Monday, March 31, 2014

This Red Giant Is Also A Star

We're still in Louisville, Kentucky, two days after the Mid-America Truck Show ended, and there are only three lone stragglers left in the Papa John's stadium parking lot - us, Marlaina and MacGyver, and the Red Giant.

A few days ago this place was PACKED.  If you were in a big rig and you came late in the weekend, you'd have a pretty hard time getting into the lot.  Even driving around in the rental car was challenging with all the people, golf carts and bobtails tooling around.  

But today, the Red Giant and the stadium in the background were the only recognizable objects on the horizon.
Earlier in the day the owner of the truck, Bryan Dax, stopped over to talk to Ed.  I got in on the conversation and wrangled an invite to see the inside of the truck.  He said, "C'mon over!"  After lunch, we did just that - took the trek across the parking lot to get an up-close look at this beast.

93 feet long and weighing 75,000 pounds empty, this 1990 Diamond Reo isn't hauling freight around the country.  The first time we saw this truck, the people who paid to use it for advertising wouldn't let anyone inside, so although we peeked in we didn't really get a great look.  Now I was getting my own personal tour., Ed, Marlaina and MacGyver.

The sleeper itself is 252 inches long (to non-truckers, that's 21 feet!) and has two 16 foot slide-outs which make the interior extremely roomy.  And if you notice, it has an extra steer axle under the sleeper itself to carry the extra weight.  Each slide-out has an LED screen measuring eleven feet wide by six feet high.  The trailer - in the area where you can see the door open - has its own living area in the front part.  On this trip, that's where Bryan was staying since he was nice enough to allow the assistant who was traveling with him to stay in the sleeper of the truck.  Boy, she got the sweet end of that deal!    

The owner, Bryan Dax, was extremely friendly, and shared a lot of information about how he came to the decision to own this size vehicle.  Basically what he said was, that after 30 years of driving and not really being appreciated for all the miles he was putting in, he decided to figure out a way to get paid while sitting instead of getting paid for moving.  

Enter the Red Giant.

The interior is SPACIOUS.  I was only permitted to take one photo of the interior and this is what I got.  Taken from the corner of the back door looking toward the front of the sleeper, you can see the "office" side of the sleeper.  Marlaina is sitting at the dinette table in the slide-out portion of the truck.  This side has what I want in my sleeper - a separate desk area in addition to the dinette table.  Directly opposite is the bed and refrigerator.

Toward the front on the left is the stove/kitchen counter area, and on the right is the bathroom/shower.  Marlaina said it was as big as her first NYC apartment!  It had tons of cabinet storage, and with the two sides slid out, it truly felt worth of the "giant" part of its moniker.   

The truck has been seen at hundreds of events - everything from truck shows like MATS, to sporting events, concerts, parties - and in 2010 took Ice Road Trucker Alex Debogorski from New York to California for his "King of the Road"  cross-country book tour.
This is mobile marketing at its finest, and the truck itself is something real truckers love to see.  Diamond Reo isn't a truck you see much of anymore as they stopped making them almost twenty years ago, and the company is no longer in business.  Diamond Reo was a division of White Motor Company, which is also defunct.

The truck and the mobile advertising concept is a great idea.  I might have just found a way to eventually retire yet still stay on the road.  Perhaps AARP needs someone to drive around and visit all of the senior resort communities in the country?  I'm going to put their number on my speed dial right now.

Here's more on Bryan Dax and his fantastic rig, courtesy of 10-4 Magazine.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013:  Turn And Burn
2012: The Landscape Just Runs All Together After A While
2011: Flippin’ Swag
2010: Warm Fuzzies
2009: I’ll Get You My Pretty
2008: The Kind Of Misunderstanding That Can Never Fully Be Explained
2007: Let The Adventure Begin
2006: Coming Soon
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Fill'er Up!

We found some really great places to eat on this truck show visit to Louisville.  One of them was Garage Bar in NuLu - the Market Street area of "New Louisville".

Housed in an old service station, this place was very cool.
Outside they have a beer garden and two light-up ping-pong tables.  The night we were there they were having what they call "Yappy Hour", where people bring their dogs to have drinks and socialize with other dog owners.  
I loved the interior of the place.  I wanted to move in.  I have this thing for living in a building that used to be something else, or an old place like thise one with cool brick walls and rustic wood floors.  
They had an extensive beverage menu - draft beers with names like Southern Tier 2x Nitro Milk Stout, Great Lakes Chillwave, and Green Flash Black IPA -  which the boys indulged in.

