Thursday, November 29, 2007
From that point on we have been non stop running around doing errands, sorting through the mail, taking care of personal business and stocking up on grocery supplies for the truck. At least today it shouldn't be too hectic. We are going out to the yard to put away the groceries and possibly move the truck and trailer to a truck stop just a bit closer to Modesto. The last order of business is of course getting my hair and possibly if I have time, my nails done, have a great home cooked meal tonight and head out first thing in the morning to some unknown location. That of course could all change if by chance they don't have a load for us, and if that is the case? Well then, we just might have a few days to relax from the whirlwind of activity we have been involved in that last 36 hours. But to be honest with you, we are both anxious to get back out on the road again!
Monday, November 26, 2007
When we arrived in Little Falls last Wednesday, we thought we knew what our schedule would be. Deliver the boats in Loomis, CA on Monday, and be home in Modesto that night. Those plans changed when we picked up the paperwork and noticed a highlighted comment stating the dealership is closed on Sunday and Mondays. We quickly started doing the math and figured if we drove to our maximum amount of time we could make it to unload the boats by Saturday afternoon. The information on the directions to the dealership indicated that they did unload on Saturdays. All we had to do was wait until 9am Pacific time and call the dealership to confirm delivery.
All our planning was quickly undone when I called the dealer and he gleefully informed me that the business was taking an extended holiday and that they would not unload the boats until Tuesday. To make matters worse, he further informed me that two other drivers had already called wanting to unload Saturday and had been informed to take a number for Tuesday. He also added that there was limited parking and to stage at a rest area about 30 miles from the business.
Oh Boy! Talk about having some idle time on your hands. We enjoyed the scenic drive through Yellowstone even as we watched the temperature drop to zero. You can imagine how quickly we did our load checks in that weather! After staying the night in Twin Falls, ID, we arrived in the Reno/Sparks area Saturday afternoon and found a place to make home at the Petro Truck Stop.
Thankfully with all the toys we have we would not be bored. The satellite TV was hooked up, the laptops were plugged in and the portable PlayStation charged up. Yes, we had plenty to keep us entertained, along with the usual people watching, but we are counting down the hours until we can unload these boats and head for a couple of days of home time to take care of some personal business. Until then, if you need us, you know where to find us, sitting idle in Nevada.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
The title and photo are just a little bit misleading. It is Thanksgiving and we are at Beach, but not the beach, with sand between our toes and the soft caressing waves of the ocean lapping at our feet. No, we are in Beach, North Dakota right on the border of North Dakota and Montana. We awoke early as always, seems our bodies are on permanent eastern time and started our trek westward. There was a light fluffy snow falling as we left Fargo and as Craig had promised me, we started listening to Christmas music. I'm sure he regretted that decision about two hours into our drive to our Thanksgiving feast.
Our timing couldn't have been better as we pulled into the mostly empty lot right at 12 noon. I counted about 20 trucks parked and a steady flow coming and going from the fuel island. The majority of the truckers we saw going into the building were headed for the showers. That little chore we took care of the night before, so off we headed toward our feast that awaited us.
The dining room had two types of people, those who were traveling with family and stopping for a meal and the truck drivers who were scattered about by themselves at tables and booths. Craig and I enjoyed a rather nice buffet, but as Craig said "It's not as good as home made, but good none the less".
After the last fork full of pumpkin pie and as with every Thanksgiving dinner, eating more than we should have, we headed out to our truck. Back on the Interstate and it looked as if we had the road all to ourselves as the temperature stayed hovering at about 25 degrees. The snow along the roadway got more plentiful as we got further into Montana. As the sun set we pulled into Billings, MT for the evening, our stomachs full and thankful for all the blessings in our lives.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
At least I can proudly proclaim we have experienced the first snow of the season as we neared Minot, ND. It was trying to stick to the ground, but we passed through it and were under clearer skies and no snow a mere 10 miles down the road.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Another victim of the strong winds is the shrink wrap on the boats. On more than one occasion we have had to pull over and completely remove the wrap as it was torn to shreds from the wind. This time Craig caught the damage early. We bundled up as much as we could so that we were still able to move and made our way outside. Our first battle was with the ladder. It hadn't been used in awhile, and along with the frigid weather the metal was not cooperative in releasing it's grip so that we could open it and extend it in order for Craig to get up high enough to try and repair the shrink wrap.
