Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Short Lesson on Capitalism

As a free-market proponent and a libertarian, I find I very much want people to understand the basic rules of capitalism. Here they are:

  • proper nouns
  • names of languages
  • most words in titles
  • days of the week
  • the first word of a sentence

Hope that was helpful.

- Trevor


Limon, CO

Monday, April 7, 2008

License Plates

I know the pictures don't show these plates very well, but I did the best I could while staying safe.

This plate is PECK. Really.







This license plate was: ILIAD.

I thought, "Hmm... Must be an English teacher or something." Then I thought, "Hey, that plate would be funny on a Honda Odyssey," I looked back over, and Bingo! That's what that is!

That's a nice plate.


This plate is: WHLSUP

I was thinking: That's not right, you don't want your wheels up while driving, you're supposed to keep them down. Hmm... maybe the guy's a pilot.

So I looked back, and again - it's a Honda Pilot! Honda has too many funny license plate cars.


- Trevor.


Rawlins, WY

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Wyoming Crash

P4010021 Loyal readers will no doubt be aware that I lost two days of last week to a winter storm closing the roads. Wyoming is famous for not doing much to take care of the roads, they simply let them get bad, then close them. Compare that to Iowa, where you see snowplows out ahead of the storm, laying a coating on the road that helps to keep it from icing.

This picture, if you look closely, shows the parade of trucks leaving the Petro and Pilot once the road opened again - by my count it took three hours to empty the truck stops of westbound traffic - and the police were not only directing traffic to speed things up, but they were turning cars around and sending them to another interchange about a mile away.

For this particular storm, however, the two days I lost were nothing compared to what some people lost. When we finally got rolling on Tuesday afternoon, I saw four miles of debris about a hundred miles or so down the road. There was freight, tracks from all manner of vehicles, parts of vehicles, clothes and personal belongings, and a lot of stuff I couldn't identify. There was also this truck, one picture taken coming up to it, and one reasonably lucky shot over my shoulder as I passed at about 65 mph:

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I couldn't even guess at what kind of trailer that used to be. If I had a way to insert a moment of silence into my blog, this would be where.







There was another crash that Tuesday afternoon, and the drivers coming eastbound were saying it was about a six mile backup, so I stopped and tried to take a nap, hoping to wake up in the middle of the night and drive on to Salt Lake City. I did get a short nap, eventually, and then drove to about the forty mile-marker on I-80, figuring I could sleep 8 hours and then drive in to SLC (excuse me, officer, that's a typo, of course I meant I could sleep for ten hours - really, look at my log book). When I woke up the next morning, the road was a skating rink. I saw two zambonis and a couple of Red Wing Jerseys in the first mile! I finally decided to give up when I saw this:



So I stopped at that T/A you can see in the background of the picture. Luckily, the sun came out and dried up the road around ten or so, and I made my deliveries in the Salt Lake area that Wednesday afternoon. The trip to Washington was pretty uneventful. I'm now back in Wyoming, not all that far from where I was stuck last week, and this time my truck is in the shop with a transmission problem. I should find out in the morning, but right now we're optimistic that it simply needs an adjustment, and I can get back to work.

This hasn't been the best west-coast turn I've ever had, but if I get rolling early tomorrow with a small or reasonable-sized repair bill, it won't be the worst. And either way, while I might not be in a very good situation right now, I'm a lot better off than the people who spent Monday night on that four-mile stretch of Wyoming highway.

- Trevor


Rawlins, WY. Quality Inn Room 165. Using Taco John's wifi Internet access from next door because the hotel's doesn't seem to be powerful enough to work in room 165. (I ate at Taco Johns - it only seemed fair. Pretty Yummy, too.)

Some Old Business

Egyptian Hay Forklifts on My Flatbed


I told Austin about these forklifts when I picked them up, and had Mama look up a picture of one online by using the model number. I don't think I ever showed him this picture of the three of them actually on my truck, so I hope he checks the blog.
Below are some pictures of that trip from Salt Lake City to Houston, from the day after I loaded the forklifts. Sorry I don't have any pictures from when it got really bad out there - I was kinda busy keeping it 'Shiny Side Up and Rubber Side Down'

P1050013 P1050014 P1050016 P1050017 P1050019 P1050018 P1050020

I know you can't see it very well (if you want to, try clicking on the image for a bigger image), but there's a semi-truck that slid off the road in the fifth picture. I couldn't help him because to get out of the way of traffic behind me I would have gotten stuck too, but I asked him on the radio if he needed help, and when he asked me to send a him a tow I called 911 (didn't have a phone book handy) and they were very helpful. Hopefully they followed through (I bet they did.)


As a truck driver, we're often forced to make choices between two bad options, like when we're not supposed to be driving because we've used up our log hours but there's no place to legally park. Stop or go, either way you're breaking the law. They're not usually as blatant about it as at this particular intersection (I think it was in Cleveland, but I could be way off). If you look closely in the upper left hand corner you'll see a red light, which as a traffic control device means 'stop'. If you look closely at the right side, you'll see a sign that says "NO STOPPING ANY TIME". I chose to stop anyway.

- Trevor


Rawlins, WY. Quality Inn, Room 165. Truck Broken.

The Three Keys to Happiness

I just realized today that I have three assets that, taken together, have everything a man needs to make himself and his family very happy: Laziness, good disability insurance, and a high tolerance for pain.

Hmm... On second thought, I really only have the first of those three. I'll work on the other two and get back to you.


- Trevor.


