Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Off to the East Coast Today

Okay, but what happened to the last 9 days? Well, let's get caught up.

We sat in Phoenix until about 1500 on the 13th. We actually enjoyed the down time. Didn't really do much other than just sit around and watch television, napped, talked with other drivers etc.

Dispatch called at about 1400 on the 13th and asked if we could hook to an empty trailer, run it over to Los Angeles, and then load from there to go to Atlanta GA on the morning of the 14th. That sounded pretty good to us, we would head over to L.A., get another good nights sleep and leave for Atlanta the next morning. After fueling, and emptying the waste tank. we headed to the Phoenix terminal, found an empty trailer, performed the required pre-trip inspection, and headed to L.a.. While we were emptying the waste tank a local drove up pulling a portable toilet trailer that he rents out for weddings and other events. This wasn't a porta pot like you see sitting in construction sites but rather a high end trailer configuration. Anyway, I sparked a conversation with the guy, which considering the conversation piece isn't hard to do, and we talked for a bit about the country, the 912 Project and the local groups with which he could get involved. After a brief encounter he signed the truck and we were off. we headed to the Phoenix terminal, found an empty trailer, performed the required pre-trip inspection, and headed to L.a..

We arrived in L.A. at about 2300 that evening and went promptly to bed, knowing that our load was to be ready at 0600.

true to form, the L.a. terminal ran late and the load wasn't ready until about 0930. That was alright though, the sleep was good. Nice and cool outside, not much noise, pretty darned good sleeping.

We received our "load Ready" message at about 0930. We had already been up for about 45 minutes or so, had some coffee, a breakfast sandwich and had already gotten cleaned up for the day. I headed to the office to retrieve our paperwork and then off to find the trailer. After hooking the trailer, I again, performed the pre-trip inspection and took towards the exit of the yard. Our illustrious security officer stopped me, interrogated me( which they are told to do) for about 3 minutes or so, and then checked the seal on the trailer and released me to the free world.

Because we are on I-40 so much of the time, and we get a bit tired of the same old grind, we decided to run across I-10 into Texas and then I-20 the rest of the way to Atlanta. That is neither the shortest nor the fastest route but it is the cheapest route. While it is about 70 miles or so further, I can and do make the case that fuel is cheaper on I-10 and I-20 than it is on I-40 plus the roads are better on that southern route and there are less hard pulls(hills, mountains) on the southern route so we use less fuel going that way. Not to mention, the personal preference of I-10/I-20 over I-40.

So we got as far as Eloy AZ and we had a steer tire starting to fail. The tire on the right had an internal steel belt slipping and causing a pretty bad shimmy in the steering wheel. Now, I knew I needed steer tires, not that they were worn out bad enough to be a safety concern, but I was aware that we would have to put a set on in May when we would be taking some down time at home. Now, with one of the tires failing internally, we would have to move that date forward a bit. I started making calls trying to find the tires I wanted to no avail. Because we are extremely heavy on the steer axle, we are forced, in some states to have wider tires than normal. Of course, however, no-one carries the tires I like in stock. I usually run the Micheline XZA2 315 80 R22.5 tire that is rated at 9090# per tire in a single tire position. Again, no-one stocks that tire because it is so rarely used.

I ended up settling on a Bridgestone M860 315 80 R22.5. While this wasn't the tire I wanted, for several reasons, I had little choice at this point. While the guys were installing the tires an elderly lady came from the inside and was reading the side of the truck. I could see she was interested in the purpose and reason behind what was there. I spoke with her for a few minutes, explained the 912 Project and why we are participating in the project in this manner. I explained the poem on the side of the truck and she got teary eyed. She said "Oh my Gosh, yes, I know who Pastor Niemoller was, this just gives me chills", she continued, "you see, we came from Germany in 1952, when I was just a young lady, and I remember what had happened there and sometimes it seems as though some of the same things are going on here". She cried a bit, read some more and out of the blue turned to me with a tear in her eyes, grabbed and hugged me and turned and walked inside just shaking her head.

It is times like this that makes the tough times worthwhile. Times like this make the naysayers of our mission moot. Times like this restore my faith in the human race and keeps me plodding forward. You see, I don't think anything happens by chance. I think my tire was meant to fail when it did, we were led to that tire facility, and that our meeting with that lady was as blatant of a push forward as anyone could ever have. I was humbled that day, I was moved to plow on. Times like this happen often, though not usually as profound as this. While awakening many or at least letting them know they aren't alone in their feeling, I believe God knows we need encouragement and gives it when needed.

After the tires were installed we moved on towards Atlanta. We arrived there at about 0100 on the 16th and they had a load, a short one going to Raleigh NC with a return empty to Charlotte NC., and a promise of a load back to Los Angeles from there. After a long traffic delay due to a truck fire on I-81 in South Carolina, we made it to Raleigh at about 0900. We took a brief nap, got up, showered and got ourselves ready for the day and headed to Charlotte with an empty trailer. Since there wasn't a need tot be in Charlotte until 0600 the next day, the 17th, we took our time and stopped for some lunch. After lunch we moved on to Charlotte and got there at about 1800.

