We finally made it to Florida - skated into the "Appreciation Days" event just in time to pick up raffle tickets for the evening's drawings. We didn't make it for last night's drawing, where they gave away a brand new Peterbilt truck, but there's always a chance to get something good. At tonight's event they gave away everything from a Kindle, laptops, $100-$500 gift cards, steer tires, hotel room nights, Indy 500 tickets, and more. Unfortunately, we didn't win anything but I still got myself a prize.
I mentioned we were meeting our friends, who were in town before the event began. Yesterday, on the first day of the get-together, they started a conversation with another driver who was sitting next to them in class. She said he had a great attitude, had been driving for twenty-four years and was very experienced in all aspects of hauling freight. They covered topics from load securement and driving to computers, medical, taxes, and investing.
When they parted ways, Marlaina handed her card to him and said, "This is my contact information. And that's the address to the blog I write."
He looked at her card and said, "You're friends with Salena and Eddie."
Marlaina said, "Yes. Do you know them?"
"No, but I read her blog all the time and I've seen this blog too." he said, indicating the blog address on her card.
She sent me an email that evening telling me that she met one of my readers and he was looking forward to meeting me. I was flabbergasted! How cool is that?? Of all the people at this event - and there are hundreds - my friends sit next to a guy who reads my blog?? I love it.
So that was my prize - meeting that reader! His name is Dave and he was an extremely nice guy. He's from Ohio, very friendly, good sense of humor (I could tell because he laughed at all the same jokes I did when we listened to the emcee at the event) and seems to be pretty laid back. Before dinner, the boys went to a Heavy Haul class and Marlaina and I sat and caught up. About two hours later, the boys joined us again and we all had dinner together. It's such a treat meeting people other than my mother, who read my blog.
They all have loads out on Monday, whereas Ed and I will be going to get our new TWIC cards. I like the picture on my current card, wish I could just renew it, but we have to go through the entire process again, get our fingerprints and fill out a bunch of paperwork. It's necessary just in case it's needed on a load, but in the last five years, we haven't had to show our TWIC cards even once.
The only hassle involved is that we can only apply for them at a city with a port; last time we got them in Houston. And normally, you have to go back to that same office to pick them up weeks, or in our case, months later. But I've heard that you can request them to be sent to a location closer to your home but since Arizona doesn't have a port, any location is inconvenient. But it needs to be done.
After that, I think I might want to hit St. John’s Town Center for some shopping and the Apple store (I'm having some issues with texting and my battery). Then we'll look for a load out of here.
But until then, we'll make the most of the weekend with our friends because we never know when we'll see them again. It's a perfect way to wrap up our time off.