Suds and more

After a lengthy wait I was beeped: I’m headed to Houston, Texas to pick up a load of beer headed for El Paso.

I drove along a fairly well maintained state highway direct from Austin and pulled in to our designated fuel stop in Houston around 1530. The Budweiser plant is across town so I’ll take my break here then head over in the dead of night to swap my empty trailer for one full of beer.

Lots of wind yesterday and today. With a full trailer it is just a pain to keep up your speed, but empty you can get blown around quite a bit. Not quite bad enough to pull over, but enough to keep me awake.

Irony alert: As I was passing through a small town along the way, I came across Memory Lane. Then I forgot to take a stroll. Ah well.

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Wide Angle Goodness

While I was shooting stills at Crowder a few weeks ago I found several problems with my camera setup. First, when it is cold out batteries don’t hold their charge very well so having a backup is a big plus. I got an extra battery and an add-on for my Nikon so it can use both batteries simultaneously or separately.

Second, the base lens I purchased with the camera is a Nikon 18-200mm. It really is a fantastic lens for what I need but occasionally I want to be able to go wider. I picked up a Sigma 10-20mm which is about as wide as you can go and not be a true fisheye lens.

So, here are some pics I shot this morning while I was parked next to another company truck:

View all Wide Angle Goodness pics

Austin power

I departed Denton, Texas as early as I could this morning and arrived at the consignee in Austin by 6:45 AM. I would have been there 20 minutes earlier but the directions weren’t written very well and it took a while to sort out which warehouse was the one I needed. It didn’t help that the street out front is kind of a divided highway thing with a decent amount of traffic so getting turned around was a bear.

Anyway, got unloaded by 0830 which isn’t bad, given that my appointment was for 0800. I’m #3 on the board in the “southwest” region, though that is really not the case since I’m in the area controlled by the Laredo terminal, I think.

Back in the saddle again

I decided to go back on the road after nearly three weeks off this morning. Everyone was cool with that, right up to the point where I was chatting with the local dispatcher. “You’re blocked,” he said.

Apparently, someone at HQ had put a block on my getting back on the board and didn’t bother mentioning it to me.

I trudged over to the main building and chatted up someone in Safety. “Isn’t us,” she said. Apparently, it was someone in dispatch, so I marched upstairs while speed dialing my fleet manager.

Eventually it was determined that when I changed my original “due back” date in the system someone decided to put the block on. Not sure why.

Anyhow, I sashay back across the parking lot to local dispatch and now I’m not blocked. I’m immediately offered a delivery in Colorado for Friday or Austin, Texas for tomorrow. Good luck to the driver heading west, I chose south:

I arrived just north of the DFW metroplex as the afternoon traffic jams were starting, which I had anticipated. I’m overnighting at a truck stop here and will get back to my usual early morning departure tomorrow when I finish the last 200 miles. There is, apparently, a super tight right turn that you have to make to get to the consignee which should be fun and giggles.

Despite the fact my truck was in the shop twice while I was on vacation, it still hasn’t been turned back to 65. Sweet!

The drive today dragged by terribly slowly. After 13 months of driving, a few hundred miles in a day can go by in a blur once you get into the rhythm. When you aren’t used to it, however, it can feel like ages.