Monthly Archives: August 2013

Glitch in the mobile app for WordPress

Has it only been one week since my last real posting?

If you use the iOS Mobile App for WordPress to write your blog posts, read and reply to the comments you receive, or keep up with the blogs you follow regularly the newest update is a real pain in the arse.

While waiting for road service to arrive and replace batteries in Joe’s truck up in Portland, Oregon last week I was going to catch up on my blog reading. An automatic message appeared telling me of a new update to the WordPress App. I had the choice of updating the app or ignoring the message. Should have ignored it.

The update locked me totally out! Touching the WordPress icon took me to an opening blank screen which never changed. Waiting a minute or two for the app to become active I was then popped out to the “Home” page.

Several days I attempted to use the App with the same results. Locked out.

I have searched through the WordPress Forum for help and tips to make this App work. There is nothing there except a myriad of similar complaints.

I searched through Google for answers to this problem. Nothing could be found to fix this problem.

This morning I deleted the App from my phone and read the warning that all data would be lost by deleting the old App. I reinstalled the App and had to register my site information. This App is working at this time.

However, all the blogs I follow have been lost. That is the “data that will be lost” by deleting the older version of the WordPress App.

When selecting the “Blogs I Follow” link on the WordPress App I received an Error Message and informed my information had been compromised. ~heavy sigh~

Five hours later all is well. I can read the blogs I follow. Next is to see if I can leave a comment on them.

So far this new, and frustrating, App seems to be no different than the older version.

FYI….the rabid remarks on the iTunes App for WordPress will tell you there is trouble ahead if you are thinking to get the update. Well….not today. The remarks have been removed and this App has received two stars (**) out of five.

Recently I have been notified there is an update to the previous update. Supposedly fixes the crash problems from the other ones. I’m not in a hurry to get the update.

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Mayhem from all corners. Foolishness has run amok.

In no particular order of events. Our world has been put on the washing machine spin cycle.  The WordPress mobile app has coo-ca-rachas in the program. Bugs galore. Trying to access my blog via the website on my phone. Arrrrgh those scurvy dogs will walk the plank for this.  Crazy accusations of Joe damaging a truck a with over $20,000 in damages. When the mobile app gets fixed and I can do a proper blog I will be more forthcoming. For now

Just know I have no access to the blogs I read , crapazoid!


COE – Cab Over Engine

Now this is a blast from my past. Hauling this fat old broad’s butt straight in the air.

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This, boys and girls, is a COE. Aka – Cab over engine, or a cabover.

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To get in the engine compartment the cab has to be tipped over.

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The working guts of this truck are hidden under the cab.

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To gain access to the interior of the cab, steps have been molded and attached to the cab body.

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Access is “Vertical”. Grab bars are located to help with the vertical climb. Up and down.

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I have found myself on the ground faster than I anticipated a time or two. Don’t get my foot placement correct before I bore my weight on it and….bingo bango I was flat on my back.

Just imagine. A woman grabbing for air like she is climbing a rope. Next second arms pinwheeling in an attempt to fly.

I flew alright. Straight to the ground. Knocked the wind out of my lungs. Scrabbling on my knees and barking like a seal trying to suck in air to fill my lungs. Each barking pull of air vibrated the growing goose egg on the back of my head. I didn’t know which hurt worse. My deflated lungs or the knot on my head.

After gaining a full breath of air in my poor beleaguered lungs I managed to crawl to the front tire of the truck and sit down. Resting my back against the tire and sucking air as if I had run a 25k marathon.

Totally embarrassed, my body chastising me with aching muscles, Joe appeared around the truck quickly with worry etched on his bleached white face.

“Are you alright?” “Do I need to call an ambulance?!” “Is anything broken?” Joe peppered me with one question after another which irritated the fool out of me.

He helped me get up from the ground then proceeded to sharply beat the rocks and dust from my clothing. His sharp swats at the dirt made me wonder if I were getting spanked.

Dang, back to work. Get the trucks hooked up and head out to deliver them. Oh to be able to just lie abed for a day, or a week.

