Sunday 9 May 2021

Life Outside the Box (Roadie)

 Life can bring about changes unexpectedly. It seems as if nowadays it's happening faster than before. Throughout the past, people worked, shopped raised families and were able to make a decent leaving. Up to early 2000 and beyond life changed suddenly and two incomes were needed to pay basic bills, with some extra. Nowadays, two high professional level incomes are needed to get by. Technology played a huge role in this new wave life.

One big change for me came when I became a permanent trucker roadie. My boyfriend of 25yrs decided to embark on a brand new lifestyle: long haul trucking.

This opened an entirely new experience in our lives especially since we are literally on a weekly basis crossing borders and travelling across USA and Canada. You get a real birds eye view as how people live just next door.

The learning curve was rather interesting since it was very new. Navigation skills, finding truck stops, trying to keep the cost down, also learning what  clothes and stuff to bring was a bit of a challenge.

Through this blog I intend to provide a true perspective of life on the road as a passenger, using photos and articles.

This experience has taught me a great deal about the transportation industry. First, all products come by semi trucks; including food, to all items one finds on any store shelf. I also learned how products are handled and the delivery process.

Not being able to come home every night and sleeping in a bunk in a truck, waking up at all sorts if hours was also an adjustment. Especially for me since night driving tires me out.

My time in the truck during those long drives opened an opportunity for me to start writing and documenting my personal experiences; through personal blogs and articles as well journals.

One might pose the question why did we embark on this unique journey in life? Well because we want to live life for what we can make it to be not what society or the norm says it should be. Media and family these days has a great influence on people's lives, we chose to let all that go and escape those restrictions.

Of course most people would have a hard time understanding our life choices but I say it's not for them, but for my boyfriend my one and I. This is what I call living an alternative lifestyle, not following the expected. The old saying “live life to the fullest” yes I believe we are doing just that but our way.

I wonder if trends are starting that people are not just living daily 9 to 5, but actually choosing more modern prone ways of life. Perhaps my boyfriend and I are on the frontiers of this new age life. We are familiar with the baby boomer and today's tech inclined age. It's being played out quite interestingly.

Barstow California

 Our time in Barstow CA

We picked this truck stop at random as we were making our way from San Diego,CA where we did our pick up to head back north to Canada. Originally,  we had planned to drive further and take our time off in Primm NV an awesome resort like exotic mini city; but Lady luck decided to point us a little closer.

Upon arriving to Flying j Barstow CA we showered and had a delicious quiet dinner at IHOP. The next day, we hit the Outlets of Barstow and let me say made out like bandits. High end stores at discount prices a treat indeed. In addition we got great exercise and plenty of healthy fresh air. Food choices in abundance.

The West always wins hands down when one talks scenery and exotic resort like areas.  This area is made for semi trucks to park, as they seemed to be rolling their way around the various restaurants on the main highway.  Weather-wise spring summer with just enough wind so you don't sweat.

Trucking for us is an experience, something you need to live not just do, and trips like this one show's that. Its like paid tourists seeing cities, towns and states even provinces through a lens and then sharing this lifestyle online.

In conclusion, it takes more than driving to say I am a trucker, at least in my book.

Joplin44 Truck Stop

 Joplin 44 Missouri truck stop experience

Well we managed to get our off duty  time at a truckstop exactly like the famous iowa80, it's Joplin 44. Owned by the same people the place had the style and layout. The only exception was the trucking museum of vintage trucks from decades past was missing. The food, souvenirs and service were top notch.

It was just soo much fun.  I am happy we were able to make it there, even though it was by fluke. I posted a pic of the gothic style jewellery my bf bought me. I am planning to start a collection. I am now on the lookout for a gothic style jewellery box. If I get the chance pier 1 imports might have one, if not I shall continue the search as I travel. We are heading home after this trip, and the plan is to do some home cooking/shopping.

All in all this was a fun night at Joplin44 a haven for truckers.

Niagara Falls Ontario Trip

 My Amazing time in Niagara Falls the last two days.

We rented a car and this time they gave us an elegant and comfortable Mitsubishi Outlander SUV.

Upon arriving at the terminal we parked the truck, showered then got the car and headed to Master steaks restaurant to eat. Afterwhich, we decide to drive to Niagara Falls for fun and sightseeing. I had decided that the weather was warm, and the idea of hip was in my head so I wore something summery. Well we rode the lift that takes you down towards the falls, took many pix. It started to become chilly and we headed to the Casino galleria and restaurants building where I ended up shopping and made out with an awesome long sleeved tummy baring top and a cool pair of pants.

Many others I saw did the same.
We got coffee at Tim's and headed back, only to return the next day for even more crazy fun.

