Sunday, April 29, 2007


ROSEBUD..............That was the last word uttered by Charles Foster Kane in the classic movie "Citizen Kane". A journalist had a mission to learn the meaning of that final word. Was it a woman's name? A horse he bet on? A beloved pet? Some say it could be concluded that a man's life cannot be summed up in one word. Others said, it meant that Kane regretted not having led a simple, quite life. I thought of this as we stayed in a rest area in Rosebud, Montana.

As I predicted, we were dispatched to Moses Lake, WA to pick up a Genie, which we will be delivering to Johnson City, Tennessee. It didn't take long for us to get it loaded and chained to the trailer. With a stop at the company yard for fuel, and to get a nail friendly tire repaired, we were on our way. We ended up staying in Haugan, Montana at the $10,000 Silver Casino, which had ample parking. We didn't venture inside, wasn't in a gambling mood that night. We did go into the store to buy some water and then called it a night.

Saturday was a beautiful day. Clear skies, the temperature in the high 70's and the landscape still green before it turns brown beneath the summer heat. We must have seen a dozen System drivers going the opposite direction and a handful more going our way. I commented to Craig we should probably buy some stock in Genie as there didn't seem to be a shortage of these lifts headed in all directions. We caught up with another company driver, who engaged Craig in a bit of conversation going down Interstate 90.

When we arrived at the rest stop we noticed a couple of carved signs relating the history of the area and one that was amusing talking about cattle brands. It explained that a "dogie" is a little calf who has lost its mammy and whose daddy has run off with another cow.

So as we spent the night in Rosebud, I pondered again about the movie "Citizen Kane" and the meaning of that final spoken word by Charles Foster Kane. The reporter in the movie interviewed several people and each gave a contrasting impression of the same man. I wondered what type of impression I have projected throughout my life, and is it what I would want to leave behind as to the person I was......... All I know for sure is this, if my life should end today, I hope the impression left behind would be that I took some risks, tried to live my life to the fullest, and I was very happy. What impression will you leave behind?

Friday, April 27, 2007


Any baby boomer, who can still remember the 70's, has fond memories of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom with Marlin Perkins and his faithful sidekick Jim Fowler. It was always funny to see and hear Marlin from a safe vantage point, describe in detail how Jim was capturing a poisonous snake or sneaking up on a vicious wild animal. These were the thoughts going through my head as we were driving out of Canada through the Banff and Kootenya National Parks.

When we sent in the empty call, after our deliveries to Calgary and Edmonton, we were told to head towards Spokane. This could mean only one thing.........pick up a Genie. We decided to spend the night in Edmonton and start out early Thursday to head back to the States. The routing we were given would send us through areas we have not gone before.

When we arrived back in Calgary, and headed west, one of the first things that caught my eye, on the outskirts of Calgary, were the ski jumps. These particular ski jumps, erected for the 1988 Winter Games, were made famous by Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards, who was the first to represent Great Britain in ski jumping. That, and the fact he was so farsighted, he had to wear his glasses while jumping, which fogged up so bad, he couldn't even see.

Upon entering Banff National Park, it was like seeing untouched wilderness. Really,too beautiful to even try to describe. There were an abundant number of deer grazing on the grass near the roadway. They didn't even seem phased by the traffic going by as you can tell from the look on the deer's face in the photo.

Leaving Alberta and entering British Columbia we drove through the Kootenay National Park. The landscape was just as beautiful here. Near Radium Hot Springs, we came up to a four way stop. I happened to look to my right and thought I was looking at a statue of a big horn sheep. Much to my surprise, it moved, and then I noticed the rest of the herd grazing on the grass nearby. Just like Marlin Perkins,from my safe vantage point in the truck, and with my faithful sidekick Craig by my side, I took my photo, and for a short period of time, I explored my own Wild Kingdom.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


We spent the night in Rawlins, Wyoming after a pretty uneventful day Saturday. Again, we heard rumblings of a big storm, but the only thing we got was about 90 seconds of raindrops and then it stopped. We haven't seen any since.

