Friday, June 27, 2008

Nikki's Ride

As I stated in my last post my daughter Nikki rode with me this last week.

Unfortunately, her trip wasn't as fun in my opinion as her brother's trip. But she stated she had fun and wants to go again in August after she finishes visiting her mother in July.

We left Fort Worth and headed to Amarillo on what has become a regular run to Affiliated Foods from Cargill for me to start off my trips with.

The drive isn't that long, but in that eight hours Nikki got to see quite a lot of things she never gets to see. Her favorite thing it seems is cows. Every time we passed one or even a herd she would moo out the window at them.

Though she did quite enjoy all the horses as well, but not as much as the cows it seemed.

After we unloaded at AF we spent the night in Amarillo then headed up to Cactus to pickup a load heading to Denver, a place she's never been and wanted to see badly. Especially the mountains. However, we stopped off in Dumas at the Wal-Mart to pickup some supplies and to buy her some new tennis shoes.

You should have seen her when we passed the feed yards in Cactus, talk about her going crazy seeing all the cows ... was quite funny.

Our run up to Denver was pretty boring in my opinion, however she did get to see some Antelope and a few Buffalo on the way. Once we got to Denver she was all bug eyed staring at the mountains. She wanted me to detour there so bad it was funny, unfortunately we were not able to.

We completed our unload in Aurora, Colorado outside of Denver and then spent the night in Denver.

The next morning after running some local work moving trailers, we loaded out of Greeley, Colorado heading down to Houston. However we never made it that far.

As we started to pass through Cactus on Thursday with the intent on being back in Dallas on Friday, dispatch called and asked us to do a load swap with another driver in Amarillo.

Apparently he had to get home to Houston (we have 3-4 drivers who live in Houston instead of the DFW area) for personal reasons. We were going to give him our load and take his empty trailer and do another run instead.

After doing the swap I found out that I was going to be better off for the switch. They had us deadhead to Dodge City, Kansas to pickup a two stop load. This was another bit of excitement for Nikki as she got to visit another state and see even more cows at the extremely substantial feed yards surrounding Dodge City.

After picking up our load in Dodge City we headed back to Amarillo for the first stop. Unfortunately since time was critical I drove all night while Nikki slept so she missed some nice sights. However, I did stop in a non-lighted rest area just outside of Stratford, Texas on the way back and woke her up so she could stand outside under the stars in the near pitch black night and marvel at the sky.

That rest area is on top of a butte with no lights for about 20 miles so it is nearly 100% pitch black. The view of the night sky is incredible. The whole spiral arm of our galaxy is visible, and the stars themselves seem alive. You can even see the faint traces of the red and blue clouds of the Horsehead nebula when the sky is that clear. And was it ever clear, and quite cool. An awesome sight to behold.

After unloading at AF again in Amarillo I crashed for a few hours, and then started the run to Terrell, Texas for the second stop at the Sam's DC there.

However, it was Friday and I have no idea when I was going to be back in town so I stopped back at our house and dropped Nikki off. She goes to her mother's on Tuesday for a month, and I didn't want her to miss her time with her. Nor did I want to fight with her about Nikki not being back if we were out a long time.

So here I am sitting at the Wal-Mart parking lot in Irving getting ready to head to Terrell to unload at the second stop in the morning.

All in all Nikki saw a huge chunk of Texas, parts of Oklahoma and Kansas and a good bit of Colorado. Four states in five days, not too bad for a 12 year old on her first real trip away from home.

[Miles Driven Since Last Post: 2350]

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Picture Crazy

Folks have been happy with seeing things through my eyes so here are some more ...

[The Saint Louis Arch]

[Missouri Vinyards]

[Lake Arrowhead in Oklahoma]

[Crossing the Red River from Oklahoma on US69]

Monday, June 23, 2008


And more ...

[Michigan Christmas Tree Farm]

[Fuel Prices outside the Canadian Border]

[Looking across the lake at the USA from Canada]

[Rest Area on the Canadian Side looking across at the USA]

[At a scenic rest area in Canada looking back at the USA]

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Easy Few Days

After my post from Cactus my load finally got ready at 10pm, only eleven hours late. However, due to my stunning trucker skills I got the load to the first stop on time :)

One thing I can say about that last eastward load, it sucked. One load and had four stops and took me three days to get rid of it because of the scheduling. Frankly it blew chucks of stuff I just can't describe. Delivering four stops in a 300 mile radius over three days, means small paycheck.

After I unloaded at the last stop on Wednesday in Lancaster, NY (The other stops were Forrest Park, IL; Chicago, IL; and Lansing, MI) they ran me down to Olean, NY deep in the Seneca Mountains off the Allegany River.

The load was a pickup of Native American hand cast tile flooring. Was a nice load, and the tile was just beautiful. It had two stops which were not to bad, one in Cleveland, OH and the other in Lavonia, MI.

The next run was a treat, I ran up to the Canadian Border (and even crossed in for a bit) to pickup a 44,000 pound load of frozen strawberry cream pies from Sara Lee heading back to Texas. Unfortunately, they would not give me any samples.

The drive back down to Fort Worth was very uneventful which I quite like :)

So, I'm back now at the house, and I leave again tomorrow morning. And this time Nikki is going with me.

[Miles Driven Since Last Post: 3791]

Thursday, June 19, 2008


More pictures for you fine folks.

