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.

Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve

We absolutely had the best visit home. I enjoyed everyone so much. It wasn't the richest Christmas ever and it certainly wasn't problem free, but I just really enjoyed being with everyone.
We had a great visit with our son, Frankie and his family but I don't have the pix ready so I will post that a little later. It was so much fun.
Anyway, after a great break and having our truck getting most of the needed work done while we were home we went back into service on 12/30. It wasn't long until load offers started to come our way. We accepted a load picking up in Ohio and delivering tomorrow in New Orleans. Well, it was a Friday and New Year's Eve. We probably won't get another load until Monday. I guess we could be spending the weekend in worse places. A good friend of ours, Ralph, is sitting in South Dakota because of a blizzard and can't go anywhere.
Yesterday and today this area had tornado warnings with 3 people actually losing their lives to the storms. It is rainy and VERY HUMID, 75 degrees, but I am not minding it. Of course, the tornadoes are supposed to be out of this area now.
We were right at the gulf. I took some pictures out of the window, but because of the weather it is foggy and the pictures aren't very good.
We are at a truckstop now. We did see some fireworks earlier while driving here. I hope everyone here is tame. We would like to celebrate quietly. Tomorrow we plan to go for Chinese food for lunch.
Before I sign off, if you are a prayer warrior, please pray for Melvin Logsdon, a great friend and elder of Wills Mt. He is in the hospital for a bad infection for the third or fourth time. Please pray that God heals him.
Also, Annette Riley, a good friend from Laurel Highlands Church. She is in the hospital too and needs encouragement, love and prayers. We love you, Annette. Hang in there, Honey.
I wish everyone a very happy new year. I hope all of you are safe and set for yourselves realistic, attainable goals and then don't disappoint yourself. Be your best, all the time. Love you all.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Day

Our son, Drew showed up about 11:30. He looked very sleepy. I asked him if he had just woke up and he said that someone called off work last night so he got drafted to stay and work a double shift. That's 16 hours in the prison and he had to be back to work today at 4pm. I told him to go lay down up on my bed but he didn't want to.
Bill and Starla came home about 5 minutes later. And then our other son, Tom, came right after that. I had just checked on the scalloped potatoes and they needed about 15 more minutes in the oven so we just visited with each other until time to eat.
Pops returned thanks to God for our food and our chance to share the day with our children. I was already so very happy. It wouldn't have mattered if I didn't get any gifts. I love being here with my family. We all ate until we could eat no more and than carried the dirty dishes to the kitchen.
Okay, presents!
A few weeks ago I texted my kids and asked them what they would like to have for Christmas. I knew shopping time would be extremely limited so if they would just tell me what to buy for them, it would be easier and they would get what they wanted. Only one of them texted me back, that was Drew. He wanted new dishes for his new house. Thanks, Drew. So when we got home last time, he and I went to the store, he picked out dishes he liked and I bought him 2 sets so that he would have service for 8. Do you have pots and pans, Drew? No, okay, I bought a set of those as well and then grabbed silverware too. There, he was done.
Next Starla told me that her husband, Bill wanted a meat slicer. A meat slicer? Really, Bill? Okay, so off to the mall and after looking around we found and purchased a meat slicer. Starla asked for a good set of knives. That was easy, but I also caught wind that she would like to have a stand mixer so she got one of those as well and also a food processor because when I'm here that will come in handy.
Tom never did give any clue as to what he wanted. Well then he will just get money in the same amount as to what I had spent on the others. But he needed presents. So I wrapped his bills up with different kinds of candy and placed them in all different sizes of boxes and wrapped them.
We all had a good time opening gifts.
The kids always give Pops money for any gift occasion. He saves it up so that when hunting season comes he has money to buy his license and pay for his trip. That is what he received from them again this year.
Starla and Bill got me a set of one of my favorite perfumes. It came with a bottle of perfume and a tube of lotion in the same scent. Tom and Drew went together and bought me a pair of Nike sneakers (black and purple) they are really nice. But that's not the best part, They have my name on the back of the shoe! Not my name, but my nickname....Noni. I love them.
Not long after we ate and opened gifts, Drew took off so that he could rest for a little bit before going back to work. He looked so tired. Oh my, I wish he didn't have to work like that.
Starla and I went to start to clean up the kitchen and it wasn't long until Pops, Bill and Tom were out there with us. It was nice having everyone talking away in the kitchen and it made our work seem shorter too. Of course we were still grazing around with all the food.
I guess it was around 5:30 or 6:00 when Bill and Starla went to pick up the kids. Tom was showing Pops how to play games on the computer and I decided to sneak in a quick power nap. I figured I had about 25 minutes. It seemed like I no sooner closed my eyes when I heard the kids come in. Time to get up.
They were so wound up talking and going from room to room trying to tell everyone everything all of them all at once. I love these kids. Of course Kailey grabbed Pops' phone and started taking pictures and messing with his settings. She always does that. She will fill his phone up with hundreds of pictures of herself. What a kid!
Starla tried to get them to eat before they opened their gifts but they said they weren't hungry. So I took pictures while they opened their gifts. They each got several Steeler items. Pops and bought them each a pair of designer pjs and a cowboy hat from our travels. (They liked the one I had bought for my dad on our last trip out.) Hunter got a new bow with arrows and Kailey got a bunch of games for her handheld gadget and Starla had taken Allison earlier in the week to get her nose pierced. That was their gift to her.
After opening their gifts and getting them somewhat settled down, Bill decided he wanted to try out his slicer. So he was slicing everything, deer meat, apples, whatever, look out. I suggested potatoes since we have so many and then an idea was born. Homemade potato chips. So he and Kailey sliced, I fried and Allison salted. Wow were they good! We had a pretty good thing going, a nice assembly line. They really were good. Last time I was home and the kids were here we popped popcorn to go with our movie, but we didn't have any microwave popcorn so I popped some on the stove in a pan with a glass lid (the old fashioned way.) Well, those kids had never known you could do such a thing and they were so amazed with me making homemade popcorn and now the chips. Allison wanted to know what we could make next time I come home. We finally decided it will be funnel cakes. I can't wait. That will be fun too.
Now it was time to clean the kitchen again. And then everyone kind of settled down. It wasn't long before everyone started drifting off to bed.
What a day, what a family! How very fortunate I am. I love them all so much. Thank you, God for my family.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Some Pix

Allison, Hunter, and Kailey sawing logs

This is my kitty, Ti. Starla and Bill are taking good care of him. Look how shiny his coat is.

Allison, Hunter and Kailey sporting their hats we bought them during our travels. I love these kids.

Good CHRISTmas morning

I woke up very early this morning even though we didn't go to sleep until after two am. Last night after everyone else was in bed we gave each other our gifts. I was so excited to give him mine to Pops.
Pops is so musically talented. He can pick up any instrument and play some kind of tune on it. He really has an ear for music. He got that talent from his mother. So as we were driving through the state of Tennessee a few weeks ago we passed a music store and I got an inspiration for a good gift for him. I immediately grabbed my phone and looked up Amazon.com and ordered the gift.
As he unwrapped it I could hardly contain my excitement. I had gotten him a set of harmonicas in 7 different keys. I have always loved hearing him play the chinzy little harmonica that one of the kids had a long time ago. Well, he grabbed one and began to play, "Silent Night." I love this gift. I know I will get much enjoyment out of it as we drive the miles away.
When I was a little girl there was a game show on TV called, Truth or Consequences. It was hosted by Bob Barker. I loved that show and often one of the prizes would be, "An elegant Ladies Watch by the the famous Elgin Watch Company in Elgin, Illinois." I alway thought they looked so sophisticated and expensive.
My mom bought me my first Elgin watch when I was 16. I loved and cherished that watch. Pops has bought me several of them through the years and I still have and wear all of them. So last week when we were making a delivery in Elgin, Illinois; I sneaked away and bought Pops his first Elgin Watch. I thought it was so cool that I got to buy it right where it was made. I have been busting trying to keep that secret all these days. So he opened that last night too.
He got me a very pretty necklace with my sister's birthstone. No, he is not simple. Her birthstone is amethyst which is PURPLE, my new favorite color. I love the necklace and he also got me a tiny pair of amethyst/diamond earrings too. I love him so much.
When I got up this morning I got all the food going in the oven and crockpots. Then I remembered the boudin that I had brought home from Louisiana. Oh great, we'll have that too. It's going to be so good!
Starla and Bill got up and left the house to go to Bill's mother's house for a visit and then to his grandmother's too. While they were gone Pops and I were sitting around the island in the kitchen drinking coffee and I got an idea. I wanted to make fudge, a new kind, something different. Do we have the ingredients or had we used everything already? No, we have everything I need. I made a batch of Chipotle Fudge. It is so good. I love the dark chocolate candy with red pepper. I thought why not fudge? When making a new flavor it is trial and error until you get it right so I added some chipotle powder and thought that should do it for the entire batch and I added another ingredient as well to enhance the flavor. It smelled so good. When it was ready I poured it into the pans and then I had to clean up. I thought I would taste it. Somebody needed to, right? Oh my, it took my breath away, but it was good. It will be okay. It will be better than okay once it cools. The flavors are always stronger while still warm. I know 2 people besides me who will love this flavor.  I really like to make fudge, did you know that? I would love to own a fudge shop, maybe someday.
It is a little after eleven am and we are eating at noon so my family should soon be here.
I am enjoying my time with my family so much. It is so good to be home with them. I hope that all of you are enjoying those who you are with today. Love them with all of your heart and don't take anyone for granted, people aren't around forever even though their memories will always be with us.
Last night while talking to my good friend/like a brother, Jeff, I shared a story with him of my mom's last days before her last Christmas. I was shopping with her and telling her to pick out something she liked and I would buy it for her for Christmas. It was early December of 1996 and she had been so sick lately. She picked out a really cute pair of 10K gold heart earrings. So I bought them and wrapped them and put them away for Christmas day. My mom got sick again and passed away on December 18th. We had always gone to Mom and Dad's on Christmas eve so we decided to continue even that year when no one felt like it. I remembered the earrings I had bought Mom and could not bring myself to return them to the store so I opened them and wore them that night. Imagine the surprize when I saw that my sister and sister in law also were wearing the same earrings! Mom had each of us buy the same earrings. We all believe that it was her gift to each of us that Christmas. We continue to wear our heart earrings on Christmas Eve. I love you, Mom and miss you so very much.

