R & R in DC, day 3

2010 April 29
by Maggie Williams


Didn’t get much sleep last night, having gone to bed at 2:00am and all.  Oh well.  Met a new roommate this morning.  As I was laying in bed I heard her talking with someone and it sounded Australian at first but I thought I’d wait a tic to make sure.  Sho ’nuff, I detected a little Kiwi,  so having that extra tidbit, I engaged.  I open my eyes and looked up and said “Kiwi”?  She said yeah and grinned, presumably at me not having confused her for an Aussie.  Her name is Mel (Melanie).  Had I opened my eyes first, I probably wouldn’t have had to invoke the full extent of my accent detector.  Mel is Maori, and has that exotic south pacific look.  Nice girl, we chatted for a bit.

After a nice long breakfast and chatting with most of the gang from last night as they trickled in and trickled out again, I got showered and dressed and out the door.  My destination today was Arlington National Cemetery.  I walked the five blocks or so to the metro station and hopped the train to the same named stop.  A short walk took me to the entrance to the cemetery and in I went.  We are free to roam about but there is a tram option for a reasonable $7.50 as well.  I got on the tram which makes drops and pick ups at three main sites throughout the grounds and we are free to hop on and off at any time.

arlingtonI jumped off at the first stop and decided to walk most of the rest myself.  It was such a beautiful day; not a cloud in the sky, about 68 degrees, the birds were chirping, and the carillons were playing from a nearby church.  Magnificent views of DC’s monuments are had from the hills of Arlington.  It’s  a powerful place indeed.  The brochures say Read Full Article & Comments…


R & R in DC, day 2

2010 April 28
by Maggie Williams


After a fairly good night sleep here at the Washington DC HI Hostel, I got up and went exploring.  The first order of business was breaky and I found the dinning room that was pretty much packed.   It reminded me of University; the tables arranged family style and everyone sat together. People from all around the world, young and old, all having breakfast together.  Pretty neat. I noticed a few people in business suits, here for conferences and other meetings I heard some of them say. Interesting that they’re staying at a hostel.

There was this one guy though, sitting all alone.   He didn’t talk to anyone and no one tried to talk to him. A little rotund, long grey hair, grey beard, and he was wearing a black t-shirt that said Give Peace A Chance.  He was a spitting image of Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead. Perhaps some thought he was the ghost of Jerry or something, he was certainly freaking me out a little.  The only reason I didn’t talk to him though is because I was on the other side of the room.  Yeah, the other side of the room.

After breaky, I joined my hostel mates for the Library of Congress tour in the lobby and waited for our guide to arrive.   I overheard one guy mentioning that he had done the Art Gallery the previous day and he didn’t seem too impressed with much of it.  “I could have done that when I was three” he said.

DC MetroAfter our guide arrived, we all introduced ourselves and were informed of the the big plan to get to the library.  I met Megan, a young Aussie chick and we chatted a bit along the way.  Nice girl.  We set off on a short hike to the Metro station, where we learned how to get our passes and actually use the metro.   That was much appreciated by all.  We hopped on board and rode from Metro Central to the Capitol South station and another short hike to the Library of Congress, right across the street from the Capitol building.  On the way, a couple guys behind me were talking about snow in their respective countries.  Henrik, from Denmark, was describing how Read Full Article & Comments…


R & R in DC

2010 April 27
by Maggie Williams

One of the cool things about my job is that I get to take “home time” pretty much wherever I want.  This time, I chose Washington DC in the springtime.  I had been planning this trip for some time now, hopefully to catch the cherry blossoms and general blooming spring.  I’ve just arrived but I fear I may have missed it, we’ll see.

