Friday, July 31, 2009

Dateland = Good

When we are in California and southern Arizona, we always look for ways to stop for dates. 
Growing up in the Midwest and South Texas, dates were just not part of our diet.  Oh sure, we might have the odd slice of date-nut bread or maybe a date muffin.  But the reality was that dates just weren't on our radar.  
 Those things are waaaaaayyyyyy too good.?
And who knew that date shakes were heavenly??!
Additionally, our favorite undisputed top pick for on the road lunch is Quiznos.  
The food is fresh and they have my favorite Sobe pink grapefruit drink in their soda fountains.
Imagine my delight when I spied what I thought could only be a mirage shimmering in the heat as I drove across I-8 headed to Calexico.  
Could it possibly be a new Travel Center?  
Do I see the sign for a Quiznos?  
Is that "Date Shakes" painted on the side of the building?  
Are my eyes telling me true?  
And then, the best part of all - truck parking!!!!!!!
And it wasn't really a truck stop - therefore, it will be clean and spacious and welcoming and not full of smelly truckers . . . 
It was light and bright and full of yummy goodness.  
So we got to have Quiznos Sammys for lunch and date ice-cream for desert.

We are on our way to Georgia.
My dad tells me we will have run 21,650 miles this month.
That is a good month!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Roadside Whimsy

We see lots and lots of cool roadside art.  
Sometimes it is sculptures, sometimes billboards and often simply unique and indescribable.  
I am really trying to have the camera out more often in hopes of capturing these elusive moments of Roadside Whimsy.

This little beauty is part of a trio observed in Gila Bend, Arizona.

As I write this, I am pulled over on the side of the Interstate in Oklahoma.  
It is 11:00 Wednesday night.  
The wind is howling and rocking the truck . . . 
 it was hailing hard a few moments ago . . .
the rain is coming in sheets.
I really have NO interest in driving.  
I think I'll just look at this picture and remember how nice and DRY it was that day in Gila Bend.  We are going to be going through there Thursday night.  

I should be driving in the dry by then.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It is Canada's Fault . . .

We are either still in Canada or just returning from Canada.  When we are in Canada, we have learned to shut off the cell phones and leave the computer in its case.  Those foreign airwaves are apparently expensive.
Either way, this is a good excuse for a favorite post rerun.
I first ran this post in January and when I decided to rerun it, I went back through the list.  I still listen faithfully to those same podcasts.  I couldn't think of any new ones that would make the cut as favorites, so here is the original unedited post.
We should be back in the States late Wednesday night.  In fact, we may already be back, but I'm gonna preschedule this anyway!

When I drive, I have 11 to 12 hours to listen to the radio.  We have XM in the truck, but even the gazillion channels on it get stale after awhile.  My iPod provides a nice change.  We have a transmitter that sends it to the radio and it plays through the speakers.  
I listen to my own "Groove" Playlist.
(I'll share the goofiness of my playlist in another post)
I also listen to podcasts.  
They are one of the newest things to hit the web, and one of my favorites.
If you do any amount of driving, dishwashing, gardening, walking, waiting around, then podcasts could be for you.  You don't even need an iPod.  Any mp3 player will work.  I think there are some relatively inexpensive ones out now.  You could also download to your computer and burn discs.  I did that before we got our iPods. 
 iTunes is a great way to find out about podcasts.  All of mine come from the iTunes store, but there are lots of others out there too.  I just find so many on iTunes that I'll never listen my way through all of them!
So, here is a list of my favorite podcasts along with a brief description:
(Hang on a sec while I hunt down my iPod)
A Way With Words - this one is all about the usage, origin and pronunciation or words.  Very entertaining, actually.
The Splendid Table - mmmmmm, this one is about food.  Can you tell that I am a foodie?
The Story - This is done by American Public Media and is hosted by Dick Gordon.  This may be my favorite podcast.  I think he does one each day.  They are always timely and usually I learn a new way of looking at something.  Even if I don't think I'll be interested in an episode from the title, I have learned to just listen anyway.  I am almost always glad that I did.  If you don't try any of these other titles, try this one.
Travel With Rick Steves - This is probably my other favorite.  I don't do much travel outside of the United States, but Rick Steves takes me to the most wonderful far flung places.
Backstory - With the American History Guys - This is really a great podcast.  These guys take a current hot topic and spin it through the last 3 centuries of American History.  

I have a bunch of other podcasts, but these are my favorites.  These are the ones that I look forward to listening to.

