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.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Stormy week

We ran over the weekend at arrived at our delivery in Indiana before they were open on Monday. While we waited to get unloaded we ate our breakfast. Pops had driven all night and he was tired. Shortly after, the load was off and pops slept while I drove us to Louisville, KY.
We were predispatched, but weren't picking up until late this evening. 
Pops called ahead to Memphis to set us up for a needed repair.
I got caught up on paperwork and kept quietly busy while Pops slept throughout the day. Then around 10 pm we drove a few blocks to our pickup. 
There were 3 other trucks besides us picking up at the same time but all going to different locations. 
The truck beside us was brand spanking new. And it was being driven by a couple in their early 20's. He said it was less than a week old and his father in law surprised them with it last weekend. It has a shower! I was envious. And believe I also coveted. Lord, forgive me, please.
We got loaded, pops was driving, I went to bed.
I woke up in Memphis. Our load was already off and we were almost to the repair shop. Our air conditioning unit had stopped working in the fall. In October we came to this shop to be repaired. Of course, the parts had to be ordered, however it was covered under warranty. So the parts were ordered. But this is our first opportunity to get here and have extra time. 
We planned to take ourselves out of service to reset our work hours. 
The repair took all of 20 minutes. 
We then drove to the truckstop that was less than 2 miles away to spend the day. 
I watched a Stephan King mini series in its entirety while Pops tried to sleep. 
Around supper time we got a dispatch picking up in Atlanta and going to Charlotte, NC. It picked up in the early morning and was a pretty big deadhead so we left that night.
The weather forecast was calling for severe weather in the south. Many states had tornado warnings and New Orleans and Baton Rouge had already had damage and some deaths. 
We knew that we would be driving through the areas under warning. I went to the bunk and hunkered down in prayer while Pops drove on.

The red is storm areas, the green line is our route.

Moon and star

Moon through the raindrops

We were told that this truck was blown over from the storms.

I woke up as we were entering the airport at Atlanta. We were getting our load right off an incoming plane. We made it through the storms of the night, yet the winds were still quite strong. The south had had many tornadoes and thunderstorms, the mid west had blizzards.
On our way to Charlotte, we sat in a traffic jam for over an hour. We heard that they were cleaning up freight and up righting a truck that had blown over in the windstorms.
We already knew that after this delivery we would be coming right back through this area for another pickup. 
We got to Charlotte and the load came off quickly. It was research items to help find a cure for the Zika virus. 
Now we were heading south again to Greenville, SC for a pickup. And again we sat in a traffic jam for a little over an hour for the same clean up activity.
Once we reached our Greenville location, which is a very large facility, we got signed in at the guardhouse and asked where our docks were located. At big plants, it sometimes is easy to get lost trying to find the right building and docks. We were told to follow the wide blue painted line on the pavement. There were also green and red lines. Easy,peasy. We drove right to our dock, backed in and was handed two buckets, yep, "handed" TWO BUCKETS. Now we were driving these all the way to Minneapolis.

Peach water tower in Gaffney, SC

Our 2 buckets

It was dark now and Pops was driving. We had to cross through the Smokey Mountains. It was snowing and rainy through there. Once we made it to the Tennessee side it was just rain, but still very windy and at one point, we were on a long bridge crossing the Holston River and the wind caught the side of our truck and blew us out of our lane. Oh my, I gasped, and my heart actually hurt. It scared me so badly. I wanted to go to bed and cover my head, but I was too scared. 
Then we got held up in another traffic jam. It was the third one in one day that lasted an hour or more. This time it was a rock slide. 
After we got through that one, we heard that it got even worse. In fact, it completely closed down the interstate and it is said to be closed for several weeks of clean up and repair. Wow, these storms are bad. 
And we saw even more.
As we drove through Indiana and Illinois, we saw so many abandoned, wrecked vehicles. These were casualties of the blizzards.
I drove all day. We stopped at the welcome center in Minnesota. We slept there. And then we woke early and drove to our destination. We weren't sure of where to go. We had 3 different sets of directions. When I got off the exit ramp, I needed to turn right then immediately get into the left lane for a left turn into the plant. 
I came off the ramp and waited for traffic. A car stopped to allow me out, but just as I made my move a car came out of the lane behind the stopped car and came around blowing the horn. They were right behind me now and followed as I turned left into the plant entrance. This is the same named company where we picked up but there were no painted lines to follow here and there were buildings all over the place and we had no idea where to go. So, I put my four way flashers on and tried to pull to the right hand side but 2 cars quickly passed me on the right. Then the horn blower passed me on the left, again blaring their horn. Wow, rude. 
After unloading our 2 buckets we drove east into Wisconsin to the closest truckstop. We had another dispatch but it did not pick up until later.
We watched tv and relaxed then drove to our next pickup. It went very quickly and without incident. So I started the drive to give Pops a chance to nap so that he could drive throughout the night. We were headed to Flint, MI. 
I like driving through Wisconsin. And yes, I did stop to buy some cheese curds and some other cheese products. 
On Saturday morning we made our delivery in Flint.

