An Old Familiar Place

Another week behind the wheel, another week closer to my goals. I’m parked in Dingman’s Ferry Pa again tonight, and I took Vinny for a walk up the hill. Anytime the weather is good we go up top to stretch our legs.

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I say hill, but it’s not much really. This may only be a parking area by a McDonald’s, but it’s better than a dirty old truck stop! It’s a short steep hill but worth the climb.

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The wind is strong today but the temp is 70 or so and Vinny just stands there as it blows past, slowly sniffing the scents we will never notice.

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I think it would be good to be a dog. Every moment a cascade of pleasure surrounded by the people that care for you and the simple pleasures only a dog could know. Sometimes he stares at the sky and I wonder if he can appreciate the beautiful blue color.

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When the wind rustles the dry leaves in the woods, does he sense the rhythm of nature, the symphony it places before us if we listen?

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I can’t help but feel a sense of comfort, a feeling of calm as I sit here. I’m in my element outdoors and I relish every moment I have to spend in the sunlight. Tomorrow I will drive 600 or more miles, and by Wednesday morning I will be in Georgia and half my week will be over. I hope to be back by Saturday so I can visit some people that have an existing charity in Maine and have offered to help me start my plan of sailing adventures for veterans and their children. I’m very excited to get started down my chosen path, my chance to make up for past mistakes and make a real difference. You can stand me up at the gates of hell but I won’t back down.

My Name’s The Teacher

Well the dawn was coming,
Heard him ringing on my bell.
He said, “My name’s the teacher,
That is what I call myself.
And I have a lesson
That I must impart to you.
It’s an old expression
But I must insist it’s true.

Jump up, look around,
Find yourself some fun,
No sense in sitting there hating everyone.
No man’s an island and his castle isn’t home,
The nest is for nothing when the bird has flown.”

So I took a journey,
Threw my world into the sea.
With me went the teacher
Who found fun instead of me.

Hey man, what’s the plan, what was that you said?
Sun-tanned, drink in hand, lying there in bed.
I try to socialize but I can’t seem to find
What I was looking for, got something on my mind.

Then the teacher told me
It had been a lot of fun.
Thanked me for his ticket
And all that I had done.

Hey man, what’s the plan, what was that you said?
Sun-tanned, drink in hand, lying there in bed.
I try to socialize but I can’t seem to find
What I was looking for, got something on my mind.

Teacher – Jethro Tull

I have had many different jobs in my life. From landscaping to carpentry, foundations to computer repairs, trucking to equipment operating. I have had many bosses, some good, many bad. There have been some jobs where I gave it my all, just to find I was being used and they didn’t really care. Some that care but there’s no future. But the currant company has given me hope that I have found something special.

Through all the trials of my life over the last few years they have been very accommodating, considerate and understanding, more than any company I have ever worked for. Now that my life has settled down some, I want to give something back. That opportunity has presented itself to me.

There is a tremendous shortage of qualified truck drivers in this country. Many people don’t like the idea of being away from home, the long hours, the mental strain and so forth. Many drivers have such a bad driving record most companies can’t hire them. And still more are ready to retire. Now what? Why in house training, that’s what!

This company, like many others, has decided to start a driver training program. Students that have graduated from a CDL school here in Maine will spend 6 to 8 weeks in a truck with a mentor, to help hone their skills in the safe handling of the largest vehicles on the road. All manor of driving conditions, backing situations, traffic conditions and other difficult problems will be addressed during training.

So how do I fit in? Myself and 3 other drivers volunteered to be trainers, and I should get my first student at the end of this month. When I first started driving I had gone to a school and had a mentor also. He was very thorough, patient and fun. I still remember the most important things he taught me, and I think I can pass them along to others and give them the same chance given to me so many years ago.

I hope to inspire them to give it a real chance, show them how it feels to be independent and in charge of your income. How each day, if you pay attention, you can find at least one moment that makes it all worthwhile, one moment that makes you smile, one image burned into your memory.

Like this one…

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Or this one…

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I really look forward to giving back to a company that has given me so much more than a job, they gave me a home, and I say Thank You!

This Way And That

I spent the night at the TA truck stop in Southington Connecticut last night. I try to frequent the TA chain more than others as they have better shower facilities, they are generally cleaner, (at least on the inside!) and I receive points for every gallon of diesel. Most chains give points but I’m not setting foot in their showers! Eww! As I walk Vinny this morning I am treated to a brilliant view.

First the truck stop looking west…You can just see the nose of my truck on the left.

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Now east!

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Enjoy your day and stay safe!

What Inspires You?

Anyone who knows me understands that I am obsessed with sailboats, right mom? But realistically the boat is only a means to an end. The boat is one piece in the lifestyle I have been searching for my entire life, even though I didn’t understand the “Big Picture” until recently.

