Tuesday, March 31, 2009

On the Job?

Last night I drove over and thru the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnels, twice.  The first time while heading south around 0130 the northern tunnel was closed down to one lane for both north and south bound traffic.  They had a transit authority car running first one way and then the other escorting the vehicles thru the tunnel.  When it came to my turn to drive thru I was wondering what kind of work they were doing on the tunnel.  To my surprise all of the workers in the tunnel (about 8) were actually asleep on the job!  They were LAYING DOWN on the hoods of their trucks, cars and on the walkway along the side of the tunnel!  Not one of them was even standing up.  Of course this aggravated me exceedingly so I just had to reach over and flip on the engine brake.  8" pipes behind a big CAT and on high...I just let it rip all the way down the tunnel until we started back up the other side.  I ALMOST couldn't resit grabbing the train horns when none of them even stirred at the racket, but Randy was trying to catch a few hours sleep before we got to our next stop.  So I had to restrain myself, THIS TIME.  After all I would get another shot at them on my way back north ;-)
Then on my trip back north around 0430 I was both appeased and disapointed to discover that they were back to work.  They were braking down the work area in preperation of reopening the tunnel for rush hour traffic.  So I just couldn't justify blasting them even though Randy was awake next to me in the jump seat.  Oh well, there is always next time....>:-)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hail Storm

Here we are sitting in a truck stop just south of Lancaster, PA watching TV and waiting to go load in the morning.  Randy has found a movie on HBO he has been wanting me to see "Birdcage."  So we have tuned it in and snuggled into bed to watch it.  The opening credits aren't even over yet when the screen goes black.  The message on the screen says no signal.  Since we know this happens occasionally and usually passes in seconds we wait...and wait...and wait.  After a few minutes of nothing but a blank, black screen we get up and look out the windows.  The sky is completely black above us.  The cloud layer is so dense it has blocked out our satellite signal (which has never happened before in 4 years of owning one).  I opened one of the side windows on the truck and that was when we heard it.  The wind and low deep growling and rumbling.  It kind of sounded like two ships rubbing against each other.  Instantly we both thought tornado!  But there were no storm warnings coming over the weather bands on our radios or CB.  We opened all the shades over the sleeper and cab windows so we could watch.  It wasn't long before the heavy clouds passed, maybe 6-7 minutes or so.  The sky was still dark grey though and you could see what looked like a heavy curtain of rain heading toward us.  Turned out to be pea sized hail!  

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sitting Here

OK so I have been neglecting my blogging lately.  We were running pretty hard for the past 2 weeks and now I have been sitting here for 3 days.  Doing absolutely nothing.  Which I have to say after the last 2 weeks, FEELS GREAT :-D  It's amazing how quickly time can pass when you are trying to entertain yourself with catching up on some sleep, watching TV, playing on the internet and talking on the phone.  
Randy has rented a car and driven down to Norfolk to go on a Tiger Cruise with one of his oldest friends, Ed.  Ed is returning from a 7 month cruise and it is his last one.  He is retiring from the Navy after 22 years!  It's a big milestone and Randy didn't want to miss it.
So here I sit...with so much time on my hands I forgot to blog :-)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Mixed mahogany and brown rice with scallions and pineapple.

Poaching talapia in pineapple juice and tamari.

Rice and talapia topped off with lots of fresh scallions!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Some Areas Just Aren't for Stopping!!!

I just couldn't resist taking a picture of this when on our return trip thru this area we actually saw a tractor trailer who had decided it was time to pull off of the road and take a nap!  YUP!  Right by two of these bright red 8' tall x 12' wide reflective signs! Maybe he will be on the Darwin Awards next time around?

Monday, March 23, 2009

foreign Driver

So there we were sitting in the TA East in Ontario, CA when someone knocks on the back door of our sleeper.  We weren't expecting anyone, so Randy cautiously checked and then opened the door to a man standing on our catwalk.  He was a foreign driver who barely spoke English.  He had a piece of paper in his hand his company had given him and he started to gesture to it trying to show Randy something.  It was a PICTURE DIAGRAM showing how to axle out your truck properly.  I mean come on is our industry getting so bad that we need 3rd grade picture diagrams to show us how to do our jobs.  Apparently so.  

Next the driver handed Randy his weight ticket and then started jabbering again.  Of course Randy instantly saw the problem.  This guys drivers were over by 180 pounds.  But apparently he didn't know what to do with the information he had, so he decided to knock on our door and ask for help.  I guess we present a knowledgeable image? 

