one last Christmas…

December 3, 2011

On my way to the Northwest the sun came up in my mirror. Just the sun glowing in the glass behind me. It’s always been there, looking to light my way home.

My wish for all of us this Christmas season is that we would look around our world to see how we could make a positive impact on the life of at least one person we meet this season. Could it be the last sunrise for someone you know? Will it be their last sunset?

A few weeks ago I heard an interview with Matthew West on the Sirius channel The Message. Matthew West is a Christian singer/song writer. His latest album is from a collection of letters written to him over a years time, the writer sharing a story from their lives. Related in one of those letters is the story below.
Taken from the Matthew West Blog…

Today, a new Christmas song is available on iTunes. The song is called “One Last Christmas” and it actually came from my time at the cabin. Like all the songs on The Story of Your Life, this song has a story. But the way the story came to me was a unique. I received three different stories from three different people all in this small town in Illinois whose lives have been impacted by the life of a two year-old boy named Dax. At just thirteen months old, little Dax was diagnosed with a rare form of Leukemia. He was given two bone marrow transplants as a part of emergency treatment; one from each of his parents. The doctors then told his parents that Dax would most likely not make it to see Christmas.

This is a great picture. Taken from the front seat of a class 8 truck going 60mph through the front windshield. The storm clouds are building all around us, sometimes so big and black we can’t see the sun. The hole in the clouds is for the angels watching over all of us, day in and day out, no matter what we’re doing or where we are. [Maybe that’s why I always try to include a sunrise.]

Well, this song is inspired by the true story of the love of a family, and the coming together of an entire community to make sure that this little boy could have one last Christmas. His dad, determined that his son would see Christmas, put up the decorations early. The neighborhood caught on, and did the same. The whole town soon followed suit. A website was built telling his story. Soon, pictures were sent from all over the world of Christmas decorations that had been put up in his honor. Incredible!

Dax did lose his battle with Leukemia, but not before he got to see one last Christmas. Today, this little boy’s legacy lives on, and his parents are making sure it does. They were so touched by the care they received from St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, that they now have a desire to raise enough money to run the entire hospital for one day in honor of their son, Dax. The total cost to run St. Jude’s for one day is $1.6 million dollars. Already, they have raised a quarter of a million dollars.

The southwest deserts of AZ, CA, NV are in the center of a strong windstorm blowing the sand around as I head into Las Vegas. It was bright but the sun was hidden behind all the flying dust. I took the picture not knowing how it would turn out. I guess I got lucky, I like the shot.

Right now, I have a song called “My Own Little World,” that’s been on the radio. That song was written out of a desire to stop looking out for only me. And this Christmas, it is on my heart to join forces with the Locke family, and help them in their cause. I would like to encourage you to join us in raising money that will go to an amazing cause in St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital that cares for so many children each year.

To donate now to St. Jude’s in memory of Dax please visit:
http://tiny.cc/m1mdo
To read more of Dax’s story visit:
http://www.daxlocke.com/

One last Christmas is all we have.

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in the APU shop again…

November 29, 2011

Wrote this on 11-23-11 and for whatever reason couldn’t publish it. Now it works…Oh well! enjoy.

And then there was the Lexington school load. Not on a main road, but a side street without any way of getting a truck and trailer into the area they wanted me in. Yet as most schools are designed, there are cars in places cars shouldn’t be, an island with a stop sign in its middle and many concrete dividers between parking areas. I started backing up the street towards my hopeful unloading area. As I neared the turn into my blind side around the concrete parking spot I knew I couldn’t avoid it. So, I stopped and lined up on one side of the street. They were not happy, thinking I should drive over the concrete parking spot and grass area. I told them I wasn’t going to damage my truck or trailer or the sewer cover I’d have to drive over. Seven hours later they finished and the paper work was signed. With a note I refused to back up into the driveway.

I picked up the FedEx load in Fairfield, OH the next evening. And it was a HazMat load going to Irving, TX. A HazMat load requires certain routes around major cities and I have to be sure the paperwork is in a certain place in the truck [which is different than where I normally do]. Doesn’t sound like much of a deal but I wasn’t a happy camper. When I accepted this load, I wasn’t told there’d be anything HazMat on it. And that was probably what caused me so much grief. For two days driving to TX. Then looking for the address of FedEx in Irving, I found out the load really was suppose to be delivered the next day. But I talked my way into dropping the trailer early.

