Sunday, January 28, 2007


Well, here we are in Canada. Rumor on the street says we will be returning to Canada next week. I'll have more details later, but just to keep you interested, this next trip far exceeds anything we have done in Canada in the past.

From the picture you can see Craig is in embracing his time in Canada, after all, his relatives on his Father's side all came from Canada, including a cousin who was a speaker in Parliament. So here is a shout out to all the Shantz's and Petersen's still in the area.

As we drove north towards Edmonton we came across the town of Didsbury. This is where Craig's grandfather was born. Although we were on a tight schedule and could not stop, we both did a wave out through the window, but it didn't appear that anyone saw it or seemed to be at home. Maybe next time they could get a welcoming committee out along the freeway for us.

As we got closer to Edmonton, the snow started appearing on the landscape. Now I didn't want to say anything before, as not to jinx us, but we have had the best weather on this trip since leaving Texas. It has been nothing but sunshine and blue skies the entire time. Even though the temperatures have been brisk and in the low 20's, we really haven't minded it at all. We can even go all night without running the heater.

This trip will conclude Monday morning with an early drop off of our 6 boats in Edmonton, then we head back into the States for a day to reload up with boats. Stay tuned to hear about our next adventure.

Friday, January 26, 2007


Driving along these back roads has been interesting, as we would have never have driven them had it not been for this job. That being said, it is often times hard to write about our days when not much is happening other than us listening to our books on tapes or sattelite radio.

We did happen to see this silhouette of a buffalo on a hillside as we crossed into Wyoming from Colorado. I kept my eye out for the live version, but have yet to spot one on this trip.

Now this particular sight intrigues me. They had both directions of the freeway shut down as they blew snow into the median strip. It wasn't until we were allowed to pass by that we figured out they were clearing the ditch along side the roadway for the next storm so they would have some place to put the snow.

The back road we were on through Montana was mostly dry grassland with nothing much to catch your eye, however, I did manage to take this photo which I thought was quite nice. I often wondered driving though the small towns we came across, which probably had no more than 50 people living in them, what keeps the people there? I'm still not sure, but they all had at least one bar in town. That's one way to keep the townfolk happy!

My last image of Montana was of the ernormous windmills out in no man's land. It never ceases to amaze me where these windmills are placed, but I am sure they generate quite a bit of revenue to the landowners.

Well tomorrow morning we have my dreaded confrontation with Customs. I called ahead to the broker and was told that all the paperwork was in order and forwarded to Customs. I'm for one hoping we have a smooth sailing with our boats through the border.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


We were able to pick up our trailer in Pharr very early Tuesday morning and started heading north. When I thought about this trip, I saw that we would be going from the very southern border of Texas to the very northern border of Texas. Basically Texas from bottom to top!  

The best thing about Texas has always been their sunsets and Tuesday evening we were able to see a good one. After driving all day and only getting halfway across this state we were happy to settle in for a good nights sleep.  

The interesting thing about this trip is that our routing took us on some back country roads. We saw everything you associate with Texas starting with cotton fields. Mile after mile of cotton fields. Then of course we saw cattle ranches with of course the great aroma of manure.


If the smell of the cattle wasn't bad enough, we came across the other thing Texas is known for......OIL. The smell of oil was so pungent in the air, I was glad to finally get upwind and leave those smells behind us.


We all know everything is big in Texas, so I finally got a chance to see segments of the large windmills up close. This picture does not even come close to showing you how large that piece of equipment is! That is one load I would never want to have.

We finally made it out of Texas Wednesday evening after two very long days of driving. Come to think of it on this particular trip we will have taken our boats from Mexico, across the USA and into Canada. We'll see what awaits us as we continue our journey.

Monday, January 22, 2007


Friday afternoon as we drove through New Mexico, we tried to out run the storm. As you can see from the picture, we didn't get too far ahead of it. The temperatures started dropping and the winds picked up. We decided to spend the night in Anthony, Texas at the border of Texas and New Mexico.
Sarting out Saturday we could see that during the night the storm had indeed caught up with us and moved on ahead leaving some snow in it's wake. I never thought that Texas would get any snow, especially with how hot and humid it normally is. But snow it got and it was interesting to hear the truckers on the CB talking about icy roads and be very cautious. Boy, if only they had the experience we had a couple of weeks ago in Wyoming! Both Craig and I said we would rather they be careful than stupid driving an 80,000 pound rig.
Craig wanted me to put this picture in to show you what Texas ski slopes look like. As we drove into San Antonio for the night the snow disappeared from the landscape and we had a clear ride into Pharr Sunday morning. I am happy to report that we called this evening and the trailer is loaded and ready for us to pick up. We will be heading out early Tuesday morning on our way to Edmonton, Canada.