Getting here last night was a chore.  After a long day, I parked at a truck stop in Jessup, MD; it was about as close as I could get.  After packing and emptying out my fridge, I hiked up to the main building to get a taxi.  I had called a couple of cab companies two weeks ago to get an idea of how much it would be to get me to downtown DC and I was told about $50.00.  After calling one taxi company, I got a call back from the driver on approach an said he was driving a Lincoln Town Car.  “A Town Car” I exclaimed. “I called a taxi, not a Limo”.  David, the driver, said “it’s all good, I’m a taxi service”.  When he pulled up, I opened the door and Read Full Article & Comments…


Trucker; Life On The Road – Part Three

2010 March 19

This is a continuation of Trucker; Life On The Road – Part Two

A lot has happened since last I wrote. I’ve been on the road for almost three months now since I left Sumner, this has been a long but enjoyable tour and I’m headed home for a few days. I’ve driven over 30,000 miles during this time and it’s been a hoot. I’ve met many fine people and a couple of not so fine people. Had my share of pucker up moments on the road. Learned much. Had fun.

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I got some down time in Orlando, so I got to go Disney World to see the new things since last time I was there more than 10 years ago. I had called around for hotels nearby that could accommodate my truck and found one that said sure and so I made a reservation for three nights. When I got there, it was clear the entrance was not designed for trucks. I pulled up to the guard shack and the guard came out and looked at me funny. I said “I’m a guest checking in” and she laughed. “No, really” I said. When she realized I was serious, she directed me to a remote part of the parking lot and I really sweated the Read Full Article & Comments…


Trucker; Life On The Road – Part Two

2010 March 17

This is a continuation of Trucker; Life On The Road – Part One

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After spending the night in Gary, IN, I headed back to Chicago with an empty trailer to get a new load. The instructions on my qualcom said to ring shipper on approach so he’d have someone there to load me. So I did and he met me at the facility. Seemed like a nice guy and he and his guy got me loaded within 45 minutes and I was on my way. Not bad. This load was destined for Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, but I would drop it at Nogales, AZ, on the border. I headed south toward St. Louis and it was a fine drive; quite uneventful. I got a call from the shipper, and he was just checking up on me to make sure I got out of Chicago OK. I told him, I did and thanks. I thought that was odd, but OK, I guess that was OK. He apparently had my number since I called him and all. Anyway…

I hit St. Louis and missed my exit for the west bypass and wound up going through the middle of town and then getting stuck in traffic backed up because of an accident. Almost three hours, it really put me behind schedule. But, I figured I’d make it up somehow. Got stopped for the night and settled in for my break. Got another call from that shipper, he just wanted to talk. Um… OK. We talked for a few minutes about nothing in particular and I said I had to go. Had something to eat and went to bed. Got a call from Shipper… at 3:00am. What the heck? “I was asleep” I said. “Oh, I’m sorry” he said, then nothing. “OK, I’m going back to sleep, goodnight” I said. Weird.

Later that morning, I started heading west. It was a pretty good drive but I kept hearing about this crazy ice storm that was supposed to hit Oklahoma… Oh whatever… So, I was trying to do some planning while driving… If I can just reach Amarillo by morning… Oh, shipper called. I finally asked him why Read Full Article & Comments…


Trucker; Life On The Road – Part One

2010 March 15

After my training at Swift Driving Academy in Lewiston, ID and my six weeks of over the road training, I got my first truck and was cleared as a solo driver. Following is an account, taken from emails home to friends and family, of my first few weeks of long haul trucking around the country.

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Hi Gang,

When I returned to the Sumner terminal from my six weeks on the road and passed my tests, my new driver manager offered me a 2009 Volvo 630, but I had to take it right then and go to work. As tempting as that was, I said, “nope, I gotsta go see my peeps”. I had a lovely Christmas week with my friends in Lynden and Birch Bay; it was nice to have the time off and it was so relaxing and great to see everyone. You guys, you know who you are, you’re way too good to me.

I got a call on Christmas eve from my buddy Steve who had gotten his truck and was on the road; I think he said he was in Nebraska or some such. I congratulated him for passing everything and I asked what equipment he was driving and he said a 2009 Volvo. Oh Dang, he got my truck. Oh well. I’ll just roll with it and see what happens.

I got a call from my driver manager early last week, he said he had a truck for me and that I should come on in. I got there on Tuesday at noon and found him and he handed me a set of keys and off I went to hunt it down. I finally Read Full Article & Comments…