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, December 28, 2011

Moving Day Pictures

Moving the Fatulas

We got to the Fatula's home on Sunday evening. They invited us to watch the Ravens game with them.
We backed into their driveway and went inside.
Diane wasn't there yet, she had gone to pick up some pizza and wings for the game.
We had a good time, even though the Ravens lost their game. The pizza was good and the the wings were HOT!
After the game we went to sleep in the truck. We planned to get up kind of early to start packing the truck.
We got up around 7am and drank some coffee and then got started. The Fatula's had almost everything packed up and ready to load so it went pretty smoothly.
We had to remove the door to get the bigger pieces out.
Pops and I stayed inside the truck and they brought the stuff out to us. We stacked and stacked and calculated and all of their belongings fit in with a little room to spare.
At one point a nice friend of theirs brought over a bag of McDonald's breakfast sandwiches. And we had all of that leftover pizza and wings.
Our dogs played in the yard with their dog, Chico.
When the truck was loaded Chad and Pops went up the road to Uhaul to get a towbar to tow Diane's car so that she didn't have to drive seperately. Once the car was loaded we were on our way.
We had about a 6 1/2 hour drive if everything went well.
We stopped a couple of times to use the restroom and take the dogs out and we stopped once for fuel. We also had to stop once because the lights on the towbar quit working.
But we got to Hyndman before 8pm.
There were many people from the church waiting there for our arrival. Several ladies were there too and had cleaned the place and had food waiting. The unloading went much faster than the loading, but there were many more hands.
After the truck was unloaded everyone visited for awhile and one by one they left for home.
Pops and I decided to sleep in our truck at the chuch that night so that we could be here early to help move some of their stuff to the shed or to other rooms, plus we had to go with Chad to take the towbar back to Uhaul.
By the end of the second day, things were pretty well where they needed to be, at least in the correct rooms. The dining room table had been set up and everyone was very tired.
Finally we headed to our house to enjoy the Christmas break with our family.
It is good having the Fatulas here at Wills Mountain. I am excited and I am hopeful that many new and good beginnings are taking place.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Interior truck pictures

Area just behind driver's seat, Our sink, counter and overhead the convection oven

Cabinets under the sink and counter

Head of the bed. I like the shelf under the overhead cabinets

Better look at the shelf, notice the stepper/exerciser that decorates the back wall, haha

Foot of the bed, this is where my computer, printer, and our Christmas tree are. Under all of that is a storage compartment.

This is just behind the passenger seat. It is our closet, refrigerator, cupboards, toilet and freezer. Our toilet is in the area under the two drawers, hidden behind the black covering. Our freezer is under the single drawer.

View from the bed looking forward. I like the skylight.

Yes, Keenan, I have been lazy!!!

