Sunday, June 28, 2009

Off We Go

The car is empty and parked.
The truck is packed and everything is stowed where it belongs.

The co-pilot's seat is reinstalled and he is in it.
The truck has been washed and refueled.
Ice and soda are in the cups and cups installed in the cup holder.
Phones are charged and bluetooths (blueteeth?) reconnected and hanging for use.

Time to go!

Just as I finished writing this, we got a sweet dispatch from Joplin to Louisville, Kentucky that has about 12 extra hours built in, cuz it always takes a bit of road to get back into our groove.  
After we drop in Louisville, we are pre-planned for a load from Louisville down to Laredo.  It will be hotter than Hell in Laredo, but hopefully we won't be there too long.

Off we go . . . 

Monday, June 22, 2009

Life on the Lake

We have settled into our lovely houseboat on Lake Ouichita in Arkansas.  What a treat this boat is.  70' with 6 staterooms, 2 baths, and a HOT TUB on the top deck.  I can tell you the view from the tub is delightful.
When we got all our crap onto the boat and launched, the sun was shining and fluffy white clouds filled the sky.  3 hours later, it started raining.

This was the view from our bed watching the rain fall.  Being a desert girl, the rain was not unwelcome.
At dinner time, the rain cleared up and we settled in for a most pleasant evening.

I love this shot - it may be the definitive shot for the trip.  

Sunday, June 21, 2009


After we started driving Big Rigs for a living, the television show "Trick My Truck" took on a whole new meaning.  Lots of folks watched as the boys of "The Chrome Shop Mafia" overhauled worn out old trucks.   As luck would have it, their home is actually in Joplin where we have our own home base and we have tricked out our own rig with some sweet chrome knobs.
It has been pretty cool to see those reworked rigs out on the road.  We have seen a couple, but never in a situation where we could get pics.  
Our luck changed on our way down to Little Rock.  On one of those wonderful squiggly line roads, we ran across this beauty . . .

I don't remember what the reason for the overhaul was or what the symbolism on the paint job was all about.  I do remember that it was meant to be "Lucky"  

The back of the sleeper shows all of the lucky-ness worked into the paint scheme.  I see 4-leaf clovers, horseshoes, lucky #7, and 7 up on some dice.  You also get a good look at the great chrome accessories the boys specialized in. 
I couldn't get a decent shot of the inside of the cab, but it was also nice.  Custom seat covers in purple and yellow with dice in the center.  Lots of purple and chrome on the dash and sweet chrome gear shifter and floor pedals.
It is nice to daydream about having a custom truck or a  spacious custom sleeper.  We spend lots of time talking/thinking about what we would want if dreams really do come true.
Then we notice the "For Sale" sign in the window and realize that we are "Lucky" to be company drivers. 

Fellow Crusty Locals

We are on vacation!!!!!
Of course, we could take the nice US Highways and Interstates from Joplin to Little Rock.  
That would be absolutely no fun whatsoever.  
We took some of those great little grey line roads.  You know them - they squiggle and wiggle and never go anywhere quickly.
Somewhere just on the Arkansas / Missouri line, we ran into a great country store that had become a great smoked meat restaurant.  Lunch was delicious.  But that wasn't the best part.  As we were leaving, one of the crusty locals who ran the pit came outside and saw the "Viva Terlingua" bumper-sticker on our car.
"Have you ever been to Terlingua or do you just have the bumper-sticker?"
You can imagine the gabfest that followed.
As Crusty Local and Tony were jawing, I took the chance to look around.

Gotta love the creativeness of this basketball hoop.  From the size of the knot, it's been there awhile.  It seems to be a real barrel hoop.
I'm off for a lovely shopping excursion to Whole Foods in the morning.  


Thursday, June 18, 2009


Tony and I have recently created facebook accounts and we are having some major fun re-connecting with friends and family.  I had held off joining for quite some time because Micah is on there.  I finally decided to do it anyway and am really glad I did.  I have not contacted him to be my "friend" and don't intend to.  I don't want to intrude on his world, but we do have a lot of friends in common. 

 If you are not on there - do it now.  