The menu (which changes) satisfied us also.  Three of us started the meal with Milled Tomato Soup, but Marlaina decided on the Turkey Wings.  Turkey wings are like chicken wings, except four times bigger.  Really big.  Weirdly big.  But they were delicious.  The skin was crispy and the sauce was amazing. Then we decided to order four different brick oven pizzas and share the bounty.
We had one Margherita (milled tomato, fior di latte and garden basil), one Sausage (milled tomato, fior di latte, broccoli, sausage, and calabrian chile), one Brussels Sprouts (pancetta, fior di latte, brussels sprouts, and parmigiano), and one Housemade Pepperoni (spinach, caramelized onion, pickled peppers, olives, and goat cheese).  Impossible to pick a favorite.

The restaurant also had something called The Ham Bar, featuring hams from Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee.
I absolutely loved the decor.  The Ham Bar stools, the long wooden tables, the old schoolhouse chairs, the sturdy tableware.  And real garage doors, which were kept open until the evening air got cooler.
This place was unique.  The food was good, our waitress was adorably retro-quirky, and the atmosphere casual and relaxed.  We'll definitely be back.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Texas! Texas! Margaret...

2012: He Forgets He Lives With A Maven
2011: Does Anyone Notice The Shoes Of A “Very Important Person”?
2010: Do You Think Raquel Owns A Dog And Gets Enough Potassium?
2009: No Need To Do Anything Drastic; There Will Always Be Re-Runs
2008: Beautifully Retro
2007: Ready, Set, Go!!
2006: Giving New Meaning To An Ambulance Chaser
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Heading On Down The Highway Until Next Year

Well, the Mid-America Trucking Show is over.  Another year, another set of sore feet.

I only attended one of the three days this year, Ed went every day.  The first day I had to shop, the second day I went to the show with Ed, and the third day I spent with Marlaina hanging out, having coffee, doing lunch.  Perfect balance.

The show is always the same - same vendors, same layout, same insane crowds - but on occasion, you do find something new.  This year Ed and I talked to the President & CEO of eNow Energy Solutions, a company that makes flexible solar panels for commercial vehicles.  They were very cool and Ed said he'd definitely consider putting them on the top of the truck.  They were affordable and provide a considerable savings over the course of use.  Certainly a worthy return on investment.  We also stopped at the Go Capital booth to talk to their Marketing Director, who happens to be the granddaughter of one of my mother's WOW friends.

Ed also bought us a brand new steering wheel, which is beautiful and made in Italy, but I think will take me some time to get used to.

The best part of the show was hanging out with our friends and hitting several interesting and delicious local dining spots.

More to come!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013:  Thirteen Ten Clinton

2012: Better Than Team Drivers
2011: The Three Musketeers Make Dinner Plans
2010: Try To Find A Parking Space For This
2009: If The Life Expectancy Of A White Male Is Over Seventy Five Years, You Have Plenty Of Time When You're Ten
2008: Sweet Suite Sugarland
2007: The Superbowl Of Moving
2006: Catching Flies
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Big Thumbs Up On Day Two

Ed and I checked out a bunch of new truck interiors today at the show - we were specifically looking for dashboard setups we like - and I have to tell you, I don't know who's designing some of these things.  They're just not laid out practically.

I know everyone has different needs, and many of these trucks are geared toward solo drivers not teams, but I have a real pet peeve when I see important switches or brake knobs in areas that can easily be accidentally bumped into by another person in the cab while the truck is in motion.

Just in my experience in my own truck, I can't tell you how many times I've gotten up from my seat to go into the sleeper while Ed was driving and snagged my purse strap, or hoodie pocket, or phone cord on something attached to my seat or the dashboard.  I'll tell you right now, you DO NOT want to accidentally apply brakes while going down the road at sixty miles an hour.

We still have shopping to do but right now I think our front runners are the Freightliner Cascadia (which Ed test drove today at the Ride and Drive area), and the Volvo.

