Monday, January 28, 2008


"Whaaaat?" you ask. "What is the Dawg doing home on a Monday and why haven't we heard from him all weekend, as usual??" "Is he sick? Is he on vacation? What's goin' on here?"

In answer, let me say that, no, I'm not sick and as for the vacation, not yet (although this may count as a little "mini-vacation," sort of). Y'see, it's all in the nature of my load, which doesn't deliver until Wednesday afternoon, over in North Carolina. And it's an appointment load, which means that I can't deliver it early, so I'm "stuck" here at home until time to make my way east for the delivery. Not the worst place to be stuck, by any means.

Of course the downside of all this is that I'm not making a dime sitting around here, but nothing's perfect, is it? Slow time of the year and you get cut a little slack now and then, in the winter. I'll take it while I can get it. That's my philosophy. I'll be busting my posterior again before you know it, once things pick up in another month or so.

So, I'm taking life easy, hanging curtain rods for my mom, and installing the custom footpegs and shifter peg on Velvet which match her new custom handgrips. No pictures yet; that'll have to wait until I can get her outside in the sunshine again, in good light for quality pics. It was sunny while ago, while I was helping mom, but it's turned gloomy now and looks like rain, which is predicted tomorrow, so looks like little, if any, chance to give her some winter exercise. Ah, well, spring is coming -- sometime.

This load came from Iowa and picked up at an oddball hour, late Friday night. By the time I got it and began rolling east and southward, it was Saturday morning already. Too far to make K-Town legally, and I got my sleep shot to hell Friday anyway, so I took my required break and made it in here Sunday morning. Schmoozed around all day yesterday and didn't get a thing done -- not even this entry. Okay -- I got lazy. I confess! But I'm usually anything but lazy, so I feel like I'd earned my little slothful diversion and nobody was gonna deprive me of it! So there!!! I watched a new DVD I bought in the bargain bin of a truckstop and still got another one for tonight. Good ol' guy stuff; action flicks. Plenty of fast jet airplanes, bombs going off, and hot babes in skimpy outfits. Love it!! No wimpy chick flicks this time; just guy stuff. Sorry, girls, but I gotta be me sometimes!

Which brings me to. . . the part of this entry that inspired its title. Namely, the little known things about your favorite Dawg that you didn't know. Things that my own mom never knew. I mean, this was top secret for years and we're talking Super-Duper Top Secret. So danged secret that I didn't even know anything about it!! Until now. So here it goes -- the Legend of The Dawg -- a legend in his own mind!

**  You never see the Dawg, but he can see you. If you do see the Dawg, you might be only seconds away from death!

**  The Dawg doesn't need a gun, or a bow in order to go hunting. He can merely glance at a game animal and it will immediately commit suicide. When the Dawg does use weapons to hunt, he calls in an air strike with cruise missiles and takes out the whole side of a hill at once. He bags enough to fill twenty or thirty freezers.

**  The Dawg never conducts searches on the web. He stares it down until he gets the information he wants.

**   When the Dawg hangs curtain rods, he makes his own out of 3/4" chrome moly tubing, welded to titanium alloy gusset plates. These are then bolted to the wall with case-hardened, aircraft-quality fasteners. He's never had a single rod to come down yet.

**  Never get behind the Dawg when he accelerates his pickup truck away from a traffic light. The heat from the jet blast has been known to melt the plastic bumpers of cars behind him.

**  The Dawg has been known to melt the hearts of ladies with a single smile. That smile can have other very pleasant effects, too, but I can't describe them in this family-oriented journal. You single ladies will have to find out for yourselves. Any takers??


Sunday, January 20, 2008


As I write these words, it's a brisk, invigorating 14 freakin' degrees outside and my cable TV and internet connection has gone blooey. Noise ("snow") on the tube, on every channel, and my cable modem could be declared legally insane, the way it's behaving -- one light blinking uselessly, the PC activity light on steady, with the computer turned off, and the damned thing won't shut down and go into standby mode at all. Totally crazy. I called the cable company and the gal there said something was "down" somewhere and to call back in a couple of hours. Apparently, there's nobody there to perform CATV surgery at 6 A.M. on a Sunday morning. Par for the course.

