Posted on 1:50 AM

Christmas Day!

By Lynette at 1:50 AM

Merry Christmas to Everyone!

To our fellow drivers.... be careful and stay safe. (I was just reading another blog, fellow company driver, who wrecked his rig this week.... his wife was slightly injured... but they are ok. Our thoughts are with you guys.)

If you're away from your family today... just remember they miss you as much as you miss them!

To our families and friends... Merry Christmas and we love you!

And a little note to the love of my life... I am a very blessed woman, thank you for becoming a part of my life and my family.

Off to Grandma and Grandpa's now.... ho, ho, ho... Merry Christmas!!

Posted on 1:15 AM

Wed, Dec 24.… Christmas Eve

By Lynette at 1:15 AM

The kids showed up and early too! I was so excited to see them! Trapper and his son are headed to see Trapper's mom for Christmas and my kids and I will be heading to see my parents tomorrow.

Trapper and I aren’t home enough to get all the “seeing” everyone done together, so we end up splitting up for a few days when we are home.

We did make a promise today though… we both agreed that “this is the only year it’s going to be like this.” My hope for next year’s Christmas Celebration is that everyone will be here, with us, enjoying the day… together!

And speaking of togetherness… my kids are downstairs, kicked back watching a movie and playing on the computer… it’s time for me to go play with them and open presents!

The son is camera shy but the daughter quickly strikes a pose!

I have to say here... these two little creatures are, by far, the best thing I've ever done in life!

I have been truly blessed with these two children.
They are not only my children but they are my best friends! (Of course, they like me as "friend" sometimes much more than "mom".)

We laugh together, cry together, play together and we've stuck by each other through all kinds of life's ups and downs and the best part is.... at the end of the day... we all still like each other, let alone love each other!

Merry Christmas guys!

Posted on 1:05 AM

Tues, Dec 23... Shop Til I Drop

By Lynette at 1:05 AM

The little Christmas tree is up and it is adorable!

I think both of my kids are coming down Wednesday and I can not wait to see them! I haven’t seen them at the same time in months. My daughter’s home from college and my son is off work… so… it might happen! Trapper’s son is in town and we’re hoping he will be here too!

Christmas isn’t Christmas without a few decorations … In the essence of time, I perched the little 2 foot tree on top of a ceramic column and it worked perfectly. I’m a kid at heart when it comes to Christmas and I would have had the entire house decorated on the day after Thanksgiving, if we had been home. The state would have renamed our street Christmas Lane!

I really wanted to put Christmas lights around the inside of the truck windshield (that I could turn on at night) and then I thought it would be cute to add a Santa Claus hanging from the big side mirror with a huge wreath on the grill and a string of reindeer tied to the antenna… you know... to simulate them flying over the truck as we rolled down the highway… but I didn’t think CFI would find that as comical and cool as I would have!

I ventured out today, in the car… alone… to finish Christmas shopping. I lost the car three times in the various parking lots… don’t laugh… it’s small and silver… not huge, red, and with 3 foot CFI lettering on top!

My feet and legs are killing me because I haven’t walked this much at one time in months, but I survived it AND I came home with change (cha-ching!)… Imagine that. Trapper says if you send a women to the store with $40 she’ll spend $40... If you send $1,000, she’ll spend $1,000... Hmmmok… he has a point!

When I left this morning to start my shopping spree, he’s plan was to tear the mower apart, to work on the bearings, and he was going to do “something” in the yard. I got home 5-6 hours later and a large part of the yard was…. Ummm… burned!

“Love what you did with the landscaping.” I told him… He laughed, “It’ll come back good next year.”

“Lovely”, I thought… I wonder what the plan is for keeping the yard up this spring? My instincts are telling me that we’ll get reacquainted with a DEERE friend!

Actually, he did work his butt off in the yard while I was out goofing off. A lot of outside work was taken care of and it does look much better. I like the burnt look!

Now that we’ve both over done it for one day… and I have worked my domestic goddess magic with a few Christmas goodies…. I think it’s time to settle on the couch and watch movies! My feet will thank me.

Posted on 1:00 AM

Mon, Dec 22 … A New Mindset

By Lynette at 1:00 AM

Our goal for today is to get out of the “on the road” mindset. Before I joined Trapper on the truck, I never could really understand what he meant when he would say that to me… I know now.

It’s such a weird feeling. On the road, you live in small quarters, everything is within reach (for example, I can put clothes away and then cook AND serve dinner without moving either feet!), you’re always either driving to meet a deadline or your sitting some where waiting on the next load. You end up in a “hurry” mode all the time. Everything, down to doing the laundry, is planned. Like I’ve mentioned before, the truck becomes your home. The truck IS where you live, you just park somewhere different most every night.