And I know a lot of people like Peterbilts, but I just can't get into a truck whose name makes me think a bunch of little penises built it.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013:  The Hospital Survives Another Week

2012: More Distracting Than Texting While Driving
2011: The Aftermath
2010: More Than Halfway To A World Record
2009: If You Need Your Hump Fixed, This Is The Place
2008: The Flight, The Hotel, The Walk, And The Sleep Deprivation
2007: A Lot Of Beauty, A Little Citrus And A Mini Moo
2006: Shorn
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

One Line Sums Up The Entire Show

Today was the first day of the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky.  They had a few hours in the morning set aside for VIPs and then the show opened to the public from 1-6pm.  

We got in last night, secured our parking spot, and blocked off a second spot for Marlaina and MacGyver, who are on their way.  They'll be here tomorrow.  We woke up, took showers and went to get the rental car.  Then Ed needed to be fed so we went for breakfast at a local place called Wild Eggs, located in the St. Matthews area of Louisville.  Once breakfast was finished, I dropped Ed off at the expo center and I went shopping.

There was a Nordstrom Rack nearby and I decided that missing one day at the show would be fine.  Two days is plenty.  When I dropped Ed off, I gave him one job - to pick up my name badge and get me a show directory.  Usually I go through the directory on my first day, decide which vendors I want to visit, and then circle their booths on the map in a black Sharpie.  I add notes if necessary.  Yes, I'm a total dork.

This year, I was able to do all of this the night before because Ed came through - he remembered to bring the directory back to the truck!  Yay!  I was also able to bling out my name tag with a few rhinestones.  Like it?

I got through most of the book and formulated my plan.  This year I think I'm going to enter a few giveaways because who doesn't need a mini rubber floor mat, a Heavy Duty Truck Polishing Kit, and a deodorizing/air freshening bar?  I'm so there.  

I thought I'd get through the entire book without a hitch.  Then I came to the dining and entertainment section, where they give show attendees ideas on where to eat.  They broke down the suggestions by sections of town.

They included Seviche and Napa River Grill -  two wonderful restaurants we've been to in years past, and places where you won't find your average truck driver - and were also nice enough to include "dining venues that provide seating with a breath-taking view of the Downtown Louisville skyline".

I quickly skimmed through that paragraph because I'm a sucker for the lights of a city's skyline.  I love even more to dine while viewing them.  Imagine my surprise when I got to the last line of the blurb.

In case you didn't get that, it said, "Directly on the riverfront you will find one of our favorites, Hooters Restaurant."


The writers of the show directory know their audience so well, that they included five Hooters locations in the dining guide.  Five.

Which brings me to a phrase said quite often, with derision, by someone I know who's been in the trucking business for a long time...

"These are my colleagues."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013:  Howz About Them Howitzers?
2012: I’ll Hobble On My Walker To Visit
2011: In The Still Of The Night
2010: The Final Count
2009: Eddie My Little Ex-Marine Friday
2008: Delayed By Lipgloss During A Period Of Elevated Security: A Travel Debacle Ensues
2007: A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words
2006: Your Cat Is In My Garden
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


It doesn't look that bad, but it was.  A five mile backup that started four hours earlier.

This is southbound I-65, heading from Indiana into Kentucky.  We passed this debacle hours earlier on the way north to have the electrical system on the truck looked at.  We knew people were sitting in traffic for miles.  Yet, and I'm totally blaming this on Ed since he was driving, we hopped back on the interstate heading south once the batteries in the truck were replaced - for free, since they were bad and still under warranty.

We crept along for more than an hour and couldn't escape because there were no exit ramps until after the construction was finished.  We finally made it to Louisville and got parked for the night.  We were determined to get there and secure a good parking spot.

Tomorrow we'll pick up the rental car, I'll do a little shopping, Ed will hit the first day of the show, and our friends will join us on Friday.  That's when the weekend festivities will really begin!

I'll be sure to post pictures and let you know if anything exciting happens.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013:  Nashville Is One Of Their Greatest Picks

2012: Monday Is A Smash Hit
2011: Home At Last
2010: Wake Up In The Morning, Put Your Hand On Something Useful, And Take Care Of Yourself And Your Family*
2009: Copter
2008: Atchafalaya Whaaaaat??
2007: There’s A Skirt On The Door For A Reason
2006: South Of The Beijing Border
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Blizzard To The East, Clear Skies To The West

Here we are heading east through Pennsylvania, dodging fluffy snowflakes on our way to Kentucky.  There's a spring blizzard heading to the Northeast, where we just were, but it looks like we're going to miss it.  


