RapidHook CLAMP-IT for Singles Drive-Away

Joe has designed and built a PROTOTYPE of a hitch to be used in Drive-Away for “Singles”.  Moving one truck with your personal vehicle towed behind.

DISCLAIMER:  If you choose to build one of  your own from the photos provided in this blog post, do so at your own risk.  There have been changes made to the Prototype that are not disclosed in this announcement.

RapidHook CLAMP-IT Hitch

RapidHook CLAMP-IT Hitch

During the design phase Joe went to every type of Class 8 truck frame, other classes of truck frames, Cab & Chasis frames, and the occasional oddballs, available to him at the various dealerships located in the Oklahoma City Metro area to make sure his CLAMP-IT Hitch would work on any truck a driver would be moving.  Joe found a few truck frames that the hitch could not be installed on.  He does not know how to differentiate which model these odd truck frames were from the standard frames.  These odd frames may have been a “special order” item.



The Prototype is being used by Jim From to tow his van behind the truck he is moving.

Prototype in use

Prototype in use

The hitch part of the design is inserted through the bottom of the clamping mechanism and extends down below the frame.  Adjustments can be made, on the fly, for the necessary access under all types of rear light fixtures.

Adjustable hitch

Adjustable hitch

Hitch attached to tow vehicle

Hitched attached to tow vehicle

DOT compliant safety chain locks are a part of the hitch.

Safety chain attachment points

Safety chain attachment points

Joe is currently in the design phase of creating a RapidHook CLAMP-IT Hitch for light weight vehicles such as Jeeps, cars, and light weight pick up trucks. The new one should work on most of the “oddball frames” that he looked at in the design phase of the larger hitch.

Design phase for lighter weight vehicles

Design phase for lighter weight vehicles

If you are interested in having a RapidHook CLAMP-IT Hitch built for you, please contact Joe at his email address:


Price of the hitch is yet to be determined.  Each hitch will be built and constructed to Joe’s specifications and none are ready for immediate purchase at this time.  Contact Joe and make arrangements with him to have your RapidHook CLAMP-IT Hitch built.


10,000 miles and 100% Deadhead in Drive-Away

Drive-Away Transport

Drive-Away Transport

Hey, Jim From.  You have been telling Joe that you are getting withdrawals.  I haven’t been posting to this blog site.  Let me take you down memory lane :D

From May 18, 2014 to June 16, 2014 Jim From, Joe, and I had to move 45 daycab trucks and 6 flatbed trailers from Tracy, California to auction in Las Vegas, Nevada.  That was the longest month in my LIFE!

Two old men and one old broad got the job done in plenty of time for the “Detail Crew” at the auction site to get all the trucks washed, vacuumed, cleaned and spiffed up with Armor All.

I don’t remember where we started, I think in Oklahoma.  We had to deadhead, which means we had to travel about 1,500 miles just to get to the location in Tracy, California.  Once there and hooked up we drove to Las Vegas, Nevada to deliver then deadhead all the way back to Tracy for the next loads.

For your viewing pleasure, I have created a video as a reminder of that month that seemed to have been 10 years. :D


Did you know a “Safety Check” of your truck includes the battery box cover?

As a driver for Drive-Away it seems you have to check, and re-check, the trucks you will be delivering.

Tires inflated properly and no tread missing.  Air and side fairings securely attached and not cracked.  Safety chains tight.  No missing mud flaps.  Fluid levels at optimum ranges – oil, water, steering fluid, and windshield washers.

As you walk around the trucks for your inspection you look for dings, bends, scratches, cracks, parts and pieces missing, all covers in place, and everything is where it is supposed to be.  Nothing hanging below the chassis to drag the ground.

What no one ever tells you is to check the battery box cover on trucks with the batteries located on the driver side step assembly.  Especially when you see the mechanics at the facility where you pick up the truck getting in and out of the truck, up and down the step.

Mack truck with battery box cover on step assembly

Mack truck with battery box cover on step assembly

The mechanics at the place where Joe picked up this Mack truck had been up and down in this truck.  Moved it from one place to another.  When it was finally released to Joe, he was in and out of the truck a few times himself.

Then, BAM!  The battery box cover tipped forward as he attempted to get in the truck.  The sharp edges of the nonslip aluminum tore into his shin as he, and the cover, were headed directly to the ground.

