We have been working so much. I am about run ragged. Since I last wrote on the blog we have left Danville, VA and gone to Scarborough, ON then from there to Ft. Drum, NY to Little Rock, AR then to Jackson, TN to Laredo, half way to San Antonio, back to Laredo then to San Antonio, TX. From there clear south to Brownsville, TX and then way north to Toronto, ON and then to Decatur, IL; all in one week’s time.
We were on layover in Danville, VA waiting on a load that picked up Monday evening. It was Orbit gum boxes and it was going to Scarborough, ON. So we hung out at the truckstop and got all caught up on all of our normal layover stuff like laundry and such. I watched movies and just relaxed. It was relaxing.
We went to pick up our load and had to wait for a little while because it wasn’t quite ready for us. When it was, Pops helped to load and then secured the freight while I took care of all the necessary Canadian paperwork to clear the border. Shortly after that we were rolling down the highway, or up however you view going north. Haha
It was foggy and we were seeing a lot of deer along the roadway. Pops was driving and the roads were winding and curvy. It wasn’t long before I left him on his own and I hit the bed. I woke up once during the trip and then again when we crossed the border.
We both have to be up front anytime we cross the border, which definitely causes loss of sleep sometimes. But we got through the border with no problems.
Our delivery in Ontario was about 1 ½ hours inside the border. I decided to lay back down for a little while and Pops continued on to the delivery.
I woke up at the delivery and took the dogs out. Now it was my turn to drive. We were offered a load that picked up at Ft. Drum, NY and was going to Little Rock, AR. This was a military load. I drove us back out of Ontario and toward Syracuse, NY. We stopped at a rest area north of Syracuse. It was a real nice place. We were going to stay there for the night.
We woke up early the next morning around 5am and when I checked my phone I saw that my daughter, Starla, had gone to the ER. I knew that she had an infection and then I knew that things became complicated, but I found out that chest pains is why she was at the hospital.
I kept in constant contact with my son in law, Bill. He told me that all tests were coming back ok and that the ER said that if it weren’t for her pacemaker history he would send her home. But they were waiting for her heart doctor to come in.
Several people from our home church were at the hospital with her, Chad our preacher, Melvin and Ginny our elder and his wife and our good friends, Clarence and Robin, and Mary, Bill’s mother. I was so worried about her but glad that she had good company.
Bill P., our son in law was so good through all of that. He took the day off and called me about every time a nurse walked past the room. But that was comforting for me. I was glad when she was released to go home.
Meanwhile we had been making our pickup at Ft. Drum. We were hauling weapons. We drove to the wrong part of the base so we had to wait for an escort to show us where to go. Then it didn’t take long to get us loaded and away we went.
I was driving first and it was a nice day, but a very long trip. Pops tried to rest some while I drove us the whole length of NY and then around Lake Erie, through Erie and into Cleveland. We switched over somewhere after that. I stayed awake for awhile. I remember going through Columbus, OH and then into Cincinnati, I really like that city at nighttime. It is so pretty and there happened to be a Reds game going on as we drove through, so the stadium was all lit up too.
Just on the other side of the Ohio river is Florence, KY and this is when I decided that I better go to sleep. I must have slept ok because the next thing I remember was seeing an airplane fly across the road right in front of the windshield. What a thing to see when you first open your eyes! But because of that I knew without asking that we were in Arkansas.
There is an airport there that always has low flying planes. They mostly do crop dusting but this one was just flying around.
It was my turn to drive and we were only about 40 miles from the military base where we were delivering. We stopped at the gate and went through the normal clearances to be allowed to enter. Because of us hauling weapons we had to be escorted to our delivery site, but they drove us to the wrong building so we had to go back to the opposite side of the base. We only had one skid so it was unloaded quickly.
Now we were headed toward Memphis for layover. It is about 2 hours away.
Before we got there though we were offered another load. It was picking up in Jackson about 90 miles east of Memphis and going to Laredo, TX. We accepted the load. I was so happy to be going to Texas. I love Texas. I am always so happy whenever we get to go there especially if there is any chance that we can visit Tate and Shirley. And usually when we go to Laredo we head to San Antonio for our layover.
