Monday, July 30, 2007


Craig had his appointment this afternoon with a doctor in Selma. We are happy with Dr. Wells and his plan of action. As suspected, he also thinks it is a pinched nerve, and that the CAT scan which was performed was useless in confirming the diagnosis. Since we are having to deal with Workman Comp issues, he went right to work with starting the process to get the authorization to get a MRI performed. We are hopeful to have this done by the end of the week or beginning of next week.

He advised us our options when it is confirmed about the pinched nerve, is to first try an epidermal on the effected nerve. If that is unsuccessful, then the next step is surgery. We are hoping the epidermal does the trick and that Craig will be back in action in 4 weeks or so. If he does have to have surgery, we are looking at about 3 months before he can return to work.

We are keeping a positive attitude no matter what the eventual outcome will be. Although Craig no longer has 18 wheels in which to get around, he is adjusting quite well to his new 4 wheel vehicle and finding ways to maneuver around. We are also fortunate in that his father does have a handicap tag which we have been able to use while getting around town to the doctor and getting prescriptions filled. We both have an appreciation for individuals who are physically challenged and the people who assist them. Craig is developing some new muscles in his upper arms, and me? Well, lets just say, lifting that wheelchair in and out of the trunk is a whole new exercise routine I'll be happy to quit as soon as I can.

We both feel lost without being in the truck and traveling on the highways, but we will be out there again before too long. This hiatus will make us appreciate even more the fun we have had the last year and a half out on the road. We will keep you updated as this new adventure develops. Thanks again for all of your thoughts, prayers, and encouragement.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


I am happy to report that we arrived in Selma safe and sound. I'm sure if you listened carefully you would have heard my "hallelujah" as we passed out of Texas and into New Mexico. Craig traveled very comfortably in the car without much pain. We are both anxious to meet with the Doctor on Monday afternoon to see what the plan of attack is going to be to get Craig back onto his feet again, and the both of us back out on the truck.

I took these pictures the first night in the hospital when we thought a couple of days of rest would fix the problem. Little did we know then, what challenges awaited us during the days that followed. I found that in a crisis, neither one of us would allow the other to get discouraged. That no matter what, we are and always will be a team. But most importantly, we want to relay our thanks and gratitude to all of you for the well wishes, prayers, and positive thoughts you have sent our way. They were a source of strength to us both during this difficult time.

Additionally, we would like to give a big "thank you" to our Company, System Transport, for going beyond what we ever imagined a company would do for an employee. We consider ourselves extremely blessed to be working for such a fine organization that truly puts their employees first and treats them like family. A big shout out to the boat fleet dispatchers, Katie, Kathy, Donna, and Matt for their concern, understanding and help and especially to our contact person during this injury, Jennifer Siegel, who was the one we leaned on most to help and who rose to the occasion always putting us first. We couldn't have gotten as far as we have without her help and empathy.

As soon as we know anything, we will pass along the information. Until then our dream is still alive and well and tucked safely away until we can unpack it again on the truck and drive off down the highway once again.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


After a restless night of sleep, although I was thrilled to see Craig resting comfortably during the night, we made it into Odessa, and the appointment with the orthopedic surgeon. We really liked this doctor who had a great personality and listened patiently to our saga of that last few days. After obtaining the CAT scan from the ER, and doing a series of tests on Craig, he determined he had extensive loss of reflex in his right leg, and the most likely culprit was a compressed nerve. He advised us to get back to California as soon as we could and said that Craig was okay to travel, that no further damage would be done as long as he was comfortable.

The doctor recommended flying home, but since we had the rental car, and Craig was very comfortable in the reclining front seat, we opted to drive back to Selma where we will stay with Craig's parents. The doctor prescribed additional amounts of the medication already prescribed so that we would be able to keep Craig comfortable until we could meet with a doctor in Selma or Fresno. A quick phone call to the rental agency, and the changes were made to be able to drop the car off in Fresno. It turned out to be cheaper than flying anyway.

