Wednesday, August 15, 2018

A Welcome Delay

Yesterday I sat in traffic in State College, Pennsylvania for an hour and a half.  Oddly, I don't really get too annoyed with traffic.  I like the slow pace, I like to people watch, and I especially like when it comes to a complete standstill and I have to pull the brake and just sit there.

Stop and go traffic is annoying, especially when you have to shift every three feet.  My left leg actually starts to get fatigued from pushing the clutch in so many times.  It's like spot exercising.  I half expect to come out with a thigh that looks like Popeye's arms.

I also didn't mind because Pennsylvania - especially this part - is stunningly beautiful.  Oh my God, all the green!  The lush trees.  Hills.  Grass.  It was glorious.  It had been raining on and off so the sky was a bit cloudy, no glaring sun to annoy me.

Of course there are the people who need to scoot in front of you because they think they're "getting ahead".  I prefer to be behind another truck rather than a car though because constantly watching a little vehicle's movement is annoying.  I'd rather creep along with a truck.  I had some guy squeeze between me and the truck in front of me and I kept thinking I was going to roll forward and crush him.  At some point, the lane to the left moved a wee bit faster and he darted over there.  To get one car length ahead.  Idiot.

I thought there was an accident because the app on my phone showed a fender bender up ahead.  Turns out it wasn't an accident, it was just construction - two lanes merging into one - backing up traffic for miles. 

Eventually, the road opened up and the traffic quickly dispersed.  My respite from the long haul was over.  It was time to go back to work.

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The Moose With Golden Antlers
2016: Snack Money
2015: Mae Mae Shows You How It's Done
2014: Nope, Don't See Anything I Need Here
2013: Bears Outnumber Bigfoot  
2012: Betting On My Man To Show Me A Great Time
2011: Cut And Color
2010: X Marks The Imaginary Spot
2009: A Field That Looks Perfect For Wrasslin’…If It Weren’t For The Sign
2008: Come Visit Me In Italy!
2007: Asked And Answered
2006: L.E.A.P.
2005: Ed Visits His First Warehouse Store

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Monday, August 13, 2018

Escort Service

Over the years we've hauled loads that need what's called an escort truck.    This is not the same as having a pilot car escort.  An escort truck follows the lead truck, turning when it turns, stopping when it stops, always keeping it in view. 

Most of the loads we've hauled that require an escort (or that we've been an escort for) involve some kind of sensitive or expensive freight.  Sometimes there will be two loaded trucks and one escort truck.  The escort truck is always empty, it never carries any cargo. 

One time we did a load that required two trucks AND a car that contained two armed security officers.  I still have no idea what was in the truck.  Although I did a little research to figure it out and tried to pry it out of the armed guards, we were only told it was some sort of pharmaceutical chemicals.  Phooey!

I'm really not a fan of doing loads that require an escort.  It pays very well, and you don't have to drive loaded (so no weight issues, no load checks necessary) but it's still a bit of a pain in the ass.  Escorting is all about compromise - you have to talk to the other drivers and agree on the speed of travel, what kind of stops and breaks you're going to take, whether there are pets involved that need walking.  Mostly, I don't like being at the mercy of another driver or having to make any changes to my routine.  If we do it, I'd much rather be the lead truck instead of the one following. 

We recently did an escorted load where we were the loaded truck and the other was the escort.  Good because we, as the lead truck, made the rules, but bad because we still had to make some compromises.  The other team we drove with were great.  The wife was just the kind of person I like, which is rare in this industry, as I usually don't have anything in common with the other trucker wives.  The only problem it seemed we were going to have was the speed - they wanted to do "the speed limit", which can mean 75 miles per hour in some states.  We don't do 75 miles per hour.  EVER. 

In fact, our regular speed is 58 miles per hour.  If we're in a rush, we might do 60.  And 62 is our top speed.  We don't like going fast.  I don't like it because it's unsafe.  Ed doesn't like it because it tears up the equipment.  There's just no benefit to going that fast.  I knew when I was moseying along around 60 miles per hour, she was behind me pulling her hair out.  I felt a teensy bit bad but not enough to crank it up to 62. 