So I really wasn't paying much attention to where we were after we headed out Sunday morning. I was busy on the computer, so when I felt Craig let off the gas and start heading for an off ramp, I saw his destination.......Wal-Mart. But then I saw something he didn't see.....Starbucks. As we pulled into the parking lot, in Rock Springs, Wyoming, it seemed we weren't the only truck drivers in town doing their shopping, as the lot had at least 7 tractor trailer rigs already lined up.

We made quick work of it and in under an hour had our groceries checked, bagged, and headed out the door. With a dash into Starbucks for our favorite coffee drinks, we were happily heading towards Utah listening to our favorite Sunday radio shows on NPR......Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, Car Talk, and A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor.

It seemed the only people out on the road today were truckers and RV'ers. As we approached the Salt Lake City area, it finally happened. RAIN Now I can't say it was a downpour, but a nice steady rain on and off until we hit our final destination for the day in Twin Falls.

The dealership we were to deliver to on Monday didn't open up until 9am, so we were able to get up early, take showers, and have a nice leisurely drive into Boise. With only one boat to drop off, it didn't take long before we were headed back the was we came in. We were happy to know that our routing took us right through Idaho Falls where Craig's son Mike & family live, and also his sister & family. We found a truck stop just outside of town and called to have them pick us up so we could visit with them for awhile.

It was fun to have each of the two Grandsons take a turn sitting behind the wheel of the truck. Both Nathan and Corbin seemed to enjoy the experience, who knows, there might be a future truck driver in the family.
We left Tuesday morning to head to the border, and I'm not talking about Taco Bell. We quickly passed through Canadian Customs without a blink of an eye and were headed to a truck stop in Nanton, Alberta for the night. We hope to deliver at both dealerships today, our first drop is scheduled for 9am, in Calgary and then drive 200 miles to Edmonton for the last drop. We will be anxiously awaiting to hear where our next dispatch takes us.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


I find comedian Bill Engvall very funny, and his bit "Here's your sign" is one of the best. He observed a truck driver who got his truck stuck under an overpass have this conversation with a cop:

Cop: You got your truck stuck?

God bless that trucker, without missing a beat he goes: No sir, I was delivering that overpass and I ran outta gas. Here's your sign.

On our travels we see our fair share of all kinds of signs. Some informative, some annoying, some funny, and yes, some signs that remind us that there are people in the world that need these signs to make their way through life.

After leaving Tennessee, we drove through Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Wyoming. It has been a very pleasant drive so far. We kept hearing about some bad weather that was suppose to hit the Mid West, and last night while watching TV, they were scrolling thunderstorm and tornado warnings across the bottom of the screen. The wind was blowing pretty good, but we never heard any thunder and thankfully no tornado.

But as we drove near North Platte, Nebraska we saw two truckers who were not as lucky as us. Either they didn't hear the warnings or chose to ignore them, but the tornado found them. The truck in the picture was pushed over onto the side of the road and the other one, well, let's just say, all that was visable was the under carriage of the truck and trailer.

Talk on the CB was that one of the trucks was lifted by the tornado from the Eastbound side and dropped off the side of the road on the Westbound side. Judging from the broken tree limbs, it certainly does look like the trucks went airborne.

I thought I would share some photos I've been able to take over the last couple of days. Taking photos from the passenger seat of the truck can prove to be challenging, not only for me, but for Craig as well. Trying to capture the perfect shot while traveling at up to 65mph can test your resolve, but the passenger side mirror is the real culprit. While I am leaning, trying to get the perfect shot around it, I always seem to get in the way of Craig as he maneuvers through traffic and I block his line of vision to the mirror. I have to admit, that I reluctantly defer taking photos to keep our driving always safe.

When the opportunity arises where we do stop at rest areas, I enjoy taking my camera and having the luxury of snapping some photos with no cumbersome obstacles in my way. When our days of traveling the highways in this truck are over, I plan to print and frame my favorite ones to remind us of our travels and adventures.

