Monday, July 31, 2006


Our new assignment took us to Easton, Maryland to pick up a what they called a military kitchen trailer, but what we affectionately called the "roach coach". This monster has everything in it to feed and serve a platoon of soldiers. We will be proudly serving our country by taking it to Fort Hood, Texas.

As Cori would say..... "Ooooh Boy"..... Back into the heat again in the southwest. We actually had quite a few nights this past week where it was very pleasant and we could sleep with the screens on the windows and the vents open. We know that will come to an end very soon. The one thing we did have to put up with again this past week was the humidity.

But driving over what Maryland calls its "Bay Bridge" we saw some areas which given the opportunity, I think I would not mind putting up with the humidity. I'd suffer through the humidity to live on some of the houses we saw right next to the water.

With a hot summer thunderstorm looming large overhead, we quickly got the meal on wheels loaded and securely chained to the trailer. We weren't really thinking when we took off from Easton towards Baltimore at 4:30pm on a Friday afternoon. Blame it on the heat and humidity but we did. Almost 5 hours and only 160 miles later we finally stopped at a truck stop for some sleep and a shower.

Feeling refreshed after a hearty breakfast with the biggest homemade biscuits I have ever seen, we were off towards Knoxville. Being that it was a Saturday, carloads of families were out and about, and finding an open spot at any of the roadside rest stops proved to be challenging to say the least. Virginia was green and wet. It was overcast and raining a good part of the day. We then hit Tennessee and the weather turned much warmer.

I was surprised at how green Tennessee is along Highway 40. I have put Tennessee on my short list of places to consider living. We learned from a road sign that Tennessee is the home of country music. You could tell how much they love their country music by naming their rest stops after big recording stars. We were lucky to take a rest at the "Patsy Cline & Chet Atkins" Rest Stop. Hee Haw Y'all. As we went through Elvis' home city, Memphis, we crossed over the Mississippi River.

We were then in Arkansas. Too much like Texas, as it got hotter than we have been used to. But we did see something interesting. For a moment, I thought I had somehow been transported to Las Vegas when we saw this:

We never did figure out what it was but it was in Little Rock, Arkansas. Who knows, maybe it was the inspiration for the Lexor in Vegas.

We stayed the night in Prescott, Arkansas which left us only 400 miles left to Fort Hood. We were up early in the morning to get to the military base by 10:00am. After passing through the checkpoint, being told to go to one area, only be to told there to go back to area we came from, we finally found the right personnel to off load the kitchen trailer. I didn't dare take any pictures while on the military base for fear I would be thought a terrorist.

Tonight we treated ourselves to a hotel room in which we could keep cool, keep clean, and do laundry and start our day fresh in the morning for our new assignment.

Friday, July 28, 2006


Craig and I have XM Satellite radio in the truck to listen to every day. We have been listening quite extensively to CNN and FOX lately as the war in the Middle East goes into its third week. Little did we know that we would somehow be connected to it, almost like in the game of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, but we do not need that many steps. After we dropped off the Genie in Kearney, Nebraska, we had to wait a day for our next assignment. We were told we could wait around for a load going to California or we could go to Pipestone, Minnesota to pick up a load of boats and head to Baltimore, Maryland. We of course chose to take the load of boats, over waiting for something to come up going to California. After all, we do not have a real pressing need to get back, other than to deal with some paperwork with DMV and depositing some checks.

Therefore, off merrily we went towards Pipestone. We arrived just as the sun was setting over this quiet little town in southern Minnesota.

We spent the night parked in their yard to get an early start with the loading of the boats. When we received the paperwork, I scanned the details and saw that we were to take the boats to Dundalk Marine Terminal in Baltimore on the Chesapeake Bay. Okay, still no connection yet, but then I looked at their final destination and it was to Herzliya, Israel. I could not believe it. With all this talk about the war on the radio and here we were delivering boats headed to Israel. I brought up the map program on our computer and found out that Herzliya was about 50 miles south of Haifa where most of the bombing was taking place. I guess life does goes on, and something as small as a pleasure boat ride in the Mediterranean Sea can bring some happiness to those caught up in the crisis in the Middle East.