So with the battle of the ladder won, Craig climbed up as I stood by to make sure the ladder remained firmly grounded. But I must confess, I did step away just long enough to take this picture, let's just keep that our little secret. Craig went to work repairing the rip and we quickly gathered up our ladder, loaded it back onto the truck and jumped inside to warm up.
We made it to our first stop in Williston, ND Thursday afternoon. Unbenounst to us, they needed a crane, so we waited about an hour for its arrival. Having safely unloaded the pontoon boat we were off to find the one small truck stop in town to stay for the night. One wrong turn, and a tight spot to make a turn around, we found the truck stop and settled in for the night.
Arising Friday morning we made our way towards the border and the dreaded Customs. I have been of late, trying to channel my best friend Cori, and her attitude about not worrying. So with that in mind, I tried throwing caution to the wind that still plagued us and made our way to the Customs booth. Low and behold it worked! With a red Customs stamp on our paperwork we were cleared to enter Canada and make our way to Calgary.
Since we would not be able to deliver the last three boats until Monday morning, we had all the time in the world to get there. With a stop in Swift Current, Manitoba for the night, we arrived in Calgary Saturday around noon. The new Flying J Truck Stop will be our home with the dealership only 2 miles up the road.
We know after we off load the boats Monday morning that we will be sent right back to Little Falls for a load of boats going to Loomis, California. We also know that we will not be home for Thanksgiving, but if all goes well, we should be home in Modesto the Monday following Thanksgiving. As far as anything else? Well, as Bob Dylan so eloquently said......."The answers my friend are blowin in the wind, the answers are blowin in the wind"
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
I guess it's the simple life I crave, and when I think about it, my life today is much simpler than it ever was. Once we made the decision to take our life out on the road and on this great adventure, we discarded anything and everything that ever complicated it. No house, no car, no repairs, and especially no bills. We do have an uncomplicated life and for that I am very thankful. It showed me that I didn't need a lot to make me truly happy. We again have our health, and we have each other, and family that loves us no matter how crazy we decide to live our lives.
Our current assignment has taken us to Little Falls, Minnesota to pick up 4 boats which are to be delivered to Williston, North Dakota and Calgary, Alberta Canada. Yes, another trip into Canada. On our last run, my try at imitating Jeannie failed miserably. We had a slight delay at the border and the Customs office while a mistake in border crossing locations was fixed. Oh if only border crossings were like a Norman Rockwell world....now that would make me very happy.
Monday, November 12, 2007
We waited until Saturday morning, to load, but we were not alone. A little storm decided to join us while we went to work chaining down the Genie. Thankfully our rain gear kept us mostly dry and in a short time we were headed down I90 towards our first fuel stop.
Our drop Tuesday morning in Canada is just across the border in Winnipeg, Manitoba, just a short drive from Fargo, North Dakota where we are staying tonight . Word has it when we deliver the Genie we will be directed to go to one of three boat plants in Minnesota to pick up some boats. Until we know for sure, I’ll be making like Barbara Eden, arms crossed and doing a little magic of my own to ensure we have a hassle free border crossing with Customs.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
There has been a whirlwind of activity the last couple of days on our journey and I though some famous proverbs would help illustrate the story. "Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise" Now it's true, we have been going to bed and rising very early this past week, but I'm not so sure it has made us healthy, wealthy, or wise. As we drove into Great Falls for our first unload we carefully followed the directions that were given to us by the dealer. Imagine our shock as we turn a corner and see "Caution Low Clearance" staring us straight in the face. I point and anxiously ask if Craig saw what I saw as he quickly finds a spot to park off to the side of the roadway. Knowing that "Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades" we quickly got out of the truck with tape measure in hand. Feeling satisfied that we would safely, albeit, slowly make it under the aforementioned low clearance we started back down the road only to see that we would be making a left turn prior to the railroad over crossing. Oh well, as the saying goes, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".