Some years ago I moved my folks to a town in central Maine called Sebec. We bought 2 plots of land and a 34 foot motor home. (If you look closely you can see Vinny in the windshield) 

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We stayed at a nearby campground for a month while my father and I cleared one lot to move the camper to so we could live while setting up their home next door.  Here’s a few pictures of the initial setup for the camper.

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Once this part was done we could place the camper and not pay for the campground. I had a power pole placed and we moved onto what would become my lot.  I think it was only a week or so until we had a bad hailstorm come through. Pretty big hail for Maine!

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My mother and I still talk about how much fun it was living in that camper.

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Later, after my folks home was complete and they moved in, I cleared further back on my lot to build a shelter for the camper. I rented a small excavator to do the heavy lifting then built the structure. At this point in time my father was recovering from cancer and couldn’t help much even though he tried.

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Vinny thinking with his stomach!

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This picture above shows the left side of the camper. What you don’t see is the area to the right and the whole reason I set the lot up this way. This is Meadow Brook, about 50 feet from the right side and down a small hill. (There are the young cinnamon ferns Jessica!)

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This was the point in my life I had broken from the drug use of my past. Every day was a struggle to suppress the urge to fall back on the “crutch” I had relied on for so long. My goal in doing all this was to help my folks live in a less expensive area and remove myself from all the reminders of my past, including every person that I knew from a very troubling time in my life. I wanted the freedom of my little spot on this earth where I could get away from the stress of everyday trials, my safe haven. What I didn’t realize at the time was I would not find my peace tied to one spot. My wandering spirit and lust for ever greater adventure was bubbling forth now that my mind was clearing.

Some years later when my father lost his drivers license, my folks could not stay here because they were to far from stores and no public transportation was available. My fathers dementia was also becoming more apparent along with his angry outbursts. Not long after my folks gave up their house to the bank and moved to an apartment I sold my camper and land. I started to see I was never going to be happy in one place, never going to feel at home living a “Normal” life as most do.

Just let it go

My lust for travel was partially satisfied when I bought my truck and rode through almost all the states with Vinny at my side. It was at this time that I started to understand what inspired me, what gave me a true feeling of freedom. The idea of having your home with you all the time means you always have your comfort zone. Like a turtle, your always home no matter what. Everything you need is within reach anytime you need it. I felt in control for the first time in my life.

laura-dekkerThe idea of a sailboat came from the story of Laura Dekker. Laura was the 14 year old Dutch girl who had a dream of being the youngest person to sail around the world alone, and she did it! If you have never seen her movie “Maidentrip” on Netflix you really should. I was totally inspired by her strength and tenacity even when her own government tried to stop her.

I don’t know if I will sail around the world, but I know living free on a boat, no rent or property taxes, no electric or phone bills, it’s the way I want to spend the rest of my life. Even now as I watch her movie again I feel a strong attachment not to her, I don’t personally know her, but to her spirit and her strength, her unwillingness to give up. Just like my father, she never quit and neither will I.

I’ve looked at many boats, read many stories and articles about this design and that. Studied what made this boat or that the ideal candidate for me, but I finally realized I was not really forming a plan, setting a goal. I think now I have the perfect boat in mind, the goal I need to focus my aspirations toward.

Lin & Larry Pardey Books and Videos

Lin and Larry Pardey are among America’s (and the world’s) most knowledgeable and recognized cruising sailors. They are known as “America’s first couple of cruising.” Together, Lin and Larry have sailed over 200,000 miles, including two circumnavigations east to west and west to east aboard self-built, wooden, engine-free cutters under 30 feet. Author of a dozen books, countless magazine articles, and co-creators of five cruising documentaries, Lin and Larry have shared their sailing experiences with tens of thousands around the globe prompting many to take up the sport and live the dream of the cruising lifestyle. Their motto has always been, Go simple, go small, go now!

The above image and script comes from Lin & Larry Pardey’s website. Of all the information I have read I believe theirs is the idea I should follow. I see no need for a large boat, all the amenities and all the costs that go with it. A boat 30 feet or less, very stout and strong, good storage and easy to sail single-handed. A boat that has a proven record of seaworthiness and open ocean passages. A boat I can trust to get me there. I have chosen a Baba 30.

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Watch this video for a complete understanding of just how beautiful they are.

Granted this one is in “Bristol” condition, and the one I purchase may not start out as nice, but I can purchase one for $40,000 to $50,000 or less. If I work really hard I can save the money over the next 2 years to purchase it, then work maybe 2 more years to fund a complete refit with enough money left over for a long vacation to give her a long shakedown cruise. After that I can drive part time or go back to landscaping in the summer, the one job I truly loved.

This is what inspires me, this is what I have been looking for all my life. The freedom to go where I want when I want. The freedom to work a job I love not just the best paying one. What are you willing to give up for the chance to live a life worth living?  I’ve made my choice.

Plan, What Plan?