So off we headed to Baltimore, through Chicago, which Craig hated, but at least we did it late enough in the evening so the traffic was not too bad. With a stay in the Company yard in Gary, Indiana we kept heading east, with a gleeful stop at Starbucks at a roadside plaza. With a boost of caffeine coursing through our system, and the high humidity, equate that to frizzy hair and no easy access to my flat iron, we entered Ohio and then Pennsylvania.

Up early on Friday morning to beat the rush hour traffic in Baltimore we headed toward the dock. We found it easily, but going through all the hoops to actually enter the dock area was a test to the patience of many a truck driver. We had to get a gate pass, then checked through one guard area to be told to go see Mr. Massey to get further clearance. Then with all the proper paperwork in order we were told to go to dock twelve and that someone would meet us there.

As before in quick order Craig and I had the boat trailer unassembled and put away all within 90 minutes. On top of that we didn't have to wait for our next assignment, it had been sent to us the day before. Just as short drive to our next stop, Easton, Maryland.

Monday, July 24, 2006


After dropping off the boat mold in Roseburg, Oregon, we got the word to head towards Moses Lake to pick up a Genie Z-80 destined for Kearney, Nebraska. Since we didn't get the notification until late in the afternoon, we were only able to make it to a rest stop East of Hood River, Oregon before we had to stop for the night. I have to say, the ride along Highway 84, which runs along side the Columbia River was quite pleasant. This is what we awoke to from the cab of our truck in the morning.

The drive into Moses Lake showed us that even Washington State is not immune to the heat wave that is blanketing the nation. By the time we pulled into the Genie Yard the temperature had hit over 100 degrees. Once again, Craig and I were drenched by the time we got that Genie loaded. We headed back into town to use the scales at a local truck stop to make sure we were within regulations.

Now most of you know me, and know how I loved "Two for Tuesday Starbucks" at work, or that I had a Starbucks at least once a day. This is the level I have stooped to, to get my fix:

Not as good as going to the original source, but in a pinch it will do. So imagine my delight when we pulled into the truck stop and saw this right across the street.

I wouldn't have cared how hot it was outside, I marched myself right over there, with Craig trying to keep up, and got myself not one, but two Iced Venti Lattes. We purchased a newspaper and enjoyed the "real deal" and the air conditioning and caught up on what is happening in the world.

With a quick stop at the Company Yard in Spokane, we had the truck serviced, some tires changed, and our laundry washed. Wanting to hit the road before the heat got too bad, we were off and headed towards Montana.

Our travels were pretty much uneventful except for a DOT sign along side the freeway warning us of low visibility due to smoke. As we went further we began to see the smoke. I tried to get a picture of the actual wildfire but it was too far up into the mountains. I'm not sure this photo truly depicts the amount of smoke in the air.

Saturday night we spent at a roadside parking area and Sunday found us just outside of Cheyenne, Wyoming at a truck stop where we had a fuel stop. We were up early Monday to get to our final destination in Kearney, Nebraska to drop off the Genie.

You can see me hard at work helping to unchain the Genie. It was starting to heat up too, so we were in and out in 45 minutes. We are getting real good at this.

Another thing we have been getting real good at lately is sitting around and waiting for our next assignment. We are currently at a truck stop, with the A/C blasting, Craig is taking a nap, and I of course, am perusing the internet. Hey, it could be worse, I could have to actually work for a living. I prefer this any day. Stay tuned to where our next adventure will takes us.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


No, I am not talking about Craig and I, but our truck and the assignment we were given on Wednesday morning. We did not have to drive far, just to Arlington, Washington, to Meridian Yachts. We were to pick up a boat mold that they use to make the fiberglass hulls for their boats, or should I say yachts. This particular plant in Arlington is no longer going to bother themselves with the small yachts anymore; they will only manufacture the big ones. I might add that I saw quite a few I would not have minded somehow leaving with. However, we left with only the hull mold, which was destined, to their plant in Roseburg, Oregon.

Now this particular assignment was interesting in that it was an oversized load as you probably figured from the earlier picture. That means there are numerous permits and restrictions you have to be aware of. The first one is the use of pilot cars. We were given the phone number of the contact person and made arrangements to meet. The second restriction is the times in which you can drive on the freeway with oversized loads. Each state has different times for different freeways, so after conferring with the reference book and confirming with the pilot car driver we determined we would be able to leave at 6pm Wednesday night.