Blood everywhere.  Torn skin embedded in the tread grooves.  Sharp shooting pains from the leading edge of the battery box cover slamming into his shin.  Not a pretty sight.

Joe would be passing through home on his way out to deliver.  He used a hand cleaning wipe to clean off the blood and gore.  He toughed it out for four hours making his way home for me to care for his badly wounded leg.

The walking wounded

The walking wounded

So you may want to do a safety check on the step assembly which houses the batteries.  Just to make sure you won’t be the next one eaten by the blasted thing.


BIG changes in 2015

It has been a while, far too long, since I last posted to this blog.  Our little world has been shaken up and turned on its head.

Joe received some pretty staggering news last week.  He had been informed by Dependable Transport that their insurance company has an age restriction for their drivers and he had been unceremoniously dumped on February 3, 2015.

This news could not have come at a worse time.  Then again, when is it ever a good time to be told that you can no longer work with a company?  Truth be told, we had been expecting it for a couple years.

We both knew when we signed on with Dependable Transport in 2004 that they had a cut off age of 72.  Joe got a few more years with them after their age restriction.  It still was quite a blow to  his ego to be told that their insurance company would no longer cover them for any accidents or damages that were incurred by Joe while he was under dispatch.

He was furious.  Once the anger subsided my poor Joe was dumbfounded.  Being the man that he is, it didn’t take long before he began shaking trees, as he calls it.  By the early afternoon of February 3rd he made a call to a company we both had originally drove with – Coldiron Companies – to see if they had an age restriction and would hire him back on.  Their insurance company does not have an age restriction.  Only require the drivers they hire as Independent Contractors to be able to do their job.

So my poor husband has “sucked it up” and is working once again.  He is doing two things he hates doing.  Flying in an airplane and driving Deck Sets.

Flying – if Joe were at the controls he would feel better about that mode of transportation.  He doesn’t trust the pilots.

Deck Sets – they have a reputation for being difficult and dangerous.

Joe left home on Sunday, February 7th, from Will Rogers Airport in Oklahoma City on a flight to San Antonio, Texas.  He had a lay over in Dallas, Texas for an hour before arriving in San Antonio.  He was to be met at the airport by a representative from Coldiron to pick him up and take  him to the place he would be handed the keys to the trucks he would be delivering to Morgantown, Pennyslvania.

A "Deck Set" from San Antonio, TX to Morgantown, PA

A “Deck Set” from San Antonio, Texas to Morgantown, Pennsylvania

The trucks in the photo are known as “Cab and Chassis”.  Once the trucks arrive at their destination they will be outfitted with a box on the frame.  These trucks will become something most of you are familiar seeing.  A U-Haul truck to move your household belongings when you “Do-It-Yourself”.  Or they will be turned into a refrigerated city delivery truck that will deliver food to restaurants.  Or they will be outfitted for a beverage company that will deliver soft drinks or beer.  It all depends on the specifications of the buyer what these trucks will be put to use for.

The “Cab & Chassis” is just as it seems.  The truck cab and the frame.

Cab & Chassis

Cab & Chassis

During Joe’s 1700 + mile trip cross country he will have to make stops to check the nuts of the “Saddle Mounts” to ensure they are tight and remain secure.

The “Saddle Mount” is a piece of equipment that attaches the frame of the front axle of the decked truck onto the frame of the truck it is mounted to.

Saddle Mount

Saddle Mount

Joe has to carry tools with him to do this job.  Unlike with our pickup and the tool boxes he has on the trailer, he has to tuck his tools away in his suitcase and have that bag checked in at the airport.

On the part of the Saddle Mount that is attached to the frame of the truck carrying the other are specialty bolts known as “U Bolts”.  As the name implies, they are “U” shaped for a reason.  The bolt is placed around the beam of the frame and secured to the Saddle Mount.  Two for each side, as you can see in the photo above.  There is a better photo of this below.

Tightening the "U" Bolts

Tightening the “U” Bolts

The wood that is atop the frame is there to protect the frame from the metal to metal contact between the Saddle Mount and the truck frame.  The wood, during the transport process, shrinks.  To ensure the equipment is secured safely it is imperative that it be checked twice a day, at a minimum.  In the photo above Joe is tightening the nuts that secure the “U” Bolts to the frame.  He has to snug up all of them.