My last shot was taken again from the passenger seat while Craig was battling commute traffic as we entered St Louis, Missouri. The sun was just rising, and I thought the big city looked so peaceful before fully coming awake with the morning's activities. So as I leaned forward, Craig reminded ever so nicely that I was once again blocking his mirrors. I snapped this picture, and you know, sometimes you just get lucky.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Those of you who know me, know I like my coffee and tea sweet..... well more like a little coffee or tea with my sugar. I do use the substitute sugar which could be a whole other entry as to whether is is good or not, but back to my original thought. I noticed, once we traveled anywhere east of the mountain time zone, whenever we went into a restaurant and ordered tea, they always asked, sweet or not? Yesterday on our way out of Tennessee, we started seeing billboards from McDonald's advertising "It's a Southern Thing......Mickey D's Sweet Tea". We won't be running out to the nearest McDonald's, but I do love saying "sweet tea" with a southern drawl, so much so, that I think Craig just may be tiring of it.

I should update you on our newest assignment. After leaving the docks in Baltimore, and visiting with the Maryland State Police at a weigh station, we headed to Vonore, Tennessee. Getting caught up in the rush hour traffic leaving the Washington DC area made us stop at a truck stop in Toms Brook, VA. Of course, as is usual with our travels, we would be driving by the location of the latest news story, the exit for the site of the Virginia Tech University shooting in Blackburg, VA. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and families of that tragedy.

Our assignment is to pick up four boats in Vonore, some very nice Sea Ray's, and deliver one in Boise, Idaho, two in Calgary and one in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Arriving in Vonore Wednesday afternoon, and finding three other trucks waiting, we weren't sure if we would get loaded or have to wait there the night. But to our delight, we were finally ushered into the loading bay around 4pm. With a short drive to a truck stop about 25 miles down the road, we tucked ourselves in for the night.

Thursday morning was a very pleasant drive through Tennessee to Nashville, before we started heading north into Kentucky. I think I have mentioned this before, but Tennessee is a state I could picture myself living in, especially the eastern part. In fact, Craig and I started looking at real estate in the area as a possible second home for us. It has so much greenery, rolling hills and a multitude of waterways in which to enjoy. The slower pace of the South is nice and the cost of living is so much better than California. I think I could be a very convincing Southern Belle, now how about a refill on my "sweet tea"

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


We all the know the fable and the moral......slow and steady wins the race. There have been quite a few times when we have quickened our pace to get to our destination only to run out of driving hours. When that happens, we are required to do a 34 hour rest period to reset our hours. Although we haven't minded driving up to 11 hours a day, Craig figured that if we do a slower pace, driving 8 to 9 hours a day, there would be no need to have a 34 hour reset. With the major storm we knew we had lurking in our path, we hoped the slow and steady pace would keep us comfortably behind the storm.

It wasn't until Monday afternoon, after crossing the Pennsylvania state line that the first rain drops began to fall. Yes, the sky was overcast, the temperature cool,and we had a steady wind, but it was only sprinkles. But then the sprinkles turned into snow. Big fat wet snow flakes. The worst was going over a slight mountain range into our next fuel stop in Breezewood, PA. After fueling up we decided to stay there for the night, get our dock receipt faxed to us for our delivery in the morning and relax while the wind gusted and the rain drizzled. Did I mention about the wind? It more than gusted, and watching the local news, the weatherman was telling us we were experiencing category 2 hurricane winds. So we did what we could, sealed down our hatches and snuggled under the covers and watched our favorite Monday night shows on TV.

We were only about 130 miles from our delivery at the terminal in Baltimore when we left the truck stop. The wind had died down during the night,but it was still overcast and cloudy with only a misting of rain on our windshield as we drove on. The majority of the storm had moved North. I even had to replace my sandals with my woolly boots for the day. Arriving at the Port of Baltimore is always an interesting ride. We had to go through the Fort McHenry Tunnel, to get to the other side of the Chesapeake Bay. This tunnel is 7,200 feet long and was opened in 1985 after 5 1/2 years of construction at a cost of $750 million. It is the widest underwater tunnel in the world. We then went through security, found a place to park to get the proper paperwork to the receiving clerk, off load the Genie and then wait to get the paperwork signed. Let me just say we waited a long time to get the paperwork signed. You gotta love these union workers.

So another delivery completed, a new assignment given, and like good students of the long ago fables, we realized the moral, the slow and steady pace will suit us just fine. After all, we consider ourselves retired and on vacation, and isn't that what every job should feel like?