Arriving at home, everything looks familiar, but …. for me, I catch myself looking for things because I can’t remember where I keep them. Trapper can’t find anything because I moved it and now I can’t remember where I put it 8 weeks ago! I have to remind myself that there is a washer and dryer… downstairs… not at the Pilot at exit 145.

I go from the mindset of having only a microwave and slow cooker to cook with to having a full stove and oven to use! And heaven help me when I have to drive the car!! I don’t drive for weeks and then I get behind the wheel… it’s like being sixteen again!

We’ve been “updating” the interior of the house for the past few months… it’s an ongoing project… so Trapper spends awhile walking around looking at our “progress”. (Which, I am proud to say, the kitchen is finished and one of the bathrooms is 85% complete! We’re still making progress…. )

And naturally there’s the seven weeks of mail to sort, the yard to work on, and any other things that have come up while we’ve been gone.

Tomorrow, we’ll both be “over-it” and we’ll get busy.

As for now… spaghetti is on the menu and that means driving to the grocery! I’ve yet to try spaghetti in the truck, but if Eric (a driver friend of ours) can do it… so can I! Watch out Eric… I’ll figure it out!

Posted on 12:51 AM

Sun, Dec 21... Home or Bust!

By Lynette at 12:51 AM

Trapper managed to deliver our load of noodles, before sunrise, this morning. Of course I managed to sleep through the delivery and woke up... back at the truck stop! I’m really just not a morning person.

Trapper sent our hours in and we waited… and waited. The set up is quite simple… today is Sunday, a lot of places will be closed on Wed, Christmas Eve, so we only have two working days this week due to us being highlighted to be home on Christmas. Neither of us could fathom the thought of sitting all day, to most likely be sent home on Monday regardless.

Bearing all this in mind and the waiting wearing on both of us… Trapper makes the call to headquarters. He tactfully inquires as to “load status” and explains we are 250 miles from home… if there is not a load… send us on home… (please). Finally, about an hour later, the call came…. Go Home!

We’ve been out 7 weeks and we both were anxious to get home, although we don’t say a lot about going home when we’re out. After a while you just get a sense that it’s time for some “home” time. With no need for maps and such… we headed toward home… quickly!

Arriving at our home truck stop… the chore of moving out of the truck and back in to the house starts. It’s a well choreographed scene for us. We both have “our” part to do and although I did get a little confused on the correct process this time, we got unpacked and made it to the house.
It’s amazing how much stuff we have in the truck and how it all fits perfectly. We get it out of the truck and for some reason it takes up half the house. I try to keep the “truck” stuff and the “house” stuff separated while we’re home so it doesn’t take days to get packed and back in the truck. Sometimes it works... sometimes it doesn't.

It’s good to be here! Time to unpack! Does this happen to other drivers?
And someone please tell me how my camera date jumped 50 years??? Hey, I feel pretty good to have aged 50 years in one day... I've got to fix this! LOL

Posted on 11:54 PM

Sat, Dec 20.... Tales From Virginia

By Lynette at 11:54 PM

Our day ended today in a town called South Boston, VA... never heard of it huh? well... us either... it's 30 miles east of Danville, VA AND currently pouring down rain! I don't think we've seen the sun in a week. We left VA a few days ago... headed to IN... and we're back in VA, we dodge the weather bullets constantly! We have survived super dense fog, super down pours, and out run the snow! I hope this keeps up!

We spent the afternoon and evening watching Fiddler on the Roof and the Untouchables... Trapper has retired for the evening and I read some history on the Great Depression and Al Capone. For the last little bit I've been sitting here reading my "favorite blogs" and I had to (kinda) laugh... I guess if you're not in the trucking industry, you can't really sympathize with some of the tales we tell with our blogs....

One drive mentioned being in Peculiar, MO... this is a relatively small town that you blow through... but it is home to Peculiar Golf! Another driver is in Spokane, WA with 3 feet of snow! And another is in FL... probably wishing Spanish was his native spoken tongue! All of these we can relate to... we too have been to these places and dealt with the very same thing. (Except for the snow!) It's funny... we all drive for different companies but the situations are the same!

For me, today was another first. Our trip from Indiana has been going fine. We left yesterday with our 14,000 lbs. of foodstuff and drove the majority of the way. Today we only had about 150 miles to drive. We were on I-77 and we had to exit at Hillsville, VA. We were going to take Hwy 58 all the way across to South Boston. The hiway looked curvy, etc. on the map and believe me (now) the map did not lie!

There comes a point where you should probably listen to your gut instinct. I'm not a big fan of roller coasters.... if we could have traveled at 55 mph we would have had us a self made roller coaster ride! I was trying to hide my white knuckles from Trapper but I had the death grip on the arm rest again... 9% grade, turns upon turns, hair pin curves.... you name it, this hwy has it!

