Thursday, July 31, 2008
It dawned on me this morning that it has been 32 months since Craig started his excellent adventure, and 26 months since I had the extreme pleasure of joining him, and making it "our" ultimate road trip. A trip that we are still on, and I truly don't see signs of it stopping any time soon. Why you ask? Because it's just so much darn fun. I mean it. Like most of you, I too had my ideas of what a trucker's life would be, and I'm here to tell you, I think you would be surprised.
Since starting this blog, I have heard from and found a multitude of couples doing exactly what we are doing. Seems like half of the couples we have come in contact with, they both drive, and the other half, one drives and the other is the professional navigator, like me. It seems that they, like us, are having the time of their lives, making memories, sharing experiences and living life to the fullest. And isn't that what life is all about?
Sure, there have been some bumps along the way. We will never forget our time spent in Texas, and the time spent trying to get out of Texas, when Craig hurt his back. But we survived that to drive another day. Right now I am counting the time until I can return back to the truck and rejoin Craig. I miss my husband, I miss that truck, and I miss watching my changing view out my picture window from the passenger seat.
So as long as time keeps ticking, so will we. Not so much counting our time out on the road in minutes, hours, days, or miles, but in memories that will last an eternity. We feel so blessed!
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
We are hoping that his next run will take him into Spokane, so that I can get back on the truck with him. My plan is to start heading north on Friday, with a stop at my friend's house in Walla Walla, WA for a short visit. Then onward to our house to drop off some personal effects. If Craig gets delayed getting back to the yard for me to join up with him, and ends up staying out another week, then we will just have him take home time the next time he does get into Spokane. Whether it be sooner or later, we'll be looking forward to spending a couple of restful days at home in Usk, WA and exploring the area some more.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Little did he know, that when he arrived at 5am, they didn't even open until 7am, and after 5 hours of detention pay, he was loaded with his peaches and headed north. With the delay in the loading and a 3am delivery time Wednesday morning in Pasco, WA at the Railex facility, he was going to be on a tight time schedule. But not so tight, that he couldn't take an off ramp in Modesto and meet up with me so that I could give him the homemade cookies his Mom had made him, and the homemade potato salad and baked beans my Mom had made him. Now, I'm thinking, boy, he sure does get spoiled when I'm not with him. First he gets the good bed, and now all these goodies. He just may not want me back on the truck with him, but he assures me that is not the case. So just like Mario Andrette coming in for a pit stop, my Mom and I watched as he pulled in behind us on the off ramp. Like the good pit crew we are, we jumped into action, handing into the cab his bags of goodies and some shorts that he had requested. A quick kiss and a hug and he was off down the freeway again, setting his sights on Redding, CA as his stop for the night. Go Mario Go !
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
After our unload in Idaho, we ended up going into the Company yard and waiting until Thursday morning to get our next assignment. We headed to Wallula, WA to the Tyson Meats to pick up 44,000 pounds of boxed meat. I always laugh when I read the bill of lading and see that some of the meat we are hauling is beef butt flap. Okay, can some one explain to me what you use that for?
Our destination is to Los Angeles, for a drop on Saturday and Sunday. There has been some discussion back and forth on the computer, as they changed our first drop time to a time that we could not possibly make. Also we are trying to stop by to see Craig's parents which would be on the way to LA. Currently we are sitting in Klamath Falls, OR waiting for our 10 hour break to end and then head South. Hopefully, in a few hours, we will hear whether they were able to change our delivery back to the original time or if we will be handing it off to another driver. But as Craig says........."It's just another day in paradise"!
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
The drive on Interstate 90 was beautiful, driving by lush green pine trees, mountains and lakes of the Wenatchee National Forest. At one point during our drive, Craig turned to me and said, "You don't want to know what we have in our trailer". Of course, I bit, and asked, "What"? He smiled and said, "Ice Cream". Dang, that was all I thought about the rest of the drive was all that delicious ice cream and I wouldn't be enjoying any of it. Five hours later, we were pulling into the Company yard to take an 8 hour break before making the ice cream deliveries in the morning.
We were treated to a magnificent sunrise this morning with heavy fog lying low on the horizon. It has stayed pretty much overcast all day and has barely broken the 60 degree temperature mark. We made all of our deliveries on time, albeit one with a very interesting approach to the loading dock, and are presently sitting at a lovely rest stop in Idaho, just shy of the Washington border awaiting to hear what next adventure is in store for us.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Looking at the dispatch, all we had to do was hook up to a loaded trailer that was sitting right next to us, loaded with bananas, and take it back to the Fred Meyer distribution center in Puyallup in the morning. But best of all, we could get back to a more normal sleep pattern and get a good night's sleep before delivering. We tried to stay up and watch TV, but by 6pm we were both falling asleep, so we went to sleep with a 4am wake up call.
