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, March 27, 2016

Moon and sunrises

On Monday we we were offered a load picking up Tuesday but it would require us to deadhead to Lynchburg, VA. We got moving about 4 pm and headed east. It was about a six hour drive. Pops drove it and I stayed upfront, keeping him company. We didn't rush and we still got there by 11pm. 
It was a radioactive load so it was in a remote location. We knew of a big wide abandoned lot near our pickup location so we parked there to sleep. 
We woke up early because getting into the plant requires a lot of security checks and very inspections of our truck, inside and out. Eventually we were loaded and cleared to go. Now we were headed to Baltimore and then a follow up load after that.
We scrambled as quickly as the small town roads would allow to make our delivery so we could get to our next pickup ASAP. We didn't want it to bump over until tomorrow.

We made record time to Baltimore even after getting stopped by DOT for a roadside inspection. Oh man, I just hate these especially with radioactive or explosive loads. You got to hope and pray that every bit of paperwork, packaging, labeling, mechanics, logbooks, everything is a-ok or they will hang you out to dry. But after noticing my radioactive placards the officer told me drive on out that he wasn't qualified to inspect radioactive loads, whew. And then at destination, once again several checks just to get in and then in not so rapid time, we got unloaded. Now a quick jaunt up to Newark, NJ. 
We made it. In time. However when Pops grabbed the clipboard and went to the door to get in,.........we were 24 hours! Ugh, and after hurrying around so much too. Now what?
We drove to a Walmart that was kind of inner city. Sometimes they don't allow overnight parking. This one was really nice. It was in a giant grouping of other stores with parks and benches and walking trails and duck ponds and inner courtyards. Wowwee, fancy! We didn't see any no overnight parking signs so we parked there at Walmart near the lawn and garden side. 
We did our walking just around the Walmart lot that evening. The weather was mild. And a big, full moon was rising.

Sunset in Pennsylvania

We slept well.
In the morning after breakfast we walked again. This time we walked all around the walking trails past the courtyards and duck ponds. We had to watch our every steps. There was goose droppings everywhere. It was a little gross.
That afternoon we returned to our pickup location right on time, this time. We were loaded with a whole load of pig skins. The temperatures had to be monitored very carefully. These pig skins were for medical purposes, mostly for skin grafting of burn patients.
We drove those to a big place in Kentucky and then had the whole day free until evening. So we parked at the industrial park and walked the employee trails around the factories.
The factory beside us had a large screen tv mounted outside their building. They had just manufactured a k-cup attachment for your refrigerator that would brew a cup of coffee right from the water of your refrigerator door. Pretty cool.
Next we had a pickup in Louisville, KY. It was due to pickup at 4pm. Well, 8pm we were still sitting empty. We weren't even sure that it wasn't going to cancel. Oh my goodness, this job lately is getting on our last nerves. And it sure doesn't help that we haven't been home, sleeping in our own bed, since the day after Christmas. It's been a long stretch. 
But we have talked with many other drivers doing the same thing as us. They are as frustrated and weary as we are. It is just not a good time in the economy for expedited truckers.
We did get our load on and get moving. Pops drove all night to get us to our destination the next morning. Now we were empty near Raleigh, NC. And it was Friday. So we just hoped for a good load to start out with on Monday.
By noon on Friday we had a pretty good Monday/Tuesday load. So we decided to take the opportunity in our down time to get all of our oil changes and other maintenance to both our truck and the generator. It took all afternoon, but now it's done.
We walked there at the truckstop Friday evening and then again Saturday morning. Then we moved on closer to our Monday load.
We got in touch with a preacher friend that told us about a good church in the area where we would be. Great. It was Resurrection Sunday weekend. I contacted the church and got hold of the preacher. I had heard of him and had heard him speak at a family camp once but had never met him. His name is D. J. Maxey. He is the evangelist of Eastern Pines Church of Christ in Greenville, NC. 
He told us to park in the grass near their church van. 
We got there late Saturday night, parked and slept.
They were having a Sonrise service besides the other two services, with a breakfast in between. 
We got up early, before dawn. It was a little chilly but the service was held outside under the pavilion. It was good to be part of. Then we went in with them to breakfast. Everyone was so friendly and D. j. Was like an old friend.
After that we went back to the truck to have a cup of coffee and to warm up a little. 
Then we went back inside to attend the first service at Eastern Pines.
After church I spoke with each of our kids, either by text, phone or video chat. I miss them so much especially on holidays. 
Pops and I went out to dinner. It was a nice day. A glorious day. 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Boom Boom loads

