Saturday, June 30, 2007

More Than Halfway

We're more than halfway through the old photos... and then you can start seeing uninteresting photos that are current!

These are mostly self-explanatory. I should mention that the first truck was mine, and was parked there, not crashed, and that the other trucks were crashed there, but were not mine.

Kesia is mine, and she wasn't crashed or parked. She wasn't even praying or anything, she just blinked. But I think she looks cool.

More Old, (and even less interesting), Photos

That's not a joke, it's an actual tank crossing (the road is even reinforced!). This is on Fort Irwin Road, just south of Fort Irwin in Southern California.


There is no doubt that this is the coolest building I've ever seen.

The Longaberger Basket Company Headquarters, somewhere in Southern Ohio.

That's Austin over there <---.

And that is Austin's Apple Pie.

There's our house, and my old truck.

Week in Review

As I wrapped up the last review, Danielle and I were in Gulfport, MS, planning to deliver in Savannah, GA on Monday. We did that. We then went to Jackson, GA, and picked up 15,000 pounds of metal roofing for McGuire Air Force Base. The security people there were very nice and competent, but I would have felt just as safe and happy if I hadn't needed to talk to them. Danielle has a nice visitor pass for a souvenir, so I guess it wasn't a total waste of time.

We went from there to a steel mill in Claymont, DE, and picked up 40,000 pounds of plate steel for a shop in Ithaca, MI. That's apporoximately 112.3 miles from our house in Branch, so that's where we went next. And that's where we are now. And that's where we're going to be for awhile! Well, a few days, anyway. Then I will be going back to work, and soon after that Danielle, JJ, and Kesia will be going to camp! (Springhill, Evart, MI).

Sorry there aren't any pictures, but the camera is all the way out in the truck... and that's all the way out in the driveway, so I'm not going to go get it. I'm going to sit here on the couch for a little while longer. I might even post another group of old pictures, and if I do, then you have probably seen them already before you read this.

- Trevor.
Branch, MI

Friday, June 29, 2007

If you've run out of fries, look under the seat in your car.

But only eat them if they're McDonald's fries, and only if they still look the right color. Crunchy is ok... but make sure to dip them in this Catch-up:

This guy's got a lot of guts.

This is somewhere in Oklahoma, I think. Could be Texas. I'm pretty sure it's behind a BP Gas Station / Truck Stop / Burger King.

This truck passed me while we were driving on solid ice in Oklahoma one night. The lady in the truck stop said it was their second ice storm in a week or so, and that they had run out of salt for the roads. I know that at points I was going less than 15 mph and was nervous about going that fast. I finally found a spot at a rest area, and gave up, even though I needed to keep going. I snapped this picture the next morning, about five miles past the rest area I stopped at.

I went anyway.

It was fun.

The kids enjoyed our trip to the Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City, MI back in 2005. (I did too, but don't tell them, 'k?)

No reason for this picture of Austin at Michigan's Adventure (circa 2005) to be here, I just like the little guy.

- Trevor.
Branch, MI

Saturday, June 23, 2007

One More to Dip Your Fries In

I think Austin might want that Apple, Kesia. Just a guess.

Ok, Mine are in the middle. Maybe I shouldn't tell you what they're laughing at... well, ok, I guess I will. We carry FRS radios for safety and convenience when "out in public". Danielle and JJ each had one, and so did I. When the kids realized the radios wouldn't fit in the Frog Hopper with them, the ride operator kindly held them during the ride. When he took them, in the spirit of having fun, he put one up to each ear, and I couldn't resist, so I said, "Don't put that there!"

And that's kinda what makes this picture, from a few minutes later, a little funny:

Sorry, Dude.

Here's 'The Next Thing' When we still had high hopes for it. The main idea of using this truck was to be by that little guy on the right more often. I'm still glad I tried. Not sure I tried the right way, but glad anyway.

Yep - this was thrown there. Good shot, Bug!

Ok, you wouldn't think this plaque would be interesting. But when you're giving an award for precision service, don't you think you might want to spell the name of the city correctly?!? Apparently not for this store in Fernley, NV.