I’m parked in the Landstar terminal which is a combination of dirt, rock and soft spots. Which when it’s wet the soft spots can shallow a truck. As we drive back and forth, turning right and left, in and out around the parking lot we ‘tear up’ the parking lot causing even more soft spots. Having been stuck in a soft parking lot I had to be pulled out of, I’m a little concerned about getting out of the very wet parking lot tomorrow. Only time will tell.

I’ve been 4 days without a working APU. Again every time the unit starts it runs for a couple of minutes then shuts down. Parked in front of the shop I started the unit a couple times and it didn’t start. Yet as soon as I pull into the shop bay the unit starts up and stays running. Long story short, the tech notices on starting the alternator runs up, then down before it runs up again and stays there. Like it coughs before it gets going. He convinces his boss the alternator should be replaced on a warranty. However, they won’t pay for the labor. As the shop has no ‘manager’ on duty [everyone somewhere else today] they have to call someone else. They call the Thermo King area rep to see if he’ll pay the labor. He does. Another blessing I so often forget about.

I pray we’ll all be safe this holiday season, using Thanksgiving to remember our blessings. Living in America we take everything we have for granted everyday. Today, look around your world where you can change someone’s life, if only for a day.

save this post

November 29, 2011

this is a test, only a test. had it been a real emergency you would have been directed to someone who could actually solve this problem

Yes, it does seem like early mornings are my best time of the day. Probably because there’s not as much 4-wheel traffic. And it’s quieter with not as many distractions to take my focus away from the road in from of me. Of course, I also witness the birth of another day in all its splendor. These first photos are from this morning as I head towards San Antonito. The clouds reflect the rays of sun light against the darkness of night.

I was able to capture the full moon between two trucks waiting out their ‘rest period’ over night.

I was able to spend a little time in Phoenix this last week. I had to buy a new phone . But as I was setting it up, the touch screen wasn’t working properly. Then the alarms wouldn’t ‘sound’. I decided to return the phone for a full refund. I was able to get a replacement of the Dash3G I have. It hasn’t been working since I bought it and have complained over and over in the last 18 months. But the ‘new-to-me’ one isn’t working any better it appears. I can upgrade my phone in Dec and my contract with T-Mobile is up in March. So soon I’ll have to get a real ‘new’ one. It’ll be a touch screen but not sure which one yet.

I joined Mom and 2 of her friends for a dinner of chicken and dumplings at their favorite restaurant. For me, it was a nice change of meals. Will unload the first half of the chairs I’m hauling in the morning just north of Houston. Then head to Lexington, KY to finish the load.

This is a picture of the same sunrise, simply a different angle of the camera. It’s amazing that a simple change in angles will give you what looks like a different picture.

The weather in Tx is mild with sunny blue skies.

This is from a few days ago.

Hope everyone enjoyed the ghosts of Halloween a few weeks ago. And it’s turkey day ahead of us. And they are putting up Christmas in the stores already. You better be good, better be nice or Santa Claus will skip your house!!

Another beautiful sunrse. Sorry the picture taken at 65mph doesn’t give it justice. The bright rays breaking out of the clouds is refreshing and gives me hope.

the colors aren’t very bright yet but they are changing…

I’ve now been leased to Landstar 4 weeks. While looking back it hasn’t been near as bad as I thought it was at the time. I’ve been a lot busier then I think I was! I’m finding it’s really time consuming finding a well paying, long distance load. A lot of them are less then 500miles, which many

times isn’t worth taking it. And it will probably simply put me into [another] poor location looking for a load. It’s a learning experience, and it’s been steep at the bottom getting started. But the last few weeks have been better and right now I’m feeling much better.

Let’s recap the last few weeks. I pickedup copper core out of the Port of Houston going to north of Dallas. Next morning, made three stops with electrical wire, ending up in Pensacola, FL. That same day took a load of clothes to Central FL. Then had some work done on the truck, 2 days. Then the weekend, with no load, waited 2 more days. Then ended up dead heading to Orlando to wait [3 days] on a VERY CHEAP load that took me out of Fl going to Ft. Worth. BUT before I even emptied out in Ft. Worth had a load to pickup in Dallas. It was kitchen /bath cabinets, with 4 stops, finaling out in

Columbia, SC. And before I emptied out the last cabinet had booked a load picking up in Charlotte, NC going to Fontana, CA. With drop/hooks on each end. Now, this is how I thought it should be!!

