Monthly Archives: June 2013

The big flap in the current news about gay marriage. My opinion on the matter.

On my most recent trip from Van Buren, Arkansas to Oak Park, Michigan over the last few days the radio stations have been falling all over themselves to report on the recent passing of legislation to allow “Same Sex Marriage”.

From all the coverage this has garnered you’d think this event would be considered earth moving.

I’m not bashing the gays. Don’t get all excited. I believe that people have the right to live their lives in a manner that allows them to be happy and fulfilled in this life.

The divorce rate of gays will eventually reach the norms of statistics for heterosexual marriages. Let’s face it, people are people no matter what. Love in any combination is fraught with pitfalls. Staying married to the same person for decades is a challenge all on its own.

Take Joe and I for example. Who would have ever thought we would be looking at 23 years together this August? I didn’t! I mean, truthfully….six months with the same man was like a prison sentence of life with no possibility of parole. So it boggles my mind that this guy still loves me after all these years and it stupefies me that he can still make my heart go pitty pat at the drop of a hat. I am very fortunate.

So all this excitement and clamor over same sex marriage is beyond me. These marriages are no different from traditional marriages. Infidelity, spousal abuse, and growing out of touch with your spouse are not just common place to traditional marriages. These things will be challenges for same sex marriages, too. As I said before – people are people.

The thing that I don’t understand is all the hoopla!

This event, in the scheme of historical events, is a blip on the map of historical human rights movements. That is my opinion anyway.

The gays have been struggling to be acknowledged and accepted for a mere 30 or so years.

Consider the 100 PLUS year struggle women had to go through in the US and UK to be known as more than chattel or a man’s property! Don’t believe me? Take a look at this historical timeline of the women’s movement.

Black men were acknowledged and given the right to be legally known as having value long before women finally had that right. Women were the activists to bring about that change in our history during their battle to be known as EQUALS.

Don’t get the wrong idea here. I’m no “bra burning” man basher nor am I a gay basher.

I am a woman who thinks that as far as “gonads” and intestinal fortitude goes the human rights movement has progressed BECAUSE of women.

I’ll get off my soap box now.

Leslie


Air handling systems on big trucks.

If you have been near a big truck that is running you have probably heard the fairly loud “pssssst” burst of noise. That is the sound of the “Purge Valve” doing it’s job.

The air system on big trucks is an integral part of the whole. The air compressor under the hood and in the engine compartment has to maintain a constant pressure in the tanks to service many functioning parts on a truck.

The air bags at the rear of the trucks make the ride easier.

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There are air bags under the cab of the truck that also make the ride easier.

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You can’t really see them. There are two air bags and each are fairly small.

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The brakes are run on air. There is an air chamber on the brake pods. One for each set of wheels. Two for the front axles and four for the rear axles.

These brake pods are from the trucks in Massachusetts. The rust is from the chemicals used to melt the snow and ice on their roads.

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We have automatic transmissions in these International ProStar trucks we are delivering to Michigan.

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The air system is used in the shifting of the gears. There is an actuator within the transmissions that rely on steady air pressure.

The seats of the trucks are raised and lowered with the aid of air. Once again, these photos are from the Massachusetts trucks.

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This is our second set of trucks out of Van Buren, Arkansas going to Oak Park, Michigan – a suburb of Detroit. My first truck had a problem with the “Purge Valve”. It would stick open sometimes and I would lose air pressure.

Getting off I-55 in St. Louis, Missouri to get on I-70 there was a mile long back up of traffic due to a car stalled at a busy junction point. Using the brake as I had been I noticed my pressure gauges going down. That is NOT a good thing to see.

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Right where this truck is on the exit ramp to I-70 is where I lost all my air.

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I caused another mile long back up when I had to get out of my truck, crawl underneath it and fix my stuck open purge valve.