But, with all this going on... I saw some of the prettiest mountains I've ever seen! When you get to the top of this mountain you reach a point called Lover's Leap... the view is breathtaking! (I would have taken a picture, but the batteries are dead.)

Finally we came out of this mountain and spotted a Wal-Mart... we needed a couple of things and so we stopped. I believe we were in Spencer, VA. This little town should be named the "Friendliest Place on Earth!"

The last Saturday before Christmas, it's nasty outside, it's cold, and we're inside a crowded Wal-Mart where the general public is actually saying "Good Morning" with a smile, being polite, not bumping into you or looking at you like you've lost you're mind, the employees were nice and helpful and I, quite frankly, was taken aback by it all.

We should all, including myself, find a little good cheer and humor a little more often. People will notice!

Posted on 10:02 PM

Tues-Thurs, Dec 16-18....Restroom Greeter?

By Lynette at 10:02 PM

I know, once again I am falling short on my blogging! Let me play catch up...

I left you with the rice and toilet seats... we'll we arrived in Front Royal, VA on Tuesday night in the freezing pouring rain... for our drop and hook. Family Dollar accepted that we were early and it was no problem. We drove around to the "empty" lot, saw another CFI truck hooking up and realized he had the LAST empty trailer! Bummer... getting stuck somewhere with NO trailer and of course, weather warnings (ice) were out (the storm had caught up with us!). We mozy out of the lot and go back to the guard shack to see if there are empties anywhere else.

In the meantime Trapper spots another CFI truck come in and in the conversation with that driver, finds out that he thought he was suppose to drop n' hook... but he was a live unload on THURSDAY! They wouldn't unload him early! At this point, us not having a trailer took back seat and we decided to crash at the local Wal-Mart. There was one truck stop within 30 miles and all of it's 10 spaces taken!

Sittin' in the truck, kicked back, watching Lonesome Dove, listening to the rain beat on the truck was how the evening was spent. Until... the knock came on the door... it was the shopping center security guard telling us we had to leave... no overnight parking! That poor man was earning his money... again, it was pouring rain and cold! And I thought Wal-Mart was trucker friend-lier than that!

Lucky for us we were bobtail, so we bobbed over to the really crowded 10 space truck stop and "made a little spot!"

First sign of Wednesday morning came with the cheerful "beep-beep" of the qualcomm. I threw the cover over my head trying to diffuse the sound. I thought it was a wicked alarm clock, but then I came to my senses and realized that sound meant we were "out of there", so I got up and started doing my job!

The plan was for us to pick up a trailer from the shipper in Richmond, VA, get it loaded there, and carry it to Greenwood, IN. Total trip was 700+ a few, miles and we had to be in Indiana Friday morning at 5:00. We drove the majority of the way on Wednesday.

Thursday, today, found us with only 100 miles left to drive. This is good... I need to clean house and do laundry! We made our way to this really nice Pilot Travel Center and laundry was exactly what I did. Along with point women patrons in the direction of the ladies restroom!

Ask me why this Pilot, like others, has the men's restroom, laundry, showers, and game room on one side of the store and the ladies restroom is on the total opposite side????

The first lady appeared, looking really confused (and in a hurry!)... I just pointed her in the right direction. A few minutes pass, and I was sitting in the laundry area, reading the newspaper, the second confused female patron appeared... She mummered, "Do you work here?", I replied simply, "Go straight toward the counter, turn right, and the restroom is on the left." She hurried away all the while thanking me.

The laundry being finished... two hours later... the last female patron didn't have to say a word... she stopped, looked at me, and then looked around, clueless... I walked over and said, "Come this way." She didn't hesitate to follow me as I pointed her in the right direction. She must have been in a hurry too.

For some reason the words, "Hi, Welcome to Wal..Pilot... would you like a sticker?" starting to ring in my head! I will have to get some smiley face stickers soon!

Posted on 12:15 AM

Mon., Dec 15 .... Rice and Toilets

By Lynette at 12:15 AM

Last night we were parked in McCrory, AR... I stayed up until about 12:30 a.m. blogging and stock researching with the truck rocking in the awesome winds that were blowing through. The temperature was supposedly 61 degrees when I finally turned in for the night. Trapper gets up around 5:30 a.m. and it is 31 degrees!!!! The temperature swings you run into out here are phenomenal to me!

Anyway, today was a perfect trucking day! We picked up at McCrory, AR (toilets!) and moved on down the road, 52 miles, to Crawfordsville, AR to pick up 21,000 pounds of rice... (that's right... rice and toilets!) We arrived at the rice packaging place at 10:30 a.m. and our appointment time wasn't until 1:00 p.m.

