Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

photo credit: somewhere on the internet
Ed and I are spending Thanksgiving on the cold, snowy East coast.  My friend is going to meet us for a trucker style Thanksgiving buffet, and I'm looking forward to a good meal and lots of laughs.  The best part?  I don't have to cook a thing, and I don't have to do dishes.

Hope you're all having a great Thanksgiving wherever you may be!

And I truly hope none of you are eating Turducken


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Football Eyes In A Pear Head
2012: Snack Attack
2011: Last Full Day Of Freedom
2010: Keyed Up
2009: The Ultimate Mrs.
2008: Happy Thanksgiving
2007: The Kind Of Contraction That Produces A Laugh, Not A Baby
2006: Wanderlust Officially Approved
2005: The Eye Of The Beholder

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I'd Like A Parking Spot For Two Please

The photo above was taken last week at a T/A in Pennsylvania.  Those yellow stanchions represent reserved pay parking spots for truckers.

There are 32 of them.  THIRTY-TWO.  At one truck stop.

The paid parking thing has become more popular over the last few years, and the reserved parking thing - where truckers can call ahead and reserve a parking spot - is even more recent than that.

I'm not a fan.  And it doesn't seem like too many drivers at this truck stop are either, because there are at least 32 of them who aren't opening their wallets.

Even though we never have a problem finding parking, there are nights when we pull into a lot where parking is scarce or non-existent.  If that's the case, we move on.  But it really bugs me to see a lot where the only open spots are pay spots.  And they sit unused all night.  
Ed says for the 18 years he's been out here, there have always been (and still are) truck stops where you have to pay to park.  But the "payment" came in the form of spending money at their facility.  Buying fuel, spending money in the restaurant or C-Store, getting service on the truck in the shop - if you met their minimum, you could park for free. 

In this blog post, the author makes some really good points about why parking shouldn't be free, that it's the cost of doing business.  But when he says, "I can't think of another mode of transport that gets a similar handout for their operational expenses.  Airlines pay airports all sorts of fees for landing and take-offs and tarmac fees for parking, etc."  my first thought was that although they may be paying tarmac parking fees, I'm pretty confident it's not the pilot of that aircraft who is footing the bill.
  
There have been a few new truck stops built where he says there haven't been - trying to illustrate that new truck parking spots are not being created - but overall I can see his point that there's more money to be made by putting some other kind of business in or by charging drivers to park than by hoping they'll come into the store to buy a bag of Doritos.

Right now it may not be such a big deal because it's a small percentage of parking spots, but I do think we're going to see more of it.  With the new Hours of Service and EOBRs on the verge of possibly becoming mandatory, drivers are going to have to know they have parking available to them before their clock runs out, and right now there's no way to guarantee a parking spot anywhere unless you arrive long before the witching hour when spots start disappearing.

Paid reserved parking may become the norm 
- because more and more people are using it, are thinking about using it, or are going to be forced to use it - and if that's the case, I see a parking accessorial fee in my future.  



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: I Desire A Snack Eaten Off An Owl Plate

2012: Pulpy Plumes
2011: Saturday Slow Down

2010: Let The Crazy Begin
2009: For Everything Thy Goodness Sends
2008: A Look On The Inside
2007: Free! Gratuito! Gratis! Ummm…No Charge!
2006: Life Giver vs. Indian Giver
2005: The Spaghetti Thanks You

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Sign Ignored

One of the many low clearance signs in New York that is just all kinds of wrong.  This one is located on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE/I-278) in the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn.

For a more in-depth look at this issue, read my friend Marlaina's extremely well-written post about it.  



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: One Woman, Ten Looks

2012: Came For The Dog, Wound Up With A Beefy Italian
2011: The Master Carver
2010: Waiting For The Good Stuff
2009: Getting Some Bird A Day Ahead Of The Crowd
2008: The Only Reason Men Do Things Is Because Their Wives MAKE Them
2007: Here’s Looking At You
2006: Just Outside The Door
2005: Trying To Mask The Boredom

Monday, November 24, 2014

We Are Not Government Issued

"We Are Not Government Issued" is a mural in Brooklyn, New York painted by a group of 13 young women from Sunset Park.  The mural depicts three young women "armed not with weapons, but the tools of creativity and education."