Let me tell you. The climb up and down in that blasted truck over the next four days managed to work all the kinks out of me. Hurt like the devil until it no longer did. Bruised ego and sore body. The best medicine for me at that time was to just keep moving and work through it.

For the first six hours, after my pitiful attempt to fly, Joe made frequent calls to me over the CB asking me questions. “What day is it?” “Count to 10.” “Sing the alphabet song.” After several questions during hour one I would gruffly tell him I was fine before responding to his questions. By the fourth hour I told him to just leave me alone. The sixth hour was spent hollering at him to just shut the f— up.

During the night in the hotel I was wakened from a sound sleep by Joe with a question. “Who is the president?” Sleepily I responded “George Bush”. The next time he woke me up he got clobbered and told to shut up.

Joe is driving a Century Class by Freightliner and pulling a Freightliner Cabover. I’m driving a Kenworth Cabover.

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Inside the cab, getting into the sleeper berth requires crawling on hands and knees over the “Dog House”.

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The Dog House is an upholstered and padded area that is part of the engine cover of the cab. A right handy spot to put my clean clothes while I wear my scrubs.

Driving a Cabover is an experience like no other. No “nose” sticking out in front.

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A clear and uninterrupted view of the road before me.

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There will NOT be any attempts to fly on this trip to Colorado. I’ve already regaled you with enough foolishness for one day.


Trucker “Roadeo” Championship Finals.

The truck driving “Roadeo” was started in 1937 to bring awareness of safety issues to the trucking industry.

Check out this link to learn about the history of American Trucking Association that has been responsible for many of the safety measures we have in trucking today.

The following photos were taken at the Arrowhead Travel Center in Pendleton, Oregon and are from the Ken Gourdy Collection.

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To be an eligible “Roadeo” contestant the few rules are: the contestant is NOT an Owner/Operator but a Company Driver.

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The contestant MUST be accident free for one year. Fault or no fault accidents are disqualified.

One year of accident free driving may not seem like much until you consider, for example, the 10,000 miles we drove in the month of July this year equates to about six months of normal driving a family in a car would do.

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Each of the 50 states in the US have their own competitions starting in March or April. The winners of state competitions go on to the Regional competitions. The winners of the Regionals then go on to the Championship being held in Salt Lake City, Utah this August 20 to 24, 2013.

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Competitions include a course for cement trucks, forklifts, box trucks, snowplows, and semi truck and trailer combinations.

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The obstacle course is laid out, usually at a fairground. Each contestant will drive through a designated area marked off by construction cones. The course requires the driver to weave in and out of a coned area forward and backward. Points are taken away for each cone they touch or knock over.

The course tests the driver backing skills into a difficult area as though backing up to a dock. The following photo is from 2002 at Iowa.

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There is not a cash prize for the winner. Recognition as the “Champion” at the final event is what compels each contestant.

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Each trucking company represented at the state, regional, and finals gain the reputation of winner as well.

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Just in case I have led you to believe this competition is all about the best “Hot Dog” to run the course….there is more to this competition than just the driving skills test, which is the course.

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The morning begins with the much dreaded “Written Test”. Each contestant has to bone up on the DOT (Department of Transportation) driving manual beforehand. The written test is to see how much the actual driver knows, and remembers, about the federal regulations that are required for every truck driver to know – and pass the test.

Not surprisingly, 1 in 5 of the contestants will pass the written test with a score of 100%. That would be 1 in 25 to score 100.

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Then, after the written test, comes the “Inspection” test. A truck or truck and trailer has been mechanically dithered with. It is up to each contestant to find the 10 DOT Violations on the vehicle being inspected. These violations can include a headlight out, low tire tread, air brakes out of adjustment, air pressure leaking, wiring exposed, cracks or breaks in the electric or air line supplies to the trailer. Tricky little devils trying to see what the contestant knows about his/her business.

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These two parts of the “Roadeo” reflect the trucking companies policies of safety. I mean you send four of your best drivers to the state level competition and they fail the written exam and the visual inspection test….what does that say about the concerns for highway safety?