This was a very rural packaging plant and we docked to this "porta dock". It was out in the open, Trapper backed up to it, they chained us to the dock, and drove the fork lift straight from the ground... up the ramp... into the trailer. Pretty cool. Our first experience with a portable dock!

Another first for today... the guy loading us APOLOGIZED because they didn't have the order completely ready! Anyone reading this, in the trucking industry knows, no one ever apologizes for not being ready... especially when you arrive 2 1/2 hours early! Just that little fact would make me buy their rice! (It's available at Family Dollar stores.)

As the day was progressing nicely, one of the guys at the rice plant mentions bad weather moving in. Well, that's all I needed to hear... I was then glued to to see how the weather would be on our trip. I came to the uneducated guess that it was a good thing we were ready to go! Memphis, TN schools were closing early, Nashville had storm warnings posted, etc. etc.

According to my self taught weather forecasting... we needed to drive east of Nashville. Being in snow is one thing, but it only takes a little ice to cause many problems. We decided to stop, for the night, in Cookeville, TN. I was born in this town... who would have thought 40 something years later... I'd be in an 18-wheeler right down the street!

Funny how things work out!

UPDATE: Whoops, Trapper told me we have toilets SEATS! I was kind of wondering what Family Dollar was doing with toilets! (my bad)

Posted on 12:24 AM

Sun., Dec 14 ... Duck, Duck, Goose!

By Lynette at 12:24 AM

Saturday ended with us still sitting at the Pilot in Little Rock, AR... waiting for the beep beep!

A movie and some junk food later... Trapper called it a night and I sat up reading forums regarding the stock market... then I decided I'd so something more interesting and watch the continuous parade of trucks trying to squeeze into this little travel center.

The government should one day realize if they would at least split the 10 hour break... the truck stops would be less crowded, the drivers would be more alert, and we'd all be a lot safer... but, hey, who am I to say.

As I was people watching.... I realized the truck next to us had an INFANT on board! I've seen many dogs, cats, stuffed animals, and even plants... but a baby? That was a first. Then I realized there were three adults in this truck and the baby!!! I couldn't imagine....

This morning rolls around and showers and Wal-Mart were on the agenda. As soon as we pulled into Wal-Mart the qualcomm beeps and I was anxious to see where we were going! Turns out we were dispatched to McCrory, AR to pick up Monday morning at 8:00 a.m. Works for us!

Trapper was doing the map while I was writing instructions and as fate would have it, our pick up point was about 10 miles from his hunting lodge! He was excited... he could check out the duck population prior to making his trip back here at Christmas for duck hunting.

For me... I got to see the area that I hear a lot about from him... he was pointing out this and that and telling some really funny stories of hunts in the past. I learned why farmers flood the rice fields (this time of year) and got a little education on duck blinds. I'm getting better at spotting ducks and I can find the blind when he points toward them!

These pictures are of geese. Lots of geese. If you click on the picture you can see it much better! We stopped the truck and listened to them..... and watched them "fall in". You just don't see this in Charlotte, NC (where I'm from).

Tomorrow we'll head to another little stop in AR and we must be in Front Royal, VA on Wednesday morning... 900 miles from here. We'll probably end up running the east coast for the remainder of the week. I'm sure the company is setting us up to make our arrival at home for Christmas.

Duck, Duck, Goose!

Posted on 3:16 PM

Sat, Dec 13... Caught Up Now....

By Lynette at 3:16 PM

The load we picked up in Paltaka, FL has to be in Martinsville, IL on Friday morning... bright and early.

Our trip started fine... hating to leave the warm weather behind, but at the same time, being glad to get out of Florida... we get caught in all the really bad thunderstorms that were rollin' through the south that afternoon and evening.

Now, thunderstorms tend to make me nervous.... I'm looking on to see where the worst of the storms are and wouldn't you know... the next interstate sign I see... well... we were entering the city where the worst of the storms were...

As we're making our way through these torrential down pours and me keeping a keen eye to the sky... I hear this strange loud noise that came from the drivers seat.

I turn my head quickly, just in time to catch a glimpse of the steering wheel rising abruptly and Trapper's hands at the 3 and 9 position. He had a little funny look on his face... my only thought was... " Oh my gosh! The steering wheel has come off!! "

For that split second I was wishing our cab had one of those "In Case Of Emergency Check Sleeper" or "Passenger on Board"... I just knew we were done. In my mind, for all of 1/2 second... he was holding the steering wheel in his hands.

Realizing, very quickly, he had released the telescopic feature on the steering shaft... I felt like an idiot, but it took my mind off of the storms.

We delivered our load in Martinsville, IL
on Friday and we were dispatched to
St. Louis, MO to pick up at the
Anheuser-Busch brewery at 10:00 p.m.
Friday night.

