OK, a whole month between posts. I have the best of intentions but just been too lazy to do it.
Had a great month really, got to stop in La Quinta CA to have dinner with one of my favorite people on the planet, Shannon. About time Anne got to meet her and Anne got her sushi fix also.
Two big events in the last month. First, my amazing daughter Aleena asked me when she was three years old if she could go to a Jimmy Buffett concert. We made a deal that she could go when she was 21 years old. When she was 18 I tried to take her to one and she said “not until I am 21” So for her 21st birthday back in May I told her we were going. Jimmy does not announce his tour date very far in advance and we needed to plan, He always plays at the MGM in Las Vegas in October so we decided that was the best bet. As soon as the dates were announced, I bought the tickets. We can get there for free by just requesting time off in Vegas and so I bought Aleena an airline ticket from Seattle and figured I better get a hotel booked. I wanted to stay at the MGM or very close. Looking at hotels.com we found a pretty amazing rate at, of all places, the Hooters Hotel and Casino literally across the street from the MGM. I have to tell you, I was really hesitant to stay at Hooters, but the reviews were ok and the price was less than half of the MGM. It turned out to be a pretty great choice.
So, to get there they had us run a Walmart load from LA to St George UT and then back the 150 miles to Vegas empty. We found a truck stop on the West side of the freeway near the strip. The Wild West Truck Stop. I grabbed a cab and headed to the airport to pick up a rental car, got back and picked up Anne and we headed to the Rio to have dinner and watch the Thursday night NFL game in their sports bar. This is where Anne discovers video poker. We had a great time there, headed back to the truck and spent the night in the truck. On Friday we almost put Anne into shock by taking the puppies to a kennel. It was the first time she had ever done this but I did a bunch of research and found a neat place. We picked Aleena up at the airport and checked into the hotel. It was pretty great. Nice bright rooms, nice casino, a Hooters restaurant of course but they also have a pretty nice regular restaurant and the pool was awesome. Friday night we went down to Fremont Street in old downtown and had a blast, great live music and large daiquiris. Here is a video of the light show if you have not seen it.
So back to the hotel. Had the prime rib dinner for $9.95 in the Mad Onion at our hotel. The next morning we headed down to the pool for a few hours. 80 degrees and a nice breeze. Time to start the rum punches. After lunch we headed over to Margaritaville at the Flamingo to get Aleena outfitted for the concert. Bought her a great Hawaiian shirt and some beads, we then headed to the Parrothead Pool Party at the Flamingo. Had a good time, headed back to our hotel to get the tickets and off to the MGM for a buffet dinner and then the concert. Jimmy was awesome as usual and Aleena (and Anne, her first parrothead experience also) had a great time. When we got back to our hotel, I talked Aleena into playing blackjack with me. She had a great time and lasted a long time at the table. Like I told her “your job is not to win, your job is to lose as slowly as possible”. It was a lot of fun. We had a really nice Sunday with Aleena, watched some football, went to pick up the dogs and then dropped her off at the airport. We then hung out at the Wild West Casino in the sports book, watched more football, I played blackjack and Anne played video poker. The next morning we still did not have a load so we headed over to the TA to do some laundry. Pretty cool, they have a small casino so it was time for Anne to learn how to play blackjack. Just the two of us at the table so a lot of fun. It turns out that my job while gambling is to make enough money to replace the loses of the women in my life. We did ok, after covering all of Anne’s and Aleena’s losses I ended up about $350 to the positive. Not too bad.
The next week we also had a load to Kent Washington and they had no load out for us so I called my Dad, he came and picked us up and we had a full day with him. One of the coolest things is that my amazing Nephew Aaron and his perfect partner Sarah had their first baby the day before so we got to go by the hospital and meet baby Trent. God is good. Had a great breakfast where Aleena joined us. Pretty cool to see her twice in a week.
Now our big challenge was getting home to vote. Colorado has early voting so we could go home early but USX would not let us have any more time off in October. So we got home on Halloween. Two days off, got to see Shelby and CJ and got our voting done. So much fun to go with Shelby as she voted for the first time. We were then supposed to have a load directly to Dallas so we could quit USX and sign back on as contractors. This turned out not to be an easy goal. They sent us up to Rawlins Wyoming to get a load from a truck that had broken down heading to Sacramento CA. Running West we get a message to stop in Winnemucca NV and meet another team and swap loads. We are now heading to Charlotte NC. Remind the weekend Fleet Manager that we are supposed to be heading to Dallas and she says “Your regular FM will be in tomorrow and she will repower you to get you to Texas” So I call the next day and they cannot find us a load so we are heading to the East Coast.
A side note. on the way back East out of Nevada, we stopped right on the border in West Wendover NV. There is a Pilot Truckstop. Since we took our refrigerator and microwave out of the truck at home, the new truck has them built in, we need to find places to eat. We walked across the street to The Red Garter Casino and Hotel to have lunch. Found out they have a truckers menu where the most expensive meal is $4.95 including drink. I had a pretty awesome $4.95 prime rib dinner with a soda. Dinner for the two of us was $12.00 including tip. We found out they also have free hotel rooms for truckers. Sounds like a good place for a reset in the future. Anyway, after getting to Charlotte, they sent us up to a little town near the Virginia border to get a load heading to Calexico CA. Right past our Irving terminal. We are told we will drop in Irving and we could then switch out to our new truck. Get to Irving, no drop number. We drop the trailer anyway, send a message to our FM and get the keys for the Peterbuilt and check it out. Getting late so we decide we will do the move in the morning. Then the phone rings. They need us to deliver our load to California. I say no but then find out the load (one whole Cummins Diesel Engine) is for the sister company we are switching over to and the owner of the company is asking us to make the delivery. No good way out of it so we hook back up and out the gate we go. As we are leaving we get a pre-assign for a load back from LA to Fort Worth TX. Two days later we are back in Irving. We pull into the terminal with four and a half minutes left on my 70 hour clock and 43 minutes left on Anne’s. We are not going anywhere for 30 plus hours. We spend pretty much all of Friday getting the paperwork done and then Saturday is moving day. We hate moving but it is done and we are in the new truck. Got to see some great friends, Wanda and Dudley at the terminal and Anne’s trainer Carl stopped in to see us also. No load out Saturday so we spent a second night in the hotel and we are getting ready to head down to Laredo. Hoping the schedule woks out to stop by the Salt Lick BBQ between San Antonio and Austin. My favorite BBQ joint in the country.