Friday, December 24, 2010

So good to be home

From the second we pulled the truck into the driveway, I felt a difference. I loaded myself up with as much as I could carry and walked across the yard to the house. Starla was home and she was cooking when we came in. How good it was to see her and hug her. We sat down all we carried and each made another trip to the truck and then started to settle in at home.
I got laundry going right away and then the cooking began. I love to cook. And I really like to cook for the holidays. I made fudge and more fudge and yet more fudge. I cooked potatoes for potato salad. I cut up sweet potatoes and cooked them. I made two cherry cheesecakes. And peeled enough potatoes for 2 pans of scalloped potatoes and also peeled and cut up potatoes for ham potpie. I know that sounds like a lot of potatoes but here's the deal. I brought 10 pounds of potatoes home with me, Starla had about 8 pounds of potatoes already and yesterday and today Bill brought four 5 pound bags of potatoes home from work. That's a lot of potatoes. We gave my sister, Amy and my sister-in-law, Barb each a 5 pound bag.
After a lot of cooking and laundry, I got down to the business of wrapping gifts. Normally I wrap as I buy even if it's July, but most of my stuff was bought online or bought in our travels and shipped here so everything was here waiting for me to wrap. Wrapping took me several hours. But I enjoyed it. Oh yeah, I also made a big lasagna for our supper.
After supper Bill, Starla, me and Pops sat around and talked and relaxed until bedtime. Whew, I'm tired.
This morning I got up at 6:30am and started all over again. Cooking and preparing and gathering and sorting gifts, we were busy.
Bill had to be at work early so he left here around 7:00.
Just before lunch time my son, Drew showed up. I am still amazed every time I see him now. I cannot get over his 100+ pound weight loss. He has always been on the big side, he was 9'12" when he was born. He looks so much taller and his face looks so different too. He goes to the gym every morning. Good for him. He just bought a new house and moved in this week. He is so excited and I am excited for him. Pops and I got him new dishes and some other things for Christmas. I left him take his dishes home with him today.
He stayed here until time for him to go to work. I love seeing and spending time with my family.
After a while me and Pops were in the kitchen drinking coffee and I saw a FedEx delivery truck pull into the driveway. I grabbed my FedEx coat and ran out the door. He was asking me all about our truck and how we work, he said he would like to do that with his wife but they still have kids at home. He brought me a pair of boots I ordered before Pops bought me the ones from Outdoor World, Yes, Jeff, these ones are "old lady boots." But they are waterproof and warm plus they slip on and off with no lacing.
I called my son, Tom at 3:30 to see if he was going with us into my dad's for our annual family get together. He said he would ride with us so we agreed to wait for him.
Bill got home from work about 4:00 and went to get a shower and a little later Tom showed up. We left here about 4:45.
When we got to Dad's my sister, Amy and her husband, Scott were there. Their kids, Levi and Kacey were there along with Levi's girlfriend, Stephanie.
My brother's son, Jake was also there already. Soon my brother, Jim and his wife, Barb came over from next door. My niece, Beth works at Walmart and wasn't able to join us this year. : (
Barb's mom, Nan usually comes but couldn't make it this year either. Beth's boyfriend, Justin did drop in for a few minutes but then he went to his family's get together.
We had our usual fare of meat and cheese tray, lettuce, tomatoes, onion, buns, potato salad, beans, cookies and more cookies.
My sister got me a nice warm sheet set for our truck. It is made of fleece. It is going to be so cozy, thanks Amy.
We have always exchanged names before but this year decided not to do that but to just buy for Dad. So after all of us were finished eating we watched him open his gifts. We really had a nice time. I love our family time. We only do it twice a year with my family, on Christmas eve and on the Saturday before the fourth of July.
It is getting harder because of the grandkids getting older and everyone's jobs getting more demanding. It is so hard for all of us to be together.
We left pretty early because Tom and Jim had to work tonight, so we got on the road. I love you, Tommy, be careful driving home and be careful at work. Both my boys work at the state prison as guards.
When we got home, I helped Starla bake some cookies. Then Bill made a big batch of shrimp. Yummy. Now Starla is wrapping all her gifts, I am listening to Bill and Pops talk hunting and I am filling you in on what has been going on.
It is Christmas Eve. Tomorrow is Christmas. We will be busy with food, presents, family and friends. But don't forget about Jesus. He is why we celebrate. I hope we don't get so bogged down with all the clutter and gimmicks that we forget to even think about Jesus. Because without Him I am nothing.
I love you and wish all of you a very Merry Christmas. I hope you are with those you love. Never take them for granted. NEVER take them for granted. Tell them that you love them every chance you get. And hugs are good too.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I'll be home for Christmas

I was wondering and doubting for a while. Serious depression was beginning to settle in also. After empting our load in Baton Rouge we were offered layover options of Baton Rouge or Jackson, Mississippi. We chose Jackson since it was a good start in the right direction (anything that gets us closer to home.)
We drove up the interstates heading in that direction. It was a fairly long dead head. While in route our truck owner called and suggested just shooting on up to Memphis to be more sure of a load. That is a really long dead head but it's still closer to home. Dead head is travel with no load, unpaid.
We did stop in Jackson though for a few minutes to use the restroom, take the dogs for a walk and check the place out for future reference.
I was driving all this time and I love eyeing landmarks and noticing my surroundings. Everything interests me and facinates me. When I say, Batesville, does anything come to your mind? When I hear Batesville, I immediately think, Caskets. I see so many trucks, even back home that say, Batesville Casket Company with a green logo of a big tree. As we were driving past an outlet mall in Batesville, MS and I said to Pops, "I wonder if this is where they make the caskets?" He said, "Do you see an outlet store over there for them?" hahaha, Imagine.
Well within 2 miles I shouted, "there it is, there it is." It was the Batesville Casket Company and it was a really big plant. I was surprized at the size. Hmmm, interesting. Now I know where caskets come from.
Then I was driving through a rural, wooded area and I saw an area of about 100 yards where the trees on both sides of the road were brown and dead and broken off about 1/2 way up. What in the world? The only thing I can think of to explain that, is that maybe a tornado had come through a while back. It was odd.
We found a welcome center in Memphis and decided to park there for the night. It was in between the highway and a large airport, so it was noisy all night, but we were tired. It didn't take long to fall asleep, but it didn't last. I woke up coughing and choking and couldn't fall back to sleep. It didn't help that I was worried about my kids and wondering if I was going to get home in time for our annual Christmas eve get together at my dad's house. This is only one of two times my whole family tries to be together. Is it too much to ask?
So I sat awake listening to the traffic, planes and the dogs snore as I read my book. Why is it that once you're good and awake you stop coughing?
At 5:30 I thought I could possibly go back to sleep but suddenly load opportunies started hitting our computer, one right after the other. They were good paying loads too. But everything was either going south or west. Nothing was going east or north. Well, that isn't true, we were offered a load going to Michigan but someone else took it right away. We had at least 15 loads go by and I was getting more and more discouraged.
I hard boiled a dozen eggs. I always take potato salad in to my dad's house so I thought I better get busy just in case we get home at the last minute and don't have time to make it. So I thought about cooking my potatoes too. But then I thought, what if we don't get home in time, then I have all these cooked potatoes and what would I do with them and how will I keep them anyway, I don't have enough room in my refrigerator. So I gave up on that idea and that depressed me even more.
I decided to make fudge to pass the time and get my mind on something else. I had purchased all the ingredients earlier and planned to make it eventually so it would be done. My sister always gets fudge from me and I like to make some for my dad and my kids. So I got busy making a batch of peanut butter fudge. I love it that I figured out how to make it here in the truck, I have already made a batch of chocolate with cherries for Pops, that is his favorite. So now with two batches done, I need to only make one more, chocolate/walnut. That is my favorite although I like to add raisins to mine. Making fudge always seems to calm me. I love making fudge and used to daydream about owning a fudge shop. I would love that.
I was really starting to lose hope that we were going to make it home in time. I know this was only Tuesday but if we got a load for morning and it didn't deliver until Thursday, even if it was close to home would we still get home in time? I want to go home so badly although I hear it's cold there and I am loving being able to go outside without a coat and boots. It is 63 degrees here and cloudy. It's kind of hard to leave somewhere like this too.
We headed on over to a nearby truckstop hoping that they would have a truckwash, but they didn't. We need to get the truck clean before we get on a load. It is really dirty. But it would have to wait a little longer.
About 5:30 in the evening after I had given up all hope of anymore loads for the day we got an opportunity for a load going out of Atlanta, GA and going to Warrendale, PA. That is close to Pittsburgh. It delivers Thursday morning at 8:00am. Oh my, too good to be true but would our owners allow us to dead head to GA for the load? Pops called them and they told us to get the load, so we accepted the offer. Once you accept you have to wait for 10 minutes to see if anyone ahead of you with more "dwell time" will take the load. Dwell time is the time you earn while sitting at a layover. The truck with the most dwell time gets first choice of the loads. There were 4 other trucks here according to our computer, would one of them want this load? It was a long 10 minutes. I couldn't stand it. I had tears in my eyes I wanted this load so badly.
Finally the dispatch orders and directions started to come through the C-link computer, we got the load. Hallelujah, I'm going home for Christmas. Thank You, Lord.
My mood changed in a huge hurry for the better!
So we gathered ourselves together and headed for Georgia. We had about a 6 and 1/2 hour drive. Pops took off and we got within 20 miles of our place of pickup and stopped at a truckstop to sleep. So that is where we are.
We are going to shower and find a hopefully find a truckwash and then head up north. I can't wait to see everybody. I have missed you all so much.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Our Sunday

