Monday morning we got a dispatch picking up in Batesville, Mississippi. Ever heard of it? There kind of famous for one thing---caskets. We see their trucks all over. I guess that's one company that will never shut down or go out of business and people are dying to get in. Haha.
Anyway, we weren't picking up caskets. We were headed for a pharmaceutical load going to Baltimore, MD.
It was a nice morning for a drive and we got there, there was another truck there like ours. They had just been loaded for another location. Our load wasn't ready yet so we talked to them for a bit.
It really seems like the drivers are pretty fed up with our company and the lower rates and lack of business. Seriously here it is the third week of May 2016 and it's been bad since the first of the year. And ALL the drivers are mentioning it. I just don't know what happened or why but we are getting out at a good time, I think.
Once our load was on we were heading toward the east coast. But we had Tennessee and the Appalachians to cross first. That was a nice drive, the whole length of Tennessee from Memphis to Knoxville. Then I slept while Pops drove us to Baltimore.
I woke up in the tunnel under the harbor at Baltimore. I guess the sounds had changed or the strobing of the lights, I don't know but that's where I woke up.
We had accepted a short Dulles airport load next that was only going 10 miles but put us in a better position for a load and because the run was less than 75 miles it automatically bumps you to the top of that areas list for loads.
Normally we hate airport loads because they are tedious and time consuming but this one was done before we knew it.
Then a big load came. The money was great. It was delivering in Houston. We accepted the offer. We were one of 6 trucks here and all of them were checked in before us. We waited a full 10 minutes to find out that we got the load.
This one started out tedious though. It was a refrigerated load so we got that going, set on the proper temp. Refrigerated trucks cost extra to run. They run on diesel fuel. And if the temp is much different than ambient, which is room temperature, it has to run harder. Some of our loads are below zero. Luckily, this one was ambient, 70 degrees.
We got to the pick up but the load wasn't ready yet. We couldn't turn off our reefer because the box had to be right the moment they were ready. We sat there unloaded for over 5 hours. Finally we got loaded. Then off we went. I was driving first.
It was rural roads for the first part until we reached I-81, then all interstates from there.
I was just loving it because here we were yet once again in just a short time traveling back across my all time favorite places, Louisiana and Texas. God is so good.
I drove until evening then Pops took over. We were still in Virginia. He would drive us south through Tennessee, and Alabama and get us into Mississippi before I awoke.
I knew instantly where we were when I opened my eyes. I could see long stretches of highway, lined by very tall pine trees, and beautiful, blue sky. But these pine trees are tall trees with no or few branches until close the top. Mississippi. Yep, that's how they grow there. I love it.
I drove while Pops slept. Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas until we got to Houston.
The drive was great. Baton Rouge is so pretty. The Mississippi River was so muddy. The bayou looked so peaceful, even though I saw several fishermen. And then of course my favorite little truckstop, Peto's. One more chance at some boudin balls. Yes!
When we reached Texas the beautiful day disappeared and it got dark, very dark. And then the rains came. It rained so hard that I was so glad to be almost done for the day.
We got to our truckstop in Houston and got parked. The parking lot was laying full of wAter. That's okay, we didn't have to get out.
The rain slowed to just a drizzle and the laying water began to run off.
Pops got a call from a younger man from back home. He is now a truck driver too. He had seen that we were in Houston and he was too so he called to see where we were. It wasn't long before there he was sitting right in our truck visiting. How cool is that?
It was getting late and we both had deliveries early in the morning so he went back to his truck, parked right next to us, to sleep, and we went to sleep too.
In the morning we drove across town to make our delivery. It was medical supplies but it went to a building that was right beside the astrodome and NRG stadium and arena. That was pretty neat.
After that load came off we headed back toward the truckstop. There were 5 other trucks here already, Dallas had 8, San Antonio had 2 and Memphis had 8. We thought we might be stuck for another day. But before we even got to the truckstop we had a dispatch. It was picking up in Laredo and going to Chattanooga.
Are you wondering why we got the load and not one of the other trucks? Yeah, so did we. Well, first, I believe that God is directing us to all of our favorite places at least once more. Plus, it is a heavy (>13,000 lbs) of sloshy liquid that requires extra training and endorsements on your license and few of our drivers have it, but we do.
Laredo IS NOT one of our favorite places. But it was giving us another chance to drive in Texas. We LOVE Texas, did you know that?
I was driving first while Pops tried to nap. He would drive all night. We were scheduled to pickup at 5 pm local time, and I needed to drive a steady 60-65mph to get us there on time.
I was doing well until traffic came to a standstill. And we sat for almost 2 hours. Our company bumped our time, thankfully, because it's Friday and we didn't want this load to bump to Monday or worse, cancel on us.
When I got to where the wreck was, it was bad. I only saw what once was a tractor trailer. If other vehicles were involved, they were under the truck. He was carrying a load of pvc pipe. He was sitting in the median. His wheels sunk in up to the axles. The force of his load, although not heavy, had pushed through his cab and sleeper. It was ugly to be sure.
I prayed as I drove past.
We made it to Laredo by 6:15. Our load was being loaded, Pops was putting placards on our truck, I was getting things inside ready and finally time to go. But where was our clipboard with all our paperwork? We could not find it. We got out and looked around. No one could help us because no one spoke English. We just hoped that it was inside our box. But we wouldn't know until Monday because the doors were now sealed. Ugh! Our clipboard still had paperwork from our last dispatch that I hadn't yet completed for our pay. What would we do if it was lost forever? Would we get paid for our load without the paperwork?
Oh great, 2 and a half days of worry ahead. Oh well, it is what it is.
We got moving. We stopped to walk at Lytle, Tx, north of Laredo. We stopped at a grocery store called HEB. We shopped and bought some of our favorite foods like real tortilla chips made fresh as you wait, tres leche cake,(so so good) venison sausage, Mexican cheese, and a personal watermelon. It is a small thing the size of a cantaloupe. I also bought a pan of cornbread, some produce (it's really cheap there) and some Texas BBQ sauce to use on my chicken next week.
After putting the groceries away, we completed our walking, sucking in as much Texas air as we could.
It was dark and getting late. Once we got to where I could get one more glimpse of San Antonio all lit up, I went to bed. I was content.
I slept all night and when I woke up we were still in Texas, yes, it's that big folks. But we were just about to leave it.
We ate some breakfast then I began to drive. Again I was going through Louisiana and Mississippi. I didn't stop at Peto's this time although It was hard to keep from driving off the exit ramp.
The day was great and I let my mind drift over so many memories.
Then I was going through Hammond, LA behind a horse trailer. But there was no horse inside. There was a camel! A camel in a horse trailer in Louisiana, right in front of me. Cool.
By the end of my day we were inside the state of Mississippi. We weren't going to make it to Chattanooga to church like we planned. So now we had to rethink everything.
We made it as far as Tuscaloosa, AL. Then we both ran out of driving hours. We have been running hard including over this weekend so now we were done until we had each gotten 34 hours off.
This meant we would have to enjoy assembling with an online service. I like to let them know ahead of time when we do that. Mostly because I feel a sense of accountability to someone then.
We "assembled" with Crossroads Christian Church. Barry Cameron is the preacher. His sermon was part of a series from Luke chapter one about Elizabeth and Mary. It was really good.
We will be able to leave here early in the am, just in time to make our delivery.
What a week. I love it. I sure hope we find our clipboard.
Batesville casket company truck
Rains in Houston