Actually since I have blogged last we switched over to another truck. We were doing that while in Texas, but we actually got rolling and was trying to settle in and get all the kinks worked out and at the same time try to make some money. So it's been an interesting 3 weeks.
We got a load leaving Texas. It picked up in Pharr, TX which really is far down south. It is at the very southern point of Texas. And that load was going to Michigan for the next day.
We had just spent a wonderful "vacation"/work week in San Antonio where the weather was warm and sunny until the day we left there. It was averaging in the 70's. On the day we left though it was cold and rainy, probably only in the high 40's.
When we reached Pharr it was sunny and 85 degrees! I really do like Texas. I really do.
So driving to Michigan was a mixture of driving and trying to make little adjustments to where I wanted stuff stored and put away, but it was coming along and it seemed like storage wasn't going to be a problem except for our clothes but we will figure it all out.
When we did get to Michigan, the temperatures were in the high 20's and it was spitting snow. It seemed so much colder than what it should have felt. The next day it did manage to climb all the way to 40.
We got a really quick dispatch getting us out of there and heading back to Mississippi. We accepted the load and once again got moving.
I was driving and Pops was sleeping when we reached Indianapolis, IN. I noticed the truck felt like it was "slipping on ice." But there was no ice. It did that twice and then everything was ok. I drove through the area and past the airport and was about 30 miles on the other side of Indianapolis when I started to lose power and the engine began to miss. I woke Pops up and told him that we were having some kind of problem and got the truck off the very next exit and off the road while still on the exit ramp. And the engine died. We could start it back up but it wouldn't stay running.
A mechanic was called and when he showed up to help it was clearly evident that he wasn't going to be much help. He kept asking us what was wrong with the truck and asking what we thought he should do to fix it. He came in some little bus that looked like it should be used to haul elderly people to the doctors and such. He wanted to pull us with it, we declined and called a tow truck. The tow truck took us to Stoops Freightliner in Indianapolis.
We felt pretty confident in being at Stoops although we realized that we may be there a while and in fact did have to give up our load. Another truck was coming to meet us and transfer the load. We couldn't get worked on until the next day although they were pretty sure that the ECM (electronic control module) was the problem. We slept in our truck in the parking lot that night.
The next day while they worked on our truck we waited in the drivers lounge with about 20 other drivers. At one point several of them got up and left to get something to eat or just go to their trucks or left for a hotel. One young man noticed that his cell phone had disappeared from where he had it plugged in and charging. I told him that it had to be one of two men that were sitting back there and that I thought they were going to the truckstop across the street to eat. He was very mad and walked over there to find them. One of the men came back to the room and everyone questioned him about the phone and the other man. He did not know where the other man had gotten to. And said that he didn't take the phone.
Several drivers tried to locate the other man and no one saw him after that. We all figured that it had to be him that took the phone.
A cleaning lady came into the lounge and she was told about the phone being stolen and she pointed out a hidden camera and told the man to go into the office and have them pull the tape. He did and they made him call the police too. When the video was watched it turned out that the other man did in fact steal the phone and the video showed it as clear as day. But no one could locate him and Stoops didn't even have a record of him having a truck there to be worked on.
We got our truck finished and a few thousand dollars later we were out the door and across the street at the truckstop waiting for a load.
While we waited we got a visit from our friend, Ralph. He was passing through and had a little time to spare. It was nice getting to visit with him.
We got a load that picked up and was going to Richmond, VA.
We drove there and made our delivery and then headed to a Walmart for groceries and to camp out while waiting for a load. I did some Christmas shopping while there too.
We got a load but drove only a short distance and found out that it cancelled. Oh well, back to Walmart. While driving back to Walmart we drove through Wakefield, VA which calls itself the Peanut capital of the World. There were several stores there selling peanuts and peanut souveniers. There was one big peanut processing plant too. I must confess that it did make me hungry for peanuts, but I didn't stop.
We got back to Walmart and I did go in and pick up a few more items to complete my Christmas shopping. Working this job, most of my shopping is done online which isn't as much fun but it serves the purpose, and probably saves me money.
We got a load the next day picking up in Richmond and going to Marstan, MO. We had just done this load a litlle over a week ago. It was the area with the round cotton bales. So we felt pretty good about it, knowing where we were picking up and where we were delivering to. And when done we would probably end up in Memphis which is a good area from which to get a load.
However we ended up being sent to Jackson, TN for layover instead. But we like Jackson too. The TA truckstop there is very driver friendly. It only costs $1 to wash clothes and $1 to dry instead of the $2 that everywhere else charges. And they have really good food, with big portions at a good price.
While there we got some small light repairs done to our truck. Our taillights, turn signals were out of whack so now that was done.
Of course, I got our laundry all done and we ate good too. I bought us a chicken dinner on a stick. We saw them and tried them there before so I knew that's what I wanted.
The next morning our truck owners sent us to Nashville to get some work done to our power inverter. Our refrigerator, oven and freezer would not run unless our generator was running and it's not supposed to be that way. They should run off the inverter so that there is no chance of them shutting down and thawing out.
And then after that we were to go to another place that was going to tear our drivers side door apart and replace bad parts that was preventing us from using the window and the door lock.
So Monday we were tied up getting these things done, but by evening, our truck was now and is in pretty good mechanical working order. Now we are all set.
We got a load the next day that was a transfer load that would be going into Canada. We were picking it up from another team and delivering it to a city near Toronto.
We don't mind Canada loads so we accepted and drove to a Fedex Freight in St. Louis to wait for the transfer team to show up with our load. Of course they hadn't started the Canadian paperwork so I had to take care of all of that, but I did and we got moving.
We were going into Detroit and crossing the Ambassador Bridge into Windsor, ON. It is a huge bridge and naturally I was driving.
We didn't have any hold ups going into Canada. Fedex is really good about processing the paperwork to get you access easily. But Gypsy decided that she didn't want to work for us while in Canada, so we had to find our way the old fashioned way, with a map. but it was ok, we managed.
We were offered a load that picked up in Canada the next afternoon and came back to Springfield, IL. We didn't really want to wait in Canada that long, but decided that it probably was the smartest move financially that we could make. So after delivering the first load, I contacted our company and asked them for directions to the nearest Walmart so that we could "camp out" until the next afternoon.
We made our pick up the next afternoon and then headed back across Ontario toward the Ambassador Bridge again. Of course I was driving and this time it was super duper windy. I told Pops that we would probably get blown right off the bridge. And you should've seen the look on his face when a huge wind gust did in fact blow into us as we were crossing the bridge. (I almost peed my pants!)
I was never so glad to get back to firm ground.
We delivered our load the next morning in Illinois and was immediately given a load picking up in Peoria and going to Morganton, NC. That was good because it is time to head to Hillsville, VA and start to pack up Chad Fatula, our new preacher, and his family and bring them to Hyndman.
I am excited that he is coming and I am amazed once again at how God works everything out to get us here just when we needed to be. Thank you, Lord.