So I drove us to Jackson for our pickup and then I started the drive to Laredo. Our pickup was easy but Pops always has to break up his sleep. He never seems to get enough sleep. I don’t know how he keeps going.
Once we were loaded I turned us back west. We would go back through Memphis, Little Rock and kept going. Pops started to drive just before we got into Texas. It wasn’t long before I was in bed.
When I woke up Friday morning we were not too far from Laredo and it was HOT! Already in the morning. We stopped at a rest area on I35 that is so beautiful. I had pictures of it before on the blog. I took the dogs out and got us something to eat. Our main air conditioner wasn’t working so we only had the one up front. I watched the outside temperature climb up to 96 that day. We reached Laredo and made our delivery easily and was heading back up the highway toward San Antonio. We had called Tate and Shirley and we were going to get our air conditioner fixed and then go out to eat with them. I was so excited.
After driving about 80 miles we got a load offer. It was back in Laredo and delivered in Laredo. We would make about $80 to turn around and do that load. We decided it wasn’t worth it to us and declined the load. It was only a few minutes later when Pops’ phone rang and it was our company. They really needed that load covered is there any amount we would do it for? Pops told them that we were already 80 up the highway and before he could say anything else, they offered an amount that would pay him and I $300. So I turned around and headed back to Laredo.
We made the pickup and drove 8 miles away and delivered and then once again headed back up the highway toward San Antonio. But now our plans with Tate and Shirley were put off until Saturday morning.
We got to the truckstop about 8pm and I went in and got our laundry done and we got showered. Just as we were about to go to bed we were offered a load. This one picked up in Brownsville, TX and was going to Ontario. But it picked up early Saturday morning. We declined the load because we wanted to visit with Tate and Shirley and get our A/C fixed.
Saturday morning our company called and raised the money on the Brownsville load and changed the times so that we could still have time to get work done and have a short visit with the owners. So we accepted the load.
While the men worked on the truck, Shirley and I went into town. She needed to go to the bank and I wanted some things from the store. Pops called me while we were in the store and said that Fedex wanted us to get moving as soon as possible because they didn’t want us near the Mexican border after dark.
Man, I was so disappointed. Our visit was cut short, just like that. When Shirley and I got back to their place the A/C was working and we had to leave. I hated that. I miss Shirley and enjoy spending time with her. Besides, Lucy was having a blast there. She always does. She gets to run around all she wants and scare up strange critters. Shirley has an armadillo that lives under her porch and there were several wild turkeys there when we pulled in. Chuck always wears himself out within a half hour but Lucy was still having fun 2 hours into the visit. But we had to go.
I began that drive. It was 277 miles south to Brownsville from San Antonio. But I like the drive. We have been down this way a couple of times already so it is familiar and I like the scenery. Pops tried to sleep but we hadn’t even gone 5 miles before the A/C quit working again. Well, so much for that. Now it was getting really hot too.
We got to Brownsville around 6pm and had to wait for someone to come in to load our truck. This was a hazardous materials load going into Canada so there was 3 times the paperwork. We did get loaded and get away from there before dark so that was good.
We found out earlier that yesterday, (while we were all around Laredo) that there had been 14 killed in Laredo. And even more just across the border in Mexico. Some of those were shot, some were hung from bridges and the ones in Mexico were be-headed. And we were only 2 ½ miles from where this was happening!!! No wonder they increased the money so easily to get us to take the load.
Anyway, we reached to Border Patrol checkpoint and were questioned but allowed through with no problems. We did see one truck get stopped and searched and the occupants were taken away. One flatbed truck that appeared to be hauling bags of cement mix was being searched and they were cutting open all of the bags. Inside the building looked to be about 15 to 20 people that looked to be Mexican.
Pops started to drive once we got back to San Antonio area. Just that down and back trip chewed up my whole driving day. Texas is big.
I stayed awake for a while but was sleeping before we reached Austin. I did wake up briefly when we drove through Waco, but then slept until we were all the way through Dallas and it’s outlying areas. Then I started to drive.