Last evening we searched the internet for a church to attend today. We found two. I called both to find out the times for services and to see if they would have parking available for the truck. I got answering machines at both. I left messages but realized that by the time someone came into the church in the morning it probably would be too late by the time they called us to find our way there. But neither one of them called me back anyway. (Just a hint: if you are in the church directory you may want to leave a phone number at someone's home. So people can get info before it's too late. And if you have a website with service times that is great but let people know what kind of parking is available, in case they drive truck or have an RV.) I'm just sayin'.
We opted not to go to the generic service in the truckstop, but to have our own service just the two of us. It was nice. We had a good lesson on God being our refuge and our strength. We reviewed the week's 1st Place lesson. We had our communion and Pops prayed for us. We didn't take up an offering though. lol
Just so you know, we do send our tithe check to our home church every week. We do not ever want to forsake the Lord.
After our service we decided to go out to eat. Pops took me to the Olive Garden in Baton Rouge. It was very crowded and we thought we would have to wait a long time but we got right in. Have you seen the commercials for Stuffed Chicken Marsala? Well, it is so good. Yum. We both had doggy bags when we left there though.
We were parked at a big mall and there was a Petco there so we went in to see if they had a solution to the extreme shedding of our dogs. We bought a glove that you use to pet the dog with and it gathers the shedding hair. Well let me tell you, it works good. I was thoroughly disgusted with the hair that came off of Lucy and then Chucky. I'm glad we decided to sit outside and do it. There were tumbleweeds of dog hair rolling across the parking lot, no lie. And then we thought why not take them back in and get their nails trimmed. I always have such a hard time doing it. Chucky puts up such a fuss. So we got them done there and I bought them a new tug of war toy too.
Then we drove out of Baton Rouge again, there are no truckstops there, to Denham Springs. It was about 13 miles out. There is a pilot there. Once we got parked, Pops jumped on C link to play spider Sol, and I baked up the rest of the cookies from the other night. I am finally figuring out my oven. If it says to bake at 325 degrees I have to bake at 350 and I always have to add a little extra baking time too. But the cookies were good.
There is a HUGE Outdoor World right beside the Pilot. We decided to walk over to see if they might have some boots for me. When we walked in it was like being in a bayou. There were huge trees with spanish moss hanging from them and every kind of bayou creature was stuffed or replicated. I did get a nice pair of leather work boots. And also a cute pair of shoes that was on clearance. We walked around all over just enjoying  time to relax. Pops was looking at a new bass boat (pontoon.) Maybe someday. He was also looking for some long underwear so he didn't have to be cold again, but he forgot where we are. They don't have to sell long underwear in LA. They still had their shorts and Tshirts out.
I was taking a picture of Pops on the bass boat when I heard someone behind me say, "Take my picture."
I turned around and there was the cutest little boy sitting on top of a big 4-wheeler with a big red bow on it.
So I said, "Do you want me to take your picture?" When he said yes, I got my camera ready and then he got shy and ducked his head. "Let me take your picture, smile." So he did and I found out his name is Quintin. See his picture below. I hope Santa finds him being a good boy.
When we got up to the register to pay, I used my debit card but she needed my drivers license which was in the truck. So Pops and I hiked the 2 1/2 blocks over to the truck grabbed my license and the dogs and hiked back over. I paid for my stuff and then we walked back. It was a good walk for the dogs, as a matter of fact they are still sleeping.
Well, after all of that I guess we should get some sleep. We had a load offer already today for Austin, TX. I love Texas but I want to go home, sorry.
I hope we get something right away.
Talk to you later.

Our fun fieldtrip

My new "not old lady" boots, Jeff. If anything maybe "old man boots."

Giant, Outdoor World in Denham Springs, Louisiana.

This is Quintin, He is hoping Santa is paying attention. I hope he is too, Quintin.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sunshine and warmth, at last

It was a good trip so far. We had some rough weather in some places and snow clear to the southern most part of Tennessee. But once we entered GA no more snow.
We stopped at one truckstop, I can't even remember where and one of the trucks had spilled a fairly big pile of corn. This crow was there just having a feast. He probably felt like he hit the lottery. It was hilarious watching him.
We got to drive through Alabama in the daytime this time. Usually it is dark when we come through there. Alabama really is a pretty state. It reminds me alot of back home except for they were mowing the edges of the highway, yes I said mowing. Not plowing.
I was still feeling pretty nasty so I slept some today while Pops drove. He is still sick too, but wanted to get further down the road.
I woke up in Mississippi, we were about 80 miles in and I had to pee. Well, we looked for a rest area, none; we looked for a truckstop, none; we looked for anything, none; all they had were "parking areas-no facilities." What is that? So I suffered until we got to the Welcome center in Louisiana. It sure was welcome, lol.
The dogs got to play off their leashes there for a good while too. It was a nice place to stop. Pops chatted it up with 2 women in the welcome center. I think they liked his FedEx uniform. hahaha
Anyway, now we are in Hammond, LA. We just washed all our bedclothes and I cleaned the truck inside with antibacterial cleaner and we showered so everything feels clean and germ free for this minute anyway.
Gotta go for now, Chucky is pestering me to go outside. And I totally understand the need to go. ha
Love.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sick

Ok, I guess it would only stand to reason that after all that slush, wind, snow, ice and cold that we would get sick. Pops started yesterday, sneezing and sniffling. I kept handing him the hand gel but I knew it was only a matter of time until I got it too. In such a small space it is hard to keep germs under control.
I started feeling like I was getting a sore throat last night. We stopped for fuel and to get some lights fixed and do some laundry. While doing laundry, I called Elaine. She is the other FXCC driver that we met a while back in Raleigh, NC. I just wanted to catch up and see what her and Steve have been up to and also to wish them a Merry Christmas. It was good to talk with her.
Then I got to texting Elyse. She and her husband, Mark, you will remember drive for our truck owner too. They were driving through the ice storm and she was nervous just riding. I know that feeling. They are doing well and are planning on staying out over Christmas and going home in January for an extended stay.
Then Pops and I got to talking to a man and woman in the laundry room. She was training and riding with the man. They were doing laundry and wanted a shower but hadn't gotten enough fuel for a free shower and with her just in training she didn't have much money. We gave them each a shower. We had 7 shower credits. We get one each time we fuel and sometimes we fuel twice a day. They tend to build up and after 7 days they expire. It felt good to be able to help someone. She was funny, she said she wasn't sure if she would continue with truck driving because, "they are so big." Uh huh.
After all our laundry was done and our repairs were done we traveled on down the road. We stopped at a rest area somewhere just inside the VA line and decided to sleep for awhile. Pops was feeling pretty nasty.
We played a game or two of spider solitaire on the computer then went to sleep it was about midnight or a little after.
I woke up after awhile when I heard the truck start. Pops got us moving on down the road, I went back to sleep. I woke up around 7:30 and we were almost out of VA. He had been driving in ice and was driving slowly. There were so many trees and lines down everywhere, And then most places had about 3-4 inches of new snow on top of the ice. It had all passed by the time I woke up and the roads were just wet.
Pops drove us to Christiansburg to Walmart and we finished up our grocery shopping and got the things we couldn't get yesterday. That store was not a grocery store. They hadn't plowed their parking lot and it was horrible. Then we got moving again.
We were both feeling downright bad. We were sneezing, blowing our noses, complaining about aches and pains and itchy watery eyes and ears. We were whiny, both of us. How disgusting.
We stopped somewhere in Tennessee and I was going to start to drive. I told him I was taking the day off and staying in my pjs but that didn't fly. I began to drive.
We stopped just after entering Alabama at a rest stop to get something to eat and go to the bathroom. It was pretty nice here. There were even some pansies still in bloom. After eating a piece of meatloaf and mashed potatoes we got moving.
Now we are stopped at a truckstop in Gadsden, AL. We are going to sleep here and get showered in the morning. I wish I had one of those Shower Soothers with me. Have you ever tried one of those? They look like a big alka seiltzer and when the water from the shower hits them they put off vapors and opens up your sinuses really well. They are a good product. But I don't have one here. Oh well, just the shower will feel good and then if I had a bowl of chicken noodle soup, well I don't.
I just baked some oatmeal raisen cookies, I'm sure they'll be the comfort food I need right now.
Love ya, talk to you later.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