Randy put on his shoes, grabbed his gloves and went out to see what he could do.  I grabbed the camera and followed.  When this other driver saw we were going to give him a hand he slowed down and was able to speak a little bit of very broken English.  Randy showed him how to slide his tandems first.  Then he showed him how to put the landing gear down and slide his 5th wheel.  Unfortunately no air was getting to the release pins on the 5th wheel and we weren't able to figure out why in short order.  Since it was a minimum amount of weight he was over on the drivers and he wasn't over gross or any of the other axles, Randy told him to just run with it.  He would probably burn off enough fuel to equal it out and then not to completely top it off again until empty or fixed.  We also told him to call his company and get the problem fixed.

All in all an interesting and enlightening little diversion in an otherwise normal evening.  It is depressing to see drivers of this caliber being sent out on their own with so little training.  After he left, all we could wonder was what else he hadn't been properly taught...

Moral of the story...don't park next to the scales if you don't want to be disturbed.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Choo Choo Continued

A little while back I posted about a load we did out of Kansas City's Union Station.  I mentioned I would dig up some photos of our previous visit.  So here they are.  But first here are a few refresher pictures.  

The following pictures where taken 3 years ago when we were in Kansas City for my birthday and visited this same station!  It was so cool so be able to get photos of us and the truck next to this very same engine!  Remember this is the guy who recently snagged that air line off of a train he found lying on the ground at a RR crossing.

Anyone who knows me understands this picture.  I mean come on, chocolate and a big teddy bear who wouldn't fall in love :-D  No he wasn't for sale, or yes he would have been my birthday present!

Touring the trains...

Chatting with the retired conductors...for several hours.  Really nice guys and the one on the right had been to a lot of the same places we have been.  It was really interesting comparing notes on how things had changed between our visits.  

A neat mural on the wall done of this same station in years gone by.

I got to sit in the engineers seat.   My left hand is on the train horns and YES THEY WORKED!  The first time I pulled the lever at the conductors urging I nearly jumped out the window next to me :-D  

Friday, March 20, 2009


We were heading north on 15 in SoCal and I was on the phone with a friend from home.  When all of the sudden Randy starts waiving his arm in front on me pointing to our right, yelling "Look, Bonny, LOOK!"  At first all I see is empty hills. No houses, vehicles, nothing insight.  Then he points my head and I see OSTRICH!  The ostrich is running full out along the side of the highway headed to LA :-D
Sorry it happened to fast to get a photo of it racing the traffic. Boy that would have a been a keeper too.

Installing New Shifternob

OK anyone who has ever changed one of these knows about all the little parts (2 springs, rubber gasket, plastic molded pieces, ball bearing, etc) that can and do go flying if you aren't really careful when you take the top off.  We of course did great the first time, but we didn't add any extra petroleum and so had to take it apart a second time.  That time both of those stupid little springs went flying as the air blew them to who knew where along with the rubber gasket.  The rubber gasket and the first spring I found almost immediately right next to the gas peddle.  The second one took us over an hour to find.  It had landed and rolled just far enough under the base of the brake peddle that unless you lifted it you didn't see it.  Can you imagine calling dispatch and telling them the truck can't make the pickup because we lost a tiny little spring less than 1/4" long x 1/8" wide?  And all because I wanted to replace a scratched shifter knob.

Unless you are unlucky like we were, it really is a simple job to change
 one of these out (I have changed many throughout the years 
without incident).  Remove the top access panel and the two screws.
Lift off the knob and the side gear splitter switch.  This is where it 
gets tricky.  See those two very small holes at the right side that are
 sort of outlined?  Those are air outlets and are highly pressurized.  
Once you loosen and lift off the cover they blow air hard, fast and loud!
This air blowing is how you loose those little parts.
Since we didn't have any petroleum jelly handy and didn't want to spray
 white lithium here, we used just a dab of Carmex.  It holds those tiny
 little parts in place as you flip the selector switch upside down to put it
 back in place, lubes and helps seal the air gasket.
Now that the air has drained off for the second time, 
I flip and very carefully set the selector switch in place.
Now all we have to do is put the new knob on top...

and screw it back down.

The last step is to place the access cover in the top of the knob.
Viola.  New fancy carved wooden shifter knob.
We started the truck and reaired the system to test it.  It 
worked better than before!  I guess that Carmex was just the ticket.

Squirrel Email from a Friend

I just had to share to share this with all of you after I read it...

Finnegan the squirrel
The moral of this story is the best part!!!

Debby  Cantlon, who plans to release Finnegan, the young squirrel, back into the  wild, bottle-fed the infant squirrel after it was brought to her  house.

When  Cantlon took in the tiny creature and began caring for him, she found herself  with an unlikely nurse's aide: her pregnant Papillion, Mademoiselle  Giselle.

Finnegan was resting in a nest
in a cage just days before Giselle was due to deliver her puppies.

Cantlon and  her husband watched as the dog dragged the squirrel's cage twice to her own  bedside before she gave birth.