Not much to report today, as most of it will involve driving and a view similar to the photo above, most of the way without snow.

And there is another exciting Tuesday in trucking for you.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2013:  The Discriminating House Hunter
2012: Oh, Sweet Cream Cheesus
2011: Pit Stop
2010: Sorry, no post for this day.
2009: A Peek Behind The Sacred Pantry Door
2008: Thistle Or Thatle
2007: Big, Rich, And Free
2006: Look, Honey! A Grist Mill.
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Transylvania Has Better Internet

Most of my life anyway.

I am so behind on my blog because I've been in a black hole for the last week.  Every load we took, every town we were in, had abysmal internet.  I couldn't do a thing.  Couldn't even get the spinning hourglass on the computer screen to go away.

Forget about 3G or 4G - in Quincy, Illinois we had 1X!  One measly little X.  I haven't seen 1X displayed on my phone since....hell, I don't know when.

I was able to make a phone call, but forget about the internet.  NON-existent. But I guess you can't really blame Quincy, IL.  Because as usual, the United States lags behind - seriously behind - once again when it comes to certain things.  We didn't even make the top ten.  In the WORLD.  Latvia has better internet than us.  Who?  That's right.  Latvia.  I can probably count one hand how many people in America know where that is.

I seriously can't function without the internet.  I think we need to install a backup satellite dish on the roof of our truck.  Something so gigantic, and so powerful, that I could get a satellite signal from Mars if there was one.

Because life is bandwidth.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2013: Can I Get An Amen?
2012: Imagine Life Artificially Sweeter
2011: Sweets For The Sweet
2010: Silver Shoes, Cliff Clavin, And A Guiness World Record
2009: A Bevy Of Pavo Cristatus
2008: How Much Happy Can A Dollar Buy?
2007: The Heat Is On
2006: The New York Catch And Release Program
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Find Out Where You Can Dine With Giraffes

Elizabeth Warren, Hilary Clinton, Melinda Gates?  Forget girl power, this is WOMAN power!

I prefer the western part of Washington state over the eastern, but this photo of the Palouse region makes you feel as if you're in Europe.  It reminds me of Tuscany, with all the lush, rolling hills.  Sheer gorgeousness!

Tomasz Skocze - I'm not even going to attempt to say that name out loud - takes some pretty cool photos.  He's responsible for the one in this post.  Check out the rest HERE

I probably wouldn't hate Ed wasting so much time playing video games if he were making millions like this guy.  How does one even get that kind of job?

Oh, dear Lord.  How am I going to fit in visiting all of these locations?  I want to share my breakfast with giraffes!  This list of places to travel is growing exponentially.  I have to get started, dammit!

This is everything I want in a house.  Bright, airy, open floor plan, porch, big kitchen.  When can I move in?

Now this a refreshing approach.

Lonely?  Don't be.  Here are some ways to combat that state of mind.

I really only ever knew about the left hand thing.  I better study up before I travel.  This shit could get me in a lot of trouble.

None of these are really practical in the trucking world - especially the fuzzy blue purse, although I'm not really sure where that would work - but if I lived and worked in the real world, I'm sure I can find a place for several of these bags.

Always on the top of my list of favorite castles.

There are a few in here I could probably work on, although I'm still not sold on the whole "get out in nature" thing.

Seth Rogen has a charity?  "That's right," Rogen said, "the situation is so dire that it caused me — a lazy, self-involved, generally self-medicated man-child — to start an entire charity organization."  Watch the video of his Senate testimony on Alzheimer's research through his charity, Hilarity for Charity.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013:  Sputtering With Excitement
2012: Water May Not Be The Only Liquid Nourishing These Flowers
2011: Nappy Time
2010: Dick. Not A Dick. Which One Are You?
2009: First The Poultry, Now This
2008: California Moon
2007: Ryno And Rob
2006: Living The Dream
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn't start until May 2005!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Bringing Sexy Back

Back?  Helloooo, when was it ever gone?

I'm trying to grow my hair longer - at Ed's request - so this weekend I dusted off the hot rollers to give my locks a little body.  And I really like the effect it had.

