Wednesday, June 28, 2006


We started out very early this morning to get into Lebanon, Missouri when the boat manufacturer opened in hopes of being able to load a day early. Best laid plans often don't turn out in the trucking business as I am learning. But at least we were able to see another great sunrise.

The routing into Lebanon took us directly into yet another tragedy that was in the news recently, the Elks Lodge building collapse in Clinton, Missouri. We drove right through the town, but did not see the actual building.

Further down the road we came across Truman Lake and were quite surprised with the beauty of Missouri, or at least the area we were in which is part of the Ozarks. We especially liked an area near Camdenton, Missouri which was right on the water. In fact we saw billboards listing new condos for sale starting at $90,000.

So now back to the best laid plans. We get into Lebanon and were told there were several trucks ahead of us to be loaded first and that they would call us with an update by 12pm. There was a very small truck stop about a mile away so we headed there to park. While we waited in the truck, I started reading a new book and Craig watched TV. We informed our dispatcher Katie of the update via the truck computer and waited. Very shortly, Katie called us and said she had contacted our drop off site in Glendale, Arizona and evidently it is a business just now being completed with a lot not even paved yet! They were in no position to receive or unload the boats they were slated to receive. So of course we are put in a holding pattern waiting to hear what they want to do.

Right next to the truck stop was a Holiday Inn Express. Yep, you guessed it, we knew we would not be leaving the area today, so we went over to the hotel and got a room. They had truck parking out front and we enjoyed our down time in the comfort of an air conditioned room,with internet access, and our very own shower!

Craig thought he was in heaven when I noticed a Chinese food restaurant right next to the hotel, and not only that, but it was a buffet! With these amenities we can wait out the confusion in luxury.

We had a very relaxing night in the hotel room and proceeded back to the boat manufacturer first thing in the morning to see what the decision was. They were ready to load us and in fact said there were 2 other trucks they were loading this morning going to the same boat dealer in Glendale, Arizona. While we waited, I continued to read my book as Craig unofficially supervised (just watched what was going on) with the loading of the trailer.

With the trailer loaded, we waited some more. This time for the paperwork on the 11 boats and trailers we had. By this time I just about had my book completely read! An hour and a half later we were finally on the way.

Now, I get asked all the time why we aren't owner operators and own the truck. The situation with the trailer falling off in my hands and then finding that we needed a new front tire on the truck is reason enough. We decided on this adventure as a pre-retirement gig. Basically getting paid to drive and see the country, not worry about gas prices, truck insurance, truck maintenance etc. So we were happy to call road service and have them tell us to have the tire replaced at a TA truck stop.

Forty miles later we were there, enjoying a bite to eat, getting the truck tire replaced, and catching up on household chores, doing laundry!

Once back on the road we were headed out of Missouri and into Oklahoma. In my mind I had Oklahoma pictured as nothing but a dust bowl with oil rigs every where you looked and boy was I wrong. I was surprised by how green it was. We dove through Tulsa and spotted the biggest American flag off the side of a building under construction and the down town area from a bridge over a river that had seen fuller days.

We were not impressed with Oklahoma City, (no offense to anyone from there) and found ourselves getting into Sayre, Oklahoma just as the sun was setting.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


We left Limon, Colorado in the early morning hours and was greeted once again with a beautiful sunrise. What a way to start your day!

In fact the day would turn out perfect, just read on. We found a Super Wal-Mart just 107 miles down the road. It was time to stock the shelves again in our pantry so off shopping we went. An hour later and $150.00 less in our checking account we were happily on our way again.

Now the best part of the day, a mere 37 more miles down the road from the Wal-Mart we found a STARBUCKS, yes starbucks at a truck stop in Colby, Kansas. Can you see the joy in my face getting my iced venti latte for the first time in over a week?

Or the pure delight on the face of Craig as he enjoys his Mocha and chocolate scone.

After enjoying our little treat, we had some miles to get down under us to make it to our destination for the night. Kansas was nothing but corn fields for as far as the eye could see, or camera eye as the case may be.

Now I am starting to make a list of places we need to go see, but the 6 legged steer and two headed rattlesnake at a roadside freak show was not on my list to the disappointment of Craig. But the Stover candy factory and tour and the Oz Museum were put on my list for our return trip.

Which leads us now to the title of this entry, tonight we are staying in Peculiar, Missouri where as the town folks say, "the odds are with you". Now I don't really plan on staying around town that long to find out, so we'll just quietly park our truck, get some sleep and sneak out before anyone knows we are here.

