I stayed home until early Tuesday morning and then I set out for Delhi, Louisiana to get a load going down to Florida. I went all the way down into Fort Lauderdale for the first stop on the load, and then over into Nokomis for the remainder of it. While it rained on me most of the way to Fort Lauderdale, the rest of the trip was clear and beautiful. I got a phone call from my friend Paul Anderson while I was at home - he was wondering where I was. He got sent on the Connecticut run, a route that he does not enjoy, and he was wanting to know why I hadn't taken it. While there is a curiosity and a jealousy among some of the other drivers as to why I keep getting these Connecticut loads, the truth is that most of them don't care for the run up there into the North East parts of the country. I am sitting in Delhi today waiting for them to get this week's Connecticut load ready to roll. My dispatcher called me while I was in Florida and asked me if I would do it. He had already tried to give it to three different drivers who all refused it, and he knew that I was wanting to try and get home again next weekend for my youngest daughters home school graduation celebration party. Once again it is going to be a tight schedule for me to get it all done in time to get home, but I will give it my best shot, and we will see how it all turns out. I've got a plan to drive all night for the first two driving shifts on my way up there, and I think that will make the timing of it all come out right so that I can get unloaded on Tuesday, get a back haul load done and then get back to Delhi in time to get the scheduled load for Corpus Christi, which will send me over into Texas with hopefully enough free time to stop by the house on Sunday for this special occasion - we shall see if it works.
I mentioned in the last post about all the many different things one sees when doing this crazy job, so I am going to share with you some of the sights I've come across lately. Keep in mind the things that I share with you are only a small amount of all the many interesting and/or beautiful or intriguing things I come across. The problem is that I am not a tourist and I simply cannot just stop and take pictures of everything I come across. I am usually hard pressed for time and have to keep things moving, but if I am stopped and have some daylight left I will try to get a few photos to share with you of the things that I come across. So, here I go, with no certain order or progression with some interesting (at least to me) things I have seen of late.
Here is a load of really huge chains I saw on a truck at a truck stop in Dandridge, Tennessee. Those things are massive!
Here is an intriguing guitar shop that I pass all the time. It is at the border of Tennessee and Virginia on I-81. The building itself is in the shape of a guitar! The sound hole on the guitar is a big round window, and there is a stairwell at the butt end of the body going up to the second floor of the building. The construction work is not of the highest quality, as I think you will be able to tell from the photo, but the idea or concept is certainly creative enough to make up for the fellow's lack of funding to really do it up right.
My good friend Daniel Babayev, a truck driver of Russian descent, who stalks me like crazy on the trucker tracker app at TruckingTruth.com recently realized that we were both on the same interstate in Texas so he called me and we agreed to meet for lunch at "Whacko" TX. Daniels English pronunciations are sometimes comical. That would be Waco, TX for most of us. And then when we ordered our meal he ordered a Tilapia fish dinner and pronounced it "Till-uh-pee-uh". He's a good Christian friend, which is not easily come by in this industry. Here we are at the I-Hop in "Whacko".
Several weeks back I stopped in at a truck stop called the Oasis Travel Center in Robertsdale, Alabama - exit 53 on I-10. If memory doesn't fail me it is the last truck stop before crossing over into Florida from Alabama. It was a convenient stopping point for me, and a billboard I had seen advertised the "Derailed Diner" was at the truck stop which featured an old railroad dining car as a dining room. I was pleasantly surprised by the creative decorating at this facility. The food was not all that impressive, but the decor was worth writing home about. There was a mural on the wall of a school bus behind the lunch counter and the door of the bus was the swinging doors that the waitresses went in and out of the kitchen by.
You could do your own tailgating party inside since they had literally attached the back side of some antique pick-up trucks to the walls so that your table top was a real "tailgate".
Since the name of the diner was the "Derailed Diner", they had gone to the trouble and expense of making it appear that some old train had derailed and crashed into the building.
From the road this is the view you see, and I thought the dining car was where you would sit to eat.
While you can eat inside that dining car, it is decorated more fancily than the rest of the rather eclectically designed restaurant.
I chose to sit at the lunch counter where there was a multitude of different types of seats you could choose from. I chose the more traditional bar stool with a padded seat, but I could have chosen from anything from an airplane seat to a motorcycle or even a saddle!
The entire restaurant was filled with antique toys like die cast metal trucks, trains, and airplanes. There were antique bicycles, horses from merry go-rounds and all manner of antique pieces, most of it having some relationship with the transportation business.
It seems like just about a month ago when I was up in the North East parts of the country I was seeing sights like this as the six foot deep snow began to slowly melt.
And then on a recent trip up there I came across this sight in someone's yard as I took a brief walk in Cressona Pennsylvania.
And then I also got to see the contrasting "Spanish Moss" that grows so heavily in the live oaks down in Florida.
Do you see what I mean about seeing so many different things when you basically live your life on the road all the time? It is an over load for the senses at times.
One last thing. I recently was taking a walk in Delhi, Louisiana while I was waiting on the folks at the plant to get a load ready for me, and I came upon this very old drug store - I think it may be the oldest continually in operation drug store in the country. It was established in 1873!
I went inside to take a look around and I discovered an old fashioned soda fountain and lunch counter that was so appealing I decided to eat lunch in there. The menu had a story about the gentleman who had founded the shop and it mostly talked about his Christian character and convictions. The family still runs the store today with his convictions as the foundation for their success.
Sorry if I overloaded you with visual effects today, but now you get a little bit of an idea of what it's like to be continually on the road and seeing something new and intriguing every day.
I'd better take a rest now so that I can be ready to drive all night tonight. I'll check in again when I have the time.