Friday, February 29, 2008
With the delay of our trailer getting fixed, we were behind the eight ball to make this delivery, given the fact that it was, as you can see, over sized, we had to deal with permits and restricted travel times, and we knew Mother Nature was coming for a visit. We didn't even leave Maryland until 10:30am, but enjoyed the scenic ride from Maryland into West Virginia and our first spotting of snow we have had in a long time. As the sun slowly set into the west, we had to call it a night just as we crossed into Pennsylvania from West Virginia.
Up this morning, we tuned into The Weather Channel, and watched as the storm cell was approaching right where we needed to be. If it got too bad, with the restrictions of the oversize, we feared we would have to shut down and not make our delivery for today. But a little good luck and some good planning, and although we did run into snow on the Ohio Turnpike, we didn't deem it so bad as to pull over and stop. So onward we went, counting down the miles until we could finally get Humpty and Dumpty off our trailer.
We pulled into the dealership at 2pm EST, well before their cut off time they gave us, but not early enough to be at our next dispatch in Bucyrus, OH to load before the weekend. As Humpty and Dumpty were slowly extricated from our trailer into their new surroundings, both Craig and I sighed a sigh of relief that another load was delivered safely. The only thing left to do was find a place for us to stay for the weekend, and therein lies the end of my whale of a tale.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
You see, Brunswick owns the trailers we use on the Marine Division, so every time they get one into their facility they like to do an inspection, which is good because they can do preventive maintenance , which then can avert any problems you might have while out on the road. Which is exactly what they did for us. They found that the seals and brakes on the trailer needed replaced, and as we sat in the truck patiently waiting the day lingered on, and on, and on. It took much longer for them to do the repairs then they thought, and finally around 1pm the man in charge told us to come back on Tuesday as they would not have it completed by the end of the day.
So off we went back to the Pilot, about 5 miles away, this time without our trailer. Sure, parking was much easier, but we would have much preferred to have been headed down the Interstate than sitting. We did put the down time to good use, as I got caught up on laundry and over the weekend Craig used some of his excess energy to shine the wheels on the truck, but the gypsy inside us longed to be going anywhere.
When we had first received this dispatch, it had us going to Jacksonville, FL and Woodbridge, VA, but when we arrived at the boat plant, it was discovered there was an error in the information. So when we finally get our load and head on down the road we will be going to the docks in Portsmouth, VA and then to a dealership in Woodbridge, VA. A short trip of only about 700 miles, but rumor has it they have two more loads already set up for us so we should stay plenty busy over the next week or so.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
There were no choice to be made on what to eat once we saw the Sunday Fried Chicken Special that was on the menu. This is the type of chicken that takes you back to your younger days, when "fried" was not a dirty word, and Grandma cooked it up in a black cast iron skillet. Where the coating was crispy and the chicken tender and juicy. Mashed potatoes, corn, corn bread, and sweet tea rounded out the meal. We couldn't help but smile and reminisce about great meals from our childhood.
When we had finished our meal, we had no choice but to finish our meal by sharing a piece of Coca Cola cake and home made vanilla bean ice cream. Yum Yum...... As we made our way cautiously back across the street, we couldn't have asked for a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon...... now if only we liked NASCAR our Southern experience would have been complete.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Traffic moved along nicely until right before Nashville, TN. We started seeing the bright red lights of brakes being applied, so we turned up the CB to try and hear what might be causing the slow down. Evidently, there was a big rig off the side of the roadway. They had emergency personnel lining the slow lane, as traffic tried to merge over into the fast lane. Talk on the CB stated that it had been there awhile, and as we passed by, I saw that there were HazMat personnel also on scene. I couldn't tell what the box van had inside, but there were plenty of people on top and inside trying to neutralize it.
Once past Nashville, we continued on towards Vonore. Just 15 miles from the boat plant, we passed another driver who had just left with his freshly loaded trailer. He joked with us that we seemed to be going the wrong way and if we were headed to the plant we better hurry as they were closing down in 30 minutes. But wait, Craig had called when we got the dispatch and they told him that they would be there until midnight. I can tell you, those last 15 miles seemed like it took forever, but we finally got to the guard shack, checked in, and after hunting down the work crew taking a last break before calling it day, they off loaded the boat in less than 10 minutes.