What are some that you listen to?  
I am always looking for new ones.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rainy Night in Georgia

Hoverin' by my suit case
Tryin' to find a warm place to spend the night
Heavy rain fallin', seems I hear your voice callin'
It's alright

A rainy night in Georgia
A rainy night in Georgia
It seems like it's rainin' all over the world
I feel like it's rainin' all over the world

Neon signs flashin'
Taxi cabs and buses passin'
Through the night
A distant moanin' of a train
Seems to play a sad refrain
To the night

A rainy night in Georgia
Such a rainy night in Georgia
Lord I believe it's rainin' all over the world
I feel like it's rainin' all over the world

How many times I wondered
It still comes out the same
No matter how you look at it or think of it
It's life and you just got to play the game

I find me a place in a boxcar
So I take my guitar
To pass some time
Late at night, it's hard to rest
I hold your picture to my chest,
And I feel fine, Fine

But it's a rainy night in Georgia
Baby it's a rainy night in Georgia
I feel it's rainin' all over the world
Kinda lonely there and it's rainin' all over the world

Oh, Have you ever been lonely people
And you feel that it was rainin' all over this man's world
You're talkin' 'bout a-rainin' rainin' rainin' rainin' rainin' rainin' rainin' rainin' rainin' rainin' 
Rainin', a-rainin. a-rainin' rainin' over the world
I said now rainin'... 

by Tony Joe White

Monday, July 27, 2009

Alligator on the Zipper

I had a blow-out the other day while driving through Nebraska.
Our company uses "Super Single" tires on many of our trailers as well as our tractors.  They are supposed to be better in terms of fuel mileage and maintenance costs.  The only problem is that when one of them goes, there isn't that other wheel in the old style "Duel Wheel" set-up to pick up the slack while you get to a repair facility.
Apparently, the other issue with them seems to be that you aren't always aware when they blow.  
We had just switched drivers, so I was certainly awake and Tony was as well.  Neither of us heard or felt anything.  
Another truck driver alerted me to the problem, so I pulled over and found this . . . 


Tony pulled out our "Approved" Con-Way Truckload Repair Kit - his cellphone and called Road Service.  
They sent a repair truck out and Zip Zip Zip, we were on our way.

I can only guess that I must have unknowingly created one of those horrible strips of shredded tire that clog our highways and byways.  Truth is, we don't always know (as evidenced by this one) and we certainly can't go back and pick them up.  
In the trucking world, they are called Alligators.  
Great description.  
So, the correct term for them is Alligator on the Zipper.  
Sorry 'bout that.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday Smile

Believe it or not, I really don't spend all my time thinking about food.  
I enjoy cruising around on the Interwebs too. Especially those weird humor sites.   
I really like it when those two collide.  
Then you get fun websites like Fancy Fast Food.  
If you click on the link, you will see pictures like this . . . 

I'm not going to tell you why this is funny - you have to go to the link and find out for yourself.  
Scroll down the page - it gets even weirder!
I hope you have a nice Sunday.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Outside My Window

 Someone mentioned the other day that my blogging had turned away from trucking and our cross-country travels.  I get caught up in food posts and thinking about future bathrooms.  
So, I figured I should concentrate on the view out my window.  
We drove from Suffolk, Virginia (way over on the Chesapeake Bay) across to Mesquite, Texas and then on to Kettleman City, California which is on the other side of the country.  
This is what I mostly saw out my window . . . 

Oh, and I saw bunches of this . . . 

July is Resurface All Highways month across the entire nation.
We also spent time looking at this . . . 

Yep, we saw lots of that in Charlotte, Albuquerque and let's not forget Los Angeles.

But sometimes we see things like this . . . 

That is totally an owl sticking her tongue out at me.  
Her red tongue just flapped in the wind.  
Her two babies are sitting on her head having a good laugh too.

It gets boring out here - we have to find entertainment where we can!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Our Weird Routine

When folks learn we are truck drivers and that we team, they are often interested in what kind of schedule we keep.  When we are on a regular work schedule, we basically operate 24 hours a day.  In order to regulate our bodies to the rhythm, we have found it best to stick with the schedule even when we aren't driving.  
 Here, I'll try to break it down . . . 
I work from 3 pm to 3 am.  
Tony works from 3 am to 3 pm.  
What happens during that time is considered our shift.  
We both do the same job.  
Of course, we each have strengths and weaknesses, but mostly we each do our own thing during our shift.

