Wednesday, January 30, 2008


What is it about life, that when you really need to be somewhere at a certain time, and you have done all the planning that you can, but it feels like someone else is playing you like a puppet on a string? As I mentioned before, we are trying to get home, but they gave us this run to Canada, a lot of miles, but no closer to home, and no definite idea when we will be home. This run was already a change to our routine, when we had to alter the hours we normally drive. Then last night the near white out conditions in Wyoming, (I know, been there, done that), and then to wake up this morning and have to deal with mechanical problems, when all we want to do is get closer to our final destination.

Poor Craig, he did his usual vehicle inspection in sub zero temps, with the wind still blowing, and found a strapping problem. He needed my help, so out we go into the bitter cold until we could no longer feel our toes or fingers, let alone anything else. Move over to the fuel island for some better lighting, and find we have an air line problem. Walk to the store, grab hot coffee while we are there, and back out to the cold to try and repair the problem. What started with us trying to get an early start to counteract the late night driving just came crashing down on us.

But the skies were blue, the clouds were white, and I saw more deer in Wyoming and Montana than I have ever seen in my entire life. In fact, we had to stop behind another truck as a large group of them skipped across the highway and leaped over the wire fence and off on their merry way.

Sometimes no matter how much you think you are in charge, there always seems to be someone else pulling the strings. But hey, we got each other, we got the warmth of the truck, some nice scenery and wildlife to look at, and the knowledge that tomorrow is always another day.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


When we left Amarillo, we had no idea what awaited us down the road......WIND. As I have mentioned before, with the boats loaded, as shown in the picture, each boat acts as a parachute and driving into a head or sideways wind can make driving a bit of a challenge. Several times, with the gas pedal completely down, we were not able to get up to freeway speeds.

I must confess, and admit, that we killed several tumbleweeds in the process of getting from point A to point B . As you can see from the photo, there was at least one lucky tumbleweed, that made it across in front of us safely to the other side. The trees didn't fare much better, as you can see from the other photo I posted. Yes, the wind stayed with us all day and into the evening as we crossed into Wyoming.

You remember Wyoming, right? The land of closed Interstates, cold, bone chilling weather, and wind, that when standing outside, spotting for Craig as he backed up, literally took the breath right out of me. As we made that fateful cross into Wyoming, it seemed as though someone had flipped the switch. It started to snow. We had blue skies and white clouds all day until then. Knowing just what this State can throw at you, and as it was already dark, and Craig had enough with trying to keep the truck on the road, I think we made the wise decision to shut down early. So Cheyenne, WY will be our home for the night, rocking and rolling with the wind, along side of the rest of the truckers.

A little off subject, but I just had to mention it. While traveling through a small town in New Mexico, there was a McDonald's on our right hand side. As we were passing by it, three truckers were running to their trucks, across the highway, their hands full with the hamburgers they had just purchased..........and jumped into their cattle trucks with the cattle mooing away. Some things just aren't right.

Monday, January 28, 2008


In all my years in law enforcement, about 90% of those years were working the 3rd watch, or graveyard as we called it. The hours, where any normal person, would of course, be asleep. I guess that explains alot about me now. So when we picked up the boats at 11pm local time and hit the roads, why wasn't I prepared for it? I guess I should start proudly showing my AARP card these days because I was not looking forward to it. Sure, on occasion we have had to drive at night to get to a certain place by a certain time, but it has not been on a regular basis. With starting so late and with so many miles to go until delivery day, we had to make this sacrifice. Did I say "we"? It's more like Craig, but we are a team, so I took one for the Gipper.

We ended up only driving until 3am local time and then found the last remaining spot at a rest stop just south of San Antonio, TX. See, the other thing I don't like about driving late is finding spots to park. We usually start in the wee morning hours, drive an hour or two in darkness, watch the sunrise and finish our miles before it gets dark. There is usually plenty of parking and you don't have to squeeze into a spot in darkness, which can prove to be challenging at times, but then that is where I earn my keep, being a spotter for Craig.

We couldn't leave until 1pm local time, so off we went enjoying the daylight for as long as we could. We managed to put in almost 600 miles before stopping in Amarillo, TX for the night. The truck stops all looked full as we drove by to go to our fuel stop, but as we took the off ramp we looked for the rest area we knew was near by, and much to our delight, there was hardly anyone parked there.

