And where is Groom, TX you ask? About 40 miles east of Amarillo in the pan handle. I left Amarillo very early Wednesday morning, headed east into what was supposed to be the heart of the rain and thunder storms. The moon was just a slice of what it usually is. I think it’s actually described as a quarter moon at this time of its cycle. Floating in and out of the rain cloud cover gave it an eerie sight. Thinking I was headed towards some bad weather made the sight of such a moon all the more menacing.

In the sky to the left of the moon, the clouds were being lite by what looked like a glow. In the middle of this glow was a very dark wide ‘line’. It looked like a search light I saw as a kid when a car dealer would want everyone to know he was having a sale and shine a powerful spotlight into the night sky, rotating it round in a circle. Thinking that tornadoes may be present made my mind see the dark ‘line’ as the center of a tornado or storm of some kind! As I drove closer the dark part got darker and the glow in the clouds got brighter. What city is in the area that would give off that kind of bright glow? Amarillo was behind me, OKC was 200miles ahead of me?

Then I saw it. As plain as day. The same think I see every time I drive I40 in central TX. It was a cross. Not just any cross but a huge white cross planted near the highway in Groom, TX. It is the second largest cross in the Western Hemisphere. The cross is 190ft high and can be seen from 20miles away. Erected in 1995, 10million people pass by every year and 1000 stop every day to walk around it. The cross weights 1250 tons and was welded together by 100 welders.

http://www.crossministries.net/

Pretty cool to see the reflection of a cross in the storm clouds above the highway. I thought that was a pretty interesting way of God telling me not to worry, He had everything under control.

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the smell of dry rain…

April 28, 2011

The dust is being kicked up by the really strong winds.

Aaron, hang in there, you have almost reached your goal. Just a few more months! You know you’ll be so proud of yourself when you’re finished. I’m very proud of you earning not only a BS degree but a Masters also. And you’ve put in the work necessary to earned them both from a real college rather than a paper mill. The real world knowledge you’ve gained from being in a classroom with other students and the prof can not be read in a book. You have set yourself up to do far more than I ever could.

The rain was just a sprinkle, just enough to make the windshield and truck dirty. You know what I mean. That newly fallen rain, that dusty smell from rain that’s falling somewhere near by but you don’t know where? And it smelled good! Of course, the dust the storm clouds helped create from the same desert wasn’t pretty. But the super large, white thunder heads sure were. They filled the entire sky. I’m not sure where that storm is headed but so far, I haven’t had any real rain. However, according to the weather report, I am headed right into the heart of that storm in MO. Oh, what fun!

3

The storm clouds being blown across the desert.

The wind blew me from Kingman, AZ across NM to Amarillo, TX today, helping me make 7.9mpg. Very cool. And that was averaging about 68mph. The cruise was set at 63 but the tail wind was working real hard to get me down the road in a hurry. Unfortunately I’m sitting in the t/s in Amarillo being rocked back and forth by the same wind. Should be an interesting night. I’ve again disconnected the trailer and moved away from it as the reefer is VERY loud and hard to sleep under.

More later….

PS- this is actually posted on 4-27-11. But for some reason didn’t make it to the internet. I’m really not sure why. So a day late and dollar short….. but enjoy.

It ended up to be a ‘wild’ day runnin’ down the road. Up early in Lordsburg, NM, so I arrived for my alignment appointment in Phx by 10am. Yet forgot to figure in the additional hour difference between where I was and the time in Phx. Soooool, it turned out to be even earlier then I thought I was. Fortunately, they had time available and was done and back heading to Ontario, CA by noon.

The drives were pretty much in alignment, good for saving rubber. The fronts were out [toe] a little, ‘Not much’, the repair man told me. But out enough to cause a front tire to be replaced. Now, that everything is in alignment, I should get 250k-300k out of all of them. Yet I have to check the air pressure every 3-5days and add as necessary. I have a special air hose I hook to one of the air lines going to the trailer and that will supply enough air pressure to fill any low tire. And the hose is long enough so I can fill any of the trailer tires also.

The weather is beautiful in the Southwest today, just a slight appearance of clouds, a gentle breeze and the sun shining at about 88degrees. Perfect CofC postcard weather. BUT it’s still early, so it’ll probably get HOT!

Waiting for the truck to be finished I took a walk. The shop is located under the freeway at 23rd Ave and McDowell in Phx. So I thought I’d go down McDowell and find some place to eat. I walked down to 35th Ave, ate at Jack’s Box and walked back. Passing me were at least 6 cop cars with lights going; 2 more SUV cops with lights. And a fire truck. All in about 90 minutes. I very good pat of town for this old guy to be walking in. Of course it was day, so what could have happened!