The mural was painted in 2008 to bring attention to the recruiting that was going on for the war on Iran.  The girls were uneasy with the aggressive tactics the recruiters were using in their neighborhood and decided to do something about it.  The topic of the mural was their decision.  They are not against the military or recruiting, they just felt the recruiters weren't being forthcoming with all of the information required to make an informed decision before signing young people up for military service.

It was can be seen from Interstate 278 (known in this section as the Gowanus Expressway, but also called the BQE - Brooklyn Queens Expressway) at 23rd Street and 3rd Avenue.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: A Railfan Mecca

2012: When I Was A Kid
2011: Nuts About Thanksgiving
2010: On The Way To Turkey Day
2009: Winding Down For The Big Holiday
2008: Pssst! The Fish Are In The Water. Check The Water.
2007: Elphaba’s Long Lost Sister?
2006: What Boys (And One Girl) Do On Thanksgiving
2005: Cold Turkey

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Eddie Needs A New Tuque

After the Buffalo snowstorm last week, we decided we had to double-check our winter wear supply.  The weather has been pretty cold although we haven't encountered snow yet.  Last year I cut up one of Ed's hats to make a neck warmer for him, and we couldn't find the other one, so we had to shop.  He really needs something that covers his ears for when the wind is whipping around outside.  

I've been out here for ten years and rarely wear a winter jacket.  I have one from last year that I use but I kinda hate it.  I wore it snow tubing and it was adequate, but I had to wear too many layers underneath for it to be comfortable, I felt like one of those kids bundled up so much they can't move.  So I'm trying to find something thin but with goose down inside.  Yeah, right.  It's been a challenge since everything looks like something the Michelin Man would wear.  

We were in a truck stop tonight and saw the display above, with a few different types of hats to choose from.  Ed said, "Can you see someone taking that ski mask off the rack and walking up to the register with it??"  Doesn't seem smart to sell a ski mask in what's essentially a gas station.  You don't want to make it too easy for the crooks!

But since I don't want to wait until we get to a real store to get Ed a nice hat, we bought one for four bucks at the truck stop.  Not the ski mask one.  It'll get him through the next few cold snaps, and protect his delicate little ears.




~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2013: Quickly Losing Count
2012: Opposites Don't Always Attract
2011: Shit Eating Grins. And Giggles. And Shits And Giggles.
2010: Waiting It Out
2009: My Life According To Sugarland
2008: EPCOT On Fire
2007: Eddie Full Of Turkey Friday
2006: Crouching Poultry, Hidden Turkey
2005: Is It Really A Sandwich?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Lube 2

Keeping up with the maintenance at the Speedco in Ruther Glen, Virginia, where we had the engine oil filters changed, the tires inflated, the drive shaft greased, and the generator oil changed.  



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Making Mud For The Two Wheelers
2012: Have A Delicious Thanksgiving!
2011: The Boneyard Of The 309th
2010: These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things
2009: I’m Only Interested In Breasts
2008: What Price Fun?
2007: True Blue
2006: Hitchcockesque
2005: The Borscht Belt

Friday, November 21, 2014

Flashback Friday

I don't really have a Flashback Friday category, but I came across this picture today and I thought I'd share it since we haven't seen this truck in a looooong time.  It's Friday and I'm flashing back!

This was the first truck Ed ever purchased on his own to become an owner-operator.  This is the truck I learned to drive in back in 2006 when I got my CDL.  And this is the truck that took us all over the United States and Canada, up to Alaska and over to Newfoundland.  In my first year in this truck, I went to 49 states.  It was the most incredible travel I'd ever experienced up to that point in my life.

Ed put 1,300,000 miles on this truck.  It ran like a charm and we traveled like gypsies in it, with stuff crammed into every nook and cranny of the sleeper.  And although we have a 132" sleeper now, I still loved every minute we had in this one.




~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: The Best Kind Of Mob

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Delivering In The District

We had a load this week that took us a mile from the White House - elevator parts going to a building on K Street.  You can see where we were, the blue dot is us.  To the west, New York Avenue takes you straight to the White House and to the east, Massachusetts Avenue takes you toward the State Capitol.