The next part of the Saddle Mount structure is the part that secures the truck to the frame below.  The bolt configuration on this part of the equipment is known as the “J” Bolt.  This bolt is shaped like the letter “J”.  The hook end, or “J” is secured to the upper cross frame of the truck on top and held in place by a nut that needs a specialty wrench.

"J" Bolt on the Saddle Mount

“J” Bolt on the Saddle Mount

The wrench needed for this part of the job is called a “Pork Chop”.  This wrench requires the use of a 2 Pound Hammer to tighten the nuts during transport.

"Pork Chop" wrench

“Pork Chop” wrench

Using the hammer on the wrench is the only way to make sure the nuts are tightened properly on the “J” Bolts.

Using a hammer on the Pork Chop wrench

Using a hammer on the Pork Chop wrench

Joe will be delivering these trucks this afternoon in Morgantown, Pennsylvania.  He has been told he will be taking a “Box Truck” out of there to deliver somewhere.  Once he has completed that part of his journey he will get back on a plane to San Antonio, Texas to do this all over again.

As far as the pay goes…not the best.  He is getting about $0.49 per mile on these trips.  Quite a cut in pay from the $1.30 per mile we had been earning.  Coldiron pays for the flights, which is a good thing.  They also pay for the fuel used to deliver the trucks.  So Joe is not much more than a “Company Driver” at this point.  Coldiron does give him a hotel fee of $50 per night.  These are new trucks and no one is allowed to sleep in these trucks….or eat in them.

We have talked about the financial aspect of this first trip of his.  It is a learning curve he has to go through.  Figuring out the cost of fuel he will need to purchase for the trip and there have been no hotels he’s stayed in that are at the $50 rate – even the “Budget Hotels” charge $70 or more.

Joe has lost the ability to find food that is not all hot dogs and sub sandwiches or burgers.  Finding hotels along his route that have open parking areas for the Deck Sets has been a trial.  I have spent a couple hours with him each day looking at Google Maps in the Satellite mode to look at the hotel properties to ensure he can safely get in and around the buildings.  It has been interesting to say the least.

For the time being, Joe will be driving the Deck Sets until he can get in the system and work his way back into using his trailer.  That will allow  him to earn better pay and he will not be subjected constantly to truck stop food….nor airplane flights.

So…till next time…bye for now.




Surprise! You are now faced with a MAJOR unplanned repair.

It is now time for another true story from the glorious world of Drive-Away.  This one is about an unplanned and totally stupefying MAJOR repair that had to made to our 1984 (?) Ford pickup – Gracie – back in the late fall of 1999.  I think it was early November but I don’t remember fully.

This photo is going to get a lot of mileage in all of the posts regarding Drive-Away life before the trailer.

The towed vehicle configuration

The towed vehicle configuration

I don’t remember where Joe picked up the trucks he had to deliver to the International Truck dealership in Dundalk, Maryland.  I wasn’t driving then but I did do a lot of grunt work.

This trip was my very first time on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  Hundreds of miles of road with steep hills and twisting narrow roads.  Some sections of the highway are blocked in by mountains of granite.  The dividers between the traffic flow are only concrete barriers.  When it rains, which happens quite a bit in Pennsylvania, the water pools on the roadway near the barriers and makes driving treacherous.  I was scared out of my wits on that trip.  Joe, on the other hand, was his usual calm self.  He even laughed at me a few times as I tried to find some hand hold to keep me from jumping out of the window.

Other stretches of the highway are lined with trees.  When the granite mountains and thick forests give way the traveler sees rolling green hillsides dotted with farm houses and barns.  Cows grazing on the hilltops or down in the low valleys.  Horses are occasionally seen far off in the distance.

Cumberland Valley, Pennsylvania

Cumberland Valley, Pennsylvania

This portion of the US is full of Revolutionary and Civil War battlefields.  Nearly every little town and berg along the Pennsylvania Turnpike have some kind of historical building or ground.  Civil War enactment brigades are plentiful in Pennsylvania.

While traversing one of the tree lined stretches of the Pennsylvania Turnpike (and I don’t remember exactly where we were at the time) Joe said to me “Did you hear that?!”  Now mind you, Joe has a moderate hearing problem.  I didn’t hear a thing.  For the next few seconds – which seemed like several long minutes – my head was swiveling back and forth.  I was just about in panic mode already and he was edging me further into an outright fit of terror.

“What?  What did you hear?”  I asked Joe as I sat in the passenger seat with my right hand firmly clamped on the door pull.  “I didn’t hear anything.  What did you hear?”  I continued, panic rising in my throat.