Sorry, none of the desert color photos turned out!

Coming out of the east through Birmingham, AL, towards the desert, everything is in bloom. The green fields of the south are beginning to grow and the desert is already bright with color. While I don’t care for Palo Verde trees, they are pretty in full color. And the late sunsets are making it hard to judge when to get to sleep for an early wake up call. Interestingly, the sun seems to ‘rise’ in different stages in different areas of the country. This morning in the Southwest it was shining about 5am local time. Where in the South on Wednesday, it wasn’t till almost 630am for the top of the sun to peak over the road. And no, the sun wasn’t hiding behind any mountains either.

A miracle happened before my very eyes this after noon just outside Quartzsite, AZ. An east bound semi got too close to the edge of the road and ran into the soft edge which sucked him down into the center median. He was looking right at me as he lost control of the rig. As he tried to steer it away from the west bound traffic, he was fighting the ruts and bush with nothing but dust flying everywhere. His brakes were probably pretty useless about now as he drove up the banking into the west bound traffic. But somehow he kept it out of anyone’s travel path and steered it back into the median, were it finally stopped and turned it over on its side. I was told he crawled out and was walking around. I can’t imagine how frightened he was thinking ‘this isn’t good’. Yet for half a minute I was real concerned he was coming up into my lane. As it turned out he came up towards the west bound traffic about 3 trucks behind me. I called 911 and then asked a trucker heading west about how it all turned out. Apparently, he was the only vehicle involved, ended up in the median, so no traffic was stopped, and no one was really hurt. I really hope he has insurance!

Hope everyone is doing well on this Good Friday. Everyone have their Easter outfits cleaned and ready to wear?

I’m not sure what this is but it really was tying up traffic in Dallas the other morning. If it was deeper I’d say it was a racing sail boat hull. It was curved so it’s hard to picture it a freeway something. And because it’s covered up pretty well means they didn’t want it wet, dirty or seen. Any guess???


A waterfall in MO, around Springfield.


A riverboat in Chattanooga, TN

And then there were only 16 tires under the truck rolling down the road. And fortunately, the missing two tires were from the trailer, so Doug doesn’t have to buy them. I was just cruising along on I20 120miles East of Dallas, TX when I hear a little pop and see rubber coming from the tire. I pull over as far as I can at the end of an on-ramp to check out the damage. The tires are still there for the most part but totally unusable and ready to come apart.

It took 30 minutes to finish contacting breakdown to order a repair truck to come out. IN about an hour, they should be here.

Only took them 30 minutes to arrive and start the repair. Hopefully, he’ll be finished in an hour or so.

See ya later….

great day for a drive…

April 18, 2011

A new road, at least to me, I’d never been on it before. US60 out of Springfield, MO to Paducah, KY. Rolling hills, green fields and beautiful blossoms on the trees. And 4-lane divided black-top.

Picked up my load of dough for WallyWorld yesterday morning. I had to get 2 steer tires. Remember the ones I probably should have changed last week! Yet yesterday was just as good a day. Balanced, installed and on my way in a couple of hours. Oh, it was smoooooth ridin’ today! But back to yesterday. After getting out of the tire shop about 1pm, I decided not to go further down the road. I cleaned the inside of the truck, did my laundry, got a shower, and had a haircut. All at the truck stop. Then took a short nap. Finished up with watching a movie I’d seen many times before.

This morning was bright and sunny against a light blue sky for most of the trip. Closer to KY I got the more clouds formed an overcast trying to block out the sun. After arriving at the T/S I took a walk to the Memorial Valor Garden Park in Oak Grove, KY. It honors the wars the US has fought over our history. Did you know we were at war almost constantly from the early 1700 to just before our Civil War? And we were only in WW1 a year? And that in Frisbee golf, they can use up to 12 different sizes and weight of Frisbees? Just like in little white ball golf, they have a different ‘kind’ of Frisbee for drivers, putters, and to turn right or left, up or down? Only in America!

I walked the path they have around the Frisbee gold course at the Park and read the markers for all the wars we’ve been in. No history was told about, just the name of the war and the years, from the Indian Wars to present day. The only large memorial was to Vietnam Veterans, naming the various branches of service. I was moved as I stood there thinking of what we should have learned there and are repeating today. From the creation of this country to the present we’ve had brave men and women fighting for us so we can live as we do. Thank you for your sacrifices.