Pops and I had 4 trips this week, so we did run. However, they were kind of short mileage wise and the rates have really dropped. But what can we do? We are out here to work. So let's make lemonade.
We started in Illinois near St. Louis. We picked up an explosive load. It was going into the deep dark woods in Arkansas. But on the way we got to drive on some interstates that we haven't traveled for a long time, yet are very familiar. It was so nice and I kept hoping that maybe we could follow these roads right on in to Texas.
The travel was nice and we got there very, very late. Pops sat up to babysit the load while I slept. During the night he accepted a predispatch picking up right near here and going to Huntsville, AL.
I woke up and we got unloaded. Drove the few miles to our next load and got loaded. It was delivering this same evening, so we couldn't dawdle.
We drove out of Arkansas, past Memphis, through Mississippi and into Alabama. I remembered the Shoe Tree.
I had spotted it years ago while passing by. It is an old tree in Cherokee, Alabama, just inside the state line from Mississippi. I looked it up on the Internet and found out that there are several in the US. Who and why it was started, no one really knows although a few legends have formed. 
But I wanted to stop. I have a pair of walking shoes that I have worn out. The insides are really worn and because of my bad ankle, I had walked the heel of the right foot completely crooked.
So we stopped and my shoes are now a part of the legendary shoe tree in Cherokee, AL. 
It took me two tries to get them to stay up there. But they should hang awhile because I had just recently replaced the laces with new ones.
We drove the rest of the way to our destination. 

The old State Bank building in Decatur, Alabama

We were trying to decide which direction to head to await our next load when we were offered a load. It was picking up in Kentucky and going into Ohio. It, too, was an explosive load. We haven't done one in awhile and now here were two in one week. 
This load picked up the next afternoon so we didn't have to be in a hurry. Pops drove us out of Alabama, past the welcome center with the rocket, through Tennessee and into Kentucky. We found a Walmart near our location, so we stayed there the remainder of the night and all morning. Then we headed to our pick up.
Again it was in the isolated, rural place. We saw deer and big turkeys insides the fences. Some come close because they have no reason to fear humans.
We got our load on, placarded the truck, put all paperwork in order, and called it in to dispatch, then we got moving.
Our destination for this load is seriously deep, deep into the dark woods. It is literally 12 miles into the woods. It is a one lane, dirt road. You drive to the gate and park and then at 5am someone comes and unloads you. 
Oh yeah, and while you are parked in the deep, dark woods, with that special load. There is no phone service or Internet while there and never satellite tv and sometimes not even the radio. It's always a little creepy.
So....we have plenty of time to look at each other and talk to each other, you know, in case we don't ever get to.

Somehow we got to talking about Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. It was a tv show that I watched every Sunday night right before the Wonderful World of Disney. While watching those shows my mom would brush out my wet hair and wrap it around strips of rags and tie the rags into knots. (Rag curls) when I woke up on Monday mornings she would untie the rags and I would go to school with beautiful long spiral curls.
I wonder if Pops will ever know EVERYTHING about me?
Well, we survived the night, didn't even hear any banjos or nothin'.

Rag curls make pretty spirals.

This is the long, dirt road that we drive on for this delivery.

This is the gate where we park and wait.