In the Snow! Ugh!

From the comfy temperatures of 40s and 50s in SC we caught a load going to Elgin, Illinois. We knew that it was snowing hard up that way and frigid temps. so we negotiated a little more money out of the deal. We geared ourselves up to head back into the cold and snow and started our trip.
We picked up in North Carolina. I was driving the first part of the trip and ran into snow while in the Smoky Mountains in North Carolina. The truck traffic was driving 25 mph down the mountains which made me happy because I always drive slow in the snow and get nervous when trucks are flying past me down the mountains in the snow. It is so pretty in that area even with the snow.
Kentucky had a good bit of snow too. I was surprized. Pops talked to his brother, Buck, who lives in Manchester, KY while we were driving through there and he said that is the most snow he's seen all at once since moving there 3 years ago.
Once we got into Ohio we missed one of our exits and had to detour through Cincinnati. Most of the buildings were lit and had Christmas colors of red and green and it looked so pretty. I was texting with my son, Drew while driving through there. He told me that he had never been to Cincinnati before. I always enjoy texting and talking with my kids while on the road. I miss them terribly, more than they'll ever know until they have kids of their own.
It wasn't long until I went to the bunk. Pops drove us into the consignee and we were there by 6:30am. We had some kind of Japanese car parts that was going on a ship overseas. Cool.
After that we got another load but had some time to spare so we went to our favorite place, Walmart. Our water and drain pipes had frozen during our trip up north. I wanted to buy a drop light thinking the heat from that inside our water compartment might be enough to thaw it. But that idea didn't work out. Oh well, it was worth a try.
Then we went to pick up our next load. It was snowing hard. The rest areas and truckstops were full. We had to park far away and walk. It was single digit temperatures with wind chills. Oh my goodness!
I got to give props to the state of Ohio for their service plazas. They have rebuilt all of them and have added driver lounges and laundry services and showers for the truck drivers and the showers are free. And most importantly, they are spic and span clean.
We delivered to Stouffers/Nestle in Ohio. That was interesting. Once inside the gate, we were not allowed outside of our truck. Everyone had little hairnets and booties. It was a secured, sealed load. They are very serious, as they should be, about food tampering. And we were only hauling labels, lol.
Then we got another load picking up in Ohio and coming to Newark, NJ. So we have been busy.
We were driving across I80 in Pennsylvania. It looked like a tractor trailer graveyard. There were 14 jack-knifed trucks. A big snow storm had come through the previous evening. I was surprized they were still sitting there, but the snow was deep in some places. We only ran into snow 2 times coming across there and it wasn't too bad really.
We got to our delivery and off loaded. It was easy and a nice neighborhood. I wondered if Kelly Ripa lived nearby. I don't think she would mind company, do you? We slept in the parking  lot of the place we delivered. Then we didn't have to find a truckstop that close to NYC. I felt much better about that.
We were predispatched on another load picking up in Newark but not until 3PM AND NO EARLIER!  Orders from headquarters. lol
So we had time to kill and guess where we went? You got it, Walmart. We cleaned the truck and played games on the computer.
Then about 2 we left there and headed in to pickup. Newark is just across the line from Manhattan. It is mostly shipyards and airport and that's about it. We did see the NY skyline and it made me want to go there and shop. We could see Miss Liberty from a distance too.
Pickup was easy. It was the training building for police officers. We hauled this load before. It goes to Louisiana State University. I like this load and I like Louisiana. Maybe I'll get some more boudin. Yum.
Pops checked the weather and it was 67 degrees at 9pm. Woohoo.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cooking.......a lot

Yesterday since I knew that we were on a layover and a good chance it would be a while I decided to cook. I really miss cooking for people. I like to cook. I am a little gadget challenged and limited here in the truck but I do my best.
Anyway when I bought groceries the other day I bought ingredients to make spaghetti, turkey burgers, and potato soup.
So I cut onions and browned meat and got my spaghetti sauce going. Then I cut more onions and mixed up my ground turkey for burgers and got them going in the George Foreman grill. I have an electric pot but it was buried in the side compartment so I cooked my spaghetti noodles in my electric skillet. Hey it worked, I'm always up for a challenge. hahaha
So now we have chili from the other day, Pot roast w/ vegetables from Friday, Spaghetti and Turkey burgers already prepared for the next few days.
When I woke from my nap today I decided I wanted Potato Soup. It is chilly here and soup sounded good to me. So I cut up the potatoes and onion and put them into the electric pot that I did dig out of the side compartment yesterday. I added some celery seed, salt and pepper and left it boil. Then when the potatoes were done I added a can of evaporated milk and some butter. It was at that moment that I realized that I didn't have any flour to thicken my soup with. Well watery potato soup is not gonna cut it with me. So....they say necessity is the mother of invention, so I re-invented potato soup today. At first I considered going into the truckstop restuarant and asking for some flour but vetoed that idea right away. So I searched my cupboards. Ah ha! I found something, pancake mix, Blueberry pancake mix. Well I could pick out the dehydrated blueberries, right? So I spooned out about 1/4 cup and began to pick blueberries. lol
I mixed a little milk in and got it to the right consistancy. And then I added it to my soup. I left it cook for a few minutes until it thickened just right and then I spooned up a bowl for Pops and added some crackers. I spooned myself a bowl and added some crackers. When I looked, Pops had his half eaten and hadn't said a word about it. I started to eat mine and could taste the blueberry but then thought well maybe it's just because I know it's in there. So I kept eating.
Once his was all gone, I asked him if he wanted some more and he declined saying he was full. That's when I said, "I can taste the blueberries a little bit." He said he could too, but wasn't going to criticize my soup. It was okay like that he said. He will eat it up if I don't like it. Isn't he great? Really, Blueberry Potato Soup?
And he's gonna finish it up.
You can bet flour is going right on the top of my grocery list next time.hahaha And so is a toaster. Later this evening we went inside. Pops wanted pie and I wanted hot chocolate and toast. They charged me $1.49 for 2 pieces of toast. That would buy a whole loaf of bread, are you kidding me? And I can buy a box of hot chocolate for $1.00. Oh my. Life on the road can be expensive. I still am having trouble with paying $4.00 for every load of laundry. But at least we get free showers.
 Hey, like I said, I like a challenge. We'll figure things out.

Second Home Church

We got to attend the Westview Christian Church for the second Sunday in a row. I find that amazing, since we have been on the road almost 3 months now and have not been to the same church twice and here we are going to the same one 2 weeks in a row.
We didn't let them know we were coming this time so it was a surprize. We were welcomed just the same today as last week and it all seemed more familiar which it was.  David told us if we're there next Sunday he'll talk to us about transfering our membership. hahaha and we got to meet the UPS guy. He was nice, too.
The Sunday school lesson was a continuation of last week's "Detours in your life." Today we talked about the detours that are not God's will, open doors that Satan puts before us. Man, sometimes it is hard to tell the difference. We have to really be on guard. David, the preacher, said that sometimes we will see an open door and grab God's hand and try to pull Him the direction that we want to go. And he is right I have tried to do that before. We really need to examine our choices and pray about them and make the choice that we know is God's will. We need to use the resources that God has provided for us, like the scriptures, to help us be wise in our choices.
After Sunday school we went into the worship service. It was part two of the Christmas sermons. Today was, "When Jesus gave Himself to Man." The scripture text was, Phillipians 2:6-8. When Jesus was pre-incarnate He had so much. He was divine, He was majestic, He had unlimited power and He gave all of that up to come to this earth. He gave up all the worship in the Heaven. Why would Jesus become a man on this earth? He did it all to fulfil the scripture and become the redemption of our sins for us. His gift of coming to this earth was the greatest gift for mankind ever.
It really is a great little congregation. They have a website, check them out: http://www.westviewspartanburg.org/.
We went with David and his wife, Linda for burgers and fellowship after church. We really enjoy their company.
Now we are back at the truckstop listening to the wind howl. It was sunny and 53 degrees awhile ago, but the weather here is calling for a change to colder and possible a snowflake or two.
We are still being offered trips to Michigan or Illinois, I don't know, Maybe if the payrate was a little higher. Right now, I am going to take a nap and then well see.
I got a text that the weather back home is pretty nasty with ice. Oh, be careful. I hate ice. That is the worst. I hope everyone is staying indoors, drinking hot chocolate and watching a movie with a bowl of popcorn on your lap.
Talk to you later, stay warm and safe.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Repairs!