So, I went out to the truck to grab this trusty laptop, with the "instant internet" device I pay $60 per month for -- and nearly froze my butt off on that short trip!! Global warming?? Yeah. Right. Tell me another one, Al Gore!! Welcome to Alaska South, Nanook!! And the ice cap is melting?? The polar bears are in danger?? Hell, tell 'em all to head south, toward Tennessee. We got perfect weather for them down here this morning!! They can frolic, play and have all kinds of fun in this deep freeze. Hell, the damned cable equipment probably froze to death sometime last night! That's my theory, anyway, and I'm sticking to it.

Back in my warm Dawg House now, it's much nicer, and after my fingers loosened up enough to type and my underwear thawed out a little, I've got this laptop fired up and am sitting here bitching to all of you about the weather. I can't help it. I am a decidedly warm weather person, to the core! And this sub-arctic deep freeze crap cramps my style tremendously. First day of winter comes and I'm like, "How long till spring??" That's me.  If I could, I'd cram all this cold air in a box and ship it back to Canada, one-way! We need a wall buillt on the Canadian border, too. Not to keep the Canucks out, but to keep all their cold air and snow up there, where it belongs!! They live there, they can deal with it. End of story.

I'm home for a little longer this week, because of a dental appointment tomorrow. Told dispatch this one would take a little longer than a routine appointment because it's my initial visit to a new dentist and he'll likely take umpteen x-rays, do a complete exam on me, and all sort of other time-consuming activities. So I swapped my loaded trailer for an empty one and will pick up a load somewhere around here, probably on Tuesday morning. My former dentist, Dr. Thomas Lane, whom I went to for the past twelve years or so, retired at the end of last year. I hated to see him go a lot, as he was about the best dentist I've ever had. But he's earned his retirement, after fifty-five years in practice, and I wish him all the best.

I was in South Carolina on Friday and if you couldn't tell that a presidential primary was about to happen, I'd adivse you to have your vision examined. Signs all over the place, most for Congressman Ron Paul, who won't get that many votes, but whose supporters like to stick signs up in every nook and cranny they can find. I saw Sen. John McCain's huge campaign bus roaming around in the Columbia area, as well as former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson's. Don't know if either candidate was "at home," so to speak, but I was a man on a mission, as usual, and in a hurry to get my load home and relay it to the other driver, so I couldn't stop and play autograph hound. No signs of any of the Democrat candidates, as their primary won't be held till next weekend. South Carolina has a weird wrinkle, in that each party's primary is held a week apart, instead of on the same day, like most states.

We have early voting in Tennesse, so I went and cast my ballot yesterday, because as a trucker, if I don't vote early, I won't get to vote at all. I'll be God-knows-where on Super Tuesday, when my state's regular primary is held. Not telling who I voted for until after the primary, to be fair about it. Those of you who are readers of my private political blog will learn of my choice later. Those of you who are not current readers, are conservative-minded, and would like to become readers, let me know and I'll add you to the reader list. If you're liberal-minded, that blog's not for you. Enough said.

Got to go brave the elements again and make a cigarette run and I'm also going to start up my Big Truck and let it run an hour or so, to keep the batteries up on it and make sure the fuel won't gel up in the lines. There's not a lot of wind here, thank God, so that helps with that particular issue, anyway. But I'm going to wait until it warms up a little bit. I'm rationing my smokes now, as I want to avoid "nicotine fits" if I run out. That's not a pretty sight to see and nobody would want to be around me if that happens!

Supposed to warm back up a little by tomorrow. We'll see.


Sunday, January 13, 2008


Hold On. . .You MUST CLICK for the song to play.


Boy, did the weather change in a week's time!! Last week, I was writing about the cold wave down in Louisiana where I had been and by the middle of this past week, I was running my air conditioner during the day!! I stayed south all week and it was like a miniature spring break, with temperatures in the 70's in Alabama and Georgia.

