Monthly Archives: May 2011

Can You Believe It?

I can’t!! No drama. None!

No parts fell or broke off the trucks, my boom made the trip with nary a problem, smooth rides all the way start to finish.

The truck I drove had a pig squealing in the engine sometimes. Sounded like one anyway. Joe said it was the clutch to the engine cooling fan going out but not to worry. I did worry each time the infernal thing squealed a high pitched reeee noise then quit for a few minutes only to start squealing again.

With all the various and sundry things that have gone wrong or failed from the beginning of this month I figured on an almighty bang and shudder with pieces shooting out through the closed hood.

Just less than a mile of really bad weather was all.


The rivers are full to the tree line everywhere we go.


Strange Spring we are having.

Tomorrow we are going for one “repo” truck at a dealership in St. Louis, Missouri that is a “non-runner” and THAT could mean just about anything. We’ve picked up repo’s that have been stripped of everything that is sellable. Seats, smoke stack, tires, wheels, you name it and it is gone. Just a carcass left.

Then about 50 miles further is a “runner” in Foristell, Missouri. Means a bit of back tracking and some fiddling but these two trucks will pay our way home. Well, all but 20 miles and that is a good thing.

We’ll still be home Sunday. This is Memorial weekend here in the states. The majority of people will be going on a three day trip with family for mini vacations. Very few will be visiting grave sites leaving flowers as the weekend is intended to honor the departed military people.

Traffic will be a bugger but I’m going to Whole Lotta Scrap when I get home. I have plans and mini vacationers are not going to thwart those plans. The trucks might do that unfortunately.

So Yippee Skippy for the “No Drama” trip 🙂

Have a great weekend everyone.


Don’t Want To Jinx Myself

I’ll tell you about this trip from Florence, South Carolina to Bolingbrook, Illinois tomorrow when these Volvos are delivered.

I will tell you we encountered pea sized hail and a waterfall of rain near Knoxville, Tennessee this morning. Cars and big trucks scattered to the highway shoulders to wait the storm out. So many of them pulling off that Joe and I were stuck having to stay on the road and drive through it.

We encountered a couple other regular rain storms while on our trek, however we mostly were sprinkled on.

The poor people in Joplin, Missouri are having troubled galore heaped upon them. Bureaucrats!! 120 people have been declared dead from the tornado that ripped Joplin to shreds. Many others are missing.

Family of missing people are going to the morgue to check if their loved ones are there. In their grief and fear these people are being told to fill out paperwork then come back in two weeks!

How about taking photos of the dearly departed and taping them to a wall, window, or sticking them up on a bulletin board? Some of the photos might be rather gruesome but if the face is recognizable that will go a long way in getting the bodies identified.

Leave it to bureaucrats to muck up the water and make bad things even worse.

Now to end on a good note. We will be heading for home after delivering in Bolingbrook. Probably be home come Sunday. Joe says we’ll be home for most of next week.

10:00 am on Monday I’m going to be at the door of Whole Lotta Scrap to purchase paper and other goodies to make my Granddaughters long overdue birthday present.

So that is all for today. Hope you all have had a good one 🙂

An Otherwise Ordinary Day

I was greeted, this morning, by the lovely bright flowers. My “personal Horticulturist”, Lynn, will have to tell me what these beauties are.

First a freckled flower.

Second a blushing flower.

Finally a pure white flower. These all look, to my untutored eye, from the same family.

In Statesville, North Carolina we stop at JR Discount Tobacco because they have a bit of everything at cheap prices. I bought an herb planting gizzy to grow my own basil, parsley, and I forget what others of the six herbs it contains. $6 marked down from $11.

Joe went into the cigar room and I followed. He left with a box of cigars and I left with seven empty boxes 🙂

I’ll be giving one of the boxes away so watch for what you will have to do to entertain me 🙂

On our way down to deliver the Wal-Mart trucks to Charlotte, after leaving Statesville, I saw what looked like water coming out from under Joe’s back truck. I told him about it using our two way radios. We stopped on the highway shoulder and I deduced it was sparks and not water. The right front brake assembly broke off.

Joe tied it up with a rubber bungee got back out on the highway and went to a rest area a couple miles further down the road he could better see what happened without fearing being hit by an inattentive driver on the highway.

He also found an air leak under the hood of his front truck that needed to be checked on before we went further.

Several phone calls later Joe and I headed 17 miles to Rush Truck Center in Charlotte where both of his trucks will be in the shop and fixed before going on to the auction site they were originally bound for.

Not having hit anything or run over something, Joe can’t figure out why the brake assembly broke off as it did.

It broke off at the wheel hub and the axle.

That was the wheel and the next photo is of the axle where it used to be attached.


With all of today’s adventures it would not be complete without ending this on a funny note. Joe had been reached out and touched by a rubber bungee and it won.

After we got Joe unhooked and left his trucks at the shop we went on to deliver my trucks. Now we are deadheading to Florence, South Carolina to get four trucks going to Bolingbrook, Illinois.

So other than a few normal irritant breakdowns all is good and we are done with that job.