I also don't like using the CB Radio and hate having to keep it on while doing an escorted load.  But you need to be able to communicate with the other team.  I like to listen to podcasts or books on tape when I drive and I hate the scratchy sound of the CB.  And when people talk it's always so garbled, I can't understand them anyway.  On this last load, we communicated using phones which was much better. 

I'm not saying I'll never do another escorted load, but whenever Ed tells me we got one, I always say, "Ugh.  Really??" 

Probably my favorite part about this particular type of freight hauling is seeing the look on my mother's face when I say, "Guess what?  I got paid four figures this week to be an escort."

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Comforting Souls

2016: Get Lost In The Links
2015: Up In The Bakken 
2014: I See A Molasses Sorghum Cookie In My Future
2013: Save Fifty Cents By Staying Away From The Card Tables - Go To A Concert Instead
2012: Zero Tolerance Zone
2011: Flicker Of Hope…GONE
2010: Knee Deep In Training
2009: She Sells Seashells By The Seashore
2008: Shopping At Walmart Is The Closest Some Of Us Will Ever Get To China
2007: Giving Indians A Bad Name
2006: Six Flags Of Horror Fly Over Texas
2005: Snake River

Sunday, August 12, 2018

So Many Delicious Pastabilities!

Aunt Jennie is my grandmother's sister, my father's Aunt.  In this photo, Aunt Jennie and her husband, Uncle Lawrence are making gnocchi in our kitchen in New York.  I was seven years old. 

Both Auntie and Uncle were born in Italy and this was one of the traditions they brought with them when they came to America.  To this day, gnocchi is my favorite pasta.  And nothing beats freshly made.

My mother recently sent me the following video:

Just watching these women make pasta ignited something in me.  I now need to make pasta!  And the next time I'm home, I'm going to attempt it.

To view the videos in this series, check out Pasta Grannies on YouTube.  They also have an Instagram page if you're interested.

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Say Yes To The Dress Shopping

2016: Catalina Moon
2015: A Round Town
2014: A Dark Cloud Hangs Over The Plantation
2013: I Wonder How These Longhorns Would Feel If They Knew A Steakhouse Was Named After Them?
2012: Frying Up Memories
2011: Icy Beverages, Sun, And Sand
2010: Smalltopia And Rowdy Kittens
2009: Severely Disabled
2008: Boys In Dresses
2007: I’ve Been Everywhere Sunday
2006: When I'm Done Peeing, Do I Bang On The Pipes Or Just Yell When I Need Someone To Take Me Back To My Cell? 
2005: The Emerald City 

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Little Beggar

My mother has nicknamed her cat "The Little Beggar" because she seems to appear when she knows there's food around.  Some of her favorites include yogurt, pineapple, and of course, tuna.

When she's not begging, she's sleeping.

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Setting Up Your Shot In A Beautiful Setting

2016: Landing
2015: Fields Of Gold
2014: Natural Home Decor
2013: Cats In Trucker Hats
2012: Marbelize It!
2011: Inner Harbor Fixture
2010: Sandía On The Wall
2009: Big Rig Parking AT #34
2008: The Benefits Of Marriage Without The Hassle Of Dieting To Get Into The Dress
2007: Gateway To The West
2006: Taking A Lesson From An Eleven Year Old
2005: Rejoicing And Be Sad

Monday, August 06, 2018

It's All Happening At The Zoo

I was born in the Bronx and spent the first five years of my childhood living in an apartment above my paternal grandparents less than two miles from the Bronx Zoo.  My family still lives there.

The Bronx Zoo "is the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States and among the largest in the world. On average, the zoo has 2.15 million visitors each year, and it comprises 265 acres of parklands and naturalistic habitats, through which the Bronx River flows.  It is world-renowned for its large and diverse animal collection and award-winning exhibitions.  The zoo is part of an integrated system of four zoos and one aquarium managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society, and it is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums."

This was a great place to have my first childhood zoo experience.  It's probably time for another visit.