We found out that the shop needed to order the part that we needed and it would take 5-6 hours minimum. When you're sitting on an expedited load you can't wait like that. So after assuring us that it was safe to drive and locating the part for us at the other end of our trip, we took off. We lowered the drop axle which helped to level our box a little and the ride was pretty smooth.
Everything was going well we had only lost a little of the spare time that we had.
It was a very nice trip down through New York and into Tioga County, Pennsylvania. It is such a scenic drive through there. The mountains are windy and steep and the forests are thick and lush. There is a huge lake and river that runs through the area. It is used as a water resevoir, very, very pretty.
As it started to get dark I was driving along side the Susquehanna River through Lewisburg and Sunbury. After many miles, I crossed over it and then followed it back up along the other side. That, too is a very scenic drive. That is absolutely the best part about this job, getting to see so many beautiful places and really enjoy the land that God has given us.
Pops woke up about the time I reached Harrisburg. There is a lot of construction going on in that area and it is rather bumpy. We needed fuel, so we stopped to get some. It took a long time at that stop because there was only one cashier and the place was incredibly busy. Pops was growling because of how long it took us in there. Oh, boy.
We got moving again and cruised along pretty good. Pops was driving now and intended on gaining back some of our spare time. We were trying to listen to the radio but for some reason there was a classical music station overpowering everything else and that was all we could hear. No Thanks! I don't mind it sometimes but not now and I think it was about to make Pops grouchier.
Oh no, what is going on ahead? Traffic is stopping! It was at a dead stop, for as far as we could see, nothing was moving. I started texting Starla and Drew. We were having conversations back and forth and before I knew it an hour had passed. We were still sitting and hadn't moved an inch. Traffic started coming along our right side. What? Where were they going? I watched them until I saw that they were riding the berm up to the next exit and getting off. Other cars started to come up along our left side and cross through the median and go back in the opposite direction. It was about that time that I realized that traffic wasn't moving in the opposite lanes either. That meant that this accident or whatever was so bad that it stopped all traffic in both directions. I began to pray. Whatever was happening it couldn't be good and probably meant that from this moment forward some people's lives would never be the same because of it. I prayed for people I didn't even know. I prayed for families that would never, ever know I prayed for them. I prayed for the impatient people waiting here while something horrible was being cleaned up. And I prayed for my family that God would let me see them again soon.
We have seen so many accidents in the last week or evidence of accidents. It is hard to believe how unaffected people are to and by these things. Oh God, don't people have love and compassion anymore?
After two hours our side began to move. After about 2 miles we saw where the accident had occured. It looked like a tractor trailer had crossed the medien and hit another car and possible rolled over because there was a very large fuel spill that had been cleaned up. It was hard to see what was going on an the opposite lanes. They were still sitting still and not moving at all.
Finally we were moving and making pretty good time. I needed to sleep so I went to the bunk and Pops kept us moving. I felt us stop along the way at least 3 times. But I went right back to sleep.
I woke up just after we passed Lake Norman in NC. Pops said he wanted to wake me up to see that. He said that they had all the docks, boats and houses all lit up and decorated for Christmas and it was pretty. He knew that I would've liked to see it, but didn't want to disturb me.
We got to our destination shortly after that. We were running about 2 hours behind but they were expecting us and glad to have their shipment. It was an easy offload and away we went. We drove straight to Freightliner to pick up our part for our repair and then to Walmart for groceries.
I bought another set of rugs for our "home." After spending time in the snow up north I realized that one set was not enough. I couldn't keep them clean or dry and can't stop for laundry that often so I figured if I got another set I could just switch them out when I needed to.
While I was in Walmart, Pops got our water going again. He is thinking that when we add water to the tank it causes an air lock which is why our pump doesn't seem to work. Well, now, that is good to know. And it's good to have water. And he thinks he has it figured out that maybe it won't happen anymore, that is better yet.
I put a beef roast, potatoes, and carrots in the crockpot. Pops took a nap and I wrote some checks and paid bills. Then I read my book for awhile. He slept really soundly even if it was only 2 hours. When he woke up we went back into Walmart. I saw some boots in there and wanted his opinion on them. (Just in case we go back up north.)
He didn't like the ones I saw. He said they looked like old lady boots. They did. I thought that too, but it's better than cold feet, isn't it? "No," he said. "We'll wait and get them at Cabela's or Gander Mt."
Well, alright, but I at least bought a pair of merino wool socks. I hate cold feet. Of course it is 52 and sunny right here, right now.
We decided to get moving to the truckstop but before we moved we got a load opportunity. It was a short run leaving right now and delivering on Monday. No way was we going to sit on a load over the weekend and possibly miss out on a load for today or something longer. After sending in our refusal, we realized that it delivered real close to where our preacher and good friend Wayne and his wife, Nadine had just moved to. Wouldn't it have been nice to get to visit them at their new church? Oh well, Maybe the load will come back if no one else takes it. I would've sat on the load all weekend if we could've visited with them.
That load didn't come back, but another short run load did. It was a three hour trip all in the same evening. That would still leave us available for a weekend load opportunity. So we took it and off to Rutherfordton, NC we went.
It was about an hour away, in the foothills of the Smoky Mts. in North Carolina, how pretty. The sun was beginning to set and the silhouettes of the mountains and the rural area was something that Pops and I both took a liking to. Wow, I could live here.
Our pickup was so easy to find and get into to. We were there just a short time and then back to Greer, SC. That is almost the same place we had left from. We had a load that needed to be on a plane asap. We drove into FedEX airport in Greer, off loaded and away we went, back to the truckstop. That was easy. I like those kinds of loads.
Pops went into the shop to see when they could do our repair. We thought it would probably be the middle of the night but they told us to bring it right over. While they did our repair we got our showers. After our showers we went back to the truck for supper. The roast and vegetables sure did smell good. And it tasted good, so good in fact that I ate too much or too fast or both and ended up getting really sick. I haven't been that sick in awhile. Okay, no more pot roast for me, now what do I do with all those leftovers?
We thought that maybe now would be a good time to do laundry, better than in the morning so 12:15am we hauled 2 large bags (clothes and rugs) of laundry in and got busy. It always feels so good when the truck is clean, the laundry is done, your belly is full and you are freshly showered. Oh yeah, and the Christmas tree was lit. Perfection.
When we woke up this morning at 9:30, it was already 58 degrees and sunny. Oh yeah! I love it down south. Did you know that?
I took the dogs out and informed Pops that I wanted a bowl of oatmeal. We went in for breakfast and wouldn't you know it, while in there we got a load opportunity. It was going to Texas! Yeehaw. I love Texas. But the pay rate was low so we refused it. Then we got another going to Joliet, IL. I just saw on the weather channel that Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota all had a huge snowstorm. No thanks. We refused that one as well. So here we sit on layover, trying to be patient and wait for a good load with good pay. It will come. And if we are still here in the morning, we will be going to church at Westview Christian where we went last Sunday. I kind of hope that is the case. I liked it there.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Down to Dixie, eventualy.

