Scary, Scary Day

Well, my daughter Aleena had a very interesting day last week. She met a number of cute guys. The bad part being it was the flight crew of the Tennessee National Guard Blackhawk helicopter that flew her off the mountain after she fell 126 feet down a cliff. She was hospitalized in Knoxville with three broken ribs, cuts and bruises all over, lots of stitches and staples and a messed up shoulder. Kidneys were also bleeding but expected that to clear up on its own and it did. Anne and I were in Oregon when this happened.  Being 2500 miles away REALLY sucked. I would truly rather lose an arm than deal with something like this happening to one of my kids.

Other than Gods grace, there is no reason my little girl should be alive.  Two of the poeple who got to her first were both trauma nurses who happened to be at the lodge and I am so grateful for the care they provided.  LeConte Lodge, where Aleena is the cook, is high in the Smokey Mountains and the nearest road is 6 1/2 miles away and 3,000 feet down.

Although she is not named, she made the local news in Knoxville.  Here is the story.

Where Aleena fell

This is a picture of where she fell taken by a guest of the lodge the next morning.  We cannot believe she lived through this.

Anne and I had to make our delivery in Portland and we were already contracted to an expedited team load to Pennsylvania.  We debated cancelling the load and flying home but we could only get home one day earlier at best and we would be totally screwing the broker we had contracted with.  We decided to run the load since we could not get home before Aleena was out of the hospital anyway.  Our oldest son and his wife were there and also our youngest daughter Shelby along with Aleena’s mom.  It was decided that Aleena would go home with her mom to heal so they rented a car and drove her to South Florida.

Aleena is the toughest person I have ever met.  Seriously, I really mean this.  This is good and bad because every single day she pushes herself farther than she should.  She wanted us to take her to the Boca Raton mall yesterday so she could walk around and, as usual, she totally overdid it.  By the time we got her home she was a mess.  Please keep her in your prayers. After yesterday she is dehydrated and cannot keep anything down.  She still has major shoulder surgery in front of her next week.

Aleena, Scarlett and Shelby

I thank God for my kids who are loving her through this, for my wife who is helping ME through this, for my ex-wife and her husband who are with Aleena everyday and taking amazing care of her, to her co-workers and guests at the lodge who helped in her rescue and the Tennessee Air National Guard who got her off the mountain.   I am kind of a mess.

 

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Family and Friends. Love what we do.

We delivered a load up in Sacramento and decided to drive empty to LA to pick up a load. Love when things come together. We were able to make plans with Tyler for dinner and an extra perk was meeting up with the Mitchell clan.

Lupe came and picked us up and we went for Margarita’s until the rest of the gang met up with us. Decided to stay where we were for dinner. Lots of good food and tons of laughs. Went back to see Lupe and Steve’s new apartment in Studio City before Tyler drove us back to the truck. Seriously one of my favorite things about our job. The ability to see friends and family on spur of the moment occasions.

Rates of been really bad lately but this past week we have run like Rockstars. In the right place for the right load at the right price. Makes it so much nicer when you that happens. Hoping it continues for the next couple weeks until it is time for Spring Training in Phoenix. Go Mariners!!

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Hold still Zazu

Driving through the Columbia River Gorge and I am ecstatic. There are tons of baby birds. I mean tons of them. All different kinds. Then I notice a big bird swooping down. OH MY GOD it’s an eagle. I never get to see them and am super excited. Until I notice he is hunting the baby birds. Craig is laughing at me because I am so outraged. Circle of life I know but so sad. I saw 3 more eagles and they all were “eating” something. Still super cool but I am definitely a city girl LOL

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Let’s assume the best of each other….

I have noticed in the past month how many people have absolutely no grace. What happened to common courtesy. What about being nice to your neighbor. Not mocking people. Not making fun of the way someone looks, talks or acts.  Believing in people. It really is sad.

Last week I noticed on Facebook a large woman had fallen out of her wheelchair while shopping. Someone stood behind her and took a picture. Posted it to Facebook. Ridiculing her and walked away. What about common decency? Make sure she wasn’t hurt. Help her up. Make sure she was ok. But no. You take a sensational picture. Post it and walk away.

There are so many examples of this sort of attitude lately. Posting a picture on social media making fun of someone. Whether they are fat, skinny, tall, short. The way they wear there hair or don’t have hair. It doesn’t seem to matter. No one seems to care about being kind. Being generous. Being graceful. It seems to be getting worse. The ugliness in this country makes me sad. You can’t have an opinion without someone ridiculing you for your stand. Don’t even bring up who you voted for. God forbid you are a Trump supporter. It comes at you from every angle. I love this country and am proud to be an American. I was raised to respect Police Officers. I respect the President. I respect my elders. What a concept.

Let’s assume the best of each other. How about we start with that. Assume the best instead of the worst and I bet we will all be pleasantly surprised.

 

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First Time For Everything 

Forgot to post about this. 

Back in November we were running a high value load from Los Angeles to Memphis.  Delivery was scheduled for 8 AM.  We got to the receiver about 1 AM.  The locked gate to the loading docks was off a cul-de-sac on a quiet dead end road in an industrial area.  We parked on the side of the road and went to sleep.  I woke up at 2:30 AM because there was a truck that needed to swing wide to get into a building across the street.  So I started the engine and moved the truck forward about 100 feet and went back to sleep.  Got up at 7 and drove to the gate which was now open.  Parked and went in to get security to cut our bolt seal.  When the two of us walked around the back of the trailer we found the seal gone and the door only partially latched.  Opened the door and a number of the pallets in back had been torn open.   