While I don’t have a load out of CA yet, I do have 4-5 agents who do have loads out of there looking for me. I’d be surprised if I have to wait more then a day or two.

Part of the ‘trick’ is to have enough days between pickup and drop so agent can find a load for you. And being in better locations is certainly a bonus.

I’m still having problems with my APU. It gives off a fault code [after 2 minutes, it just shuts down]. But so far no shop [I’ve been to 7 dealers] has found the reason why. Last week after it faulted, I reset it, and let it restarted itself a few mntes later. Over 20 times in 3 hours it would start then shut down on it’s own [I was watching a movie]. And every time I would reset the controls, hoping it wuld keep running. But it didn’t. However, I was happy, because now maybe we can find out what the problem is. After I parked in the ThermoKing parking lot the next afternoon [they make and service this APU] I thought I’d start the unit, just to be sure it didn’t work. But it did work! Five times I started it, ran it for 5-6 minutes, stopped it, restarted it. Repeating the cycle again, again, etc. and it didn’t shut down. O, well. That was 5 days ago and it’s been running like brand new. Until some time this morning. It fault coded and stopped on it’s own. I restarted it several times this morning and each time it coded and shut down. Afer I stopped this evening, I started it again and it coded, twice. Then on the third try, it kept running….O, well. I’ll take what I can get out of this unit…

Will spend the morning calling for a load out of CA and looking on the Landstar loadboard. Have to put in 600miles tomorrow. Then into CA the next day.

As you put together your Thanksgiving plans, might I suggest you think about serving others this year. It’s a great time to volunteer at a food bank and or a street mission / shelter. Trust me, they are always looking for more willing hands. All help is appreciated and no training or special skills are required. Just a willing heart and the right attitude. I promise you will never look at life again the same way. We are all so blessed and should give back a little. And in person is the best way. You don’t need to dress up, just show up!!

Not sure where but another pretty sunrise, the stat of another day given to us. Hope I used it wisely.

Ok, I found myself in the wrong line again. It’s happens repeatedly for me. For whatever reason, I always find myself doing something else when I should have been looking for the line giving out patience. And yet, I’ve started down another path, probably without enough patience again. This time it’s the one I knew I needed to follow that was going to let me decide where I was going and what it paid. Unfortunately, not all of those ‘wants’ are possible in the same load. However, now being leased to Landstar will give me the best opportunity to run this adventure the way I want to.

WOW, that’s not what [I understood] you said before [I signed on the dotted line]. Yes, I’ve heard that in my head before more then once. Much has happened since I last posted. There have been a lot of feel good days coupled with some deep valleys thrown in just to keep me focused. I’m still at it, headed along this path I choose. It’s been pretty rocky of late but I’m getting better at looking around so I miss most of the pot holes.

A storm’s running through NM, with dust and rain in the forecast.

I left MCT the last week in Sept. and joined Landstar. I was one of three learning some new stuff, and different ways of doing the old stuff. They are very serious about safety and driver logs being kept current and legal. IF they follow the game plan they’ve built their company from one can make some money. And of course everyone knows I’m real good at following other people’s game plans! But I’ll do my best to understand their methodology. It works for many, many people. And most owner operators are pretty independent [re: cowboys and cowgirls] to begin with. So, it’s up to me.

The cool thing is MCT took me from CA to Orlando, FL with a load. Just up the road is St. Augustine where Landstar starts new leasees. A nice load, not too heavy, running I10 west to east again was refreshing. With that said, the first week on the road with Landstar didn’t go real well. I had to head-dead 256miles just to get my first load. NO money paid there! And it didn’t pay real well to begin with. But I needed to get out of FL as there isn’t much freight coming out of there. The first load emptied out near San Antonio, TX where I figured there would be a lot of loads within 150 miles. Nope! It took a couple of days to find one out of there. It looked real good on paper. Paid $3.99 a mile but was only 113miles. Yet it would get me near Houston. And surely, there’ll be good freight out of Houston. Yet adding a 157mile dead-head to pickup the load dropped my money to the truck to $1.23 for the 113 mile trip. A couple of days later I found a load of copper from Chile, SA coming out of the Houston Port. While it was real heavy at 44,000#s, it was headed to north of Dallas. And Dallas/Ft Worth is a much better ‘lane’ then I10 is. And it’s better to get paid something then nothing.

