Week two started off with sort of a strange turn. We left the state park in Indiana and headed back to the Ft. Wayne area to wait for a load. The phone rang and in no time, we had a load to, of all places, Appleton, Wisconsin. We dropped the load (a leaf spring for an ambulance) and headed over to my dad’s farm just east of Green Bay. Got to spend some time with Dad and visited with other family as well. We didn’t get any calls for loads so we were still in town for a family get-together on Wednesday night.
But all good things must come to an end and we rolled At out on Thursday, finally ending up at a truck stop north of Milwaukee. Then things got a little strange. At 1:30 in the morning, we got a call from dispatch asking if we wanted to bid on a load from Waukegon, IL to Bakersfield, California. We said sure and made the bid and went back to sleep. Usually, after making a bid, they will let you know in 10-15 minutes if you won the load. About an hour later, we got another wake up call asking if we were hazmat (hazardous materials) certified. We said no and figured that would be the end of it. But a half hour later, we got a third call saying they had changed the load so it didn’t need a hazmat certification and we could take it if we wanted it. So we were headed to Bakersfield carrying two barrels of “Highly Flammable” material.
We detoured farther south because of some bad weather near Denver and made it into Bakersfield by late afternoon Sunday.
I know I’m a bit behind but it’s a been a busy first week. We had planned on going to “Available” status with our load brokering company on the afternoon of Monday April 4th after Michelle’s doctor appointment in the morning. We did end up going live, but ended up not getting any calls that day.
We got one call on Tuesday for a load out to Utah, but our bid was too high so we didn’t get it. But then the phone started ringing on Wednesday. We placed several bids before finally landing a load from Greensboro to Chicago. Just under 800 “loaded” miles. Not too shabby to start off. Pick up was at 5:30 and delivery was 9 the next morning. But of course, when we went to pick up, the load wasn’t ready yet. So instead of being able to cruise thru downtown Chicago at 5 AM when there’s very little traffic. We hit it at 7:30 AM and had to sit in traffic for well over an hour. Had the customer not given us a bit of a break for starting out 2 hours late, we would have been severely late. We hunkered down in a WalMart parking lot for a few hours to catch up on some sleep then because of the cold weather we grabbed some dinner and headed out to a hotel in Naperville, IL for the night.
Friday morning started off with a few more bids for loads before we finally landed one from St. Charles, IL to Auburn, Indiana. We made the run and got into Auburn exactly at our delivery time. Unfortunately, as is often the case in this business, if you don’t get a run somewhere on Friday that keeps you moving over the weekend, you usually end up spending the weekend where you end up on Friday. So we spent the night in Auburn and then moved on down to Fort Wayne, IN on Saturday afternoon. We went to check out an RV park to see if we could stay there, but it was unfortunately closed. It did provide a bit of humor though as Michelle caught the street name on the Garmin.
Another cold night forced us into a hotel again for the evening which we got at a bargain price on Hotwire. But we ate some of the food from our cooler and kept our costs down for the night.
Sunday started off a bit snowy before turning to rain and it kept warming up so we gave the Indiana State Park system a try and stayed at the Chain-O-Lakes State Park for the night.
We pulled in, plugged in our electricity, and warmed up a delicious dinner in the electric skillet while catching up on a few of our tv shows. The electric heater kept the chill out of the air as we spent our first full night sleeping in the van.
Before we hit the road, we had to get the van ready for expediting. That means we had to get everything we needed to both carry freight and live in the van as much as possible to cut our expenses.
First thing we had to do was add in a new floor. The floor that the van came with was a rubber mat with some carpet-style backing on top of the metal. Yeah, we could have just saved ourselves the trouble and ripped out the flooring, but we decided to leave it there for insulation purposes and put a layer of plywood with e-track on top of it. A friend-of-a-friend took on the job for us and had it finished in a day. While he was at it, he also installed a row of Rubbermaid Fasttrack on either side near the ceiling so we could hang stuff on the walls up off the floor.
Once that was in place, we started moving stuff in and getting it organized. Of course Michelle had to try on the safety equipment in the process.
Time to crank up the old blog again. Major life change coming up for Michelle and I in the next few days. We’re both leaving our jobs and going on the road as freight expediters. We bought a van back in January (which we have named “Tootsie”) and we’ll be hitting the road soon. We’ll talk more about what we’re doing and why we’re doing it as we go along so come along for the ride.
Our second and probably last camping expedition for the year brought us to Stone Mountain State Park. Great park with lots of trails. Unfortunately we didn’t get far enough around the Stone Mountain Loop to actually see the mountain, but we did manage to catch the Stone Mountain Falls (and the stairs from hell) and we did ride down to the Widow’s Creek Falls. Pretty cool stuff.
Back to Hanging Rock State Park for what will probably be our last camping of the year. Went off the beaten path this time to the Lower Cascades and Tory’s Den and Falls. Interesting to see the Den which served as a hideout for loyalist Tory’s during and after the Revolutionary War.
After having visited Hanging Rock twice, we decided a change of scenery was in order so we spent a weekend at Morrow Mountain State Park. Very nice facilities and the hike near the river wasn’t bad either. We added a new overhead shade on this trip which worked really well.
So what does one do when one sees a forecast for highs in the 70s in January? One grabs the Mrs and the gear and goes camping of course. Beautiful weekend at Hanging Rock State Park for the most part. We came screeching into the park just minutes before it closed Friday night and had to set up and cook mostly in the dark with a misty rain going on. It got a little chilly that night but the rest of the weekend turned out fine…except for the Packers losing of course. We caught the game on a fuzzy AM station sitting in front of the campfire.