I had anticipated with excitement our drive into Kalispell knowing that we would be going through a part of Glacier National Park. But this is one time "The early bird gets the worm" did not come true. We had left way before sunrise to get to the dealership early, so the only thing I saw was total darkness. Oh well, "Tomorrow is another day" and we no doubt will have other opportunities to come this way again.
Driving through Kalispell to the dealership we drove right by their court house which sits smack dab in the middle of town. So much so, that the road divides to go around it and I thought to myself "A picture is worth a thousand words" so I snapped this one as we drove by.
Putting in our empty call, we were quickly sent just a mere 180 miles away to Cataldo, ID to pick up a load of lumber to take into the company yard. Knowing that "Haste makes waste" we methodically made our way to our destination, a small milling company right off the Interstate. Never quite knowing what you will get with these back hauls we "Hoped for the best, but expected the worse" and drove up to the very muddy entrance to the saw mill.
Trudging through the mud, the lumber was quickly loaded onto our trailer and then the fun really began........TARPPING. Knowing that "Many hands make light work" , we worked together to get the tarp unfolded and "Little by little and bit by bit" our load went from this:
To this in no time at all
With only about 70 miles to travel to the company yard we pulled into the yard by late afternoon and went about having the lumber off loaded from our trailer onto a flatbed. Knowing that "All good things come to an end" , this is where my proverb story will end, but not without hoping that "A good beginning makes a good ending" and of course, "A woman's work is never done".
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
There hasn't been much as far as scenery or items of interest along the roadways the last two days. Fortunately, going into Kalispell should give me some great photo opportunities. But as always, with the end of each day, there is always a chance to see a great sunset and tonight's was no exception. Enjoy and I'll be checking back in from Montana!
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Having an oversize load, and traveling through many States, you are always looking over your permits and confirming when and on what roads you can travel. Leaving the company yard loaded down with copies of all our permits we headed East. Some States let you travel at night, most have restrictions to drive only between sunrise and sunset, and then you have the States that restrict your traveling during the weekends. We were lucky enough to make it into Michigan Friday evening before sunset and their restriction of oversize loads traveling on their interstates anytime Saturday and Sunday.
As you can imagine, this left us with some time on our hands. We stayed at a truck stop just outside of Ann Arbor, MI but unfortunately there wasn't much around the area other than another truck stop across the street. We parked the rig where we had the best spot to people watch. After all, with that much time, we had to do something to entertain ourselves, and let's face it, sometimes truck drivers can make for some fun watching.
Having our fill of watching some good and not so good backing up, and the latest in trucking fashions (which will be a blog entry for another time), we did some more organizing of the truck and laundry. We of course had more than our fill of TV watching and computer time, so when I saw the post card I posted above, I tried to get my own Michigan sunset from where we were parked and this was the best I could do.
We are anxious to get our first delivery under our belts Monday morning since our return to work. As always we will be looking forward to hearing where our next assignment will take us. Until then, we sit in our truck, watching the sun set on another beautiful day in Michigan.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
We found ourselves at a rest stop, in the middle of nowhere in North Dakota, as the sun was setting and little ghosts and goblins around the State where getting ready to fill their bags with treats. I looked to my right and noticed this face painted onto one of the trees near where we parked and thought it was appropriate for the evening. We noticed more and more trucks pulling in for the night, and I joked to Craig about going trick or treating. But then I stopped and realized it would most likely be perceived differently and land me in jail.
So, instead we turned on our satellite radio and listened to what they were calling their “Halloween Spooktacular”. We turned off the lights and sat in total darkness and listened to old time radio shows of Frankenstein and the Werewolf. I was hoping for a little fright on this Halloween night, but what we got was an hour of laughing and making fun of the acting. Not quite the spooky evening I was hoping for.
And then it happened. We had just settled into our beds, and we started hearing noises. Craig had just told me the dangers of staying in remote rest areas, at the time, not knowing if he was just telling stories or not. I strained to hear more. There were banging noises and then these “ooooooo” sounds. Some were low pitched, some a little higher, but they were definitely there. “Craig”, I whispered, “Do you hear those noises”? Anticipating my husband saving me from the evil that lurked outside our truck, he calmly rolled over and said “cattle truck”. Enough said.