We wound our way back to civilization and waited for another load. When none came right away we decided to go to the shop and get some preventative maintenance work done to our reefer. That took up most of the afternoon.
Then we went to the truck stops. In the evening we got a short load picking up near us and going to Flint, MI for early morning.
It was a quick and easy load.
After our delivery the next morning, we hit up a local bakery that was very highly rated on the billboards and Internet. Turns out the praise was right on. 
We waited all day Friday for a load that never came.

The original Cabela's in Dundee, Michigan.

Saturday afternoon we drove south to Dayton, Ohio hoping to increase our chances for a load. None came.
After church on Sunday, we got groceries and watched movies. 
Goodness, I hope things improve soon, with our job. It is so hard to be away from loved ones and not be working.
Continue the prayers.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

1 load week

Pops and I had a very slow week. This follows up a very slow week last week. So we are getting frustrated, to say the least.
Because it is a slow week there is not much to say about it. We did a lot of tv watching, game playing, chatting with friends and family, but not much else.
Our grandson, Zachary is playing basketball. We heard of a pro player that writes scripture verses on his shoes before each game. Recently his shoe company took away their endorsement of him because of the scripture. So the company, Underarmor, endorsed him and even gave him his own line of shoes. His name is Stephen Curry. 
After hearing that story, Pops and I bought Zachary a pair of Stephen Curry shoes. Turns out that Zachary's school colors are blue and yellow.

Our only "load" this week consisted of hauling this one, small, plastic bucket of a poisonous substance. 

I am so looking forward to building a roadway similar to this in my backyard for next summer. We are getting very anxious for Mason to be born. This is Tom's first child and he is almost 35 years old. He is bursting with joy. Sophia is very excited to have her body be unoccupied real soon. 

Now, since we don't have anything interesting to share about us this week, I want to tell you about someone else.
I have made comments about my "accountability Manager." He is the one who contacts me by Wednesday if there is no blog by then. He has encouraged us and supported us throughout this entire journey. His name is Keenan Goosman.
We met him many years ago when he was in Bible college. He became very dear to our family. We encouraged and prayed for him and we still do to this day. He has a heart for God and lives to serve Him. 
Currently he is the evangelist at the Ripley Church of Christ in Ripley, WV. He is a hard and willing servant. He is always looking for others to work alongside him and prays fervently in that direction. 😜
He is married to a lovely woman, Shawna. We haven't met her personally just yet, but hope that we can real soon. 
Keenan is dad to Brookelyn 7, Addyson 5, and Grayson 6 months. 
He is a fan of Ohio State, even though he should be liking the Mountaineers. But God forgives so we must too.
He loves the outdoors and working with his hands. I might be calling him to help me re landscape our yard soon.
He is very high energy. He loves teens and working with them. He loves games. And loves spending time with his family.
One of his favorite tv shows was called, Corner Gas. It was a Canadian show, filmed near Regina, Saskatchewan, in Canada. He got us hooked on that goofy show too. The only thing was, in our area it came on tv at 6am. So I was getting up early just to watch that show.
At one point in our travels, Pops and I visited the place in Regina where the show was filmed. It was a definite highlight to our travels. Even though it was the off season for filming, the buildings and sets were accessible and the little store had a few souvenirs left over. We got ourselves a few and sent some back for Keenan.
Thank you, Keenan, for your friendship all these years. Thank  you for praying for us and for all the times you encouraged and boosted our spirits. You are a good friend and a great Accountability Manager.

Keenan with baby, Grayson.

Brookelyn, Shawna, Grayson, Addyson and Keenan.

Keenan in action.
Working with the teens.

