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Month: April 2017

Blind Squirrels

Blind Squirrels

One of the hardest things to get a handle on when learning the expediting business is learning when to stay in an area and wait for a load and when to “turn and burn” i.e. drop the load and leave for another location.  Pick the wrong location and you can wait for days without getting a load and spend a fortune in fuel and food.  Get in a good location and​ you’re rolling and making money in no time.  

You also have to learn that not every load offer is a good offer.  You might get what sounds like a good offer on the surface, but the delivery location is in a horrible place to get your next load.

And then there’s the “even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while” bit of luck.  That’s what fell into place today. 

Last week was decent but not great for us money-wise.  So when we got a load from Morehead, KY to Covington, GA, we decided to take a chance and head down to Waycross, GA to try to get a load over the weekend.   Now this is always a crap shoot.  We’ve had times where we haven’t even made it to Waycross and we already had a load.  And we’ve had times where we’ve waited for days.

So we waited all weekend and finally got a short load to Jacksonville, FL on Monday.  We’ve learned that Jacksonville isn’t a really good place to get a load so we dropped and came right back to Waycross.  

Tuesday came along and we landed a very unusual double load.  We picked up two small shipments in Savannah, GA and took one to Fort Myers, FL (more on that very strange dropoff in a later post) and the other went all the way down to Miami.  

Now we know from past experience that it’s nearly impossible to get a load out of Miami.  So we were heading out of town this morning back towards Orlando and we’re shocked when we heard an “Ooogah” about ten minutes after we dropped off our load. 

A few back and forth phone calls later and we landed a nearly 1400-mile run to Canton, Michigan near Detroit.  

Sometimes it’s skill and sometimes you just find that acorn.  The Detroit area has always been good for us, so hopefully this could end up being a very good week if we can land another good run before the Easter Holiday.

Nobody Cares What You Had for Dinner

Nobody Cares What You Had for Dinner

Why do you post so many pictures of food on Facebook?

That’s a good question.   Granted, every once in a while we run into that meal that makes your mouth water just looking at it.  But generally,  I don’t believe that anything we have for a meal is so superior to anything you might be having.  In fact, most of the time, we would probably want to trade places with you.  You wouldn’t believe how sick you can get of eating out as much as we are often forced to.

Don’t get me wrong, we carry an electric skillet and use it as often as we can to cook a meal or to warm up something that we brought from home.  (Whenever we are home, we prepare a bunch of home-cooked meals and freeze them to take out on the road with us.)  But often times, when we are loaded and running, we don’t have time to make a stop to unpack the generator and fire up the skillet to make a meal.  We always have bread and cold cuts or PB & J on hand as well as milk and cereal.  But you can only eat that so many times each week without wanting to commit hare-kari. As a result, we end up eating at many of the same places.  We can pretty much tell you what’s on the menu at Denny’s, Bob Evans and Cracker Barrel.  What we try to do as often as time permits is to find the out-of-the-way diner or small local chain restaurants to add some variety.  Often times, it’s at these places that we end up sharing our pictures.

Neither Michelle nor I fancy ourselves as epicurean foodies.  Just like normal folks, we  like good food.  And when we find something different, we like to tell people about it.  

Which brings us to the second reason we post those pictures.  Both Michelle and I have become Google Local Guides.  We contribute photos and reviews of locations and restaurants to Google Maps business listings.  I guess we get something for doing it, some discount on Google Drive space or some such thing, but mostly we do it for the fun of seeing which photos will get the most views on Google.

I’ve been doing it longer than Michelle has, so naturally my counts are a little higher.  I’ve contributed over 100 pictures so far which have been viewed (as of this writing) nearly 600,000 times.  It amazes me how some pictures will take off and others don’t. 

For example, my peeps back in Luxemburg, Wisconsin can tell you about a restaurant there called Billy’s on Main.  During a visit with my dad back in November, I snapped two pictures.  One of Michelle’s fried shrimp and baked potato and one of my prime rib and twice-baked potato.  Michelle’s shrimp was selected as a featured photo for the listing and has been viewed over 20,000 times so far.  The prime rib, not so much.

But what is amazing is that Luxemburg only has a population of around 2,500 people.   That can give some idea of just how busy this place is. 

So next time you pull up some info on a restaurant or some other attraction around the country.  You just might be looking at one of my food shots.  Hope they come in handy for you. 

Year One

Year One

My phone gave it’s telltale vibration followed by the familiar “Oooooogah-Oooooogah” submarine klaxon while we were in Wal-Mart this morning. 

“Ooogah”, as we’ve come to call it, signifies a call from our dispatchers letting us know they have a load offer for us.  I answer the call and hear a greeting from “Dispatch Dave” as we’ve come to call him.  I responded with “Hey Dave, it’s our one-year anniversary with the company, get us a load”!  That garnered a good-natured​ laugh from Dave.  One year ago, Dave got us our first expedite load (and many more since then) so we’ve always had a special place in our hearts for him.  A few phone calls later, our first load of our second year was booked…A couch going from Archdale, NC to Pittsburgh, PA.  And away we go.

Before we left for Wal-Mart, I snapped the photo of our Year One mileage. Over 132,000 miles in one year.  Holy crap!  Our van “Tootsie” has been to 44 of the lower 48 states and Washington DC plus a brief run into Canada.  She’s hauled everything from two bushings you could hold in the palm of your hand to a 2000 pound locomotive turbo to a load of mirrors for Mack trucks to 30 cases of wine.  She’s not picky.  (Btw, the only states we haven’t been to are North and South Dakota, Montana and Washington.)

Reflecting on the past year, both Michelle and I agree it probably been the best year of our lives.  We’ve seen more of this country in the past 12 months than most see in a lifetime, and we’ve been lucky enough​ to be able to do it together.  

Granted, it’s not all fun and games.  Sleeping on the floor of the van after 28 straight hours of driving because we’re too tired to blow up our air mattress isn’t much fun.  Neither is having to deal with public restrooms on a daily basis.  Or never really knowing where or when your next shower is going to come from.

But for all of the negatives, the perks are outstanding…With one in particular: the people.  We get to meet new people on almost a daily basis.  And for all the negativity in the world today, there sure are a lot of nice folk out there.  Of course we can’t forget all of the friends and family we’ve been able to reconnect with.  It’s awesome to be able to visit folks you thought you might never see again.

So what’s in store for year two?  More driving obviously.  But hopefully more “smart” driving.  There’s a certain amount of luck in being in the right place to catch a load.  There’s also some skill involved with putting yourself in the best place.  We’ve spent our first year learning the ropes and it seems to have paid off.  Our load brokers told us recently that we are now one of the top trucks in the company.  Hopefully that will translate to better loads and less time spent waiting.  Which, in turn, will translate into more time off and more time to enjoy the places we visit.

I’m​ sure you may have some questions about what we do and the places we go.  So we’re going to try to keep this old blog going and update it more often.  Those of you who follow us on Facebook may still want to check in here from time to time as we may post things here occasionally that might not make it to your timeline.  We’ve got a few stories you haven’t heard and few pictures you haven’t seen.  So come along for the ride and don’t forget to sing along.