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The driving course is timed for 12 minutes. This time may seem long to those of us that do not participate. To the contestant this time seems to fly by them as they maneuver through the course.

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I would think the skill course would deflate any puffed up chest who goes into it declaring they will beat the time. Especially after they hit the first mail box in the snowplow competition, for example.

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The winners of this “Roadeo” gain recognition for themselves and their companies on state and regional levels. The “Champion” gets to be envied until the next year’s event.

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The company represented by the Champion is held to a higher standard of safety and spends the year keeping up the challenges of maintaining their fleets of trucks in good working order.

In short, this “Roadeo” acts as the standard bearer of the entire trucking industry. Through this competition rules of the road and safety issues are implemented. Some are good and some are challenged.

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Highway safety, in all of its forms, are considered during this competition. Even so far as the lane width requirements of highway and roadway construction through lanes.

Keeping our highways safe, the trucks that travel and work locally or over the road are well maintained, and making both company and driver responsible for public safety is what this competition is all about.


The high cost of performance based pay.

In today’s world of instant gratification business practices have to walk a fine line. We, as customers, want – nay DEMAND – a superior product or service in light speed time.

The problem with this ridiculous business model is work performance by skilled workers is hampered by the clock.

I am trying my best to not bash Randall Ford in Fort Smith, Arkansas. I am looking for an opportunity for “benefit of a doubt”.

Diesel mechanics don’t just walk up to a vehicle repair shop with a screw driver, hammer, and pliers with no experience and seek a job. Even if the person has experience as a “back yard” mechanic.

Diesel mechanics begin their career at a technical college. The steep tuition includes a rudimentary tool kit. One that has a full compliment of the necessary tools during their learning process. Once finished with school and successfully employed in a repair shop the rudimentary tools are supplemented as required in their work. This is a very costly endeavor. Some tool cases, the size of a clothing dresser, require a visit to a loan officer at a bank. Some traveling tool companies, i.e. Snap-On or Matco, will gladly finance the purchase of a complete tool case.

As you may remember, our pickup was in the hands of Randall Ford to have a fuel injector bank replaced last week. Joe made the 200 mile return trip from home to Fort Smith, Arkansas to retrieve our pickup and return home. After paying a few dollars short of $3,000 for the work done we prepared to leave home for Davenport, Iowa.

Blissfully unaware of unsatisfactory workmanship Joe and I left the comfort of home and back to work. I drove the first eight hours of the trip.

Three hours into the trip an icon warning light began quickly flashing on the instrument panel. At first I thought it was a reflection of sunlight flashes. The sky before me, as I neared Wichita, Kansas, was full of dark storm clouds. The heavy rains came as I continued to drive. The warning light flickered more quickly and the image was more discern able as I drove into the rain.

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Of course I freaked out. Not knowing that the warning light is an indicator of a clogged air filter I figured the pickup was in imminent danger of exploding into a ball of flames. Joe did his best to lean from the passenger seat over far enough to see the quickly flashing light. At his instruction I took an exit and pulled the hood latch. Joe got out of the pickup, the rain had stopped at this time, and raised the hood. He looked around, felt a few things, and declared he couldn’t see anything wrong.

We continued our trip. The flashing light went out for long periods of time then would go back to barely flickering. After we switched drivers and he was in control of the pickup he kept a watch on the warning light.

Entering Kansas City, Missouri the warning light was on more steadily. Find a hotel for the night near a Ford dealership. Next morning we headed directly for the Ford shop. What follows are photos of in completed work by the mechanic from Randall Ford.

The flashing warning light we had was due to an “Air Minder” component not properly installed. The first photo is WHERE the component was found by the mechanic in Kansas City.

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The belt and pulley had rubbed and burned a hole in the Air Minder piece.

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The wires connected to the component had the insulation rubbed off exposing the wires.

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The mechanic wrapped the wires with electric tape then installed the component in its proper place.

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There were other problems found under the hood with other components that had been hastily replaced. Sum total of this little fiasco was $39. Photos of the problems were submitted to Randall Ford and the facility supervisor.