St. Louis, at night, is so interesting looking... it's on the list of places to take a couple of days and visit! The Anheuser-Busch plant, which took up blocks of the city, is also on the wish list of visits.

I was tempted to take pictures, but it seems everytime I get that camera in my hands... someone in a uniform shows up!

With our 46,000 pound of beer being ready, we dropped our empty trailer, found our loaded trailer, and headed to Little Rock, AR. The delivery time was 6:00 a.m. Saturday morning. Driving all night is not a favorite of Trapper's, especially when he had to force himself to sleep during the day so he could stay up all night.

We are spending our Saturday at a Pilot Truck Stop or should I say... Pilot Travel Center... in Little Rock, AR. Trapper is engrossed in a movie and I'm watching the parade of trucks come through the parking lot.

It's going to be a lazy Saturday!

Posted on 3:39 PM

Fri, Dec 12 .... What's Been Going On??

By Lynette at 3:39 PM

I know it's been a few days since I updated the blog... well, we've been on a company paid vacation! ... I think the story left off when we were headed to Florence, SC...

Since then... we were dispatched to pick a load up on Rock Hill, SC on Saturday 12-6. We made the little trip to Rock Hill, SC and headed to Hialeah, FL with our hazmat load. We're suppose to deliver in Hialeah on Monday morning at 8:00 a.m., but the paperwork states the load can be delivered early. That's always good because we are always early.

The trick about going to Florida is that everything goes in to the state, but nothing comes out... we know we'll be there for a couple of days. We also need our mandatory 34 hour reset, so it we were hoping it will work out for us. The other trick to delivering in Florida is the total lack of truck stops! I looked on the map and the last "real" truck stop on I-95 going south is at exit 129... which means there are 129 more miles south that there are 0 truck stops. We will have to find a wide sandy spot in the road!

We arrived in Hialeah on Sunday and tried to deliver our load early... they were closed... (so much for delivering early!) As we drive straight by the place.... with our hazmat load... all we see is the municipal airport dead straight ahead of us. I'm trying to find us a way out of this cramped little town with these small roads and prevent us from being on the 11:00 o'clock news... I can see the headlines... "Hazmat load detained at airport! Suspects apprehended!" After all, we have the word "DANGEROUS" plaqued all over us!

Finding a safe route out of there (which is harder than you would think... the streets have 2 names each) and back to the interstate, we drove 25 miles out of route to a truck stop... across the street from Miccosukee Casino... on the very edge of the Everglades... in the middle of Nowhere, FL! Luckily, Trapper remembered being there before. Hazmat loads must be parked in secure truck stops, so we had no choice but to drive to this truck stop.

"Cool... a casino... across the street", I thought. But then again walking was out of the question... we "ride" for a living... us walk? No way... it looked to be at least a mile away! So the night was spent at this $15 a night parking lot of a convenience store turned small truck stop.

Monday morning we drove back to our delivery spot and dropped our trailer. Since we knew we'd be waiting on our reset and a load... we decided to drive back to the little "nowhere" truck stop, but this time we can park at the casino! No more hazmat following us around. The trip was getting better by the moment. 34 hours, casino, 80 degrees.... RESET = VACATION!

We signed in at the players counter and received our $20 cash vouchers... their money... that's cool too! A few minutes later and $18 to our good... Trapper finds the Poker Room and I was wandering from slot machine to slot machine.

A few hours later.... we were up a few bucks and treated ourselves to dinner, on the casino's dime, of course! After our dinner break and still feeling a little lucky... I returned to the gambling floor... my signs must have been aligned with my moons and stars. Everytime I hit the button the machines sounded off! The sound of cha-ching was ringing in my ears!

A couple of hours later, the planets must have interrupted my alignment because the cha-ching sound went silent. I decided it was time to get out of the casino and make my way to the truck....

Tuesday morning Trapper and I both wandered back into the casino... we're still sitting here in Florida, we're still using "their" money.... why not, right?

The moons and planets were all out of wack today... my luck had ended. Luckily, a quick trip to the truck showed me that we had been preplanned to go to Patalka, FL on Wednesday. Naturally, the qualcomm doesn't go off until you have out of the truck having fun!

Vacation coming to and end, we made the short drive to Paltaka, FL for our 2:00 p.m. pick up on Wednesday.

Our little vacation was a very nice one! Back to work now!

Posted on 1:43 AM

Fri, Dec 5 ... Too Close Not To!

By Lynette at 1:43 AM

Waking up as we were entering the Smoky Mountains was a surprise this morning... I went to sleep last night in KY... hmmm... guess I slept in today. I stayed up way too late the night before trying to decide which layout I wanted to use for this blog! Oh well... it gave Trapper some quite time!