“I heard a bang” Joe calmly said.  Just like we were having a normal conversation.

I then was hyper vigilant and listened to every single noise I could.  Trying to hear the tell tale sound of anything “bang”ing.  Nothing.  Joe continued driving and it wasn’t long before I began to settle down.  The Pennsylvania Turnpike was nearing an end at Breezewood and we would be getting off the blasted thing to enter the state of Maryland.

So far this road trip had been an all day affair.  We started the day somewhere in West Virginia or Ohio.  Entering Maryland meant that we were getting closer to our delivery point.  That would still be the next day but at least we were closer.

Mid morning the next day we arrived in Dundalk, Maryland.  A suburb of Baltimore.  When we did arrive at the International dealership lot both of us were a little concerned.  There was not enough room to unhook our trucks.  There wasn’t even enough room to enter the driveway of the place.  One of the men that works at the dealership said we could go about a quarter of a mile further along the road and unhook in the parking lot of a restaurant – Costas Inn.

Map showing International Dealership and Costas Inn

Map showing International Dealership and Costas Inn

I had to get the pickup taken loose from the back truck and moved out of the way before Joe and I could take the trucks apart.  We had been having trouble with the Remco Driveline Disconnect thing and I had to crawl under the pickup to get the driveline pushed back into proper alignment in order to back the pickup out of the way.  That done I put the truck in Reverse and made ready to back up.  Nothing happened.  Push the gear shift back up into Park then down into Reverse and give it some gas.  Nothing.  Okay, well that’s not good.

I had to go find Joe.  Calling out to him does no good.  Remember I said he had a hearing problem?  So I had to go hunt him down and tell him the pickup is not working properly.  He stopped what he was doing and came to check for himself.  He checked the driveline then tried to make the pickup move shifting it in Reverse and it didn’t work for him either.

I don’t know why he decided to look underneath the rear of the pickup.  I seem to remember him telling me about the “bang” he had heard on the previous day.  Well, he looked.  And what he found was not such a very good thing at all.

The rear end had a hole blown out of it.  This is someone else’s photo of a Ford Rear End.  I don’t know exactly what it is called so I use the common name of it.  The “Pumpkin”.

Rear End of a Ford driveline

Rear End of a Ford driveline

This is sort of what Joe saw.  Except the metal cover was still mostly on the “Pumpkin”.  The inner workings could be seen through the huge hole.

Inner workings of Rear End

Inner workings of a Rear End

We weren’t going anywhere.  Not until this got fixed.  We couldn’t even deliver the trucks until this major problem got fixed.

Joe, ever the resourceful man that he is, called the International dealership and told them of our problem then asked if there were a Ford Service Center near.  There were several of them.  Every one he called told him it would be several days before we could even get the pickup into the shop to be examined.  Norris Ford was the last one on his list.  They told him to bring the pickup in anytime he could.

Sounds easy.  Right?  Just tow the pickup right on over there and get it in the shop bays.  No problem.

Only problem was we had to get there with the trucks still connected while towing the pickup behind.  Most service shops are not equipped to handle 13 foot tall trucks that are about 40 feet long.  Joe told them about our problem and he was assured they would be able to get us in yet that day.

Looking at the photo below, you can see the building is vast.  You also can see, at the bottom where the red arrow is, we had to get the trucks in that door way.

Norris Ford - Dundalk, MD

Norris Ford – Dundalk, MD

We were the “Circus that came to town” that morning.  Joe drove into the building and pulled far enough in for the mechanics to get a tractor with a ball hitch hooked onto the tow hitch of the pickup.  I disconnected the pickup from Joe’s trucks and he drove forward more inside the building.  The tractor was driven between the space that was left and connected to the pickup.

This photo is not of Gracie but it is of the hitch the tractor had to connect to.

Pickup hitch

Pickup hitch

Once Gracie was moved into a shop bay area and clear of the entry Joe had to back out of the shop.  To do that I had to get in the back truck, take the seat belt off the steering wheel and get seated as though I were driving the truck.

In this situation there are no brakes for me to apply if Joe needs to stop.  No matter how often I pumped the brake pedal nothing was going to happen except cause me to freak out more than I already was.  So trying to remain calm and not let everyone in the shop know that this was only the SECOND TIME I would be “Fire Trucking” this crazy mess out the door because Joe couldn’t see back there, I just held onto the steering wheel and watched where the truck was going.