Whitehaven is a beautiful historically restored old mansion near Paducah, Ky. It was once a fabulous home and then for many years left to disrepair and vandalism.
Then it was bought and restored and is now used as a rest area and Welcome Center. It is a beautiful, relaxing place to visit and tour.

Whitehaven, the Kentucky Welcome Center near Paducah, KY

Side view of Whitehaven

What is it?

What is this? It is something good to eat.

It is Chicken Dinner on a stick, chicken, potatoes, green peppers, onions all deep fried on a stick. Yum yum.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Texas Vacation

We drove through the city of Houston and then Katy, TX and continued on interstate 10 until we reached the exit for Lucille’s truckstop.
Tate had talked to Pops and told him that we were to rest there and then Shirley would come up to meet us, he had taken our truck to get it washed.
We relaxed and waited. It wasn’t long until Shirley did come and shortly afterward Tate pulled in with our truck.
We had our old one mostly packed up and just needed to move everything into the other one. We moved some things around and worked on a couple of things right there in the truckstop parking lot and then we drove back to Tate and Shirley’s place.
Tate had promised Pops that he would give him a gun and allow him to walk the property in search of deer or wild pigs.
So while Pops hunted I visited with Tate and Shirley and then went to the truck to read for a while.
When Pops came back he was excited and was telling us about the big bucks that he had seen and all the places where the wild pigs were digging. He was happy. It was good to see him that excited.
Later Tate and Shirley took us out to eat at a Mexican Place called Chuey’s. The food there was good. There were paintings all around the place of some animal dressed in all different costumes. We couldn’t decide if it was a cat, dog or mouse. We even asked one of the waitresses and she didn’t know either.
We got back to Tate and Shirley’s and spent the night in our old truck because we hadn’t got all moved over yet and the bed was still made in the old truck.
That night I heard coyotes yipping and howling on three sides of our truck. It sounded like they were right in front of us so I got up and flipped on the headlights, but didn’t see any; however they did stop howling.
The next morning Pops took the gun for a walk again. He came back a little before lunch time and we all drove the new truck across town to a place that was going to put in a new windshield. While they were doing that we looked for a place to have lunch. There was some little shack that claimed to be selling BBQ and funnel cakes. But no one wanted to go there.
Tate spotted a place called Shobel’s. He pulled into their lot. From the outside of the place I imagined that it was going to be someplace that was very expensive. The place was right along the river in San Antonio and was beautifully landscaped with an outdoor space for dining too. The inside was all done in stone and heavy wood. The tables were rich wood and the floors were mesquite wood. There was a huge fireplace made of fieldstone. The ceilings were very high and they had two large Christmas trees all decorated. It was a gorgeous place.
We were seated and a cute, perky little waitress came over and took our order. We all decided on the buffet. It was $9.69 per person. They had catfish, smothered chicken, lasagna, homemade rolls that were so good, all kinds of vegetables cooked perfectly and soup and salad and an enormous dessert table with so many homemade pies, cobblers, and cake. Oh my! Oh my! It was so good. Everything was so good.
If you EVER, and I mean EVER visit San Antonio or Columbus, Texas, you MUST go to Schobel’s.
We again went back to Tate and Shirley’s. Pops again went for a walk around the property. While he was gone, the neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Dietech, came over. Their names are Leroy and Maryann. He is 85 and she is upper 70’s and they came with ½ a coconut cream pie. They bought it and thawed it out but only ate half and couldn’t refreeze it so we benefited from that.
But while they were there they talked about the “cats” that are in the area and that they suspected that  had killed their calf. The “cats” are a couple of black panthers that have been seen around and that had killed the other neighbor’s sheep.
Leroy and Maryann were rightfully upset and wanted the cats killed.
We talked about many subjects and Leroy was telling about when he was in Korea during the war. He told me about how the soldiers wore their dirty, wet socks around their necks to dry while they marched around through the fields. He said that a lot of the time the temperatures were well below zero and they were not dressed to protect them against those temperatures. They would dig holes and climb in to stay warm.
I told him about the Korean War Memorial at Washington, DC and how it had impacted me and he said that he had never been there but would like very much to go there.
I really enjoyed the visit by the neighbors. They were so friendly and easy to talk to. We never did hear whether or not they found the calf, but we did see several Mexican eagles hanging around their property, which is not a good sign.