It was extremely cold during the unload, but that wasn't the worst of it.  The worst was the traffic.  It took us two and a half hours to drive 79 miles from the location we shut down the night before. We had to be on site at 7:00 am.  Who orders an 18-wheeler into downtown Washington, DC in the middle of morning rush hour??

Neither one of us mind driving in traffic, meaning we don't avoid cities like some other drivers do.  There are many drivers who say "No Northeast" because they don't like to deal with the crush of people and cars and trucks and taxis and whatever else that might be in their way.  I grew up in New York, cut my teeth on tri-state traffic, drove to the Jersey Shore for the beach, Manhattan for nights out, and even drove to a concert in Connecticut once in the middle of a snowstorm.  Ed doesn't love traffic, he'd rather wait it out.  I like to people watch from high on my big rig perch.

We unloaded in the street, a practice that requires us to call our safety department in advance so we don't violate the policy they have in place typically forbidding that kind of action.  Since it was a job-site with no other option, by alerting them in advance, in addition to putting out triangles and turning on four-way flashers, we minimize some of the risk of being involved in an "incident".  The street we were on was permitted as a construction unloading zone and it wasn't very busy, so we got in and out with no problem.  

Next we're heading North.  Maybe we'll run into some of that beautiful white stuff.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Loving What's On The Inside
2012: When You Walk Like That, Talk Like That, Look Like That...
2011: Like And Loathing In Las Vegas
2010: Get Fresh With Me…Please!
2009: In The Blink Of An Eye
2008: Duck, Duck, Drake
2007: The Lady And Sons
2006: The Department Of Mindless Vegetables
2005: Ooo Rah Johnny Cash!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

BuffaSNOW

If you haven't heard about the snow in Buffalo, New York, you must live under a rock.  In the dessert.  Where there's only sand and sun.  Because this is amazing.

These are pictures from my friend Gary.  He was stuck all day yesterday, overnight, and into today just south of Buffalo.  In the lane of traffic.  Everything was closed down so although he could have moved - he's got the awesome Onspot Automatic Tire Chains - he said there was no point since he couldn't go anywhere.  
He was the lead truck, sitting first in line at the stoplight.  He said he had a good view of everything happening in the intersection.  There was an "upscale" Sunoco gas station about fifty feet away where he said about twenty people were hanging out, some of them sleeping on the floor.
The snow was epic.  This was Buffalo's first snowstorm of the season and it's already dropped 5 feet of snow and they're expecting another 3 feet.  That's more than they usually get all year.  It was quick and unrelenting.  The snow removal services couldn't keep up.

Of course, I'm the only one I know who wants to be there.  I love snow.  I love record-breaking snow.  And I kinda love the idea of being stranded.  Gary understood.  He texted me saying, "It's so whacked here it's kinda fun, you know what I mean?"  I said, "I totally know what you mean."  "I knew you'd understand." he said.  And I do.  


Of course, Gary has a big sleeper truck.  Not as big as ours, but bigger than standard truck sleepers.  And he had full fuel tanks, which is his winter plan - always be full of fuel and food.  He had food in the truck and they were sitting around watching TV while others were in their cars, presumably cursing the fact that they decided to go out in the snow.  Even other big trucks have it better off  than a regular passenger car.  Even with full fuel tanks in a standard sleeper truck, you can idle continuously for days.  

Buffalo is expecting more snow in the next few days.  Unfortunately we'll be in the Carolinas.  But I told Ed I'm ready to go snow tubing again, because it really was totally like Sochi.

I need to go buy a winter coat first.  And maybe boots.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: The White Dove Of The Desert

2012: A Beautiful Listen
2011: The Music Of The Night
2010: There’s No Better Place On Earth
2009: Getting Tanked In Al-Nahar
2008: Bracing For A World Of Mouse Ears
2007: At Least He’s Up Front About It
2006: Aten HUT!!
2005: Be The Player

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Whole Big Lot Of Love

Graphic from Google Images
My mother called me from the car yesterday.  She was on her way to Big Lots to look an area rug she had seen online.  She called the local store first to find out if they had a rug she saw online, in stock at the store.

She said she gave the nice kid on the phone all the information he asked for - SKU number, price, description.  He told her to hold while he went to go look.