Of course, without the engine running, steering that dead truck was a task all by itself.  No power steering.  I had to watch the road in front of me while I kept track of the building’s doorway and walls.  Joe backing the long trucks out while I steered from behind.

As you can imagine we had an audience.  This was no time for a panic attack and lose my brain.  I had to help get us safely out of there.

It took several minutes of Joe carefully backing and me making the steering adjustments to finally be free of the building and out in the open parking lot.  Joe had quite a group of men around him that told him they had never seen anything like that.  Thankfully there was nobody that came over to me to gush over the sight they had seen.  I busied myself with getting the steering wheel tied back down and ready for Joe to drive out of there.

We had to rent a car to make our delivery then wait out the couple days for the repair to be made.

By the way.  I want to tell you that Norris Ford was AWESOME!  By the time that Joe called them to let them know of our blown out rear end and the added problem of having to enter there service area with the trucks then drive over to their shop, they had the repair already in the works.  Someone had been tasked to go to a junk yard and find a junk truck with the proper rear end and axle to replace the one in our Gracie.

When we were ready to leave and make Joe’s delivery the junk truck was already in the shop and Gracie was well on her way to being taken apart for the work to be done on her.

That rear end repair made by Norris Ford lasted us for another couple of years.  That story is for another time.

Condoms. An essential supply for a chase vehicle.

Today’s blog post is by a contributing author.  Joe will be writing this post.  I gave him free rein to write whatever he wanted to on this subject.

New Tricks for an old dog!  I have resisted my beautiful brides attempts at writing a blog.  Until now, that is.  This is a subject I just couldn’t pass up.  Well, shall we begin this journey down memory lane.

When I was a kid (really long ago) my family would set around the dinner table, especially at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and talk about the “good old times”.  These conversations ran the gamut from my grandpa’s secret weapon, only used at harvest time, to the World War that was just passed.  At the time it was known as the World War.  The Second was only added some time later (I don’t know when that happened).  Some of the things that were talked about became items that were very useful to me in later years.  Grandpa’s secret weapon was, of course, my grandma.  Grandpa had a very large and deep ice house.  You must remember at the beginning of the last century (1900) there were no home ice making machines.  Some of grandpa’s neighbors laughed at his large ice house, saying that he sure wasted a lot of time digging such a large one and that it took such a long and arduous time to fill it.  There was madness to his scheme, which I was told, that none of his close neighbors ever figured out.

To fill the ice house you had to wait until the local stream froze over to a good depth, usually about six to eight inches or more.  You went to it with an ice auger, ice saw, and ice tongs.  You drilled a starting hole with the ice auger and then proceeded to cut the ice into large chunks and remove them to a small wagon.  When the wagon was full you took it to the ice house and packed the pieces in with a large amount of wheat straw that had been saved from the wheat harvest to insulate each of them.  When the ice house was full it was kept full till spring (which was just around the corner) by adding more ice as some was used until the stream was no longer frozen thick enough to walk on.  This ice, from such a large ice house, was usually available most of the year.  At harvest time grandpa always had the pick of the hired field hands to help him. Usually by harvest time all of the other farmers in the area were well into their ice storage and would only use it for their own needs.  Grandma always seemed to have an endless supply of ICED TEA for the field hands in the hot summer weather as well as the best vittles served to the field hands in the area.  Hence grandpa always calling her his “secret weapon”.  He had the pick of the best field hands because of her and her ICED TEA.  Thank you very much for “too large”  of an ice house.   All you business owners today should keep this lesson close.  It might make a big difference in the bottom line.  You think maybe happy workers are the best?

When I started doing this job I pulled my pickup behind the truck or trucks.

The towed vehicle configuration

The towed vehicle configuration

In doing so I had to have some way of disconnecting the differential from the transmission.  My first tow vehicle was our 1985 Ford F250 Diesel pickup.  This truck had a manual transfer case that could be set into neutral and the truck could be towed forever.  The reason behind this is the fact that the transmission has no internal lubrication when only the rear shaft is turning, like when the truck is put into neutral and allowed to move in some manner.  If you pull the vehicle while it is in neutral you will destroy the transmission, from the rear, by having the differential turn the rear shaft of the transmission without any lubrication, thereby ruining the bearings on the shaft.  I pulled my first 1971 Ford F100 pickup, which had a three speed column shift, in neutral and destroyed the transmission, so I am speaking from first hand experience.  The transfer case in my 85 had a rear pump and it would lubricate the gears in the transfer case just fine.  When the engine blew up I had to find another tow vehicle.  Enter our “new” truck Gracie.   She is a 1986 Ford F150 pickup with a C6 automatic transmission just like the 85 but, without the transfer case.  What to do?