Our pickup needs to be repaired …. from the repair! When or where is yet to be determined. *heavy sigh*

So, next posting will be about the “Truck Driving Rodeo” we are moving trucks for in Salt Lake City, Utah. These trucks will make the rounds of dealerships in Salt Lake City in preparation of the “Road”-eo. At a later date we will return to Salt Lake for these same trucks to be taken back to Davenport, Iowa.

We have brand new trucks to deliver for the event.

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Later y’all.


Crockpot full meal cooking.

A whole lot of NOTHING is going on around my home.  And I DO mean NOTHING.  Well….except for sleeping at night, napping during the day, and watching a lot of YouTube craft videos, catching up on blogs I’ve missed, and whittling away at the 189 recorded television programs on our Dish Network DVR machine.

Being on the road as a truck driver means constant vigilance.  Hyper vigilance.  Making sure I don’t miss an exit on the highway.  Miss an exit and there is a good chance I will have to drive 10 miles before I can get back where I needed to be.  Done that before…..several times.  Then there is my most favorite (NOT) thing to do while driving….maneuvering through construction zones.  There is always some highway under construction.  Barrels and cones to mark the travel lanes.  Some of these lanes are a bit narrow for big trucks and that requires constant attention while traveling through the blasted things.

My next LEAST favorite thing is the little cars with inattentive drivers.  Their exit is approaching….they are in the third lane to the left while I am in the third lane to the right.  The inattentive driver cuts from the far left lane, passes through the center lane, then just misses the nose of my truck while they scurry their way to the exit.  ARRRRRGH!  And what makes this even worse are the POLICE OFFICERS that do this to me!!!!

Then there are the other truck drivers that think the highways are some blasted NASCAR raceway.  These big trucks drive up close to my back truck and stay there.  I’ve watched many INCONSIDERATE AND STUPID, truck drivers follow so close to a little car that it is dangerous.  DANGEROUS!  These truck drivers get tired of following behind me at a snail’s pace (to their way of thinking) and they pass me.  Slipping back over to the right lane and just missing the nose of my truck.  THAT really makes my blood boil.  They know better than that.

Okay, so you may have noticed that I have a bit of road rage going on here.

I have to DECOMPRESS while I’m at home.  Shake off all the bad feelings I get from the road rage and chill out.  That means shutting my brain off and going on autopilot for a few days.  While home I stay home.  I try to stay home, I should say.  Joe often has other ideas and he gets barked at.  The bark noise and length is dependent upon how much decompression I have managed to get done.  Next day after finally getting home the bark is more like a ferocious doberman pincher ready to tear his head off.  Give me a few days of decompression and I bark like one of those nasty little noisy Chihuahuas.  Yap, yap, yap.  Quiet for a minute then more yapping.

Needless to say, Joe has learned when to leave me alone and when to broach the subject of leaving the house.

Okay, now that I’ve totally put you in “whine rage” mode…..”Shut up already, will you!”….I’ll get to the point of this post.

In May, while on the road, I overheard some women talking about their crockpots.  Joe and I were in a restaurant, somewhere, when this conversation was going on.  One of the women said she puts her entire dinner in the crockpot and goes to work.  Baked potatoes, corn on the cob, marinated steaks.  All wrapped in foil and the crockpot put on LOW for 5 to 10 hours.

This is my crockpot.

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Sorry about the really bad photo.  This was an after thought.  I had everything loaded in it and said “Wait, unload it and show the thing empty.

I had a picnic ham in the freezer that I let thaw out in the refrigerator.  The original picnic ham I had the butcher cut into three portions at the grocery store.  Each portion was then frozen.  Okay…..yada, yada, yada.

After the ham thawed I poked whole cloves into the meat, both top and bottom.

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Smeared the top and bottom of the ham with half a bottle of Smucker’s Orange Marmalade.  Covered the entire ham portion tightly in aluminum foil.