Pops and I attended church services with the people of Heartland Christian a Church in Marion, Illinois. It was a very welcoming congregation. 
After services we used a gift card that we had gotten for Christmas and went to lunch at Red Lobster.
We have a Monday/Tuesday load. So at least there's that.
Thank you for your prayers.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Another scratch off the bucket list

We got a load picking up in Kansas City, MO. Pops and I have a very good friend that lives near there. But we were in a big big hurry and I didn't think we would get a chance to see her. 
However when we got to our load it wasn't ready so we had to wait for about an hour and a half. So... she would be getting off work at about the same time that we got our load on. 
We only had a short time to spare and she had another appointment but we did get to meet up for a cup of coffee. It was so great to see her. We sure crammed an awful lot of conversation into such a short period of time. What a fantastic blessing she has been to me. We squeezed each other so tightly when we parted. And I missed her before she ever drove away.
I love you, dearly, Barbara.

Pops and I had a hard time eating our lunch today. Right outside our truck, standing in the cold, a small man held a sign stating that he was a homeless vet looking for some help. I said to Pops, "I feel like I need to buy him a sandwich." Go ahead said Pops
So I walked over to the man and told him that I was going into the store, would he care for anything. He said no and thanked me. He said he was looking to get enough for a hotel room for the night.
I explained that we don't carry cash, but I would like to bring him something. Would he like a cup of coffee? He said yes, he would love a cup of coffee. So I asked him his name. His name is Roger. 
I told him that I would be right back.
I went inside the store and there was a Walmart in there. I purchased the lunch meal with coffee,  and a gift card. 
While waiting in line a young woman with a little girl came up to me and handed me some money. She said that she saw me talking to him and wanted to help pay for his sandwich. She gave me $3. 
When I brought the food and gift card to Roger, he was very grateful. And thanked me again and again. I thanked him for serving our country. 
After that I saw several people help him. 
I used to think that we didn't want to give cash, what if they want drugs or booze? But Who am I to judge? 
Is God going to reward my deeds regardless of what that person does? 
We don't carry cash. But I can buy food. 
But more importantly, we SEE him.  He is not invisible. He is a man. His name is Roger.  

Pops and I got a load picking up in Winchester, VA going to Miami, Fl. We were glad to get moving after sitting a day waiting for a load. And we heard that it was to start snowing in the Maryland, Virginia areas later this evening.
Sure enough by the time we got to Winchester and got our load on, it was snowing. It snowed really hard at times. He roads were covered and we had some big mountains between Winchester and the North Carolina line. 
We had to sit and wait near Fancy Gap for well over an hour as a wreck was cleaned off the roadway. Apparently someone's camper was totally smashed to bits during an accident.
I even had to sit for n accident in Florida, but this time it was cease someone upset their motorcycle. Ouch!
After our delivery on Friday afternoon, we drove up to a rest area in the Everglades. We had not gotten any load offers and weren't told which direction to head. So we spent the night at the rest area, listening to the sounds of silence.
On Saturday morning, we treated ourselves to an adventure. We went on an airboat tour of the Everglades. This was something that was on our bucket list of things we wanted to do while working this job. It was an incredible experience. Memories of this day will last a long time and the beauty of nature is so, God is so wonderful.

This guy is about 18 months old.

This female might be full of eggs although the guide said it is a little early.

Man, look at those teeth.

I loved this tunnel of branches.

We saw several alligators.

This mound is a gator nest.

I liked how silvery they looked.

Just drifting along.

Gosh, the earthy.

We were so hoping to get to Brunswick, GA to worship with Joe and Elenora Guthrie on Sunday, but our truck ended up in the shop for hours and hours. It was supposed to be a quick DOT inspection but  someone here did not show up to work. When he was called there was a huge fight on the phone, several more hours wait, then he came, with a BAD ATTITUDE. 
Eventually we got done. Our inspection took only 1/2 hour and we were in the shop for 4 hours!
I am not a supporter of Donald Trump for president but I believe he might be right about some floridians not wanting to work. 
So we had church with a live stream service from Dallas, TX and now we will head toward Jacksonville, FL to meet up with the Guthries for breakfast tomorrow.