Here is a video I took of doing just that. Only this video was taken in a hotel parking lot and not on the highway. You will have to click the link to view the video.

http://youtu.be/46Qb4E-VUTg

I love my job…I love my job….I love my job. Maybe I can convince myself to hang in there for a few months longer.

Or not.

Leslie


Considering a career change.

It has been quite a while since my last post.  Posting from my iPhone has become a challenge of late.

First, I need to apologize to a few people for not commenting on their blog posts.

  • Lynn Claridge has a fantastic blog about her home in Gloucestershire, England.  Seriously her blog is rich in history – her personal history – of an ancient house she and her husband restored and have lived in for the past 30 odd years.
  • Marilyn has a trucking blog she recently started and is struggling with to get followers.

I’ve been trying to comment on both of these ladies blogs and have had so much difficulty using my phone to do so.  Crapazoid!

Joe and I finally got the Chehalis, Washington trucks delivered to Houston, Texas last Thursday.  We both got sick with some upper respiratory thing about last Tuesday.  Between the two of us we blasted through three boxes of Kleenex.  Couldn’t hear a flipping thing with our ears so plugged up with this head cold thing.  Hacking and coughing like we were trying to throw a lung.

I later learned, through our daughter the nurse, the flu shot we got earlier in the year was not the correct shot for the viruses this year.  The shot we got would not protect us from the malady we were afflicted with recently.

By the time we got home late in the afternoon on Friday we were about done in.  We spent the weekend trying to get the necessary sleep required to rid our bodies of this flu.  Seeing us in action you would have thought we were no more than stop action figures.  Only the stopping was far longer than any action going on.

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were spent getting necessary errands done.  Joe needed to get his CDL updated since it expires the end of this month.  I had to get my DOT Physical done since mine expires the 27th of this month.  I also got my CDL updated early since it expires in August of this year.  Just driving to these appointments were enough to ensure we were recliner bound the remainder of the day.

When I talked with our daughter, the nurse, about wanting to get off the road and find some different work she suggested that I check into being a “Unit Clerk” of a hospital.  I would need to have a course of some kind that would get me familiar with the medical terminology used in the charts and such.  I did clerical work for a lot of years and this seemed like an avenue worth checking into.

I made an appointment with a local college which specializes in the medical field to see what they have to offer.  I’m in the midst of doing research into the online courses available to me which would not require a Bachelors or Associates degrees.

Let’s face it.  I’m nearly 60 years old.  A degree is not something that I feel necessary to have at this point in my life.  Something that will give me the necessary certification to do the job and allow me to get in at an entry level position in the medical clerical field.

This way, GOD FORBID, if anything happens to Joe and he is no longer around to keep me in the lifestyle I’ve become accustomed to I can take care of myself and maintain my home.

As I indicated in a different posting, December is when I say Adios to the trucking industry.  It is time to get into something different and allow me to be home nightly instead of only briefly each month.

Recuperating from this flu has been my main focus over the past several days.  We will be leaving, once again, later today for Arkansas to deliver trucks up to Michigan.  We have 10 trucks to move in the coming couple of weeks and will need to be physically able to do the job.

This current flu has smitten so many people.  It is making the rounds and hitting pretty hard this time.

So, in case you have been wondering why the silence from me I can blame it on my phone and on the flu.  Hopefully things are back on track.

Hope you all enjoy a great weekend as it comes around.  Time to hit the swimming pools to cool off and get the grill fired up for hamburgers and hot dogs.  Maybe some sprinkler time with the kids in the back yard as they cool off if a pool is not available 😀

Leslie


Decomp, don’t you just love the aroma? NOT

Maybe a better title for this post is “How to ruin your daughter’s engagement news”.

Friday morning we arrived at the Ritchie Brothers Auction site in Chehalis, Washington to get Joe’s trucks. Everything was fine as we got on the road and stopped in Portland, Oregon for the night. 75 miles plus Joe needed Oregon permits.

Leaving Portland the air was cool on Saturday morning. Just before noon it began to warm up. The 5 by 65 air conditioning was not working so well.