We spent one morning getting all of the tires switched from one truck to the other so our new truck would have winter tires. And several other things needed to be done, nothing major just time consuming but Pops didn’t mind because he would hunt in the mornings and the evenings. He saw deer and pigs each time. He never did see any of the cats though. We did see coyotes.
We ate lunch at two other places while here, The St. Hedwig CafĂ© where most of us ate Mexican food and then we ordered burgers one day from the Roadhouse. That place was interesting too. It was an old feed store which is now a restaurant. It has all old wood boards inside with deer antler chandeliers and wild animals that had been to the taxidermist. There was a coyote and a huge rattlesnake. I mean it was probably 5-6 feet long and 8 or 9 inches in diameter at least. They had it coiled with it’s fangs showing. They have some good food in Texas and some interesting places to eat.
On Wednesday evening I went hunting with Pops. It was a calm, warm evening probably around 60 degrees. We walked around the perimeter of the property and then settled in a field on a rock. We heard a deer snorting behind us but never did see it. When we were walking out that evening we did see three pigs that were too far away to shoot.
Pops got to hunt all week long while we worked on the truck in between. It was a most enjoyable and memorable week. I know that Pops loved being able to hunt in Texas. He is already telling me about buying his own gun to leave here. He has even shopped the internet and found a place in San Antonio that sells them.
I loved getting to spend so much time getting to know Shirley better. It was so nice to walk the property and see so many things that are so different to anything we have back home.
Tate and Shirley are such very good people. They are done to earth, good hearted people and I am proud to be driving for them.
We had an opportunity this week that will be in our memories forever. I sure hope that we get to come again and I hope next time Pops fires that gun and drops a deer or several pigs.
On Thursday evening I cooked a big pot of Ham pot pie. And I had picked up some fresh rolls at the grocery store. It was good.
The truck was done and we got a load picking up in Laredo and going to Iowa, so with full bellies and a great week behind us we slept well that night.
Our load did not pick up until Friday evening so Pops got to hunt one more morning. He had seen several large deer while here and on this morning he saw a 10 point buck and decided to shoot, but the gun misfired and he lost the opportunity. Oh well, it wasn’t meant to be, I guess.
Tate took our truck to have one more small thing done. And Shirley and I watched tv and talked. When Pops came back he showed us some pictures that he had taken. He had one of some barrel cacti. Shirley didn’t know that she had more of them so we decided to go for a walk. We walked around the entire property and she was showing me some of the landmarks that I didn’t get to see when I went hunting with Pops. Chucky decided that he was going to tag along and for an old dog he did really well even though he panted for hours afterward and slept most of the day away. Lucy didn’t go with us, she stayed with Pops while he worked on the truck. The dogs were enjoying being able to run loose and explore too. I think that Lucy hunted for critters almost as much as Pops did.
But it was now time for us to pull out and head for Laredo so we hugged each other good bye and away we drove.
We didn’t get but 8 miles away until we found out that our load wasn’t picking up until tomorrow and might not go at all. So we asked to be taken off that load in the hopes of getting something today.
We did get another good load. It picks up tomorrow in Pharr, TX. It goes to Grand Rapids, MI for Monday morning.
We already have a good facebook friend of ours (one that we haven’t ever met face to face) wanting to meet up with us in Michigan if we get the chance. I hope we get the chance, after all that is absolutely the best part of this job, getting to travel and meet people.

Texas "vacation" pictures

No, Bill, don't sit on that!

I thought this little cactus looked like an animal

Coyote (internet picture)

Feral Pigs (internet picture)


Javalina pig aka ranch rat (internet picture)

Javalinas are also known as skunk pigs and they do stink! (internet picture)

Mexican Eagle (internet picture)

Tate's backyard

Hunting area

Field where Pops hunted

Where the pigs were rooting

More pig rooting

road through property

One of the treestands

Hunting field

Field with Mesquite trees

Hunting blind

brushy area

Clearing in the woods

Mesquite Tree

Barrel Cacti

Armadillo Hole

Red ants. It is said that if you drill for water where they go in and out of the ground you will find it.

More red ants

Bone pile

More pig rooting

These pigs have rooted everywhere

Pops with gun standing beside yucca plant

Huge prickly pear cactus

Roadrunner (internet picture)

Look at this thorn. Pops stepped on one and ran it right through his shoe and into his foot.

Thorn shrub

A beautiful end to the evening