[Iowa Corn Field]

[Downtown Olean, New York]

[Westbound on I-86 in the Seneca Mountains]

[I-86 Allegany River along the Seneca Mountain Range]

[Saw this farm outside White Cloud, Michigan and thought it was pretty]

Saturday, June 14, 2008


I'm still sitting here in Cactus, Texas waiting for my load to be ready. Unfortunately the load is now over eight hours past it's drop dead time. (Drop Dead Time refers to the absolute latest time the load can leave the shipper to "legally" arrive on time at it's destination.)

Today I haven't been doing much but watching a few DVD's, reading my current book and surfing the net. While doing the last I decided to download the pictures from my camera to the laptop and publish a few ... and here they are.

[Giant Bronze Dinosaur just north of Boise City, Oklahoma]

[Very small church in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Walton, Kentucky]

[Barges on the Mississippi River outside St. Louis, Missouri]

[Approaching the suspension bridge span of the Ohio River at the Indiana & Ohio border]

[Entering into the Lower Ozark Mountains in Missouri]

That's all for now, more later!

Out Again

It seems I spend less and less time at home, but unfortunately it is a necessary evil. With Melissa not working, I have to drive as much as possible so we can afford to pay the bills. It is tough, but we are managing.

I ended up having to take the 12th off because strangely enough there was no freight moving out of Fort Worth, but on Friday the 13th I was able to get a load to Affiliated in Amarillo. The trip up was pretty uneventful, and it seems the more I make the trip the faster the trip gets.

Hell, I don't even pay attention anymore on that stretch of road, and do not even use the GPS, not necessary. I'm finding that since we have pretty set routes I rarely need it, my excellent memory for getting places is still sharp and once I go somewhere once I never forget how to get there.

After unloading in Amarillo I ran up here to Cactus to pickup a load going to the northeast. Unfortunately it isn't ready yet, I've been waiting over twelve hours now and am starting to get pissed off. The due time is long past and if it goes much longer, the first of the four stops on this trip will be extremely late.

[Miles Driven Since Last Post: 429]

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Ryan the Trucker

As I said in my last post, my son Ryan wanted to come along with me for a while on the road.
Now that he's been on the road with me a week, he says he wants to go again sometime this summer. According to him he's had a great time. Not sure if the trip alone is his motivation for saying this, or because he got to spend a week alone with me with no one else competing for my attention.
Ryan hopped on board Friday afternoon and we headed up to Amarillo, Texas to unload at the Affiliated Foods DC then run up to Cactus, Texas to pickup a load of beef.
Unfortunately, once we got to Amarillo we found out our load wasn't ready so we spent the night at the TA, and Ryan got to see his first lot lizard. And man was she a looker ... NOT! This one looked like she got ran over by a fully loaded overweight semi ... ughhh....
The next day after we got loaded we headed for Claryville, Kentucky a nice long trip across several states which Ryan was thrilled about. He's been to Colorado on one mission trip when he was 12, and he never payed attention to anything back then, now he was just soaking up the scenery.
It took us two days to get to Sara Lee in Claryville and then we headed up to flood ravaged Indianapolis, Indiana to pickup a load heading back to Texas.
I tell you, that state and the states around it are a mess. The farms are flooded, and you can just see how much rain they have had when you drive over the small creeks and they have turned into raging rivers. It is insane. The day before we got to Indianapolis, they received ten inches (yes 10!) in just seven hours. So much so they closed over a one hundred mile stretch of I-70. It was crazy.
After loading at ConAgra we made our way back to Texas. For Ryan it was a quick and fun seven days on the road.
We talked alot and I showed him a ton of things on the road. It is a trip he will remember forever (hopefully).
I know this was a short post, but sometimes you just can't describe everything that goes on.
In all, Ryan crossed eight states in seven days. Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. And saw some great sights including, downtown Indianapolis, the St. Louis Arch. The Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio rivers. Not to mention tons of animals in the fields, and more road kill deer than you can shake a stick at.
[Miles Driven Since Last Post: 2729]

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Shiny and "New"

Well at least new to me.

This new truck is just awesome, I can't even begin to explain how much nicer it is than the old one. Granted it is exactly the same year and model, but it has been kept up much better in my opinion and has fewer miles.

The only bad thing was the guy who had it before me had a cat, and since I'm semi-allergic to cats they had to scrub the truck heavily before I could move into it. There was so much cat hair and such in it (not to mention the litterbox smell) that it made me nearly vomit just to get into it.

Now folk who know me know I've been around cats all my life, hell, 30 of the last 39 years of my life has been around cats, at my parents house then again at mine. I never really knew till after Misha died and had seen the doctor that I was sensitive to them, and about 80% of my sinus problems have been related to them. I love cats, but now I just stay away if I can. And I almost always feel better.

I took the 1st of June off to do an hours reset and spend some time at the house. On the 2nd I headed up to the yard to begin the long process of moving my gear from the old truck to the new one. I really didn't realize how much stuff I had till I started to move it and get it installed and everything in it's place.

It took nearly five hours, which included the time to hook up my CB, install my XM Radio and other stuff. Man, now I really understand how some folks compare the inside of a truck to a college dorm room.

Still, even today not everything is exactly where it is supposed to be in my mad organization system.

Once I got at least decently setup I picked up my load in the yard and headed up to Kanasas City, Kanasas to unload. The trip up was pretty uneventful, except the sky looked horrible the whole way but it never did rain.

After KCK I headed over to Marshall, Missouri for the return trip to Fort Worth.

This trip was a quick four day out and back in, as I forgot some things back at the house and wanted to pick them up. Not to mention, that school got out today and my son Ryan wants to go on the road with me for a few days to see what trucking is like ... should be fun!

[Miles Driven Since Last Post: 1932]