Thursday, December 30, 2010

Back In The Saddle

Okay, we're back in business. Thanks to all you readers who suggested solutions to my picture problem. Someday I MAY investigate some of them...but....probably not. The easiest fix was just to purchase more storage space, so even though I was initially opposed to that idea, ultimately what it boils down to is that it was the easiest solution. And I really have no patience when it comes to technology. Just ask Mr. Trucker. I want it NOW! So I can get back into the post I began typing on Tuesday...

Alright, enough messing around. Time to get back on the road and back to work! We had a very lovely Christmas with Mr. Trucker's sister and her family in Daytona Beach, FL. But first, we had to get through...


"Oh look!", I says to Mr. Trucker, "They root for the Packers".
"No honey", he says, "That's for the Georgia Bulldogs".
Silly me!
We experienced our Christmas miracle that day. When we started out in the morning, Mr. Trucker left himself enough time to get to our delivery stop at 1:00 p.m. We absolutely had to be there before 2:00 p.m. in order to be unloaded that same day,  otherwise we would have been stuck there, with the load, for three and a half days, until Monday morning. So he figured a 1:00 arrival would give us a nice hour cushion. HOWEVER, we had enough time to get there by 1:00 IF everything went smoothly. After we set off, and as he drove, it began to dawn on Mr. Trucker that he had forgotten to plan for traffic through/around Atlanta. I didn't realize it until I went out on the road with Mr. Trucker, but apparently Atlanta traffic is NOTORIOUS! It is every driver's nemesis and you can plan on delays there almost 100% of the time. Well, Mr. Trucker began to be very uncomfortable in his seat, the closer we got to Atlanta. He kept checking his GPS for signs of delay on the three available routes (one of them THROUGH Atlanta, and the other two, around it) and cursing at it because it didn't show any delays on any route ("You stupid, useless piece of crap!"). Well, dear readers...the reason Garmin didn't show any delays was because there weren't any! We sailed through Atlanta without losing a single minute! According to Mr. Trucker, that was truly a miracle. In fact, one of the people he related the story to (who is also familiar with Atlanta traffic) told him he was lying!

Here are some other sights from Georgia:

A peach, I presume.

Would you believe they're harvesting cotton here? In December?
Who'da thunk?

Yup, that's right! Bacon County.

Mr. Trucker's been trying to tell me that the South has a pharmacy
chain called "Fred's", and I always figured he was pulling my leg.

"So, where do YOU go to school?"
"Okefenokee Technical College. Studying Swamp History."
Late that same night (December 23), we FINALLY crossed the state line into Florida and on the morning of Christmas Eve, we picked up our rental car and headed for Daytona Beach. The whole experience of being in Florida in late December was so weird. It hardly felt like Christmas at all, to two people from Michigan and Wisconsin. The landscape is so different there. The houses are often short and squat, with flat roofs, built of cement block or stucco and painted all kinds of pastel colors. And the trees...

Palm trees!

For some reason, I always though Spanish Moss was only in
Louisiana. But I was wrong!
Heading north for Daytona Beach, we had to pass through Orlando. That is one busy place!

Orlando, FL
It was a beautiful sunny afternoon when we finally rolled into Daytona Beach.

Home of the Daytona 500

Here we are at last!
Mr. Trucker's sister lives on a narrow strip of land, only several blocks wide, which we reached by crossing a bridge over a lagoony type body of water. On the other side of that bridge is her community, and...THE OCEAN.

Hey look! The ocean up ahead!

Cool. Surf's up!

Hey honey! What are you doing? We can't drive down there!
The first thing Mr. Trucker wanted to do was drive down ON the beach, which apparently you can do in Daytona (don't tell the rental car company). It was a blast!

He's so proud of himself!

Christmas morning was a whirlwind of present opening...

The nieces and nephews in a frenzy of unwrapping.

Mom & Dad videotaping.

The aftermath!

Even Tara the dog got a new collar and a "pheasant".

You could have knocked me over with a feather when Mr. Trucker's sister handed me a package that had been mailed to me at their address by my dear friend Polly in Green Bay. I felt so loved and special!

One of the big hits of the day was the "farting putty" that Mr. Trucker and I had bought each of the kids at the Dollar store. 

We had a lot of fun over the weekend, and had two really warm days of sunny skies and temps in the high 60's and low 70's before it turned really cold (for Florida, that is). We played a ton of Euchre and enjoyed good food and a wine tasting. Some of my hats were even in demand...

New friend Alyssa looks cute in a Newsboy hat that I just got
a new recipe for.

My previously shown slouch hat on niece Josie. She never took it off!

The cuties!
Well, all good things must come to an end and our holiday ended Tuesday morning when we had to say goodbye to our hosts and head back out over the road. The good news is that we have remained in the south, having been in Florida and Alabama for the last two days, where it is quite warm! We've managed to avoid all the snowstorms we keep hearing about, and that is fine with me! 

Here's something you won't see in Wisconsin in December:
an outdoor fruit stand.

Mr. Trucker is so happy because he scored some boiled green peanuts,
which is a southern delicacy.

Birmingham, AL

Today's Silly Sounding Place Name:  Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Having Technical Difficulties...