You will have fun.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Brief Musical Interlude

Enjoy this nice musical interlude while I pack for vacation.
This is Victoria Vox.  
I really really like her, I hope you will too.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


This is the prize for driving through the rain for so many days.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

All About Perspective

This is what I see out my side window mirror when I back into a parking space.  
On the left, you can see the white hood of the truck parked to my left as I'm backing into the space.
In the mirror, you get 2 more views of it.  
Sometimes it is hard to get your mind wrapped around which view is which and what your own truck is doing.  
I guess it is all about perspective.
This mirror has one just like it on the other side and for some odd reason, they are called "West Coast"mirrors.
As I back up, you can also see how close these damn trucks are!  Sometimes I think we could all stick our hands out the windows and pass Grey Poupon from truck to truck.  That would make a great commercial. 
Anyway, back to the photo . . . see that convex mirror below the tall one?  
That one gives a better view down the length of the truck and it shows the ground more. It also gives the driver a good view of where their back wheels are meeting the pavement.  This is useful when going around corners with curbs and maneuvering  around small cars in crowded parking lots.
In the top mirror on the left, you can see the side mirror of the truck beside me.  You can also see it in the convex mirror.  Where is it really?  Goes back to that old "Perspective" thing.  It is really about half way between the two views.
Between the two mirrors and the two on the other side, it is possible to slide a 70' of truck into a parking space that is often JUST wide enough.  They rarely give you too much room.
When we started Truck Driving School, I could not back a truck and trailer.  We practiced on an empty army base with regular width streets.  I couldn't keep it on the pavement for nothing.  I wobbled and wiggled that thing all over the place while frantically spinning the steering wheel in one direction and then another.  I'm sure it was quite a show for the instructors.  One guy was even worse than I was and he got thrown out.  I truly thought that backing would be my demise in trucking.
On Friday, the instructors said that we would have a pass/fail test on Monday - we would have to back the rig up in a straight line for 100'.  Sometime over the weekend, it was like a penny dropped into a gumball machine and I got the prize.  Without even practicing, I knew how to do it.  
Now, I can back a trailer in a straight line, curvy line, around a corner (had to do that one night in Idaho when I made a wrong turn!) or pretty much wherever you need me to.  

I still have trouble backing our Taurus into a parking space though.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Soggy Times

This was the clearest my windshield has been for the past ninety-levity days.  
Well, at least it feels like that.  
We have been from Portland, Oregon to St. Louis and then back again to Salt Lake City and now are heading down to Atlanta where we will turn around and go to Joplin.
Are you dizzy? 
 We are.  
All of this has kept us running I-80 through Wyoming and Nebraska.  
It has rained the entire time.  
A lot of rain.  
Sometimes, we have had to pull off because we can't see anymore.  
I feel soooooo sorry for the little cars that get caught in our spray.  
Is it raining where you are?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Jamming at the Jubitz

We are in Portland, Oregon.  
I love Portland.  
If it wasn't for those issues about earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis, I'd consider moving here.  
An unexpected series of events led to us having a fair chunk of time in the area.  We will both get restarts on our logging hours before we pick up a load of Michael's craft goodies in Centralia, Washington and haul them across the country to New Lenox, Illinois.  
That is a nice chunky dispatch of 2,150 miles.  
Oh yeah!
In the meantime, this is how we are spending our evening . . . 

That is the back end of a household moving van.  Those folks are often able to carry around some of their own stuff.  Some people put motorcycles in their trailers.  This guy takes his drum set with him.   Tony carries his guitar with him in our truck.  They jammed for awhile doing some nice Texas Folk and Jimmy Buffet kind of stuff.  Then the electric guitar showed up and Tony dropped out and we just kicked back and enjoyed the show.

 We had already eaten (another post), but there were 2 grills going and I saw porkchops and corn coming off.  Not sure what else, but it all smelled good.
We were parked in a "no idle" part of the truck stop, so we didn't have to listen to diesels running.  The weather here is cool enough to put the screens up in the windows and turn on the 12v fan that we have in the sleeper.  
What a life.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Working with my photos

This is one of the pieces I've been working on with Picnik. I originally took this photo in either Detroit or Toronto (it all gets to be a blur after awhile!). I loved the color, but thought I could have some fun with it as well. I am working on using the tools in editing (paintbrushes, erasers and focal points) as well as the effects. This piece used an effect called "Circle Splash". I also put a mirrored frame around it. I wish the weirdly colored leaves were less opaque, I'd like to have the original shading and veining show through more.