We were going to Ontario and I wasn’t sure how we would go at first but Gypsy was sending us back through Little Rock, over to Memphis then north. So I drove and drove and had a lot of thinking of time.
I sometimes have problems with anxiety and it was trying to get the best of me during this trip. I guess with Starla not being well and then several very good friends of ours of going through some really bad times right now. One dear young man that we both love very much is going through a lot. He opened up his home to a family of 5 that had no other options. Their young boy has heart problems and that depleted them financially so they are now living under his roof . And he is having an awful time at work with his boss increasing his work load on Wednesdays to the point where he is at work 14 hours that day and that is the day that he works with the youth at his church. He is really struggling emotionally.
Another very good friend of ours called Pops and told him that because of his dad being so sick that the doctor wanted to put him on morphine to make him comfortable, that that was really all they could do for him now. So he and his family were with him while he spent his last few days on earth. He passed away on Sunday. So we mourned and prayed with that family.
Another good friend from back home is going through a horrible ordeal right now and is not allowed to talk about it, but shared a little with Pops and asked for prayer. All I can say is that as a parent I would think this would be any parents’ nightmare to have to endure. My heart breaks for her and she is in our prayers and thoughts.
There just seems to be so much sadness and sorrow everywhere and like I said with Starla being ill, it just broke me. I cried while I drove and I prayed. And I kept on because what else can you do? You know, sometimes you feel like your world is falling apart and then hear about others. I am honored and blessed to be able to at least be able to pray for these people and I am honored and blessed that they call us and share their lives with us.
Sometimes this job gets so lonely. I mean, I have Pops and the dogs, but sometimes you just want to be connected to others. We have a lot of good people in our lives and I am very grateful for all of those that continue to call us and love us through prayer and support too.
So I did manage to get us all the way into Illinois somewhere. Honestly I don’t recall where but we stopped for fuel and then decide to take the time to go inside for a restaurant meal. That was nice for a change. But by the time we ate our salad and soup we had to get a box for our meal.
While we were in there it started to rain and I mean really rain! It was thundering and there was lightening and once began driving we even had some really big hail. I was talking with Bill and Starla on the phone and they could hear the rain and hail beating off our truck. It was so loud that I was afraid it was going to crack our windshield. But it didn’t.
Pops was driving now so after a short time I went to bed. When I woke up we were in Michigan. We weren’t too far from the border so I got up and made coffee. I was worried about getting this load into Canada because it came from Mexico and it was a hazmat load. But we got through pretty easily. Now we had about two hours at least until we reached our delivery.
Somewhere inside the Canadian border we switched over and I began to drive. We reached our destination before lunch time and before we even opened our doors to unload we were offered another load. This one picked up in Canada as fast as we could get there from here and was going to Decatur, IL for the next day. We accepted and got the load.
So we got the hazmat off and drove 23 miles to our next pickup. We got 2 very large machine parts going to the Caterpillar plant in Decatur.
Pops’ sleep had been all messed today because of the border and all the stops and fueling. I felt bad for him. He only got about 4 or 5 hours if that and it was all broken up. I was still driving when we again reached the border right at Detroit. The line was long, it took us over an hour to get through just because of all the trucks in line. But we got through with no problems. I drove for another 2 hours so that he could get a little more sleep and somewhere near the Indiana line (still in Michigan) we switched off.
We have been running so hard that legally I have to have tomorrow off. I need a 34 hour restart to be legal. It was now almost 1am on Tuesday morning so I cannot drive again until Wednesday around 9am.
Pops made the delivery and then drove us to a Walmart parking lot. We park here sometimes when we come to Decatur. I like it here. It is a small plaza and is very roomy for trucks and the area and stores are nice.
Once he parked I fell back to sleep and he laid down too. We slept until 10am. We are exhausted.
So I used this day off to get some groceries finally. We were out of EVERYTHING! We didn’t even have water to make coffee and I do believe that has to be some kind of a sin. Anyway, we now have groceries and water. We got fuel in the truck and refilled our truck water tanks for washing and doing dishes. And except for our A/C we are good to go again, once tomorrow at 9am arrives.