With only 7 miles to go, we were at Fred Meyer, along with about 5 other drivers from our Company, ready to drop the bananas. Currently, we are all lined up like good little soldiers in a row, waiting to hear where we will be sent next. Again, it didn't take long before we heard the familiar beep and saw that we could just get comfortable where we were at. We were instructed to drop our trailer in the yard, and at 2pm, we would hook up to a loaded trailer and head to Spokane for an 8pm delivery. Now that's what I call easy. Time now to settle in with the laptops and TV and relax for awhile.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Between 1683 and 1834, Spanish missionaries established a series of religious outposts throughout the present-day U.S. State of California and the present-day Mexican states of Baja California and Baja California Sur. To facilitate overland travel, mission settlements were approximately 30 miles apart, so that they were separated by one day's long ride on horseback along the 600-mile long California Mission Trail. I remember back in the third or fourth grade learning about all the missions and having to do the obligatory "mission project", an event I got to relive through my twin nieces when they as well learned about the missions.
We love traveling on the weekends, as the traffic is much lighter, especially going through the Bay Area. As we approached the Benicia Bridge, I had an opportunity to take some pictures of the "mothball fleet", so named for a large flotilla of retired WWII and Vietnam-era ships that reside in the Suisun Bay just east of the Benicia Bridge. Although the original intent was to have them capable of becoming battle-ready within a month, most of the ships have been quietly rusting away for years and are beyond repair. The fleet has been used in a couple of movies, including "Down Periscope."
As darkness fell, we did our exploratory stop at the Super WalMart in Anderson, CA. Given it was a Saturday night, and much earlier than what we would have wanted, the parking lot is tight, but Craig was able to maneuver the truck and trailer to a safe parking spot and then upon our return, get us safely back out onto the Interstate. We both think that we will use this as our routine stop instead of Redmond, OR where they have rerouted the Highway around it.
Just shy of the border of Oregon, it was time to take a quick power nap as the fatigue was starting to hit. After a two hour nap, we took off again and made it into Rice Hill, Or as the sun was rising. That leaves us just over 300 miles for our delivery in Seattle at 3am. We plan to leave tonight at 7:30pm, which will allow us time for a fuel stop in Tacoma, WA. Since our second drop is only 25 miles away from Seattle, but 6 hours later, we are hoping we will be able to catch a few ZZZ's in one of the two receiver's lots. Next update as soon as we know where we are headed next!
Saturday, July 19, 2008
It didn't take too long before we were beeped with our dispatch information. You got to love these lettuce loads, only 10,000 pounds, no need to even bother to scale it out, and a nice 1,000 mile run up Interstate 5 with two stops. Only draw back is waiting until 4pm this afternoon to pick it up, and then driving during the night the next two days.
Our first stop is in Seattle, WA Monday morning at 3am, then onto Puyallup, WA, at the Fred Meyer's at 9am. Along the way, we have scoped out a new Super WalMart to stop at in Anderson, CA. We should be able to hit it late enough tonight to make our shopping experience a pleasant one, with little or no parking lot traffic. If it works out well, this will be our main stop on our runs up and down Interstate 5.
Our only problem now is trying to take a nap this afternoon before picking up our loaded trailer. At least we have great TV reception here, and if Saturday TV programing is what I remember it to be, it should do just the trick to bore us into dreamland.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
With a stop in Corning, CA for a lunch break and showers, we headed towards the Company yard, but not without first stopping at the truck wash to get the dirt and grime washed off the truck. With a 1pm delivery in San Jose, CA tomorrow, and with only 75 miles to go, we will be having a very relaxing night, followed by breakfast outside on the picnic tables in the morning while we do laundry. Can't wait for find out where we are headed next!
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
They had a visitor center with self guiding tours and cheese tasting. Check out Craig checking out the cow at the beginning of the tour. After our fill of sampling the different cheeses they had out, it was time to get back in the truck and take our load of cheese to the Darigold facility in San Jose, CA. This load is set for delivery on Friday afternoon at 1pm. We will have no problem making that delivery, as long as the dog days of summer, and the lure of all that good cheese in our trailer doesn't get to us!
Monday, July 14, 2008
Today, pulling into the truck stop in Biggs Junction, OR, we saw numerous "Earth People" milling around. From our first parking spot we occupied, I watched as a couple of them were carrying large yellow containers, which at first I thought was water. Craig and I had observed their old painted over school bus, filled to it's capacity, not only with property, but with bodies. At least 6 of them were sitting in what shade the bus provided, on the asphalt, their dreadlocks hanging in their faces, making it at times difficult to decipher the males from the females.