Our trip today to Florence, SC will take us south on I-26, which we will come within 4 miles of our house. Do we or don't we? Do we... or don't we stop?? This was the question of the hour. If you've never been out here and experienced it... you probably don't understand what I'm saying. We knew we'd only have a few hours at the house because we had to make the last two hours of our trip tonight. We wanted to stop... but couldn't figure out a really good reason to stop. We also couldn't come up with a good reason not to stop.

As it all turned out... yes, we stopped! I did laundry and went to the grocery. I some how managed to cram 3 weeks worth of supplies in this truck tonight. We know we'll be out until Christmas and after we deliver in Florence, SC we are preplanned to go to Florida... so I tried to get ahead of the game.

Living on the road is funny. You get used to living in the truck. The TRUCK becomes your home. Where ever you stop, what ever state you're in, what ever time zone you're in... it becomes home. Like I've said before... OTR driving is a lifestyle, not just a job.

I'm sure, when the day comes that we can't do this anymore... I will miss it... but for now... I love it! so.... "Drive on Driver!"

Posted on 1:53 AM

Thurs, Dec 4... One Day I Will Laugh

By Lynette at 1:53 AM

Some day I'm going to look back at this blog and sit for hours or days just laughing! There's never a boring day. There is always something going on... good, bad, or indifferent.

Today started like most... Trapper up at the crack of dawn and me... well... still asleep. I awoke in Bloomington, IL (I think) to a crisp and quite chilly 14 degrees! Trapper had already thrown a log on the fire, so it was nice and toasty in the truck.

We left the truck stop and drove our 25 miles to Bedford Park, IL to pick up merchandise that is going to the QVC place in Florence, SC. We found the place, without incident, and docked. Trapper had to stay inside while they were loading us, so I took this chance to do reimbursement paperwork and get the map set for the last leg of our journey.

Being in IL, kinda freaks me out... our experience with the low bridge in North Aurora, IL a few weeks ago, well, I still have flashbacks. I was a rookie then... I'm a 12 week wonder now!

I put the info in the map and our British speaking Garmin. Both devices told me to go the same way.... Cool... easy job for me. And because we were in IL, I decided to check the book with the low clearances, restrictions, etc. I looked in the book... didn't see anything on our route, so I was confident we would be fine. Remember... it's a lot easier to keep this rig going forward...

We were loaded and rolling... we had a total of about 10 miles to drive. First turn, no problem... second turn, no problem... we are tooling on down the street, Trapper's on the phone with his Mom... we stop at the red light and what do I "think" I see just beyond the intersection....

You guessed it! A train trestle... with a clearance sign of 13' ??''. I grab the little binoculars, but we're bouncing and I can't see it clear. A few feet closer I can see it CLEARLY.... 13' 0"...and yes, we're 13' 6".

Trying not to be rude and interrupt his conversation, I point to the sign. (We're moving really slow, which was good) Trapper points to the GPS and says, "We've got 2 more miles before we turn." At this point... interrupting the conversation was the last thing on my mind and I reply, "13' clearance!"

He cuts their conversation off, in midstream and we try to hang a right. If the fire hydrant hadn't been there we could have. However, we couldn't get turned. There I was, for the second time in my life, out on the streets of Chicago... stopping traffic!!

An hour and a few minutes later, we successfully finagled our way out of Bedford Park, IL and back on the "big roads". Every time this happens I loose time off my life expectancy and at least one fingernail.

The rest of the day was great. We made it through IN and stopped just east of Louisville, KY for the night. Tomorrow we'll be in our home states of TN, NC, and SC.... familiar places!

Posted on 11:01 PM

Wed, Dec 3... Tall, Wide, Long, & Low

By Lynette at 11:01 PM

It's been snowing all day. Luckily, it's the light stuff, so the roads are good. It's cold, windy, and snowy... here in the Windy City! And the name fits!

I need to recant my earlier desire to see snow measured in feet. Being from the south, this stuff makes me too nervous. So there... I take it back. Now Trapper can't keep saying, "You wished it on us!" Ha, ha... It doesn't bother him, but I'm in the passenger seat with the death grip on my arm rest!

Our day started early, 7:00 a.m., and when I looked out the window to make sure we were still in the same place as last night... this is what was in front of us! This is the biggest thing I've seen on the road so far... Check this out... 92 wheels and if you count the truck in the back, that was attached to this whole ensemble, you get 106 wheels!

The first picture is the truck that pulls all this, the middle picture is the tank, I'm assuming this is some type fuel tank, the last picture is the rear. There was also a flat bed truck with this convoy carrying the casing for this tank. There were 4-5 other big rigs, off to the side, with various types equipment. They were only allowed to travel after dark in IL, according to one of the men Trapper was talking to.