What is 5 by 65, you ask? Two wing windows wide open, two door windows wide open, and one bunk vent open while traveling 65 miles an hour.

Joe stopped at a rest area in Oregon over the hill from Pendleton – my last post was from down the hill at Pendleton. He put in two cans of R134 air conditioning fluid stuff in the A/C compressor floppy doo. We had cool air! Roll all the windows up, close the wings and vent, crank up the A/C and away we went.

After about 5 hours driving we stopped for fuel and something to eat. Getting back in the truck I noticed it was smelling like mildew. These trucks, older models, have a tendency to smell moldy. Especially the trucks from the southern part of the US from California to Florida.

Air conditioning is used almost continuously in the south. The air ducts don’t get much chance to dry out. The condensation pools in the lower parts of the vents and goes stagnant and moldy.

By the time we got to Boise, Idaho for the night we had gone back to having the windows down and the wing windows open. The truck was smelling like something died.

Leaving Boise this morning, again with the windows open, Joe and I determined the smell was coming from beneath my seat. In an International the air conditioning unit is housed under that seat.

Upon arrival at the hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah I began the task of unmounting the seat from the housing.

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I had been working at getting the last bolt unscrewed when my phone went off. By the time I answered it I had the bolt out and Joe arrived after having got us checked in.

Our daughter, Heidi Jo, was calling me to let me know her boyfriend proposed to her.

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Heidi Jo is excitedly telling me about their normal weekend trips into the mountainous areas of Arizona where they go four wheeling. The group stops near a lake and Will asks Heidi Jo to join him. She begins to walk over barefooted and Will tells her to bring her shoes.

The story gets interrupted here by Joe asking me if I had the bolts out. I tip the seat back fully exposing the air conditioning unit guts and find no dead animal hidden inside.

Joe then asks “Who are you talking to?” I respond with “Heidi Jo” and she says “What, mommy?”

I’ve got sweat dripping from my face, decomp infiltrating my nose, a husband asking me to look further under the seat using a flashlight, and a daughter excitedly telling me her news.

It has degenerated into a circus run amok.

The hissing noise on my cell phone goes dead quiet and I think I’ve lost my link to Heidi Jo. I think Heidi Jo said her engagement ring was in her shoe. Will needed it, the shoe, to properly propose on bended knee.

I’m trying to do as Joe is instructing me in looking deeper for the dead thing and I blurt out “I think I’ve lost Heidi Jo. That dead animal is not down here.”

At this Heidi Jo passes on the news to Will that we have a decomposing dead animal. Do I feel rotten or what?! Her wonderful news has been usurped by a dead mouse or some other creature.

Juggling the seat, Joe’s instructions, the continued phone conversation with our daughter, and wiping sweat out of my eyes we manage to get the seat put back together.

Are you as lost as I am in this whole thing?

There is evidence on the floor around my seat that something had, in fact, expired in the truck. The stink is still quite evident. My phone conversation has come to an end and I need to locate a drug store for a giant can of Lysol spray and some kind of odor absorbing powder.

I get my trucks at Magna, Utah tomorrow and take them to Henderson, Colorado. Joe will be all by himself in that decomp truck tomorrow and Tuesday. I’ll rejoin him in that stinky truck as he drives to Houston, Texas for his delivery.

Heidi Jo, I’m thrilled to bits about your engagement news. Will, you have been a master at pulling off the surprise proposal. Working with your friends and family the past couple weeks to keep the secret and make it happen. Joe was delighted by your call asking him if you could marry his daughter. You have sure delighted the both of us.

And the engagement ring is beautiful.

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Congratulations Heidi Jo and Will. Dad and I are truly happy for you.


I-84 in Oregon and the town of Pendleton.

Oregon landscapes change from hilly scrub….

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To breathtaking vistas like this at Farewell Bend recreation area…

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Higher elevations have forested areas….

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The valley below us cradling Pendleton is spectacular and immense…..