When we moved to our final parking spot, the one near the fuel island, where we are always entertained by watching the comings and goings of the truckers, we spotted the "Earth People" now in pairings of a male and a female, heading back with their large yellow container, wandering in and out of the fuel islands. It was then that we realized what they were doing. They were not stocking up on water for drinking or for bathing, what they were doing, was walking up to the drivers on the fuel island and asking for fuel.
Now you would think, in this day and age of high fuel prices, that they would have been turned away without much thought, but we counted at least 8 times since we had arrived, that they lugged a now heavy sloshing container of fuel to their bus. I truly was amazed at the generosity of the drivers, but then also knowing it was most likely being done on the driver's company fuel card.
They must have gotten as much as they could, because before I could focus my camera to frame the shot, they were heading out the parking lot and onto the Interstate. Probably going as far as the fuel would take them, stopping to enjoy where they ended up, and then going about the ritual of asking for "donations" to get them yet further down the road.
I guess the truck drivers who were donating to their cause felt a kindred spirit with these "Earth People". After all, they too travel the roads, from one destination to another, never quite knowing where they will end up from one week to the other. As they drove off, I had to admire their basic belief in the good in their fellow man to offer assistance when needed. I guess there's something to be said for doing unto others as you would have others do unto you.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
As we were leaving Phoenix, AZ, I was letting my eyes scan the landscape as I do every day, when I saw something my brain couldn't quite accept. In the far distance, coming closer into view, was what looked like a child sitting in the sand playing. My eyes were telling me that this image, still at least a mile away, was real, but my mind was saying, you can't possibly see a child along side the freeway from a mile away. As we got closer, I pointed my vision out to Craig, and as we drove past it, I could finally make out intellectually, that is was in fact an extremely large cutout bill board, but moments before, I would have sworn it was a real child, so lifelike it was in appearance. Driving through Palm Springs, CA, we commented to each other the vast amount of windmills that had been erected throughout the area. As I have mentioned before, we have seen the various components being hauled during our travels, and have always marveled at their size. Last year, we got a first hand view of just how big they are, when we hauled a hub for one of this massive windmills. Ever since we found out that our company now has a contract hauling windmill hubs and blades, Craig has said that he just might want to do that sometime in the future. That's my husband, always looking for ways to experience the most out of everything he does.Arriving at the Company yard around 3pm, we quickly dropped our empty trailer, and then hooked up to our trailer loaded with beer. We had decided to get on the other side of the Grapevine before shutting down for the night. That meant we would have to wait to do laundry and showers until today at the Company yard in French Camp, where we will be stopping for fuel. Having safely left the desert, I'm pretty certain I won't be seeing any more mirages, but you can count on me, to always find something of interest, as I enjoy viewing life from the passenger seat.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Our time schedule was tight for a 6am delivery in Phoenix this morning, so after leaving Sacramento, we knew we had to get as far as we could get, and still be awake . We decided to stay at Buttonwillow, CA, my enthusiastic recommendation to stay there of course had nothing to do with the Starbucks across the street. Arising Friday morning, we took the walk for our morning coffee and scone, and at 10am we were headed south.
We stopped at the Company yard in Bloomington, CA for a fuel and lunch break, and then continued on our way. We were both surprised that the temperatures this time around were just under the century mark. We decided to stay about 90 miles away from our delivery location in Vicksburg, AZ for the night. Since it was out in the middle of the desert, we had no TV reception, but Craig was quick to set up the computer for a little Simpson's/American Dad viewing off the Internet.
This morning, with the air warm and stagnant, we drove into Phoenix, AZ to an empty parking lot at the Southwest Cold Storage facility. We were relieved when we finally saw employees pulling into the lot right at 6am. In short time we were unloaded and heading back to the Company yard in Bloomington. We had received a preplan dispatch yesterday afternoonhad to go to the yard to pick up a trailer loaded with beer destined to go to Kennewick, WA, by Tuesday.
By the time we finish that run, we will have over 3,000 miles for the week, and have about 2 hours left of driving time after we make the delivery. So as we pull away from Phoenix, our plan is to head to the Company yard for showers, laundry, pick up the loaded trailer, and leave the sultry hot Southwest behind us.......at least for a few days.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Just north of Redding, CA we happened across what appeared to be a command post for the aerial attack on the fires. Craig excitedly told me the helicopters I saw were Blackhawks. His enthusiasm for military equipment, and all things that fly was something I don't enjoy as much as he does. I made sure to show my interest and then, in a blink of an eye, we are past them and onto looking at something else.
All my sunflowers from last week had turned brown and drooped under the hot summer heat. We were held up shortly by road crews repainting the white lines on the pavement, which had faded to just a pale reminder that they had once been the bright white that was being reapplied.
