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.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

We are busy this year, so far

So, it is snowing in Indianapolis and windy cold. And that makes the thoughts of going into Canada frightening. We stayed the whole day and night at the Walmart and in the morning we drove the few miles to our place of pickup.
Like I said it was snowing and cold and since it was January 2nd very few people were working so we had to wait for our load. We waited 2 hours until it was ready and it was only 1 pallet of food packaging.
We drove up through Michigan and into Detroit. We were crossing the ambassador bridge into Canada. We got through the crossing without any delays.
We drove for many miles and the roads weren’t too bad but then a storm came up and it snowed like crazy. But people still drove like the roads were dry. I’m glad that Pops was driving. We reached Toronto around 10pm. It is absolutely the largest city that I have ever seen anywhere. It boasts a population of 2 million people. The skyscrapers were miles in every direction and the architecture of the buildings was amazing. Of course we had to drive through the center of all of that.
We found Kraft Foods easily enough but didn’t think we could enter this time of night so we looked for somewhere to park for the night. We weren’t in a very good area so we weren’t sure what to do. We found a driveway and was going to park there, but behind the fence there were 3 large dogs so we decided to drive on.
We eventually found a parking lot to stay the night.
After unloading in the am we drove around the lake and was ready to cross the border back into the US and we got a load offer to go back to Canada, but it was taken by another truck. So we drove on to Buffalo, NY.
Later that day we got a load picking up in Grand Island, NY and going to Milwaukee. It was a hazmat load. Once again there were few workers there because of the holiday week.
Milwaukee is an old, old city, but it is so pretty and right along the lake. We got another load leaving from Milwaukee and going to Atlanta for the next morning.
This place where we were picking up was a mess. It looked like a junk yard. There was so much broken up wood and scrap metal pieces and old barrels and crates. The building didn’t look much better. It had broken windows and graffiti all over. I really wondered what kind of business would do business like that.
We waited for over an hour before we were told to back into the dock and then once we did, they decided our part wasn’t ready. It needed to be repainted! We were told that we would have to wait 4-6 more hours. Well now for sure I wasn’t thinking too highly of that business.
But long after dark our part was ready and we got moving toward Atlanta and toward the warm temperatures.
On the way to Atlanta, we stopped a few times at several rest areas and I was starting to feel warmer and warmer. At one place I even found dandelions growing and honey bees flying around. This was making me happy.
We made it to Atlanta the next afternoon and got unloaded and then headed to the truck stop.  We went and got showers and then settled in for the evening. I was talking on the phone to Bill and Starla. We were talking about movies and it was funny because as soon as I got off the phone with them some guy came around to the trucks selling movies. He had homemade copies of all the latest movies including movies that weren’t even out on DVD yet. So I did buy some.
The next morning we cleaned the truck, I worked on the inside and Pops swept and cleaned up the box. We were pretty dirty on the outside from all of the ice and salt that we had been running through lately too.
We went inside at lunch time to get something to eat and when we were coming back out there was a young man waiting near our truck. He asked us if we had any food that we could share with him. He explained that he is out of work and lived nearby and wanted to wash our truck for food. I asked him how he planned to wash it. He said that he would carry buckets of water from across the street to wash it.
Pops took him inside and bought the man and his girlfriend some food. And no, we didn’t let him wash our truck. He was telling us that he is not a bum and that his dad brought him to Atlanta hoping to find work and that he hadn’t had any luck finding anything yet. You could tell that he was sincere. I felt really bad for him. And he was so grateful for the food that Pops bought for him.
We got a load offer shortly after that and it was going back up north to Aurora, IL. It was a Caterpillar load which we like to do.
I was driving 65 miles per hour up the interstate at Atlanta and we heard a strange buzzing noise. It was a motorcycle or rather many motorcycles racing past us and swerving in and out of the traffic. There were at least 20 of them and they were out of sight in seconds. As I said, I was going 65 mph, we figure they were doubling our speed. Wow, that is fast! And it leaves no room for error. It kind of made me sick in my stomach when I think of how foolish that was for them.
We drove to our place of pickup and got loaded immediately. But then our truck made a horrible sound and wouldn’t start. For some reason all of our air had leaked off and we had to keep turning on the key over and over again to get it to build up enough for the truck to even start. And then once the air pressure built up it ran ok, but we noticed that the air bag for our tag axle (which is an axle that can be dropped down if carrying heavy weight) was twisted really badly. The tag axle was still coming down and going up but we weren’t sure if it was supporting the weight evenly. So we ran the trip and made the delivery and then went straight to the garage at the TA truckstop.
They pulled us into the garage and worked on the airbag for about an hour. They got it untwisted and working without needing any new parts. So it was a pretty low cost fix. And didn’t take too long either.
Wow, I couldn’t believe it was Saturday evening already. This past week had kept us busy and time went by quickly.
So now we needed to find a church in the area for our worship tomorrow morning. It didn’t take us too long to find one in Kenosha, WI. And it turned out that one of Pops’ facebook friends was a member there. So that was easily settled. We would go there.
