Monday, August 28, 2006


No I’m not talking Paris Hilton & Nicole Richie here. This is truly the simple life in the Ohio valley we traveled through. You know what I am talking about, the Andy Griffith, Mayberry sort of life. When I think of Americana, I think of areas like Apple Creek and Cadiz, Ohio.

On this early Saturday morning the fog still lingered low to the ground across the green expanse. The old houses lining the roadway take you back in time.

The city of Cadiz is where Clark Gable was born as well as John A. Bingham who prosecuted Abraham Lincoln's assassins. But it was Apple Creek that really caught our eye. I always imagined Amish county in Pennsylvania, but there is a large gathering of the Amish in Ohio. We witnessed them traveling around town in their buggies.

There were signs to warn us to give way

There were also roadside stands in front of their farms selling baskets and produce.

We were transported to another time and place if only for a little while, and I got to tell you, it made me realize this is what America is all about. The right to live your life as you choose.... as simply or as complicated as you want. For me, I'm happy to say I have chosen my own simple life.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


We have been doing some night driving as I mentioned before and it doesn't agree with either one of us much. First of all for me there is the lack of scenery to take in and photograph. I also zipped through the first season of "Grey's Anatomy" in just a couple of nights. Craig has a hard time adjusting his body clock and ends up just grabbing a couple of hours here and there. Although it made sense to do it this time around, so we could make the delivery date, we don't think we will be so quick to do it any time soon. By the way, these boats were headed to Italy and the Genoa Boat Show.

We crawled into Baltimore in the wee morning hour of 0300 and were able to park at the dock and wait for morning and the crane which was set to arrive at 0900. With a few more hours of sleep under our belt we were up and at it. Unfortunately, so was the heat and humidity. There were three guys helping the crane operator unload the boats we we had all six boats unloaded within 60 minutes. But with that many boats, comes alot of chains, binders, rachets, straps and pins. Another hour later and we had the boat trailer put back together again.

We immediately received our next assignment, to pick up some sort of truck in Ohio and take it to......gasp.... TEXAS. We just can't seem to get away from the heat for very long. We took off and enjoyed a very pleasant drive along US40 in Pennsylvania. What beautiful country side, just brimming with history.

We had to stop at the night in Wheeling, West Virginia to get a tire on the trailer replaced, it had gone flat and needed to be replaced before we loaded on the truck in Ohio.

After finally getting a good night's sleep we are off to Ohio.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


Or as they say in New Orleans, "Let the good times roll."

It was with much interest for us to drive through Louisiana since the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. You see the pictures in the news, but it doesn’t really hit home until you see it with your own eyes. Driving into the Lake Charles area I saw a sea of blue tarps still covering the roofs of many of the homes along the freeway. Although this wasn’t the hardest hit area, you could still see Katrina’s mark. Driving over the bridge at Lake Charles, the casinos were back in full bloom, along with the riverboats.

The bayous of Louisiana were plentiful from the roadway. We were caution not to pick up any unwelcome travelers (alligators) while driving through this area.

Across the bridge in Baton Rouge the waterways were busy with barge traffic.

About 20 minutes outside of Baton Rouge the sky began to get very dark. I have never seen clouds as dark as these before in my life. The pictures that I took do not begin to show how ominous they were, along with the lightening, but no rain. As Craig and I commented to each other, we have seen more lighting in the past 3 months than we have seen in our entire lifetime. The chatter on the CB radio from other truckers were saying the news reports were predicting hail and 30% chance of a tornado. We kept an ever watchful eye out until we were under clear skies again.

One of the many things I love about this area is the food. From hot fresh beignets to the muffuletta sandwich to pralines and I couldn’t help but stop and buy a praline for Craig and I to enjoy. I’ll be sending some samples back home for some of you to enjoy too.

As we said goodbye to Lousiana off we headed towards Baltimore.

Friday, August 25, 2006


We headed to the motel after dropping off the trailer to relax the rest of the day knowing we would have a couple of days to go out and about to explore. While going to the truck later that evening, we ran into another truck driver and his wife. They warned us they had been waiting for 4 days for their trailer to come back. They will be headed to South Carolina and us to Baltimore when we do get the trailers loaded with boats back.