Okay, everything is falling into place, starting to feel my anxiety level lower a bit, until I called the agency that had rented the wheelchair to us. I informed them that we were going to California and wanted to know what address we could ship the chair back to. They were quick to tell me that the wheelchair could not be taken out of their service area, to which in my mind, I'm thinking, why did I even bother calling them. I should have just taken it and asked for forgiveness later. But back to the phone call. I politely informed them that my husband is unable to walk, how am I going to get him in and out of the car? They were more than happy to tell me I could purchase said wheelchair for $1,000. I'm sure the look on my face was priceless, or maybe it was the silence on the phone which then prompted them to say they do have used wheelchairs for purchase. They found one, which by the way is identical to the one we had in every way, for $450.00. I asked if they could bring it to the hotel to swap out for the loaned one, to which they said they would be happy to. No kidding, I'd be happy to as well, but as I told Craig, with what we have been through this week, that money is nothing compared to the comfort it will give him to be able to get around until he is completely healed.

We plan to leave bright and early Friday morning, stop by the truck in Fort Stockton to take as much personal effects we can with us, and hopefully get as far as the Phoenix area by evening. If we can accomplish that, we should be in Selma by Saturday evening. Craig's parents got us in touch with a local doctor who was able to take Craig's case and see him Monday afternoon. I'll be happy to be back in a familiar area, close to family and friends . Our hope is we are on track to get Craig healed and both of us back out on the road, where we can continue our amazing journey and be able to share it with you once again.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


We were much more comfortable in the hotel while we waited to see what our next option would be. We had been in touch with the Company and they were working diligently on trying to get Craig to a facility that would be able to treat him. Mid afternoon we received a phone call advising us that they would be sending an ambulance from Odessa, TX to Fort Stockton, TX to transport us to Oddessa Medical Center. We were relieved to hear this information and made the requested call back to the local ambulance service to have Craig transported to the local hospital where the ambulance from Odessa would pick him up.

This is where the plan goes awry. Upon arrival at the hospital, the ER nurse starts saying that the Odessa ambulance can not take Craig from their hospital without a Doctor referral and a Doctor in Odessa that would accept him. We felt totally in a Catch 22. No matter what we did, it seemed we were no closer to getting to Odessa and hopefully the help Craig desperately needed. Thankfully, there was another Doctor on call Tuesday afternoon who actually took the time to do some testing on Craig and determined he in fact had a spinal problem. A call was placed into the trauma unit in Odessa and Dr. Janke told them he would accept Craig into their facility to at least be triaged, but have access to specialists.

It was a long wait for the ambulance to arrive from Odessa, but at least they were able to give Craig some pain medication for the long ride to the Medical Center. About 10:30pm, we finally arrive to see an emergency room with their halls lined with people on stretchers seeking treatment. A passing comment by an ER nurse stated just put Craig in the hall and it may be 4 or 5 hours before they got to him. I don't know what was said by the paramedics that transported us to the ER personnel, but within 2 minutes we were put in a room by ourselves and a mere 20 minutes later, just after I had given all the required information on Craig, they wheeled him away for a CAT scan. But hope was vanished once again, when he was immediately brought right back in. Craig could not tolerate lying flat for the scan. Dr. Janke had them give morphine to Craig to help ease the pain and off they went again. Thankfully, I was not within hear shot of that CAT scan room, as the morphine did not help him, and Craig later told me he was making as much noise as the man a few rooms down from us who was suffering from kidney stones and was determined to let anyone within a half mile radius know it.

Awhile later, Dr. Janke came into our room and said that the CAT scan was inconclusive, due to it not showing soft tissue, but his best assessment was that there was a nerve being pinched. He wanted us to call one of two Doctors in the morning in an attempt to be seen as soon as possible. He arrived for a wheelchair for us to use and had more pain medication administered to Craig before we left. At that time, I made my now usual early morning calls to hotels in the area, only to find out that there were no rooms available anywhere in Odessa. Seems the oil boom is there as well. I finally found a room in Midland, a town about 20 minutes away and I called for a cab. With Craig tucked into the front seat, reclining back, the wheelchair in the trunk we took off for a well deserved bed.

A few hours after checking in, I made arrangements to be able to stay at this hotel for a few days, called a cab to take me to the airport, and rented a car. With that accomplished, I was able to get Craig's prescriptions filled and get back to the hotel to make sure he was comfortable. I made the phone call to the first Doctor, who was out of town all week. Feeling desperate, I called the second Doctor, and I am happy to report we will be seeing him first thing Thursday morning. With that, I could finally have a clear mind, and get some rest. We are hoping that with time Craig will heal, but if further treatment is needed, we are leaning towards trying to get him stabilized enough to fly back home to California. Right now, we are both needing some sleep and with hopes that Thursday morning the orthopedic Doctor will be able to tell us what is going on.