Friday, January 19, 2007


We left Nevada in the wee morning hours Thursday headed towards California. With a short 30 mile jaunt through Arizona we were in California before the sun rose. When it was daylight we stopped in Barstow so Craig could play with his erector set, the steel framing on the trailer, to build a base for a container on the back end of the trailer.

After dealing with the usual Southern California traffic back ups, we pulled into the shipper's yard at 9:30am. They loaded the containers, and Craig and I, working like a synchonized team went to work chaining and strapping the containers. In under a hour we had the containers securely on the trailer, paperwork signed, and on the freeway headed towards Phoenix.

Driving through Palm Springs we began seeing a multitude of windmills. This particular area would put the Altamont Pass to shame. Both sides of the freeway were lined. I suppose they need all that extra electricity for air conditioning. Speaking of which, we had to turn the AC on in the truck as the temperature had hit 68 degrees!

We had to go into Ehrenburg, Arizona to fax some paperwork into the office. We couldn't believe what we saw as we took the off ramp. The frontage road leading up to the Flying J was bumper to bumper with RV'ers fueling up their vehicles. It almost looked like the world was coming to an end. We had to pull out onto the other lane of traffic to get around them to get to the truck parking.

So what was the attraction to the area? Quartzite, Arizona. What makes Quartzite special is that it has been a rock-hound's paradise since the 1960's. Each winter Quartzite swells in population to well over a million visitors, most of whom converge on the small town in a wave of RVs during the months of January and February. We just happened to end up in the middle of them making their way there.

We stayed in Tonopah, Arizona Thursday night and dropped off the containers Friday morning. Once again we make the drop, put away equipment, had the paperwork signed in under 45 minutes! We are getting quite good at it. Shortly after unloading we were told to head towards Pharr, Texas, just as we were hearing of winter storm watch for the New Mexico/Texas area. So far as up Friday night, we have only run into strong winds and light rain. We'll see what we wake up to Saturday morning.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


We spent Saturday at the yard in Spokane getting the trailer bumper pulled back, but it's still not straight and the metal has a big crack in it. It does look better though. Sunday morning we decided to drive into Moses Lake as we were going to be loading a couple of Genies on Monday morning. I especially like the truck stop there because of the Starbucks across the street. We did our laundry while watching the Seattle/Chicago game, then headed to Starbucks.
Monday we were loading our twin Genie S-40's onto the trailer and heading to Salt Lake City. We managed to make it into Boise, Idaho Monday night. Tuesday we stopped in Twin Falls, Idaho for a truck and trailer wash. Seems a lot of drivers wanted to get their rigs washed as it took us over 90 minutes to get to the head of the line.
I went for a walk to the store for this week's People magazine and a couple of cups of coffee at a little espresso shop near by. It was so cold outside that by the time I made it back to the truck, I couldn't feel my fingers, but at least the truck looked nice after a good cleaning!
Since this was only a 700 mile trip we were in Salt Lake City Tuesday night in time to watch American Idol.
With an easy off load Wednesday morning we were quickly given another assignment to go to Colton, California to pick up two twenty foot containers to take to Phoenix. With the temperature outside a mere 10 degrees, we were for the time being happy to be headed towards warmer weather.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