A really, really big freighter unloaded the copper cores I’m taking to north of Dallas. Right now it’s sitting really high in the water as it’s empty.

Enjoy the weekend, it’ll change by morning.

This is a really old post I never published. Not sure why but I found it recently when I was cleaning up my computer. Forgive me for the delay.


Another sunrise, this one through the fog of KY. I liked the way the low lying fog hid the houses and barns and covered the trees and grasses while outlining the rising sun. The glowing rays breaking through the fog in a picture of new awaking. Always my best time of day.

It’s only been 10 days since my last post. OK, way too long, need to post every couple of days. I think I told you I’d post every other day or something like that. Guess I’m way behind. Sorry. But just like your days, mine just aren’t that interesting day after day. I don’t fight fires, play cops and robbers, or save people in an ER. I get up, brush both my teeth, get undressed, get dressed, and make my bed. Then I walk to the ‘cockpit’, start the motor and motor away, looking for sunrises. Most days pretty boring. But then probably so are yours!


The backup of traffic as I headed to Columbus, OH was caused by what is left on this bridge. I heard a semi-truck left the highway as it hit the bridge walls, caught fire when the reefer fuel tank was ripped from the underbelly of the trailer on its way to the bottom of the small creek below the bridge. The distance below the bridge was deep enough not to allow a view of the rig. Must have been something to see. I pray the driver wasn’t too seriously hurt.

I had some work done on the APU, now it runs a lot better. I can sleep at night knowing it’ll start and shut off when it should. Headed to Sioux Falls with a load of 3M something and damaged the trailer hinges backing into a dark undercover dock. Then had to take the trailer back to the terminal in Sioux Falls for repairs. From there I picked up a relay to Ontario, CA. Where I am tonight.


One Way – for the Jesus Movement it meant the way to heaven…

I’m just about done with a book about the Jesus Movement. Actually, it’s about why the Jesus Movement lost the love of its birth. Having been there for its birth, this is of great interest to me. Reborn to be Wild traces the birth of the movement, its youth and coming of age and what was believed by many to be its death. At least that’s what ‘our parent’s church’ hoped for. I’d never really given it much thought; how we had changed. I knew I had but then I knew why. But why the Movement? Why did we stop being Jesus People? And how do we find that spark, that love we lost so we could start over again? A good read if you were one of them.


Aftermath of truck and motorcycle accident on Cajon Pass, north of the LA basin, that caused my delay coming into SoCal by 4 hours!! First a motorcycle and SUV crashed, killing the cycleguy. Then a semi-trailer full of cardboard catch fire, closing the highway for hours. I waited in Barstow over 4 hours, than averaged 38mph coming over the hill.

School has started for many, cross walks are full again and there’s a cool crisp in the air. Snow was forecast last weekend for the upper edge of the great lakes….burrrrrrrrr. Enjoy the change of seasons where you live.

why is it working now…

September 27, 2011

Sunrise over New Mexico, but then it could be Texas, too. They all blend together. But nonetheless, the wonder of another day is truly amazing. And better than not having the chance of seeing another one.

I knew there was a reason this place is so green. It’s the humidity! It’s been raining here in Orlando. While it’s stopped and the clouds have parted showing the moon [it’s 1am]. It hasn’t dried out yet. Probably won’t till May. But it sure is pretty. Here at the Sygma warehouse, they have ways of keeping the drivers in line… They call him the ‘Enforcer’. [he has that Eastwood look].

Cute little guy!

This is a very long trailer with a very [very, very] heavy load!

My APU stopped working last night or tonight. Not sure why. I tried 6-7 times to restart it and it would run for 2 minutes then shut down. I had to run the engine for a few hours. Then I drove to the dock area and it fired right up. It’s working just fine now, maybe I won’t have to see the shop doc after all.

I’m really excited. I’m headed to Sarasota, FL later today for a couple of days of fun in the sun! [the forecast calls for a 20% chance of rain all weekend, but it should still be fun]. I’m hoping to get in some sailing, flyfishing the flats for bonefish and even a little surfing. In that order, so if I hurt myself surfing, I won’t ruin my ‘fun’ at sailing and fishing. It’s been a very long time since I had a ‘real’ time off and need the break. A 34hours reset doesn’t recharge the mind very well.

And I received my truck title and the copies of the check I needed for Landstar. Now they should have all the things they need to complete my app. I’m really hoping they can finish the process this week so I can head to Jacksonville and start with them without pulling another load for MCT.