Here we were back again, this time we explored more in detail. Got super cool necklace and earrings at a welcoming souvenir shop and my bf picked out a bracelet for himself.

We later went to the main area where all the attractions are located. Clifton Hill where Ripley's Believe it or Not Oddities, which was quite a unique experience the Skywheel, Skylon Observation deck, the moving theater super fun.  We took pix and videos posted on my website and tumblr.

Truly a fantastic experience and one I hope to soon repeat. Next visit maybe we'll try some of the night clubs and restaurants. 

Calgary Trip

 Core Mall in Calgary Alberta Trip

As this was our first time really exploring the west side of Canada, I must say we loved it. Everything was unplanned and just happened by fluke, since we were only supposed to stay one day before leaving on our trip to California.

We rented a car which was cool since we're most of the time in the truck and this time no restrictions to heights and roads.

A  memorable time filled with fun, taking pix, lunch, and yes, shopping   We went  shopping at a place called Core Mall, it had stores that I never saw or shopped in before, going there and seeing people dressed up in style  reminded us both of montreal with the fashion, nightlife and great looking people. I got some awesome dresses, shorts, a frilly chiffon top for summer; which I am happy to say is around the corner. This will be sooo much easier to dress when it's warm.

After seeing the West Calgary and the type of people there I must central Winnipeg is a lot less fashionable and more laid back.

To experience how people are in various places and just catch a glimpse into what life is like truly rare chance.
We saw all walks of life this time around.

I noticed people actually buy here, crowds and lineups in shops were everywhere, even though it was good Friday/Easter weekend.

Crossiron Mall Calgary Alberta

Today was amazing and carefree beautiful. We rented a car and went to this mall that believe it or not a really cool cab driver told us about the last time we were here. on the way back from the rental agency, that same driver picked us up again ro take us back to the terminal where the truck is parked. So, we get there and eat at this Mediterranean place, I ate vegan which is great for my new body look I am  trying to achieve. I got soo much loot that it's hard to decide what to keep here and what to bring home. My bf even got a motorbike helmet.

There was also a Tesla car display in the mall as well, lots of people gathered to see it, we talked to one of the reps who mentioned you can test drive one, so my bf filled out a form so if we are in Calgary maybe we can go.

I must say trucking really lets you experience
cities as if you live there, you get to know them so intimately that in our case even more than our own home town.

Toronto Pride 2019

 My first experience at such an amazing event. Soo many people of all walks of life.

It started out when we were dispatched to the Mississauga terminal for our off time. Initially, we had no plans to do much during that time. But, a stroke of pure change of heart happened and we rented a car headed and  off to Toronto and the touristic Niagara. We drove past Niagara outlet mall and stopped as the beautiful design and architecture of the place drew our attention.  The shops are all in an outside atmosphere so its as if you are walking along a boardwalk of shops. Yes bought some great stuff.

Next day was Toronto Pride Parade 2019 which we found out was going on upon arriving in downtown on our way  to Toronto Eaton's Center. After shopping until we dropped, walking for hours and miles, we decided to explore more of the city, and all the fun activities taking place. As we walked and took pictures there were more events, street parties with talented live performances with a young crowd that were living life to the fullest in terms of fun, and being their true selves.

The motto of the parade and place was Be You, Be Proud at least for me. Its being yourself and not hiding it, because of societies imposed preposterous rules of conduct.  Society is changing and people of all types are intermixing in some manner. This trip really demonstrated to me that it's not who you are, how you look or what you do that matters, its being your true self. People affected by societies rules generally will be opposed to " being yourself, and proudly showing it". 

I even bought a small crown of roses with lights that I wore throughout the night. Later, they had stands selling rings and other neat stuff, so we bought rings and engraved our names on them.

The best part of my time was seeing for the first time, that the people around us were truly being themselves not posers. It feels very special to have had the chance to be part of such an extraordinary event.

I hope I get to enjoy a similar event again soon.The videos and pictures we took are priceless.  Definitely the best time off. I hope to repeat it real soon.

Genres Defined

 Genres Today

The purpose of this article is to show that just because a person wants to have a specific style does not mean he has to follow the media teachings of what that should be. 

I am seeing more and more that there are star examples of what a person needs to look like to define themselves in a category. 

Media has classified styles of clothing, behaviour, during the recent years

Genre as defined by society : a category of artistic composition such as music, art. I will explain my point of view on how I define genre. It's really a choice of lifestyle that people choose to live and define themselves to those around them. 

Genres today seem to be predefined by the media, unless you follow that portrayed image you cannot decide to be that. I say ridiculous! Why can't a person make their own definition of who they want to be? People ask: who are you? Answer: check out my social media, instead of let's sit talk about it.