I caught a little too much light when I took this photo (sitting in the front seat of the truck, light streaming in the window), but I still kinda love it.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013:  The Veteran And The Rookie
2012: Spring Has Arrived In Culpeper
2011: Food. Essential.
2010: Sometimes It Takes A Libra Two Weeks To Make A Decision
2009: What The Hell Is This?
2008: What It’s Like To Bee Watched By More Than Twelve Million Eyes
2007: My Man Is Ripped!
2006: Take Two Caramel Lattes And Call Me In The Morning
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Friday, March 21, 2014

They're Not Just For Babies Anymore

I carry enough baby wipes in the truck to wipe the asses of the Octomom's kids.  We are never without them.  Frankly, I don't know how people ever did without them.  They're not only good for their intended purpose, but they can be used for other cleaning jobs also.

Huggies is the only brand I'll buy, and usually I get the box with the picture of the kid in the photo above.  He's super cute and I totally love his face!  If he's not working that day (there's no package with his face on it), I'll go with whoever is on the box of the next super-thick, super-strong Huggies wipe available.  When it comes to baby wipes, I'm not interested in cheap store brands.

I carry them everywhere.  I buy them in bulk and then split them up to have in places I need them - a stack in a thick ziploc bag does the trick.  You'll find them in my purse, the door pocket, my backpack, the pannier bags on the bikes.  Everywhere, I tell you.  Here are some of the ways I use them:

10 Uses For Baby Wipes

1.  The obvious.  A little personal cleanup after a little personal…..relief.  They’re awesome.

2.  Stain removal.  I don’t know what’s in these things – and I should probably be concerned since they’re made to wipe a baby’s ass (and my own ass) – but the stain removing properties in these baby wipes are magical.  They get out everything from ketchup to pen ink.  Gone!  Poof!  Like magic.

3.  General Cleaning.  I use them to clean everything from spills on the floor, to the leather on my purse, to the kitchen counter, to underarm deodorant on clothing (works great!), to a table in a restaurant when I sit down to eat.  They’re compact, not soapy, and wipe up everything easily.

4.  Makeup Removal.  I don't use these for eye makeup, as I only use Pond's Cold Cream on my eyes (well, I do have an alternate in a pinch), but I have used them to take off other makeup.  They're great to wipe off lipstick or too much blush, or just to refresh my face mid-day.

5.  Shoes.  This is the quickest shoe shine you'll ever get.  Granted, you're not getting your shoes actually shined with wax, but they will take every bit of grime off and leave them glistening.  

6.  Dusting.  This sort of goes along with the whole cleaning thing, but in the truck I use these to remove dust.  For some reason - maybe because it's a truck - we have a lot of dust that seems to creep in.  Also, the air conditioner is running constantly and that causes a little bit of fluff to move around in the air.  I use baby wipes to clean all the counters, cabinets, and other wood surfaces in addition to the fabric walls in the sleeper.  

7.  Mopping the floor.  I don't have a lot of floor space in the truck, so it doesn't take long to clean the whole thing.  I always sweep and vacuum, but since I don't have a mop in the truck, I need something to get a little moisture on the floor.  When I'm feeling inspired, I fill a bucket with hot soapy water and get down on my hands and knees with a rag and give the floor a serious cleaning, but in between I use baby wipes.  It's just as easy for me to start at one end using several wipes to get the floor done.  And it keeps it from getting any serious dirt buildup.

8.  Car Care.  Well, truck care in my case.  I use them to clean the dashboard, the gauges, the floor in the cab, the steering wheel.  Anywhere Ed's grubby little fingers go, a baby wipe follows.  

9.  Hair Dye Removal.  I like to spruce up my color now and again - something chocolately, maybe something with a hint of plum - and no matter how careful I am, I always get drips on my forehead or ear or neck.  Baby wipes are great for getting these spots off.

10.  To wipe a baby.  Not that I have a baby.  But if I did, I'd definitely use these things to wipe 'em down.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Winding Down For The Weekend

2012: Towering Peach
2011: Trucks, Friends, Life On The Road, And A New Throne For My Queen Sized Ass
2010: Changing It Up
2009: They Gots Lots Of Soul
2008: Eddie Calculates Everything Friday
2007: Working On It
2006: The Bird On The Hill
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

What A Guy Will Do To Get Out Of Watching Girl TV

Yesterday, my handsome boyfriend claimed his rightful spot on the wallpaper of my iPad, and today he did all the laundry.