One of my most often photographed scenes, Castle Rock in Wisconsin.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

California and back

On Monday morning We got a dispatch that would pick up in Louisville later that afternoon and was going to Oceanside, CA. So I took advantage of the time by doing another load of laundry. Then we went to Waffle House for breakfast.
We picked up that afternoon and began our long trip. It was well over 2000 miles. I started out driving and drove until after dark. We were almost to St. Louis when we stopped to switch over.
It was dreary and dark as we came around St Louis and we could barely see the buildings and could not see the arch at all. So I went to bed.
When I woke up, we were already through Oklahoma City. Pops had driven 700 miles. Wow. 
I started to drive then and it was such a peaceful and scenic drive.
I love when you get west of the Mississippi River and you can put your vehicle in cruise control and drive for hundreds of miles without touching your brake pedal.
I drove the rest of the way through Oklahoma, the panhandle of Texas, and all of New Mexico and just crossed into Arizona when Pops took over. I drove 660 miles. We were a little ahead of schedule now. We were due to deliver the next morning in San Diego.
When I woke up the next morning, it was still dark because of the 3 hour time difference. So I drove from Barstow, CA to our delivery. We beat the early, Rush hour traffic. But it was still early here and the business wasn't open just yet. So we waited patiently.

After making our delivery we drove to a favorite rest area outside of San Diego. We love staying there. We can't get too close the beach because it is military land. But it is breezy, warm and a gorgeous waste of time.

Toward evening, at least by eastern time, we got a load picking up in Los Angeles at 4pm local time and delivering the next morning in Oakland, CA. We declined the load at first, until pick up time was changed to 9pm local time. We DID NOT want to go into L.A. During their rush hour.
So we stayed by the beach a little longer than headed into the city. 
By that time of day traffic was much, much lighter. 
We picked up 1 pallet of boxes from Fedex Office. And off we went, heading north on I-5.
I went to sleep. When I woke up we were sitting alongside the curb of a street, but not just any street, Broadway; the city center of Oakland.

There were tall buildings all around. Pops was not in the truck. It was just getting daylight. And this is what I saw when I looked out the window.

I saw people lying on the ground, near and under benches in the little park near the square. They were sleeping or just beginning to wake each other up. I will never get used to seeing that.
Pops came back and I found out that our delivery was inside the city square, about 2 blocks away, and this was as close as we could get. AND, AND, we could not take our pallet Jack back across the tile in the "square." So that meant that we would have to take the pallet apart and take as many boxes as we could,  at a time, on the dolly.
Our dolly was strapped in, BEHIND THE PRODUCT. Ugh!
A very nice Fedex Express man in a small van came by and overheard our dilemma, so he kindly offered his dolly, telling us we could leave it at the Fedex Office store when we were all done. How awesome was that? He didn't even know us. 
Ok then.
I will help.
Each box weighed 50 pounds and there were 34 of them.
Pops broke down the pallet and carried each box to the tail of the truck. I lifted them down and put them on the dolly. We got 12 on the dolly. 
Then pops climbed down, shut and locked the doors, and off we went, 2 blocks. Then once inside we had to unload and stack up against a wall there.
We did that 3 times. Whoo! What a sweaty workout. You can tell that we don't ever have to touch freight.

After we finished, we walked around the city square, which actually is like 4 city blocks with a boardwalk type setup in the center, with a few Square areas of parks, an upper and lower levels, and an actual center with a sculpture.
Then we drove out of the city to a superb and found a Walmart. 
Ah, San Francisco Giants souvenirs were everywhere to be found. I spent a lot of money. Oh well, we got paid pretty good for the additional work that we just had to do, unexpectedly.

After spending the night at Walmart, in the parking lot, we got a load picking up and going to Indiana. So early Friday morning we loaded and was now leaving the west coast. But we had a long way to go before leaving California, so I enjoyed the scenery on the way out. The nut trees were in full blossom. That meant honey bees were all over the place. I hit so many bees. The orange trees are loaded and being harvested. The date trees are, well, very well hung. And the California poppies have the hillsides arrayed in Orange. It was a beautiful day and a great ride. 

When we got to Barstow, the deserts edge, Pops started to drive and I went to bed. When I woke up we were just inside the New Mexican line. Pops slept as I drove. It was another scenic drive and although we've seen these sights, they don't get tiresome.

The Tohajiilee Indian Reservation, (pronounced toe-hoj-ii-lee)  is a non-contiguous section of the Navajo Nation,  west of the city of Albuquerque. The name comes from the Navajo phrase t√≥ hajiileeh√©, meaning "where people draw up water by means of a cord or rope.

Well working again on the weekend meant not being able to find and attend church. But we did plan our work break to coincide with a live stream service. 

Sunday afternoon was a baby shower for Tom and Sophia. It was a coed shower. Starla organized and set it all up. She had a lot of help from Mary Shaffer, Bill P's mom. It sounds like everyone had a good time, especially during the dirty diaper game.

This is Tom and Sophia. Tom is holding Addilyn, my nephew's daughter.

Amanda, Levi(nephew), Addilyn, Sophia, Tom

Our son, Frankie, his wife Melynie, Sophia, Tom, and grandson, Zachary.

Sophia, Tom, Mary Shaffer(Bill P's mom) and Starla

I sure hated missing the baby shower. I was so sad all day. When it was over I talked with Tom and Sophia. They are very grateful for what was done for them. Pops and I found out what was still needed and went online and made some purchases which will be sent directly to them. 
I am so very much in love with this little boy already. I can't wait to meet him. It won't be long now. 
Please, keep Tom and Sophia in your prayers as the due date gets nearer.