Live music at a freeway rest area

Updated May 23, 2012

I learned today that some of my blog readers missed my blog posts when I fell a week to ten days behind. Learned by hearing from them by phone, e-mail and Twitter.

Sorry, readers. Yes, I have fallen behind, and yes, Diane and I are OK. Thank you for asking. I’m working now to fill in the back entries.

I also learned today that we will be hauling freight later this month further north into Canada than we have ever been before. Learned when we received and accepted that load offer.

After that delivery, we will be over 1,000 miles from the nearest U.S. city where freight can be reasonably expected to be found. It will be OK financially because there is enough money in the load to get us back to a U.S. freight center while still making the run profitable. We would not have accepted the run if that was not the case.

This run means putting great faith and reliance in our truck. A breakdown that far away from a Volvo dealer would be a big problem. Truckstop showers are not likely to be easily found on the remote route. The shower and other creature comforts in our big sleeper will be put to full use.

I don’t talk much about our run details in this blog and do not recall ever talking about a run in advance. But the freight is what our carrier calls “freight of all kinds” (FAK). It is ordinary freight. There are no security protocols attached. We have a lot of flexibility with the delivery date.

I’m talking about it now because we are excited about this run. It will be a new adventure into new territory. It will also dominate our run acceptance strategy for the next week. We need to be at a certain place the week after next to pick up this load. Load offers we entertain next week will be considered with the Canada run in mind.

We’re going to a place where our Minnesota accent will be viewed as a southern accent to the locals. The coming week will give us time to brush up on speaking Canadian. Sounds good, ‘eh?

• We woke up this morning at the freeway rest area on I-79 in Kirby, Pa. We moved there yesterday to be closer to Pittsburgh and improve our freight chances. A load offer came in this afternoon which we accepted and immediately rolled on. The load will deliver on Monday morning, giving us an easy weekend to complete about 12 hours of driving.

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• One last thing: I saw something at a rest area today that I have never seen before; a live singer.

This is one of the nicest rest areas Pennsylvania has. The newer building features a little museum about coal mining and coal miners. There is also an area for exhibits. Today’s exhibit was a photo contest. Photos taken by young people were on display. Visitors were asked to vote for the one they liked best.

Our truck has an RV style bathroom but the more we use it, the more we have to service it. When there are easy alternatives, that’s what we use. When I came through the door to use this easy alternative, I was surprised to see a smiling woman with a guitar standing in the lobby, singing away, and filling every corner of the hard-surface rooms with her strong voice and guitar music. From the signs that were posted, it was clear that she was a sponsored act and was there with the approval of whoever manages the rest area.

So what do you do when you need to use the rest room, enter the building, find yourself alone in the lobby, except for a singing woman and an attendant seated at a table next to her; and that woman makes direct eye contact with you while continuing to smile and sing?

Caught totally by surprise, and still having to use the rest room, I smiled nervously back and kept walking to take care of business. The rest rooms do not have doors that close, just big doorways that lead you around the privacy corners into the loo. When seated there I was able to hear the music. The woman was a very good singer and guitarist. Her clear voice seemed to resonate from every direction (that is, when it was not interrupted by jet hand dryers and flushing toilets).

Singers love to sing, but if I was talented like she is, I think I’d seek an audience of people other than those who are on their way to or seated in the rest room.

I thought about staying in the lobby to listen to her on my way back to the truck but it was just too personal. I’d have been the only one who did not keep walking. The eye contact she made with me was intense. And I was just there to … well, you know! It is preferable to not have one’s coming and going so noticed.

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