Lastly, I want to thank all of you who have taken the time to send messages, through the blog and email, and with phone calls. All are very much appreciated during this time when we are feeling very much out of our element, in an area we are unfamiliar with. Your continued thoughts are a blessing to us both.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


What do you do when you are in the middle of nowhere and you have a medical emergency? We are finding out right now. While fueling the truck in San Antonio, TX and filling a low trailer tire, Craig did something to his back. We drove to our predetermined stop for the night, Fort Stockton, TX. This is where our nightmare begins. After getting up from the drivers seat, Craig has severe pain. We manage to get him into bed where several hours later, I did what I have never done before, call 911 to have an ambulance take him to a hospital. There are no cabs, or should I say, the only person who is somewhat of a cab driver, does not work after the sun goes down. Seems he was carjacked awhile back and it scared him enough not to work at night. Can't say that I blame him.

The ambulance informs me that they can not take me to the hospital with Craig. Fine, I say, point me in the direction and I will start walking. He tells me to hold on, and calls for a deputy sheriff to transport me. I can not say enough about the Pecos County Sheriff Department, and especially Deputy Rubio. He was my angel, making sure I got there and telling me to call back when we were ready to go back to the truck.

Once inside a very small remote county hospital, they called for the on call Doctor to come in and took Craig for an x-ray. Thankfully, with the hospital bed, he was able to find a comfortable position until the Doctor arrived. When he did, he advised us, that from the x-ray he could not tell what was wrong, prescribed an injection of an anti-inflammatory drug, a prescription of a muscle relaxant, and told us his medical facility could no nothing more for us. He deemed that Craig needed to be seen by a orthopedic doctor or neurosurgeon. With that said, and Craig feeling a little relief with the shot, Deputy Rubio took us back to our truck.

Another thing about this small town is that it does not have rental cars either. The ER nurse said there was a Wal Mart not far from the truck stop. I went online, found the address, made sure Craig was comfortable, and took off on foot. I get there and find that the Pharmacy does not open until 9am. I have a 30 minute wait until they arrive, give them the prescription, and am told that their computers are down. So, another hour wait, and I finally have Craig's muscle relaxant and I make my way back to the truck.

Our plan was to rest in the truck and hope that some of his discomfort would dissipate with time. We stayed there all day hoping he would feel better. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Once again, during the night, Craig was in distress and in great pain. There was nothing I could do but call 911 again for an ambulance to take him back to the hospital. Once again the same Doctor told us we were basically in "no man's land" and that all he could do was give him another shot. I knew that Craig needed some place other than the truck to try and get comfortable and rest, so I started calling hotels. Seems there is a big oil boom going on in this area and every hotel room was taken. But I must have been convincing to a wonderful night clerk at the Hampton Inn, when I explained our problem, trying to hold back the tears, and she said we could stay there.

The shot for Craig offered no relief for him as it did the night before. The ER nurse recontacted the Doctor who prescribed a shot of pain reliever since he knew we were going to a hotel and not the truck, fearful, that Craig would try to drive. We knew that wasn't happening real soon. Craig was still in such pain as we wheeled him out to the patrol car, where Deputy Rubio once again took us to the hotel, where Craig managed to sit on a luggage cart as I wheeled him up to our room and onto a bed with lots of pillows so that he could finally find some sort of relief.

That brings you up to date on what we have been going through the last two days. Later this morning we will be talking to the Company to find out what our options are. Craig and I think if they can send another driver to drive the truck and Craig to civilization, he might be able to get the help he needs. Until decisions are made, I feel lost, scared, isolated, and sympathy for my husband who has been enduring so much pain. But we are strong, and I know we will get through this, somehow, someway, together always, as a team.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


This being my second summer out on the road, and spending more time in the south than the southwest, I have come to the conclusion I will never be a southern belle. I fought the humidity, but the humidity has won. I raise the white flag in defeat and walk away with my flat iron in my hand. The humidity was such that when we walked from the hotel to our truck, the second we stepped out the door, our glasses fogged up so badly you could not see where you were going. Anything you had in your hands, like my laptop, was instantly covered in a moist film of wetness. You can actually see the heaviness in the air, thick with moisture, as we started our journey to leave Texas this morning.

