On a Roll

On a Roll

Nearly non-stop this week after dropping in Del Rio, Texas Sunday evening. Rolled off to San Antonio and grabbed a hotel room to catch up on some sleep. Then got a shorty on Monday from San Antonio to El Paso, Texas.

Delivered in El Paso Tuesday morning and got about 3 hours of sleep before winning a load to Illinois which delivers early Thursday morning.

Just outside of St. Louis this afternoon, we were able to lock in a load from Wisconsin after we drop off Thursday morning heading for a Friday delivery in eastern Pennsylvania.

Makin hay while the sun shines…as the saying goes.

Run for the Border

Run for the Border

Foggy, hazy view from the office window in Oklahoma this morning as we make a run for the border from the Chicago area to Del Rio, Texas.

Nice to catch one of those rare Saturday loads but kind of bummed because I’m not going to be able to watch the Packers. Oh well, I guess that’s what satellite radio is for.

Legendary Chili

Legendary Chili

We’ve all been there. Sooner or later it will happen to you if you use a public toilet on a regular basis.

Early in our expediting career, we took a load of freight to a business in southern Tennessee. We drove all night and delivered first thing in the morning. As is our usual routine, we headed to the nearest truck stop to use the restroom and then try to catch a nap before the next load comes in.

I headed for the restroom to conduct my morning business and when I enter, there are three toilet stalls. The first was occupied, the second and third handicap were not. I chose door number two and settled in.

Suddenly I hear the restroom door burst open and make out the sound of someone practically sprinting through the room to the handicap stall. A frantic struggle ensued as the poor fella feverishly worked to get his garments out of the line of fire.

A moment later I hear him take a seat and what followed was, in its own bizarre way, impressive. The poor fella grunted once and let loose a truly massive amount of gas followed by that sweet sweet sigh of relief. Then he got down to business.

While this is all transpiring, the restroom door opened and someone else, who we would in short order, find out was an acquaintance of Mr. Massive Flatulence. After a fit of laughter and apparently concerned with the well-being of his buddy, he fired off some rapid-fire Spanish which I was unable to decipher (knew I should have taken that third year of Spanish in high school). Mr. MF’s response was hilarious.

He addressed his friend in Spanish as well except for three words: “four bean chili” then proceeded to drop another massive bomb.

It was too much. His friend cracked up. I lost it. Even the guy in the first stall was laughing out loudly as the poor fella finished with a bang.

It may be childish and gross, but I’ll always remember the backlash of the four bean chili. It’s the stuff from which legends are made.

Midnight Run

Midnight Run

It’s 10:59pm CDT Friday night at a truck stop in West Memphis, Arkansas. I had drifted off to sleep for about a half hour after dropping the phone on my face twice trying to finish a game of Candy Crush Friends. Michelle had given in a little earlier and was fast asleep. We were both exhausted from driving all night on Thursday from the Dallas/Fort Worth area to Marmaduke, Arkansas and then relocating back to the Memphis area. It was a warm, humid night so we had our portable AC set up and the muted purring of our generator outside helped lull us to sleep.

Then the Star Trek red-alert ringtone went off on my phone signalling a love/hate call from one of our load brokers. We love to get the call, especially after sitting all day and missing out on at least three loads that would have brought us back home. But we also hate to get that call when we’ve only gotten an hour or less of sleep.

“I’ve got the customer on the other line,” the voice said, “they’ve got two small boxes totalling about 10 pounds that needs to go from Memphis to Homewood, Illinois. About 512 miles loaded.”

“Pickup ASAP or in the morning?” I asked, already knowing the answer.

“ASAP. Delivers direct,” came the reply. Michelle and I collectively groan. (Direct essentially means as fast as you can get it there, allowing, of course, for normal bathroom and fuel stops.)

We could have turned down the load. But when the customer stays on the line, they tend to be a little more desperate and we knew we would be in a good area for our next load so we threw in a higher-than-normal bid and hung up.

11:01pm CDT. The red alert sounds again. Another collective groan.

“Hey, we got that load. I’ll send the info as soon as I get it.”.

“Ok, we’ll be rolling as soon as we get our generator and AC put up.” Michelle is already moving as I finish the call and hang up. We throw on the work clothes, disassemble our AC setup and generator, and make a quick run to the restroom. The email with our instructions comes in while we’re in the restroom so we’re off and running 18 minutes from the initial call.

Expediting life.
It’s not just a.job, it’s an adventure. 😁

Rolling to Texas

Rolling to Texas

All good things must come to an end. Our week off around Labor Day got rolling Tuesday with a medium-size run of just over 1300 miles from NC to Jayton, TX.

It’ll be nice to get a break as it seems we are often busier at home than we are on the road. Finally had the rear brakes replaced on the van as they were starting to squeel after 165,000 miles. Front brakes are still going.