Upon waking Tuesday morning, Craig did his usual phone call; just by chance it had come back during the night, but alas, “nada”. Therefore, we took the opportunity to do our laundry first thing before heading out for the day. First stop was Starbucks, which we located in McAllen, Texas, just north of Pharr. Then off to Wal-Mart for some shopping. Get this, it was over 100 degrees in Pharr and Craig went up and down the aisles in the sporting goods section looking for snow boots and snow gear……I know what you all are thinking, but I love him anyway, and no he did not find what he was looking for. Better luck in Minnesota Craig.

With the shopping cart loaded down, as you can see, I had the pleasure of finding room in the truck for all the groceries. With everything snuggly put away, we headed off to find a theatre to take in a movie. Locating one not too far from our motel, the only movie showing within 45 minutes of our arrival was “Miami Vice”

Yes, we were that desperate to enjoy a movie we sat through one of the worst acted, directed, and confusing story line I have ever seen. So, we did what any intelligent person would do, we walked out, and across the way to this:

Our once a week meal out this week was to Johnny Carino’s. I enjoyed a cocktail, a Bellini, which was of the frozen variety, but very tasty. Craig enjoyed a trio of veal, lasagna, and spaghetti and I had to have the pizza. We enjoyed sharing a cannoli and a cappuccino before leaving to go back to the motel.

Imagine our surprise that upon calling the Broker, we were told the trailer would be ready in a couple of hours. Wait, this can’t be, we are suppose to be here for awhile, but there we were, two hours later hooking up the trailer.

Since we left Pharr in the evening, we will be driving this leg of the trip to Baltimore at night and sleeping during the day. Reminiscent of my days of shift work. I am hoping to catch some sights as we travel some new states, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. Y’all come back for more updates soon!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


We left the Vail Summit Saturday on a rainy, overcast morning. The bathroom facilities were not the best, basically some portable out houses in the parking area, that Craig took off in search to be "one with nature".

Leaving the Vail area was just what you would imagine a ski haven to be. Really quite beautiful with large colonies of townhouses and hotels to keep the ski slopes very busy in winter.

The next item that caught our eye was the entrance to the Johnson/Eisenhower Tunnel. It is located approximately sixty miles west of Denver, Colorado on Interstate 70. It is the highest vehicular tunnel in the world. The Tunnel traverses through the Continental Divide at an average elevation of 11,112 feet. The facility lies entirely within the Arapaho National Forest. It is approximately 1.6 miles in length. Craig didn't like this tunnel, or any other confined space as far as that goes. I had to constantly remind him to breathe while going through until he finally saw the proverbial "light at the end of the tunnel"

As we were going through New Mexico, we saw the thunderstorm clouds getting darker and darker. When they finally let loose I can say that I was very happy to be in a very large truck. Most of the people in the "four wheelers", as truckers call them were pulling off to the side of the road the rain was coming down so hard. This picture shows one of many storm cells we observed.

Safely arriving in Pharr early Monday morning we headed over to the Broker's yard to drop off the trailer. We now start the waiting game to seen when it returns.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


While at the company yard we received our next load assignment. Being in Spokane and so close to Moses Lake, we knew it had to be a Genie and it was. This time it was a little Genie S45 which only weighed 15,000 pounds compared to the big Genie we normally haul at 35,000 pounds. We arrived at the Genie yard Thursday morning and got the Genie loaded pretty quickly. We were not as fortunate waiting for the paperwork, by the time it arrived, it was 10am.

The original dispatch had us delivering the Genie in Eagle, Colorado, Monday morning. Craig doing some quick calculations in his head thought we could probably make it by late Friday afternoon, saving us the down time of sitting in Colorado all weekend waiting to unload. But that also meant that we would have to drive over 1100 miles in about 29 hours, with a 10 hour rest break and fuel stops. I called the business hoping that maybe they might be open on Saturday, but no such luck. They were more than happy to wait around until 5pm for us on Friday. This is where the time flight would have come in handy.

With this information, our maps, and mapping programs we set off on a whirlwind trip to go from Moses Lake, Washington to Eagle, Colorado. Remember how Eagle, Colorado became front page news when Kobe Bryant paid a visit there in 2003, and got into a wee bit of trouble? Our trip was uneventful, driving on highways we have traveled before. We stayed in a parking area at a weigh station just shy of the Utah border Thursday night. Friday morning we got through the rest of Idaho, then Utah, and then into Colorado. Eagle is situated between Aspen and Vail and as we got closer the scenery got better. First we passed through some canyon lands.

Then as we climbed up in altitude and the pine trees emerged.