After our muddy drop in Pflugerville, TX, it was no surprise to us that we were sent to Pharr, TX to pick up a load of boats. Nice thing about Pharr is we know the area and how to get around, so our usual stops, Wal Mart, Starbucks, & the theatre to take in a movie, were accomplished on Saturday while we waited for our trailer to return from Mexico.

After realizing that it had been four months since we have taken any time off, we decided that since this load of boats was being delivered to East Wenatchee, WA, we would take a few days off in Spokane after our drop. We want to start establishing residency up there, so we will begin that process while we have some time off. The picture I took of the wild flowers along side the roadway reminded us that we also want to stop by the property in Newport, WA and see what it looks like for the first time with no snow on the ground.

Lastly, I need some mall time and a stop at a salon to have my hair cut. Waving that white flag made me think that it just might be time to think of a different battle plan while out on the road. Short and sassy is sounding real good right about now.

Friday, July 20, 2007


Both Craig and I are fans of the show "Dirty Jobs" with Mike Rowe on the Discovery Channel. I love his sarcastic humor when having to deal with some of the dirtiest jobs I never knew existed or would want to experience myself. I never thought Craig had a dirty job, until today, in Pflugerville, TX when we dropped off the wheel loader at a CAT dealer. Of course it was warm and very humid with cloudy skies. The yard was only partially paved and as luck would have it we had to park on the unpaved area. We thought at first it was pretty solid as we went to work taking off the straps and chains, that is until I felt myself sink down about 3 inches into the mud. But carry on we did, our feet weighing a few pounds heavier than when we first started and battling the suction of the mud wanting to keep our footwear well embedded within the gooey mess..

After the paperwork was signed and we started putting the gear away, the skies opened up. A warm light rain at first, almost evaporating from the warmth as soon as it hit our skin. I guess Mother Nature didn't think it was raining enough because then it really started to rain.... big fat raindrops and lots of them. Always the gentleman, Craig told me to go ahead and get into the truck, that he would finish up. I didn't need to be told twice so I scampered off to the dry confines of the cab. By the time he made it into the truck he was completely soaked making this one of the dirtiest unloads we have ever had. So Mike Rowe, and the rest of your Dirty Jobs crew, my hat is off to you and the messes you get yourself into. I can only hope this will be the dirtiest we have to get.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Had I of known how rough the roads were as we left Jackson, Mississippi, I would have worn my safety helmet that is stored away. As it was, we both safely avoided getting hit on the head by items flying out from the overhead storage area. Before my camera could do serious damage, I grabbed it, while trying to stay on my feet and placed it on the dash. The rest of the items that had fallen were temporarily placed on the bed until smoother roads were traveled.

Wednesday, leaving from the truck stop in South Carolina, we made our way through Georgia, with the normal slow down through the Atlanta area. As we entered Alabama, we stopped at the welcome center for a break and enjoyed the view from a porch with rocking chairs they had constructed to the rear of the building. It was so tranquil and peaceful there. Back on the road again, we found ourselves crossing into Mississippi and headed towards our last fuel stop for this trip in Pearl, MS, just outside of Jackson.

We took advantage of our free showers at the Flying J Truck Stop this morning and actually started feeling human again. Even at 7am it was already warm and humid as we left towards Texas and our final destination. Unfortunately, the roads are not getting any smoother and trying to type this entry, hang onto the laptop, and not fall out of my seat is proving to be challenging to say the least. For those of you old enough to remember, I'd rate this as an "E" ticket ride in Disneyland, All Craig and I need now are the mandatory Mickey Mouse ear hats and we got ourselves a ride.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


We are in North Carolina, where the temperature is 91 degrees and climbing, and the humidity is keeping pace with it. We waited all day Monday for a dispatch and finally received it about 4:30pm. We are to go to Clayton, NC to pick up a Caterpillar Wheel Loader and take it to Pflugerville, TX. (Yes, you read the spelling of that city correctly). I have a love/hate attitude about back hauls, the loads we are assigned when not delivering boats. Summer time the boat deliveries slow down and they get creative with finding us items to haul. I love that we sometimes get some interesting things to haul, but I hate that most times, the information about the load is filtered through brokers and other trucking companies and sometimes just doesn't get relayed correctly.

Now I know in the South they are causal and being told just go off this state route by the oak tree, just east of town by the pig farm, may work for people who live in the area. For us, with all our technology within our reach, it's just easier to give us an address and we will find it somehow, some way. We finally had to resort to calling information to get the address of the trucking company to find that their terminal looked like this. (see photo) A big grassy field with a well worn path around the small house they use as an office. We could never get a hold of our contact person because the battery on his cell phone was dead. When we arrived, we had a bit of a wait until they retrieved the Caterpillar and brought it to their yard (terminal) for us to then load onto our trailer.

