13 November 2009

Time Flies....

I have been trying to decide what to blog about for a couple of days and then I realized I haven't posted for nearly Three weeks. Wow! I don't even know what I have been doing that has kept me from posting...
After leaving Miami FL, we loaded in Hosford FL heading to Ennis TX, then on to Weslaco which is about as far south in TX as you can go without winding up in Mexico.
We then went up to Laredo (also on the border).
The load of Carrier AC Units that we were to pick up on Saturday was delayed and we were unable to pick them up until late Sunday afternoon. We then began our drive to Alpha New Jersey. Where as luck would have it they had a crane to unload the smallest unit. It was taken directly from the trailer to the roof of the library and place in position for instillation.
We continued on to Somerset NJ, this was a Union construction sight and it was Veteran's Day so we were delayed yet another day. We used this time to do a little shopping and ate brunch in a nice little restaurant in the burrow of Somerset.
We were allowed to sleep near the job sight which was off the beaten path in what was almost wooded. Very quiet and not a lot of street lights and such so we had the windows open and enjoyed the quiet.
In the morning after getting that unloaded we went to Delair NJ, and picked up a load weighing a whopping 732 lbs. Yes that is 7 Hundred Pounds. A nice easy load going all the way to Waukegan, IL. This was the lightest load either of us had ever hauled.
En route to Waukegan we stopped in Cayuga, IN to see our 3rd grade Trucker Buddy class. (The Trucker Buddy program is an International program that pairs up Elementary classes with Truck Drivers in a Pen-Pal format. We exchange letters, e-mails and pictures to help the students learn more about the United States and improve their Geography and Penmanship skills. While teaching about the trucking industry.) The class presented us with "Star" a stuffed dog. Star is white with red and blue stars in his fur. His ears are red on the inside and he has a blue star on his nose. Star is the class mascot and traveling buddy. He will travel with us having his picture taken at various stops and then report his activities to the students. Near the end of the school year he will return to the class room with many tails to tell.
After leaving our Trucker Buddy Class we delivered to Waukegan IL. Then reloaded out of Rockford, IL making only 2 stops along the way, but it was enough. Herb lost his cell phone. After much time on my phone trying to get a replacement we finally decided to combine our plans and now we both have the same carrier. Less headaches and one less bill to pay each month.
In Rockford we were loaded with a load of Styrofoam insulation board. Another light load. We are loving our fuel mileage this week. We were having trouble with the rear tarp staying on so we pulled it off and decided to make a stop at the terminal in Springfield, MO. to take care of it. (It was on the way any how)
While in Springfield we did laundry, and got the truck cleaned up. The weather was cold and rainy and with our appointment not until Tuesday we spent and extra night in Springfield at the Hotel. It was wonderful to get away from the truck for a few hours and to sleep in a big bed.
Rainy days and Mondays get you down??? Well, Monday dawned grey and rainy. Herb spent the morning getting necessary items for the truck, new bungee cords, a few more straps, a couple of new tarps, etc. Stuff that we needed. I on the other hand was able to spend a couple of hours un-interrupted on the computer.
We left out about 6pm and headed to Grand Prairie TX, we got there about 7:20am and finally got unloaded about 3pm. Hurry up and wait was the order of the morning, then we were off and running to get to Cleburne TX before they left for the day.
We are on our way to Lubbock TX. for delivery. From there who knows which way we will go. We are hoping to get home for the Thanksgiving Holiday, then we will run hard until Christmas and take a few days off at that time. I promise to do better keeping you posted.

03 November 2009

Back to "Normal"?

After spending 5 days with friends and family in Cheyenne, it was time to get back to work.
We spent Wednesday night at the TA in Cheyenne, fearful of getting snowed in. Well, we were stuck there for several hours due to the road closings, and a power failure at the TA. making for an interesting evening.

We left Thursday Morning, driving through a snow drift exiting the parking lot and headed towards Denver on I 25, the only car we passed for miles was a State Trooper.

Continuing from Denver to Pueblo CO, we drove out of the snow by the time we got to Colorado Springs. In Pueblo we picked up 2 AC units weighing 12-15 thousand pounds each and taking up the entire trailer.

On our way to Naples Fl. we happened to be in Alexandria LA for Halloween, so we found a Wal-mart parked the truck and proceeded to make Kaitlynn into an orphan.

I put her hair in pony-tails and put freckles on her nose, dusting her cheeks with eyeshadow to make her look dirtier than she already was, we put daddy's flannel shirt on her and rolled up the sleeves and tied it around her waist. We got her a purple bandanna and used it to tie a bundle to the end of a stick. She was adorable. She and Herb set off to do some Trick or Treating.

Apparently not too many houses were handing out candy but those that were, were quite generous. After about 45 min they had, had enough and came back to the truck with a bag full of goodies. She had fun and was able to enjoy the holiday even though she was far from home.

We continued on through the night to Naples FL to deliver the first unit to a church. Upon arrival we found all they had to unload us with was a fork lift, and though this was the smaller of the two units a crane would have been more appropriate.

They insisted on using one forklift to raise the unit off the bed of the truck and then drive the truck out from under it. It worked well until the unit started wobbling and fell. It crashed against the rear of the trailer then landed on it's side on the ground. We got it upright and assessed the damage which was mostly cosmetic, but, it was defiantly a lesson in how NOT to unload an AC unit.

From Naples we continued on to Miami to deliver the second unit. They were also unprepared for the massive size of the unit.

However they were smarter about how to unload it. Using 4 fork lifts they each picked a corner and raised the unit from the bed of the truck and then we drove the truck out from under it. Then they moved the unit onto the drive, 2 forklifts driving backwards and 2 driving forwards. By working together they were able to safely unload an oversize AC unit. It was quite impressive.

Freight out of southern Florida being scarce we headed back up I 75 crossing a section known as Alligator Alley.

We stopped in a Rest Area/Recreation Area/Boat Ramp Area to take a break. Kaitlynn wanted to see an Alligator so we went to one of the Boat ramps on the advice of the security guard at the Rest Area. At first we didn't see anything then a "rock" in the canal moved and became an Alligator. Kaitlynn began calling "here gator, gator, come here little gator." Thankfully the gator did not respond.

In all we saw 5 or 6 gators ranging in size from 3 feet to 6 feet long. We also saw Buzzards and Cranes in the area. It was quite an experience to see wildlife in it's natural habitat.

We were dispatched to Hosford FL. where we picked up a load of ply-wood going to Ennis, TX. and we are heading west across the Florida panhandle to Alabama.