So here we are, Monday morning, up and about, meeting the local livestock on the grounds at the tourist center, and waiting until our 10 hour rest period is up. When the bewitching hour arrives we will go across the Interstate to the truck stop, fuel up, and take on down the road, knowing that we have a few more hours of daylight and an extra hour going from Central to Mountain time. Next stop, Denver for fuel..... I'll be sure to have that AARP card handy for the discount on the cup of coffee.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


We arrived in Pharr Friday midday, dropped off the trailer, and headed to the hotel. Having awoke at 0130 to make it there by noon, we were both tired and ready for some down time. We showered, did three loads of laundry, cut Craig's hair, had dinner, and tried to get some sleep. The beds at the hotel were extremely hard in the room we had and after a couple of hours of tossing and turning, Craig finally had to get dressed and sleep out in the truck in the parking lot. I remained, to toss and turn in the room, too tired to want to get up and dressed to go out to the truck. At about 0300 I gave up and watched TV, Craig came in about 3 hours later, refreshed and ready to take on the day.

We are doing a 34 hour reset of our hours so that we will have enough to get to Prince George no later than Friday. That means we will have to leave Pharr tonight at 10pm local time to get a start on the almost 3000 miles we have to travel to make our delivery. With time on our hands, we decided to replenish the food supplies at the local Wal-Mart, then have a delicious meal at the Texas Roadhouse. We then we to the local theater to take in the movie "The Bucket List".

When watching this movie you can become reflective on your own life, as the movie deals with things you would want to do in life, before you kick the bucket. Like see the Taj Mahal, or the Great Wall of China, do something special for a stranger, laugh until you get the picture. Two questions it also asks is.... at the end of your life, did you have joy in your life, and did you bring joy to other people's lives?

I know one thing, and that is before meeting Craig and going on this wonderful adventure, I thought I had lived. But having taken the risk, and gone outside my comfort zone, I have gained and lived so much more than I ever dreamed possible. Craig and I have our own list of what we still want to accomplish and do in the years to come, and God willing, and given the time, we will be able to complete our own "bucket list". Never let go of your dreams.

Friday, January 25, 2008


Here is a picture of our last load which we delivered to Sachse, Texas. The owner of the dealership was the nicest guy. Just starting his business and so excited to get these boats just in time for the big boat show they are having in Dallas. It's also nice to know that southern men are gentlemen and chivalry is not dead. Every time I went to help Craig take down some of the steel, one of the workers would jump right up and take it from my hands. I was able to play the sweet southern belle and sit back and watch as the men did the work.

So we are trying to get some home time, but the only thing they had going out of Texas was for us to drive to Pharr, pick up six boats, and head north to Prince George, Canada. We have never been that far up north in British Columbia so we will see some new country. The plan is after we unload to send us to Washington to pick up a Genie to take somewhere in California.

After the unload yesterday afternoon, we headed down to Waco for our fuel stop. We were hoping to stay there for the night, but at 5pm, every space in the parking lot of the truck stop was filled. We expect that on the east coast, but have never had a problem in Texas, so after fueling up, we headed down the road just about 10 miles. There we found a little gas station/store, with a large empty lot, except for about 3 trucks. The name of the place was Smile's Gas, and yes, we were smiling when we pulled in and knew we had a spot to stay for the night.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


It took about 3 hours for them to load the four boats onto our trailer. We were ever watchful to remind them that we could not have an overall length greater than 75 feet, or a height of more than 13 feet 6 inches. They moved them this way and that way, finally resorting to collapsing the windshield on the top back boat and then redoing the shrink wrap. Then like a watchful mother who stares at the clock waiting for her children to return to her nest, I watched as Craig slowly pulled out of the loading bay to see if any of the boats would hit the maximum height sign. I truly think the loaders were happier than I was that it did indeed clear the sign and we were on our way down the road, but only to the nearest truck had been a long day.

