Wednesday, December 31, 2008
The plan was for us to meet another driver in Ellensburg, WA and swap out loads. The other driver would continue on into Canada and make the delivery at midnight, and we in turn got his load with a delivery in Kent this morning at 6:30am..........oh yeah, and one additional drop in Delta, British Columbia, Canada.
Now when we left the boat fleet, I was pretty confident that we would not have to deal with border crossings anymore, but I guess I was wrong. It's only a short little jaunt of no more than 10 miles across the border, and then I am hoping we can skedaddle right back across again. But first, we had to make the delivery in Kent.
After swapping trailers, we knew we needed to get over Snoqualmie Pass while the weather was good and it wasn't snowing. We set our sights on a company drop yard in Pacific, WA, and managed to make our way over the pass and into the yard by 6pm. We were thrilled to finally be able to return to a somewhat normal sleeping pattern.
This morning we arrived at the Receiver at 6am, and eight hours later, with a nice eight hours of detention pay, we were finally given the paperwork to leave. The rest of this load does not deliver into Canada until Friday the 2nd, so we headed once again to the drop yard in Pacific to find a spot for the night.
Our plan is to drive tomorrow, New Years, to Ferndale, WA which will get us almost to the Canadian border for an easy drive on Friday morning for the delivery. Along the way, we hope to find a place we can stop and have a nice New Years breakfast or dinner, but if not, we know we can always count on the Golden Arches in Ferndale. Such is the life when you live it out on the road.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
After our empty call on Sunday, we were told to head to Spokane. Since Craig had no driving hours left, we told dispatch that we would head that way early Monday morning. Sleeping in, which these days is 3am, we took off West on Interstate 90. The roads were pretty good until we hit our first mountain pass near Butte, and progressively got worse as we hit Missoula and then Look Out Pass.
By the time we got to Fourth of July Pass, just before Coeur d'Alene, ID, traffic was getting heavier. Ahead of us was a pickup pulling a travel trailer which was as light as we were with our empty trailer. As we started coming down off the pass, on a 6% grade, on a banked turn, the travel trailer ahead of us slowed and started to jack knife. In order to avoid hitting it, we also had to slow down which caused us to loose traction and start to jack knife as well.As my finger indentations on the passenger hand grip became permanent fixtures, Craig was able to right the trailer and slowly straighten out the rig and avoid the travel trailer who had moved over to the more snow packed lane to get some traction back. With a big sigh of relief, we were both able to get down off the pass and we happily watched as the travel trailer took the next exit and left the Interstate, no doubt to change his underwear.
It didn't get much better as we got closer to Spokane, as traffic was even heavier. As one driver said on the CB, the four wheelers are just like sheep, they herd together as they travel, which is the main cause of most accidents. Craig kept as much cushion as he could between us and them as we tried to make our way on a very slushy, slippery, ice and snow covered road.
I was so happy to see the exit for our Company yard in Spokane, and as we pulled into the yard we knew it would be difficult to try and find a place to park due to the vast amount of snow everywhere. Luckily, we found a spot, and Craig decided to put chains on for in the morning where we had been given a dispatch to a local beverage company. We had no way of telling what condition the local roads would be in compared to the Interstate and we wanted to be prepared.
Presently we are sitting at the Shipper's lot waiting to be called to a dock. The weather forecast calls for yet another storm with 6 inches of snow predicted. This load is suppose to go into Canada, but Craig's 14 hours will be up and there won't be time for a mandatory break before the scheduled midnight delivery tonight. We will either swap out loads with someone else, or the appointment will be changed. But first........we have to get loaded and then make our way West and over Snoqualmie Pass and the snow that will surely be waiting for us.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
One of the wise things we did do though, was make the decision, once we got on Interstate 15, to stay on it to Interstate 90, instead of taking secondary highways on our way to Billings, MT. It did add a few extra miles, but those where without a doubt less stressful miles than if we had taken the other routing.
I was keeping a watchful eye on the developing storm as we steadily moved in a northeast direction. Once we got into Montana, the roads actually cleared up nicely, but what replaced it was the wind, oh.....and a herd of cattle that was loose on the Interstate. We got ample warning from the drivers on the CB to be on the lookout. We neared the area and watched as one lone fellow tried to get one very feisty cow off the roadway before it became tomorrow's six dollar burger at Carl's Jr. And just when we were getting confident that we would have no further problems, we see the flashing road sign stating that the Interstate was closed up ahead due to high winds. We debated on whether to find a place to hunker down for the rest of the evening until we gained driving hours to make the delivery, but thankfully decided to press on. I can not begin to describe to you the mess the town of Livingston was in with all traffic being diverted onto their city streets. To add to it, there was an accident where traffic was finally allowed back onto the Interstate, and emergency crews were trying to get there on a two lane road with both lanes blocked by traffic. Now add 40 MPH winds and blowing snow to that mix, and I would have to say that was the longest 7 mile detour I have ever taken. Especially, when we were stuck on the overpass to get rerouted onto the Interstate, with the high winds, and our trailer with only 1900 pounds on it. You can bet I was saying some prayers! That was all I needed to experience to know that I would never want to be around a hurricane.