When we arrived in Orland there were already several other trucks there as well. Seems this company was bought out and all their equipment was to be sent to Post Falls, Idaho. After a couple of trucks were loaded with containers and sent on their way, the crane made it's way to the other side of the yard where we were. As luck would have it we were the first to get loaded with one of the tanks.
Of course this big crane had no problem lifting up the tank and placing it down on the trailer. Craig and I made quick work of chaining and strapping it down. With our permits in hand, and the routing each State wanted us to take with this oversize load, we were on our way. Oregon does not allow you to drive one half hour after sunset without reflective signs, so we ended up staying at a rest stop about 30 miles into Oregon.
We had the rest stop to ourselves when we pulled in. It was also beginning to snow a little bit too. Up early the next morning, we waited until it was exactly 30 minutes before sunrise, and off we went again. We were routed on Highway 84 along the Columbia River which Craig and I both enjoy driving. Crossing into Washington we decided to spend the night in Pasco. We could sure tell when we got out of the truck to walk around that the cold Alaskan air had arrived, boy was it cold!
Now here is a question for you. What do you do when you come up behind another oversize load which is going slower than you? You do what we did, wait until it turns off the highway. Thankfully we were not stuck behind this wide load for too long before we were back on our way into Post Falls Saturday morning. With a quick unload we were on our way to the Company yard in Spokane for the night. As we relaxed away the afternoon it started to snow, and snow, and snow some more. When Craig woke up Sunday morning he looked at the outside temperature and it read 9 degrees. But here is the reality of how cold it was...... the inside temperature of the truck was a mere 19 degrees! Thank goodness for fleece blankets and good sleeping bags.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007



We left Salt Lake City area Sunday morning with clear bright sunny skies. What a change from the day before! I don't mind admitting that I would not like to experience that winter driving again anytime soon, but I'm not so naive as to know in the coming weeks and months we most likely will. At least this time I will know what to expect.

We stopped in Wells, Nevada for a shower, then Winnemucca for lunch where we laughed hearing the "girls" at the Pussycat Ranch get on the CB and advertise their establishment. After all, what truck driver could resist the line " conversation without obligation", and free showers, coffee, soda, or ice tea? I guess they could, as I didn't exactly see a parade of truckers going down the road towards the ranch. I was wondering if they had a Tomcat Ranch....Something to think about. HA HA
We arrived in Reno, and the Boomtown Truck Stop around 3pm. After securing a good parking spot we took off to check out the casino. We didn't do much of any gambling, but did play some Keno.

We hit some fog on our way down off the mountain into the Sacramento Valley. Arriving at our destination in Marysville around 8:30am to see one of the other two trucks that had left before us in New York there as well. Somehow, the other driver was still stuck in Wyoming with Interstate 80 having been closed. It took a bit for them to unload the boiler equipment, inspect it, and then get ourselves out of the tiny alley we had to maneuver through. We headed to Yuba City to a very small truck stop with a convenience store that Craig had helped to design while he was still at Nor-Cal Beverage. We actually ended up staying there until late this morning when we were given an assignment to go to Orland, Ca. to pick up a steel tank Thursday morning. Tonight we are comfortably settled in at the Flying J in Corning where we will spend the night before driving back into Orland in the morning to get loaded.

Saturday, January 06, 2007


We made it into Syracuse, New York Tuesday night and spent the night in a cul-de-sac by the shippers yard. Up early on Wednesday we drove into their yard to get two crates of boiler equipment loaded onto our trailer which would be delivered to Marysville, California. We were told in our dispatch that this load needed to be tarped. Well we had a small red and black tarp, but needed to unhook from the trailer and go to a local hardware store to buy some blue disposable tarps. We needed this load completely covered. After about 4 hours we stood back and thought we did a pretty good job.
Driving back westward, we were still enjoying very mild weather until we hit Nebraska. We began seeing more and more snow on the ground and the temperatures dropping. Friday night we spent just east of Cheyenne, Wyoming with the temperature hovering around 12 degrees. Saturday morning we left before sunrise and drove straight into 50MPH winds with blowing snow across the freeway which gave us near white out conditions. The blowing snow really messed with your perception of how fast you were going and which direction, which probably explains the following pictures.
I counted at least 10 tractor trailer rigs either flipped on their sides or driven into the side of the roadway, not to mention the large number of passenger vehicles involved in accidents. We were very fortunate, and I thankful for Craig's driving ability, that we finally made it into Salt Lake City safely. From the weather forcast it looks like we will have clear skies for our final leg of our trip through the Sierras and into California. As for me, I'm going to keep my eye out, I just don't trust Mother Nature!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


We made it into Columbia, New Jersey Sunday afternoon and made it our home for the next 34 hours, as we could not deliver the Army truck until Tuesday. As Sunday evening rolled around it was quiet at the truck stop. Craig and I did manage to stay awake to welcome in the New Year. If it were not for us staying on Pacific Time, there would have been no new year’s kiss at midnight. We heard a few firecrackers going off in the distance, but the truck stop remained quiet, which I did not expect.

