Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Craig had to wait until Tuesday morning to get his trailer back from Mexico with the four boats destined to Canada. We had a little review session over the phone, to walk him through the paperwork involved in dealing with Customs and the Broker, and after that was accomplished, he set off north. He made it as far as Ozona, TX Tuesday night with the hot, dusty, wind blowing all night.

This morning he was able to fax all the paperwork, and I was able to let him know that I was in possession of his brand spankin' new Washington State driver's license. Now if only we knew when we will see each other again. Now I'm not saying he has let himself go while I have been off the truck, but if the picture is any indication, well, I just need to get back in the truck as soon as possible.

The confirmation phone call was made with the TWT side of the company this morning, for him to get stated next Tuesday. Craig plans on delivering the boats Monday morning, which will give him time to get back into the Company yard by Monday night. We are both excited about this new opportunity with the refrigerated division and are looking forward to conquering the new challenges we may have. All I can say is that it's been a long two weeks, and it's time for me to be occupying that passenger seat again!

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Craig made it into Pharr, Texas yesterday afternoon to drop the trailer at the Broker's yard. He asked the Security personnel what the turn around was for the trailers going across the border into Mexico and then back. He was told that only two trailers went over Saturday morning and that there were 9 more waiting along with his. Well, one thing he knew, Sunday would definitely be a day of rest for him. So as Craig rests up in the motel provided by the Company and waits for his loaded trailer to be returned from Mexico, I thought I'd share a few photos from the Monterey trip I took yesterday.

One of the old canning buildings on Cannery Row

Pacific Grove in full bloom

Kayaking in the bay, observing the sea life

Scenic Pacific Grove

My favorite photo of the day

Saturday, April 26, 2008


Craig made quick time getting from Tennessee to Texas and was waiting just an hour away from his first drop by Thursday night. He planned it well as he always seems to do and dropped the first boat in Lewisville, then pushed on to Austin to deliver two more boats. By 4pm he was within 45 minutes of his last drop in Houston and was calling it a day. Tired and dirty, he called me to relay the events of his day. Of course the one thing I had to ask, "How is the weather"?

I had already been checking the weather websites so I had a hunch what it would be. HOT and HUMID. I tried to hide my glee in the tone of my voice, and show some sympathy for his discomfort, but inside my head I was having a party, knowing that I would not have to endure one minute of it. Then he proceeds to tell me that he was given a dispatch to go to Pharr and then deliver some boats to Surrey, Canada. I felt bad for Craig, having to deal with the Customs and Broker paperwork, especially now that we had stripped down the truck in anticipation of him moving to another one, and had taken out the printer. But when the time comes, I'll be there for phone support to help him sort it all out.

Unlike Steve McQueen, in The Great Escape, I am free to go wherever I please, and I had noticed the forecast for the weekend climbing warmer into the 80's, and well, sorry Rosemary, but that is just unacceptable. If I could bottle it and send it to you I would. So with the prospect of some beads of sweat forming on my forehead I had to come up with a plan.

Today, I am taking my twin nieces and my Mom to the coast. I hear tell that it may just manage to get into the 60's today. I think Monterey and Carmel might be calling my name, along with my camera. Ahhhh, I can already feel the cool ocean breezes now.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


LATE BREAKING NEWS BULLETIN....... The aforementioned load has been cancelled. Craig was re dispatched with a load of boats headed to Texas. Our crack team of investigators have revealed that he will have 3 stops, in Lewisville, Austin, and Houston. The last word from Dispatch was, and we quote, "There is nothing headed west". As always, we will remain on alert for any more late breaking news on Craig's quest to get west and complete his request for a transfer to TWT. Thanks and Good Night.

We interrupt our normal broadcast day to bring you this update.......(queue the teletype sound effects now)

Our crack team of reporters have investigated and found that Craig has washed the truck and trailer. I repeat, Craig has washed the truck and trailer. We marvel at the shininess of the big blue truck as it has been strategically placed to have the Sun's rays reflect and highlight its beauty.

You also notice that it is parked empty. In other developing news, upon Craig's prompt moseying into the plant mid morning as directed, he was informed by officials from the assembly line that of the 4 boats he is to receive, not one, I repeat again, not one of the boats are ready. Craig as always has taken the news well, he was heard to utter only a few minor words, which shall not be mentioned. This station, and its managers, takes seriously the FCC rules of broadcast protocols.