Check out the colorful passenger I had coming out of MS the other morning. It’s really amazing how he got stuck in the grill like that without being damaged. Well, other than getting dead!

Mobile Bay, AL. A very long bridge. There are a couple of them in this area linked together. Today was clear but in a serious thunder storm you tend to stay awake. I drove slow!

Not sure where I’m headed to from here nor with whom. But will keep you posted. Hope everyone is doing well. The weather is really all over the place. Since leaving CA on Friday, I’ve had to use the heater in the morning and then the a/c in the afternoon. Then open the windows, with just the screens on, at night. I love the quiet of my real early morning drive time. I’ll leave the radio off and just listen to the hum of the tires, the purr of the engine and watch the darkness go by. The quiet is so refreshing, I find I’m still ‘listening’ to the nothingness an hour later. But then I turn on ‘the Message’ on Sirius for a few hours of encouragement and blessings to start my day. I usually collect an assortment of flying creatures, with and without stingers, when driving with the windows down. But I really like the fresh air blowing in my face and the wind in my hair. Always puts a smile on my face.

Enjoy your Indian summer, late summer or early fall. Collect the necessary leaves to make your season colorful.

Doug

simple beauty…

September 4, 2011

This rainbow appeared in front of the Speedco I had my truck service done at this afternoon. It was so bright and had a full range of typical rainbow colors. The cool thing, which I couldn’t get on film, was it touched the earth on both ends right above my head. So cool.

I stopped to fix myself something to eat and noticed I had a passenger. There was a pretty serious car accident near Flagstaff today that delayed me about 2 hours. I had the windows rolled down because it was a pretty nice day. As the crowd I was rolling with crept along this little butterfly must have flew in the opened window. I was playing on my [mouth] harp and simply didn’t notice this beautiful little creature joining me. He was hiding somewhere because I didn’t see him until I stopped 40 miles up the road


toward NM. When I saw him I turned to get my camera and he was gone. I looked around but I didn’t find him. Yet about 2 hours later as I was driving down the highway, from the corner of my eye I catch this flash heading towards me. Reacting to it, I ducked and twisted my head out of the way, not knowing what it could be. But he landed on my dash, then moved to the window before hopping to the seat. He would fly around awhile then land. Rest his little wings while he looked for another place to fly to. I believe butterflies don’t live very long I want him get outside and experience the great outdoors again. While I was no longer in the high country around Flag, I could help him escape the truck. It took several tries but he finally realized he could fly out the window I opened. He took a deep breathe, steadied himself against the wind coming in the window and jumped to freedom. While I wasn’t quick enough to see but I’m sure he waved as he left the confinement of my truck. I hope he finds his way back to his family in Flagstaff before the snows come. But then being Flagstaff, it may not snow this year!

I left Mesa this morning heading to Blue Springs, MO with injectable meds. I was in town only long enough to find/fill out paperwork I needed to send to the new trucking company I’m hoping to join soon. But I couldn’t find the title to the truck so had to send away to IL for it. Oh, well, this will delay my start. However, I believe it’ll be well worth the wait.

The Smokies are pretty this time of year. The low hanging fog just add to their beauty. The light, white clouds just mixing in with the mountains. The wet roadway being dried by the bright morning sun is the only hint left that it even rained. The air is so clean and crisp. Unlike my fruit-loops that have lost their crisp crunchy feeling from absorbing the moisture in the air!

A while back during a morning prayer, I noticed we have a male and female word for most of our relatives. We have nieces and nephews and aunts and uncles. Grandmothers and grandfathers. But we only have ‘cousins’ for others. Why is that? First of all, it makes no sense. It’s not logical. Surely, those that studied us years and years ago made up names for some of our relatives but not others? Why?

NC has added beautiful flowers along the road way just to brighten my day!

This happens to be the leading whitewater running area in the eastern US. At the height of the season, the grade 5 is some of the wildest found. At least that’s what the sign said!

I just came out of Atlanta early week and now sit in Rosemont, MN waiting for them to unload my load of sugar dust [again] directly from Wrigley’s. So far I’ve been here 7 hours and they still haven’t started to unload.

I hope everyone is doing OK, enjoying their last days of summer. I’m headed to CA again. Hoping to run through Phx…

SORRY this is so late but you need an internet connection…