Leaving this morning after filling our mugs with fresh coffee, we drove through South Carolina, Georgia and the dreaded Atlanta traffic, Alabama, Mississippi, and finally made it into Louisiana! WHEW.... 600 plus miles and we are within 360 miles of our unload site in Sachse, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. We hope to be there by noon tomorrow. From there? Who knows where we will be sent. We have asked for home time, but as with in the past, they are having a hard time finding a load of boats going to California.......I'm hoping that will change when we move to Washington!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


We were up early this morning to make our delivery into Greensboro, NC. It didn’t take too long on the Interstate to make our truck, which was nice and clean when we left the truck stop, to look milky white from the salt that had been placed on the roadways. To us, the weather was nice, hovering around 32 degrees, but from the cars we saw spun out and crumbled along the roadway, I imagine they don’t get this type of weather often. It was further confirmed when we arrived at the dealership and started talking to the employees. One asked if we knew when we signed on to deliver boats if we knew we would have to deliver in this type of weather. WHAT?????? It's only 32 degrees, the ground was wet, and the skies overcast, but this was heaven for us. I had to tell him that just last year at this time we were in Yellowknife, NWT in minus 40, so this type of weather was just fine.

The unload went rather quickly as we had three employees from the dealership helping, and it took us another 30 minutes to put away the steel and straps. As soon as we put in our empty call we were sent 200 miles away to Newberry, South Carolina. Yes, you read that right, Newberry, not Mayberry, although we did pass Pilot Mountain on our way to Greensboro. I’m sure that was the inspiration for the writers of the Andy Griffith Show to have a Mt. Pilot in their show.

I have to say they do drive slowly in this State, not that there’s anything wrong with that, as Seinfeld would say, but we didn’t see anyone going fast, in fact most went slower than the posted speed limit. Must have something to do with living in the South, and that slow southern style of doing things.

The rain drizzled on us as we made our way to the Sea Pro Boat Plant in Newberry. This is a plant we have never been to before. Along the way I saw this humongous peach. Now I thought Georgia was the peach and peanut capitol of the world, but South Carolina is giving it a run for it’s money. There were numerous billboards telling us to exit here or there for fresh peach jams, jellies and salsa, along with boiled peanuts. We were on a time crunch to get to the boat plant before they closed, but we’ll have to see if we can’t stop at one of them on our way out of the state.

We're sitting at the boat plant now, watching as they try to put four boats on our trailer within the legal limits for traveling on the roadways. Right now my confidence level is not high. We will be sure to measure twice before leaving the plant just to make sure, and then it's off to Texas!

Sunday, January 20, 2008


I don’t have a theme for this blog entry, just a mish mash of things we have seen and done over the past couple of days. We made it through Chicago Friday without any problems what so ever, and stayed in Lowell, Indiana for the night. You remember me talking about the “Alberta Clipper” we were trying to get away from when we were in Canada? Well, that sucker has been following us all along our route. The temperatures haven not been above 15 degrees during the day and with the wind chill, let me tell you, baby it’s cold outside. It’s that cold that cuts right through you, your hands start to hurt and your eyes start watering, but you don’t even realize it, because you can’t feel your face.

We stopped in Eaton, Ohio for fuel and since we have all this time on our hands, we decided to go ahead and have a service and a DOT inspection done on the trailer, which needs to be done every four months. While sitting in the cab waiting, Craig and I both notice this truck in the parking lot. If you look closely enough, there wasn’t much area on this truck that wasn't covered in some type of insect, rodent, or reptile. I’m not sure how he had these attached to the truck so that they would stay on while traveling down the freeways. Even the inside of the truck, especially the dash, was completely covered.

We ended up spending the night in Jeffersonville, Ohio where the cold freeze continued to follow us. With a mug of hot coffee for Craig and a Chai tea for me, we headed off towards West Virginia this morning. We stopped at a service plaza on the turnpike where across the street was Tamarack, which boasts the best of West Virginia. Inside the complex was every imaginable arts and crafts and food product that West Virginia produces. We enjoyed the break in driving to stroll around and appreciate the hand made items, but the best was yet to come.

Inside the service plaza was a STARBUCKS. It has been two months since I have had my Iced Venti Latte and I was excited beyond words to take my first sip. I was not disappointed and enjoyed the rest of the ride into Fort Chiswell, Virginia where we will make our home for the next day and a half. We had the truck and trailer washed, found us a nice spot, way in the back corner of the parking lot, hooked up the satellite TV, and will enjoy watching the NFL playoff games this afternoon and evening. This is where you will find us until early Tuesday morning when we take off to make our delivery in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Friday, January 18, 2008

"OH *#&%!" MOMENTS

Have you ever had one of those “ Oh *#&^%” moments, when you wish you were anywhere but where you were? Craig had one of those moments this morning when he took a walk into the truck stop. Now normally, he is not a detail person, he runs basically on automatic, so imagine the shock, when he goes through the door for the mens restroom and sees a woman at the sink. He quickly excuses himself and exit’s the room. Wiping the sleep from his eyes, he refocuses on the door, to find to his surprise, it did indeed say Mens. His mind in overdrive, to find the politest words to say to her, he slowly opens the door and sticks his head in, sees that, yes, she is still there. Nice long light brown hair down to the middle of her back, and then as Craig begins to speak, he notices the long beard attached to the face. A bit red faced, but happy to be in the right place, Craig makes use of the facilities.