Monday found us relaxing, Craig was hooked on watching Grey’s Anatomy, the second season on DVD, and me watching a TLC marathon of Moving Up. We did manage to do our own moving up from the truck to take showers and do laundry.

Up early Tuesday, we headed towards Newark. We expected there to be more traffic than what there actually was, and we arrived at the port to drop the truck off in a little over an hour. Finding where to go and who to see is always an adventure when going to docks. We had the pleasure of dealing with longshoreman who said we were responsible for unloading the truck, or we could just leave with it. Who were we to argue, so we took their instructions to find the “yellow door” to have the receiving clerk check us in. We then had to find “Cheech” in a white truck driving around the premises. I used my feminine ways as “Cheech” did not seem to want to stop when Craig tried to flag him down; but I managed to get him to pull over. I will let your imagination run wild as to how I managed to do it.

After Craig played soldier, unloaded, and drove the truck to where they wanted it, we got the paperwork signed, found a spot to park, and waited for our next assignment. This is where our day got real interesting.
As Craig and I were discussing the new assignment……BOOM…… The truck and trailer lurched forward knocking over water bottles and tossing a few items on the floor. I looked at Craig and said, “What the @$#%$ was that?", just as another semi truck pulled in beside us on the passenger side. Seems the driver made his turn a bit too close and was not watching his rear trailer and hit the right rear portion of our trailer with his rear wheel, which dented his wheel and broke a spring on his trailer.


We both leaped into action, Craig calling the Safety Department, and I retrieving the accident kit. I took pictures of the accident scene, and talked to a couple of witnesses, who with a little coaxing, agreed to give me a name and phone number for contact by the insurance company. Now think back awhile to one of the last times Craig was in New Jersey. Seems he had another driver back into him while at a truck stop. I am beginning to think we should not be allowed back into New Jersey for our own safety, as it seems New Jersey drivers have a tendency to want to hit us.


With our damaged bumper, we headed to the nearest truck stop to repair the brake and turn lights. After all, we had another load to pick up in Syracuse, New York. Speaking of New York, when we were at the port in Newark, if there were not any buildings in the area, we could have seen New York City and the Manhattan skyline, not to mention the Statue of Liberty. As we were leaving and rounding on an onramp to get back onto the freeway, I turned to look over my right shoulder and to my delight caught my very first look New York City! It went by so fast I did not even have a chance to think about taking a picture. We will certainly look forward to seeing the Big Apple sometime in the future.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


After we had delivered the Genie to Waukesha, Wisconsin we were assigned to go to Camp Riley, in Little Falls, Minnesota. We spent the night Thursday in Rogers, Minnesota, and as we have the past few weeks, checked the weather. The forecast was for clear skies so as we took off early Friday morning we expected just that. Funny thing about Mother Nature, no matter how much education the meteorologists have, guessing is the best they can do. As we approached the entry gate to Camp Riley, the snow was falling.


Thankfully the Army Sergeant that was meeting us had a truck with a snow plow attachment. He had to clear some area for our truck as our tires kept spinning as we tried to unhook the trailer to load the Army truck. By the time we finally got the truck loaded there was at least 2 inches of snow that had fallen. I of course, never having been exposed to the snow, took the opportunity to make a nice snowball and throw it at Craig. Thankfully, Craig was too busy chaining down the truck to have a full blown snow fight, but he promised that there would be payback!


It was interesting to find out that this truck is going to the port in Newark, New Jersey and then onto a ship to go to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. When Craig and I thought about it, in a small little way we make a difference to a lot of people with the items we deliver. Like Sammy Smallwood in Texas and his guard rail digging machine, or at the Spokane Airport and the de-icing truck. Then there are the people who buy and enjoy the pleasure boats we deliver. No matter what you do, it’s always nice to think that you may make a difference. As this year comes to a close and the New Year is upon us, we are thankful to continue to do what we love and more importantly, love what we do!


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