After a fuel stop in Corning, CA, we headed towards the Company yard in French Camp, CA. Arriving at 8pm, and knowing that we did not have to deliver until 11am this morning, we stayed up and watched TV, before falling asleep to the humming drone of the reefer unit and the APU blowing refreshing cool air.
This morning's drive into Fremont was uneventful, until we were sitting in the parking lot of Sysco waiting to hear on the CB what dock to report to. I saw one rig start backing into a space, as another rig was pulling into it. I still can't see why the one pulling into the space did not honk his horn, or attempt to back up as he saw the other driving backing right into him. He just sat there and waited for the impact. They seemed cordial when talking to each other, both with a cell phone glued to their ears, no doubt calling their companies to report the accident.
I was happy to exit the yard and head out of the Bay Area and back to Sacramento for our second drop for the day. It is not until 6pm tonight, so we will stage at a truck stop 5 miles from our delivery location and see about taking a nap. Yep, life is rough, ain't it?
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
We found our empty trailer, fueled up, and headed to the Tyson plant. Thankfully, I didn't have to see the cows being brought in, and was surprised that the "special" odor that usually penetrates the air, was not present. But as Craig hooked up to our loaded trailer, I glanced to my right and saw this sign. I just may end up that vegetarian after all.
We have three drops on this load, Fremont, CA, Sacramento, CA, and finally Phoenix, AZ. Since the Raley's Distribution Center in Sacramento doesn't take deliveries during the day, we will have to deliver in Fremont first, at a time yet to be determined, then back track to Sacramento, and then finally head to Phoenix.
When we left the Tyson plant, we headed to the Flying J to scale. We have not been lucky lately with having any of the loads scale legal, without having to do the 18 wheel shuffle, but imagine our surprise, when we got our scale ticket, that we were legal, and evenly weighted on on the drive and trailer axles, even with the tanks being full. YIPEE!
Presently, since we drove until midnight last night, we are sitting in LaPine, OR, enjoying the last of the cool temperatures we will no doubt have for a few days. You can see that Craig was busy washing the windows on the truck. I even tipped him a quarter for the great job he did, even though he made me clean the inside of the passenger side window where I had left my toe prints from putting my feet up on the dash. Yes, it's a tough job viewing life from the passenger seat!
Monday, July 07, 2008
I do have to say we were both very relaxed by the end of our home time, so much so, that when we put everything away inside the truck, we both laid down and promptly fell asleep, only to be awoken by the truck wash guys wanting us to close our windows, so that they could wash our truck.
Our hurry up and get to the yard and get put on the board always seems to be followed by a just wait and relax mode, to which we are still in. As it nears 1pm, we still have no idea what we are picking up and where we might be going, but one thing is certain......each day that follows will lead us that much closer to going back home again.
Saturday, July 05, 2008
Friday, July 04, 2008
It was an RV resort, with deeded lots you owned. We made a point, the next time we were in the Company yard, to take a day off and head up to the resort to take a look around. The minute we drove onto the property we knew this was where we wanted to live. Mountains, pine trees, and the Pend Oreille River would be our view out our windows, and at that time we thought it would be a large 5th wheel. But then we started walking around and I saw for the first time a Park Model House, a 400 square foot home with everything Craig and I would need.
We purchased the lot, and after almost a year, we were deeded the land and then set out to find the Park Model house of our dreams, or should I say, my dreams. Craig didn't care as long as he had his mountains, pine trees, and river. I researched online the different manufacturers, the multitude of floor plans, and when we could find one on a dealer's lot, we would take a walk through.
This past April, we chose a dealer, who dealt with the Cavco brand, and we set off custom ordering the house to our specifications. That proved to be an interesting endeavor, as the majority of the decisions on counter tops, appliances and such were done totally by looking them up online, without actually seeing them in person. In fact, the entire transaction, from ordering the Park Model, to financing it, was done entirely on the phone or through emails, without ever seeing or dealing with anyone in person. I do have to give a lot of credit to our dealer, Kandi, for her helpful suggestions on some of the design elements that truly made our Park Model a home.
So as you can see from the pictures, on June 20th, our little home arrived from Phoenix, AZ to it's final resting place. Since then, people have been busy setting it up, securing it, hooking up the propane, electrical, and water lines. On July 3rd, we anxiously drove to our lot, and got to see it for the first time ourselves, and I couldn't have been happier with the outcome. I love our new little home, and for the next few days, Craig and I will be busy with buying just enough items to make it livable and comfortable. Now, when we request home time, we really will have a home to come "home" to and as the MasterCard commercial says, "That is Priceless".