I guess we shouldn't be surprised by these things. In fact, just the other day, while listening to one of the trucker radio stations, they were talking about a truck driver who likes to wear mini skits and high heels and has no qualms about walking through truck stops that way. But to each their own, and who are we to judge? Just like this truck and the load of trusses that were on his trailer. Both Craig and I couldn't figure out why they would load it so off center, as we have never seen trusses loaded that way before. So if there are any experts out there who know the answer, please let us know.

It seems lately that we have been running into bad luck when it comes to delivering our boats. I understand this is the slow season for actual boating, but a good time of year for boat sales. We only have 1300 miles to our delivery in Greensboro, North Carolina, which means we could run hard and be there Saturday, or run easy, have time for a 34 hour reset and deliver Monday morning. I call the dealer, ready with my options should they say they are closed on Monday, only to find out, not only are they closed on Sunday and Monday, but they do not accept deliveries on Saturday either. Boy, talk about an “OH *#!&$” moment.

So let’s go over this. Got load on Thursday, can not deliver until Tuesday morning. 5 full days to go 1300 miles. I think you can do the math as well as we can, so we headed down the road a mere 180 miles to Albert Lea, Minnesota for the night. Since we had arrived so late the night before it felt good to get into a place before nightfall and get a good nights sleep before we figure out what we want to do.

Fully rested, we toyed with a few options as to how best to drive through Chicago. We could have another easy drive and stay at the state line in Beloit and hit Chicago first thing Saturday morning, or we could drive through and get it done by early Friday afternoon. With the idea of sitting Sunday to watch the NFL playoffs we decided to take on Chicago today. Let’s hope you won’t hear about another “OH *#$&%” moment while driving through Chicago in my next blog entry.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


We made it to Minot as I had mentioned in my last entry, and spent the night being rocked to sleep by the wind which followed us from Canada. Upon arising in the morning, Craig started the truck to do his vehicle inspection and get some heat going, and the air pressure in the brakes would not rise above 30psi. Not a good thing, as the truck will not move unless it has enough air pressure to stop. Not only that, but because of the sub zero temperatures, when the truck was on for heat, we had a constant beeping from the warning light.

After talking to road service, and waiting 3 hours for a mechanic to show up, we watch as he tries everything he can think of to unfreeze the air line. Then surmises it might also be the air dryer that could be faulty. We can’t move, we need to get to his shop, so back on the phone to road service to get us a tow truck dispatched. It was an interesting ride sitting in the cab of our truck while being towed to the repair shop at the truck stop down the road, but I admit, I prefer going forward to backwards!

So here is where a little bit of irony comes into the picture. I think I might have commented on this early on in my blog, but in Minot, there is a truck stop and restaurant called Schatz. That is where we had to be towed to try and get the truck repaired. Our name is Shantz. Now you know, some where back in time, we were probably of the same clan, and on Ellis Island, one of the clerks just happened to spell it differently from the others. But I’m thinking, hey we’re family, maybe they will cut us a deal.

No deals were cut, but three hours later, and after listening to a bunch of men cuss and mutter about their job, to which I am thankful we have a job we love, we finally got to start it up and see if the air pressure builds. It does! With a new air dryer component installed we were finally ready to hit the road. Thank goodness we had plenty of time to still get to the boat plant, even if it will be really late tonight. Well, at least I found my People magazine to read along the way!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


If you listened carefully, you could have heard the sound of our happy feet Monday morning. Just on a whim, we decided to call the dealership and an employee answered. Seems they were closed for retail business but would accept delivery of our two boats. A collective “yippee” could be heard from within our truck as we went about putting things away to make our happy departure from the truck stop to the dealership about 15 miles away.

Besides not having to sit idle for a second day, there were reports of a storm heading our direction Tuesday morning. Dropping the boats on Monday gave us a head start, to put as much distance as we could, from the fast moving storm which the Canadians were calling an “Alberta Clipper”. We only made it as far as Medicine Hat, Alberta, where we shut down for the night and around 2am the storm came a knocking. I found the shaking of the truck from the strong winds quite comforting as I drifted back off to sleep.