Further reports say that Craig has been spending his time down by the lake, feeding the ducks and drowning his sorrows in mass quantities of diet Pepsi. Our elite team of reporters will be constantly monitoring these developments and reporting back with any updates.

We now resume our normal broadcast schedule....(queue the teletype sound effects once more for dramatic effect)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


I tried folks, seriously, I even begged, "Send me something, anything to put on the blog or write about", and what I got back was....."Just drove, nothing interesting", from Craig. Now how can I find something just about everyday to write about while on those same roads, but he sees nothing? I'm going to have to revert back to those little voices in my head to help me out here.

I did receive a phone call this afternoon. Craig had safely delivered the Genie in Chattanooga, TN and had ventured down into the Petro in Knoxville for the day. On his computer was a dispatch to Vonore, TN to pick up a load of boats, going to Corona and Sacramento, CA and then Lake Tahoe, NV. When he had called to let the Sea Ray boat plant know he would be there Wednesday, they informed him the boats weren't quite ready yet, but if he moseyed on in about mid morning, they would be sure to have them ready for him.

This is a sweet run, for what we believe will be his last boat delivery before the transfer to TWT. I'm a bit melancholy knowing that I will not be able to enjoy this last run on the Marine Division with him, but with the routing to Sacramento, we will at least be able to meet and get reacquainted, before he continues on his way to Nevada.

I do have to admit that I am glad I didn't have to suffer through the heat and humidity in Tennessee that Craig is having right now. And he's probably happy he doesn't have to witness my hair growing three times the size it normally is. It's probably not so much my hair, as watching me trying to tame it all day long and muttering under my breath about the weather.

That's all I got for today, even the voices in my head are quiet, go figure. The one time I need them to help me out and they are like cockroaches scurrying away when the lights go on. I guess I'm just so gosh darn relaxed here, that even they have gone into hibernation. So, I'll keep asking/begging/pleading to Craig for material to write about, and hopefully in the next couple of days I just may have something to talk about.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Take a look at the picture and notice just how low to the ground the trailer is. These trailers unloaded, are probably just 6 inches off the ground, but load a 37,000 plus pound Genie on it, and it is put to its limits.

Now I have mentioned maybe once or twice about getting stuck at a dealership and having their forklift come help us out, but I now feel, there has been enough time passed, to ease the pain of the time we actually blocked both lanes of Highway 41 in California.

To add insult to injury, the trailer was even empty, but when attempting to pull onto the highway from a side street, the very large hump in the roadway was not noticed, and just like that traffic came to a halt. A phone call to CHP, a tow truck dispatched, and we were sheepishly on our way to our destination. Oh yeah, did I mention the $300 tow bill?

I mention this as I realize this is going to be Craig's last heavy haul on these low trailers and we will have many stories to tell and retell over and over again about the times we got stuck or in jams with this trailer. Yes, I will be looking forward to a trailer that sits a bit higher than 6 inches off the ground.

Tonight, Craig is in Murdo, South Dakota with his sights set on getting to Oak Grove, Missouri tomorrow night. On our nightly phone call tonight, I asked if he had any tales to tell from the road, but he said he was mostly the only one on the road today, with not much traffic or activity to even bother mentioning. Well so much for an interesting blog entry. Oh well, as they say, there's always tomorrow!

Thursday, April 17, 2008


This morning, I couldn't believe that it was Thursday and I have only been apart from Craig for 48 hours, it seems more like a week! But my time here has not been without it's joys, especially spending time with family and the chance for me to get out and walk aimlessly around town with my ipod full of my favorite music and just my thoughts to keep me company.

We all know the cliche', "Stop and Smell the Roses", is all about taking time to appreciate a particular situation or taking time to appreciate life. I've never ever been a fan of the rose, but when I saw these little flowers on my walk, stretching skyward to bask in the sun, it brought to mind that saying and I had to stop to admire and reflect.

As a child, walking home from elementary school, I would stop by these same flower beds, and with my little chubby hands, pinch off a few flowers to present to my Mother when I got home. With the warm glow of sweet memories to fuel me forward on my walk, I decided to embrace this time apart from Craig and make the most of it reconnecting with friends and family.

