former truck owner, Shirley. I made plans to meet her at the truckstop.
We had a nice 2 hour visit. Man, I have missed her. It sure was nice catching up. But then it was time to go. I gave her a big hug and then we went our separate ways.
While driving through Texas I saw a full grown dead deer with spots. Back home only fawns have spots. Then I saw a live one, another dead one and 2 fawns. What kind of deer are they? 
When I stopped at a rest area I checked the Internet and found out that they are Axis deer. They started out as ranch deer, raised for hunting ranches. Then over time some escaped and bred and now they are in abundance in the wild.

Discovery center in California

Texas sunrise

Axis deer


Houston at night

Magnolia. Mississippi is the Magnolia State

After meeting up with Shirley and leaving, I kept driving until we reached Katy, Tx. We walked there and then Pops drove. I tried to get some pictures of Houston as we came through. It was all lit up with blue lights. But since it was dark and the buildings were lit, I couldn't get good pictures while moving.
Right before driving out of Texas, I went to bed.
I woke up in the morning at our delivery we were at a space center. We had to get checked in, get badges and go through inspection. Then the load was off and we were now headed back to east Texas for another pickup.
I was driving and Pops was sleeping. I got to drive through Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I drove across the Mississippi River across the big huge bridge that scared me so very bad the first time I saw it and realized that I had to cross it. I will never forget that day. I just drove off the exit and decided that I would find another route, but then ended up in downtown Baton Rouge. And then I still had to cross that big, wide river anyway.
I got to drive through the wonderfully, mysterious bayou. There were many fishing that day. 
Then joy of all joys, I stopped at Peto's and got boudin balls and andouille sausage. Yum! I got some to take home too.
I hate all these very last time things. And honestly, as it dawned on me, that it was the last time, I cried silent tears as I drove.
I truly love this job so much. 

Can't wait to hold this little guy again.

Our grandson, Zachary, on his field trip.

I am having second thoughts about quitting, and third thoughts. But Pops says, we're done.

Oh wait, this is my job now.

Our pickup was in Lufkin, Texas. It is the home of Chick-O-Sticks candy. It is near a town called called Nacogdoches. Can you pronounce that? It's funny to hear all the ways that people say it.
After our pickup we were headed to Little Rock, AR. On the way there we stopped at a Walmart in Springhill, LA to walk and get some groceries. 
While here we met a man named Sammy S. He loved our truck and he came over to talk to us. We talked for about 45 minutes. What a nice man. It is great to meet people like him.
We drove on to our delivery in Arkansas. It was a secure load and had to be checked in and then locked behind a gate to wait until morning. 
When morning came we had the truck unloaded in less then 20 minutes.

We did have another dispatch. We were doing the same thing all over again, Lufkin to Little Rock. So we deadheaded to Lufkin. We got to enjoy the back country roads of Arkansas, through Shreveport, Louisiana, and then country roads of east Texas.
We had to wait at our pickup. The load wasn't quite ready. But then it was on. This time it wasn't a secure load so we didn't have to hurry or be locked behind a fence.
In fact we parked near our destination at a local donut shop. You see they sell kolaches in Arkansas and Texas. Kolaches are sausages rolled up inside of sweet bread dough then baked. Yum yum. And to get a fresh, hot one at 5am is pretty great. So that's just exactly what we did, plus a donut each. The Kolaches are another last. Boo hoo.
This time there was not another dispatch waiting but we were being paid to deadhead us to Memphis.
So we headed there hoping for a load. But none came until Monday.
So we spent part of the weekend in Memphis and got our truck washed. Then we moved to Southaven, Mississippi which is just across the state line to stay. 
We got to attend Christview Christian Church, one of our very favorite, home away from home, churches. 
It was a nice weekend. We got to walk twice in a very nice industrial park. Then we got to go to Olive Garden on Sunday after church. We had a gift card from Christmas and that was nice.
The truck got cleaned, the groceries restocked and now only two more weeks until we're done.
I am carrying a little anxiety about what job I will do and readjusting to home life again. Please pray for us.