They had an interesting way of loading it. They told Craig to take off the fenders of the trailer and that they would just drive it up. Sounded good to us. We would not have to break down our trailer and that would save us some time and energy, of which was dwindling fast in the heat. Speaking of the heat.....Now I know why there are rocking chairs on front porches. If I lived in this area, back when there was no air conditioning, I doubt I would have the energy to do anything but sit and fan myself all day long. Also, remember those old movies where everyone had a handkerchief to wipe their faces? I know why they did that too. I've taken to using a couple of squares of Brawny paper towels. There is truth in their advertising, they do sop up the wetness. Yes, I know, if you live in the area you grow accustomed to it, but seriously, if I have to be in the heat, give me the hot dry heat of the west any day over this hot wet sticky feeling I have had for the past few days. Now, point me in the direction of the nearest shower. I'll have mine cold.

Monday, July 16, 2007


The rest of the ride into Virginia went very well. I couldn't believe though, the amount of traffic on Sunday, both going towards and going away from Virginia Beach. I can only imagine what it must be like on weekdays. We were fortunate to find a truck stop (and I use that term loosely), about 8 miles from the dealership. Walking into the restaurant and convenience store was like walking back into the 1950's. I don't think they have done anything to improve or modernize this facility since it was first built, but it did give us a place to park for the night, and for that I was grateful. After all, as I told Craig, once we put up our privacy shields around the windows, I could imagine myself anywhere but there.

This really is quite a beautiful area, surrounded by water, with wonderful little beach houses and high rise condos lining the shoreline. On our way to the dealership we passed by a new condo complex advertising available units. I quickly went online to see what these gems on the water were going for. The lowest unit was going for around $900,000 with most others well above one million. Right now the low cost housing of the truck we have sounds pretty good. Besides, my views are always changing, but living in one of those units, I just might find myself getting used to the humidity.

We arrived at the dealership right at 8am and saw that there was another driver there as well. However, they wanted us to off load first since they could get our boats off with a forklift due to the way they were loaded. This was one of the fastest unloads we have had in awhile. Of course it helped that Craig had all the toys to make it go faster such as a hydraulic jack to lift the lowest boat up for the forklift and the impact wrench to make fast work of putting the tires on the trailer. The employees were very grateful for the help and in just 30 minutes we were unloaded and finishing putting away the straps and steel framing.

With an empty call sent on the computer to dispatch we headed back to the wonderful aforementioned truck stop to sit and wait. I'm hoping we will not have to wait too long to hear where we will be heading. But if we do? I'll just put up the window shields and imagine I'm on the 6th floor of that new condo complex enjoying my summertime on the shore.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


A pictorial of the barns of Ohio I enjoyed seeing yesterday on our travels.
Each one with a story.
If you listen carefully they just might tell you.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


You'll have to forgive me. After traveling this same route five times now over the past two weeks I'm having a hard time finding anything to write about. But then, this morning as we got onto the tollway in Chicago it was as if we were on some less traveled road in an unpopulated town. If I could pick a time to have to drive through Chicago, this would be it. Early Saturday morning, when the commuters are still asleep in their beds, awaiting their caffeine induced wake up call, long after we have already escaped the city. YIPEE! Note to self, always try to go through Chicago on a weekend morning, (as if we really have an option, but a girl can wish for these things, can't she?).

We are loaded with three boats that are headed to Virginia Beach, VA. The dealership we are delivering to is situated right on the water. We were told by another driver that there were some tight turns to get into the dealership, but we will wait and see. This so far has been a sweet drive with us only having to drive 500 miles a day to have a early Monday morning delivery. I especially like that as with Chicago today, we will be able to go through Washington DC on a weekend and not a weekday. I hope we are just as blessed tomorrow with light traffic.

I'm hoping to be routed somewhere on Monday that will take us onto some different interstates, but then I should be careful what I wish for, we may just have to go south into the intense heat. We have been lucky so far with mild weather the last couple of days, but as one of my blog friends from Maryland has told me, be prepared for the heat in the mid Atlantic region. Checking the weather website I see what she is warning us about. High humidity and high heat.......I got my baseball cap at the ready to keep my hair under control!