Some friends of ours live and work in Joplin, Missouri. They have been fortunate to have not been in the path of a really nasty tornado that blew through day before yesterday. Our neighbor, Hugh, is in a storm shelter back home in Oklahoma taking cover from a couple of tornadoes going through. One, we are told, is a mile wide and leveling everything in its path.

Just heard from Hugh, the tornado near our homes has veered off and passed us by. I certainly hope there are no lives lost in this devastation. As heartbreaking as it is, personal items like furniture and appliances can be replaced. Lives cannot be replaced.

Kind of a scary thought to be so far from home during these difficult times. We are blessed to have friends that watch over us while we are away, good news or bad we are truly blessed by our friends.



Plan – What Plan?

Thursday of last week the plans for our upcoming work were three trucks out of Alabaster, Alabama going to Amarillo, Texas.  Joe has a doctor appointment on May 31 and this would get us home for that.  This morning we learned another driver had been dispatched to deck three of the six trucks in Alabaster going to Amarillo, then his next trip fell through so he requested to go back to Alabaster and get the three that were going to be ours.  Our dispatcher checked with Joe, we were in a better position to find something else to do than the deck driver was so Joe let the guy have them.

Within 45 minutes Joe found us four trucks out of Greer, South Carolina going to Bollingbrook, Illinois.  Not as close to home as Amarillo is but still closer than Charlotte, North Carolina.  About 10 minutes later Joe learned the trucks we had been assigned had already been taken off the lot by someone else.  We will find out in the morning the next set of trucks coming out of Greer we can take, right now it is just the waiting until further notice kind of thing.

Have to be flexible in this job and know there are things that just happen.  Kind of go with the flow.  It looks like we will be getting trucks at this point it is just waiting for the people in power to pass down the information to us lowly drivers 🙂

Now for a small lesson in sharing the road with big trucks.  At highway speeds, heavily loaded tractor/trailers create a lot of turbulence as they go down the highways.  Over the years they have been streamlined to be more aerodynamic for better fuel mileage.  The design of the trucks, with their air fairings at the back of the cab and along the sides enable them to have less resistance to air currents and have a lot less drag enabling less fuel consumption.

Picture in your mind a scene from the 1989 movie Top Gun.  The fighter jets are landing and taking off from a naval carrier.  In one of the scenes you can see the vortex made by the jets as they land on the carrier deck.  Swirling mists that circle around in a spiral.

Big trucks do the same thing as they travel at  highway speeds.  This turbulence can, and will, make you think you are going to be sucked into the belly of the beast and be gone forever.  It can be totally frightening to be passed by a heavily loaded truck, or trying to pass one.

Just remember, don’t panic.

A Fractured Fairytale

Saturday started off with Joe pretending we were Hansel and Gretal at the donut joint


Joe bought a box of Munchkins. He left a trail of donut holes from the counter almost to the door. They were escaping through the bottom flap of the box that was not securely closed. For those of you that don’t know what Munchkins are…they are the center bits of donuts that are sold in quantities of 25 or 50 and have their own special box.


Hansel and Gretal took their box of Munchkins on a quest to see what was at the end of the world. They were on this quest to see and do as much as they could before the prophesied end of all as they knew it.


They saw signs providing hope to Hansel of a Maine lobster on his plate before his time was up.


Upon entering the seaside village of Hampton people were seen milling about in groups, riding bicycles, rollerblading along the seawall, lots and lots of walkers and joggers, and even some people strolling with a dog on a leash.

A single burning question at the forefront of Hansel’s (Joe’s) mind was “Is this the Hamptons where the television series Royal Pains is filmed”? Passersby were asked, restaurant servers were asked. None of them had a clue what he was talking about.

Entry to the beach is guarded by this lone woman with sad eyes looking out seaward in remembrance of all the brave souls in the Navy and Coast Guard that have lost their lives at sea.


Joe and I….I mean Hansel and Gretal, went on the beach near the waters edge. I have a video I’m trying, and failing to get uploaded.

On further up the coast heading to Maine we stopped at Fort Constitution to see the ancient fort that held the coastline safe from marauding invaders during the war of 1812, the Civil War, and World War 2.

For my daughter-in-law, Brenda, who loves lighthouses I had to send her a text message including this photo.


After visiting Fort Constitution, Hansel and Gretal continued on in search of lobster, Hansel’s fervent wish. They traveled narrow roads next to the sea.


Excitement quickened their steps. There, on the dock sit stacks of lobster traps. They must be close now.


“Look, Hansel” Gretal exclaimed. “Warren’s Lobster House. Let’s go there!”


“Do you think they will really have lobster?” Hansel asked with uncertainty in his voice. “Come on, let’s go in” said Gretal.

Sure enough. As soon as the two weary travelers entered the door tables reached far into the distance with many people sitting before succulent lobsters. Joe….I mean Hansel put in his request.


Gretal had a grilled pork chop since she doesn’t like fish.


Hansel was a very happy man having finally tasted REAL Maine lobster. That is until a mean witch came along and pushed poor Hansel through an oven door.


That’s NOT an oven door you crazy person writing this story 😦

Sorry, the submarine photo is down below. You can see it at the end of this post.