When he got back on the phone he apologized for taking so long, said he had to look through the entire rug aisle.

"No problem." my mother said.  "I appreciate you taking the time to look."

"No problem, really.  I also looked at the inventory on the computer and that particular rug is not on display at our store but we have many others in that size." he said.

"Okay," she said.  "I'll probably take a ride up there later today.  You have a really good evening and once again, thank you very much."

"Oh, no prob." he said.  "You have a good night too.  Love ya!"


And with that, he hung up the phone.

We could not stop laughing.  She said the kid was probably mortified when he hung up the phone but my mother said he was so nice and personable she felt like she was talking to me or my brother.

I've been on the verge of doing this very thing when talking to non-family members

I'm sure that kid is hoping she never comes in for that rug.




~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: When A Pig Wraps Himself Around A Chicken Deliciousness Ensues

2012: Let The Stockpiling Begin
2011: From The Island To The Desert
2010: The Town I Was Dying To See
2009: Gleaming Curve
2008: Color Me Casual
2007: Eddie Goes Running Friday
2006: Forever Yours
2005: Home Away From Home

Thursday, November 13, 2014

One Last Fling

We were sitting in the parking lot of the Petro truck stop in Bordentown, New Jersey, when I decided to walk over to the trees at the edge of the lot to see if I could find some leaves to photograph.  I've been taking pictures these last few weeks while enjoying the change of colors in the Northeast and haven't really gotten exactly what I wanted.

Today I was trying to find leaves without blemishes.  I was unsuccessful.  Then again, only I would try to find a perfect leaf.  There were a lot of reds, a few golden-colored trees, and several that were still green.  I figured the leaf quality was either due to some sort of blight, or because the trees were so close to hundreds of trucks idling day after day.  That can't be good for a leaf's little lungs.

I often wonder about the pollution thing, specifically because it seems like the trees that line the interstate, where they'd get the most exposure to exhaust, change before the other trees in their groupings, the ones behind them.  I'm sure there's something to that.

Changing leaf color is a scientific thing, but it still seems mysterious to me.  I know it happens, I just don't know when.  And by when I don't mean the season in which it happens, I mean the moment in which it happens.

Have you ever noticed the trees in your yard, or neighborhood, or on the ride to work?  How one day, all of a sudden, boom! they're scarlet and muted gold, burgundy and bright yellow, hunter green and bright, bright tangerine.  The orange shades are my favorite fall colors by far.

I know there are all kinds of time lapse photography out there depicting the changing of the leaf colors, but I'm talking about looking at a leaf.  Just one.  I wonder when it goes from green to whatever color it becomes when it falls to the ground.  Did it gradually turn color like graying hair does, or did it just get all red overnight like when you were a kid and woke up with chicken pox?  I would love to track the change of a leaf - I never have, can't from the truck, and probably never will.  But I want to.

But since it's unlikely I'll do any of that, I guess I will just enjoy the colors like I always do.  I'll mourn the days when the trees look a little emptier, and not because winter is coming because I love winter, but because the amount of time the trees are ablaze with color is just never long enough.

It truly is a fling.  One of the good ones.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013:  I Drive With A Soundtrack

2012: Who Doesn’t Love A Sunset?
2011: Personally Yours. But Not Mine.
2010: Sheltered Madonna And Child
2009: Breaking A Leg Doesn’t Always Mean Good Luck
2008: Showing Its True Colors, Even On The Cloudiest Day
2007: Priorities
2006: It’s All In The Cards
2005: A Blond Moment

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

My Kind Of Weather

I've got nothing going on today so I thought I'd post this photo I found online.

I see it not so much as saying snow, but more as saying sNOW.


The white stuff can't get here soon enough for me.  

We've been out of the snow zone so far, but I'm hoping we get through some of it soon.

I can only say that I'm happy to see the temperatures finally dropping below sixty.

My kind of weather is finally on its way.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Pick A Plate And Go

2012: Just In Case You Were Wonderin'
2011:
Life Is For Living
2010: These Sure Would Look Snazzy On The Feet Of A Trucker
2009: There’s No Whey In The Way Of This Delicious Treat
2008: O Canada!
2007: Ladies Night (And Day) Our
2006: The Queen Is Bleak
2005: Literacy In The South

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Freebie Time!

