Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tanks A Lot For The Back Haul

Last week I ran a load of aluminum extrusions up into Charlestown, New Hampshire.  It was still a little early for the fall foliage to start showing, but it was still a nice run up into the Northeast.  I had several different places to stop at along the way, all of them being my usual customers up in New Jersey and Connecticut.  We usually will get our back haul load out of Cressona, PA to bring me back down south but this last week they didn't have anything available for me.  The folks in Phoenix found me a load of tanks that picked up in Newark, New Jersey that were destined for Chalmette, Louisiana.

Chalmette is a small town in the bottom lands just south of New Orleans.  You are right at sea level down there and it feels like you should be seeing Marsh Wiggles rising up out of the swampy territory at any moment!  I hauled these two 6,600 gallon tanks from the Port of Newark all the way down to Chalmette, and stopped along the way in Gulfport, Mississippi to have my truck serviced at the terminal while on the way down.

The tanks were empty so I didn't have to deal with any liquid surge which is one of the issues a driver deals with when hauling tanker loads.  This was really a relatively easy load.  The tare weight of the tanks was roughly a little more than 8,000 pounds each, so I only had a little more than 16,000 pounds on my trailer.

One of the more interesting things that you experience when you are doing this Over The Road driving job is that you get to see so many different things as you move around.  I've said it before, but it is like living three lifetimes all packed into one.  I'm always interested in the various forms of architecture that I see in different parts of the country.  I've shared some of the uniquely quaint little houses that I've photographed in Cressona, but here is a most interesting sight that I've passed by many times before when down here in the Deep South.  Finally on this trip I got the chance to stop and snap a photo of this unusually designed restaurant just outside of Natchez, Mississippi.  They are closed on Mondays, and that gave me the chance to pull my big truck into their parking lot so that I could take this picture.

How do you like that?  Mammy's Cupboard is the restaurant, and folks gather up under Mammy;s big skirt to enjoy a good old southern style meal when they get the chance.  It's kind of Iconic, and a little strange at the same time.  I've never tried it because there is no where near that I can park my truck and walk over to it, but I've never driven by it without it bringing a grin to my face.  It is an original!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

What I've Learned About The Birds And The Bees While On The Road

This summer I've noticed a phenomenon that I hadn't picked up on before during my time on the road. It's funny how you start to notice more details about this life on the road as you continue in it.  Here's a little something about "the birds and the bees" that I've found amusing as it came into focus this summer.

I began to notice that as I would stop at a traffic light in some parts of the country, or even more so as I would pull up and stop at the fuel pumps at a truck stop, that there would be a good number of birds that were swooping down and landing somewhere out of my view on the front grill of my truck.  I noticed them doing the same thing on the trucks next to me at the same traffic lights or fuel islands. So what was this strange attraction to the front of our trucks that lured these birds in like steel shavings to a magnet?

Well, I got out and took a look at a truck stop recently just so I could figure out what was going on, and this is what I discovered.  These birds have figured out that the front end of a big truck traps and kills a veritable buffet of moths, butterflies, and other very tasty (to a bird at least) flying insects. Yes, that's right, it's like the dinner bell has rung and they come flocking to the feast!

Bees do the same thing.  Recently I was in Bolingbrook, Illinois and the bees were swarming the front grill of my truck and and even the front edge of my side mirrors.  Apparently some types of bees enjoy a tasty free buffet of insects also.

Here's some pictures of what these birds are enjoying, and even a look at some bees getting in on the action...

Isn't that interesting.  It is one of the small things that I've noticed out here on the road that takes place while criss-crossing the country in a big rig.  I never thought about how all the hard work I put in out here would benefit the birds and the bees who happen to find themselves in my path.  I get to "feed the birds" without spending "tuppence a bag."

Wait a minute... I just realized you may have thought this was going to be a post about something else?

Shame on you my gentle readers... if you've been following along with me this long, you should know me better than that!