I was all set to resume blogging after our Christmas vacay, but here's the problem: As I was typing my post, adding pictures willy nilly as I am prone to do, I got an error message saying that my "storage" of photos was full. I have no idea what this means, as I am technologically challenged, and it was enough of a miracle that I ever figured out how to set up a blog at all, and when I figured out how to upload my photos to my blog, I thought I had conquered Mount Everest!

Since I can't envision this blog without the pictures that you have all come to expect (and since I have a boatload of pictures from our time in Daytona Beach that I'm dying to share with you), there will be a slight delay while I scratch my head and try to figure out how to solve this problem. It could be days...I may need to find an alternate software/server/program..."thingy" to host my blog. But rest assured, one day soon, when you least expect it...I'll be back.

Sorry for the inconvenience!

Mrs. Trucker

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Lovely Louisville

Yesterday we arrived an hour early for a pickup appointment and the shipper kept us there for over SEVEN hours! That's seven hours stuck in the truck, not moving, waiting to be loaded. Unstinkinbelievable! Because of the delay, we missed a rendezvous we were going to have with another driver to swap loads, which would have gotten us to Florida today. Plus, here are a few shots of the bathroom which was provided for our use at this shipper

These pictures don't even really do it justice.

It was MUCH more disgusting than it looks here.

Because of the delay, Mr. Trucker had to drive all night to deliver the load, then we parked at a truckstop at 5:30 this morning, and slept till nearly noon. Then we had to drive into downtown Louisville, KY this afternoon. That was interesting. Here are some vignettes:

Interesting houses

This was right across from the meat packing plant. But it's
been turned into upscale shops.

Cool architecture. If you zoom in, you can see it says
Bourbon Stockyards

Cute little play on words.

Downtown Louisville

Wrote about this in a previous post.

Not sure what that building is, but it's huge.
In case you wonder how to pronounce Louisville, it looks like you have several options...

Take your pick
It appears to be a happening town. And I may be wrong, but I get the impression that they LOVE their sports

Some stadium or other

Speaking of happening towns, we're caught in rush hour traffic in Nashville right now. It looks cool at night! Too dark to take pictures, however. At this point, we'd be happy to make it to Mr. Trucker's sister's by Christmas eve or Christmas day. We'll have to see how it goes. I'll keep you posted, as usual!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Dark Side

One side to this life that I haven't mentioned much is that some of what we see is not so pretty. Yesterday we were near Pittsburgh, PA, in an area that apparently is or was coal and steel producing. It was very depressing to me to see the squalor and poverty. Entire towns where the homes have all seen (much) better days and most if not all of the businesses are OUT of business. I was so depressed I couldn't even take pictures, plus they wouldn't have been very entertaining pictures.

Late in the day we got to Akron, Ohio, where Mr. Trucker's company has a drop yard. Here's the neighborhood where the drop yard is located:

Seriously? "InfoCision" Stadium?
Who makes up these stupid names?

Yup, that says "Jail"

Note the "rolls" of barbed wire atop the fence. This is a DIFFERENT

Electronic (bracelet) monitoring facility

Yup, that says "Correctional Facility For Women"

This picture was taken FROM our drop yard. That's the back
of the women's correctional facility.
And there was even one more that I didn't get a picture of. So let me see...that's FOUR separate jails and an electronic monitoring facility within three blocks of our drop yard. And here's a house just up the street.

Oh look! It's For Rent!
We were there to drop a loaded trailer and then we were supposed to pick up an empty trailer to replace it. Only there weren't any empties. According to the company, you should sit there and wait for another driver to bring one in. Yeah right! It was getting dark and Mr. Trucker was almost out of hours, which would have meant that we would have to spend the night in the yard. Not gonna happen! There is a gate with a lock, but most drivers are too lazy to get back out of their trucks and lock it after they leave (although the company says you must) and in fact it was hanging wide open when we got there. So we high tailed it out of there with just enough time left to get to the closest truck stop for the night.  We DID see one happy sight there...

What's the GoodYear Blimp doing in Akron, OH?
Maybe it's there to fly over InfoCision Stadium?

We are supposed to be in Lakeland, Florida tomorrow for the start of our home time with Mr. Trucker's sister and Christmas. I don't know how Mr. Trucker can stand the frustrations and delays of this job. When he asks for home time, they almost never get him home when he asks. How can you possibly schedule appointments and family get-togethers? We have to wait for them to get us a load to somewhere near where we're going and they always say there aren't any. We are supposed to swap loads with another driver in Kentucky tonight and drive it to Arcadia, FL, but we won't be getting there till sometime on the 23rd, even if it works out. And it may not work out because we are still sitting at a loading dock in Ohio, three and a half hours after our arrival, and they haven't even begun loading us yet. And all the while, the clock is ticking and we're losing precious driving time. The only thing that keeps me from absolutely screaming in frustration (besides medication) is the fact that it's MR. TRUCKER'S FAMILY we are going to visit. It's not quite as personal as being kept from seeing my own family, if you understand what I mean. Besides, I'm actually starting to get used to expecting to be delayed.

I hope and pray that you all have a blessed Christmas weekend with your loved ones. We'll get to our destination eventually and in the meantime, at least we're together!