Shortly after putting in our empty call, we were sent a dispatch just a few miles away in Knoxville, TN to the main Brunswick Boat Plant. We won't be able to pick up our load until Monday morning, so we'll do a reset of Craig's driving hours and hang out, watch some pay per view movies, and relax for the weekend.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
At a truck stop at the Texas/Oklahoma border, we were approached by two drivers wondering from which direction we had come. When told we had come from the west, they anxiously asked us how the road conditions were. Having done battle in Canada, the frigid cold of North Dakota and Minnesota, and not forgetting to give Wyoming it's dues, we both told them we didn't think it was so bad. Sure, there were a few "oops" moments we had seen along side the roadways, but to us, it seemed okay to drive in. The one driver mentioned that, yes, he had driven before in Washington State, but this was "different", after all it was Texas. Not wanting to argue the point, we both bid him a safe journey and proceeded inside to get our morning coffee.
We ventured on making a stop for a lunch break in Oklahoma City, and then headed towards the Arkansas border. The sun continued to hide behind the grayness, but it did warm to the mid 30's, and the ice began to fall from our truck. We pulled into the Petro Truck Stop in Little Rock thankful to have had yet another safe journey and have a tale to tell. Taking a little creative license with the chorus of the song, I imagine there were stories told this evening by many drivers of their adventures out on the roads.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
We got further than we thought, given the fact that we were able to load the boat and get on the road earlier than we expected. We now have exactly 1800 miles to get to Tennessee by Friday, and as Craig likes to say, it is definately "doable". He is much more the "can do" person, where I tend to lean towards the "what ifs". We often laugh about his glass half full and my glass half empty. I imagine that is what makes us such a great team, together we have a balance, just call us ying and yang.
We left Wednesday in the morning darkness, and as we approached the Flagstaff area it started to snow. The temperatures were just at 32 degreees, so it was a very wet and slushy snowfall, which did not stick to the roadway. The inclimate weather did not last long at all, and as the sun rose, the sky was blue with a few gray clouds hanging around.
With such a light load, we received the green signal of the prepass transponder in our cab and were able to bypass the scales. Before we knew it, we had driven almost 6 hours and stopped to fix some lunch at the Big Sky Casino in Acoma, New Mexico. While Craig made a few phone calls, I ventured inside to pay a visit to their coffee bar to get us a caffeine treat. Alas, with both hands full, I wasn't able to test my luck at the slot machines.
After driving 650 miles we shut down for the night in Vega, TX at a little Shell station off the Interstate. With the temperatures down in the 20's, it should make for a nice chilly night to get our sleep...... and that is something this Ying and Yang both enjoy!
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
We spent a leisurely drive on Sunday going down Interstate 5, with a stop to get the truck and trailer washed, and another stop at a Starbucks, that to my excitement, had convenient truck parking. We rolled into a truck stop in Fowler, CA for the night. We had planned it that way, since Craig's parents live just a few miles away in Selma. We called them Monday morning, and were able to spend part of the day with them, and the other part catching up on our laundry and replenishing some supplies at the local Wal Mart.
Up before the sunrise this morning, we took off for Visalia to pick up the boat going back to the Sea Ray plant in Tennessee. Arriving before the employees, we went about getting the straps out and putting up some framework for the boat. The sun was just rising and peeking out from the hazy sky as Craig was busy at work. When the employees arrived, we had the boat loaded, secured, and the paperwork signed in under an hour. We really needed to get an early start as we are aiming for a delivery in Tennessee by Friday, about 2300 miles away.
It seems we have retraced our recent routes quite a bit lately, and we found ourselves on Highway 58 again, headed towards Barstow and the connection to Interstate 40, which will be the only Interstate we will be on, all the way to Tennessee. Driving back through the desert, and past the city of Mojave, you begin to see the Joshua trees. It reminded me of the U2 album of the same name, and one of my favorite songs. But unlike the band and the song, "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For", Craig and I have found what we are looking for. A lifestyle that affords us the opportunity to see things and experience life out on the road, and for now it's suits us perfectly, that is, until it is time to look for something else.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Inside the casino they have two separate sections, a smoking, and a non smoking gambling area, which our lungs were very thankful for. Another great feature is that they have self serve coffee and soda machines. No more waiting for a hostess to come by, take your order and wait for a tiny little glass of soda. They also had a small deli where you could get some pretty healthy sandwiches with fruit.