It is a submarine. The USS Albacore. A self guided tour with audio boxes throughout. Push a red button and listen to the purpose and description of each area plus the recorded voice of an actual submariner that was stationed on that very sub.

Time was heading quickly to mid afternoon and it was time to head back and begin driving to Charlotte….we made it 13 miles before we had to turn around and go back because Joe’s truck was losing power with each mile. Stay another night at the Pond Side Motel then try again Sunday.


Pond Side Motel and Haven Restaurant – Epping, New Hampshire

This post is intended for tomorrow, May 21, 2011, if we live to see it. I have seen billboards and signs in nearly all of the interstates we have travelled this month exclaiming the end of the world on May 20, 2011. If the world does, indeed, end today then I can say that we have met with wonderful people.

We are in Epping, New Hampshire tonight at the Pond Side Motel. The only hotel/motel we could find between Manchester, 24 miles away, and I-95 near Raymond, New Hampshire where our trucks are at the Wal-Mart Distribution Center. This little motel is at Exit 7 on State Highway 101, at the exit turn left on State Highway 125 and go a little over a mile. You will see the Haven Restaurant on the left with the little motel set back off the street.


The Haven Restaurant has been owned and operated by the same family for 25 years, the third generation is running things now and doing a fantastic job.


This little place is the local hang out for good fast food and scrumptious ice cream treats.

We got to talk with the owner, Donna, and her husband while we dined. Learn some history of the place and her families business.

It all started with Donna’s grandfather who began with a place in Lawrence, Massachusetts serving quality food and ice cream treats. The man working with him is/was the father of Robert Goulet – a famous crooner from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s.



Mr. Michaud later moved to Derry, New Hampshire and opened shop as Clam Haven from 1974 to 1987 with full support of the local people and vacationing tourists.


The food prices back then, probably a bit pricey then, make me wish things could go back to that time.


Donna and her sister grew up in the restaurant kitchen as their Mom and Dad cooked fresh seafood and served ice cream to the hungry diners. The girls were put to work doing dishes and other jobs they were tall enough and old enough to handle. As they got older the girls were pressed into taking greater roles in the business.

Spring brought the locals out of their hibernation to shed the long winters cabin fever. Summer and fall brought tourists from all over heading for the eastern shores to bathe in the sun and ocean surf. Fall heralds the onslaught of tourists driving the highways to see the magnificent color displays of leaves changing before dropping off and winter snows to begin.

Winter time brings some skiers but not many and is the time for the family business to close for the winter for a much needed rest.

Today Donna and her husband run the kitchen providing good food for hungry travelers like Joe and I.


This is the face Joe makes when he is enjoying fresh and scrumptious scallops, clams, and haddock. Wish you could hear the sounds he makes with every bite 🙂


Lest you think this little jewel is all about food there is an added bonus for the local kids and families.

In the spring Donna gets baby ducks from a local farm and runs contests for the children to give the babies names. The ducks live with Donna in a little pond area between the restaurant and motel. Come winter the ducks are returned to the farm where they came from to live long and happy lives.


If you find yourself near Manchester, New Hampshire head on up to Epping and stop in at the Haven Restaurant for some really great seafood. I don’t care for fish of any kind so I had the chicken strips that are wonderful. There are burgers as well. Don’t forget about the ice cream. All kinds of flavors and concoctions to delight anyone.

Need a place to stay for the night? Small, clean, and cozy rooms are just feet away for the weary traveler at the Pond Side Motel.

Northeastern US

Most Drive-Away drivers we talk to stay as far away from the northeastern US. Traffic and rude people are the major complaint of these drivers.

Traffic? Tons of it for sure.


Heavily travelled bridges have upper and lower decks each layer goes in the opposite direction.


Statistically speaking, from Ohio to the eastern seaboard and from New Hampshire south to Virginia 1/3 of the US population lives in this small section. There are more people living in the states of Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Connecticut than in all of California.

People live, mostly, in “Row” houses.


There are houses on lots that a premium is paid to live “detached”. However the space between each house is maybe wide enough for two people to walk shoulder to shoulder through.

Out in the rural areas housing is like all other areas, roomy and quiet. Most people reside in the densely populated urban areas for work and entertainment.

The people in the northeast are not any more rude than the rest of the US. The pace is faster because of all the people, hence they talk louder and faster than others do and they gesticulate frequently (talk with their hands and arms). Now when confronted with rudeness or by pushy and demanding outsiders they can, and will, ramp up their talking style and put the fear in you. People up here don’t suffer fools well. Can’t say that I blame them either.

Only in the northeast are these little restaurants. An ice cream shop really.


Friendly’s is the name. Joe gets to enjoy real New England Clam Chowder at this chain.


Seems he has to cook it more with the hot black pepper. Want a little soup with that pepper?


I enjoy the shake made at Friendly’s using orange sherbet. Yum.


We may be spending a day extra up here, but Joe could change my mind at any second. He wants to go to Dover, Maine and see the people that make our cell phone headsets to get a faulty one exchanged since we are up this way.

Everyone have a good weekend.