The restriction was that we needed a pilot car to get us onto the freeway only and then off the freeway at our final destination. This is a job we might consider getting into later on. The driver even alluded to the fact that it was very lucrative. Almost like driving a big rig as they too go cross-country piloting oversized loads. The driver had just come back from a trip to Georgia. Using his services for all of about 10 minutes, as we were only a couple of miles from the Interstate, we were safely on the freeway, and he was happily on his way to the bank.

Going south on Interstate 5 we passed right through Seattle and it was amazing. It so reminds me of San Francisco. The Space Needle and downtown right along the water made us consider buying a boat and living in a marina in the coming years.

Mt. Rainier was also making an appearance for us, although at over 14,000 feet high, it would be hard not for it to be seen. The difficulty in seeing it is from the picture I tried to take. This was one time I should have gotten the good camera out to take pictures.

We could only drive until sunset, so after about 150 miles we were able to pull over into a truck stop in Toledo, Washington. Up early for a shower and a hot breakfast, we could not leave again due to the time constrictions until 8am. Safely back onto the freeway we were headed towards Roseburg crossing the Washington border into Oregon over the Columbia River.

Craig did not enjoy driving this massive mold through the busy Portland traffic and construction. You would be surprised, or maybe not, how people drive around big rigs. They swerve in front of and drive up along the right side where they are hard to see and it is even harder to stop on a dime. We are ever alert when driving through congested traffic and needed a break at a roadside rest area.

With the use of the pilot car again upon our arrival at the exit to our final destination, we were unloaded in a record 30 minutes. Thankfully all we had to do was put away some strapping and ratchets and we were ready for our next assignments.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


We left Gallup, New Mexico early Sunday morning determined to get as many miles under us as we could to make our deadline into Kent, Washington. That stay in Pharr, Texas put a cramp in our style and we knew we would have to put in 11-12 hours a day driving. We quickly left New Mexico behind, for a few brief moments in Colorado, but it was amazing how quickly the terrain changed. It did not take long and we were into Utah.

Just north of the city of Monticello, (the name reminded me of our old home), we were driving in canyon lands.

With names such as Church Rock, Wilson Arch, Looking Glass Rock, and Hole ‘n the Rock, they caught our attention. It truly was beautiful driving through and among the canyons and wondering what tales they could tell if they could talk.

As we got toward the city of Price, Utah the terrain reminded me of how the old west must have looked to the first settlers. Price River meandered along cutting a patch that criss crossed back and forth along the highway.

We were a bit worried about making our next fuel stop with enough fuel to get us there, so we were thankful when we arrived in Springville to fill up our now empty tank. Even more thankful that we did not have to pay the hefty fuel bill.

With a full tank of gas, we hit the road again driving through Provo, Orem and Salt Lake City. This was the only shot I was able to get of the Great Salt Lake as we drove by it near Brigham City. With just under 600 miles under us, it left 740 more to get us to Kent by Tuesday morning.

Leaving once again early Monday morning we were into Idaho before I had time to wipe the sleep from my eyes. Into Boise for our fuel stop for the day and then quickly crossing the border into Oregon. We came across the Snake River and I was able to capture just a glimpse of it.

We were happy to start seeing green lush scenery again after our two weeks of being in the desert. What was also noticeable was a change in the weather. We stopped at a rest area for a bathroom break and it was so nice to climb down off the truck and not be hit with stifeling heat, in fact, it was on the cool side with a nice gentle breeze.

As we crossed into Washington State from Oregon, we came upon the Umatilla Dam, which is on the Columbia River.

In Washington, it became apparent that agriculture was part of their economy with the apple orchards

Grape vineyards

And berry vines abundant throughout this region of the state

We settled in at the Gear Jammer Truck Stop in Union Gap, Washington, leaving us just 140 miles to our final destination in Kent. The 140 miles into Kent, proved to me that Washington is the state I want to reside in when the time comes. This area of the Snoqualmie Pass is, and I know I use this adjective numerous time, but it was gorgeous.