Safely back on the road, the winds were blocked somewhat by the mountains and we limped our way into a very small truck stop in Big Timber, MT to try and get some sleep before, yes, you guessed it, yet one more 12am wake up call. We had just 80 miles to go, but with our truck and trailer still rocking and rolling from the wind outside, we didn't know what to expect, and wanted to get an early start just in case.
I am happy to report that it is now 5:30am and we are backed into the dock and getting the lettuce unloaded. There is a brand new Pilot Truck Stop in Billings, MT that is calling our name and which will be our home for the remainder of the day. Craig is pretty much out of driving hours and we can't imagine getting a dispatch until Monday morning which suits us just fine. I can't say that I'm looking forward to traveling back to the west coast on some of those same roads and with yet another storm headed our way, but with enough exposure, maybe my threshold of adventure just might make it closer to Craig's. Nope......that'll never happen.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
I know Sam Cooke wasn't singing about the chain gang I saw working at 3am Friday morning. The past two days has really been a blur of trying to sleep at odd hours, driving on ice covered roads, and trying to decipher the weather satellites to always be either ahead or behind a storm.
With our 12am wake up call on Christmas morning, we took off to Fresh Express to pick up our loaded trailer. Really, loaded is not what I would call it. We only have 1900 pounds of lettuce in this trailer. This had to be the left overs from a fully loaded trailer, but the lack of weight doesn't make for ease of mind when traveling on the roads we were going to be on.
So off we head towards Sacramento to hit Interstate 80 and attempt to go over Donner Pass. As we neared the Company Yard in French Camp, all indications on the computer websites was that Interstate 80 was closed due to heavy snow fall. We pull into the yard and hunker down and get a few hours sleep. Upon awaking, we are checking for road conditions again, and find out that they have opened I80, but not to trucks. It was so much more important to get the four wheelers up the hill to the Casinos than it was to let truck traffic through.
We had now logged another 10 hr break, and finding out that trucks were still restricted, we thought we would at least head that way, after all, they couldn't keep us off that road forever, or could they? By the time we hit Sacramento, still no trucks allowed, but thankfully, Craig knew a place we could park near where he used to work, so we hunkered down again and got some more sleep. By the time we had recorded yet another 8 hour break, we saw that they were now allowing trucks with chains required.
At Applegate, we were screened by CalTrans to make sure we had enough chains and was told that at Baxter we would need to put them on. Sure enough, we arrive in Baxter and trucks are lining up and down the road and the drivers forming their own version of a chain gang putting on chains. Not to feel left out, we parked and went to work. Now when I say "we", you all know that really means Craig. But if I do say so myself, I did a superb job of holding the flashlight.
With chains on the appropriate tires, we headed up the hill at the next CalTrans checkpoint, to make sure we had enough chains on. Given the okay, we took off and had no problems getting over Donner Pass and into Nevada where we had a fuel stop at Sparks and we took the chains off. Thankfully, we had no need for the chains the rest of the day, although Nevada websites and 511 failed to update with that information.
We finally called it a day in Wells, NV where we took a well deserved hot shower and had a nice warm meal. We still have 600 miles to go for our delivery on Sunday morning and as Craig told me, once again, we would have yet another 12am wake up call to hit the road Saturday morning. Nothing like getting an early start!
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
All this doesn't ease my mind much, as I know he will be taking off tonight at midnight to make his way south in an attempt to make his delivery in Long Beach. Odds are that the delivery will not be made on time, but more importantly, is our plan to meet up so that I can get back on the truck. If he can only get to French Camp we can make it work, as long as they don't swap out his load before he gets there and head him back north again..........without me.
Such is the life in trucking, Craig is at least prepared for his middle of the night driving. For the second time in three days, he has put on chains in anticipation of an interesting night of driving ahead of him. He is sitting idle at a rest stop in the middle of no where on Highway 97 in Oregon, waiting until midnight when he gains some driving hours. I think putting those chains on in daylight while he waited at the rest stop was a great idea, except for all the people that kept coming up to him asking if chains were required up the road. I think he got tired of explaining what he was doing.