The next morning we got up and drank coffee while Pops had a conference call meeting with Ralph, Chad, Jeff and Melvin. That idea is working out really well for them. It keeps everyone on the same page all the time.
After their meeting Pops and I showered and got ready for church. We were going to be attending the second service.
When we pulled into the parking lot we noticed how big it was. It looked like a school. And the parking lot was full of cars. The first service must get most of the attendance, we thought.
A woman came over to our truck and introduced herself as Annette. She had attended the first service and welcomed us to First Christian and chatted for a few minutes. She was very nice and made us feel welcome.
We entered the building and couldn’t get over how big it was. When we went into the auditorium we saw that most of the chairs were full. There had to have been about 300-400 people there.
The service started off with a skit and singing by the praise band and it was very good. And then it went into Communion time and then the preacher gave his message. His name was Brian Gorman. He was a young man and told all about the series of sermons that he had planned for the coming weeks but wanted us all to feel like a family. He talked a lot about the family dynamics and then about Adam and Eve and how they were a family  and really gave a lot of background to the upcoming series.
It sounds like First Christian Church in Kenosha, WI is really trying hard to have everyone feel connected and like they belong.
I really wish that we would have gotten to talk to Jeff Bush, but time and circumstances just didn’t permit it, I hope to next time though.
Later that evening we were on a load that was being transferred to our truck from another truck and then we were taking the load way up north in Ontario, Canada to Sudbury.
We met up with the transfer truck around six in the evening and the freight was so small that Pops just picked it up and moved it over to our truck. It was one crate weighing only 88 pounds. They had brought that the whole way from California and now we were going up into Canada with it. It seems nuts sometimes.
I wish that we were making this trip in the daylight because we were going across the Michigan Peninsula and around the edge of Lake Huron and then through some pretty rural areas of Canada. Even in the dark I could see that this was a beautiful place although there were very few houses and towns and I mean very few.
It was cold! It was only 6 degrees and really windy. The icy air seemed to be finding it’s way into our truck any way it could. All of a sudden I felt the brakes come on and then Bang! Oh boy, we hit something and I think I knew that it was a deer before I even asked. Sure enough, three deer had run out and we nailed that last one.
Pops got out and looked at the damage. It broke up our headlight and cracked our hood in a couple of places and bent the corner of the bumper all the way back to the tire.
Pops pulled the bumper out the best he could and then he and I worked for 2 hours in that frigid weather on the headlight. We got it to work but it isn’t pointed where it needed to be. Oh well, at least it works.
That incident made it hard to enjoy the rest of the trip. The beauty of the ride just didn’t get noticed in the way that it deserved to be.
So we reached Sudbury early in the morning and delivered our little crate. It turns out that it is gas used in deep mines to determine the presence of harmful, fatal gases. I guess it is pretty important stuff.
I was driving us back to Kitchener, ON for our layover and we were driving down highway 69. I began to notice these small stacks of rocks all along the way. The further I drove the more I noticed them. They almost looked like little rock people. What in the world? I saw hundreds of them. What could be the significance of them I wondered. I couldn’t wait to get out of Canada so I could google that and find out.
We drove past Kitchener to a truckstop in Woodstock, Ontario and spent the night. We listened to the playoff game between Alabama and LSU. We really hoped that LSU would win but someone forgot to tell them that they needed to try to. It was a slaughter of them.
We got up the next morning and headed back toward the states. We crossed over at Port Huron and then drove down through Michigan toward Dearborn.
I googled the little rock stacks right away and found out that they are called “inukshuks.” You will have to look them up yourself for the info but I will tell you it is pretty interesting. Although I still don’t understand why they are along that highway and why there are so many. I guess one person started something and now everyone builds one.
We stopped at a rest area for a while and got something to eat then we got a load offer for a DOD load. This is a “Department of Defense” load and it requires a special clearances that each of us had just obtained. This would be our first official DOD load. It was also requiring that we be tracked by the gov’t by satellite and that one driver had to be with the truck and awake at all times.
We were picking up at Ft. Knox and going to PA. It was quite an experience. We didn’t have too much trouble getting into the gate at either place but we did have to go to a military safe haven to sleep for 3 hours. We were running early and couldn’t deliver until our appointment time so we had to stay at a military base near our delivery until our appointment time.
But we got to our delivery site which was a large military base and they climbed into our truck to inspect it. Pops told them we had two terriers and they said, “terrorists?” and then they laughed. The dogs handled all of those inspections really well and we never did have to crate them.
We are sitting at a truckstop near Harrisburg, PA now. I received bad news this morning that my dad was taken by ambulance to the hospital. He is having chest pain and his heart rate is really low. My brother and my sister are there with him. Melvin and Ginny from the church are there too and Chad is on his way to pick up Starla and take her. I am so very thankful for my church family. They mean the world to me.
I am glad that we are in Harrisburg. If dad’s test results aren’t good, then we can shoot home and be there in 2 hours. Please pray for my dad and our family.

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