Thursday, February 7, 2008

Hello From Des Moines!

Hello from Des Moines! Well, it took a long time, but I finally made my delivery to Omaha this morning. When I wrote last Sunday night from Beaver, Utah, I was trying to take my time and stay behind the horrible winter storm that went through the Rockies earlier this week. I managed to do it. But I had to just creep along to do it.

Monday, I woke up ready to start driving, and discovered that my trailer brakes had frozen during the night (I usually don't set them at night if it's really cold, but I forgot Sunday night). It took quite a while to get everything unstuck and I could get on the road. I made it to Green River, Utah. Not very far, but when I started to catch up to the back of the bad winter stuff, and the roads started getting bad, I decided to stop.

The part of the drive I was dreading most was going on I-70 through Colorado, especially over Vail Pass and the rest of the way into Denver. Tuesday, I was about 70 miles from the Pass, and they lifted the chain restrictions. Close call. The roads were still pretty rough in spots, but not as bad as they had been earlier. I just took it slow and easy and didn't have any problems. I shut down just west of Denver.

Yesterday, I made it the rest of the way from Denver to Omaha. Again, I was right behind the winter weather, but missed the worst of it. I was thankful.

I delivered my load in Omaha this morning, and then picked up my next load over here near Des Moines. It's going to Danville, Illinois, and I will deliver tomorrow afternoon there. As I go southeast into Illinois down I-74, the weather should improve dramatically. I've got a live unload tomorrow in Danville, so I'll get my next load sometime on Saturday morning, I suppose.

Most days lately, I have been too cold to feel very motivated to get out my laptop. I just huddle up in my sleeping bag, turn my bunk heater on, and have been watching videos, or reading, or just laying in my bunk listening to XM radio, especially during Tuesday night's election coverage (which to me was much more exciting than Sunday's Super Bowl).

But, tonight, in spite of the cold, I decided to come inside the Flying J where I'm spending the night, and do some writing, checking and responding to e-mail, and just some catching up on blogs and other stuff I read on the net.

Terry. We talk most days. Terry is in Ohio right now, at the Schneider OC in Seville. I don't know where he's going from there – when we talked earlier about some of what happened in the Republican contest today (Mitt Romney dropped out; John McCain spoke at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference going on right now in Washington), he didn't have his next load yet.

Politics. I'll keep this short: I was pleased with how Tuesday turned out for the Republicans. This election cycle is proving to be the most exciting to me since 1980. And XM radio is great for political junkies with all the news, talk radio, and the XM POTUS channel, which is 24/7 coverage of the elections and related stuff.

Personal. Even with the winter weather and the roads being what they are sometimes, I am loving my life on the road as much as I ever have. I am more settled and content on every level of my life than I can remember being in a long time. I am enjoying my solo experience more now than when I first started driving three years ago – at that time, I was still reeling in grief from my divorce, dealing with all kinds of personal growth pains, struggling with my faith (part of the personal growth pains), and just sort of lost in some ways. Being on the road at that time was good for me because it let me start sorting through some of those things, but there were some hard days. I valued my solitude then, needed it, but didn't enjoy it sometimes.

Now, I'm in a better place, and I'm enjoying my freedom and solitude a lot more of the time. I love what I'm doing, love the life I'm living, and don't want it to change any time soon.

At least not today.

More personal. My nephew, Justin, is in the Navy, as I have said in earlier blog entries. He's going out on February 19 th for his 6-month deployment at sea with his group. His mom (my sister), dad, and his sisters are going to get to go up to see him off, along with his Mema (my Mama). I am not going to be able to be there (because of the situation of trying to get my car from Dallas to Atlanta, and taking some time off in Georgia soon after that), but my thoughts will be there in full.

I was just thinking about that today, and this upcoming election, and just thought how thankful I am for those men and women who have decided to give themselves in service to their country. I admire that, and am thankful for all of them, always.

So, to my nephew Justin, Terry's son Elliott, and others (like my cousin Tiffany who recently signed up for the Marines), I salute you. You have my deepest, most profound gratitude and respect. Thank you. You are all remarkable young adults.

And, to Justin in particular (though he may never read these words himself), be safe, you are in my prayers, and I love you, buddy. Stay comfy! (An inside joke he will smile at if he ever hears of this.)

So long, from Des Moines, Iowa – until next time, keep the wheels rollin' . . .

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