In the older generations social status and financial position were clear indications to define a person. It was merely based on the education an available and money, family influence in some instances.

Social status being: job you have, or what are you studying to become. So if you had the grades, the intended goal is more realistically achieved.

Today, people create personas online which can make them appear to be almost anything or anyone. 

Why does the internet/ social media define who you are? Simple, we are in the age of technology,apps, share with all, and if you want any information on any subject just google. 

Amazing how you can actually blog your life online to people living on the other side of the world. This creates followers and traffic. Genres and lifestyles are formed.

Internet/social media was born at rapid speed to the point where older generations started to see it as normal, even though during their time it did not exist; Minds just processed this once then as time progressed, the use of it became second nature.

Are genres created for people to follow or to become, is my question? How do you know what really appeals to you? Visuals and expert presentation are major factors. Let's face it if the image is not appealing, its swipe left.

Celebrity promotions can base a genre, in terms of  lifestyle, trends are set by the media. Well, amateur oriented media is starting to change this cycle because people want to relate to those who are like them. Majority knows that the media is not what it seems just the opposite actually, so people are no longer fooled.

When seeing someone online it doesn't mean that is who they are in real life. The distinction is not always apparent to viewers. Actually, people truly believe that what they see is real and true to life, thus they have successfully fooled the naive audience. 

I think the internet created many venues for personal self expression, such as social media which became the billboard to the creation of online personas.  People choose their lifestyle based on what they perceive to be what they want. They don't always look at the long term bigger picture, only the positive and obvious plus sides are obvious. The negative aspect gets faded away.

In conclusion, one can choose their genre or who the person they want to be from within themselves, and analysing events, persons around them.

Vancouver BC

 Vancouver BC Trip

My very first trip to the province and let me say quite an experience. After renting a car, we visited the port of Vancouver took a few pix, walked which was relaxing. After, we found a rather touristic area in downtown Vancouver, souvenir shops, cafes and bars. It was quite a beautiful walk on a typical hot summer day. 

It seemed a lot of the places had a rugged appearance to them which was appealing. I also noticed it was quite different from the Eastern side of Canada since the roads were wider and it was much more mountainous. Rent is criminally expensive as well, all other things, like food, clothing are similar in price.

Another thing that really stood out to me was the homeless population, which was  rampant. The streets full of tents set up everywhere on the east side, some people I saw were shooting drugs, this gave it a dangerous feel. It was quite a shocking site especially when we walked on foot fir the first time.

We walked a great deal before deciding to get something to eat. Unfortunately, we didn't really trust the places around that area, so we headed off to Boston Pizza located in Coquitlam BC. There I had a dish called vegan power bowl delicious if you like tempeh. My boyfriend had pasta. 

On the road, both of us try and eat as healthy as possible. I try and avoid meat at all costs, as its all processed and packed with hormones and antibiotics. 

I think this was a unique experience which I hope to repeat soon. If I were to choose a preferable place it would be Calgary Alberta, I had the most fun there.

I must say trucking gave me a birds eye view of how it is to live in the different provinces. The only unexplored territory left are the maritimes. 

Trucking Life Memories

 Trucking Life Memories (Episode 1)   

For the past four years I was quite complacent and comfortable living the trucker road life experiencing life as if home was a temporary hotel. All of a sudden things changed without warning when the covid-19 pandemic started in March 2020 and I was unable to continue being on the road and my boyfriend had to do the job by himself because the US/Canada border closed for what is deemed non-essential travel. My boyfriend who drives a semi is considered essential as he is part of the workforce hauling essential products to keep the economy moving. 

I pose the question: has anyone, including myself ever stopped to think what would life be like after this pandemic is over? Will life return to the normal we all once knew, the time when life was lived by planning and not thinking that those plans might get interrupted to such a point where it’s life altering and you face great uncertainty? 

I used to be on the road trucking with my boyfriend of 25years and I never missed a single trip. It was ours, we were a team that thought of the job as one mind to do the best we can and at the same time have as much fun as possible; until this pandemic started back in March 2020 and is still ongoing up to today January 2021. This changed a lot for us as we are not used to being apart for a long time, and we are the type of people that experience events in life together as one. I am hoping that when I return to trucking again it will resemble the previous years in some way and the change will not be too different. 

No matter the destination we were headed to, we always made it fun even with the ups and downs of trucking where there could be unexpected delays which mostly were out of our hand. I always thought some of the travel centers we visited were like a home away from home especially when we were on a reset (offtime of 36hours). I remember doing laundry, going to restaurants, and buying amazing souvenirs, some of which we hung on the wall in our apartment. Each item we bought or place we visited has a form of story and I am in the process of creating a form of time capsule of memories for future viewing. 

