#6 April 17th, 2014

Maunday Thursday, Making Lori and my sacrifices seem so small at this point.

Hi All,

Well life is settling down a bit, Lori is back on the road. She made a run from Springfield Ohio, then up to Indianapolis, and currently she is on her way to Phoenix. Today should put her close to 90 hours, of the 150 hours she needs to complete training. She is doing very well, and actually getting the hang of driving a 80,000 pounds down the road. I talk to her a couple of times a day, although it is usually at pretty strange hours like six in the morning or midnight, whenever she is not driving, and has some space to give me a call.

I am in Springfield Ohio in a hotel room. I have been here since Tuesday. My trainer and I got into Springfield about 6 in the morning. My trainer left for a week in Hawaii, we had pushed as hard as possible to get my 150 hours in before Tuesday but fell about 18 hours short, so I am sitting here waiting for another trainer to open up and finish my last 18 hours of behind the wheel berfore my upgrade testing. I drove 132 hours in 16 days, 2 of which were down days, total I put on about 7000 miles. It was a real push and in the end we came up just a bit short. Consequently, laying low in a hotel for a few days is kind of nice.

Ok one quick story form the road. After I left Minneapolis on Monday morning, we drove into Wisconsin heading for Chicago, we felt ourselves lucky because a snowstorm had rolled across Wisconsin on Sunday night and we were behind it, the roads were pretty good. Just west of Chicago, we were commenting on the diversity of driving conditions that I had experienced over the past 2 weeks, “yep” I said “I have seen just about every condition a guy could see in 2 weeks”. Why did I say that?? Just as we were pulling into Chicago, at 5:00 PM rush hour it started snowing….hard! Wow, We were headed to the rail yard, were we were going to dump our load, so it could go onto a rail road car for the rest of its journey, (that yard was amazing, and a whole other story in it self). As I was navigating highway 290 into Melrose park, just south of Chicago, I realized that the exit I needed was a left exit and I was in the middle lane, I put on my left blinker and was patiently waiting, you know Minnesota nice style, when my instructor said start moving, I said I can’t there are 2 cars inside me, start moving he yelled, so I put my left tires onto the left lane lines ( the left zipper we call it) and started creeping left, the one car next me me got up as far and as he could fast, the next car started moving into the left shoulder and trying like mad to get out of my way, the last car definitely backed off and did not want to be a part of this whole lane change thing, everything cleared and I got into the left lane about a 1/4 mile before the exit. My instructor looked at me and said “thats how its done, you have to telegraph your intentions, these people are in to big of a hurry to give us space so they can get home and watch some infomercial, while we are out here trying to deliver their cloths, or food, or medication and keep the country moving”. Did I tell you he is sort of passionate about what he does?

At any rate, we made the rail yards and went onto a Home Depot Distribution Center in Romeoville IL. and headed to Lebanon Ohio, and then for Springfield to get my trainer off our truck and headed to an airport by early Tuesday Morning. We were still driving in hard snowy conditions, but it was warm enough that the roads were not freezing up. On our way down I happen to get a call from Lori she asked where we were headed, and when I told her she said, they were headed to the same place, Wow we might be able to see each other. As we continued in the snow we ran into a highway that was shut down, and we got completely routed off the highway, and set back almost an hour in our driving plans, I was getting nervous about being able to see Lori. I gave her a call and they were now a couple of hours ahead of us………bummer… as the day turned to night she called again and said they were delayed getting their pick up, it was beginning to look as though we may be able to cross paths. As the night stretched into morning, it looked as though we were still going to just miss each other. This whole thing was a major roller coaster and added to the stress of driving at night in snowstorms, the whole situation was getting sort of old. At about 3 in the morning our trainers got together and devised a plan for us to see each other for about an hour. We were both pretty excited to make this work, and I think both our trainers were very proud of them selves for devising the plan.

The meeting spot was a Flying J truck stop / Subway sandwich shop near Dayton, Lori’s truck was going to shut down there for the night, and my truck was going to drop me, and go onto the delivery and come back and pick me up. I arrived first and called Lori, she was only a few minutes away, so I told her I would meet her out front. It was still snowing and windy and cold, but I didn’t mind waiting out side to get my first glimpses of her in 18 days, we had been apart before for this long but these circumstances were way different than any we have ever been through.

As I spotted the big red US Xpess tractor pulling into the lot, I felt myself getting so emotional that tears were forming in the corner of my eyes, the truck started slowing in the lot and before it came to a complete stop, I watched a small figure jump out of the truck and come running across the lot, she ran straight into me, almost knocking me over, and gave me one of those big both arm and both legs wrapped around me, type hugs that lasted for almost a full minute. I know now how a sailor feels coming home from sea, even though it had only been a couple of weeks.

While our time together was short, it did revitalize us and give us enough strength to get through the rest of our training together. At some point I thanked her for going through this for me and she replied, I am not going through this for you, I am going through this for us.. What a girl!!! Some one I told this story to said its sounds like a couple of teenagers in love…… great analogy!! That is exactly how we felt.

Well that may have been a little to much information, or a little to sappy but it was definitely the highlight of our week.

Happy Easter to you all.

And our all love to each of you

Sincerely

Tom and Lori.

Semiretired

TMC

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