He has been given instructions to give me updates throughout his travels tonight, kinda like a where's Waldo, via text messages. Sure beats me lying awake all night wondering what his progress is. If you have a moment, say a prayer, not only for Craig, but for all the truck drivers out there, making a living, and driving in conditions that are not fun for anyone........well except my husband, who always did march to a beat of a different drum..... and that's what makes him so darn lovable!
Friday, December 19, 2008
The night driving that I so dreaded has continued. Craig did safely arrive in Pacific, WA around 1am Thursday morning. I was never so happy to receive the text message that he was safe and sound, especially after checking the road conditions and knowing that Interstate 5 was shut down just shy of his exit due to an overturned big rig. Some how it's a bit easier to take when you are together than when parted.
At daylight, and after his 10 hour break, he received his next assignment to head over to the Fred Meyer DC in Puyallup, WA and deliver a load into Spokane, WA that evening. Oh Boy..... here we go again. But my husband, ever the smart fellow, didn't call and tell me any more details until he was almost over Snoqualmie Pass. In the middle of Wal Mart, with my Mom by my side, I think just about anyone in shouting distance could have heard my sigh of relief when Craig called. What I am sorry I missed out on, was the chaining of the truck and trailer. See, Craig made it almost three years in the trucking business without having to chain up. I would have liked to have commemorated the occasion with a photo opportunity, although I'm sure he wasn't near as excited about it as I was.
But the worse would not be over for Craig, because as easily as he made it over the pass in daylight, it quickly turned to night and the snow started falling. The road into Spokane was much worse as the snow plows could not keep up, and the big trucks turned into make shift snow plows as they made their way into the city. Getting to the store on city streets that had not seen a snow plow either was yet another adventure. When he finally arrived, he apologized to the store that it had taken him so long. They in return, were so grateful that he had even made it, ecause there were several trucks that they were expecting, that would not even attempt to get to them until morning.
At around 1am, he finally made it through the massive amounts of snow into the Company yard. This afternoon finds him yet again on the move, heading south into Kennewick, WA to pick up a load of frozen french fries headed to Long Beach, CA. We are both hoping to figure out a way for him to swing by and pick me up, and God willing the roads stay clear enough for him to make it happen!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
By 5pm, he had hooked up to his 12,000 pounds of fresh produce, and fueled the truck and reefer unit, and was headed North. With 900 miles to his final destination of Auburn, WA, he would have to knock out just about half of it Tuesday night. My concern was the weather and him getting over the mountain pass north of Redding.
This morning I received the phone call I wanted from Craig, letting me know he was safe and sound and at a rest area north of Weed, CA. It was about 30 miles short of where I had predicted he would get, and delighted to hear that the roads were clear of snow. I quickly informed him of the road conditions further north and surmised that he would have no problems weather wise until nearing the Portland, OR area, where they were being bombarded as we spoke. But knowing that he would not pass that area for another 7 hours, we both thought the worse might be over by the time he got there.
The plan is to get as far as the Company drop yard in Pacific, WA Wednesday morning by 2am at the latest. The load is due to deliver at 6am, which of course, Craig will not be able to do. It has been reassigned to another driver to pick up in the morning and make the final delivery. Now, to get him headed south again so he can swing by and get me back in the truck. I'm counting on the home made chili to do just the trick.
Monday, December 15, 2008
When I left Craig in French Camp on Sunday, brownie crumbs already on his shirt, he had the six deliveries of the boxed meat, waiting for him in Stockton and Madera. In the early morning hours today, he started his first delivery at 4am and by noon, he was in Ripon fueling up, and heading towards his last drop in Madera. All went smoothly, and when he went empty he was advised to dead head to Salinas for a load out of Fresh Express on Tuesday.
Here I sit, monitoring his route and the possible locations he could be sent, and trying to figure out if he will run into any winter weather problems when he heads up North. Not that I can do anything to change it, or help the situation, but it is always difficult to sit back and watch from the sidelines. Mom is baking some almond bread as I type this. I'd like to think of it as an enticement to have him hurry back and pick me up, but I may find myself still here on his next pass by as he happily munches on that darn almond bread going down the road.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
1/2 pkg. refrigerated pie crust (1 crust)
For the topping:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
For the filling:
1 1/3 cups sour cream
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 large Granny Smith apples (about 2 1/4 pounds)Preparation:
Place crust in pie plate; flute edges. Chill the shell while making the topping and the filling.
Make the topping:
In a small bowl blend together the butter, the sugar, the cinnamon, and the flour until the mixture is combined well and chill the topping, covered, while making the filling.