Well at that time the answer was to simply “pull the drive line” thereby removing the connection from the transmission to the differential.  This was accomplished by crawling under the pickup, removing the “U bolts”  holding the “U” joint to the differential.  You then have to tie the drive line up out of the way and keep it from hitting the ground while you are moving down the road.

Photo courtesy of      Author: oldturkey03            https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/2003+Ford+F150+Driveshaft+U-joint+rear+Replacement/24873


The only problem with this is the fact that the drive line is under the truck secured up and bouncing down the road.  My “U joint” is only similar to the one in the picture as mine was held on with “U” bolts.  Once the “U” bolts were removed you had to secure the bearing caps on the cross of the “U” joint.  If this was not done well you could loose a cap or two and then have a real problem.  I used several methods to keep the caps in place but, they all have some type of a problem in the end.  So!  Answer!  Remove the whole drive line.  This is accomplished by pulling it off the splined shaft on the end of the carrier bearing.  I could then put the drive line in the back of the pickup bed and keep it secure and clean for the next job.  See the pic below.

Photo courtesy of    a Ford Repair site       http://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=56794&stc=1&d=1340240865

As always with a solution comes new problems.  When it came time to replace the drive line and go to the next job I had to clean out the splines before I put the shaft back on.  The splines usually had grease on them and would attract and keep all sorts of nasty things that would not be good for the shaft when it was reinstalled.  After doing this several times I thought I had to find a better way to do this job.  I was laying on the wet roadway when I had a flashback.  Sometimes my mind jumps from one picture to another, to another, and yet to another so fast that I will be in another world in less time than it takes me to blink.  Just ask my beautiful bride about how my mind can jump in a conversation from talking about flowers to sitting in a train car in Central America in less than a second, sometimes leaving her wondering where I went.


Now to the condoms.  During the World War our troops were issued PK Rations or some form of field rations.  These usually included; a meal (misnomer, if ever there was one), pack of cigarettes, fire starter of some sort, other items I can’t remember, and a pack of condoms.  After looking at the films that were prepared for the troops about STD’s you wonder why even bother but, our leaders know best.  The stories went that the condoms were best used for keeping water and dirt out of their rifle barrels.  Unroll the condom over the end of the gun and when you had to pull the trigger you knew the gun would work as advertised.  This worked well when we went hunting in the winter time.  Crossing small creeks, fences, and other impediments were hard to do with getting something on or in your gun.  Condoms worked well for keeping the barrel free from debris.  FLASH!  Why wouldn’t this work on the splined shaft?  Answer:  It works well.  Just unroll it over the spline and when you get to where you are going take it off and put on the shaft.  Bingo.  Job done.

After removing and installing the drive line more times than I would like to remember, I stumbled upon a driver who had a REMCO Quick Disconnect installed on his tow vehicle.  He just had to reach under and slide a coupling in place and his drive line was back in operation.  I had to have one of these.  I looked up Remco in Omaha, Nebraska, and went to their shop and purchased one of their kits, including the “from the cab” operation device.  This item worked for some time.

Drive Shaft Coupling With out Driveshaft

Remember from above:  As always with a solution comes new problems.

We had some problems with it and the factory replaced it three times.  One of the problems happened in Baltimore, Maryland, but that is for another post from my beautiful bride.  She will tell you how she learned to “fire truck” our setup as well but, that’s for another time.

Until then, “Be well and do good things.”  Oneablefox said that.


I hope you have enjoyed this feature author, my awesome husband Joe.  If you would like to read more posts written by Joe please let me know in the comment section.  I think I can twist his arm a little :D


Where were you on December 31, 1999?

I don't remember where this was taken

I don’t remember where this was taken

1999 was a crazy year.  There were rumors of total devastation and ruin.  The electric grid would fail and everyone worldwide would be out of power.  Water supplies would be contaminated because all the pump stations would be shut down from the power loss.  Filling stations would not be able to sell gas or diesel because of the power outage.  Banks would close their doors because there would be no money or no way of knowing how much money anyone had in their bank accounts.  Computers were going to all stop working come January 1, 2000.  Cell phones and telephones would all be down and no one would be able to call for help.  Police would be overwhelmed with trying to manage the weirded out population.  Hospitals would stay open as long as they could using their generators until they, too, shut down.