So, lets start with midnight.  
I'm on duty and usually driving.  I love driving at night.  Hated driving a car at night, but in the truck, I am above the headlights of the cars and can see forever.  I will often take us in to a shipper to drop or get set up for a pickup/delivery in the morning. 
Tony's alarm goes off at 2:20 and he turns on his pre-set-up coffee maker and starts his day.  He usually doesn't open the curtain between the front and the sleeper until 2:45 or so.  Tony tends to be a little tiny teensy bit grouchy when he first gets up  (actually, he just isn't cheerful and I sometimes interpret that as grouchy).
So, after he gets his coffee ready, I find a spot for us to switch.  Usually at this time of night, I can pull off onto an entrance/exit ramp on the interstate.  We have a little bit of catchup on weather, road conditions, any messages from HQ and off we go.
I head straight to bed.  No getting out of the truck to walk the dog, etc.  Just straight to bed.  If I keep the interaction low-key and don't get engaged with anything, I can usually close up the sleeper and go right to sleep.
Tony may have pickups during his shift because it is morning for the rest of the world.  His hardest hours for driving are often just after sunrise when his natural body rhythms tell him he should really be sleeping now.  When our dispatch allows, he pulls over and catches a quick nap.  
I slumber on in the back until 10:30 or 11:00.  One of my great joys of this routine is that I don't have to wake up to an alarm clock.  I absolutely hate, hate, hate that.  It just jangles my nerves and gets my day off to a bad start.  Tony has thoughtfully set up the coffee maker with my coffee fixens, so I reach over and start the magic brew.  
I get up and open the sleeper curtain and we have our "together" time for the day.  This usually involves a stop of some sort if we have time on a particular run.  Lunch/breakfast is the meal we most often get to eat together.  I would say we try to have a sit-down /out-of-the-truck meal 2 or 3 times a week.  
Between the end of his shift and the beginning of my shift, we have 5 to 6 hours of together time.  During that period, we will each fix food for our shift and take care of mail, phone calls and family business. 
Tony winds down and heads off to sleep at 6:00 each evening.
When we are on a tight dispatch, the stops are only for fuel and some potty breaks.  We roll 22 hours out of 24.  
Laundry, showers and other frivolous out-of-truck stuff just has to wait.  
Oh yea, Leo gets his playtime in with each of us and has 4-6 walks a day.

Tony and I both operate really well with this routine.  
We keep the truck tidy and well stocked so that we are ready for whatever our fleet manager wants to throw at us. 
  The end of one dispatch and the beginning of another is fun for us, we never know where they will send us.
As I write this, I am sitting in Buttonwillow, California.  We are scheduled to deliver in Stockton tomorrow morning and then head over to Sacramento.  We will pickup there and strike out for St. Louis, Missouri.  
Did I mention that we love this job!!!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Furniture Wishes

I am really a pretty simple person.  
I lived in a strawbale house for many years and did just fine with an outhouse and an outdoor shower.  
(If you are a new reader to the blog, check this out to see what our house in Terlingua is like).  
But, I always had a special secret lust for a peaceful restful bathroom.  
The sink in it would look like this . . . 

I would have a mirror above it that was made to be similar (but NOT matching) to the sink cabinet.  I absolutely love the look of a casual bowl sitting on a table that is actually a plumbed sink.  Oh . . . a plumbed sink would be lovely!
Here is another look at the bowl.

The inside was silky smooth.  
Realllllllyyyyyy silky smooooooothhhhh.  
Tony made me stop petting it.  
I think I may have moaned just a tiny bit. 
 It was sublime.  
I didn't bother to look at the price.  It was in a chic shop in downtown Ashveville after all.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dinner with Friends

While in Asheville, we connected with friends from Terlingua.
The Hills have lived in Asheville for 39 years.  They have built 2 homes in Terlingua/Lajitas as well.  
Summer months in Asheville and Winter in Terlingua.  The best of both locations.  
We aspire to that too.

Dinner was out on the patio.

Leo loved getting to explore the backyard.  He almost never gets to be off the leash and root around in dense vegetation.  They had lots for Leo to explore.

Here is another look at the verdant lushness that is their backyard. 

In addition to delicious filet mignons cooked on the grill, we had green beans, grilled squash, and grilled chilies from their garden.  



Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Hanging Out in Asheville

We got to spend a lovely 3 day weekend in our favorite "East of the Mississippi" place, Asheville North Carolina.
Some of the time was spent looking at property.  Some we could afford, but couldn't live in and the others we could live in, but couldn't afford!
We did get to have a delightful Sunday.  Brunch with one friend, afternoon walking around downtown and shopping and dinner with some other friends.  

I love Asheville, because you get to see things like this . . . 

and this 

and eat food like this

This is a small plate of fried green tomatoes with caramelized onions.  Dressed with red pepper aoli and goat cheese.  We got to sit outside and people watch as we ate.
Great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

We jumped on the board at 7:00. 
 Got a load summary within 1 minute sending us to Suffolk, Virginia to pick up a load and head back to Mesquite, Texas.
Off we go.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Gem

Check out this little beauty . . . 

We came upon her in some truckstop or other.
My sleuthing shows that this is none other than
the 1956 Nash Ambassador Super Six
2 Door Hardtop

This car made Tony and I both get out and walk around it.  

Here is a last blurry picture thru our dirty window, but just look at the styling on this thing.

