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 30, 2015

Christmas Week

We were almost to our delivery in Maryland. We were very close to the delta of the Patexent River. It flows into the Chesapeake Bay. The early morning sun was pretty. 
We had a load after that going to Rhode Island. This would leave us about 500 miles from home and so we worked out a deal with our company that they would pay us a small amount to go home in addition to our pay for the load. 

So we were off to Rhode Island. 
I had picked up a nasty cold on top of my allergies. So I felt sore, achy, headachy, whiny and miserable. The weather was pouring rain. 
Our delivery on Wednesday morning went smoothly and we were expecting to head home and get there by this evening. 
But then our company pestered us about one more load. We would need to go north, near Boston to pickup and it delivered Thursday (Christmas Eve) in Philadelphia. The pay was reasonable and they still agreed to give a little pay for us to head home, so we accepted.
It only took us a little over an hour to get to our pickup. We were told that we had to sit in the truck and wait.
Shortly, someone came out and our load cancelled. Oh no, now here we are almost 600 miles from home, no load and tomorrow is Christmas Eve. I was getting even more bawly. 
Pops called FedEx and explained our situation and the deal that we had worked out from before. He told them that we had had a deal to go home from Rhode Island, could we at least be paid that much so we could head home.
Well for some reason our original deal could not be found in their computers and the person we made the deal with was not yet at work.
We were told to head home and "we will work out something."
I didn't have a whole lot of faith at that point but I had even less patience, so we headed home. Pops was driving.
By the time we reached the Connecticut line, we got the dispatch on our computer. They did make our deal! And it included the Massachusetts miles too! Yay, now I could relax and focus on home time.

We saw these cars driving through Hartford, CT. I had never ever heard of a Pagani before, so I googled the license plate. I found out that this car is 1 of 1 ever made. It is valued at $400,000. It is 670hp which means it can go 217 mph. It can do 0-62mph in just 3 seconds!
Who can afford this car? Well, a divorce attorney from Long Island, NY, of course.

The Timex museum is in Waterbury, CT.

We got home Wednesday night and slept in our truck so as not to wake up Bill and Starla. On Thursday Starla and I went grocery shopping to buy all the food for our weekend. We had no plans for Christmas Eve other than last minute prep.
On Christmas Day, our morning was just Pops, Bill P., Starla and myself. We opened our gifts and then just lounged around.
Later in the morning we were visited by my sister, Amy and her husband, Scott. Their son, Levi and wife, Amanda came too. They are expecting their first child, a little girl, in just a week or so.
Later that night Bill P's kids came to visit. 

The next day, Saturday, was our family meal. Almost everyone was there, except for grandkids, Derrick (in the army, overseas) and Katie (on college basketball team, playing in Las Vegas.)
We made a smoked turkey and a deep fried turkey. We had mashed potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, tossed salad, jello with pears, corn and limas, stuffing, cookies, fudge eight pies and who knows what else. We sure didn't leave hungry.
Instead of traditional pictures, we each brought a wrapped pair of silly socks, exchanged the wrapped socks and then took family pictures of the feet.
The top, left photo is mine and Pops'.
On Sunday we attended our home church of Wills Mountain Church of Christ. It was so good to be there. I just love my church family so very much.
Later, Sunday evening, we were invited to some friends, Jim and Elizabeth Housel. We have known them for so many years.
It was so nice to just get away with friends and relax. My stress levels and emotions had been going crazy lately, so this visit was just wonderful. 
Liz gave me a ring. It says, grateful. It is a beautiful reminder to me to BE grateful and remain grateful no matter what else is going on. 
I believe we stayed a little long, but we were enjoying the visit so much, AND THEY HAVE 3 DOGS!!!
I like dogs a little bit. Hah! I LOVE LOVE LOVE dogs.
Before we left Jim and Liz sang a song for us that they picked out just for Pops. It was called, I need the prayers.
Oh, man, it was great!

We had a great holiday at home. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Enough of Winter

We got Up early, well Pops did, I was awake but stayed on the bed. He made it to he chain up area and the road was still closed. So we waited a little longer until we saw traffic going. We tried again. At first they told us no, it had to be chains, but Pops told them that he saw on the internet that Nevada had just recently approved the tire socks. So, they left us go but told us that there was another checkpoint at Truckee, CA.
We made it to Truckee. They looked at our tire socks and waved us through. Oh, boy, Donner Summit, here we come. 
We made it! No problems at all. 85 miles of mountain and we did just fine on the incline and the descent.
By the time we were 2/3 of the way down, we were out of snow.
We made it to our pickup on time. But ended up being there for hours. There was no "hurry up" in anyone who worked there. I mean, everyone was friendly, but no one cared to make us a priority. However we did get our load on and then it was back up and over the same mountain for our delivery near Reno.
But what a difference a few hours had made. The roads were cleared of snow and ice and we're just wet now.
It was a much better trip back.