For several years now, we've been taking advantage of the deals and discounts offered to Ed for his service in the United States Marine Corp.

There are lots of restaurants on the list that we enjoy going to and on Veterans Day we try to hit whichever ones we can depending on the area we're in.


This year they've even added a truck stop - the Petro Stopping Centers - to the list.  I'm not sure we'll be dining there, but it's good to know other truckers, many who are veterans, can get a free meal if they're so inclined.  

Click HERE to see the complete list of businesses offering deals for our country's veterans.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Reaping The Harvest

2012: It Doesn't Take Much To Keep A Marine Happy
2011:
It’s Not Just Time On A Digital Clock Display Anymore
2010: Roman Glow
2009: Let There Be A Lesson In The Words Of Mark Twin, Who Seems To Have A Handle On Who Is The Real Patrio
2008: Sometimes The Nights Just Fly By
2007: Who Thought Putting These Two Words Together Was A Good Idea?
2006: We Would All Go Down Together
2005: Missing Me?

Monday, November 10, 2014

I Can't Even Explain

I'm a huge fan of Hugh MacLeod and his drawings.  I can't seem to form words to fully explain my frustration this week with people I have to interact with in order to do my job.  So I'm just going to let his cartoons speak for me.











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2013: Same Love

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Three Hours Of Mumbling McConaughey

I'm not really sure what the purpose of having a Delaware State Trooper posted in the lobby of the movie theater was - so bored with the non-activity, that he spent quite a bit of time texting - but I did feel safe for the three hours I was in the theater watching Interstellar.  



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Pulling The Curtain Back

2012: A Great Way To End The Week
2011: Squirreled Away In Olean
2010: Home Sweet Home
2009: You Build It, We’ll Haul It
2008: The Canadian MJ II
2007: Eddie In The Half Moon Hall Friday
2006: The Italian Death March
2005: How You Doin’?

Saturday, November 08, 2014

NASA Really Does Have All The Answers

Photograph by Christina Holmes
You don't need to get married to make this amazing chicken.  

Marilyn Monroe's Naked Dress is my favorite.

I had a spoon ring when I was younger, but I always wanted to make one.  Maybe now I can tackle that crafty dream.  


My two favorites are whinging and chuffed.  I have to figure out how I can work them into my daily conversations.  

I think I'm going to try the luxury house sitting thing.

Carrie Underwood did a great job hosting the recent CMA Awards.  I remember buying her first album and listening to it every day on my way to trucking school.  I love her stuff.  This is her newest.  


Two movies I must see:  20 Feet from Stardom and The Sapphires.  

You don't always have to go through major airline hubs.  Or popular airports.  I learned this when I worked at American Airlines.  Now you can check out the shortcuts here.


And finally, the answer to one of life's more important questions.  



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Steak With A Side Of History

2012: 300 Ways To Roll Vintage Style 
2011:
I Have A Crush On A Boy-d
2010: Accentuate The Positive
2009: How The Train Derails
2008: Good Thing He Didn’t PAINT This On His Truck
2007: Red Snap
2006: Convexly Jackson
2005: Marriage Criterion

Friday, November 07, 2014

Before All The Leaves Fall

The last of the Fall colors are holding fast in Dover, Delaware.  The wind was so fierce today I thought these trees would be bare by the time the mini-storm was over.

The morning started out sunny, then rain came through riding on such a cold snap that it suddenly turned to sleet.  Ed announced, "I think it's snowing!"  More rain.  More wind.

And then it cleared up.

I love Fall.




~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013:  No Snow On The Horizon
2012: Moving Forward 
2011: Also Untouchable Because He’s Covered In Black Gold
2010: The Ride (And Thrill) Of A Lifetime
2009: Shot From A Safe Distance
2008: Eddie And The Moose Friday
2007: How Many Times Do You Have To Burn Your Hand Before You Stop Touching The Hot Stove?
2006: Just When You Thought There Wasn’t Another Ounce Of Fun To Be Had Or Another Drop Of Information To Be Remembered, It Doubles And Triples
2005: This Is What Fall Looks Like