- Trevor.
Gulfport, MS

More Catch-up Anyone?

I don't talk much on the CB anymore, but here's proof that I know how.

Some of them speak for themselves. This is from a convenience store at the Oklahoma Turnpike Service Plaza near Atoka, OK.

Stop reading these words and look at the picture again.

It's right over there -->.

Now, those plaques are part of a presentation that is made in rest areas across Iowa. They don't have anything to do with the bathrooms. But I can tell you that I was nervous the whole time I was sitting down in there.

Very nervous.

Ok, first, no it can't, because you've just given me notice - it says so there in big letters, at the top. Second, don't you think your time designing that pretty border and protecting your sign in plastic would have been better spent, say, calling a Plumber?!?

- Trevor.
Gulfport, MS

Old Pictures

I said I felt like I needed to "catch-up" by posting old pictures. Here I go.

This is Christmas 2006. We thought Austin had some sort of disease, since we couldn't find any reason for his eye to be like this... and he was extremely uncomfortable and ornery besides. But then, a few hours later, he was fine. Apparently, he just had something in his eye that we couldn't see. Maybe it was a twinkle.

This picture is affectionately known as "Dabutch". Jesse (Hecksel) took this shot of Danielle sometime in about 1997 or '98 at Butch's Beach Burrito's in Grand Haven, MI.

Butch's is one of a short list of things I miss about where I grew up.

Danielle is one of a long list of things I usually miss when away from home. But right now, I don't miss her at all, because, well, she's right over there.

This is me right after winning a poker tournament at The Little River Casino in Manistee, MI, on October 11th, 2005. They were remodeling the room, so this is one of very few pictures of me where the background is not (much) better looking than me.

This was my first live poker tournament ever, and I think there were 56 entries.

We started with 1500 chips, and on the first hand I was dealt pocket Kings. For those of you who don't know about poker, pocket Kings on the first hand is a very good start. Unfortunately, I lost about half of my chips, because by the river it was clear I had been beat. It threw me for a little while, because I worried I had made a mistake... but by watching the nice lady who beat me, I soon learned that I had done the right thing, and that she had outdrawn me on the river, as I had suspected.

With that recovery complete, I played very well the rest of the day. No incredibly lucky hits, but a few nice draws. I did, at one point, hit an inside straight-flush draw... but I had my opponent covered by a lot - a loss would have been almost meaningless, and a win would move me up in the money by eliminating him (7th). I also had 14 other cards that would win for me, and two cards to come. That makes it almost 50-50 to win. Everybody told me how lucky I was to hit that seven - but it wasn't exactly a stunner for me to win the hand.

The best part of this whole thing is that I also won the next live tournament I played, at the Wildhorse in Pendleton, Oregon.

I don't play much anymore, as I don't have much time for leisure nowadays, and if I count it as work, it's way too stressful. Maybe someday...

Here are a couple of Danielle on our lucky chance stopover at Walt Disney World resort. I don't remember when this was exactly... I could probably look it up, but I'm not going to. The picture of her sitting on the plant food is relevant because her sisters (JJ and Kesia) got to go to Disney World a year or two (or three) earlier - and we got pictures of each of them in the same place. I could probably go get those and post them here too... only I'm not going to. The picture in front of the guitar is at Disney MGM Studios, because luckily for Danielle my dispatchers could not find any frieght for me so we stayed a second day and went there. The roller coaster behind that guitar is the coolest one I've ever been on.

- Trevor.
Gulfport, MS

Friday, June 22, 2007

Week in Review

Last Friday found Danielle and I starting out in Amarillo, TX. From there we took a load of copper (3 pieces, 45,000 pounds - those were big pieces of copper!) to a town near Pittsburgh, PA. We then picked up some big hunks of steel and took them to Eagle Pass, TX and Laredo, TX. From there to Houston, TX to pick up some stainless steel that we plan to deliver Monday morning in Savannah, GA. We're stopped for the night in Gulfport, MS at the Flying J. (You'll find a lot of my posts happen in towns that have Flying J truck stops - that's because I get my wifi Internet access from the Flying J's.)