We had been robbed! 

The only time we had stopped on this run other than for fuel was parking on the road at the receiver.  While we waited for the police Anne and the head of security walked back out to the road and found the seal on the ground where the trailer had been when we first parked.  So we know the break in happened between 1 AM and 2:30 AM. 

Here is where it gets funny though.  Although we were hauling all kinds of computer hardware and software the pallets at the back were  Microsoft Windows 8.1 disks that were scheduled for shredding.   Completely worthless and that is all they got.  About 10 cases worth .

We never heard or felt a thing even though I was the windows cracked open  The police officer said he gets three calls a week for the same thing in the neighborhood.  

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2016 At Least Ended Well

OK, a lot has happened since my last post.  We ran some really cool loads and had some great experiences.  First, we went to “Desert Trip” which was definitely the concert event of the century.  The festival was at the the Polo Grounds in Indio California.  The same place they hold The Coachella Festival.  Hence, Desert Trip was nicknamed “OldChella”. The artists were Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Roger Waters and The Who.  What an amazing three days.  We stayed with Shannon, one of my favorite people on the planet who lives less than a couple of miles from the Polo Grounds.  Our son Tyler also came up to join us on Saturday night and Sunday.

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I mentioned some cool loads.  One was for the CDC (Centers for Disease Control)  It was weird, all hush hush and with very high security.  We picked up at this obscure high security warehouse near Atlanta and drove to Cheyenne WY were we had to rendezvous with the US Marshalls at 6 am.They met us with two SUV’s and four Wyoming State Patrol cars and escorted us to a secure facility (we still did not know what was going on or what we hauling)  We arrive at a fenced in facility with Humvees and armed military on patrol.  We pull up to a blocked gate and hand our ID’s to the guard.  He has the humvee moved out of the way and has the gate opened and we pull in and around the building.  We pass the Homeland Security Command Center and there are police and military everywhere.  They have us back into a loading dock and an Air Force MP finally tells us what is going on.  It is an “Epidemic Event” practice run.  If there was a zombie apocalypse, we were hauling the antidote.  So we drop our trailer and they tell us to come back in couple of days to haul everything back to Atlanta.  We drove down to Fort Collins and spent two days with our youngest son and his wife.  A great time.

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Waiting for the Zombie Apocalypse

Another cool load we had was a load of very high end server racks for a Microsoft Data Center.  Cross-Country load that paid very well but was a little scary due to the value.

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Does this LOOK like Fifteen Million Dollars to you?

And then we had another load that was just shelving systems for the Navy.  What was cool was where we delivered to.  Whidbey Island Naval Air Station….out on the flightline.

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P-3 Orions’ Anti Submarine Patrol Aircraft

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F/A 18 Growler getting ready for flight

We also got to spend a lot of time at home with the kids and grandkids, we also got the chance to see a couple of our favorite humans.  My nephew Evan who just started college at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix and my “neice” (really my best friends daughter…but she is family) Lauren who we stopped to see for breakfast in Abilene TX where she is in college.

Now it was time to actually get some work done.  As we approached Thanksgiving we started to look for something similar to the Amazon Gig we ran last Christmas.  It kept us running and set us up for a slow 1st quarter.  Pickings were pretty slim.  We did get a call from a broker who wanted us to run UPS loads and we agreed to do it. Money was not bad and they were paying tolls.  Basically the down time was killing us, we would run a round trip to Chicago or Philadelphia and then we would sit waiting for them to find us our next load.  Horribly disorganized.  After about two weeks we were losing patience and we got a call from a broker we have worked with before and liked a lot.  They had a number of Postal Service runs out of Tampa Florida that they had to cover right away.  They gave us a couple of options and we chose to do the round trip from Tampa to Austin TX.  It would start in 3 days.  They were getting the paperwork done and called us back, could we head out today to pick up in Tampa tomorrow morning very early to Kansas City.  HECK YEAH!  They paid us to drive the 600 miles empty to Tampa and we got moving.  They also needed more teams so we called all our friends teaming at F2F.  All four teams jumped on it.  We would pick up and deliver about 24 hours later in KC then re-load and head back to Tampa to deliver the next morning, then have about 20 hours off and start the loop again.  Ken and Kathi were doing the Austin run with the same schedule as us so we got to spend some awesome time together on the days off.  Any excuse for beach time in December.

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Then home on the 21st for Christmas with the family.  Even with totaling a truck and all the down time we will remember 2016 as a great year.  Looking forward to what 2017 has in store for us.

 

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Two Months? 

What the heck is wrong with me?  We have been having a great summer.  Been out for about a month and heading home now.  Anne is driving as I write this and we will be switching in a few minutes.   We are currently in Eastern Oklahoma on a run from Los Angeles to Athens TN.   That is about 50 miles from Chattanooga  so we should be home by noon.  

I will actually post a big update tomorrow as I have a ton of pictures to include.   I may break it up into a couple of posts as we have been doing some cool stuff. 

That is professional trucking right there 

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