Some of my fondest memories are of the times we were able to explore the places we visited and it felt as if we were living there but in fact we were paid tourists.  

My favourite iconic travel center is the IOWA80 in Walcott  IA which is the biggest truck stop in the world.  The first time we went there was November 2018, we visited the Trucking Museum where they have antique trucks that date back to the early 1900’s  with a brief story about what they transported, the process in which they were built and by whom. Also, they had antique models of the fuel pumps on display that were used to pump fuel.  We walked through the entire museum for quite some time after which, we went to the travel center store itself where it is truly a disneyland for the passionate trucker since every accessory for trucks is available for purchase from lights, to seats,  funky steering wheels often seen in Peterbilts or Kenworths. I found treasures in the gift shop section where they sell clothing, hats, boots, womens purses, jewellery and a whole slew of souvenirs. 

My assessment of travel centers was sometimes based on the available souvenirs instead of parking and food. 

We also went to eat at the Iowa80 kitchen restaurant that seats 300 people, the food tastes like homemade and the portions are more than generous. I definitely want to return there and do exactly the same thing as back in November 2018, it will be a walk down memory lane, but this time more souvenirs will be bought because I always like to make out like a bandit.  

IOWA 80 Pictures

These are just some of the pictures we took when we visited Iowa80 Travel Center. It was quite interesting to see vintage trucks and gas pumps from around 1930. It was like something taken from the past and brought into the future. We took hundreds of photos but I will include few to provide an idea of what our experience was like.  


(Iowa I-80 PIX Here) 

Barstow California Pictures 

Barstow California where we visited Barstow Factory Outlets and at that same place around 50 restaurants to choose from to eat, and that’s when we experienced some of these places like IHOP for the first time since we never went to one in Canada. 

My boyfriend and I went shopping at the outlets for an entire day, and I bought sneakers called skechers. He got some cool clothes. We took many cool pictures which capture moments frozen in time. It was super cool and fun, another place I am hoping to one day return to.  

(Barstow Pix Here) 

Now, for a few more unique memorable experiences that we learned on the road and that is at some places to name one Illinois, I saw hookers offering “date” services and at times some lonely truckers actually accepted. A few times they approached our truck by knocking on the driver door, my boyfriend just told them he already had a “date” and was “busy”. 

As  we drove along on the road for nearly 10hours per day, I used to read books, find travel centers for us to park for the night and also fuel as well learn how to navigate google maps to see if the place where I wanted us to stop was on the way. I remember not enjoying night driving as  I fall asleep, so my sweet hubby would put on music to keep me from sleeping or if I did fall asleep in my seat he would wake me up if he was hungry and wanted a snack. 

Also we invented word brain teaser games where one person came up with a word with a specific number of letters and only had one letter of the word and the other person would try to guess the word by saying letters, similar to hangman. 

We made so many jokes and had so many laughs especially when one of us used up alot of letters to try to guess the word the long drive became fun.  

Trucking gave us a huge perspective about how products are transported, handled and we were part of that shipping and delivery process, so we can relate to challenges that can be faced out there. The most work was driving with reefers (items that need refrigeration like frozen food, or items being shipped at certain times of year and have to be temperature controlled; you consistently have to monitor the temperature of the reefer, ensure it does not break, fuel it. It’s also noisy when it’s set on continuous, I prefer start stop. I honestly experienced the trucker driver seat experience without having a license to drive a truck. 

The fact that I was on every trip, to the point where people in truck stops like Loves in Fargo ND, a frequent fuel and stocking up on food places each time we crossed the border began to know us and we kind of formed a friendship in a sense. 

In my perspective we are team diesel who were living on the road and at the same time had a small but limited home life. Our home from 2016 to 2020 was a hotel that we were renting and we visited a few times a month during a brief offtime. 

In the summer we would go out to places and eat hot dogs, enjoy seeing the classic car show people would sit outside with lawn chairs food and just watch the classic cars driving by on the road, a great way to spend a Sunday which is the day it used to be on, and we would also see the motorcycles.  

We are the young crazy alternative couple going through the experience together as one in mind, body and spirit. It will be incredibly sad and heartbreaking to lose this experience or have it change in a way where we cannot do it the same way we used to hopefully it will just be an easy new adaptation.

In all our years together we always did things with a style that was never an ordinary 

approach to whatever we venture into, people around us seem to notice that our methods were unique to us since we invent and jump as we go. . 

Life Outside the Box (Roadie)

 Life can bring about changes unexpectedly. It seems as if nowadays it's happening faster than before. Throughout the past, people worke...