The load for Los Angeles was to be ready at about 0600, so after a little television we went to bed for a good nights sleep. The load was ready pretty early. Actually at about 0245 is when we were notified and we were hooked to the load and on our way by about 0330. A fight with a very stubborn, bent trailer door was to blame for the delay. It took a pry bar and a hammer to get the latch pushed into place before I could close the other door.

This routing was a bit tricky because they still have I-40 closed at the TN/NC state line due to a major rock slide several months ago. We decided to head for Atlanta on I-85 and then run I-20 to Birmingham and U.S,78 into Memphis where we would access I-40 west and run that all the way to CA. Again, I know there are much shorter ways but why beat the heck out of the truck on mountainous back roads when time permits otherwise? Again, time, fuel, terrain, etc all play a part in our decisions about which routes we run. It isn't always "the shortest is the best" mentality.

Again, on our way to L.A. we were inspired by some passers by giving us the thumbs up and taking pictures of the truck.

We finally got to L.A. at about 2100 on the 18th. We were pretty sure we'd be there all night so we parked, got a good nights sleep after a long run, and got up in the morning and took a walk. Now we never hear from west coast dispatch until about 1600 or so for our load assignment out of LAX so when my phone rang at 1030 while we were walking, I didn't even think about it being them. Kyle from Sacramento dispatch was on the other end wanting to know if we wanted to take a load to San Diego. I really don't like running up and down the coast of California. It is hard enough getting in and out of L.A. unscathed by law enforcement without tempting fate by running up and down the coast. I told Kyle I'd have to call him back but that I really didn't want to do it if he could find someone else. By the time we got back to the truck, about 20 minutes or so, he had found someone else to make the run and we were off the hook.

I spent the day tearing apart the light bars on the rear of the truck and repairing wiring inside the bars. I had 1 light working on the right side and 2 on the left. No need to give D.O.T. unnecessary cause for a roadside check, so I had better fix the lights while we are down. This mandated grinding out the pop rivets holding the lights into the light bar and repairing the wiring, installing tubing around all the wires inside the light bar to alleviate the wire rubbing on the steel and then re-riveting the lights into the bar.

Five hours later, due partially, okay probably mostly, to my anally retentive nature, I had the lights repaired and back in place. Now I could take Tina for a bite to eat.

There is a little burger joint in the area to which we can walk, about 3/4 mile or so away, and they have really good food and great service. The name of the place is Columbia Burger. We really like this place. Just a hole in the wall so don't get excited about "atmosphere" but the food can't be beat for a quick meal and great service.

After sitting all day we found out that we would be headed to Dallas out of LAX. The load would be ready at about 0600 and should deliver in Dallas by about 0900 on Wednesday the 21st. The load was actually ready at about 0630, we were up, ready to go, hooked and inspected and on the road by about 0730. We traveled across I-40 to Amarillo and down 287 into the Dallas Fort Worth area. We went this way, across I-40 this time, because there is a rest area in Iowa Park TX with an RV dump station and we knew it was time to dump our waste tank.

On the way to Dallas, when we were in New Mexico, dispatch wanted to know if we wanted to pull a load to Newark NJ that would be ready when we got to Dallas. We accepted the load, though not overly happily. We arrived in Dallas at about 0730, dropped the LAX load, retrieved the paperwork for the Newark NJ load and took out to find the trailer. After hooking, inspecting and checking out with the guard on duty, we were off to Newark. We decided to travel across I-30 to Little Rock and the I-40 to I-81 to I-76 into Joysey. We'll miss D.C. traffic on I-95 that way and while it may be a few miles longer will probably save an hour or so in traffic. Not to mention I won't be subject4d to the slime in D.C. and take a chance on it rubbing off onto me or the truck. Incidentally, by "slime" I mean the politicians, not the regular citizens. They are mostly great folks in that area.

We are currently in the West Memphis area, Tina is driving and traffic is pretty bad. We expect to be in Newark by about noon or so tomorrow and then hopefully get to Orlando. Our new registration is sitting there and the old one expires at the end of this month.

We hope to see you along the way. Should you see the 912 Truck, be sure and wave and let us know you seen us by commenting here with time and place.

Here is a novel item for the coming election year.
When The Politicians Are On TV, Blowing Hot Air And You Want To Scream, Just Grab Your Doll And Give It A Fling, Let Them Know...Hey, You Work For Me.

A useful, bipartisan doll to give you something to throw while watching the news and listening to the politicians lie with every motion of their lips. Throw your doll and scream while never causing any damage to your television. These dolls now come with a retrieval string for retrieval without moving from your perch on the couch.

All Dolls are bipartisan, Republican on 1 side, Democrat on the other.

In closing, we hope that you can find it in your budget to help with a small purchase or a donation in support of our mission.
We have launched into a couple of apparel stores so that everyone can show their support of the 912 Truck. Click here to show your support, or go to www.printfection.com/912truck. For those of you that would rather have a hat or mug you we have another outlet at cafepress.com/912 Truck. You can also use any of the donate buttons on this page to make a contribution directly to our endeavor to Waking up America.
Thanks for your support.

In God I Trust
Have a Great Day and a Better Tomorrow

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In God I Trust
Have a Dreat Day and a Better Tomorrow