We sure enough did start to get load offers before we got into the shop. I knew that would happen, but most of the offers were for night runs all in upper state New York. Well, no thank you. Not after last night. I had seen lake effect snow and now know that I'm not interested. Although most of the time in the day time it is fairly okay.
There was one particular load that they kept pushing onto our computer. It seems that everyone was turning it down for some reason. It was a pickup and delivery with a total of 285 miles all upstate. So it was a short, after dark run that didn't pay very well.
Just as we pulled into the shop we got a load offer for South Carolina delivery that picked up not far from where we are. We took the load. Yippee. I'm going south.
We got our wipers and lights fixed and was out of the shop in no time. The other load was still coming across the computer, now the pay was more than doubled. I thought about it for a minute and said to Pops, could we do both runs? A five hour trip around upstate didn't seem so awful now that I knew I was going south tomorrow. He called FedEx.
"Yeah," they said. We could do both if we thought we wanted to. Great, 2 runs instead of just one is good at Christmas time. So off we dashed for Vernon, NY.
Of course it was snowing. Hahaha, we were dashing through the snow. Well not for long. Our dashing gradually became crawling. The closer we got to Syracuse the harder it was snowing too.
We made it to the pickup right on time. We got loaded and was out of there in just a few minutes. Now more north to a place called La Fargeville, NY. It is right on the border to Canada. It took us about 2 hours to get there and they unloaded us quickly and away we went. Well, that was pretty easy really. But, boy, are we sleepy. And it's 2 1/2 hours until we can stop and still snowing.
Pops really is a good driver in the snow, but I was still nervous when I began to see car bumpers and fenders lying in the berm. Then we drove past the accident scene that had closed the interstate last night. There were still 3 tractor trailers laying on their sides pushed off to the side of the road. Wow, it reminded me of the train derailment we had near our house last winter, piles of scrap metal.
Finally we reached our truckstop where we were going to sleep. We took the dogs for a quick walk and went in to the restroom then into the bunk for a short night of sleep.
We got up this morning and got moving in a hurry. It is bright and sunny and the temperature is 42 degrees. It looks like it should feel warm. It is warm when the sun is shining in through the windshield onto us.
We got to our pickup location and the men there wanted to stow away and go with us down South. I don't blame them. I honestly don't know why anyone would live here on purpose. But to be fair, I'm sure in the summer month it is probably really nice.
We noticed something wrong with the truck. The box is leaning. Pops said it is an airbag problem. I didn't know about airbags so he told me they cushion the ride and help to keep the box balanced so the load rides smoothly. It had to be fixed asap.
So here we sit in the shop again trying to get it repaired. I sure hope it doesn't cost us a load. But right now they are having some problems locating the part we need. Oh boy.

Lake Effect Snow

I don’t know why we can’t seem to be able to keep appointments. We went into the shop at the TA truckstop in Binghamton, NY to get our windshield washer squirter fixed. It wasn’t allowing any fluid to come out on the drivers side. We also wanted to have winter blades put on the wipers. They told us that they were a little busy and would call us when they were ready for us. So we came back to the truck and I sat and read my book while Pops tried to sleep. He didn’t get much though because his phone kept ringing. If I were him, I would shut it off when sleeping as long as I am awake.
Anyway about 1:00pm we got a dispatch that needed picked up in Allentown, PA and was coming back up to Buffalo, NY for midnight. Okay, we’ll take that. At just that time, the guy from the shop called and said we were to come down now. We told him that we just got a load and had to take off.
I drove us down to Allentown. It really didn’t take all that long. We got there around 4:30. We both went inside and got the truck loaded. It was an odd shaped shipment so we secured with straps and bars to keep the freight from moving. Once back to the truck we realized that this load was a truck to truck transfer going into Canada and we needed special paperwork. I went back into the shipper and they told me that I had all the paperwork that they had. But our company was looking for something else. We were there for over an hour trying to get it figured out and finally they told us to go.
We got moving around 6:15 and had our delivery time bumped to 2:34am. I drove while Pops tried to sleep some more. I got us back to Binghamton where we were this morning and then all at once a blizzard came from somewhere. It was snowing so hard I could barely see. Thank goodness traffic was light and I slowed down to about 45 mph. It was dark, the roads were unfamiliar and it was snowing to beat the band whatever that means. Hahaha Other big rigs kept passing me driving really fast. Was I being a sissy? Should I be going faster? I tried to go a little faster and it felt uncomfortable and unsafe so again I backed down to 45mph. Just outside of Syracuse at a rest area Pops woke up and said he would drive. Hallelujah!
My arms were so sore from being tense and mentally I was exhausted.
He began to drive and he was going about 55mph. He told me that he was more used to driving in the lake effect snow. He seemed to be doing okay at that speed. After only a little while our wipers got so clumped up with snow that it became almost impossible to see. He pulled over and beat the ice off the wipers. He had to do that about 50 miles or so. We saw so many accidents and every one of them was more than a fender bender. We saw at least 7 accidents, only 3 of those involved only one car. I would say that 2 of those were totaled. We saw 2 that involved 3 cars or more, and one of those accidents was a real bad one. I don’t even want to think about it.
We saw a road warning that the interstate that we needed was closed and that we needed to take a detour. Oh my, that detour was awful. It was rural and not recently plowed and over 2 feet of snow had fallen. It was a 12 mile detour. Oh my!
Well, we made it through the detour and back to our highway. The snow was letting up a little bit now so we started to be able to go a little faster to make up some time. We were told to call when we were about ½ hour away so I made that call, …finally.
The truck we were to meet up with was already there. We crossed the Niagara River and was less than 5 miles from the Canada Border. We saw the truck and backed into the dock to unload.
It didn’t get any better at that point either. The driver of the other truck was very upset about the incomplete paperwork. Pops explained to him that we were held up and then finally told to go.  He had all the paperwork that we had. He was blaming us for not doing it right. We gave him the names of the people that we spoke with that told us to go with what we had. He was so very mad. There was nothing more that we could do. He finally got things squared away enough that he calmed down a little bit. We got moving so we could go somewhere to sleep. It was now 4:39am.
There was a truckstop 34 miles away. We headed that direction and when we arrived we went ahead and fueled the truck in case we got an immediate load. I prayed that we would not. I was so mentally and physically tired and so was Pops. We were drained. I hoped that we could sleep at least 5 good hours and then get a shower and have a good, hot meal not cooked by me.
We found a place to park and I took the dogs out and was in the bunk within 10 minutes after parking. It was 5:30. I didn’t move until 10:37am. I had slept good.
We took the dogs out, drank some coffee and then went in to shower. It felt amazing. It was so warm, I just wanted to stand under it for at least a day. Lol
Even though it was now noon we decided on breakfast. Pops got a Farmer’s Omelet. It is an omelet with bacon, cheese, peppers, onions and mushrooms and tomatoes, with sausage gravy over top. I had ground steak and eggs with hash browns and wheat toast with blackberry jelly. Yummy. I’ll say it again, yummy. I ate almost all my hash browns, 3 bites of egg and 2 bites of toast and had to take the rest with me.
We now have an appointment to get service done, so I told Pops to expect a load before the shop calls us in. I hope we can get our work done first. Then please, send me to somewhere sunny and warm.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Layover in the Snow

We are fasting today. We decided to try to do it at least one day a week. I really concentrated on specific prayers today. I prayed for just about everybody that popped into my head. I hope you felt the prayers that I prayed for you. It didn’t seem as hard to get by without thinking about food as it did the last time. But we didn’t sit all day this time and we didn’t have anyone eating breakfast buffet right in front of us either.
We had an appointment at Camping World to get our tv repaired at 1:00pm. We left the truck stop and was not far from Camping World when we got a dispatch. Isn’t the way it always happens? So our tv will wait.
Oh, I don’t like to drive in snow. We left South Carolina around 1:00pm on Monday. We were picking up in North Carolina and delivering in Binghamton, NY. We were hauling de-icer for planes. I was really hoping for Texas again after hearing everyone up home complain about the snow.
I started the drive and it wasn’t long into North Carolina before I started to see some snow on the ground. There wasn’t anything on the roads just off to the sides. I saw a few deer that looked like they were looking for a place to keep warm.
We had snow until we got into the Shenandoah Valley in VA. There wasn’t any there. Pops started to drive soon after passing through there. He ran into snow again about Harrisburg, PA.
I was sleeping in the bunk although not too well. Our load was liquid and it was sloshing back in forth in the containers which caused our truck to move all over the place. I had a terrible time when I was driving and sleeping wasn’t  any easier. Pops hadn’t slept either, but he never does so I thought I might be able to, but no way.
I did doze off at one point and when we stopped at a rest area, I woke up to about 4 inches of snow and it was snowing hard. Oh boy, this is miserable. Pops was driving cautiously. Other people were not. We saw a tractor trailer that had jack knifed. It was laying on it’s side almost completely blocking the highway. There was no help there yet, but we saw the driver out walking around the mess taking pictures. The police came flying up past us as we were passing by. You would think seeing something like that would scare others into driving slower, but it didn’t.
We had a few hours to spare so we tried to get a little sleep. I fell asleep immediately and woke up gasping for breath and flinging my arms all around. I realized that I had been dreaming and didn’t want to wake Pops up. Wow, what a dream. I dreamed that I was walking on a country road on the left side of the road. I was walking past a steep sloped yard on the left that had a house and pond at the bottom. Just ahead of me coming up from the left was a dirt road with a piece of big equipment like a mower for a tractor sitting along the roadway. Suddenly a tractor pulling a different piece of equipment came up out of the dirt road and drove past me. I stopped right beside the mower but the thing the tractor was pulling caught hold of the mower and jerked it into me. It shoved me down the hill onto an old bulldozer that was sitting in front of the pond. Then the mower caught the bulldozer and pushed it and it slid backward into the pond with me on it. We were sinking fast and I looked around realizing that I was going to be trapped by the machinery on me. Oh my, I was scared. I was gasping and flinging and trying to get away from the machine. And then I woke up, nice and warm in my bed. Thank goodness.
I heard Pops’ alarm clock not long after that and heard him call our destination. They told us to come on up but that they were clearing planes and runways and they might not get to us right away. By this time there was about 7-8 inches of snow everywhere and still snowing hard. They had snow plows plowing the runways and big machines spraying the planes with de-icer.  We only had to wait maybe 45 minutes and then they escorted us to where they wanted the shipment.
We were told by FedEx that we would need our liftgate but no other requirements. Well, we also needed our pallet jack and it was up front of the box behind the load. Figures! It weighs about 125 pounds and was very awkward to maneuver. And of course we both had to climb up over the load and lift the pallet jack back over the load to get it to the rear.
Our de-icer came in square plastic containers called totes with metal cages around them for protection. We had 5 of them  each weighing about 2400 pounds. Once we had the pallet jack where we needed it we realized we had a very small working space and not only that but our lift gate was icing up quickly. Pops and I managed to get one of the totes on the jack and then wiggled back and forth and around until we got it toward the liftgate. Pops was in front of the jack and tote out the liftgate and suddenly it started to roll fast. All I could think was that it was going to push him off the gate and then come down on top of him, crushing him like a spider on the ground. Thank goodness it stopped. Two airport workers saw what almost happened and came to help us. They helped us get the pallet jack in behind the tote and push it onto the liftgate and then I lowered the gate with Pops, the tote and the pallet jack to the ground. They wheeled it to where they wanted it and Pops and the pallet jack got back on the gate and I brought them up. One by one we unloaded those things in the freezing, icy, cold. I was so glad to get back into the truck and make a cup of hot tea.
Once we were ready we were escorted back through the gate of the airport. We were no sooner through the gate and needed to make a right turn. We ended up getting stuck. It hadn’t been plowed wide enough. Of course they don’t run big vehicles around there, just little gator type things. Pops lifted our drop axle and soon after we were moving again. Oh, I sure hope they dispatch us to Louisiana or Texas, please.
We are on layover at a Love’s Truckstop. It is still snowing and I just heard them say on their local weather that they are calling for 7 more inches today. I am cold just watching it. Oh how I love the lone star state.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday

Pops and I searched the church directory yesterday looking for a church to attend today. There were several not too far from us so we had options. Well, we didn't want anything too big or too small. We prefer churches of around 100. I called the phone number for one of them and a man answered. I explained our situation and asked him the times of their services and he said, "I don't know."
"Oh," I said, "Well, how can I find out?"
He said, "I don't know, I'm the preacher's kid and he's not here."
"Ok, is there a better time I could call?" I asked.
"Yeah, tomorrow." And he hung up.
Well, if the preacher's kid don't know what time the service is, I'm not interested in that church.
So we called the next one and got the service times, directions and "Yes, we have room for your truck in our parking lot. We have member who drives for...well, I won't tell you who he drives for, but yes, you can park your truck here." So, that settled it we were going there.
It was a good choice although almost everyone there left us know that they were loyal fans of "The Big Brown Truck." hahaha We won't hold that against them.
We went to Sunday School and had a lesson on "When God gives us a detour." It was very interesting. Sometimes it is hard to understand why our life isn't exactly the way it would be if it was how we wanted it to be. Sometimes we don't understand our circumstances until on down the road and maybe we never will. But we do need to realize and accept that God is always in control.
After Sunday School we went to the auditorium for worship service. It was a mix of contemporary and traditional music, like we do at Wills Mt. And then the preacher, David Wilson, gave a sermon, part 1 of 3 concerning God's gifts to man. Today was about God's greatest gift of His Son. The scripture he used was John 3:16. I never thought it before when quoting that verse that God SO loved us. I understand that God loves us, but He SO loves us. That implies an immense, intense love. Wow!
After the services David and his wife asked us to go with them out to eat. We went to Fudruckers. I love that restuarant and their aren't any near our home, so I was glad to go and they even footed the bill. We really enjoyed getting to know them. his wife is an avid deer hunter. She has shot 4 deer this year so far. Her nickname is Annie Oakley. She was going hunting again this evening, to shoot her brother a deer.
When they brought us back to our truck, David told us to remember that now we have a home church in Spartanburg, SC. Wasn't that a nice thing to say?
I do really like the southern hospitality.

Westview Christian Church

Saturday, December 4, 2010

couple more pix

My favorite things, lol. See the blue one beside this one? They were in KY.

I think we are coming up on a cloud factory.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Some Pix

The Gulf

Neat Bridge

The Third Coast

Not going home

I woke up early this morning, around 3:00 and found out from Pops that we were on a load. We had minutes to get moving and be on the road. Yeah, minutes! Well I needed to go into the restroom, fax a paper to FedEx, mail some bill payments, make some coffee, get dressed and take the dogs out (not necessarily in that order.) How was I going to do that in 5 minutes? So the day started with everyone involved being bright and cheerful........., NOT! Even the dogs got nervous.
We got going around 3:20 which I find pretty impressive actually. I was not feeling good either.
Pops was driving so I sat up and talked to him until my coffee was gone and then I crawled back into the  bunk. When I woke up again we were at our pickup in Ohio. We were picking up glue. But they had 12 containers and we could fit no more than 6. I thought we may cancel but it turns out that the load we were hauling was not the 12 but 5 that were on backorder and should have been there a week ago. They got us loaded and moving. Off to Piedmont, South Carolina with glue that was still warm from being made.
We were given two choices of routing one was Gypsy's way the other was FedEx directions which were closer and we only had 9 hours to get there. So we went with FedEX directions. It didn't take us long to realize we made a wrong choice. It was nothing but small towns with low speed zones and lights (red ones.) We drove through Ashland, KY which is the birth place of someone famous, well maybe not famous, Pops was born there. It seemed like a nice place. I saw the Second Baptist Church and wondered where the First one was.
We grumbled and growled the whole long way. It took us 12 1/2 hours. We hurried the whole way. At one point we stopped to use the restroom at a small place and the mens room was occupied so Pops came in with me that was that.It was in this town at least 100 miles from Ashland, KY that I saw the First Baptist Church. I knew it had to be somewhere. hahaha
But we made it. It was a very easy place to find and easy and fast to offload. So 24 hours later, here we are at another Pilot in South Carolina on layover, waiting for a load. Honestly, I don't care if we don't get a pickup until Monday morning. I just want a shower and I need to do laundry.
And I am glad to be away from snow. Although it still isn't real warm here. It is 52 degrees at 10:15pm. And I also realized on the drive down here that I do prefer to drive the flat highways of the south than the mountains of the northeast. I think I might really be growing a heart for the South. At least for the cold months.
If we are still here tomorrow at noon and not yet under a load, we will look for a church to attend on Sunday. Keep us in your prayers. We love and miss you.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Back to PA and Snow

We had to spend a whole day in Houston waiting around but that is okay. When you are patient the right load comes around. While we waited I cleaned the truck, Pops fixed the water pump so I don't have to carry water jugs anymore, yippee. I also got the tree lights going again. One of the bulbs got jarred loose. And then that evening we finished watching a movie we had started earlier. It is called Faith like Potatoes and it is a very good movie.
When we woke up in the morning we got a good load right away. It was from Kemah, TX to Maidsville, WV. Kemah is near Galveston. NASA space center is right there. It was a very easy pickup. Some metal thing on wheels with several big hoses, they called it a bearings buggy. So before going to far we stopped at Walmart in Kemah for groceries. It is a super nice area. I bet all the astronauts live there. As I shopped I looked around wondering if this person or that person was a real astronaut. You never know.
After leaving there and getting on the road as we drove about 3 blocks I pointed and told Pops, "Look water, it"s the Gulf." It was the Gulf of Mexico. So we have been to all 3 coasts now. We had to cross a very interesting looking bridge and it didn't even scare me. I think I'm getting better.
I drove until about supper time (7:00) and then Pops took over. I had put a piece of beef into the crockpot and planned to make baked potatoes. He decided he didn't want beef so after taking my piece out I chopped his up and added a can of mixed vegetables and a can of diced tomatoes and voila, he had vegetable soup.
I went to sleep soon after getting my belly full. I slept pretty good waking on and off as he got pulled in to weigh stations or for fuel. But I didn't really get up until almost Knoxville, TN. By then it was almost my turn to drive. I hurried and made us ham and cheese omelets and put it on deli bread for breakfast and then I took over the wheel. I bearly got moving before I started to notice snow laying in the wooded areas. Ugh! Let's go back to Texas. Please!
Pretty uneventful driving today but I did get to cross the big suspension bridge again at Beckley, WV. Again, no big deal. Yep, I'm getting immune to bridges. I hope.
Our delivery was through a very small town, like Hyndman, PA but up a huge mountain road, a narrow, dirt/mud, mountain road with 1000 cars coming the opposite direction. We off loaded it and back down the dirty road.
We got to layover in Pittsburgh, so we got our truck washed and I fixed a good supper of lemon chicken breasts with home fried potatoes. Now we wait for a load or we go home for the weekend. Wouldn't that be nice?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A couple of pix