I can't imagine. People at the truck stop were out of their trucks taking pictures of this! I just wonder what the freight charge was? Tall, Long, Wide, Low and bends in the middle...nightmare load! The driver wasn't lonely though... he had enough spotters with him to maneuver safely.

We made it to our first delivery, early of course, we were loaded in Cottage Grove, IL and headed to Carpentersville, IL with our hazmat load. We pick up in the morning in Bedford Park, IL and head to Florence, SC! We'll be 4 miles from the house at one point, but no time to stop. Bummer...

We're sitting at I-55 Greater Chicago truck stop tonight. It's about 10:30 p.m. and I'm watching 5 trucks try to get parked. In the meantime, the security patrol car is zigging in and out between these trucks... he's trying to get out of the situation he just got himself into! He's going to get run over... and I'm sure one of these drivers would like to tell him what they think right now. I wonder if that would be considered a "preventable"?

Posted on 11:36 PM

Tues, Dec 2.. You're Kiddin' Me Right??

By Lynette at 11:36 PM

This morning started early for both of us. I was actually up and around at 6:30 a.m. central time! With St. Louis, MO straight ahead of us, we wanted to miss rush hour!

We have approximately 550 miles to drive today and we will try to deliver this load this afternoon vs. 7:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. Our directions say the delivery place has "steep grades and tight turns." Great... the part they left out is there is snow/ice on the ground! Can't wait to see this place.

The snow showed up as soon as we crossed into Illinois and it got a little more evident the further north we drove. I've already checked the local weather and road conditions, so we are good to go.

All this snow and wintry surroundings made me decide to put chili in the slow cooker for dinner. Nothing like warm food on a cold day! Remember me saying earlier that the slow cooker rides in the floor of the truck? Keep this thought in mind....

We found our delivery place around 4 p.m. and steep hills and tight turns was an understatement! Check this place out!
We were in LOW gear (the gear that is never used!)... we went UP a hill, around a corner, UP another hill and there are the docks. Three sets of docks, all facing each other with trailers or trucks sitting in them. In order to get docked... up another hill, around the building, turn around and come in the opposite direction. Then wTrapper had to put the truck in a jack knife position to push the trailer in the dock!

Trapper gets us situated and goes inside. A minute later he comes out and gets some tools from under the truck. He reminded me of the wood supports that are in the trailer to secure the load.

We were carrying transformers, which were delivered yesterday, and when these were put in the trailer (in Mexico) the crew there nailed 2x4's to the trailer floor to secure them.

About thirty minutes later... and a lot of banging in the trailer... he comes back out to the truck... huffing, puffing, and sweatin'... he asks me to get my camera and come with him. Of course, I did, not having a clue what I was going to see!

As I rounded the corner and looked into the trailer, I couldn't believe my eyes! Here is what had been done in our trailer! The short boards had 8 nails each in them, who knows how many nails were in the long boards.

AND not only were they nailed completely all the way in the oak floor of the trailer, they used deck nails! Or ring nails... the nails that are ridged like screws!!!

The boards would not come up without splitting. Obviously they were put in with a nail gun. We were using two crow bars, 2 hammers, and a bolt cutter. If I had been driving this truck alone, which a lot of women are on the road alone, I couldn't have done this. I tried and only managed to get one half of one board up.

We beat and banged, pulled, and pushed... Trapper did all the hard work, I used the nail cutters to cut the nails off flush with the floor (they wouldn't come out of the floor and the heads kept popping off) then we had to bang the remainder of the nail flush and clean up this monstrosity of a mess!

We did all this so he could or would get the trailer unloaded. The dock worker wouldn't drive over these things to get to the load.

Luckily, he told us where we could empty this wood so we could get this out of the trailer and on our way.

Four hours later, we were finished.

My feet freezing and Trapper being really tired (nothing like driving 600 miles and then 4 hours of this mess to deal with), I decided it would be nice if I ran back to the truck and warmed coffee for us.

I jump in the truck, swing my legs around between the two seats, and stand up in the back... as I am doing this in one fluid movement.... my foot lands right in the slow cooker!

Realizing what I have just done, I just stood there... as red sauce splashed everywhere... I now have chili all over the floor in the back of the truck!

Having no paper towels on board today... I have a mess and nothing to clean it up with! I grabbed the white plastic table cloth cover, throw it over the bunk, and put the slow cooker there. I grabbed the only two wash cloths close by, white ones, and started cleaning this mess out of the floor.

Trapper gets in the truck and inquires as to what I am doing.... I guess so... the back of the cab looked like I murdered someone or gave birth! I was equally traumatized.

