The Traveling Hedge Hog
On the Road Again and I've Been Everywhere, Man
My two favorite songs that fit this phase of my life are "On the Road Again" by Willie Nelson and "I've Been Everywhere, Man" by Johnny Cash. The reason that these are important is because, after 18 months of being a civilian, I have returned to the highways and byways to drive a truck with my husband. Again. We had done this for 6 years before and we pretty happy with it. However, the company that we worked with before cut our dedicated route and we went from 6700 miles a week down to 3000 and then down to 1500. Not very economically stable. So I decided to go back to school and try my life back as a civilian. Unfortunately, economics, as it is today, forced me into waking up and realizing that to make money and survive, I needed to change my employment status. So I went from being a server at a restaurant and student, back into trucking.
Okay, so we have been back together trucking for five days and we have been from GA to OH, OH to OK, OK to KS and KS to AR and headed back to GA. We have been moving steadily and since my husband is my trainer, he is not supposed to drive except for three hours after I drive my eleven hours. Truckers are allowed to work for a total of 14 hours a day but can only drive 11. So we have traveled almost 4,000 miles in just 5 days.
Already the first week out and we stopped at the Flying J Truck Stop in West Memphis, AR to spend the night. We walked over to the Petro,another truck stop , and had supper. We got back to the truck and got ready for bed. I have to set the scene. There are 4 truck stops at exit 280 on I-40-Love's, Flying J, Pilot and Petro. Needless to say, this is a very busy stop with a lot of, how do we say, commercial company. Or lot lizards. Translation=prostitutes. They will advertise on the CB for "commercial company" and they will also walk around, knocking on trucker's doors. This night, about 2:30a.m., there comes a knock on our door. My husband gets up to answer it and the "girl" asks if he wants some "cc". I replied from the sleeper, "I was here first!". She quickly apologized and left. Life is never boring in the Randolph house-whether it is a mobile unit or stationary!
The reason I have named this the traveling hedge hog is because we carry a mascot with us-a hedge hog and his name is H.H. He is married and has a daughter but since we are not allowed to carry passengers, his family is back in GA.
Okay, we took a 5 day hiatus and went on a marriage retreat with our church group to Gatlinburg, TN. We went with 5 other couples and a married woman whose husband is also a truck driver and was out on the road. We learned that "what happens in Gatlinburg, stays in Gatlinburg". A fun time was had by all! We did attend a group home for the state, a mission that our home church supports. It was a wake up call for all that we have and what very little these kids come to the home with. A moving experience to say the least! We also did the Titanic exhibit. We started at 1p.m. and finished at 6p.m. There was a lot of history and things that I didn't know. We were given a boarding pass when we entered and at the end of the exhibit you got to find "your" name and see if you survived. I did but unfortunately, my husband's passenger did not. They were also having you take a rose petal from one bin and placing it into another. They are going out on 12April 2012 and spreading these rose petals over the same exact spot and time that the Titanic sank. So my hubby and I get to be part of that history!
So, now as of 11/7/11, we are back out. We drove to SC and then back to Cincinnati. We dropped there and hooked up to take a load to Cleveland. However, the load was over by 3500 pounds. We had to travel back on Wed night to have them remove that much and ended up in Cleveland around 1pm yesterday. We dropped that trailer and bob tailed(tractor only-no trailer)to a truck stop and spent the night. We arrived back this morning to hook up to a loaded trailer. However, on the 16 mile drive, there were 2 fatal accidents that tied up the interstate for almost an hour. The trailer had not been loaded and so now we sit, waiting to be loaded. Then we are to return it to Cincinnati and after that...we know nothing.
The up side of this job is that we are not a JIT(just in time) frame. These are hazardous waste loads and so there is no absolute time that they need to be run. The other trucking companies had to have their freight at locations at a certain time because they would be broken down and shipped to another location. So we can take our time. We also get a percentage of the load-we are not paid by the mileage. Beau coups of money! YEAH!!! We can pay the mortgage off even faster and take those trips abroad more frequently.
Okay, so now here it is 11/16 and we are sitting in El Dorado, AR after dropping our load at 1330. It is now 2338 and we have no load for tomorrow. We are supposed to head back to Rome and then go to FL for a cigar festival and to see my father-in-love. We haven't seen him in awhile. I have to take my driving test so I can get off training and we can start running full open like a team should. We have been from OH to IN and to MD and back to OH and AR. Seems we are running this drive alot but at least we will learn where to stop for food and fuel this way.
Time for bed so keep the shiny side up and the rubber tires down!!!
Oh, two pieces of advice for all you four wheelers(that's code for car drivers)-when you are merging onto a highway, please MERGE-don't pull out to the end of the ramp and stop in front of a semi. It takes the length of a football field, on dry pavement, driving 55mph to stop. We cannot stop quickly! Also, if you are behind a truck, and you can't see the mirrors on the truck, they CANNOT see you.
Okay, so here we are at week 4 of this travel loge. We were able to come home last weekend and go to the Ybor City/Tampa Cigar Festival. We dropped our load in Chattanooga early Friday morning and booked home to Rome to go to Tampa. We dropped our mother-in-love off at our brother-in-love's and beat down to Ybor City. We attended the Friday night festival which was catered by Carraba's. They gave us a cigar when we entered and they had free wine tastings, tequila tastings, beer tastings and rum tastings. There was also a silent auction which we did not participate in. We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn which was 15 feet from the festival.After we got our food, we sat behind a vendor for the membership drive for the museum. He asked us where we were from and when we told him, Rome, GA he informed us that he had been born in Rome! Small world! We chatted and also he had some relations that lived in another town that we used to live at in Long County, GA! Saturday morning was the actual festival with several dozen different cigar manufactures. Free samples were given out and the normal prices on cigars had been reduced. Cigar Dave was there broadcasting live from 12-2. We watched that and then wandered around the festival. We had a great time!
So now we are home for a few days. Our load doesn't deliver until Monday in Arkansas so we are taking advantage of being in our own home for a couple of days. Happy Thanksgiving to all!
Okay, so here it is 12/3/11 and we are home again! This is turning into a regular job! LOVE IT!!! Even though it doesn't seem there is anybody reading this, i guess I'll write it as my own personal journey.
We delivered on Monday in El Dorado, AR and then traveled to Braintree,MA with a delivery to Cincinnati, OH. Been to Cincinnati several times and am still looking for WKRP! Anyone who was alive in the seventies and watched TV should know the reference. After that, we went to Baltimore,MD, Then to Chicago, IL and then to El Dorado, AR where we picked up on Friday and are heading to Wilson, NC on Monday so we were able to bring the load to the house and able to be at home.
We worked at our church food pantry this morning where we were able to feed 59 families with fresh salads, bread, and meat. Nothing was canned today plus fresh desserts! God is good! We get to go to church in the morning and I get to attend a ladies ministry function tomorrow afternoon. Then it will be back on the road again!
Okay so, here it is 2 weeks before Christmas and we were able to come home yet again! We have to deliver to Houston, TX on Monday morning so we were able to help out at our church food pantry where we were able to assist 65 families with groceries this week. God is Great!!