Thursday, July 12, 2007


In southeast Chicago, on both sides of the interstate there is a very large quarry. Every time we go through there, and lately it has been often, Craig is mesmerized by this large gaping hole. Me? I don't see the fascination with it. Yes, it is large. Yes, it probably took a very long time to take all that dirt out of there, but that is about how long my interest lasts, about as long as it took for you to read this sentence.

Craig has confessed to me about when he was a little boy, of about 5 or 6, he would take a shovel and dig for hours in the backyard near the porch. Yes, you guessed it, he was trying to dig straight down to get to China. He got about 3 feet down before he lost interest in China and went onto something else. After all, he said to me, in the cartoons they made it to China much faster.

That has to be his love affair with this large hole. That here in Chicago, they were able to dig deeper than he ever could. Being the loving wife that I am, I smile, acknowledge his love for this big empty hole and take the picture for him.

Then Craig, always ready with a come back, and always thinking, points to the side of the road where construction is taking place and says "You know, if I had one of those, I could have dug much further"

"Yes Dear", I reply, "Let's just get through Chicago first, then we can think about digging that hole again".

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


I remember back to my childhood and watching the commercials for Chex cereal. I always thought they said the Corn Chex came from Iowa, but maybe it was the Rice Chex, in either case it was a long time ago and the memory is a bit foggy. From what I have seen the past few days the corn could have come from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, or Michigan. Every field we pass, as far as the eye can see has corn growing on it, all at different stages, but corn none the less. Where does all this corn go?

As we traveled down I94 a crop duster was flying low over the interstate making his back and forth runs across the fields. It's always fun to watch them as they buzz over traffic, the engine noise loud overhead as he passes by. I had my camera ready and took my shot as he flew by and down the rows of corn. Growing up in the agricultural San Joaquin Valley of California you see these planes often, but I never grow tired of watching them zip by.

Even though is is hot enough to pop corn around most of the nation, there are signs that fall is not that far away. We passed this farm which no doubt doubles as a pumpkin patch when the coolness of fall is in the air and the leaves start to change colors. I love the pumpkin on top of the silo giving a friendly smile to the travelers on the road below.

We stopped for a break at a rest area/visitor center at the Michigan state line. This was one of the nicest and prettiest rest areas we have seen. It had a small pond with this miniature lighthouse. Inside I found a brochure for a lighthouse cruise through the Mackinac Straits. I quickly found out that you can take these cruises June through early September and see all 12 historic lighthouses on both sides of the Straits on Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Don't know if we will find time this year, but that is something we will definitely make time to see.

We spent the night in Dexter, MI just outside of Ann Arbor which left us with a 30 mile drive to the dealership. When we arrived at the truck stop we saw another boat driver from a different company parked as well. We had no sooner parked when we saw him drive off. We laughed to ourselves saying I bet he is going to the same place we are and wants to get there first. We were right. As we drove into the driveway, we saw that he had parked there all night to be first to be unloaded. But as my friend, Peter from Oz, would say........"No worries Mate", by the time most of you read this entry we will be unloaded and happily on our way back to Pipestone.

Monday, July 09, 2007


Craig is always telling me to have patience, but I do have patience. I can sit for hours and do cross stitch, or scrap booking, or even reading tedious instructions, but I don't have patience to just sit and wait and that is exactly what we did today. After a lazy start Sunday morning and a stop at the Wal Mart in Worthington, MN, we drove into the Bayliner plant in Pipestone at around 10am. We saw that another boat driver had arrived shortly before us, but had bob tailed into town for breakfast. We hooked up the satellite TV and settled in for the rest of the day. Little did I realize we would still be settled in 24 hours later.

When daybreak came and the employees started arriving at 6am we knew we would be second in line to load. Craig checked in and came back to tell me the load of boats going to Virginia Beach, VA were not ready, seemed they had some sort of carpet problem. Even with me going in and using my charm to butter up the loaders with two dozen chocolate chip cookies, the boats still wouldn't be ready until the end of the week. The best we could hope for was to be dispatched on another load.

A couple of hours later we were informed we would in fact be receiving a different load, four boats to be delivered right back to Wilson Marine in Brighton, Michigan. Good news, we knew the route and the layout of the business and their unloading routine, bad news, the trailers for these boats were not ready yet. But at least they promised us they would have us loaded sometime today. All we could do was sit by and watch as other drivers pulled into the loading bay and got their boats loaded.