Leaving in the darkness of early morning, we made our trek towards the border as the wind continued to blow and a light snow fell. I am always happy to see the border, and even happier, to be given once again permission, albeit, after paying $10.75, to cross back onto USA soil. The last couple of crossings that we have had, have been, dare I say it, pleasant. No problems, paperwork all in order, and no delays. Of course, now that I have said it, I’ve probably jinxed us.

Our new assignment is to go to our favorite boat plant in Pipestone, Minnesota and pick up a load of boats headed to Greensboro, North Carolina. This is shaping up to be a nice little run where we will get to see some areas we haven’t been before. Tonight we will be staying in Minot, North Dakota, happy that we will be there early enough to set up the Satellite TV, which we have been without while in Canada, just in time to watch a couple of our favorite shows. Yep, I’m happy to be back in the good old USA, now if only I can find the latest issue of People Magazine.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Here we are in Edmonton. The cartoon should have some snow and ice to be more accurate, but there are some pretty blue skies right now. That all could change come Tuesday when a cold front is on its way to deliver some fresh snow and cold temperatures to the area. We will be here to greet it, as the dealership in Edmonton will not be open until Tuesday morning.

When we were in Calgary Saturday morning, waiting to unload the three boats, another boat driver from our Company pulled up as well. He also had three boats to unload and then, just like us, he would make his last drop in Edmonton. Working together, we made quick work of off loading the boats. While we decided to go ahead and wait out our time in Edmonton, the other driver said he was going to stay in Calgary.

Upon our arrival at the truck stop in Edmonton, we noticed another boat driver from another company in the parking lot. I'm betting he too will be headed to the same dealer come Tuesday morning. Since we have been here, we took the opportunity to take showers and do laundry. Unfortunately, there isn't much more to do in the area, so we will be watching the playoff games later today. I'll post again come Tuesday when we make our delivery and get our next dispatch.

Friday, January 11, 2008


Like a bear hibernating for the winter, much of the land in North American does the same. Covered under a blanket of white, it patiently waits for the first warmth of spring. It lies still as we pass by mile after mile of frozen white land which once , months before, had corn and wheat growing tall from its soil. The abandoned farms, and I close my eyes and listen carefully. I am certain I hear the dinner bell being rung, and the hard working, tired farmer, making his way towards the smells of supper waiting on the table. As we drive these lonely roads, I imagine the first settlers that made their way to undiscovered lands, how vast it must have looked, a clean canvas they could paint, with anticipation of what this land might mean to their future and the generations that would come after them.

This time of year, truck driving can be a bit like the frozen tundra we pass. We receive a dispatch, then head towards our destination as we anticipate our arrival and what lies ahead. But this trip, like many others, after our first drop we will have to sit and hibernate for a few days until the next one. Businesses don’t always have the same working days or hours as we do, and there are times we sit and watch, from our blanket of snow, as the world goes on without us.

We often find it hard to wait, like the Gypsies and settlers before us, the lure of the road, and what lies beyond the next curve is always beckoning us. Each new day is a clean canvas for us to paint and although we may drive the same roads, each day brings us something different to splash on that canvas. Right now, it’s the white landscape and the realization that the next time around it will have changed. As much as it looks still and white, there is life, hibernating just under the surface. Until that life surfaces again in the spring, the frozen tundra, the snow, the near zero temperatures, and wind will be our traveling companions.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


After a night of interrupted sleep by the night crew at the boat plant, I guess my imaginary "quiet zone" placed around our truck was not visible to them, we awoke ready to take on the day, get our boats, and head to Canada. Well, not so fast there sparky. We were informed that the boats were ready, but the trailers for them were not, and I got up early to hear this why? Oh that's right, no one payed attention to my "quiet zone" circle I had invoked. So as we ate our breakfast, we watched as they loaded other drivers and we patiently waited for it to be our turn.

A few hours later we see a pickup with three little boat trailers trailing behind it. will soon be our turn to drive into the loading bay. Five boats are loaded onto our trailer, three to be taken to Calgary, AB and the other two to Edmonton, AB. Prior to pulling out of the loading bay, I got out to watch as Craig drove the trailer under the 13'6" sign that hangs down from the ceiling. First boat through okay........oops......... the second boat smacks the sign. Back into the loading bay they do some adjustments, Craig pulls out again and I watch, holding my breath, watching as each boat, like good little soldiers, pass under the sign. Now we sit and wait for the Customs paperwork.