Hey!  What the hell is going on here??  I do the laundry.  He helps, but it's my job.  It's like my only real job.  But I didn't want to do it.  I wanted to wait and do it over the weekend, but he was so eager to get it done.  I was feeling guilty and said I'd help, but he said, "No, that's okay.  I want to do it."

Who am I to argue?  I let him go.  After he was gone for a little while, I sent a text.  The throwing the clothes in the machine isn't the labor intensive part, it's the folding that takes the most time.

Just sit and relax.  Isn't that sweet??

I was getting a little suspicious though, that he was so eager.  Of course, I didn't have too much to worry about since he was in the truck stop, but sometimes the women there are so excited to see someone in their thirties walk in, and not some guy over sixty wearing a dirty ball cap and greasy t-shirt, that they go a little crazy when my Eddie's around.  I've seen a few heads turn, but I haven't had to bitch slap anyone yet.

He likes to pull my leg though.

Personally, I find it even more suspicious that he chose the exact moment Grey's Anatomy was going to start to be doing laundry.  And there was so much of it he missed Scandal too.  Hmmmm.

Once the laundry is done though, I'm so happy, because it means I don't have to move the laundry bag from one spot to another in the truck to keep it out of the way.  Now there's an idea - I think our next truck is going to have a hamper cabinet.

I have the. best. guy. ever.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Up And Over The Green Mountains Of Vermont
2012: Perhaps She’s A Closet Road Warrior
2011: Fifty-Five Years And Counting
2010: Humor That Needs A Humidifier
2009: Eddie Is He Wearing Trousers?? Friday
2008: Soon To Be Yummy Snack Food
2007: This Is What I’ve Been Doing Lately
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

While You Were Sleeping

I have been using this picture of the beautiful Zac Efron as the lock screen wallpaper on my iPad.  Ed's not thrilled that every time he signed on to the iPad, Zach was staring at him (and me) with those eyes.
So today while I was sleeping, Ed took his own picture recreating Zac's pose, and made it the wallpaper on my iPad.

This is what I saw the next time I turned it on.  
It was bound to happen...

My fake boyfriend and my real boyfriend have finally met.

Yes, apparently he does have some extra time on his hands.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013:  Between Brattleboro And Bennington

2012: Man At Work
2011: Under A Rock
2010: Practicing For Retirement
2009: Truckers Are So Sensitive
2008: Light Sweet Crude
2007: A Antiquing Conundrum
2006: How Can You Not Love This Face?
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Getting Ready For The Really Big Shooooo

Next week is the Mid-America Trucking Show.  As of this writing, it looks like we'll be going.  We always leave it until the last minute, but make plans as if we'll be there - rent cars, make dinner reservations, secure hotel rooms, etc. if needed.

It's three days of seeing truck equipment, friends old and new, celebrities signing autographs, and collecting all kinds of free swag.  This year we have a mission to research a few things so I'll be circling vendors in the directory whose booths we'll be stopping at, we're going to visit the granddaughter of one of my mom's friends who happens to be working the Go Capitol booth, and we'll be visiting the ARI booth to get ideas for the newer, bigger sleeper that's in our future.

Also on the itinerary is hooking up with the NYC Truckers to hit some of the fine dining spots in Louisville.  We've found a few that interest us already - Corbett's, Hillbilly Tea, Garage Bar, and Proof on Main to start.

And, I'm hoping to catch Brad James, the singing trucker who will be performing in the parking area reserved for those of us attending the show.

I can't wait.  I'm looking forward to it all!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013:  You'll Know You're Getting Close When You See The Zebra
2012: You Can’t Go Wrong At ShopRite
2011: When The Feelings Get Too Strong For Words
2010: Looking For Loads In All The Wrong Places
2009: CTRL Freak
2008: 1. Cut String 2. Walk
2007: Amish Down The Lane
2006: The Competition Is Stiff
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Where We Go To Squeeze Melons

The beautiful interior of Wegmans, courtesy of Google Images
Traveling around the United States, one gets hungry.  And since I like to do my grocery shopping in actual grocery stores rather than super-centers, I've compiled a list of places we frequent.  Wegmans, the store in the photo, is my favorite of all time.  It will forever take the top spot on all and any list that remotely has anything to do with food.  They can do no wrong.  I'll even forgive them for this disgusting pasty photo of corned beef and cabbage they put on their home page to lure their St. Paddy's Day shoppers.