Monday, June 26, 2006


When we got into the yard late Friday afternoon, Craig showed me around the office and introduced me to our dispatcher Katie. It was nice to put a face with the voice and computer messages we have been receiving. I was also able to ask her if she knew of any nail salons in the area and she directed us to a nearby city named Airway Heights, Washington, a small suburb of Spokane and about 5 miles from the yard.

We were able to use the driver’s lounge and do three loads of laundry and shower. It also had internet access to which I was able to post the previous entry. I took the opportunity to write down a couple of phone numbers for cab service and located the nail salon that Katie had recommended.

We slept in a bit, although, I never thought that 5:30am would ever be considered sleeping in, especially since we stayed up the night before watching of all things America’s Got Talent. We lounged around for an hour then cleaned up the truck and headed to the vacuum station. With a freshly cleaned truck, it was then off to the scales to make sure the huge Genie we had loaded would pass through any weigh stations. We then unhooked the truck from the trailer and put in a work order with the shop to have a minor service performed.

We called for a cab, and Jack from Spokane Cab, arrived to take us into the city.

We safely arrived at T’s nails,

and once seated at the pedicure station I was able to start feeling human again.

This is how much my husband loves me. He had to endure two hours of sitting and listening to a bunch of women chatting away on topics I‘m sure he would rather not hear about. He did pick up on some interesting conversations to say the lest. Back to my old self again with pretty nails, both hands and feet, we grabbed a bite to eat and called Jack to take us back to the yard.

We rested , watched TV, read, and slept until our 34 hour reset was completed and we headed out on Highway 90 on our way to Denver, Colorado. Have I mentioned that I have read 5 books in the last 3 weeks? This retirement gig is all right.

Leaving at 1:30am in the morning left us pretty much with the roads to ourselves. After fueling up in Post Falls, Idaho, I laid down and dozed on the bed for a few hours. Nothing better for sleeping than the rocking motion of the truck heading on down the road.

With a detour at a rest stop for a quick bathroom break,and for Craig to endure yet another photo opportunity by me,

we were on our way to our second fuel stop of the day in Billings, Montana. When we arrived there at 12pm, it looked like it must have been the only truck stop in the state due to the large amount of trucks not only having filled up their entre parking lot, but stacked 3 deep at each fuel station. It didn’t take much thought to realize that we would not be staying there for the afternoon, so on down the road we went and ended up staying in Hardin, Montana. We stayed 10 hours and started towards Denver at 11:30 pm.

The drive through the rest of Montana and Wyoming was uneventful and not too scenic as you can tell from the pictures. A lot of the land reminded us of brown California this time of year. Arriving into the city of Denver , the downtown area stood out from the freeway.

We quickly found our drop spot and unloaded the big Genie. Weighing in at almost 40,000 pounds it was quite a site to see it driven off the trailer.

We had to unhook the gooseneck part of the trailer which is always an experience. This time was no exception as part of the trailer decided to fall off right in my hands. Craig did his best McGyver job on it and we rolled into a TA truck stop in Limon, Colorado to have the piece welded back on.

Not to be the ones unaware of current events, on our way to the TA truck stop in Limon, we passed right by the lastest postal shooting in Denver at the safeway yard off Highway 70. The news crews were still out there taking video. Although I wasn't fast enough with the camera to take their picture, I at least got a shot of the Safeway yard.

We will stay in Limon tonight and rest up, then head to Lebanon, Missouri to pick up some boats and head to Phoenix, Arizona. If anyone has Carlos and Tessa’s phone number or email address, please send it to me. If we have time in Phoenix I would like to get in touch with them.

Friday, June 23, 2006


Thankfully we got through Chicago relatively pain free. Craig found an alternate route around the city, and after rush hour. We still ran into construction ( not too bad) and traffic jams ( going the other way), and made it into Beloit, Illinois so I could do some down loading of pictures to the blog. Of course, we had problems with internet reception so I was only able to get half of what I wanted to get accomplished done.

We put in a pretty long day, over 600 miles of travel over Hwy 94 which we have driven before. Seems like every day we run into a little rain, which of course you all know I don’t mind. Even though we have been on this road a few times already, I never get tired of our view out our workplace window. I wish everyone could be so fortunate.

We ended up staying at a rest stop in South Haven, Minnesota, and leaving the next day for our fuel stop in Fargo, North Dakota. I little more internet time, a chance to catch up on some email and we were off again.