Make the filling:
In a large bowl whisk together the sour cream, the sugar, the salt, the vanilla, the eggs, and the flour until the mixture is smooth, add the apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin, and stir the filling until it is combined well.Spoon the filling into the chilled shell, smoothing the top, and crumble the topping evenly over it.
Bake the pie in the middle of a preheated 350°F. oven for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until it is golden and the apples are tender, transfer it to a rack, and let it cool completely. Serve the pie with whipped cream.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
See, I have never made a pie before, cookies are more my style, but with all the ingredients sitting out, I went about peeling, coring, and slicing the apples. Now I'm no dummy, I bought a pre-made pie crust that I could just place onto my pie plate, no need to cause even more stress than what I was feeling as I started this endeavor. The rest of the ingredients were mixed and the apples tossed in, and if I say so myself, it looked pretty good. It went from looking like this:
To this in only one hour and fifteen minutes: But the look on my husbands face as it enjoyed the pie.......................well worth the insecurities I faced as I made it. Look out Martha Stewart, there's a new domestic goddess in town.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Additionally, since we haven't had a Christmas tree, let alone a home to put one in for several years, we stumbled upon this little guy that was just begging to be taken home by us. We just couldn't resist, and we are now the happy owners of this little Charlie Brown Christmas Tree, which seems to put just the right amount of the holiday spirit to fill our little house.
We'll be back on the road on Saturday, and until then, you will find us enjoying our time together at home.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
But, that's trucking, so at the appointed time, Craig makes his way to the Shipper, gets the trailer loaded and makes his way to Troutdale to get scaled. For the first time in three years, he weighs out over the 80,000 allowed gross weight. It is now past 2:30pm, and he has to make his way back to the Shipper to have some of the product off loaded. By 5:30pm, he is legally scaled out and headed out of the Portland, OR area towards Spokane.
Monday, December 08, 2008
Friday, December 05, 2008
RWA Trucking is an open dock area tucked snugly, and I do use that term loosely, within a residential area. All around are signs posted "NO TRUCKS", which of course you ignore, but the real trick is trying to back into the docks with other trucks already there and safely miss the multitude of passenger cars that are parked up and down the street.
Craig called ahead to let them know, as per instructions, that he was scheduled to be there Thursday morning, to which "the guy" says to Craig....."Come on in tonight and stay and we'll load you first thing in the morning". But, before Craig can even begin to start out of the Company yard in Bloomington, CA, he receives a phone call back saying that his load is not on their list of loads and that it is probably at the harbor. Long story short, after numerous phone calls, it was determined that he should wait and drive into San Diego in the morning and by then they should be able to figure out where his load of bananas will be.
Thursday morning, on his way into San Diego, Craig calls and he is told to stage a few miles away and wait for a phone call. Finally, after four hours, he is told to drive into RWA Trucking instead of the harbor. Fearing the worst, Craig drives into the residential area and finds, to his surprise, that there are no trucks there yet and quickly backs into the dock area. It didn't take long before a constant stream of trucks start to roll in, and Craig, always willing to help out, aids the drivers with the difficult task of backing into the docks.
A short 45 minutes later and he is trying to get out of the San Diego area during early commute traffic. With traffic bumper to bumper in the direction he needed to go to scale out, he decides to chance it and start his way back towards the Company yard in Bloomington. He knows that he has one scale and an agricultural check to get through, and as he approaches, he holds his breath as he crosses the scales and gets the green light. Battling the commute traffic, he finally pulled into the yard at 6pm, about 12 hours after he had left that morning.
This morning, Craig decided to leave right after his 10 hour mandatory break was over and try and miss traffic, but traffic would not be his only foe this day. From the fuzzy picture he took, you can see that as soon as he was starting his way back down the Grapevine, he had a huge fog bank to drive into.So as I snuggle in one of our leather chairs, in front of our fireplace, having a hot mocha espresso and eating a couple of gingerbread cookies, he is slowly making his way North towards home. I only hope that the thoughts of the home baked goodies I will be making for him will help him find his way home. I on the other hand, get the pleasure of having that home baked smell fill our home as I wait for him.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
We didn't have time to paint the other wall, before Cori had to fly to California for a family function, but that gives us a reason to escape away for another girls trip in the near future. I couldn't be happier with the way it turned out and will be looking forward to transforming some other areas of our home.
On another note, Craig has made his way down into the Los Angeles area to make his delivery of frozen french fries this morning. We then will be doing the count down for him to make the journey back North for his home time which is scheduled to begin on Monday. I can't wait for him to see the changes!