On my way to Long Island City, New York...
December 27, 2004...
December 27, 2004 -- I've been at home for the past 10 days. Originally I was going to go back to work today, however over the weekend the furnace here in my house developed a problem where it sometimes fails to come on. As cold as it's been the past few days, that's not a good situation. If it were to fail to come on and it got bitterly cold, I'd likely end up with frozen and broken water lines and sewer plumbing.
I called a heating/air conditioning repairman and he's scheduled to come out to my house early tomorrow morning to see if he can fix the problem.
Over the past three days I've been to three large family gatherings. I enjoyed them, but going to them day after day after day does get a bit grueling.
Since I've been home, I've been downloading and uploading a lot of large files to and from the Internet. I was wanting more speed, so in a weak moment I once again subscribed to two-way satellite Internet service. Originally I had my service through Earthlink
"powered by" Direcway
to the tune of $80 dollars per month. This time, I'm getting it straight from Direcway for $59 dollars per month. That's still pricey, but it's the closest thing to broadband I can get out here where my house is at. I figure it's part of the price I have to pay to have a lot of space between me and my neighbors.
I had a bit of trouble getting the service to work and I ended up having to call Direcway's
technical support. I got right through after a few attempts at navigating my way through their not-so-clear telephone prompt menus. Once I did get through, the people in India picked my call right up. That's right, their technical support is in India. I've heard all about technical support calls going to India but this is the first time I've experienced it for myself. If I hadn't known that all technical support has moved to India, I wouldn't have had any clue the people I was talking to were half-way around the world. The voice quality of the call was quite clear.
It was not an unpleasant experience. They were actually able to solve the problem after they directed me where to download the latest version of their software. Unfortunately, I've got the Direcway Model 4000 satellite modem that connects to the computer via USB -- that was all that was available at the time. They have since switched to a new Ethernet version in the form of the Model 6000 satellite modem. Ethernet makes much more sense, since no device drivers or other software are required to be installed on the computer. My experience with USB networking devices have always been that they are problematic.
So, after my home furnace is fixed I'll likely be going back to work tomorrow.
Musical Podcast 4, Tom Comments, Music of "12th Hour" and "Band of Apathetics"...
December 18, 2004...
December 18, 2004 -- I made it home around 2:00 AM Thursday morning. I'll be off work until after Christmas Day.
My parents are staying with me while they are home for Christmas since they "winterized" their house before they headed south in their motor home so they wouldn't have to keep heating it while they were gone. There's no point in them having to re-winterize it again when they head back to their motor home after Christmas so they are staying here with me.
Reloaded At Waco, TX, On Way Home For Christmas...
Musical Podcast 3, Tom's Scott Peterson Comments, More Music From Dama...
Waiting To Swap Out Trailers With Another Driver...
Musical Podcast 2, Tom's Comments, Music of Dama...
December 14, 2004...
December 14, 2004 -- I spent the past couple of nights at my friend's house in Dallas, Texas. Around noon his wife took me back to my truck. I stopped and filled the truck up with fuel and then headed to Waxahachie, Texas. I got unloaded around 5:00 PM, so it took them about an hour. They made me wait until my appointment time to get unloaded, although they allowed me to sit on the property for a couple of hours since I got there at 2:00 PM, which was a couple of hours early.
My fleet manager didn't send me another new load, so I'm spending the night at a truck stop just north of Waxahachie, Texas at Red Oak, Texas. I could have probably gone back up to Dallas and gotten my friends to come and pick me up again, but I don't want to "wear out my welcome" as the old saying goes.
I reminded my fleet manager that I wanted to be home for time off around the 20th and then have Christmas off. She said she would do her best to get it to work out that way.
I also sent her a message telling her I missed her since she was off last week. She sent a message back saying "Thank you, I missed you all too." I knew she was lying.
Unloaded at Waxahachie, Texas...
Still At Dallas, Unloading Tomorrow...
December 12, 2004...
December 12, 2004 -- A friend came and met me for lunch Saturday afternoon at Edwardsville, Illinois in suburban St. Louis. After that, I called and found out my load was ready to go, so I went over and picked it up. After that I headed on towards Texas.
I spent last night at Waggoner, Oklahoma. Today I came on down to Dallas, Texas. My friend here came and picked me up. I'm spending the night at their house. The load doesn't deliver in Waxahachie, Texas until Tuesday afternoon at 4:00 PM so I'll likely spend tomorrow night here too.
Stopped for the night at Waggoner, Oklahoma...
My first audio podcast...
Musical Podcast, Tom's Comments, Music of Akido!!!...
December 10, 2004...
December 10, 2004 -- I unloaded early this morning at O'Fallon, Missouri at a grocery warehouse. My delivery appointment was at 5:00 AM. I was unloaded by around 6:30 AM. After that, I parked on their property and slept until around noon.
When I woke up at noon, I had a bit of a headache. That usually only happens whenever I really screw up my sleeping patterns for two or three days in a row. This time it happened after only one time. I went to bed last night around 12:30 AM and then got up at 4:30 AM to check in with the receiver at 5:00 AM.
After I woke up at noon, I headed to the nearest truck stop west of O'Fallon, Missouri at exit 203 on I-70 -- a T/A truck stop. I ate lunch, hoping the headache would go away by the time I was up for a couple of hours. It wasn't, so I took some Bayer aspirin. I wish I would have taken it before I ate so it could have gone to work sooner. All together, it took nearly 5 hours for the headache to go away from the time I woke up.