Nothing ever go’s as planned. I started off yesterday morning with the hope of finishing early in the day, maybe doing a little laundry, having a good meal at a clean truck stop and taking Vinny for a walk. My drive took me through Virginia, a state I love driving in because of the beautiful countryside. The mountains here seem to just erupt from the earth like giant anthills.

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So much for a day full of plans! About 2 hours into my drive, guess what!

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Great, just great! I turn on my CB and hear there is a crash ahead and the left lane is blocked. Well, no sense getting upset, I’ve been here before, relax and make the best of it. I get out my camera and look around for something interesting. Here’s some weird looking grass.

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Some cows beside an old barn in this field.

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More cows up on this ridge.

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An old abandoned farm being used as a barn now. Such a shame to squander history.

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More cows that Vinny spotted! Bark bark!

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Cant you see yourself playing as a child on this grassy ridge? Riding a horse or chasing your dog in the summer sun? I can.

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Here comes the sign saying whats up with the traffic.

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That’s not very helpful, what else?

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Sigh…I’m at mile marker 22. This is going to take awhile, like 3 hours!!!  I take a deep breath, pull over to the side real quick and grab a snack. Pull back in line and go with the slow flow. It’s all I can do. I thought of you Miriam when I took this picture! It’s a chain of convenience stores in the US.

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When traffic starts to pick up we move further up the mountain into the heavy fog. These mountains separate the moisture laden air from the Atlantic and the drier air coming from the west. When the temps are right you get dense fog.

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It’s now 6 pm, I’m still 2 hours from my stop, and by the time I get there I’ll be to tired for anything but dinner and sleep. The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry!

 

Misty Mountain Hop

Walkin’ in the park just the other day, baby
What do you what do you think I saw?
Crowds of people sittin’ on the grass with flowers in their hair said
Hey Boy do you want to score?
And you know how it is
I really don’t know what time it was oh, oh
So I asked them if I could stay awhile

I didn’t notice but it had got very dark and I was really
Really out of my mind.
Just then a policeman stepped up to me and asked us said
Please, hey, would we care to all get in line
Get in line
Well you know
They asked us to stay for tea and have some fun
Oh, oh, he said that his friends would all drop by, oh
Why don’t you take a good look at yourself and describe what you see
And baby, baby, baby, do you like it?
There you sit, sitting spare like a book on a shelf rustin’
Ah, not trying to fight it

You really don’t care if they’re coming oh, oh
I know that it’s all a state of mind, oh.
If you go down in the streets today, Baby, you better
You better open your eyes
Folk down there really don’t care, really don’t care
Don’t care, really don’t
Which, which way the pressure lies
So I’ve decided what I’m gonna do now
So I’m packing my bags for the Misty Mountains
Where the spirits go now
Over the hills where the spirits fly, oh, I really don’t know

Misty Mountain Hop – Led Zeppelin

It was kinda poetic that I was listening to this song just before I took these pics and short video. This is Interstate 80 in Pennsylvania very close to the town of Lamar. This is a huge cut through the western mountains. Enjoy the ride along with the 3 minute video at the end!

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Beautiful Day

The heart is a bloom
Shoots up through the stony ground
There’s no room
No space to rent in this town

You’re out of luck
And the reason that you had to care
The traffic is stuck
And you’re not moving anywhere

You thought you’d found a friend
To take you out of this place
Someone you could lend a hand
In return for grace

It’s a beautiful day
Sky falls, you feel like
It’s a beautiful day
Don’t let it get away

You’re on the road
But you’ve got no destination
You’re in the mud
In the maze of her imagination

You’re lovin’ this town
Even if that doesn’t ring true
You’ve been all over
And it’s been all over you

It’s a beautiful day
Don’t let it get away
It’s a beautiful day

Touch me
Take me to that other place
Teach me
I know I’m not a hopeless case

See the world in green and blue
See China right in front of you
See the canyons broken by cloud
See the tuna fleets clearing the sea out
See the Bedouin fires at night
See the oil fields at first light
And see the bird with a leaf in her mouth
After the flood all the colors came out

It was a beautiful day
Don’t let it get away
Beautiful day

Touch me
Take me to that other place
Reach me
I know I’m not a hopeless case

What you don’t have you don’t need it now
What you don’t know you can feel it somehow
What you don’t have you don’t need it now
Don’t need it now
Was a beautiful day

Beautiful Day – U2

Thanks Natalie for the inspiration for this post!

Another holiday spent on the road. I do it so another driver with a wife and kids won’t have to. Freight still needs to move no matter the day, and I drove over 600 miles again. I’m back in the truck after a disappointing meal at a truck stop, but upon reflection it was still a beautiful day…

It started bright and cheerful

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I stopped midday to walk Vinny and stretch my legs

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He had to sniff everything!

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I saw this vine growing in the fence, it reminded me of how life can be…

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Vinny got to bark at people walking by

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And I was treated to a spectacular sunset!

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It was a beautiful day…Don’t let it get away.