So from that Friday to this we crossed 18 state lines, traveled in 10 states, passed through two "May-I-See-Your-Papers, Please" border patrol checkpoints, traveled about 4050 miles and spent most of one day at the shop getting the truck worked on. It's a good thing Danielle does most of the driving or I would be pretty tired by now!

I didn't take very many pictures this week (although the Big Texan was just 8 days ago, and I took quite a few there), but here are a couple that might be mildly interesting.

This is just a picture I couldn't resist taking that shows how clean and polite some people are on the road. Apparently a truck driver decided he didn't want his sandwich and threw it out the window. The picture clearly shows that the driver was less than ten feet from a trash can. And yes, as careful as I was, I stepped in it while fueling. I suppose it's possible that the sandwich was dropped accidentally - but even so... why not pick it up and put it in the trash can? I attempted to do so, but didn't have the right tools to pick it up once it was smashed.

I'm not at all sure what this is about. There are about four of these on US 69 in Oklahoma just south of the Oklahoma turnpike. They've been there for quite a while. If anyone knows the story, I'd love to hear it (even if you have to make it up first...).

- Trevor.
Gulfport, MS.

Happy Birthday, JJ!

I loved you then and I love you now,
But wearing my underwear I will no more allow!

On your special day, although I'm away,
My thoughts are with you, and all my love too.

Of embarrasing photos many more did I find,
Too bad tonight I've run out of time.

I guess for this year they'll have to be shelved -
But next year, same day, don't forget - you'll turn twelve!

All my love,
- Dad e.
Gulfport, MS

Friday, June 15, 2007

My Family

This blog entry intentionally has no words in it, just pictures. ;-)



LisaTrevor (& Austin)

Too Many Posts

I know I'm posting too much, but spare time comes in spurts in the trucking game. I might put in a few a day for a week, and then none for three weeks. So if it's too much - stop reading them! They're certainly not as important as, say, vacantly staring into space for a few minutes.

- Trevor.
Joplin, MO

The Big Texan - Revisited

SeaSaw Mom said...
ok, just a couple things...
1) well, at least you were near the bathroom when you had that experience
2)what's with the limo?
3)please tell me you shared the cake with Kesia...and a few hungry cowboys
4)sorry, what are the spoiler pics?

June 15, 2007 5:22 PM

1) Yes, well, if only I'd brought a spare pair.

2) I didn't explain the limo?!? The limo is available on CB channel 32. It's free! From RV parks, hotels, and truck stops in or near Amarillo. They also have a phone number, which I had to look up and call because my wimpy little CB radio couldn't raise them from the Flying J. Oh, and if you're not with a little girl who would very much enjoy the limo ride, they also feature plenty of truck parking.

3) Yes, I shared it with her, and between the two of us we ate about half of the piece. The waitress talked us into bringing what was left in the truck with us "for later," so we threw it away after about a week or so. Oh, and the way we got the cake is mildly interesting as well. With the children's meal ($6.95), is included your choice of ice cream or a cowboy hat ($2.99 each in the gift shop). Kesia really wanted both, so I said let's get the hat, and then maybe, like, a piece of cake. I didn't know that the cake ($7.99) was going to cost more than two of the hats!

SPOILER WARNING: stop reading if you're going to the Big Texan and like surprises.

4) The spoiler pics are the ones of the photographs. The scary parts only show up from certain angles, so they just look like regular old photos... until they scare the pants off you. Which they won't do now, because you didn't skip that post. :-)
Oh, and while there is a more popular ladies room farther down the hall that doesn't take you past the pictures, there's also a ladies room down the hall with the pictures, by the only men's room. So don't feel like the pictures are only for the men. :-)

- Trevor.
Joplin, MO.

Nada Spot

CB Slang, or trucker talk, is a hobby of mine. I can't listen to the CB much anymore as it's too hateful and disgusting, but it used to be ok in most places.

So when I find illustrations for some words and phrases, I'll post them here.

This truck is parked in a nada spot, as in "that is not a spot."

These days you can find many trucks parked in nada spots, reasons include:
1) Laziness (near the door, or unwilling to do the work involved in parking)
2) Inability to safely back into a spot
3) Parking lot is full
and D) Truck is just too big.