Some of the pretty country side I drove through today. Very old towns, big houses with lots of colorful trees and bushes, a church from 1838, a ‘bonding company’ from the early 1840s and a post office from 1835. No WallyWorld, NO big box hardware store or drug store, no MickyD’s.

4-16-11

Pretty cool sun rise, either this morning or yesterday. The start of a new day, with all it may promise, really moves me to see the wonder in it all. The shades and colors, brightness through the clouds. Ever wonder why the morning sun, rising up in the sky, seems to rise faster than the setting sun takes to drop out of the sky? Maybe I simply notice it more as I drive into the rising and setting sun more often. Sorry about the bug spray!

All the way across NM, into TX and now in OK, the wind is just trying to blow me right of the road. Really glad I have some weight back there. But even at 68k# I’m get tossed around. I’m stopped in Erick, OK, just into Ok from TX. It’s about 9pm and the trucks just a-rock’in. I wonder if the truck will be blown over. I saw a Fed-Ex truck/trailer today on it’s side. They are real lite and they drive pretty fast, they make a better target for the wind to flip. Maybe it’ll rock me to sleep tonight! The good thing is the wind is coming out of the West at my back, pushing me across down the road. Maybe my fuel mileage will improve.

The front end smoothed out a lot today. The balancers must be working, as well as balancing the tires. Weather was nice most of the day, just windy and overcast as I drove through OKC and Tulsa towards Springfield, MO. I stopped in Joplin at 4-States Chrome Shop to price a tool box. With the addition of the APU, I’ve lost a lot of my storage space and would like to get it back. They had one but the service det. doesn’t work on weekends, so they couldn’t install it for me. Besides I was pre-planned to go to Monroe, GA with a load of frozen bread dough for Wally. And I need the miles more than the tool box.

Was in the caves this afternoon, they are so neat. Constant year round temp control, no matter the weather outside. And was able to switch trailers to a quieter one. Almost didn’t get it, a WSE company driver was looking for a trailer about 10 minutes after I started looking. They picked up the one I dropped. But being a team, they not notice the noise because one is always driving, while the other tries to sleep. I have no idea how that happens, with the way the truck bounces and rocks and rolls down the road…oh, well.

Driving out of Tulsa this afternoon, I changed lanes to let this truck get on the highway. It’s hauling a piece of concrete used for a freeway overpass. There was a second truck a little ways behind this one. They left me in their dust as they drive away about 70mph. The pilot car was following with everyone’s light flashing and red flags waving.

Sitting here in the Kraft parking lot, on top of the limestone caves. Will leave for Joplin in the early morning, be there about 8am, load the dough and head to GA. Plenty of time on this one, unload at 5pm Monday. It’s raining and really, really windy. I’m stilled hooked to the trailer and the wind is blowing me from side to side. I can hear it wiping through the hollow top section of the truck, sounding like something is being blown apart.

Being here in Springfield, I’m sure the internet will work, however, I’ve not tried it yet…

The caves….limestone with concrete sprayed on the inside to keep the rock from falling and the dust away.

4-14-11

OK, I have to be in a place that actually has internet coverage for me to add to my blog. I figured I was close enough to Bakersfield that there would be coverage. BUT I was wrong. TONIGHT it’ll be there! I hope.

Good couple of days on the road. Still a little behind in my driving time. I’ve grown to like getting up early, and hitting the highway about 5am. Gives me some time to pray without all the heavy traffic around. And for whatever reason my mind seems to be clearer at that time of day. Maybe not so much to look at! Anyway because I got finished so late Tuesday night, Wed morning I couldn’t leave until 9am. That put me very late finding a parking place tonight. Had to get pass Holbrook, AZ tonight.

I installed a set of Centamatic wheel balancers this morning on the steer tires. I’m hoping this will smooth out the steering as well as the ride. So far, not much. I found I have a very smooth siderail on one of my steer tires while I was having hem balanced. They used as much weight as possible to balance the tire but couldn’t go to ‘zero’. I’m hoping the Centamatics will balance it the rest of the way. The steel cords are not showing yet but will have to really watch it. A steer blowing out is NOT a good thing. I should probably replace it next week when I can get to a real tire shop. Because I threw away the old tire I was carrying as a spare last week, I’ll keep this steer as the spare. I can use it at any position on the truck/trailer, where the other tire I could only use on the drives or trailer. It has to do with the tire pattern.

Anyway, I’ve made up a little time today, stopping a little earlier so I can get an earlier start tomorrow. No pictures yet, nothing worth shooting. I bought a new camera at Wally a few weeks ago, I’m sure the pictures will turn out better. The old one died. I buried it. And gave it a marker.