After a quick unload, all of 18 minutes, we were on our way to a very nice truck parking area at Vail Summit which is over 10,000 feet in altitude, where we spent the night. I took a quick picture of the new boat trailer while we were parked there.

Our new assignment is to head once again down to Pharr, Texas, and 100+ degree temperatures to drop off the trailer and get it loaded with boats from Mexico. This time we are much wiser as to how to use our down time waiting for the trailer to come back across the border. Adios for now, I’ll be updating again from Texas.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


We awoke Monday morning eagerly awaiting our next assignment. We didn't have to wait too long before it came over the computer. Off to Union City we went to load up with pipes and head up to Spokane. The ride into Union City was nice as we missed the morning commute due to having some maintenance done on the truck in the morning. We arrived at U.S. Pipe and Foundry and just like in grade school, had to get in line and wait our turn. This place was hopping with about ten truck already in line ahead of us and a never ending procession of trucks coming in behind us.

We patiently waited our turn, not exactly knowing what we were to do, but like good little soldiers, we followed the lead of the drivers ahead of us. Pretty soon it was our turn to get into place to receive our load. A short time later, 35 really big pipes were loaded onto our flatbed and all that was needed was some strapping down. With the pipes securely tied down off we headed north, but this time hitting the beginning of the evening commute. Of course in the Bay Area that commute starts about 2pm.

We arrived very late Monday night at a very nice rest stop in Klammath Falls, Oregon for a good night's sleep. The fact that is was a nice cool evening was an added benefit. Arising rested Tuesday morning, we had our usual breakfast of fruit, breakfast bar and orange juice and enjoyed the morning sunrise.

Passing over the Columbia River I spotted the Pasco-Kennewick "Cable" Bridge off in the distance.

This cable bridge opened in September 1978 as a replacement for an existing "Intercity Bridge" built in 1922 and is 2,503 feet with a center span of 752 feet. At the time of construction it was the longest cable-stayed bridge in the United States.

We spent another restful cool night in the company yard before heading out again at sunrise.

We arrived at a construction job site to unload the pipe. We were directed to drive out into a field. Nothing like 18 wheeling through a plowed up field.

It was interesting to watch them unload the pipe as we drove down along this field with them dropping off the pipe along the way. It took about 90 minutes for them to complete the job.

While I was the happy observer from the cab of the truck I spotted a trio of kids enjoying their summer vacation by taking a horse and buggy ride. Ahhh the joys of childhood.
But nothing like the joys of adulthood and stopping by a Starbucks and getting to the office and finding out we are officially back on the boat fleet. Not only that, but we were told to unhook the flatbed and given an almost new boat trailer with all new equipment on it. We were very happy as we made our rounds in the office saying hello to Katie, Curtis, Brenna, and Jeff.

With the boat trailer happily attached behind our truck we found a nice place to park in the yard for the night to wait for our next assignment in the morning.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


We really do consider ourselves both retired and on permanent vacation. At no time does this even remotely feel like work, or should I say, the work that we used to do. I speak for myself here when I say getting out of a negative environment was the best thing I ever did for myself. I don't even think about the money I was making,especially when I get comments from people who have not seen me in awhile and they say " I've never seen you look so happy & relaxed ". Money can't buy you that!

We were able to take care of some personal business in Modesto and catch up a bit with family. We had a delicious meal at my Mom's Friday night and then enjoyed dinner out with Craig's Mom and Dad on Saturday. In between we caught a couple of movies with my nieces and had time to do some shopping.

Neither one of us could get out of Best Buy without dropping some serious change there. Craig had his eye on the Play Station Portable which he bought along with two games. Ten hours later with tendonitis setting in his thumbs he still had a big smile on his face. Now he has something to occupy his time during down time and waiting for loads.

I have got myself hooked on watching DVD's of season one of Desperate Housewives. I can't get enough of this show and it's characters and can't wait for season two to come out. So in the mean time I purchased the complete six season series of Sex in the City. That should keep me busy for quite awhile. I also managed to get to Barnes and Noble and stocked up on six books to read. Between all that and the internet, there is never a dull moment around our little home.

Sunday we were dropped back off at the company yard in time to get the truck washed and then do some grocery shopping to restock our pantry. We both were able to get our fill of Starbucks over the four days we were off, but we also were looking forward to getting back on the road. This lifestyle can be very addicting and when we went to sleep Sunday night in our own beds we both realized something......."There is no Place like Home."