Northeastern US 
If this store were a person, I’d stalk it and force it to marry me.  Found primarily in the Northeastern United States, and rated by Fortune magazine as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For, I rate it one of the top best companies to shop at.  Every store is clean to the point of sparkling, their selection of foods is incredible - from cheese to meat to organic to the best prepared foods I've ever tasted - and the Market Cafe has $6, $8, and $10 meals that put some restaurants to shame.

This is the place I make a special trip to for my Michigan Brand Cottage Cheese.  I buy it six containers at a time.  The stores are large, bright and a pleasure to shop in.  They have an ethnic food aisle larger than most I’ve seen, which is a great place to buy packaged papadums (the closest I’ve come to the real thing) or Mexican chipotles.  It’s a department store also – they have clothes, shoes, gardening supplies, automotive, housewares, everything. 

Southeastern US
The only grocery store I’ll go to when I’m in Florida.  This place has produce for days.  Fresh peaches, clean stores, and I even got a $10 discount card from them for spending a mere $100.  They have a pretty good variety of produce, last time I was there I was even able to find the white eggplant I was looking for. 

Stater Bros.
The meat in this store is so luscious, I’d consider tartare.  Ed and I came across one of these when we were tucked behind a Home Depot in Fontana, in our secret spot next to the post office.  Great store.  Won't be going there anymore though since we're banned in California due to the California Air Resources Board restrictions, but you should check them out.

This is one of the stores I shop at when I’m home and it’s one I trust on the road.  It's a pretty basic grocery store, and nothing about it really stands out, but they do have some pretty decent store brands.  

Many people joke, calling this store “Whole Paycheck”, but I don’t mind spending money on regular food, specialty food, healthy food, brands I can’t find elsewhere, and really great chocolate covered figs.  They also have a phenomenal salad bar that I discovered when I was living in Old Town Alexandria, VA and working right across the street from one.

Honestly, I hardly ever go to Trader Joes, but they do have a few items I’ll pop in for when I need them.  And they're famous for “Two Buck Chuck”, an extremely expensive Award-winning wine made by the Bronco Wine Company of California, and introduced to the grocery chain at $1.99 per bottle, hence the name.  

Krogie!  That’s the nickname my best friend gave this store, and it’s one of my favorites across the country.  Fry’s Food and Drug is part of this chain, as is Ralph’s out in California.

Northeastern US
This is the store I grew up with.  Italian specialties, frozen ravioli, fresh bread dough, and the only place I know I can get a deal during their “Can Can” sales which have been happening for decades, since I was a kid.  It's not hard to memorize all the words to the song.  They have great prices and they cater to many of the ethnic groups in the Northeast, which means they have a good variety of different food items.  There are a lot of stores in this chain over 30 years old, so aesthetically some are lacking, but you still get the same great stuff. 

Sprouts Farmers Market
AZ, CA, CO, NM, TX, OK, UT, KS and GA
"Healthy Living for less!" their website says.  We have one of these right around the corner from our house and they do have some good deals on produce, in addition to good meat and these coconut flakes that I love.  Their selection is limited if you're looking for everything in one store, but you will find products here that others stores don't carry. Sometimes it's worth the extra stop.

These are the favorites on my list, and I usually stick to the places I know, but there are a few regional markets we've been in - like DeCicco's in Brewster, NY - that I've found to be very appealing.  And I try to stay out of places like Food Lion, which I find so filthy I wouldn't shop in them if you gave me the food for free.

All of these stores (so far) have been truck friendly.  We've often found parking close to the main entrances and on occasion have parked around the side or back where the big trucks come in.

Apparently there are still some places that appreciate what trucks bring.

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2013:  Yet We're The Ones With All The Rules

2012: There Is No Problem Here
2011: If This Is What Being A Loser Means, Count Me In
2010: The Only Thing It Extends Is The Humiliation Of Having A Small Johnson
2009: Wishing You All A Happy Lá Fhéile Pádraig
2008: There Should Be Some Sort Of Award For This
2007: Table Talk
2006: Cats And Grandchildren Make Great Indentured Servants
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!