We had a bite to eat, gambled a little, and then decided to stretch out and enjoy the room and the king size bed. In the morning, after enjoying the large bathroom area, we were able to use our voucher we received at check in at the hotel for a free breakfast in the restaurant in the Casino. I have to say, it was one of the best breakfasts we have had in awhile.
Our stomachs were full, so we decided to try and give away $10.00, but the casino would have nothing to do with taking our money, as we managed to walk away with an extra $50.00 in our pockets. Both Craig and I give this place two thumbs up and will look forward to making it a stop in our future travels. So if you are ever in the area, and are wondering what to do, stop by the Rolling Hills Casino in Corning, CA. (This message brought to you by The Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians)
Friday, February 15, 2008
Mount Shasta was still looking as regal as ever. Craig and I always comment when driving by it, how we remember as kids drinking Shasta sodas and how the mountain looks exactly like the image on the soda cans. For those of you who read this blog and live on the east coast, was Shasta soda available where you live?
We made it as far as Rice Hill, OR before stopping for the night. That left us a little under 180 miles to our delivery this morning. We decided to sleep in past our normal 4am or 5am wake up time, and left after breakfast around 6:30am. With the directions I had obtained from the consignee the day before, we had no problem finding the machine shop and found out what we were hauling was some type of milling machine.
They carefully went about lifting it off the trailer with two forklifts, just high enough so that Craig could pull the trailer out from under it. Then we went to work folding up the tarp and putting away the straps and chains.
As soon as we put in our empty call we were dispatched to go to Visalia, CA, which would have us retrace our route right back the way we came. We are picking up a Sea Ray boat that needs to go back to the plant in Vonore, Tennessee. But, like we have found out all too many times this winter, the boat dealer in Visalia is operating under winter hours, which means they are closed, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. That leaves us with almost 4 days to drive 800 miles. Oh well........ we'll have plenty of time to blaze our own trail and take in the beautiful scenery this time of year.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Speaking of that, we went back on the board this morning eager to get back to work. We were given a dispatch to swap trailers with another marine driver who met us at the company yard in French Camp. He was slated for home time, and no sooner had we unhooked, than he was off for home and we were looking at a trailer loaded with some type of machinery, inside a metal crate, headed for North Plains, Oregon. It's only 650 miles to our delivery, and after being off for a week, it was a nice little run to get us back into the groove of things. After stopping by the nearest truck stop to scale the load, we headed north towards Sacramento and beyond.
Just to let you know we are not immune to the whole spirit of the day, I'll leave you with this image, and may you celebrate Valentine's Day in your own special way!
Sunday, February 10, 2008
So most of the day Thursday, and the early morning of Friday was spent getting the physical fiasco straightened out. Once that was done we could concentrate on more fun things.....shopping! Let me tell you, it took less time to pick up all we needed clothing wise, than it did to deal with DMV. I also had time to get my hair done and complete our taxes. Saturday we spent the day with Craig's parents in Selma, and tonight my Mom is cooking me a belated birthday dinner, topped off by my favorite German Chocolate Cake!
Monday we are off to San Jose, CA to visit friends, Tuesday a belated birthday celebration with my twin nieces who turned 21 while we were out on the road, and Wednesday I have my dental appointment. Quicker than a blink of an eye, it will be Thursday and we will be off again, but until then, weary or not, we will try and get in as much as we can before we climb back into the truck and head on down the road again.
Thursday, February 07, 2008
We have quite a bit of personal business to take care of, especially concerning our property in Washington State, like getting electric, water, and sewer transferred over to our name. Our next pass through in WA, we will sit down and order our park model cabin for our lot, and we hope to have it in place by late summer/early fall. The rest of the time will be spent catching up with family and friends, a dental appointment, a stop by the salon for hair and nails, and copious stops by Starbucks.
As much as we were looking forward to having some time off, it was funny. As soon as we pulled into the yard, I was already missing waking up and being able to take off to a new destination the next morning. This lifestyle gets into your blood, and I never knew how much I would love it when we first began this adventure.
