Saturday, October 23, 2010

Memories Of My Life - Chapter Two - On The Road

A Wind Turbine Out West.

In 1995 when my husband and I came back to New York from Florida he started driving an over-the-road truck for a job. These truck driving jobs were plentiful and easy to get, especially since he had a CDL license and was trained for this when he was in the Army. We wanted to get into the homesteading lifestyle and started reading and learning about it. In the beginning we lived in an apartment in the country, but that is a whole other story.

We figured as long as we kept paying rent we would never be able to get our own homestead. So we put our belongings in storage, left our car at my parents' house and took our cat, Nutmeg, and went out on the road. We traveled all over the country and saw most of the states. Made friends with other drivers along the way. It was fun and interesting. While he was driving, I would be reading to him our homesteading magazines, and we would dream and imagine what our homestead would be like when we finally found it.

Backing the truck up to a dock in Ithaca, NY.

In Denver, CO, we got stuck at the truck stop for about three days with other Marten Drivers waiting for loads from the company. We walked around a nearby park, spent time with the drivers and just watched movies on our televison. As we crossed the country back and forth, we purchased a huge collection of western movies. That is what we did in the evenings in our little home away from home.  

We had a little refrigerator and would pull into grocery store parking lots if they allowed it. Some will not let big trucks park in their lots, so we had to park alongside the road and walk farther. We did that many times. I remember a time in Albuquerque, NM, we got caught on the way back in an approaching rain storm. It came down hard, but we were able to get back to our truck and put our bags of groceries away. We had to walk a long ways to get to the shopping center from the truck stop. The other drivers could not leave their trucks because it was raining so hard, and were complaining on the CB (radio) about that fact, and that they were hungry. I was cooking us a feast on our little "lunch box" stove. We were not hungry!

Interstate Underground Warehouse in Kansas City, MO

One experience I found scary and exciting at the same time, was driving the truck into the Interstate Underground Warehouse. It is an underground warehouse and it was huge. Dimly lit with lights throughout, my husband had to drive deep into the warehouse, which is built into a mountain. I loved the concept of it! Still kinda weird knowing you are underground. I always felt that way driving into the Holland Tunnel in New York too. Of course, that is a double whammy, being underneath the Hudson River! Not to mention all that traffic next to you, whizzing by in a narrow tunnel. Not my idea of a fun day!

In Oregon, we spent a couple of days at a truck stop due to the road being closed down in a snowstorm. Lots of drivers were there, and soon other travelers as well. Many of them had to park at the Walmart down the road because the truckstop was full. The truckstop did run out of food, but had lots of coffee and it was a good time! Later, when the road had opened, it was a treacherous climb up a huge highway mountain and back down. Very nervous, but my husband is an excellent driver and could get through most roads, even when other drivers could not. One time our windshield wipers quit during a snowstorm in Wisconsin, and he had to drive very slowly till we made it to the Marten terminal in Modevi. 

Welcome To New Mexico!

It was fun for a time and we can look back on it and talk about those times on the road. But we are glad to have our own homestead and not have to go anywhere, for days at a time. We had some experiences that we will never forget. Like the time we were at a beer distributors picking up a load and it was slow. Lots of drivers were there waiting their turn for hours. We had a little Tracphone at the time, and my husband called a pizza delivery place, and pretty soon the pizza delivery man drives in looking for our truck! All those guys were jealous they hadn't thought of it, or had their own phones (at that time they weren't that common).

Hanging Out At The Truck Stop!

In Nebraska it was so cold from the wind, that when we came out after taking our showers with our hair still wet, we ran as fast as we could to the truck, and our hair was frozen! I mean it was REALLY cold there! I am not new to cold weather, but the mid-west seemed much colder to me than New York in the winter. Maybe due to the wind chill factors. It was cold..................

At least we both got to see most of the country, from Minnesota to Texas, to California to Vermont, and most places in between. We went to a HUGE truck stop out in Iowa that was as big as shopping mall itself. We visited Elvis's "Graceland" when we were in Tennessee. I probably would have never been able to do that if we weren't out on the road. In Wyoming, we saw a track trailer overturned on the highway due to high winds. The "cowboy state" held a lot of fascination for my husband and me since we loved western movies and anything cowboy or Native American. It was a different lifestyle that is for sure. An experience I will never forget.

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole

All Photographs Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole

Updated 2018

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