Speaking of Craig, when he left Tuesday morning, he was sent to Roseburg, OR to pick up two boats and take them to Kent, WA. I was relieved, as we have been this route several times, and Craig would have no difficulty with getting in and out with the delivery. As of this morning, he had dropped off the boats and was headed to Moses Lake, WA to pick up a Genie to deliver to Chattanooga,TN. If our calculations are correct he will drop and most likely be sent to pick up boats in Vonore or Knoxville, TN and be headed back west to complete his transfer request.

We are both looking forward to the transfer to TWT and getting to experience yet another side of the trucking industry and some new material for me to write about. My hope is that by the week of the 5th of May, I'll be making plans for my return to the truck. Until then, you'll find me enjoying my special time here in Modesto, CA, taking time to stop and smell the roses.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Quote of the Day
"I like to think I can adapt to pretty much anything.
Except change."
I've noticed a pattern on the Blogs I read involving change. A couple of other truck drivers are going the route from company driver to lease purchase, a bit scary during these unsettling financial times, and Rosemary's granddaughter changing her hair from long to short for a great cause, Locks of Love, and then there is us. I've alluded once or twice before in my blogging about a change in our future, and we have finally decided to move onto phase two.
No, don't worry, Craig is in no way ready to give up driving his big truck, but with the purchase of the property, changing residency, and putting the final touches on the order for our park model, we thought there was no better time than now to change. So during this past week on home time, we talked and discussed and thought about our options, and with a bit of sadness, we will be saying goodbye to the boat fleet and transferring out of the marine division. Where are you going you ask? And when you say transferring, are you staying with the same Company you ponder. Let me explain.
While on the boat fleet we would stay out, by choice, up to 4 months at a time without any time off. We had no home to "go home" to, so when we did take time off we stayed with family, which in reality is just about as close to home as we have. Now with the impending delivery of our park model, we will have a home to visit and over the years being a OTR driver, (over the road, covering all 48 states and Canada), it proved at times a challenge to get home.
Craig, ever diligent in his research, checked what was available with our company that would be more regional and allow us the flexibility to be home as much as every two weeks if we wanted to. What he found was their refrigerated division called TWT which for the most part runs up and down the Interstate 5 corridor from Washington to California and even some runs into Arizona. After talking to other drivers, and management with TWT, we made the decision and today, Craig put in his official request to transfer.
Which now brings me to the hardest part of this little saga. With his two weeks notice given, and then with having to be routed to Spokane to make the change, and since we don't have the home yet in Usk, WA for me to stay in while he goes out with another driver from TWT to learn the ropes, it was decided that I would stay at my Mother's home in Modesto, until he has his new truck and starts on his own with TWT.
By now you know how we don't deal well with separation and the anxiety it brings both of us. But with stiff upper lips, we parted ways this morning, not really knowing for how long we will be separated, but also realizing that we are moving towards the next phase in our journey of life and for that we couldn't be happier. For the time that Craig is out, I will try and do my best to still blog about his travels, and pester him to try and take pictures, so that I can continue to share the adventure with you all. But rest assured, I will be counting the days until I am back again, reporting about life from the passenger seat, happily along side Craig.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


It's no secret, I think the sun rises and sets with my husband. I love him beyond what words can say, and I'm proud to say he is not only my husband, but my best friend. I'm proud that he has always followed his dreams of adventure, even though I am sure, people in his life were less than enthusiastic with his decisions. Without him in my life, I would not have grown the wings I needed to bust out of my safe cocoon, and learn to fly and take some risks.

He is a good man, and though he may march to the beat of his own drum, fundamentally, he has a soul and morals, that always does the right thing no matter what others might do. It's no surprise I'm sure, to know that I am so very proud of him and the man he is, and that he honored me, by taking me as his wife.

I was told of a conversation he had with my niece today on his birthday, asking him about his life. He told her that he was happy with his life and all that he had accomplished. That the list of items he had made for himself long ago was pretty much checked off. Further more, like myself, should it be that his time is up on earth, he was satisfied and had no regrets. The thing is, we still have so much more we want to add to the list, and I have no doubts, that if it is within his powers to make them a reality, he will. He is the "can do" person to my "what if" personality and that is what makes us such a great team.

Happy Birthday Craig, I love you, and may you always continue to follow your dreams, reach for the stars, and take all from this journey of life that you can. I'll be honored to always occupy the passenger seat right beside you!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


Things didn't go as smoothly as we wanted on Tuesday when we went for our Washington State driver's license. The property tax bill, since it only had our lot number on it wasn't good enough, so we had to go into Newport to the Pend Oreille Utility District, and put in a work order for our electric service. By the time we were finished with all the other appointments we had, we postponed a return visit to the Department of Licensing (DOL) until Wednesday morning.

We started seeing a big difference in how life is in Washington as opposed to California. We checked out of the hotel and drove over to the DOL to be there before they opened. In California, 30 minutes before the DMV opens, there is a line of people around the building. We pull up to the parking lot and we are the only ones there. Not only are we the only ones there, but no one else even begins to show up until 5 minutes before they open. At one point, Craig even got out of the truck to go check the sign on the door to make sure they were even open.

With some trepidation we took our number and waited for them to call us to the counter, a mere 5 minutes later. We handed them the receipts from the utility company and we were off to the races. After answering a multitude of questions, taking the dreaded eye exam, which by the way for the first time I had to wear my glasses for, (I really should be carrying that AARP card on a lanyard around my neck), and 30 minutes later we had our California licenses invalidated and walked out with temporary Washington driver's licenses. We could now officially call ourselves Washingtontonians or something to that effect.

As you can see from the picture we are still a ways off from being able to put the park model on the lot, and there are still decisions to make regarding options on the house, but we hope to put in our order by the first two weeks of May, and with any luck have it delivered sometime in July. We are both excited about this next phase of putting down roots again and having a real home base to go to during our off time.

We have another change that I will be sharing with you in the next few blog entries, but for now we are basking in the glow of our new residency, and looking forward to celebrating Craig's birthday on Sunday before we hit the road again. Yes, life is good and we couldn't be happier!

Monday, April 07, 2008


We made it into French Camp, CA Saturday afternoon to start our week of home time. Craig's parents were generous enough to loan us their pickup to use for our travels and I had to chuckle to myself about the size difference from the Company truck to what is considered a normal size truck. Let's face it, we are comfortable in a truck no matter what size it is.

You know what else is great about a small truck? We can pull into any Starbucks we see, which we happily did as you can tell from the picture. So with hardly any time to catch our breath, we headed out to Usk, WA Sunday morning to put into motion our relocation to Washington State. We thought we would drive straight through, but called it a night in Kennewick, WA for a few hours sleep, before heading out this morning to our property.

We were able to get our P.O. Box and look at all the options available for our park model house. We walked around the property and took pictures of other houses and decking options, then took a trip into Newport, WA to the Bank to research some financing. Tomorrow we will take on trying to get Washington drivers licenses. We may run into some problems proving home ownership, but we hope the property tax bill will help in that department.

We are both tired and our brains are spent thinking about what we have done and what is still left to do. We plan on finishing up what we can do this trip Tuesday and head back to California on Wednesday.

Here is a picture of a park model that will look somewhat similar to what we are ordering, except we will have a larger loft area. Unlike the smaller truck we down sized to, this park model will be a much larger living space than what we have lived in over the past two years. Probably not what most people would consider home, but to us, this will be heaven.

Friday, April 04, 2008


I'm sure at some time in your life you have heard of the 20 Mule Team, or the name Borax. Did you ever stop to think about where it originated from? In 1940 there was a forgettable movie of the same title, the television series Death Valley Days, and if you are old enough, the commercials referring to the mule team. This is the third or fourth time we have traveled this area of Death Valley, and each time I make mention to Craig of the town of Boron, near the street of Borax and Twenty Mule Team. "Say, isn't that the place they make some type of laundry detergent"?

I had to go in search of answers, and I found them, way too many to bore you all with the details, but there was in deed two ten-mule teams put together to form a 100-foot-long, twenty mule team. The borax load had to be hauled 165 miles up and out of Death Valley, over the steep Panamint Mountains and across the desert to the nearest railroad junction at Mojave. The 20-day round trip started 190 feet below sea level and climbed to an elevation of 2,000 feet before it was over.

Between 1883 and 1889, the twenty mule teams hauled more than 20 million pounds of borax out of the Valley. During this time, not a single animal was lost, nor did a single wagon break down — a considerable tribute to the ingenuity of the designers and builders and the stamina of the men and mules.

Continuing on our route, the topic of conversation was suddenly changed when we began to see quite literally a sea of orange across the fields. "Are those poppies"?, I asked. Not being experts in horticulture, we assumed they were and I started taking pictures. It reminded me of the scene in the Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy, Toto, the Tinman, Scarecrow, and Cowardly Lion, go traipsing through the field of flowers. I was pretty sure the Wicked Witch had not cast a spell on the fields we were passing by, but we still did not take the chance to stop and smell the flowers. Sometimes there just isn't a spot on a two lane road to pull over a big 18 wheeler, no matter how much you would like to.

So tonight we are staying with Craig's parents, as Craig had used every bit of his last driving hours to make it into Selma, CA. We will start our week of home time on Saturday, but it will be anything but that. We will be making a trip up to Usk, Washington, to where our property is and doing all that is involved in changing our residency. We will also be putting the final touches on our order for our Park Model house. We have lots of changes coming our way, and we are looking forward to experiencing them, as always, together, and with a laugh or two, which I'll be more than happy to share with you all!

Thursday, April 03, 2008


Awaking Wednesday morning, I was looking forward to our drive through part of Yellowstone Park. We have taken this routing a few times before and knew I would have some great photo opportunities. We also had beautiful weather, clear blue skies, and roads clear of ice and snow. With the over size, we were routed around Bozeman which we were thankful for. Even with a normal load, the tiny streets of downtown, with the multitude of traffic lights, makes it difficult to maneuver.
Shortly after passing the sign saying we were entering Yellowstone, there was a new erected road sign warning us of bison on the roadway. Already my camera is at the ready, and I notice a car pulled off to the side of the road up ahead. As we get closer, I look to my right, and shout out to Craig, "Look, there is a herd of buffalo down by the river"! I quickly take aim, but as we are passing them at 60mph, I only managed to get a few of them in my frame. We made it into Idaho, where we stooped to stretch our legs and then had a debate on whether we should stop before Salt Lake City or try and make it through before rush hour. We decided on the latter, as we both did not want to have to wake up super early to beat the morning rush. So we just barely eked our way through Salt Lake City and called it a night in Payson, UT. When we got up this morning, we took showers, and upon my return to the truck, this is what I saw.
Our sights are set on Las Vegas, where we will have our last fuel stop on this run. We won't stay there, but will go to the State line at Primm, NV where there is a large shopping mall, three small casinos, but more importantly, a Starbucks! Yes, it's going to be a great day!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


I've heard the saying hundreds of time from meteorologists who say ......."March comes in like a lion, and out like a lamb", but heck, we all know they are only right half of the time. The forecast for today is either going to be partly cloudy, or partly sunny, guess it goes back to that old glass half empty debate. So when we started out yesterday from Little Falls, MN, it was anything like a lamb. The wind was blowing, the snow was falling, and the temperature was mighty cold, so much so, that when we stopped to check on the load an hour after leaving the boat plant, this is what we saw:

So much ice accumulation on the strap and ratchet you could hardly make out what it was. But as the storm headed east, and we headed west, the snow stopped falling, the wind died down, and the temperature settled in at a toasty 32. By the time we called it a day in Steele, ND the skies were clear of clouds and a soft blue.

This morning, up at sunrise, we continued our way west through North Dakota and into Montana. Although there was no precipitation, the skies were cloudy and the wind and picked up again. Along our route we spotted a little colt, who must have just got his confidence on his long, wobbly legs, as it was prancing around and around the mama horse as she proudly watched, a sure sign that Spring must be on its way.

When we stopped at a rest area to stretch our legs, I took the opportunity to take a picture of our latest load. Every time we haul pontoon boats, it always appears to me that they look like space ships on the trailer. We weren't the only ones, as we saw another driver, loaded down with pontoons, parked at the Flying J in Beach, ND. Yes, yet another sign that Spring is on its way, lazy days out on the lake on a pontoon boat, is in the future for a few lucky families.

Tonight we will make our home in Columbus, Montana, leaving us with just over 1200 miles left to our destination. We are hoping the Springlike weather will hold out, and that the lion of winter has been put to rest and the lamb of Sping is here to stay. I'll be baa baa baa back soon with another entry.


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