Cantlon was  concerned, yet ultimately decided to allow the squirrel out and the  inter-species bonding began.

Finnegan  rides a puppy mosh pit of sorts, burrowing in for warmth after feeding,  eventually working his way beneath his new litter  mates.

Two days after giving birth, mama dog Giselle  allowed Finnegan to nurse; family photos and a videotape show her encouraging  him to suckle alongside her litter of five

Now,  Finnegan mostly uses a bottle, but still snuggles with his 'siblings' in a  mosh pit of puppies, rolling atop their bodies, and sinking in deeply for a  nap.

Finnegan  and his new litter mates, five Papillion puppies, get along together as if  they

were meant to.

Finnegan  naps after feeding.

Finnegan  makes himself at home with his new litter mates, nuzzling nose-to-nose for a  nap after feeding.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Keep loving everyone,
even the squirrelly ones !


Randy was driving across 40 this week, while I was cooking Gumbriot, when we both heard a really loud POP!  He pulled off at the upcoming exit so we could take a look at the tires.  It was so loud that we both thought we had blown a tire off a rim or something.  We crawled over and under the truck and trailer.  We couldn't find anything wrong, so we chalked it up to another passing truck as the source of the pop.

You can sorta see in this photo we weren't stopped in the best spot.  We were twisted on a sharp right lean pointed uphill.

Of course when you are in a hurry to find a place to stop you can't be choosy, but when we stopped looking at the truck and looked at where we were at, oops.  The pot holes in front of us were plentiful, deep and of course going to be hard to miss when we left.  The pot hole Randy is standing in is about 8-10" deep by 6' across and you can kinda see how sharply slopped the area is.

While looking at the pot holes I spotted this vertical windmill in the back ground.  I was so excited at seeing it up close, because I have been reading a lot about them recently.

What a WHEEL HOG.  While I was sidetracked by the windmill, he thought he would jump back behind the wheel.  He had already done 700 miles on the nose at this point.  Even though he could technically (as he was arguing) drive for a while longer, I put my foot down.  Supper was ready for him to eat and this was as good a place to switch as any.  He only had 30 minutes left on his log for that day anyway.  Then he tried arguing that it was going to be hard to get out of the spot we were in and the next fuel stop was only a little ways away.  I won.  Of course I made it back on the highway with no problems AND managed to miss ALL of those nasty pot holes to boot!!! :-P

The culprit is found!  We have a small basket next to the driver's seat where we keep the essentials (ie: pliers, screw driver, tape measure, gloves, etc).  We had a small plastic bottle of aluminum polish here that the seat apparently came down on.  HARD.

Hard enough to smash the top down and blow a hole in the side of the bottle! That's where the pop came from.  We found this when we were getting the truck polished the next day and wanted to rub down the CB antennae while standing around waiting.  From now on we will keep the touch up polish with the rest of the detail products in one of the trailer boxes.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

In N Out Burger

When we are in the Southwest we always make the trek to the closest In-N-Out Burger.  Since we are staying in the TA East in Ontario, CA that is just across the truck parking lot (we always park in the back row and it's a VERY BIG lot), thru the truck stop to get out of the fenced secure lot, across the front parking lot, up the hill, over the bridge, across the highway and right at the first corner.  A hike to say the least, especially in the California sun!  But by the time you walk over and back you don't feel as guilty about indulging.

If you have ever eaten at an In-N-Out you understand.  If you haven't, I hope you get the chance someday.  For years we would make the trek just for Randy.  He fell in love when he was in the Navy stationed in San Diego years ago.  He tried for years to get me to try their food with no success.  I am not a burger fan.  Then along came my food allergies and I couldn't eat out anywhere largely in part due to the wide use of sulfite preservatives.  

In-N-Out to the rescue.  We were in Reno, NV a few years back when I discovered that all of their food is fresh, never frozen and absolutely no preservatives!  So I finally gave in.  Once is all it takes and your hooked.  I still am not a burger fan, but I will hunt down an In-N-Out Burger.  I always order the same thing:  hamburger, animal style (lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and grilled onions) with no sauce, 2 orders of fries and a small coke.  YUMMY!!  We always laugh as we are eating and say it sure is a good thing we don't live down the street from one of these places :-D

Here are a few of their tag lines (I can tell you, you can taste that they are all true):

All our burgers are made with fresh beef that's never frozen.

Our buns are made without preservatives the old fashioned way-from real sponge dough.

We hand-leaf our lettuce every day.

Our fries are peeled and diced daily from fresh Kennebec potatoes.

We've cooked our fries in cholesterol free oil since 1948.

I love to watch them push the potatoes thru the hand operated fry cutter just before they cook them.  Talk about knowing your food is fresh!