Just like Patti La Belle, (for those of you old enough to remember her song), I have a new attitude. I'm just not going to worry about border crossings and Customs paperwork anymore. Either it's done correctly or not, but in either case, ultimately, it's the Broker that has to fix it. With paperwork in hand, and the ability to fax from the truck, we fax the paperwork to the Broker and make a followup phone call to make sure they received it. Then it's onto Gary, IN to the company yard for the night.

Once again, just like the day before, we didn't end up getting on the road until almost 11am. As we headed north, the clouds got darker along with the sky. We kept hearing of flooding in Indiana, and talk on the CB confirmed that I65 was being closed. I checked on my laptop for any road closures and couldn't find any, so we ventured on. The rain fell harder, the chatter on the CB continued, and we plugged along. Then near Remington, IN, we noticed there was no longer any traffic headed south. We saw the long glow of headlights off in the distance, but thankfully, it was only the southbound traffic that was being diverted off the Interstate. How lucky could we be?

Before the bewitching hour of midnight, we happily pulled into the Company yard in Gary, IN, found a spot to park and once again placed the "quite zone" bubble around our truck. This time, it did the job and eight hours later, awake and refreshed, sun shining, we were ready to take on Chicago, that is if anyone is ever ready to take on driving through Chicago. I may need a second cup of coffee!

Monday, January 07, 2008


Okay, so I stole the line from Shakespeare, and we didn't need a horse, but what we did need was a dispatch. We survived the weekend in Remington, Indiana watching TV and listening to the wind howl outside. We understand now why GE is happy to put up windmills in the area, but I digress. To say we were ready for a dispatch bright and early this morning is an under statement. Being on east coast time, we had to wait until our office in Spokane came to life on pacific time. So don't you just know, by the time we decide to splurge, go inside the restaurant for a nice salad for lunch, the QualComm inside the truck was happily beeping like crazy.

Upon our return to the truck, stomachs full and ready to get to work, we were delighted to see we would be heading to the Sea Ray Plant in Vonore, Tennessee to pick up 5 boats. This run will take us almost 3,000 miles when all is said and done, and wouldn't you know it, we are headed to CANADA. As the sun finally made an appearance we headed south towards Vonore with one thing on our mind...... a truck wash. The drop in the middle of the muddy cornfield did a number not only on our truck, but the trailer as well. A big no-no in the Marine Division is to show up at any of the boat plants with a dirty truck and trailer. Well that shouldn't be a problem, I programed in our routing on my laptop, perused the Blue Beacon Truck Wash booklet and found one in Corbin, Kentucky.

With our chariot sparkling and clean, we drove the last 130 miles into the Sea Ray Plant. It has been quite awhile since we have had to drive at night, but since the plant has a night crew that works until 3am est, we thought we would make the drive all the way in. It's funny, we can get up super early and drive in darkness and it doesn't bother us, but when we drive at night it is much more difficult. When we arrived you could hear me saying........... "A bed, A bed, my kingdom for a bed!"

Saturday, January 05, 2008


It was a dark and stormy night.......... If you thought Snoopy penned that immortal line, you're about to learn otherwise. The words are actually from the 1830 novel, 'Paul Clifford' by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, widely held to contain the worst opening sentence of any novel in the English language. This is no novel, but it was actually a dark and stormy night, in the middle of a cornfield in Indiana last night. It rained and the wind howled and in the light of day, after waiting 28 hours, we were finally unloaded.

It was a slow and painful process, with too many chiefs and not enough worker bees. After being summoned to follow a worker to a windmill location, we sat some more. Finally, after watching 3 other trucks get unloaded, the slow procession of the cranes made their way towards us. In the midst of the mud and snow, the hub was slowly lifted and set down in the cornfield to await the rest of the windmill components. And with that we were on our way, but to where? We had no place to go but to the nearest truck stop to wait until Monday for our next dispatch. Hmmmm, I guess I could use that time to try and write the second worst opening sentence of a novel.