Take care. Hope the internet works here but so far it hasn’t worked enough for me to get into my email, so we’ll see…

out of SoCal I go…

April 16, 2011

4-12-11

Headed north to Tulare, CA to pickup cottage cheese going to Springfield, MO. To the caves! Yes, limestone is dug out and used to create coolers, for both frozen and refrigerated foods. It’s really cool, I mean it’s pretty neat! I remember taking lots of pictures the first time I visited here. I’m sure I’ll do it again. But it’s late, real late. I was 5 hours late getting to this pickup because they couldn’t find me a reefer in SoCal. I had to wait 3 days in sunny CA.

And after I pick up the trailer, I find the trailer has NO mud flaps on the rear wheels. And trying to find a place to install them late tonight was a challenge. That’s why at 11pm I’m writing this. The shop is real busy and they’re almost closed. I hope I’ll get it repaired tonight.

And of course, this reefer is a very noisy one. So noisy in fact, I’m dropping it in the truck shop and parking next to it, by the rear wheels, so I can’t hear it. This does take up two parking places, which isn’t cool. But even with ‘glad locks’ on the air lines, I’m afraid someone may try to steal it if I ark further away. And THAT wouldn’t be a good thing. While I have insurance to cover the cargo, I’d probably have to look for another gig.

I’ll be glad to get out of CA tomorrow and be able to really put the hammer down….to a whole 62mph. I get the best fuel mileage at about that range and as I’m buying the fuel, I’ll drive a little slower.

They’re done with the repairs, now I can go to sleep….after sending this off. Hope everyone is well. ,

I delivered my load on Saturday about noon in Ontario, CA and was ready for another one, anywhere, somewhere. Finally about mid-afternoon came a load offer to go to Stockton, Ca and take it to PA, almost to ‘the City’. It paid good but there were about $150 in road use tolls. Part of my expense that’s NOT part of the payment. So I tuned it down.

Monday morning there is a load from Tulare, CA to Springfield, MO. Pays well, good miles but I need a reefer trailer. And there is NOT one in the area I can get. SO, I sit another day waiting to hear that maybe they’ve found me a reefer in the morning.

Another night in SoCal, in a warehouse district.

so much has happened….

April 10, 2011

I just love seeing the different weather patterns I run into. Thunder clouds were all over the sky this day. So pretty.

Where do I start…where did I leave off? I gota tell ya, my time just flies by, before I know it it’s been 3 weeks since I wrote. OK, here is a new effort I’ll try. Every other day I’ll post something. May not have any pictures or be a very long post. Probably won’t be really that interesting. Because the truth of the matter is that what I do is NOT very write-home-about interesting. The best part is I see a lot of pretty country that changes every day, have a different weather pattern almost every day and most places I’ve never been to before [like Fargo, ND]! SO, I’ll try….but for today, I’ll work backwards….

Woke up to very wet morning, snow that is on the truck in Kingman, AZ. Drove west from Tucumcari, NM the day before in 30-40mph winds that filled the truck with desert sand. What a mess to clean up. And had some repairs to the APU I installed last Monday and Tuesday in Omaha, NE. And it seemed to take all day to drive 577 miles. It really did, 14 hrs!

I found these old tractors in Fargo, the place had lots of them, in all different condition. Pretty neat to think farmers actually used them for years.


A very burnt field in KS. They burnt the fields [I’m told] when they’re going to start a different crop. There were hundreds and hundreds of burnt acres and they all smelled.

The spring weather is popping up all over the place. Coming out of Knoxville, IA (short-track capital of the world) there were green fields, new born cows and horses and people dressed for a warmer season. Finally.


In Atlanta a few weeks ago, it was raining dogs and cats as I waited to pick up carpeting going to Fargo, ND. The inside of the truck just wouldn’t dry out until I ran out of the rain somewhere in ILL. In Fargo, I had 4 more new tires installed on the drives, now all 8 have been replaced. The steers are still pretty good yet will add wheel balancers to smooth out the ride. With the addition of the APU, I really feel I’m getting the truck set up to make a little money. The cost of using the APU for a/c and heat is about $4-8/day verses $40-45/day by running the truck. And it’s [almost] legal in CA.

I’ve been pretty busy running in the middle of the country. Raining in Chariton, IA and had tornado warnings going off the night I was there. Two days later was in Fargo and it was 32degrees, bright sun and clear skies and I changed to shorts. SoCal today is very nice. I had the truck washed and then polished the wheels. They look real cool now!

Got to go, will write more very, very soon….