I think we can go with 'D' for this example.

- Trevor.
Tulsa, OK.

Panic Stop

About an hour ago, I had to swallow my heart to get it back in my chest after having successfully accomplished one of the quickest panic stops I've had to make in 10 years of driving trucks. I was not tailgating, speeding, or being inattentive. I tend to drive slower than most traffic in cities, (and faster than most outside of them). I was in a city (Tulsa, OK), and I was driving slower than traffic. I was watching a long way ahead to be aware of any hazards that might arise, but there was a curve coming up and I couldn't see as far as I would have liked. Although I could see at least ten vehicles ahead of me, I had almost no warning before all of them stopped. Luckily, I had left more room than I thought I needed. I was wrong... I needed almost all of it. It took me about five minutes before I got back to breathing normally.

As it turns out, what I felt was nothing compared to the complete terror that must have nearly consumed the people in the vehicles (pictured below) that were the "cause" of the backup. I don't know, but it looks like those people are ok.

Sorry the pictures aren't very good, but since I needed to get to speed as soon as possible to help ease the backup, and I needed to do it safely, I just held out the camera and clicked, hoping for a good picture or two.

Please, wear your seatbelt, stay *far* behind the vehicle in front of you, and don't take risks to save a few seconds. I see crashes this severe and worse every week, and sometimes more often.

It seems clear from this picture that the crash is the fault of the truck, and likely that's so. But that doesn't mean that there is nothing the cars could have done to avoid this. This was *not* the first crash... vehicles in front of these crashed, causing a panic stop. Likely the van stopped, the black car was almost stopped, and the truck hit them. Had the van and or the car been farther back from the truck in front of them, they all would have had time to stop. You can see that about ten feet more might have done it.

So don't forget - if someone is very close behind you, you need to leave enough room in front for both of you. In this situation keep in mind that the person tailgating you is not a good driver and might need even more space than you would - so you might need more than double.

"Always leave yourself an out." That means always having a place to go to avoid dangers that are in front of you that you can't avoid - and the ones from behind you that aren't your fault but should be your concern.

For example, don't get next to a vehicle, especially a truck, until you can safely get all the way past - don't hang out with other vehicles next to you - they cut off your escape routes almost as certainly as the guardrail in the picture above did.

- Trevor.
Tulsa, OK.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Big Texan

From the Procrastinators convention of 1984 to pictures that are less than an hour old in only a couple of weeks?!? That's progress!

Editor's Note: The pictures were less than an hour old when the author *started* writing this entry.
WARNING: There are some spoiler pictures near the end of this post. If you plan to visit The Big Texan, and you like surprises, you might want to skip this post.

The limo driver said Danielle was "The Most-Important-Person-at-The-Big-Texan-Today" because she was the one getting out of the limo.

Danielle eating a 72 ounce steak, a salad, a potato, and a dinner roll in less than an hour? I think not. But they did say the youngest ever to accomplish the feat was an 11-year-old boy!
The limo driver thought it would be a good idea if he took a picture of the both of us in the wagon. I guess it's not all that bad.

Also, Danielle and I can walk around ok (so far), so I think it must be one of the horses that qualify us for the handicap spot.

My favorite photo of the day, hands down.

Here are some after dinner photos:

Yes, those are the same pictures from different angles. They are on the way to the men's bathroom, and the first time I saw it was out of the corner of my eye... it was an experience I'll never forget.

A very nice lady who works for The Big Texan offered to take this photograph. Strange that she would do that, I mean, my ugliness is standing right there in front of her, and she thinks it's a good idea to record it for posterity. Ah well, she was very nice, and maybe somebody will appreciate the picture anyway.

Now, if she had taken video of me trying to get out of that chair, that would definitely have been too much!

Here are two photos of Danielle at The Big Texan (June, 2007 - earlier today):

Here are two photos of JJ at The Big Texan (April, 2004):

I forgot my camera when I took Kesia to The Big Texan, but I snapped these with my cellphone (December, 2006):
Kesia, that piece of cake is as big as your head!

- Trevor.
Amarillo, TX.