And all while I was on the road, of course. Now that I'm at home, on the weekend, it's turned nippy again and normal winter temperatures have returned. I was going to take Miss Velvet out for a mid-winter spin this afternoon, but the chilly wind put that idea on hold for awhile, probably till mid-March or so.

I predicted as much last week, while I was motorvating around the southeast. It'll be warm and pretty -- beautiful riding weather -- while I'm out and then just watch it turn cold, and/or rain when I get back home!! And so it did. It was pretty and warm enough yesterday, but I was worn-out from driving and winter is back today. My usual luck is still with me.

And of course, with the first glimmer of warmer weather those guys in the green and orange safety vests waste no time in breaking out their barrels and roping off a lane or two on the highways and so they have here. A section of I-640 that they worked on seemingly nearly forever looked to be about finished last weekend and I go through there Saturday only to find that they've got it all torn up again!!! And cops hovering around to make sure everyone sticks to that super-fast 45 mph speed limit!! I can't wait for spring, yet I dread it -- mixed emotions, for sure.

Used to be truckers had just two seasons -- winter and road construction. Now there's just construction, year-round. And they don't seem to git 'r done a bit faster, regardless of that. It's gone on so long in some places that the current workers' grandchildren will probably end up finishing it, twenty years or so from now. And by then it'll be obsolete and they'll have to start all over again! Nice country we've got here -- if they ever get through building it!!

I did manage to use my spare time working on Miss Velvet, since it's still too frigid outside to ride her as yet. Bought her some Christmas presents and spent a little  time prettying her up a little more. It's called "customizing," which is adding non-factory parts and accessories to make your bike something personal and not just a showroom motorcycle. Velvet now has her saddlebags, a sexy black bra on her fuel tank, a windshield, custom handgrips and a few other goodies. Here's the latest pics of my two-wheeled gal:

This is how she looked just a few days after I bought her last June

And here's how she looks in January of '08

That's all the bigger pics that AOL will let me embed in the body of this entry, so I've stuck three more in the box at the top, as you can see. One way or the other, I've got them all for you. Anyway, Velvet looks like a different bike from the showroom bike she was when I first "adopted" her. I might add some other things later on, when I can afford it. I'd like to put a more comfortable seat on her. But I'll have to cross that bridge a little later on.


Sunday, January 6, 2008


Back home again this weekend, for a short stay before I head back out later tonight. I was so far away that I didn't get home until yesterday. If I could have made it Friday, I'd have had a little more time, but things didn't work out that way for me.

I sat in the truckstop in Fort Worth until Wednesday morning, then got assigned a load that picked up a little more than 100 miles south, in Temple, Texas. I had been to the place before, some six years earlier, but had long forgotten which exit to take, so I had to get the directions again. Once I hopped off the interstate down there, I remembered where the place was and had no trouble finding it. Found that they've changed their entrance and the procedures are a bit different as well, but those are minor things, which caused no problems.

I dropped my empty and was hooked to my loaded box in short order. Going back north, I took the Dallas/35E fork in the highway this time, so I could hop on I-20 and head east, toward my destination in Louisiana. I learned that everything is bigger in Texas, including construction zones. Seemed like the one I went through was at least 50 miles long! I couldn't get a shot of the Big 'D' skyline, because the only reasonably close-up view of it is right in the middle of the 35E/I-20 interchange. Traffic was too hairy to risk a shot and the maze of ramps blocked most of the view anyway, so I didn't even attempt it. By the time I was on 20 and had changed directions, Dallas was in my rear-view mirror.

I played tag with some crazy Tex-Mex dude in a little six-wheeled delivery truck for a few miles, then lost him when I-635 split off and he went that way. He seemed to be enjoying our little "contest" as much as I was. Neither of us really got a clear advantage, so I put it down as a draw. When I attempted to bury him in traffic, using my larger size to block any attempts to cross over in front of me, he wormed his way out of it neatly. I didn't let him get me bottlenecked the same way at all. He was a little faster than me, but slower cars kept getting in his way, so he was never able to get that far ahead of me. We waved and smiled at each other as we parted company for good. Harmless thing, really, and a way to have a little fun and break the boredom of driving up for a few minutes.