In the summer months, starting mid-week, we see wonderful cars being driven or trailered to car shows and events for the upcoming weekend.  Tony likes the older ones and I tend to be drawn towards the later 50's and 60's.  
This one was really a gem.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Smiles

Here is a Sunday Smile.

I'll be here next week with another Sunday Smile.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Micah sent me the best present for Mother's Day.
He e-mailed me a bunch of pictures of him and his life.
I haven't seen him since Christmas.
I miss him.
This picture was my favorite.

We will be trying to get to Austin sometime later this summer.  
He needs some "Mom Time" 
and I need some "Micah Time"
The only thing that will suffer is the checkbook!!!!!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Travis, Xander and Sirena

One of the downsides of our life is that we don't get to spend nearly as much time with our kids as we would like.  Thanks to the miracle of modern technology, we do get to stay in touch by phone and e-mail.  
It just isn't the same though.  
We miss them . . . lots.
This is our oldest son, Travis with his son Xander. 

This picture is waaaayyyy too old - we need to swing by for some updated pictures.

This darling girl is our youngest family member, Sirena.  This is her 1st birthday. 

She's almost another year older now.
Damn how time flies.
Got to get to Odessa soon!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cincinnati Chili

Tony spent a number of early adult years in Cincinnati, Ohio.  When we came through Ohio in the early days of our trucking adventure, he told me that we had to be sure to try some Cincinnati Chili.  
He then proceeded to tell me that in was served "over spaghetti".  
Yep - that's the way it comes.

 And today we got to try some.
Reading up on the interwebs, I sleuthed out that the original came from Greek immigrant, Nicholas Lambrinides,  who opened the first Skyline Restaurant in Cincinnati in 1946.  The chili was based on a recipe he brought over from Greece and stands out because of the inclusion of chocolate and cinnamon.
The chili is served over spaghetti or hot dogs and is the official chili of the Cincinnati Reds.
The menu is fairly straightforward.  
You can have a 3-way, 4-way, or a 5-way.  
Yep - that's the way it comes.

After we ordered (I opted for a mere 3-way, Tony went wild and opted for 5-way), the waitress brought this out to us . . .

Nice, but . . . ? 
Oyster crackers?

Yep - that's the way it comes.

Here it is . . .

On a plate.

All in all, I have to say that it was an interesting experience eating "chili" with a fork.

Tony was pretty happy to be having this blast from his past.  
Can you tell?

This was a fun meal.  The chili was actually more of a meat sauce over the spaghetti.  The mound of finely shredded cheese that blanketed it kind of took over, but the cinnamon and chocolate were just able to hold their own.  
After Tony had finished, he was left with a plateful of juice.  
That was where the oyster crackers came into play.  
He picked up a handful and crushed them over the plate.  "For sopping up the juice," was his explanation. 
Yep - that's the way it comes!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sweet Dreams, Indiana

We are heading across the heart of the county on our way to Detroit.  
We pass through Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio before we get to Michigan.  

Here are a couple of scenes that caught my eye as we drove through Indiana last evening.

We see lots of agriculture as we cross back and forth across the country.  I don't think I have ever seen this . . . 

This man was waaaayyyyy  out in that field.  No house nearby.  No truck nearby.  I can only imagine that he had simply worked his way out there and would continue on with his task at hand.  

Since we move at all times of the day/night, we often get some great views of sunrises and sunsets.  Storms too

I loved the way the sky seemed to be covering the land with a blanket of soft white clouds.  As if tucking us in for the night.  
I hope Indiana had sweet dreams.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Glass Hills

We did a pickup yesterday in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  This is an auto/truck glass factory.  The neat thing is all the glass hills as we come into the plant.
There are green, clear, black and dark blue.  
The dark blue is my favorite.

Unfortunately, we are always here in the middle/brightest part of the day.  Great for sparkles on the hills, but I just can't seem to get them into the camera!

Entering and exiting the plant, they have done some nice landscaping  with the glass.

Now you know what happens to all that broken glass that gets swept up off the street after a wreck.  I guess they get some from other places too, but I prefer the wreck theory!

We are taking it to Michigan, so I guess someone is still making something automotive there.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Rainy Night in Kansas

We aren't there anymore, but this was the view out of the window late Saturday night.

Wonderful Blessed Rain

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday Smiles

If I wasn't driving a truck around the country, I would be doing something like this.

I am not at all sure why she keeps saying "knitting and knitted" when the bus is obviously crocheted.  I would guess that she has folks who donate stuff as well as finding pieces in thrift stores, etc.  

Other than that, is this cool or what!?!?

I will now return to my current crochet project.

Have a nice Sunday.

The Odd Couple

This couple is NOT your average trucking couple.

I couldn't help it, I needed to get another look as they went by . . . 

We saw these folks in the Great Plains. 
I would love to know their story.

I admire their ability to hold to their beliefs in this wacky world.