Due to not being able to get in to see the Dentist until Feb 13th, we will not be back out on the road until Valentine's Day. I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate than being with Craig back in the truck, and on the road again. I'll be posting a couple more times while on time off, after all, I'll need to take a break from my lattes now and then.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
We made it as far as our Company yard in French CA, where we called it a night, after first trying to stay at a Flying J in Lodi and finding to our surprise, not one spot open to park, and it was only 5pm. There was plenty of room at the yard, where I was able to drop off our trip packet from our last assignment before the end of the pay period.
Waiting until sunrise, we left this morning a little after 6am and headed towards our delivery location in Adelanto, CA. Down Interstate 5 you notice the vast amount of truck traffic that runs up and down this freeway.
Our routing took us off the Interstate onto some secondary highways and across the Mojave Desert and by Edwards Air Force Base. We arrived at our destination at 1:30pm and were unloaded and on our way by 2pm. And where might we be headed? Right back the same way we came, but this time with an extended stay in French Camp for some well deserved home time! I'll see you at the local Starbucks!
Monday, February 04, 2008
The manufacturer had a weekend crew working on Sunday. We were happy to be able to just go inside their lot and sit until Monday to get loaded, but since this boat mold was slated to be picked up last Friday, the mold, along with the paperwork, were all ready to go. Within minutes of arriving, the forklift had the mold on the trailer and we had just 4 straps to put on and then.....oh yeah..... it was an oversize load. Since we have our own fax number, when we were given the info about this load while still in Canada, we had the permits faxed and in hand, and off we went.
We took off headed south, our destination being Adelanto, CA, to Cabo Yachts. We made it into Coburg, OR for the night and in time to watch the last half of the Super Bowl. We got up early and took showers, but had to wait until sunrise to leave. We anticipated running into some bad weather but we are keeping our hopes high that the roads will be open over all the passes and summits we have to cross. As long as we can make it past Redding, we should be home free.....literally by Wednesday.
Saturday, February 02, 2008
We started off very early Wednesday morning, from a little place called Eddie’s Corner, in Northern Montana. We had arrived the night before and after taking a shower, we stopped by their café for a bite to eat. How about my grilled cheese sandwich, which only cost $1.75, or a burger, made the good old fashion way for $2.75. I didn’t think I would ever see those prices again!
We drove through the morning darkness towards the border, I had my paperwork and passports ready. With the red stamp on our paperwork and a “Have a good day” from the Customs Officer we were on our way. As I mentioned earlier, we arrived in Edmonton, and stayed the night, but not before Craig had to do yet some more mechanical work on the truck. I felt useless as he had to crawl under the truck, and lie on the frozen ground in -27 and try and fix a leaking radiator hose which needed a new clamp. This truck will need some major going over while we are on home time.
We awoke in the predawn darkness and made our way to Prince George. The roads were covered in compacted snow and ice. Slow but steady we drove on through Jasper National Park, and in the illumination of the headlights, we saw a large moose think about crossing the highway. The engine noise of the truck must have gotten his attention, as he chose to make an about face and head back into the trees. Later, when the daylight finally arrived, we saw another moose, buried leg deep in snow, along side the roadway, watching as we drove by.
We arrived in Prince George and quickly went about unloading the boats as the snow was falling. Thankfully, it wasn’t as cold as Edmonton, but I was ready for the warm comfort of the Service Department at the dealership, to get all the paperwork signed. With only an hour left in driving time, we managed to get to a small truck stop on the other side of town to stay for the night.
Back out onto the snow and ice covered roads, we saw the sign no truck driver would like to see in those conditions, an 8% grade down the hill. Again, slow and steady we went, with some silent prayers and Craig's driving ability we made it safely to flatter ground. We wanted to be able to make it into the States Friday, but with the routing we received, the snow and ice covered roads, and the limited amount of driving hours left, we had to shut down in Chilliwack, B.C., a mere 20 miles from the USA border. The only bright spot in having to stay here 36 hrs to reset our driving hours (in the U.S. it is only 34 hrs) , is that right across in the parking lot is a Tim Horton’s. What more could you ask for? Good coffee, fresh donuts, and chili to die for.