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


The last few days we have experienced a variety of weather, as well as a variety in the time of day we have driven. On Monday driving through New Mexico, there were "thunder bumper clouds" as Craig calls them in the sky.

We seemed to drive right into them and then the sky opened up and rain came crashing down. I understand how the flash flooding can occur in the desert region of our country. Then as quickly as the rain came it went.

Early Tuesday morning on our way into Phoenix, we were kept company by a bright full moon.

The weather was hot, as we expected, hitting 94 degrees at 8am in the morning. One forklift operator thought he was cute and asked us where our jackets were. It took a second for us to figure out the joke. Kinda hard to appreciate the humor when the sweat is running down your back in the sweltering heat.

We arrived at our resting spot for the night Tuesday, which was in Ehrenburg,in Arizona, 1 mile from the California border. We hunkered down inside the truck, Craig on the internet and I reading the latest People magazine. We put up the blackout curtains to keep the truck as cool as possible. After awhile I felt the truck rocking. I thought of the old line " If the truck is rockin', don't come a knockin'", but then that's a story for another type of website. I naturally assumed it was Craig changing positions and making the truck move until I turned around to look at him and saw him lying perfectly still. But wait, the truck was rocking, I was sure of it. I mentioned this to Craig and he said sometimes it gets very windy in the desert.

So I peek out through the curtain and I am shocked. It is the biggest dust storm I have ever seen. It is completely gray out. You can hardly see the trucks parked in the lot.

The wind is blowing and then the thunder and lighting start. WOW I can see the temperature slowly start going down, but not down enough for comfort. This storm lasts about an hour or so before the rain started. The rain didn't last long as it dried on the ground about as fast as it fell.

We got up early to take showers and get on the road to Los Angeles. Arriving at our stop in Irwindale and getting unloaded in record time. Off again and we found ourselves in Los Banos for the night. At the Petro where we stayed they have what is called "IdleAire".

This is a cooling/heating vent system which also includes satellite TV, internet access, pay per view movies, and phone service. Quite a neat deal and one that I hope catches on at more and more truck stops. I can say that we had a very comfortable, entertaining evening.

Tomorrow we have a quick drop in Hayward and then take the truck and trailer into the company yard in French Camp. We have plans for a lot of rest and relaxation over the weekend. Craig's parents will be coming to visit us from Selma on Saturday and something we haven't had in a long time, a real home cooked meal on Friday night by my Mom. YUM YUM !

Monday, August 07, 2006


When we think about home these days, we realize we never leave it. The truck is our home and we have made it quite comfortable for us. It is almost like a synconized dance in the morning when we get up. Also you have to love the commute. Three feet and we are in the front seats and happily on our way. I still can't believe how stress free my life is these days. I am thankful everyday to be fortunate enough to live this lifestyle and see the country.

Okay, so we are heading to Modesto finally after almost four months of being on the road for Craig. It will take us a week to get there as we have a lengthy route planned. Just about 3,000 miles by the time we are done.

We left for Gary, Indiana and the company yard but only made it as far as London, Kentucky. There was a "Rest Haven" as they called it by a weigh station.

It was nice being able to park not more than 100 feet from the restroom. The view wasn't too shabby either.

We got into the yard and found the flatbed trailer loaded and ready for us. It is loaded with 38 electrical circuit switches.

We will be going to Coolidge & Phoenix, Arizona, Irwindale & Hayward, California. Yep, we finally are going back to California. We will not be looking forward to the heat. But we will get a chance to take care of some personal business before setting out on the road again.

Speaking of personal business, we stayed at a truck stop by the company yard to take showers and do laundry. On the road in the morning we were off headed towards Missouri. We stopped at a rest stop where Craig proudly posed by his truck.

We drove through St. Louis and got a great look at the Arch and Busch Stadium.

Now this is a real cool picture. As we were stuck in traffic going through St. Louis we were behind an aluminum reefer truck. I was able to take a picture of us in the reflection of the truck.

We stopped in Joplin, Missouri for the night and enjoyed listening to the truck driver dating game over the CB radio. The male drivers were trying to hook up with some female drivers for dinner. After a few rounds of questions they all decided to meet inside for coffee. Then the political talk took over the air waves. That is when Craig did his Clinton impression and cracked everyone up.

We had an easy day of driving on Sunday making our way through Oklahoma and almost through Texas before stopping for the night in Amarillo. Up early Monday to get through New Mexico and into Arizona to be able to stay in Flagstaff and get some relief from the heat.


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