Friday, January 04, 2008


We made it to the site of the GE windmill project in Earl Park, Indiana this morning at 7:30am and here we still are. The staging area was packed with other oversize loads, engines, blades, bases, and other hubs just like ours. We waited, and waited, and slowly some of the other drivers were escorted to windmill locations in the area as other trucks continued to arrive. After about 5 hours, we called for an update and were told they would not be able to get to us until tomorrow.
Oh Vay....... Thank goodness for a fully stocked pantry, water, and satellite TV.

On our travels Thursday, we were blessed with a beautiful sunrise. At a rest area I had to take a picture of this truck for my good friend Bob (Opie). I think he will get a kick out of it. Lastly, we passed what is now the largest cross in the western hemisphere. If you recall a post from last year, Groom, Texas held that honor until, Effingham, Illinois erected this cross which is just under 200 feet tall and eight feet taller than the one in Texas. Who knows how long they will be able to hold onto the honor of having the tallest cross. After all, there has to be another city just chomping at the bit to build a taller one, and I'm sure they will have God's blessing.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


After seeing so many windmill parts being hauled all over the country, we knew it would be just a matter of time before we would be able to take part in the wind energy revolution. After dropping the boats in Hudson, Fl, we were sent a dispatch to be at the GE Energy Plant in Pensacola, FL, Wednesday morning to pick up a windmill hub. Alas, it would be another over size load, this time measuring almost 12 feet wide. Fire up the printer and fax the permits, we have some reading to do!

Arriving at the plant, we saw several empty and loaded trailers waiting to be attended to. We checked in with security, obtained our number, and patiently waited until we were beckoned to the loading area. Making our way around the perimeter of the plant, we pulled up and it looked like an R2D2 convention. In front of us were all the hubs, shrink wrapped in white, waiting to be taken to their new home. Before we could even don our hard hats and safety glasses, the huge forklift was headed our way with one of the 34,000 pound hubs. Our trailer gave out a groan as the hub was centered and set down. Now it was time to get to work.

Pulling out our extra long chains and binders we went about chaining it down, then securing the binders. Then it was time to tarp it. Thankfully, the forklift driver, this time in a smaller version, helped raise the tarp above the hub and we draped it over. Now we had to figure out how best to tarp this unusual shape with a rectangular tarp. A little fold here, a tuck there, at least two dozen bungee cords and we had it covered as best as we could. Attach all the regulation flags and signs to the truck and we are ready to head down the Interstate to the nearest truck stop to scale it to make sure we were legal.
It's a relatively short drive, a little over 900 miles to Earl Park, Indiana where we will be delivering the hub. When I called them, the county was under a state of emergency with the power out and roads closed due to a storm that had just passed through. Hopefully, by Friday morning that ban will be lifted. Feeling a bit like Don Quixote, we will forge on, doing battle, imaginary or not.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


Two years ago today, Craig was anxiously awaiting to start driving school and begin our new adventure on the highways and bi ways of the USA and Canada. We really didn't know what to expect. Sure he made it through the course with flying colors, and I don't mind bragging for him, he was top of his class. But then it was time to take him to the airport and off he flew to Spokane to start his training. The worst was not knowing when he would be back home. The daily phone calls, the text and photo messages from the road, and finally the realization that there was no way I could remain working. The house was put up for sale and my notice was given and we haven't looked back since.

Honestly, the only bump in the road was the injury this past July. In retrospect, we can now look back on it and say we made it through and we found some qualities in each other we hadn't known we had. This past year found us going from coast to coast and border to border. We will never forget our trip to Yellowknife and how we were "Ice Road Truckers" crossing the frozen river twice, trying to ignore the large cracks and the birds sitting calmly by to feast on our frozen carcass had there been a mishap.

We did battle with Customs and border crossings, managing to always make it through. We only had one incident of the wrong boats being loaded, and the 800 miles it took to fix it. We managed over sized loads and then the time where no matter how hard they tried, three large boats would not fit legally on our trailer. We experienced extreme temperatures from minus 40 to 117, and know that we prefer it somewhere in between. We've seen the beauty and the ugliness of the road, from the scenery to the accidents that can happen when you least expect it. It's been a year filled with waking up each day and never knowing exactly how it will end.

So on this first day of the new year, we have no resolutions, because what would we want to change? We found that we love this lifestyle for now. We know it will not last forever, and are already making plans for our next adventure, but until then we do what we love, and love what we do. The fact that we get paid for this makes it even better. There will be changes this year as we move towards putting down roots in Washington State, but in reality, we just don't want to grow up just yet. Here's wishing all of you a Happy New Year!


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