Finally, after nine hours we were loaded with the boats and headed back to Michigan. As of now, it looks like after we unload these boats, we will be sent back to Pipestone to hopefully pick up the boats headed to Virginia Beach. Patience and time will tell if that is in deed the case.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


Over the past year, since I have all the time in the world to be alone with the thoughts inside my brain while we travel the roads of America and Canada, I've tried to figure out what it is about barns that fascinates me. We have spent quite a few days this past week driving through Minnesota and Wisconsin and I've had the opportunity to see many different barns.

I can't stop taking pictures of them or imaging the work that went on inside, or the livestock that resides there. I guess it could go back to my childhood. My Grandparents and Aunts and Uncles on my Mother's side all owned ranches which of course had barns. They seemed to me to be so dark and mysterious.

Sundays were always spent playing in and around them. I remember my cousins and I playing in the barn at my Grandfather's ranch and finding the salt licks for the cows. We would take one and crawl up on the bales of hay and lick away never giving it a second thought about the cow that had enjoyed it before us. My Uncle's barn, filled with farm equipment, hay, and trinkets that kept us occupied until my Aunt called us in for Sunday dinner.

I guess my love of barns is deep rooted within my childhood memories and my Uncle who would let me sit almost on his lap and help steer the Rambler station wagon down the country roads. I realize now that my steering abilities then were in desperate need of some work, but the thrill is still there when I think back to those days long gone.

I suppose there are far worse things I could be fascinated by, so I'll keep taking my photos of barns, enjoying my time in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and reliving some of the best childhood memories anyone could wish to have.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


It started out to be a very nice Saturday morning drive until we hit the Illinois/Wisconsin state line and billows of black smoke could be seen ahead. Brake lights were rapidly being lit up in front of us as traffic slowly stopped. Craig, who always has his toys handy, grabbed for his scanner and we quickly picked up on the police and fire transmissions. They were shutting down Interstate 39/90 in both directions as a fuel tanker had been involved in an accident, was on fire, and to make matters worse, it was under an overpass.

We heard the Sergeant trying to make decisions on how best to route the traffic that was now backing up for miles. You could tell from the conversations that they didn't have enough personnel on hand to handle such a major road closure and the impact it would have on the surrounding areas. As emergency equipment was trying to get by on our right side, impatient drivers where turning around and heading back towards town on our left side.

We of course were quite content to sit, watch and listen to the activity going on around us as were the people who had pulled off at the rest area. They were gathered around sitting on the brick planters waiting for something to happen. But sit we all did until we heard that we would likewise be turned around as they were not letting anyone by the accident scene or near the overpass until it had been inspected by engineers.

This proved to be very interesting as Craig maneuvered a U-turn on the two lane interstate and then proceeded to go south in the northbound lanes. The on ramp was now the off ramp for us as we followed the long line of vehicles, buses, and trucks being diverted onto Highway 51 through Beloit.

Now Beloit is not a large town, just under 36,000 people, but today it was a thriving metropolis of more people and traffic than they were ready for. The back up through town was unreal. I've seen parades move faster than we were moving. It must have been fascinating for the town folk as well, as we saw groups of people either sitting or standing, pointing at and watching the long line of traffic inch it's way through town. Between the added traffic and the farmer's market downtown, it made for a very exciting morning in Beloit.

What could have made it more exciting was the train that decided to go through town during this traffic fiasco. The way traffic was backed up, I thought for sure we were going to be caught up in yet another accident. Thankfully, everyone paid heed to the railroad crossing and the train made it through town safely, as did we. A fifteen mile detour around the accident gave us an opportunity to see downtown Beloit, which we surely wouldn't have seen otherwise.

Lucky for us, not so lucky for that other truck driver.

Friday, July 06, 2007


We have been hearing about the heatwave that has been hitting most of the country the last couple of days. Fortunately, we have been able to avoid the extreme heat that others have had to endure. We made our way into Michigan Thursday night, about 30 miles from where we were to deliver our load of boats. It gave us an opportunity to take showers and walk across the street for an iced coffee from McDonald's. After all, a girl can only go so long without a good iced latte!