Vader, WA

Ratatouille and Local Area Networks

I just received one of those helpful emails that Amazon.com sends out with recommendations. I like these emails, because they usually recommend to me books and other products that I am especially interested in. Of course, I often visit the library to read those recommendations, but I buy from Amazon often enough that I don't feel bad about taking their recommendations elsewhere. :-)

This email had something strange in it, and if any of you could explain the connection, I would be most grateful. Here's the bit that seemed strange to me:

We recommend: Ratatouille
DVD ~  Ian Holm

  Recommended because you purchased or rated:
    * NETGEAR FS105 ProSafe 5-Port 10/100 Desktop Switch

- Trevor.


Vader, WA

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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Things Kesia Said

Kesia came with me in the truck for a while last summer. She said a couple of funny things, and I thought I'd tell you about them.

One day I was teaching her about the meaning of the lines on the road. Specifically I was pointing out to her that if the yellow line is solid in the lane you're in, that's a no passing zone, and you can't cross over to the other lane. We started down a mountain grade a short time later, and I pulled out to pass a slow truck (he was heavy, I was light). Traffic coming the other way was not allowed to pass, so the line was solid yellow on their side. When we got fully into that lane, Kesia, said, "Oh No! Now we can't go back over there!"

I guess I should try to be a little more clear. ;-)


Later in the same day, we stopped for fuel. We were "Running With" another truck, and when I pulled away from the fuel island they (a father/son team) were not yet ready to go, so I stopped along the exit drive out of the way of other trucks. As I came to a stop we passed a "No Parking" sign, and Kesia just had time to read the "No." So she asked, "What did that sign say 'No' about?" When I told her that it said 'no parking', she said, "Dad, you're breaking the law!"

I asked her if she thought I'd get arrested, and she thought for a minute before replying, "No, I guess no one will be able to see the sign until you move."


- Trevor


Laramie, WY

Wyoming Roads

Well, my plan was to park somewhere in far western Wyoming on Sunday night. Or maybe even in Utah. I had to be fairly close to Salt Lake City, because I needed to be there at 8 am and I don't much like getting up early - the closer I parked the later I could get up and still make it on time.

I stopped at the Flying J in Cheyenne, WY to squeeze in as much fuel as I could, since it costs a bit less there than farther west, and I never even went in the building. I hopped right back on the highway, the entire stop probably took me less than fifteen minutes from the time I exited - and that might be some kind of record.

I knew I was going to run into a little bit of snow, partly because I'd looked up the weather report online and saw some pockets of snow here and there, but mostly because a lot of trucks coming from the other direction were covered with ice and muck - I think I even saw a little yuck on a few of them.

As I got close to Laramie the CB started making noises like this:

'Well, is 30 open? 30 would take us right around.'

'Where did you say it was closed?'

'What about 287? doesn't that go around the mountain?'

Those are the kind of noises that usually mean one thing: Your plans are about to change.

So, it's Tuesday afternoon, and I'm sitting parked on a residential street in Laramie, WY, waiting for the road to open.

Why on a residential street?

Why on a residential street? Well, Sunday, when the signs kicked us off the highway, I was able to snag one of the last few spots at the Petro, and it turned out my Flying J Wifi Internet Access even worked off and on. That was lucky! Then on Monday morning they opened the road. Knowing how things tend to happen right after they open the road, I waited a couple hours before leaving. But of course, They closed the road just as I left the Petro. Luckily, I was able to turn around at the truck stop exit and even get my old spot back!

I figured they'd clean up whatever happened and open the road again later that evening, so I went to get something to eat. I overheard a driver tell another that he had been about 60 miles down the road when they made them turn around - due to a pretty horrific crash, apparently - and he decided to come all the way back. I did the math and realized that in order to make that turn around in sloppy weather in a company truck, it's pretty likely he was one of the first drivers to leave when they opened the road. Since he still didn't get through, I had definitely made the right decision by waiting.

But they never did open the road that night. They put a recording on the 511 line that said it would be closed until sometime in the morning on April first - that turned out to be true, by the way, it was closed until every point of this morning, and still is. But - I had been watching the Internet road information, and at 10:07 this morning Wyoming's web site said the road had opened... but still no one was leaving the truck stop! This seemed like a perfect opportunity to get out ahead of the rush, and therefore avoid the dangers of driving in the big pack. This turned out to be a mistake.

First, there was a huge line of trucks and other traffic waiting on the shoulder of the road for when it opens - and they all would have been either in front of me or right with me. Second, the road was still closed! Yep, it said it was open on Wyoming's own web site - still does, as a matter of fact - but the signs, barriers, and state vehicles parked in the way of the ramp are pretty strong evidence that it's not true. What does that mean to me? Well, it means I gave up my cozy little spot with Internet access, proximity to food, and most importantly, proximity to a bathroom. I doubt anyone else had taken my spot, but it was very difficult to get out of in the first place because of the overflow of trucks, and it would be nearly impossible to get back in it.

So here I sit on this residential street, typing this using Windows Live Writer and knowing that I'll get to post it - eventually. I know the Wyoming web site still says the road is open because Lisa checked for me - but the 511 phone message now says "will be closed until sometime today" instead of "until sometime this morning".

The hold up has already cost me any chance at getting paid this week (this'll be two in a row due to Easter) - and if I don't get to go deliver pretty soon it will actually lower the amount by a week's worth of expenses, because I'll get paid a week later but not have any more loads finished that I can turn in.

But, after all that, the only thing that really gets me down at all, is that if I weren't going to be working anyway, it sure would have been nice to spend this time with Lisa and the kids. I'm very glad I got to see them (and Mom!) last week, or this would be unbearable.


- Trevor


Laramie, WY

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