Saturday, April 14, 2007


Is there such a thing as the perfect storm? And perfect for whom? For the last couple of days, Craig and I have turned on The Weather Channel and watched as the forecasters excitedly talk about this big storm, the likes of which they say only comes around every 20 years or so. Now I know that weather can be a bit boring, and that something like the size storm they are talking about is big, but come on, you can actually see the joy in their eyes as they talk about it. That tends to make you a bit edgy when you see where the storm is headed and, yep, we are headed right into it's path. It doesn't do your nerves any good either to look at the satellite screen and see that the size of the storm is bigger than the State of Texas, or that it is causing 3in diameter hail stones, tornados, and gale force winds. It seems we will not meet up with this nemesis until late Sunday night, Monday morning. So I've acknowledged it and chose not to ignore it like the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about. But, as Craig and I say, "It is what it is" and we will deal with it as sensibly as we can. With that being said, I'll catch you up on where we have been the last couple of days.

After leaving the yard and making it up, and thankfully back down the two mountain passes, (did you hear our chanting of I think we can?), we decided to stop at a newly opened Wal Mart to stock up on supplies. I have never seen a Wal Mart so empty, we practically had the whole thing to ourselves. Back on the road again we made it into a rest stop in Greycliff, Montana for the night. The morning light cast a beautiful glow on the frosted trees and ground as we headed East towards our destination of Baltimore.

It was Craig's birthday Friday, so we tried to make it special, but when you are in the middle of nowhere between Montanta and North Dakota your choices are a bit limited. But with a fuel stop in Beach, ND we decided to stop for awhile, fuel up, shower, and sit down to a nice mid afternoon meal. With stomachs full, we continued East and came upon yet another claim to the World's Largest. Say hello to "Salem Sue" THE WORLD"S LARGEST HOLSTEIN COW. Sue is 38 feet high and 50 feet long and is visible for 5 miles. She sits on School Hill overlooking I94 near New Salem, ND.

Now don't confuse Sue with Jamestown ,ND claim to fame, THE WORLD"S LARGEST BUFFALO. This cement sculpture stands 26 feet tall and 46 feet long and weighs in at a hefty 60 tons and was built in 1959 by Harold Newman who wanted to create something so, big and magnificent, that passersby would have to stop in the city. Well, we didn't stop, but I did manage to snap a picture as we drove by, but it does attract over 100,000 people each year.
With all this excitement over the World's Largest, we hope we don't get to add to our
collection with the WORLD'S LARGEST STORM.
So without anything to do to prevent this storm from crossing our path, we'll just keep ourselves as well informed as we can. I think we will be prepared for anything mother nature can throw at us.... rain, hail, snow, wind or tornados. Oh and having that 40,000 pound Genie weighing down our trailer will definitely be a plus.......Dorothy and Toto should have been so lucky!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Leaving the canyon lands of Utah we headed northeast towards Seattle. The weather remained nice, but it was quite breezy, so much so, that we were unable to put the satellite dish up in Twin Falls, ID. But not to worry, the local stations came through on regular TV. We got the rig washed in the morning and off we were again. Going through this part of Idaho and then Washington with the Snake and Columbia Rivers is always nice. Plus the stop in Prosser, WA at the Starbucks is always a nice treat. It made the drive into Ellensburg, WA that much more enjoyable.

After spending the night in Ellensburg, we were up early on Wednesday morning, and arrived in Kent about 7am. We were greeted by this duck who was happily waddling across the street where we parked. The noise of the truck didn't phase him at all as he seemed quite at home. We were surprised that the dealership started unloading our boats by 7:30am. Craig and I are getting pretty good at figuring out the hoist and being as much help as we can for the lone employee who off loads the boats.

Waiting for our next dispatch, I sat and thought that we have been on this particular trip for 9 days. One of the longest trips we have had in awhile since the adventure of going into the Great North White in Yellowknife, Northwestern Territories, Canada. The nicest thing is that we accumulate lots of miles which of course equates into $$$.

We had been given a preplan to deliver a couple of over sized boats, one to Indiana and the other to Canada. But as we waited for confirmation, we were informed that it had been cancelled. The boats were not ready yet. Can't say that we were all that upset about it, you know how I just love the whole Customs thing!