A couple of doctor appointments, a Covid-19 test for Michelle (negative thankfully) and an unexpected trip to the ER when Michelle had an allergic reaction to some new medication were other highlights of the week.

Snapped a pic of the sunset in Georgia. Haze from all the wildfires out west made looking right at the sunset kind of cool.

Getting Cozy

Getting Cozy

Everyone knows when you build a home, you need to put insulation in your walls and ceiling to make your house more energy efficient…warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

We learned that lesson as well in our home on wheels. Our first van “Tootsie” came with a factory-installed wall covering that doubled as a layer of insulation. The problem was there wasn’t anything in between the metal walls and the wall covering and it left the ceiling completely bare. The result was a very cold van in the winter and a van that heated up very quickly in the summer. We ultimately had to get a rather expensive Espar heater installed to make it through the cold weather. And we had to carry a portable air conditioner for the warm months.

So when we had to let go of Tootsie and picked up our new gas van “Tiberius” in August of 2019, we decided to go a slightly different route and get the walls and ceiling insulated. An acquaintance of ours who did the floor and e-track work and took my idea for a bed platform and ran with it in Tootsie, said it would be no problem putting in some insulation and walls in the new van. We brought him the van and the bed platform we stripped out of Tootsie over Labor Day weekend in 2019 and he went to work.

The new plywood floor and e-track went down and the insulation and walls went in. The bed platform followed as well as our Rubbermaid Fast Track for hanging stuff up as well as our overhead storage hammock for storing lightweight blankets and pillows.

After a year of use, we can say the insulation has paid for itself several times over. It kept the van much warmer and has allowed us to avoid an expensive Espar heater. The trade-off being that we now run just a small space heater with our portable generator to provide the heat. We still carry our portable AC and generator for the summer, but it now is able to keep up even on very warm days. In Tootsie, we usually didn’t make it much past 9am before the AC couldn’t keep up. In Tiberius, there have been hot days where we’ve been able to stay in the van all day without overheating. Insulation is the bomb!

Just in case you were wondering about our sleeping arrangements in the van, you can see the metal and wood platform folded up against either wall in the photos above. When we unstrap them and lower them over the wheel wells, four support legs fall to hold the platform up in the middle. The extra width then gives us room to inflate a queen-size air mattress so we sleep in comfort. It takes the two of us about 15 minutes to fully set up or take down the system, but we feel the extra comfort is worth the effort. It all results in what you see below.

“Mean” Gene

“Mean” Gene

Growing up in northeast Wisconsin, every kid my age knew about AWA Wrestling. We stayed up late on Saturday nights (before VCRs and DVRs) to watch legends like “Mad Dog” Vachon, Da Crusher, Baron Von Rasche, Nick Bockwinkel (who I once met at a WWF show in Madison, nice guy), Greg Game and many others.

Between the matches, the glue holding the show together was an interviewer named Gene Okerlund. Okerlund’s style and ability to sell the product was legendary. He later moved on to the WWF/WWE with the nickname “Mean” Gene Okerlund given to him by legendary wrestler Jesse “The Body” Ventura though he reportedly was one of the nicest guys you’d ever meet.

Okerlund finished out his career and lived a semi-retired life doing occasional spots for the WWE and also independent wrestling promotions. It was his work for Imperial Wrestling in October 2017 that led us to cross paths.

We had delivered some freight to a small town in rural Oklahoma on a Saturday afternoon then headed to nearby Ardmore, Ok to grab a hotel room for the night.

The next morning, as we were walking into the breakfast room at the hotel, we noticed a small group of people gathered around a table listening to an old man tell stories. It suddenly occurred to me the old man was none other than Mean Gene sitting next to wrestling legend Tatanka!

The breakfast room was full so Michelle and I took our breakfast out to the lobby where I had her lie in wait with camera at the ready. Okerlund soon appeared and I pounced like the fanboy I was, asking for a quick photo and gushing about watching him while growing up in Wisconsin. He took it in stride posing for the photos and mentioning his wife was also from Wisconsin. He then excused himself saying they were in a hurry to get to a wrestling show in Dallas that afternoon.

Sadly, Mean Gene passed away just over a year later but I’ll always have fond memories and my pictures.

Close Encounters

Close Encounters

One of the places in the US that we’ve wanted to visit ever since we started this adventure has always been out of reach for us until recently. We don’t generally spend a lot of time in northern Wyoming so getting to Devil’s Tower National Monument seemed out-of-touch and we weren’t expecting to get there without taking time off.

But a recent load from Washington state to Iowa changed all of that. As we were planning out our route, I noticed we would be passing within a stone’s throw of the Tower. We did some quick calculations and found we could take the detour and still deliver our load on time so off we went.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get there until late afternoon and the visitor center was closed due to Covid-19 so we didn’t think it would be worth it to pay the admission. But the great thing about Devil’s Tower is even if you can’t get close up, you can still get some great pictures.

Guess we’ll just have to go back for the close-ups. 😁