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Once down the 6 mile steep downgrade we came to the town of Pendleton….

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This town was settled in the mid 1800’s. Most of the downtown buildings are occupied with all manner of shops and restaurants. Maybe Walmart has a store here but I doubt it.

Joe and I were in search of food. It had been a long day of driving and Oregon is still ranching country. We went to the Hambley Steakhouse and Saloon. Hambley’s is, evidently, quite famous for their saddles that were handcrafted here. Most of the building is taken up by western style clothing for the ranchers and cowboys. The steakhouse is only six years old.

This place is AMAZING!

Upon entering the steakhouse – dinner begins at 5 pm before that food is available at the bar – you first see this old telephone booth.

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Next by the door is this old wine cellar thing.

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This portion of the ceiling is original. I don’t know if the lighting fixture is a Tiffany.

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To the left is the host/maitre de area. Beautiful old pieces of furniture.

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Dividing the “Saloon” from the dining room is an old bank teller cage. This came from a bank robbed by Butch Cassiday.

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The bar is from Grantsville, Idaho which was an old mining town. The bar was built in 1883.

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Hamley’s is worth the look around. The food is definitely NOT worth the prices. We didn’t stay for dinner. A rib eye steak is $54. The burger Joe and I split was nothing to write about. The salads were good, but what do you expect from rabbit food anyway.

I love old buildings. The craftsmanship is mind boggling. That was at a time when electricity was just introduced, no hand held power tools, unless you call elbow grease the power for the tools. No computer aided drafting, nor a calculator. Dimensions were figured using a pencil, paper or scrap of wood, and a brain.

Find an old building and get yourself lost in the beauty of it.

Leslie


Getting a trial run on the hard hat.

Our dispatch office gives me plenty to wonder about. Why things are done the way they are. And of course I think I could do things better. NOT!!

Essentially we are on a deadhead trip from Charlotte, North Carolina to Chehalis, Washington.

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Were it not for the suit fitting, last Saturday for our daughter’s wedding this coming July, we would probably still be in the northeast or Midwest. All that traveling for TWO trucks. Joe wheedled and badgered until a second set of trucks was found near Salt Lake City, Utah.

We hooked up my trucks this morning at Magna, Utah.

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This job site requires all the safety gear to be worn. A couple of the men at the site had big smiles on their faces as they met me. I think it was my hard hat and they want one like mine.

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My trucks are going to Henderson, Colorado from Magna, Utah.

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Joe’s route will be a little out of route when we drop down to get my trucks then head to the Houston, Texas area.

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I have found one odd thing about strangers.

If I go into a restaurant in my grease stained and dirty scrubs I get looks ranging from disgust to stink eye. If, however, I wear my orange vest over my grease stained and dirty scrubs I don’t get the odd looks.

Go figure. A working stiff is a working stiff. Dirty homeless people don’t, as a rule, walk into a restaurant to eat a $30 lunch or dinner for two.

Perception. That’s what it is. The orange vest is the answer to the dirty scrub clue. I have a job and I get dirty.

So from now on….the orange vest will be my friend 🙂 and it will get a lot of use.

This week is just about over. Where does the time go? I hear this Sunday is Father’s Day. Dad’s, practice your best smile. The neck ties are coming.

Hey! Any of you men that read my blog want to get a contest started? An “Ugly Tie” contest? Send me a link if anyone takes me up on it.

Leslie

My hard hat.


An optical illusion.

This post is about seeing what really isn’t there.

We pulled into the EconoLodge hotel driveway last night. The setting sun was in my face. While it was partially blocked by an adjacent building I looked out into the parking lot. This is what I saw.

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What the heck is wrong with this box truck?!

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The light post was acting as the magician’s assistant 🙂

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Hope this was fun for you. I have to say, it doesn’t take much to entertain an idiot and I was highly entertained.

Not that I’m calling you an idiot, just a thing I say when I make fun of myself at things like this.

Leslie