There were stories everywhere of people stocking up on bottled water and canned foods.  Some grocery stores were nearly left empty from the deluge of shoppers preparing to live a life similar to the movies of Mad Max and other apocalyptic movies depicting life after a major catastrophe.  Gun sales went up late summer and far into December.  People had to have a way of protecting themselves from marauders who wanted to steal their hoarded goods.

It was a totally crazy time.  Truck drivers talked about it all the time.  That was the topic of conversation when a group of men were gathered together.  There were people that didn’t believe it would happen and life would go on just like any other day.  There were people that were positive they would be stuck out in the middle of nowhere, far from the safety of their family.

Computer programers were working themselves to a frazzle figuring out a way to write code that would be implemented for the banks, corporations, and governmental agencies to continue on.  I don’t really know what all the panic was about except to say that ALL of the computer’s date feature did not go past December 31, 1999.  Whomever created the coding for the first computers in the early days picked an arbitrary date and left it.  No one had thought to change the code over the years until they were faced with this calamity.

Joe and I had delivered trucks in California somewhere and were on our way home in the pickup.  We stopped for the night in Albuquerque, New Mexico and stayed at the Best Western on December 31, 1999.  We talked about the real possibility we would not be able to buy gasoline to get home.  Any money we had waiting in our mailbox or already in the bank may just be worthless paper.

We went to bed with our own thoughts on what we were going to face come morning.  I don’t know about Joe but I do remember having a fitful nights sleep.  I think I was awake most of the night.  Any noise out in the hallway of the hotel made me suspect the door would be forced open and some crazed person would rush in and commit all manner of mayhem.

The alarm feature of my wrist watch went off at 5:30 a.m.  I sat up in bed and, tentatively, turned the switch of the night table lamp.  I remember being afraid to do it, turn the light on.  What if?  If the light doesn’t come on does that mean everything was true?  What if the light does come on?  Does that mean the general public had been lead to crazy town all year long?

Well, I had to find out.  I turned the switch and the light came on.  Yes!  The power grid had not failed in Albuquerque, New Mexico anyway.  Next thing to do was check Joe’s cell phone to see if there was a signal.  His phone was fine and working properly.  Next item of business was to call our bank’s 800 number and see if I could get through and find out if we still had money to get home.  The irritating recorded message at the bank with all the commands to push that number and then this number, enter this information and that information, were like music to my ear as I listened.  With an excited yelp I told Joe that we still had access to our bank account and could get home.

New Year’s Day, January 1, 2000, in Albuquerque, New Mexico dawned windy and cold.  There were voices heard on our floor and down the hallway.  Excited voices.  Happy voices.  Laughter and calls out saying they knew everything would be just fine.  The staff at the hotel front desk were happy and laughing at each other for being so scared of what could have been.  The restaurant staff at the hotel were glad to see us and were happy to be of service to us.

The pall of gloom and doom that had infected everyone for nearly the entire year had been lifted.  Now the jokes came out.  “What are you going to do with the cases of canned tuna you bought?”  Truck drivers chided each other over the amount of bottled water they had stored in their trucks.  There were a few that said they could have free showers now.  Just use the bottles of water they had stockpiled.

The people we encountered on our journey home made me thankful that everything worked out well.  People came together to work out a problem to make sure our lives could go on just as normal.  They poked fun at themselves for having been so scared and panicked – over NOTHING.

What are your memories about the turn of the new century?  Where were you?  Did you stockpile canned goods and water?  Were you one of the many who bought a generator to power your home and keep your refrigerator working?

Stay tuned.  You never know what will come out on this blog.  I have boxes of photos I’ve gone through and put in year order.  Looking through the photos brought back tons of memories and I will be sharing them with you.

Sorting photos

Sorting photos

Joe picked up trucks in Fontana, California bound for Georgia.  He made a stop in Arizona to see family there.  He got to love on our grand-daughters as well as their Mom and Dad.

The adorable twins

The adorable twins

Joe loving on those precious babies

Joe loving on those precious babies

I sincerely hope that everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving day spent with family and friends.



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