We arrived at the boat dealership in Kent, or should I say we somehow passed it by and ended up on a very small dead end street. Oh my, you do not realize how big this truck and trailer are until you are presented with a dilemma like that. However, MacGyver was present again. He jumped out of the truck and surveyed the area making careful calculations in his big head, I mean big brain. He noticed an escape route via a dirt road and with my expert hand signals, (no not those kind), helping him to back up, we were able to get ourselves out of a jam.

Safely at the dealership, we proved to be quite a team unloading and unassembling the framing for six boats. By the time the last boat was lifted off, all but a few pieces of equipment needed to be put away. With signed paperwork in hand we put in an empty call and waited for our next assignment, and waited some more. You would not think that summer time would be a slow season for boats, but it is. We were directed to a truck stop 30 miles away to wait for further instructions.

Come to find out it was slow for most companies this day, as the truck stop was completely filled at 2pm in the afternoon. We circled the lot like a frantic shopper on Christmas Eve at the mall. Round and round we went for over 30 minutes before we were able to find a spot. Nevertheless, with all that circling there was an unseen benefit, a little coffee shack in the corner of the parking lot. Going through Starbucks withdrawal, I was very excited to see it and know my caffeine fix was only moments away. Therefore, with my triple iced latte in hand, I was more than happy to sit and wait it out for our next assignment.

Saturday, July 15, 2006


The above photo shows our home for the last 4 days/3 nights. We dropped the trailer off at the broker’s yard early Tuesday morning hoping to get it back the next day. This is what the next three days consisted of:

Craig dialing his cell phone

Female with heavy Spanish accent answering “ Broker’s office”

Craig “ I’m checking on trailer RGN4822. Is it back yet”?

“No Senor, nada”

Craig “ Thank you”

Now repeat that same conversation every two hours for three days straight in between watching television and doing laundry at the hotel. We didn’t dare leave to go see a movie or find a good BBQ place, although there were many, in the hopes that the trailer would be returned and we could get back on the road again.

Then miraculously on the evening of our third day we were given hope. After informing our dispatcher of our predicament, she checks and tells us there is a backup at the border and that it should arrive at the yard by 10pm. We make one last call around 7:30pm to find it is still not there, then proceeded to treat ourselves to a great salad at a Red Robin down the road. I of course. for all my troubles, decided to partake in a couple of spirited lemonades, if you know what I mean.

The next morning, Friday, we are up bright and early to be the first one on their doorsteps to reclaim our trailer. We arrive at their yard, make the now infamous phone call, and much to our delight we are told the trailer is there loaded with 6 boats.

To say we were happy to be back on the road and headed out of Texas is an understatement. Just look how happy we are.

This area of Texas has been so hot, but then from watching the news it seems like everywhere has been unseasonably warm this summer. We were so glad to be headed to the Seattle area and cooler weather.

While driving down the freeway I happened to pay attention to the speed limit sign and noticed what all Californians would love to see along their freeways:

Not that it would make much difference, it would then just let them rationalize in their minds they could go 100MPH, not that they don’t do that already.

We settled in for the night at a very small truck stop in Fort Stockton, Texas after a 565 mile day, planning on making an early start in the morning, which we did leaving around 5am as the sun was rising.

Now, Texas is not a state to be out done by another, so like New Mexico, they tend to decorate their overpasses as well, although Texas seems to be more into murals. Check these out:

As we got closer to El Paso, Texas we actually bordered right along side the Rio Grande and the Mexican border. It was quite a contrast to see the difference in the housing from one side to the other. Take a look at the Mexico side and a picture of the Rio Grande.

Some of the other cities we passed today were Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, and I got to tell you, they must have chosen consequences when playing that game because what I saw of the city wasn't much to brag about. The other was City of Elephant Butte, now of course we called it City of Elephant Butt and quite enjoyed the humor of it.

Now I never knew how popular Craig was until recently. Not only is there a city named after him, but now to find out a Fort as well. Craig was more than happy to pose next to his namesake.

That about brings us up to date after our long delay in Pharr, Texas. We hope to be almost into Idaho by tomorrow evening. I'll update again from Washington State.


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