Around 3:00 PM, the company finally sent me a new load. It loads at Edwardsville, Illinois, another St. Louis, Missouri suburb. I got my trailer washed out and dropped it at the shipper. The load I'm picking up won't be loaded until sometime on Saturday so I'm spending the night at the Edwardsville, Illinois Flying J truck stop a couple of miles away from the warehouse.
The new load delivers in Waxahachie, Texas Tuesday afternoon at 4:00 PM, so I'm obviously going to end up with some layover pay as compensation for being on a load that many days that only travels 688 miles from origin to destination. I've got a friend here in St. Louis that I can spend some time with, as well as friends in Dallas, Texas which is along the way so I'll likely be able to keep myself productively occupied along the way.
December 9, 2004
December 9, 2004 -- I ended up sitting most of the day yesterday at Brecksville, Ohio just getting unloaded. I finally got unloaded around 5:00 PM. This was one of the slowest receivers I've been to in a long time. In their defense, they had just moved into a new warehouse three days before and they were swamped with incoming loads stocking the new warehouse.
Afterwards I went up the street to an independently-owned restaurant that had truck parking and got something to eat. After that, I headed to Erie, Pennsylvania where I picked up another load this morning that was already pre-loaded on another trailer going to O'Fallon, Missouri.
I drove most of the day to get to O'Fallon, Missouri. I got here around 10:30 PM. I'm parked at the place where I unload at 5:00 AM tomorrow (Friday) morning.
December 7, 2004
December 7, 2004 -- I had to wait about an hour and a half yesterday afternoon at the company's Atlanta, Georgia yard for an empty trailer. After that I deadheaded up to Cartersville, Georgia to pick up a load of beer. The problem happened once I got to Cartersville. The beer plant was really swamped with both incoming and outgoing trucks. Normally a simple drop and hook that would take under an hour to complete ended up stretching out into a seemingly endless four-hour-long ordeal. That put me behind schedule.
Once I got into Tennessee I thought I'd sleep about three hours and then head on north towards Ohio. I made the mistake of stopping at a place called "Crazy Ed's Truck Stop" -- a place I've driven by a million times but never stopped at before. Well, it turned out to be a huge mistake. When my alarm went off at 1:00 AM I found that I was blocked in from moving by other parked trucks. I couldn't move. I ended up going back to bed and waiting until daylight when one of the trucks ahead of me got out of the way so I could go. I'll never make the mistake of stopping THERE again!!!
That delay made it impossible for me to get to my destination, Brecksville, Ohio before their 5:00 PM first-come-first serve delivery cutoff point. I'll have to wait until tomorrow (Wednesday) morning to unload.
It's rainy here and extremely windy. The temperature isn't that cold but the high wind and occasional rain make it sort of chilly and uncomfortable to be outside very long.
December 6, 2004 -- I spent several hours Saturday with my parents. They drove up to Winnie, Texas and picked me up. We ended up riding a ferry in the car over to Galveston, Texas where I took them out to eat at a place called "Fisherman's Wharf."
I made it to Doraville, Georgia last night where I was supposed to unload this morning. When I checked in with them they informed me that my delivery appointment wasn't until 12/7/04, which is tomorrow.
My regular fleet manager is on vacation this week. The person who's filling in is swamped with 100 trucks as a result. The normal number of trucks they are responsible for is 50. In any case, I've brought the loaded trailer to the company's Atlanta, Georgia yard to drop. There are no empty trailers here that don't have a red tag on them indicating they require shop service, so the only thing I can do is wait until someone brings an empty trailer in that I can hook onto.
This is one of the three identical privately-owned ferries that are contracted with the state of Texas to carry traffic back and forth from Galveston Island, Texas.
Here we were parked in the car on the ferry as the voyage across the bay was underway.
This is a Blue Heron waiting along the Texas Gulf Coast at Gilchrist,Texas hoping someone will give it a piece of bread.
The Texas Gulf Coast at Gilchrist, Texas.
A picture I snapped of myself in the car with my parents.
My parents outside the Fisherman's Wharf restaurant at Galveston, Texas.
Some of the birds that are trained to make the trip across the bay with the ferry in hopes of getting bread from the ferry passengers.
Birds perched on nearby pilings waiting for the ferry to take off.
A couple more birds perched in wait for their chance to get some bread.
December 3, 2004...
December 3, 2004 -- I got unloaded this afternoon at San Antonio, Texas. I reloaded later in the afternoon there with a load going to Doraville, Georgia, one of the many Atlanta, Georgia suburbs.
I've stopped at Winnie, Texas, to spend the night. My parents are coming to meet me here sometime tomorrow morning. I still have about 748 more miles to go to make it to Doraville, Georgia. I deliver there early Monday morning.
December 2, 2004...
December 2, 2004 -- I spent last night at Seguin, Texas, about 30 miles east of San Antonio, Texas. As I suspected, I am having to spend a day here at San Antonio waiting to unload. My delivery appointment is Friday at 11:00 AM.
I've spent several hours on the Internet today. I've got a new experimental blog going called "Tom's Take
" that's located at http://truckertom.blogspot.com/
. The basic idea is me giving my take on current events, news items, etc. I've got no shortage of opinions so it will be interesting to see what the response might be.
I didn't get a whole lot of sleep last night so tonight I've got some time to catch up.