In no time at all we received another dispatch to head to Moses Lake to pick up a Genie to take to the docks in Baltimore. This particular Genie Z80/60 will be on a slow boat to Canningvale, Western Australia. I always enjoy knowing where the boats and Genie we deliver to the docks are headed. Makes me feel oh so international.

Our drive into Moses Lake was nice, but when we got there we had a little wait. There were at least 4 other drivers in line waiting to load up with their Genie's. I had to go back into my past blog entries to even remember when it was that we had a back haul .. It was almost 3 months ago when we delivered some containers from Southern California to Phoenix, AZ. Quite a run if you ask me. But there is definitely a difference hauling this 38,000 pound Genie compared to the rather lightweight boats.

As a treat, we naturally stopped at the Starbucks in Moses Lake for an iced coffee and a cookie. After all it is Craig's birthday on Friday and why not take this opportunity to start celebrating early. We had to scale out at a truck stop nearby to make sure we were not overweight on any of the axles. After getting the weights it was pretty close, but legal, so off we went to the company yard to fuel up.
We stayed in the yard for the night and got an early start this morning. It will definitely be a slow ride up the two mountain passes we have to cross this morning on our way eastward. But just like the little engine that could, if you listen closely you'll be able to hear us chant...." I think we can..... I think we can......... I think we can......."

Monday, April 09, 2007


It just so happened that when we decided to stop for the day we ended up right in the middle of Utah's Canyonland National Park. Every time we come through here is looks just a little different depending on the time of year. The last time we were here in March, the landscape was dusted with snow. This time, as we approached the area, we saw dark storm clouds and lightening in the distance. It didn't take long for the rain to start, but as if it knew we were going to stop, the rain let up and the sun came out by the time we parked.

We had decided to stay at a rest area we had stopped at before. It is nestled between the rocks with plenty of trees and green grass, not to mention great restroom facilities. It is also just a short 1/4 mile from the infamous "Hole N" the Rock". What makes this place famous, besides being one of the many tourist traps we see along our way, is a 5000 square foot home built inside the rock. I kid you not. But before it was a home, it was a resting point for travelers since 1829 starting with horse teams on the old Spanish Trail between Sante Fe and California.

In 1945 Albert Christensen started blasting the hole for this home. By the time he was done, he blasted away over 50,000 cubic feet of sandstone. In 1952, he and his wife Gladys moved in. In 1957, Albert died and Gladys spent the next eight years putting the finishing touches on the couples' dream cave. She turned part of it into a diner which she operated for 17 years. When she died, she and Albert were buried in nearby graves.

Now this place has everything a good tourist trap should. Plenty of souvenirs, a tour of the home, a petting zoo, photo opportunities, and enough antiques of days gone by to keep you fascinated.........for us, about 30 minutes. But after taking the mandatory tourist photos, feeding the ostriches, and buying a post card, we had pretty much had our fill. But as we like to say, that is one more roadside attraction marked off our list. Been there, done onto our next stop.

Sunday, April 08, 2007


I don't know what happened, but somewhere between my rantings of the warm weather we were experiencing, it turn downright cold. During the night, the wind was gusting and it started to rain. As we started out this morning it even snowed. Now, I'm not complaining, in fact, I am very happy.

But while driving and looking out my window, it occurred to me, Texas wasn't brown, but green. I don't remember last year ever seeing anything green, especially on this particular route. Yesterday, leaving Pharr, quite to my surprise and enjoyment, along side the roadway and in the median, wild flowers, purple, orange, and yellow. This was a side of Texas I had not seen before. Unfortunately, it will not last long and then I'll be back to seeing brown again, but at least on this Easter weekend, I had the pleasure of seeing a Texas Spring and for that I am thankful.

I'm especially thankful for the life we now have. Both of us couldn't be more happier to have the opportunity to have new experiences and spend quality time together. I'm thankful for our families and friends for the support they have given us on our journeys. Thankful for our health, albeit, with a stop for some dental work, and most of all, that we have been kept safe on the many roads we have traversed over this great land of ours.