During this time, as fate would have it, the qualcomm goes off with two preplanned loads. We looked at each other with a "not now" look on our faces. I finally salvaged dinner, secured all the evidence in plastic bags, and we left for the truck stop.

Arriving at the truck stop, we sat quietly for a moment. We both needed a moment. We're wondering if Trapper will be paid for his labor job this evening. The company wouldn't reimburse a $20 lumper restacking fee... will they pay a driver remodeling pay?

Can't wait for tomorrow... neither of us will be able to move! Where is the ibuprophen?

Posted on 11:21 PM

Mon, Dec 1 .... Getting Back In the Swing

By Lynette at 11:21 PM

Boy... take a couple of days off with no itinerary, showers within walking distance, food readily available and a good cup of coffee at all times .... well, it's hard to get back in the swing of things! I feel like I've been sent to the moon.... a little disoriented shall we say. I'm having trouble getting back into our routine.

Our day today started early. Please note... early to me is not necessarily early to everyone else. I was awaken suddenly by the pepper shaker falling off the shelf... on to my head... accompanied by this really loud bang! Ok, I thought, we must be docked at the customers! Trapper had to "back over" the dock hooks. Some docks are not super trucker friendly.

About 7:30 a.m. we left Nacogdoches, TX (the oldest town in TX by the way) and headed north. Today will take us through the rest of TX, through AR, and just into MO. We need to drive about 600 miles today so we can be at our delivery place in Waukesha, WI on Tuesday night. We deliver there on Wednesday morning.

I think I'll put my space suit on now and go for a moon walk...

Posted on 12:25 AM

Sun, Nov 30 ... Bidding Texas Goodbye!

By Lynette at 12:25 AM

Today is Sunday... we've been in Laredo since Thursday morning... and WE are ready to leave! Trapper decided to take a walk to the terminal so I hung out in the truck.... I straightened up, did some paperwork, did some computer work and decided to go shower.

Just as I got my clothes together, got my bags out of the underneath compartment, got my keys, and stepped back down to the ground, what do I hear?.... that's right.... beep, beep.... and then another beep... meaning we just received a preplanned load message on the Qualcomm! We're headed somewhere!

I put all my stuff back under the cab.... and started my brisk walk to the terminal. I met Trapper about half way and he tells me to take my time... go ahead and take a shower... and then we would leave.

Back to the truck, get my stuff, back to the terminal...

Finally, we're both ready to go. Looks like I can put the flip flops up for a few days. We've been dispatched from Laredo, TX to Nacogdoches, TX to deliver part of our load at 7 a.m. tomorrow morning. The rest of the load is going to Waukesha, WI and must be there by Wednesday. I feel snow in our near future.

All the people that evacuated Texas on Wednesday were returning today. We were completely stopped in traffic on the interstate and the cb radio was reporting an accident at mile marker 718... we were at mile marker 688 (with the numbers going up!) Thirty miles of bumper to bumper traffic!!

At this point Trapper says, "Let's look for a different route." Sounds easy enough, right? Nope... wrong!

I look at the map on the computer and see a couple of alternatives.... one is coming up pretty quick... a couple of miles ahead we could have turned, but we're in a vehicle that is 13' 6" tall and 70' (give or take) long. So, I get the book out that list low bridges and weight restrictions for each state.

I'm looking and looking for each of these tiny roads that look like an alternate for us. There would have been 5-6 different state hiways and little roads. I'm seeing bridge heights from 13' 6" to 14'. I learned my leason in North Aurora, IL about bridges and they make me nervous.

In the midst of this "on the spot trip planning", Trapper is out of coffee. Anyone who knows Trapper, knows... COFFEE should be on hand 24/7! He politely asks me to make coffee, when I had a chance.

Giving up on the alternate route, because of the bridges.... I go to the back to start the coffee. I had the slow cooker plugged in with dinner started... in order to run appliances you have to do a little juggling act!

It goes something like this... unplug the slow cooker, make sure the refrigerator is unplugged, plug in the coffee pot that rides in the floor board of the cab (to prevent spills).... with the coffee being done and served you must... unplug the coffee pot... plug the fridge back in for thirty minutes or so, unplug the fridge so you can plug in the slow cooker to finish dinner. The slow cooker also rides in the floor board... to prevent spills! (Mom... this is the reason I had the gallon jugs in my hands in the picture... coffee and washing dishes!)

Of course, all of this is being done while balancing yourself in a moving vehicle and crazy people driving little cars in a big hurry to get back home! I haven't been thrown back to the front of the cab yet, but you do learn when to get up and move around and when not too!

Other than the traffic the day went well. We arrived at our delivery place later in the evening and we will park it here until we deliver in the morning. We're both ready to call it a day....

And here's a picture for the Fry family! Fry Rd. located in Katy, TX!