The company wants the truck and trailer washed every week, so we stopped in Jamestown, North Dakota to get this accomplished. Little did we know that it would take about 2 hours. We had a cattle truck ahead of us, ( do I need to paint a visual picture? I think not. At least we didn’t have to smell it ) and with only one guy doing the washing it took awhile. With a clean truck and trailer we were off down Hwy 94 again!

Further down the highway we came across Sweet Brair Lake.

It was once again time to continue with the North American Taco Salad Tour and this time it brought us to the Dakota Diner, in Dickinson, North Dakota. Craig even joined in with me and had one too. I have to say, of all the taco salads eaten so far, this one is rated #1. Two thumbs up for this one if you are ever in the area.

As you near the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, you come across the Painted Canyon. It doesn’t come close to the ones in Arizona, but it was beautiful none the less.

We settled in at a rest stop in Marsh, Montana for the evening with another 603 miles under our belts. Only 743 more miles to go to get to Spokane.

Awake and raring to go, it was a beautiful morning at our little rest stop in Montana.

It got down to about 50 degrees overnight so was a bit chilly in the morning. From what I hear from my Mom and from the internet it is about 110 degrees in Modesto. I’ll take Montana any day over that!

We drove into Billings, Montana for a fuel stop and to take a shower at the Flying J. Feeling refreshed and with a full gas tank we took off towards Butte and Missoula following the Yellowstone River most of the way. The scenery was magnificent.

Arriving in Superior, Montana after 584 miles of traveling we settled into a very scenic rest stop for the night. With only 150 miles to go to our first drop off in Spokane, tomorrow promises to be an easy day.

The ride into Spokane was beautiful with the sun rising over the rivers and pine trees.

Coeur d’Alene was gorgeous. I would put this place on my list of possible places to reside as well.

We arrived in Spokane and found out we could leave all 3 boats at the boat dealer in Spokane. This left us available for another assignment right away. We were to pick up a Genie from the Genie yard and take it to Denver Colorado by Monday.

After a little mistake of loading the wrong Genie on our truck and having to reload the right one on, we were headed back to the company yard for the night.

We will take a 34 hour reset of hours and hopefully find a place to get my nails and pedicure done. After all, a girls has needs out on the road!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


We ended up only driving about 200 miles Saturday night and staying at a rest stop in Wooler, Ontario. Up and on the road again Sunday morning we made our way into Toronto on our way back to the USA border.

As we got closer to the USA border we started seeing the signs for Niagara Falls. I was quite excited to hopefully catch a glimpse of that magnificent sight, but most roads were not open for big rigs and sadly the closest I got was this.

All was not lost as we got to the border, I was able to see a what looks like one of the power plants that runs off the falls.

The back up at the border wasn’t too bad, as we calmly waited for what I’m sure will be routine for us in the coming years, talking to the border agents. When we finally got to the booth, we handed over our passports to an agent who informed us they were in a the middle of changing shifts. He glanced at our empty boat trailer, commented on the obvious, that we were unloaded, didn’t even glance at our passports, handed them back and said “You’re outta here”. We didn’t even have to pay the $5.00 reentry fee. Now I know what it feels like to want to go home at the end of my shift, but he didn’t even look at our passports. We must have very non threatening faces.

Now, as soon as we crossed the border into New York state, it seemed like every ten miles or so, all we saw were these signs:

Thank goodness the truck has an EZPASS installed. Just drive through and wait for the green light and off you go. We drove through Buffalo, New York and I had an opportunity to snap a few pictures.

A stop in Angola, New York at a service rest area which had pedestrian crossings over the highway. A quick salad, ( as Craig tells me, I am on the North American Taco Salad Tour), and we were on our way again. We stopped in Erie, Pennsylvania for fuel which was suppose to be only a few minutes, but turned into over an hour. Seems the fuel cards did not want to work for us. We ended up having to call dispatch and them issuing us an electronic check to pay for the diesel.

Along the way to our final destination we ended up going through New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland. The scenery as always was beautiful. I can’t believe I am so fortunate to get to experience this every day. Of course, a roadside traffic stop always gets my attention as well.

We finally made it into the yard of the boat manufacturer at 12am eastern time, in Cumberland, Maryland. Seems we weren’t the only ones with the same idea. There were 3 other rigs there with empty trailers as well, including another driver from Craig‘s company.

Loaded down with our 3 boats in the morning, we were on our way once again.

Back through West Virginia , Ohio, and Indiana. The clouds were amazing in Ohio as we started to see lighting and hear the thunder.

A small thunder storm arrived and went and we were greeted with a nice sunset.

Just another day in our life and we consider ourselves blessed. We tackle driving through Chicago tomorrow. Wish us luck!


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