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2017: A Royal Goodbye

2016: Passing Time
2015: The Vast Nothingness
2014: An Amish Gathering
2013: Personalized
2012: Fire On The Island
2011: Harborside Education
2010: Yo, Vin!
2009: Sweeter Words Have Never Been Spoken
2008: More Proof I Ate At A Sushi Place
2007: North Sally Port
2006: Holy Cow!
2005: Wishing

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Nowhere Near As Cute As A Kitten

Years ago I listened to a podcast about the poaching of Venus flytraps.  Seems it's a big business and brings good money on the black market.  I'd never seen a Venus Flytrap in real life.  Until this week when Ed bought one for me.

We've spent quite a bit of time in Southport, North Carolina which lies in Brunswick County.  Venus flytraps are native to the area - they grow within a 75-mile radius of Wilmington, North Carolina and are native to the Green Swamp in Brunswick.

The poaching of Venus flytraps became so out of control, with "poachers trafficking in thousands of plants plucked illegally from the wild, as well as from gardens and nurseries" that North Carolina law now prohibits removing the plants from where they grow and upgraded the act of removing them from a misdemeanor to a felony.

Imagine going to jail for stealing a plant that grows in the wild??

The plant is very small - this pot is only about five inches tall - and although colorful, they're a little creepy looking.  And the do snap shut if you touch your finger to the red area between the leaves.  It doesn't hurt, but it's really wild to see the way it reacts.

I don't have any insects in the truck for the flytrap to feast on so I guess I'm going to have to be on the lookout for dead bugs in order to give my little pet a meal.

It's not as cute as a kitten, but at least I don't have to clean a litter box.

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Celebrating Seven And A Half Decades

2016: Makes Complete Sense
2015: I'm Always Hoping It's The Last Time
2014: Apes At The Hitching Post
2013: History On Water Street
2012: Do It Like The Settlers Did. With Whiskey.
2011: No Vacancy
2010: Imperial Sand
2009: How Many Twenty Year Olds Have A Seventy Pound Head?
2008: My First Time
2007: I’ve Been Everywhere Sunday
2006: Text Me
2005: Eddie Dines Out Friday

Friday, August 03, 2018

Guarding The Hill

The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II - a tandem two-seat, twin-engine, all-weather, long-range supersonic jet interceptor and fighter-bomber originally developed for the United States Navy - stands guard in front of Hill Aerospace Museum at the north end of Hill Air Force Base, located five miles south of Ogden, Utah.

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Fragrant Bouquet

2016: Mesilla Valley Morning
2015: Ready, Set, Sell!
2014: Squeaky Clean Reflection
2013: Bicycles Liberate, Espresso Invigorates
2012: Playing For Gas Money
2011: Faceted Beauty For Less Than Three Bucks
2010: Triple FFF-18
2009: Hot Tuna Doesn’t Get Any Play In My Truck
2008: Corn Fed Summer
2007: Eddie Breaks The Rules Friday
2006: The Chicks Of Dixie
2005: Text Me

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Making Hay While The Sun Shines


Five thousand one hundred and eighty-seven miles.  In six days.

It's not a lot of miles for a normal team, but it's a lot of miles for us.  Almost three times our normal weekly average!

But, the weather's good, the freight is plentiful, and the rates are sky high. 

I have a feeling this is how the rest of the summer is going to go. 

Hang tight and keep on rollin'!

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Howdy, Heart Attack!

2016: 44 Things
2015: I'll See You And Raise You
2014: A Job For A Four-Star General
2013: Colorful Nights, Rainy Days
2012: These Coco Girls Are Not Reading Rare Books
2011: Imagine What These Bird Droppings Look Like
2010: Is It Just The Girlie Bits That Make Us The Cry-Baby Sex?
2009: Who Would Have Thought Cheese And Tarheels Were Such A Perfect Complement?
2008: First Friday Fill-In. Say THAT Five Times Fast!
2007: Another Year Of Life In The Pink
2006: Can You Hear My Happiness?
2005: Alis Volat Propiis