Reidsville Christian Church in Reidsville, NC

San Jacinta, TX

Load refusal

Well we refused that load and also another. They were too low paying and one was a Hazmat load. No thanks, we'll wait.
I forgot to tell you some things about our trip here.
When we traveled in Louisiana before, we kept seeing signs for Boudin. I think I told you about that, anyway as we got closer to the Lake Charles area of Louisiana this past week we started to see the signs for boudin. Well I was driving so I pulled in to one place that was advertising it. I saw a woman and asked her if she worked there. Upon finding out that she did I showed her a piece of paper that I had written the word on. I asked her how to pronounce it. She told me it is pronounced, Bo-dan. She asked me where I was from and I told her Pennsylvania and that I had never heard of boudin until traveling through here. She told me that there are many varieties. So okay, I'm game, I ordered a pound of smoked, a pound of spicy and two jalapeno boudin balls. The smoked and spicy were cooked and wrapped up for me to take. It looked like sausage. The woman explained that it contained sausage, rice and spices, although as I said there are many varieties. The jalapeno balls were loose sausage, rice, cheese, jalapenos, and spices and shaped into balls then battered and deep fried. They smelled good.
Once we got back to the truck I put the smoked and spicy into the freezer to take home to share. But the jalapeno balls smelled too good to put away. They were about the size of a big peach, and they were hot already. I broke one in two and gave Pops half. We each took a bite at the same time and then looked at each other and went, "ummmmm." It was good. I wish that I had space in the freezer to buy one for each of you readers. But you will just have to take my word for it. They were really good.If you ever get to Louisiana make sure to buy a jalapeno cheese boudin ball. You won't regret it, until the next day. lol
Later when we reached Texas it was raining hard. We pulled into a rest area near San Jacinta. When I walked into the door, there "guarding" the door was a reptile. I'm not sure what exactly it was. Maybe a gecko, or little iguana. I don't know what the native reptiles are here. Anybody have any answers? It was small, maybe 6 inches total, brownish in color and bold. He was standing there with his front legs turned slightly inward and straight, and it looked like his little chest was puffed out. It surely looked like he was trying to be fierce. I was wishing I had my camera, but I didn't so then I was wondering how I could catch it and take it back to the truck to take it's picture but then I felt bad and didn't want to do that because I didn't want to relocate him away from his family. So you will just have to imagine what he looked like. hahaha
So we ate the other boudin ball today for lunch. Just in case you're wondering.

New Week

Well, of course we survived the fasting. It wasn't so bad really. As a matter of fact, we talked about doing it once a week. We did get a snack just after midnight of leftover turkey and a couple pretzels.
The next morning was Sunday. We got up and went to Reidsville Christian Church. It was a newer built building holding 2 services each Sunday morning with a total of 400 people. We went to the early service because of our noon pickup. As soon as we walked in we were made welcome and taken to the fellowship hall where they had a nice table of donuts, biscuits, ham, bacon, tomatoes, coffee, tea. Wow. Free breakfast, cool. They had just built an addition to the building of new classrooms and a teen room. We were given a tour.
We then went into the auditorium. It was very spacious and decorated for Christmas already, how pretty. They started off their service with a praise and worship team in the front, consisting of about 20 singers, a trombone, keyboard, guitar and a bass guitar and drummer. It was very uplifting. At one point I felt tears in my eyes.
The preacher's name is Shannon Newsome. His message was entitled, "Grab a Bowl." It was about how Jesus humbled himself and became a servant and washed the feet of the apostles. Also how we as christians should be like Him and humble ourselves and be of service to others. It was really good.
We really enjoyed their service and will definately go back if we are in that area.
After church we headed over for our pickup. It was about 7 miles away. That went smoothly and we got moving right away. Off to San Antonio.
Traffic was a nightmare. I guess because of holiday travel. But it was 80 miles of stop and go driving. Pops could not sleep through that at all and kept getting up and coming up front. I was worried because I knew that he would have to drive tonight.
When my driving time was up he took over and he did have trouble because of no sleep so we used up all of allotted time taking rest breaks. We were not late for our delivery. We made it about an hour early. Our delivery place was a little confusing to find because it is a brand new location, but we found it and it was an easy delivery.
After making our delivery we drove up to home depot to wait for our owners. They were coming to meet us and bring us some truck parts and supplies. They are trying to get our water and tv and some other things fixed for us. They are really good people and good to work for. They treat us really well.
We were then sent to Houston for layover. So here we are. We got showers and got our laundry done and ate a good Denny's breakfast. We just got a load opportunity, gotta go. More later.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Day off

Last evening we were walking through the parking lot on our way to the rest rooms  when a FXCC truck pulled up to us and started to talk. Well, of course, the truck wasn't talking, it was the people inside. They asked us to go inside for a cup of coffee. That coffee lasted for about 4 hours. They were such a nice couple who have been driving this job for 17 years. They really like it. They were a wealth of information. We really learned alot from listening to them. And we really enjoyed their company. The wife was asking how long we would be here yet. We told her until Sunday morning. She told me about a really nice flea market that was to be Saturday right across the road. Cool. After we left the restuarant they moved their truck to right next to ours and stayed there.
This morning while enjoying our morning coffee and trying to figure out how hard it was going to be to keep our commitment to fast, we got a knock on the door. It was our friends. They wanted us to go in for breakfast with them. We told them we were fasting and why. So they went ahead in without us. In about 30 minutes the wife came back out and asked us to come in for coffee and conversation. I thought they had already eaten so okay we'll be in. Well, they had not eaten and proceeded to order breakfast. We ordered our coffee. It was okay, I wasn't even really bothered by the looks and smells of the food.
Again we talked for several hours. Before we parted we exchanged phone numbers and she gave info on getting really great discounts on hotel rooms. I hope that we meet up with them again. I have a feeling we will see more of them.
We did walk over to the flea market this afternoon. It was like a gigantic tent city with just about anything you could imagine. I bought a new Dolce & Gabbana purse (purple.) I got a really good deal on it. And then I picked up something for my dad for Christmas.
It was bright and sunny and 70 degrees but windy and the wind was chilly. It really cut through to the bone. Now I know that sounds whiny to those of you who woke up to snow, but I was cold! So after walking around in the air we came back to the truck, covered up and took a nap.
Later we walked back up to the shopping center (Petro.) There is a man there that engraves things and I wanted to get dog tags with our phone number on for the dogs. After seeing the abandoned cats at the rest areas I want to take precations just in case we would ever have to drive away and leave a lost pet. (I would die.)
I'm not sure how we will pass the remainder of the evening, but I know one thing,......I will be eating something at 12:01. haha

Friday, November 26, 2010

Westward Ho!

We got a load for Sunday after church. It picks up about 40 miles from where we are and goes to Seguin, Texas. YeeHaw! Grab your cowboy hats. Can you say, Alamo?
So we got caught up with laundry today and took some walks and shopped the giftshop. The tattoo/piercing shop was open but Pops didn't want to go in there. hahaha
After supper we got our oil changed and a lube job. Now we are good to go. We have tomorrow off so I'm not sure what we will do just yet although as mentioned there is a movie theater here, free of charge and they are showing some pretty new movies. But who knows?
Our son, Drew, offered up a challenge to fast and pray tomorrow to show our thank for God's rich blessing of Thursday. So we took him up on the challenge. I was happy to see that my sister, Amy took him up on the challenge too.
I checked our church directory and found a church for Sunday morning. Our pickup is at noon so we will have to go to the early service at 8:30, but that don't bother us at all. I called to make sure there was ample parking for our truck, but had to leave a message. We will find a way to get there.
I am excited to go west again. We will be traveling through SC, GA, AL, MS, LA, and TX. We have been through all of those before and we will be traveling the same interstates so I feel like I know where I am going. If you look it up on the map we will be skirting the gulf coast again. And that means, ...bridges! But also the bayou. I am hoping that this time we can try those crawlfish baskets and maybe some boudin.
We are about 15 miles from our boss when we get there so they are planning on meeting up with us. I am looking forward to that.
Also a very good friend of mine has a daughter that lives really close by and she would like to meet up with us if only for a few moments. I sure hope we get to. I watch her on Facebook and I love the pictures of her kids. I would love to see them in person and give her a great big hug.
And what I like best of all about this upcoming trip.... it keeps us out of the snow, for another few days at least.

Diabetic Challenge

Don't forget about my Thanksgiving Diabetic Challenge. For each new follower that Pops and I get in the week of Thanksgiving we will donate $5.00 to the National Diabetic Foundation.
Some of you have mentioned that you are having some trouble becoming a follower. You will need a google account. If you don't have one already you will need to create one. It is pretty easy, just follow the directions for creating the account. It is free and easy and you may or may not ever use it again, but you do need one to be a lister follower of our blog.
Rise to the challenge, only 2 days left.