Saturday, January 30, 2016

Still Going Strong

Well, I've been remiss in my commitment to blogging, but since there really is no one interested in my meager meandering thoughts that I put down in here occasionally I don't really need to apologize.  For if there is no one to apologize to, then what need is there of an apology?  But just in case there happens to be some severely bored person who takes a look in here occasionally to see what I'm up to then perhaps they will be glad to see that I am in here today with a few fresh words of what I've been up to.  My "Lovely Leviathan" and I have been really quite busily engaged in our efforts of late, and frankly, I've been so occupied with "gitting 'er done" that I have left this little exercise of blogging alone for a while.  I took a week of vacation time at the Christmas Holidays and went with my family to Leadville, Colorado where we stayed in a really nice vacation home that a friend allowed us the use of.  That was a lot of fun, and a well needed break for me!  Just before we did that I was in Connecticut heading for Cressona, Pennsylvania where I was supposed to be getting a back haul load to carry me back down south when my dispatcher called and told me that they just couldn't come up with a back haul, so he wanted me to get back to Delhi as quick as possible because he had something "really juicy" for me - that was his choice of words, not mine.  Now usually when he uses that expression, it is indicative of something good or worthwhile.  Turns out he had a load going to Rocklin, California.  I took that load over there and then got dispatched right back to Connecticut.  So I basically went across the country twice in about a two week period.  It was nice to break up some of the monotony of my regular routine, and to get out West is always nice to me.  I enjoyed that immensely.

I crossed the infamous "Donners Pass" - if you don't know the history of the name of that California mountain Pass near Truckee California you really should do a search and see what you come up with.

I also had my young Russian truck driver friend, Daniel Babayev, who lives in Sacramento, insist that I meet his wife "Olga" for dinner while in Rocklin.  That was kind of fun because she brought me a bunch of Russian food to take with me in my truck.  I think I ate like a Russian truck driver for two weeks after that!  She was overly generous with large portions of Russian potato salad, dried fish, home-made crusty bread, Borscht, spicy salami, some kind of mixture of beef, carrots, and potatoes - something similar to what we would call stew.  Everything was in such large portions that I had trouble getting rid of it all.  I was actually eating potato salad for breakfast for several days because I was afraid that it might spoil if I didn't eat it quick enough.

I spent some time over there high in the Sierra Mountains and it was all quite a pleasant change from my usual running around up in the overcrowded Northeast parts of the country.  Here's a look at the kind of scenery I enjoyed for almost a full day of driving when I was headed back out of California, and headed into Arizona.

I saw this truck with some interesting paint work done on it at a truck stop somewhere on that trip.  It reminded me of the old World War II airplanes that the "greatest generation on earth" commandeered through the skies as they secured peace for the many suffering peoples all across our globe during that dreadful time period in history.

I am spending a nice warm day off in Delhi, Louisiana today while waiting for another load that will take me (or am I taking it?) to Connecticut.  I just came back from Cressonna, Pennsylvania where the snow was piled up something like twelve feet deep from the snow plows trying to push it off the roadways.  At the SAPA plant they had a pile that was about twelve feet deep, fifty feet wide and at least three hundred feet long!  The whole day while I was there they were loading it into dump trucks with a very large front end loader and hauling it off to somewhere just to try to get rid of it.  The temperatures are so cold that it just doesn't melt so they are taking it somewhere just to get it out of their way.  When I made a stop in Riverdale, New Jersey at Camfil - a regular customer there - I couldn't even see their sign for the piled up snow.  All this is from the recent blizzard they had, and everything is crazy deep in snow up there right now.

I just returned from up there in Cressona with this load of 53 foot long aluminum I-Beams that delivered to a Fontaine trailer manufacturing facility in Haleyville, Alabama.  When I left the plant in Cressona the security guard asked me where I was heading with my load, and upon my answer he responded with "I sure wish I was headed for Alabama" - everyone up there was complaining about how sore they are from shoveling snow!

Here is what that same load looked like after I got it tarped so that it would be protected from the road salts and any inclement weather that I might get into.  My friend Daniel Babayev does not understand why in the world I like flat-bedding.  He says the only benefit to it is that we flat-bedders know how to wrap up a big Christmas present better than the other truck drivers.

I continue to have success in my career, but I really miss having a life with my family - it is a part of a truck driver's lot in life that is a constant nagging problem, but just knowing that, doesn't make it any easier.  Here's the short list of drivers who were among the top performers in the company for the final quarter of the year - the "three star drivers" as they are called.  I am still there in the list.