At the eastern edge of Texas, the vast plains begin to give way to pine tree forests and the wetlands of Louisiana swamp country. A few miles out of Shreveport, after going around in a circle for ten minutes to correct a wrong turn I made, which had me headed north, instead of south, I was headed down I-49. Through Alexandria and on into Lafayette, where the real swamp and Cajun country starts. By the way, that's pronounced "Lah-fie-yet" with the authentic accent. Sort of like "Baa-tone-Roozh" (Baton Rouge). It's always fascinating to hear those Cajun voices on the CB down there. And there's a lot of them, as you might imagine.

The Wally-Mart DC (Distribution Center) where I was headed will take you at any time on the proper delivery date, as long as you're dropping and hooking, so I didn't have to stop and kill time until my pre-set delivery appointment rolled around. That was nice, for a change. I was in and out of there within a half-hour. There was no load right away, so I holed up in a nearby truckstop in Hammond and started my break. Load came through around nightfall, and I would load at a paper mill, back the way I'd already come, north of Baton Rouge.

Plenty of time for a break first, but I got little sleep at all. Just wasn't sleepy. I'd gotten my "nap out," so to speak, the previous two days, so I was in total Bug-Eye Mode that night. Wide awake and unable to move until my ten hours were up, around midnight, or thereabout. Well, I'd have all kinds of hours available, at least. And I could get all the way home Friday. Barely. By the skin of my teeth -- by stretching the hours in my logbook as tight as a drum. But that's okay; a driver's hours are made out of rubber anyway. No problem with stretching them. Only newbie drivers think that they're made of iron, and most of them learn the truth quickly enough.

Meanwhile, it had turned cold as whiz outside. Old Man Winter had come to pay his respects to the Southeast on Thursday morning. It had been 17 degrees in Shreveport at 7A.M. and it was on its way down into the upper 20's again where I was. Very cold indeed, for the Deep South. I heard later that it was only 45 degrees that morning in Key West, Florida -- a  new record low for that area and colder than it had gotten there since 1896. Global Warming? Ha! Not quite!! I think all this early snow, ice, and frigid air are Mother Nature's way of telling Mr. Gore and his pals that they're full of crap!

My conventional dry van trailer had turned into a reefer by the time I got to the paper mill and backed up to a utility dock, to clean it out. Only difference was that my box was missing the refrigeration unit on the front and the fuel tank underneath it. Other than that, it was just as cold inside that thing as any reefer can get, or at least that's the way it felt, at 2 A.M. Friday morning. I swept it out, shiveringly (if that's a word).

The brake shoes on my loaded box were frozen to the drums, but I managed to push and pull on the air supply knob a half-dozen times and rock the box back and forth until they finally broke loose with a clunking noise. The 43,000 pound weight of the load helped a lot. You learn fast that you don't set the trailer brake in below-freezing weather, when you're going to be parked for a longer period of time, especially when there's snow or ice on the pavement. Water freezes into ice and ice tends to bond brake shoes to brake drums and the damned thing won't move with the brakes locked up. Of course, it can't be helped when the trailer is dropped, so that's something that you just have to deal with all the time. I have had to beat the living crap out of the drums a few times with my trusty hammer, in order to "encourage" the shoes to release ("mechanical intimidation" is more like it, actually). Fortunately, it didn't require that sort of direct action on this occasion.

I got rolling, fueled up, and headed to the house. I got into Alabama before I crapped out. The lack of sleep was getting to me, big time, by then, and I saw that I wasn't going to make it home on Friday. It's just not worth the risk, when you're that tired and drowsy. It makes you a menace on the road, both to yourself and to everyone else who shares the road with you. So, I pulled into a rest area about 60 miles west of Birmingham and hit the bunk. Had no problem sleeping this time.

I rolled in here yesterday morning and will roll on to Cincinnati tonight. Another week closer to spring and the return of motorcycling weather!! Can't wait, but meantime, I'm doing a little customizing work on Miss Velvet, installing the custom handgrips I got her for Christmas. I'll get some pics of them when they're both installed.