We got a call from our company. They wanted us to change our pre dispatch. We had been scheduled for a load picking up in Las Vegas going back to Columbus, OH. This trip was the bargaining chip for us to accept the California load in the first place. So giving it up sounded ridiculous. However we were offered a good load with good pay going from California to Bloomington, Indiana. So there went our Las Vegas load. 
Then it was once again back up and over the mountain to California. Pops was driving this time while I slept. 
He woke me up as we got near to the pickup. It was my turn to drive and we were about 30 miles out. The day was clear and sunny but still a little cool. Traffic was pretty light.
We were about 8 miles away when we got a message that this load was cancelling. 
Oh no! Now here we are in California wanting to be east so we can be home for Christmas. 
We sat still, waiting, hoping for something else. I was trying really hard not to cry or be panicky. 
We were offered several loads. All of them were intrastate California. Then another Las Vegas load came to us. It was delivering in Pittsburgh! We accepted the load. 
But we didn't get it.
Finally we accepted and were dispatched on a load delivering in Denver, CO. At least it was east of the Rocky Mountains and we would still have a week to work our way closer. 
But before we even began to move the truck, that load cancelled too.
A load came going from Seattle, WA to eastern Maryland. We looked at the miles, the pay, the opportunity to get close to home, then we looked at the weather. Oh, goodness, the weather was going to be snowy. 
Well, we have the awesome tire socks, right?
So we accepted and got the load.
I was driving, north, up through California. It was a very pretty drive. But by my bedtime we were in the mountains and it was beginning to snow.

Pops had some snow covered roads, but when I woke up it was raining really hard. We were near Portland, Oregon.
This is Portland.

We had the evening free so Pops called some friends of ours, Howard and Debbie Herndon. They were free too and offered to take us to dinner. They picked us up and we went to Jasmine Mongolia Grill. 
It was a buffet of every kind of meat and vegetable. They were raw. So you fill bowls of whatever you want, take them to the grill and watch them cook it. It was so good.
We had such a lovely time with them. It ended way too soon and they drove us back to our truck, presented us with a fresh baked gingerbread loaf and we all said goodbye.

After picking up our load the next morning we set out for our long journey. Our computer said it was just over 2900 miles.
We were just 53 miles from leaving our pickup when we were stopped. The road was already closed down because of snow removal ahead. We waited two hours until we were allowed to leave provided you were chained up. Pops put the tire socks on and we got was a long, slow climb. Three times we came to a complete stop and all three times I pulled out without spinning a wheel. We were just so impressed with the tire socks.

Near the top Pops began to drive. It was just as slow back down the big mountain. He drove, I slept.
I woke up in Montana. It was still dark and still snowing very hard. I started to drive. I took it slow, very slowly.

After a while I found bare roads. It was so good to finally sigh in relief. It had been over 600 miles of snowy roads so far.

We started to notice a lot of deer. They seemed to be everywhere.

Then came Wyoming and South Dakota. There was still some snow, but the roads were good.

The rest of our trip, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland seemed like a breeze. 

This is Mason, our grandson. He seems to be growing big and strong. I can't wait to meet him.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Taste of winter

After leaving church at Christview on Sunday we did our normal Sunday stuff, groceries, laundry, football watching and Hallmark movies.
Our pickup on Monday morning was near the Memphis airport. I always enjoy watching planes and all these were FedEx planes.
Then we got moving and was headed toward Elmira,NY. I was driving first. Pops was resting but not sleeping because we both had slept a full night. 
I saw this guy in Kentucky.