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New Year‘s Joe makes some really awesome baked beans.  I fill a mini loaf tin with the extra beans, cover the tin in foil and then use my FoodSaver to seal it up and put it in the freezer for a later time.  This was the “later” time.

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I took the tin out of the plastic freezer bag before I put it in the crockpot.

Next were a couple of sweet potatoes poked liberally for steam vents and wrapped in aluminum foil.

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It took a bit of finagling to get everything in the crockpot.  The ham was too long to fit.  I had to put the frozen baked beans in the bottom of the crockpot, ham on top of the beans, the sweet potatoes atop the ham.

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Another really bad photo.  I’m sorry.  This is of everything crammed into the crockpot.  DO NOT add water to your crockpot.  Just fill it with your aluminum foil covered food items.

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Put the lid on.

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Put your cooker on LOW.  Then walk away for 5 hours and do whatever you need to do.  As for me, that was five more  hours of nothing.

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One of the sweet potatoes didn’t get fully cooked.  The one I show in this post was still a tiny bit hard after the 5 hours of cooking.  I should have put that one down in the bottom with the frozen baked beans.  The ham juices came out of the foil and ran into the crockpot.  No big deal.

The ham was quite dry when this cooking process was finished.  Flavorful….but dry.  I probably could have got away with 3 hours of cooking time instead of the 5.

All in all this did work.  Best of all my home was cool when it was time for dinner and I was not all sweaty from having the oven heat up the house.

The night before I tried the baked potato and corn on the cob idea I overheard.  Same thing.  Wrap the potatoes in aluminum foil.  Poke holes in the potatoes first before you cover them.  Wrap each corn ear in foil as well.  Cook the potatoes for 8 hours.  You can place pats of butter in the foil and season your corn.  I didn’t do that.  Check out this link for crockpot baked potatoes.

The potato “meat” will turn an amber color.  Cooked in the crockpot the potatoes will not have the white fluffy color as they would in a regular oven.  I don’t know why they do that…..so be prepared to see the discolored inside of the baked potato.

The corn ears were overdone and almost mushy.  So the corn could have gone in about hour 6 of the baking time and they may have been better.

Joe fired up the grill and cooked our steaks out there.

Once again, a full dinner without all the heat in the kitchen.

Let me know if you have tried this before and what you find successful.  If you have NOT done this before and give it a try…..let me know what  your results were.  Would you do this again….or not.

Leslie


Solving Problem #3

Joe told me it was only a year ago that we had the very same problem with the fuel injectors of the pickup.  Sure felt like longer than a year ago to me.  All the miles we travel and the places we get to makes our daily lives in the trucking industry seem further away than they really are.  You can read about the June 2012 adventures of taking our pickup to a Ford shop for repairs – HERE.

We drove the four trucks from Lakeland, Florida to Van Buren, Arkansas where we left my boomed set at the Peterbilt dealership.  I got in Joe’s truck and we headed for Randall Ford in Fort Smith, Arkansas.  We had a larger area to work in to get the pickup off of the trailer by letting it roll down hill once off the wheel chocks.  Sorry, no pictures of this event.

While Joe drove back to the Peterbilt dealership in Van Buren, Arkansas to begin getting his trucks delivered I was given a ride to the Fort Smith airport by Randall Ford.  I rented a car from the Avis agency then hurried over to the Peterbilt dealership to help Joe unhook his trucks and then get mine delivered as well.

After that was finished we drove the rental car HOME!  We will be home until Tuesday.  Joe has a doctor appointment and we are leaving for Davenport, Iowa right after that.

For now I am vegging out at my computer.  Catching up on the blogs I have missed due to my iPhone not allowing me to leave comments while I’m on the road.  There are a ton of them that I’ve read through and finally left comments on.  I’ve gone through all the YouTube new subscriber emails that have been languishing away in my emails.  Watching many YouTube crafting videos as well.  In short, I have done nothing of real value over the past few days.  Except slept in my own bed for 12 to 15 hours each night.  I think I’m finally catching up on my sleep.

Tomorrow’s post I will share my crockpot full meal experience with you.

Leslie