Several people have chided me for not having more pictures on the blog.
 I will try to keep from overloading. 
If I go overboard - please let me know. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Post Rerun - The Inside of our World

I am learning how to do some new things with Blogger and my photo editor (Picnik). In the meantime, I thought I would re-run this post showing the inside of our truck.
It basically still looks exactly the same as it did in this original post. Well, I guess, the magazines have changed, and certainly the sheets and quilt have been washed a time or two. But otherwise . . . still the same.

Originally published 07/15/08

We paused at our terminal in Laredo, Texas last night and this morning and decided to change sheets and do a general bed re-make. Since it is nice and straight and not occupied, I thought I'd show you what some of the inside of the truck looks like. I can't take a picture that shows the entire inside in one picture, because then you would see the "pile o'crap" that I have to move around in order to take pics of each area. Here they are in de-crapped segments:
The black webbing is our sleeping restraint system. One of us (Tony) was skeptical about being able to sleep while harnessed in, but he gave it a try and found it works just fine. The 2 straps that connect to the sides of the sleeper (the head and foot of the bed) work to create a tent-like thing that keeps the harness from being restrictive. You can actually turn over and not feel tied up (or down, as the case may be).

You can also see our wonderful pvc shelving that Tony engineered. The grey thing the microwave and shelving is sitting on is what we had installed in place of the top bunk. The grey shelf is about 4 inches deep and maybe 6 inches wide - not real useful, but better than the bunk. Tony figured out how to secure the microwave and shelves. We store most of the light weight type food and snacks up there. Up at the very top is the extra blanket and our one piece of decent luggage (a folding travel tote).

All of this junk is held in place with staps and bungie cords.
Bungie cords are our friend!
You can see the wonderful array of them holding the magazines in the magazine rack. It is a great rack, but only 2 inches deep (WTF?) - so. . . bungies to the rescue!

The little round blue pillow in the top shot is my ipod speaker pillow. I love it! I especially like that my ipod nano fits inside it so there are no wires snaking around the bed to get tangled up in while getting my beauty sleep.

This is a look into one of our closets. The top portion is where the all important cache of caffeine lives. Tony drinks a very intense roast and I drink a wimpier hazelnut coffee, so we have to have 2 kinds. Leo's inside food container is up there too.

Next down, is our kitchen tools, plastic flatware and empty grocery bags stuffed over on the left. I can just barely reach in and snag a corner to get one out for trash.

Then down below that is our dirty clothes hamper. It is possible to crack open the closet door (cuz the pile o'crap is blocking the floor in front of the door!) and reach in and stuff the item into the container. Below that is where the handy-dandy folding stool lives. We use this stool all the time and having it hand is a life saver for us. Again, it is possible to crack open the door and reach in and grab the stool.

To the right of the closet, you can see our new cooler. We used to have a 12-volt cooler, but after 2 of them in 6 months, we pitched the last on!e and bought a good old fashioned cooler.

So, this is where we live these days. I have some more pics, but am out of time. I do have to drive you know!

Monday, June 1, 2009

What Happened to May?

Did the entire month of May just whiz by and I didn't notice?!?  
Can someone please explain to me how a full month of days can run by in the blink of an eye?  
I have found that this seems to speed up as you get older - what a whirlwind they'll be when I'm 90 or so!
We have been running along the northern tier of states a lot this past month.  Washington, that tiny little slice of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, etc, etc, etc.
There isn't much internet accessing going on up there.  
Really . . . I tried.  
Multiple times.

The rest of the time, I have been driving with my mouth about half open . . .  mostly in awe.
Spring has busted out big time in these northern states and it is really something to see.
In Terlingua, we usually managed to have Spring on the 1st Tuesday of March between 10:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.  Sometimes, if you weren't paying real close attention, you could miss it altogether.  
But let me tell you, that is not the case with Spring up here.  
This place is GREEN and WET.  
Seriously, there is water tumbling out of the rocks and hillsides like nobody's business.
We have really enjoyed this last couple of weeks.  Pastures are crayon green and full of lively babies - horses, cows and lambs.  Ponds are full to the brim and littered with mamas and their flotillas of baby ducks, geese and swans.  I love watching them as we go by - they look like paintings.  I even saw a kingfisher sitting on a low branch scooping a creek for fish.
I have found the long missing instruction book that came with my camera and I am going to be trying out some new techniques soon.
I'll start posting more pictures.
I promise.