I drove almost to Cincinnati, OH. We stopped at a rest area short of the city to eat and switch off. I tried to get some nice pictures of Cincinnati at night, but it is almost impossible while moving. Geese, I wish we could just stop some places for pictures. I think Cincinnati at night is such a pretty city. Oh well.
We made it to Albany by the next morning and got our load off fairly quickly. Now we had a short mileage trip but it would take up most of the day.
We were picking up in Tarrytown, NY which is an old historic town alongside the Hudson River just north of New York City. 
We had to cross the long Tappenzee Bridge across the Hudson. Last time we crossed it we noticed that there was some kind of construction going on at one end of the bridge. This time we realized that a brand new bridge is in the process of being built. It is a little higher from the water than the current Tappenzee Bridge.
And that load delivered the same day near Albany, NY
From Albany we got a load picking up the next morning near Boston, MA. So we drove that direction and hoped to find a place to park for the evening. Boston area is not very trucker friendly. There aren't many truck stops at all and the ones that are there have only 20-30 parking spots so they fill up quickly. And the Walmarts in Massachusetts don't allow overnight parking either, so parking is ALWAYS a concern. 
So what Pops decided to do was, drop south off the interstate into the first rest area in Connecticut. We found parking there, but we were still around 80 miles short of our pickup location. That meant we had to get up early and make our way through the Boston traffic. 
We were surprised to drive right in with hardly any traffic stoppages. We picked up one small package and driving it to Denver, CO.
It was easy to load the one piece and strap it in. It took longer to do the paperwork involved. And now we would take Interstate 90 from here clear to Chicago area. 
I was driving first, as usual. I drove through Massachusetts, and almost the entire width of New York. Pops took over around the Buffalo area. He drove to Erie, PA and we stopped to eat and walk at the Erie Walmart one of our favorite places to walk. 
But it was cold and drizzly. The wind was coming in off the lake. I could feel it in my sinuses and wondered if walking in that was a good idea. 
After that I went to sleep as Pops drove. He drove over 600 miles that night.
When I woke up, we were about an hour west of Chicago and we're now on Interstate 80. I started my drive and Groggy Pops went right to bed.
This is daybreak in Illinois.
It wasn't long before I was in Iowa. The world's biggest truck stop is in Wolcott, IA. 

 Each day as I drive I take an hour to listen to my audio Bible. I am following a reading plan from my home church. But I always do two days at a time just to pass the time and I really enjoy the dramatized version.
And I always have audiobooks to listen to as well. They always make my drive go by faster. I got through Iowa and then it was Nebraska. 
Nebraska is a long or wide state. It takes a long time to get through. I drove through most of it and then at dark, we did our normal: park at Walmart, eat and walk. I had driven 599.3 miles today. Then bedtime for me.

I woke up at our delivery site and actually Pops already had the load off. So we parked along the curb in the industrial park. We didn't have a predispatch and was hoping for one more load. It was Friday morning. While waiting, I watched the gophers. 
We got a load offer that our company really needed us to do. It was picking up in California and then delivering near Reno, NV. We turned it down. We are worried that we might get stranded in the west and not be home for Christmas. So to sweeten the deal they offered us a backup load from Las Vegas to Columbus, OH. So we accepted.
It was a 1200 mile deadhead to our pickup.

We stayed around Denver area until early in the morning. I woke up at 4:30am, which was 2:30 local time and got us going. 
I hadn't driven 70 miles before running into bad weather. It was near Laramie, WY. And it was ice. For the next 200 miles I drove s l o w l y across icy roads. It was very stressful. 
But once the sun came up the roads cleared off. And then it was actually a very pretty drive.

I drove to the truckstop at Toole, UT. I had driven through a big snowstorm Park City, UT. It was still daylight when Pops took over but it had been a long, long day and my nerves were worn thin. And we knew that we were in for even more bad weather near Elko, NV and then we had Donner Summit in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
I went to bed. Our plan was to stop in Sparks, NV for church. When I woke up, it was snowing hard. We were in Sparks. We went in for a shower and found out when we were in there that a road closing snow storm was coming. 
Should we leave now to try to cross the mountain or what? We wasted an hour or so with our company trying to decide. In the end we were told to wait until midnight when the storm would be done.
We found out that the church we planned to attend could not accommodate our truck but they did post their sermons online. So we had on online service with the Summit Christian Church of Sparks, NV. 
The evangelist is Steve Bond and gave an inspiring message on giving. 
After church some friends that Pops knew from a prayer group on Facebook came by. We have never met them face to face. Yet, it wasn't long before We felt as if we had always known each other. We went to dinner at a place called Black Bear Diner. Of course, it is a bear themed place with good home style food choices big big, big portions. 
We had such a great afternoon. None of us wanted it to end. 
Once back to our truck we settled in for movies. After about an hour, Mike came back bringing gifts from him and Judy. It was a bear candle holder and a bear phone. How nice. And we will always remember our day with Mike and Judy.

We did not get to leave Sparks area until the next morning early. The storm had closed the roads for awhile and then several wrecks occurred once it opened, which caused it to close again.
We found out that the chain law was in effect. All vehicles were required to use snow chains to cross. We do not have tire chains, we have a new product called tire socks.
Would we be permitted to use them to get across? Would they be good enough to get us through?

To be continued...