Which leads me to mention the rain, then hail that came down upon us. The CB chatter get busier as we heard about trucks being jack knifed and cars off the side of the road. We heard some very excited voices saying a car had just gone off a bridge about 1/4 mile ahead of us. As we approached the area we slowed down so we could stop and render assistance. It turned out to be a K9 Sheriff Officer who had lost traction on the bridge due to the ice. Craig jumped out to check on him and found both the officer and the dog to be okay. The car was another matter, but with tow truck enroute, we were on our way again. Further down the road we came upon the jack knifed tanker with traffic backed up at least a couple of miles, and us thankful that we were going in the opposite direction.

Yes, we have much to be thankful for this Easter weekend, and in retrospect, maybe that warm, sunny weather wouldn't be so bad after all.

Friday, April 06, 2007


What is it about this world we live in that makes people want to prolaim they have the world's biggest this or that? You can't help but see and hear it all around you. We had the pleasure of seeing two such claims on our way into Pharr, TX. We never saw this first one before, because you can not see it going eastbound on Interstate 10 through New Mexico, near Las Cruces. It's only when you take the off ramp for the rest area that you get to see this:


High on a mesa over looking the city of Las Cruces sits this bird. He is comprised entirely from junk. He used to reside at the city dump until it closed. Who constructed him and why remains a mystery, but he found a home here in 2002. He is approximately 20 feet tall and 50 feet long. He atttracts a lot of attention as people gather to get a closer look. His only rival for the title World's Largest Roadrunner, is not far way in Fort Stockton, TX where Pisano Pete, made out of conrete, resides. Rumors of a bitter fued between the two still circulate, but I like to think the world is big enough for both of them.

Further down the road in San Antonio, Tx, if you happen down the 410 loop and can see around all the construction, you will come upon the North Star Mall. What makes this particular mall famous, is proclaiming itself the owners of :


This swanky pair of cowboy boots are made out of concrete. They are 40 feet tall and 35 fee wide and occupy a spot in front of Saks Fifth Avenue. It has been reported that in December they decorate them with Christmas lights to attract shoppers. Now I don't know if that works, but if the Jolly Green Giant ever tires from going barefoot, I know where he could find a pair of great looking boots!

On a side note, it never stops amazing me what we see while out on the road. On our trip into Pharr we must have passed at least 10 or 12 trucks with oversized loads, most carrying the large windmills or steel beams for construction. But this next one caught our eye. At first, from a distance it looked like a space ship, then as we got closer, and saw the propeller on the back, we figuered out that it was probably a ship tender.
That concludes my ramblings about the world's largest for now. I'm sure on our travels we will come across more claims of world's largest this or that. Makes you yearn to make your own mark on history, but I can't think of anything to be the world's largest at, so I'll just settle on being the World's Happiest Truck Driver's Wife.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Honestly, it can't be summer yet can it? Last week on our vacation we were enjoying temperatures in the mid 50's and yet today a mere two days drive away and it is already 70 degrees before 7am. Something is terribly wrong with that. Where did Spring go? Did it decide to take a vacation too? It seems as though Winter just melds into Summer with nary a daffodil blooming or robin singing.

I think of this as we are stuck in morning commute traffic in Phoenix, AZ. You remember right? The place we unloaded 11 boats from our trailer in 117 degree temperatures and thought we would pass out and melt right there onto the sticky asphalt. We do not tolerate the heat. I look at Craig in his shorts and sandals, and with the AC blasting....... oh ...and need I remind you it's now 7:15am and its 72 degrees. Kinda gives us something to look forward to. But hey, enough about the weather.

We made it into Newport Beach, CA Monday morning. We had to wait about a half mile down the road, under a freeway overpass, until the dealership moved some boats around to make room for us. It was a tight fit, but as Craig likes to say, " I haven't hit anything yet", and I hope it stays that way. We had received our next dispatch, and it was, as expected to head to Pharr, TX.

We spent the night in Tonopah, AZ, passing by Quartzsite, where even the snowbirds had flown back North for the Summer. But as always, no matter how much I complain about the southwest, it always gives me something to appreciate..... a great sunrise. Now pass the sunscreen, it's going to be a very long summer!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin