Saturday, November 29, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
We pulled into the Petro Truck stop yesterday afternoon, after almost 12 hours of being on the road, with just one very timely stop in Santa Nella for a Starbucks break. Let me tell you, that was one busy Starbucks with all the holiday travelers that were on the road. We intentionally started at 2am so that we could get out of the LA area well ahead of the rush, and we are glad we did. By daybreak, the roads were clogged with vehicles headed out on their holiday weekend.
This morning, after waking up, we ventured inside to take showers and get the festive holiday started. As has been a tradition, Craig has allowed me the joy of listening to Christmas music on Thanksgiving day. Well, I got the short end of the stick this time, because as we pulled out of the Petro, and made our way to the Casino 2 miles away, I didn't even get a full song in before we were parked, and Craig was laughing, saying he had fulfilled his obligations for Christmas music for the day. Hmmmmm, we'll just see about that now won't we!
We made a walk into the Casino to check out what time the lunch buffet would be starting and made note of the 11am start time. Then of course, feeling festive, we had to try our luck at the slots. It makes those free soft drinks and coffee so much more guilt free, especially when filling up my big travel mug. Twenty dollars was all they got from us, before we headed back out the door so that I could take care of some dirty laundry.
We were happy to see 11am roll around and we made our way back into the Casino for the feast we knew awaited us. We enjoyed a fabulous meal and talked about the blessings in our lives, as we watched the line that had formed get longer and longer. With full stomachs, we made our way back to truck and decided to drive a couple of hundred miles to make our Friday drive that much easier. AH HAH........ who has the last laugh now???? I say this, as I now have my Christmas music playing as we drive down the Interstate, as Craig is muttering under his breath. Fa La La La La
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday morning we were only 13 miles from our delivery location, just a straight shot up Interstate 10, and one right hand turn to the receiver. It was in a brand new industrial area which hadn't made it to Google Earth yet, but it was easy enough to find. The facilities were small, but clean, and two hours later we were dropping off the 22 pallets at a drop yard and then heading back to the yard.There were hardly any trucks there, as we imagined most where headed towards where ever they were wanting to spend Thanksgiving. We waited, and waited some more, watching as a few drivers headed out, but still our computer remained silent. Then, at 4pm we got the information we were waiting for. The banana boat was going to set sail again, and luckily for us, all we had to do was wait for the load to come to us. Another driver had gone to San Diego, and about 4 hours later, we saw him driving in with our trailer into the yard.
We debated, since we were so wide awake, whether to take off and get out of town, but opted instead to start very early in the morning. Of course, with that being said, neither one of us slept all that well, but by 2am, we were headed to the nearby truck stop to scale out the load and start the trek to get out of LA before the rest of the world did.
The rain they were predicting, actually did arrive, and we counted no less than 10 accidents, with most of them being overturned vehicles, or vehicles off the side of the road. When we stopped at the Flying J in Lebec to stretch our legs and take a short break, we saw that their fuel islands were closed. It didn't take long, once inside the store, to hear the multitude of unhappy drivers grumbling about it. Seems the massive amount of water they had received from the rains, flooded their turbine pump, and they were waiting for a new pump to arrive. We were just happy to leave that mess behind us.
We will be driving approximately 500 miles today, which unfortunately, will put us about 180 miles too far to spend Thanksgiving with any of our family in Modesto or Selma, or for that matter, getting any left overs to enjoy. I have no doubt that we will be able to find some place that will be welcoming and serving a hot meal tomorrow that we can add to our list of where we have spent a Thanksgiving on the roads of America.
Monday, November 24, 2008
We enjoyed a nice Chinese dinner with them, and then hit the local grocery store for supplies, and with home made goodies tucked under Craig's arm, we headed back to the truck. I have got to say, Craig gets totally spoiled when he gets near his Mom or my Mom with his favorite treats. I'll have to do my best to ration his goodies so they last. *(Here is your shout out Mom, since you are reading this, that we are alive and well and made it through the fog)* Speaking of the fog........ The particular area we stayed at is notorious for major, multi-vehicle, pile up accidents, due to the dense fog. Although this morning, when we left, the fog was bad, but it was by no means as bad as I have seen it growing up in the Central Valley, where we deal with this tulle fog every winter. We kept it well below the speed limit and we were thankful for big trucks with lots of lights that were beacons to us in the gray haze.
Needing a break, after concentrating so hard on seeing the road, we stopped at Wheeler Ridge, CA and walked over to the Starbucks for some coffee and people watching. Having our fill of caffeine and entertainment, we headed back to the truck for the last leg of our journey today. With only 130 miles to drive, we will make the Company yard our home for the rest of the day and do some laundry. Since we don't deliver until tomorrow morning at 7:30am we are hoping we might just get to drop the load we have in the yard for the local driver to deliver.
No matter what happens, we know that for the third time since driving truck, we will be spending Thanksgiving Day somewhere different. Our first year we were in Las Vegas, NV our second year we were at Beach, ND, so we anxiously await to find out what our fate will be for this year. But as always, we will find a way to make it fun and enjoy the many blessings that have been bestowed upon us.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
We managed to get almost to the Oregon border before we decided to call it a night. The rest area was completely full, but we found a open area before the on ramp back onto the Interstate. This is what we awoke to in the morning:
and to the right of us we saw the other end:
No sightings of a pot of gold or small green leprechauns could be seen.
We called it a night at a rest area just 90 miles from our delivery location. This time, we were the first ones there and had our choice of any parking space we wanted. After a hot meal, home cooked in the microwave, we went to bed with a 3am wake up call waiting for us. The ride into Auburn, WA was uneventful, and we prefer it that way, and we arrived at the Safeway DC 30 minutes early.
Presently we are sitting in the dock waiting for them to unload the trailer and take inventory. We, as always, are interested to see where we might be headed next and with what. But as Dorothy sang:
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true.
We're living proof that dreams, do in deed, come true.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
So imagine my delight, (insert sarcasm here), when after our unload yesterday morning in Lathrop, CA, Craig pulls around to the receiving clerk door and parks right next to these: You can see in the bottom left hand corner the green color of the truck, and see just how close he was parked. While he was inside getting the paperwork signed, I had the "joy" of watching a non stop parade of truck drivers making the walk to these lovely outhouses. You can imagine how bad they must have been, when I watched several of the drivers open the door and then take a double look at what was before them, and then have that inner debate of whether to actually use it or not. Let's just say, I was very happy when we finally pulled away and went back to the yard, where I was able to use the facilities and not find out just how bad those outhouses were.
We were given the assignment to dead head to Salinas to Fresh Express, but not before fueling up the reefer unit, and washing out the trailer, and then dropping the trailer in their drop yard. Since we had not received a dispatch yet on a load, we found a great parking spot at the Pilot Truck Stop down the street and sat back to people watch for awhile. We quickly determined, as the minutes/hours went by, that a dispatch would not be forthcoming until Wednesday, so we settled in and made ourselves comfortable.
You guessed it! That was when the computer beeped and we were given the information on our load. But not to worry, the load was slated to be ready for pickup on Wednesday at 4pm, but it would be a tight delivery, as it needed to be in Auburn, WA, at the Safeway DC by 6am Friday morning. We accepted the load and settled back down for the rest of the evening.
This morning we are both happily on our laptops and will make the mile journey down to Fresh Express later this morning in hopes that the load will be ready early and that we can get a head start headed to Washington. Oh, and enjoy the fact that when nature calls, we have decent facilities to use inside the Pilot and not those "outhouses" I saw yesterday.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Shortly after going empty on the computer, we received our next assignment. But before we could start on our way, we needed to stop and get pallets. Not only were we going to pick up 24 pallets for our load, but for two other TWT trucks that were heading to the same place we were. I have to tell you, some of these pallet places are a true test for a truck driver trying to maneuver through a maze of stacked pallets. It awed me that Craig was able to make the turns, albeit, coming within inches of hitting these mile high stacked pallets, and visions of them coming crashing down on us was always in my thoughts. With the 72 pallets on board, we headed just 60 miles north to Arlington, WA for our next load.
We stayed at a very small service station which had truck parking and wouldn't you know it? It had a little coffee shack right in the parking lot. We went to sleep knowing that we would be enjoying a fresh hot coffee in the morning to get our day started right. This job doesn't get any better than this!
We had only 4 miles to go to arrive at Twin City Foods in Arlington. By the time we checked in, there were 5 trucks waiting to get loaded, but because we had the pallets for three of the loads, we were directed into the dock, much to the chagrin of the driver that had spent the night there thinking he would be loaded first.
We have about 42,000 pounds of frozen food that we will be delivering to Lathrop, Ca, just down the street from the Company yard in French Camp. The load does not deliver until Tuesday morning, so we aren't sure if we will indeed deliver or if we might get another load on Monday and leave the frozen food for the local driver to deliver. In any case, we continue our easy, relaxed, life on the road, as we head South once again and see if our luck continues at the Wal Mart in Chehalis, WA. If there is easy parking there, we just may have to buy a lottery ticket!
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
While sitting there watching the endless procession of trucks coming and going, I just couldn't get my head wrapped around the enormity of the trucking business, after all, this was only one distribution center, in one state. What must the number of trucks and distribution centers across the country be? The general public really has no concept of just how important those trucks going up and down the Interstate are. If all trucks shut down, even for a couple of days, the impact would be felt far and wide, and by everyone! It would be nice to educate those who cuss and flip us off, because we are slower going up a hill, and may delay their trip by a few minutes. I think it is a small price to pay for the convenience of having whatever you want, at your fingertips, at a store nearby.
After putting in our empty call, we were instructed to head to Salinas, CA to Dandy Cooling to pick up 42,000 pounds of organic celery. That's a lot of celery my friends! Every bit of it will be going to our second home these days, the Fred Meyer DC in Puyallup, WA. As I sat in the truck, I felt every one of those 23 pallets of celery, as the forklift jerked and shook the truck as it rolled in and out of the trailer. Fully loaded, and with paperwork in hand, we made our way down the street to scale out and make our way back to the Company yard in French Camp, CA for the night. Upon our arrival, we were greeted with a beautiful sunset as another day in the life of a truck driver came to an end.
With a fresh cup of hot coffee, we are off this morning with our sights set on making it to Coburg, OR. Along the way we will pass a business I call "Trucks of Many Colors". This particular business along Interstate 5, near Dunsmuir, CA, sells water trucks. But what makes it so special, is that they paint them every color of the rainbow. It is always fun to see the trucks of many colors, and wonder just who would want to buy a purple water truck?
Monday, November 10, 2008
Saturday, November 08, 2008
Friday, November 07, 2008
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Neener Neener..... the plan worked perfectly this time. Craig was loaded, scaled, and headed North by 10am Monday morning. By 6pm that evening the transfer of the groceries, clean laundry, and more importantly, ME, was complete. As much as I hate saying goodbye to my Mom and Niece, it sure was nice to be in my second home again with my husband. Off we happily went, holding hands and smiling, as we headed for the Company yard for the night.
We decided to get an early start this morning, and with a fresh cup of coffee and our breakfast bar we journeyed North. We had planned it so that we would miss the crush of the Sacramento morning commute traffic and we took a break at the Casino in Corning to take advantage of their free coffee and sodas. This time, no matter how loud that slot machine was screaming at Craig to put in some money, we managed to ignore it and head back to the truck.
As soon as we crossed into Oregon the gray clouds covered the sky, and as Craig said to me, "I think there are snow flakes out there", I looked up from my laptop, and we enjoyed seeing the first snowfall of the season. It was much more scenic in Oregon, than in the flat prairie lands of North Dakota last year. As we reached the summit of the pass the snow was much more evident along side the roadway, but this snowfall was heavy with moisture and immediately melted when it hit the ground. Coming down off the pass, the snow quickly turned to a light rain and we soldiered onward to our final destination for the day.
Tonight finds us in Coburg, OR, with only 250 miles to drive tomorrow to set us up to stage for three deliveries, the first being at 2am Thursday morning. We are looking forward to watching the election returns, and knowing that at least for awhile, the barrage of political ads will finally come to an end! No matter the outcome of the election, we are hopeful for a positive change in this great Country of ours and that we will be witnessing history taking place. As far as that knock on the door? I'll be happy to open the door to Winter, at least we know what we can expect there!
Sunday, November 02, 2008
Craig drives out of the LA basin and makes it all the way into Corning, CA for the night. Not being able to leave until noon, he bides his time and at the allotted time he takes off only to hear his phone ring about 30 miles down the road. Ah Hah, you say, finally the reason for this stupid tale. Yes, sad but true, Craig will not see Washington State this trip. He is turned around to go back to the truck stop in Corning, and await not one, but two other trucks for a three way switch.
While waiting for the trailer that he is to receive the first driver pulls up and takes Craig's trailer headed to Puyallup, WA and leaves his trailer, which will go to the second driver. Around 7:30pm the second driver shows up, takes the trailer dropped by the first driver and hands his trailer over to Craig, who now has yet again a trailer intended for a team to be delivered in Phoenix, AZ. But, the best he can do is drive his full 11 hours and get it into the Company yard by 7:30am Saturday morning, which is exactly what he did.
Waiting for him at the yard was yet another driver who would take it the rest of the way into Phoenix and make the deliveries, while Craig crawled into bed for some well deserved sleep. Little did he know just how much rest he will get. When he awoke, he counted 6 other TWT drivers sitting in the yard.
Early last night, he finally received a dispatch that will take him to the City of Industry, to pick up some juice on Monday morning. We will receive two days of layover pay and Craig will get a restart on his driving hours and get plenty of rest to start the week. The plan, and I am leery to even use that word, is for him to pick me up Monday evening in Modesto on his way north. Time will tell if this will come to a realization or not, but I've learned not to plan on it!