We arrived at the dealership about an hour before they opened, to find that another boat driver already there. We parked behind him and Craig did the mandatory "driver chat" until we were summoned into the yard to begin unloading. Craig, who is always helpful to other drivers, assisted the other driver with unloading his boats. I waited in the cab, sometimes too many people working around the trailer while you are unloading actually impedes the progress instead of helps. When it was our turn to unload I was happy to don my gloves and get to work. While we got the boats unloaded two more boat drivers arrived at the yard. Seems it was a very busy day at Wilson Marine in Brighton, Michigan

After we sent in our empty call we were told to go back to Pipestone, MN to pick up some boats to take to Virginia Beach, Virginia. We will have a nice leisure drive back to Minnesota over the weekend for a Monday morning load. Tonight we will be staying at the company yard in Gary, Indiana, kicking back, relaxing, and getting to sleep in Saturday morning.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


I found it appropriate that Craig and I have been listening to the audio book "General George Washington" by Edward G. Lengel this week. While driving through Minnesota ,we heard about the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and the struggles that preceded it, while traveling on this Independence Day. Looking at passing motorist you can catch glimpses of patriotism by the small flags they are flying, or handmade signs declaring their love of Country. Closed businesses had large flags hanging from idle equipment lazily flapping along with the passing breeze. I saw small tattered flags on small posts and larger newer flags flying high in the air.

Driving past the fresh cut lawns of farms in Wisconsin, I saw families out playing horseshoes, unable to hear the clanging of the metal shoe against the pole. BBQ's started, the smoke rising from the cooking contents that will soon satisfy the hunger of children who have played outside all day. The rivers we passed over were full with boats, some sitting idly, content in just letting the water lap at its sides, others, speeding by with skiers in tow. Having to stop for fuel, it was evident that even a National holiday does not slow down the trucking industry

The Fourth of July means different things to different people. Having it fresh in my mind the commitment made and the perils experienced by the Patriots who desired freedom from the British, I have a renewed appreciation for what this days truly meant and means, the sacrifices made to preserve our way of life.
God bless America and may freedom forever ring.

Monday, July 02, 2007


By now, if you have been reading this blog for awhile, you know how often we are being sent across the border and having to deal with getting paperwork from one place to another electronically. After our last run, when we spent 30 minutes faxing over the customs paperwork to the Broker, then calling later to find out they had lost it, we decided, or should I say Craig decided to take control of our situation. On our last run to Wal Mart, Craig purchased a scanner/copier and went to work on our mobile command center. He figuered it would fit perfectly in the overhead and it does. With an extra electrical cord there, and a USB cord here, we are set to scan documents to my laptop and send them through email. Now, when we are required to fax or copy paperwork, we can do it from the comfort of the cab of our truck. McGyver strikes again!

It's been a quiet and uneventful ride so far to Minnesota to drop off the Genie. When we arose Monday morning and started out we were surprised to see fog in North Dakota. But what really got my attention was the way it looked as the sun was rising. Think back to the 80's and the movie "Poltergeist". All I could think about was the little psychic in the movie telling Carole Anne to go towards the light. We were happy to avoid going into the light, but watched as it slowly rose and the fog disappeared as we traveled down the road to Skapokee.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


.....he may take up another career operating a Genie.



What is it about little boys and grown men and big construction equipment? Craig loves it when he gets a chance to try out the equipment we haul. He has driven army trucks, water trucks, a guard rail digger, and now a Genie Z80. This new load was waiting for us in the company yard in Spokane. We weren't able to go to Moses Lake to pick it up on Friday morning, due to being delayed at the Canadian/USA border. I have never seen so many people fleeing......uh, I mean leaving Canada, as I did on Friday. It was a big holiday weekend for the Canadians but you would think they would stay in Canada to celebrate Canada Day. But the lines at the border proved otherwise.

When we arrived at the yard Saturday morning, we found our Genie patiently waiting for us. After a few chores, dropping off paperwork, fueling up, and getting the tractor and trailer washed, we headed over to load the Genie onto our trailer. Craig was enjoying getting to operate it and masterfully maneuvered the big machine up the ramps and onto our trailer. We scaled out the load to make sure we were legal, (check out the total weight on the scales), and finished securing it with chains and binders.

Finally we were on our way. Where you ask? We are headed to Skakopee, Minnesota, a town southwest of Minneapolis and St. Paul. We are due to deliver it on Tuesday, and with the Fourth of July the next day, not sure where or even if we will be sent anywhere. We are just happy to be on the road again, without an oversize load, or a load going to Canada. With this type of load, we can sit back, relax, and let the road take us along for the ride.


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