Saturday, January 31, 2009


Yep, you guessed it, my husband was once again offered a bribe of home cooked goodies for leaving me in Modesto for a few days. This time, all it took was some BBQ chicken wings, chili, hard boiled eggs, and a plate full of chewy chocolate brownies. Now don't tell my Mom, but he would have kicked me to the curb for the brownies alone!

The delivery at Costco in Mira Loma was smooth as always, and we had little doubt, as I mentioned previously, that we would be headed to San Deigo for bananas. We thought we would leave a little earlier than usual to get to the Port ahead of our appointment time. We weren't the only ones thinking that way. Upon getting the 5 second security clearance with the TWIC card, we pulled into the dock area to see 5 other drivers sitting there as well. Since they don't even start loading until 9am, we had a while to sit and enjoy the sunny weather.

Just like last time, by noon we were on our way and headed out of LA well ahead of the late afternoon commute traffic. We made it as far as Fowler, CA where we called it a night and awoke to a truck stop filled up with not only heavy fog, but trucks parked in every conceivable spot they could find. We have never seen this particular place so jammed up before.

Carefully, we maneuvered ourselves out and back onto the freeway for a 7:30am hand off in Modesto of me, for the aforementioned food, that was sure to make Craig's tummy feel happy. We pulled onto the predetermined off ramp to find my Mother waiting, and the exchange was made, with the promise that he would return in a few days to retrieve me. That'll give me plenty of time to take advantage of some home cooking of my own and enjoy watching the Super Bowl while partaking in an adult beverage or two.

Craig will be making the delivery of bananas on Super Bowl Sunday in Puyallup, WA at the Fred Meyer DC. I doubt he will be having as much fun as I plan on having, but with any luck, he'll be on his way back south again come Monday. I'll be waiting at the curb, right where he left me, when he returns!

Thursday, January 29, 2009


When I stop and think about it, I have been somewhat in a “bubble of protection” the last three years. Most days, we don’t even know what day of the week it is. We get to be surrounded by great scenery, experience the change of seasons, and really, not have a lot of human contact. This is the polar opposite of my life before trucking. My life in law enforcement, for almost 30 years, was filled daily, if not hourly, by life altering situations. I saw the worst of what human nature is capable of doing, and rarely a glimpse of the acts of kindness people would like to do, but find their lives too busy to stop and actually do. Let’s face it, no one ever picked up the phone and called into 9-1-1 to say what a great day they were having and wished the same to us.

So imagine yesterday, after our unload in Mira Loma, CA and then spending the rest of the day at the company yard in Bloomington, ………yes……..wait for it…..…..waiting to pick up bananas in San Diego at the Port this morning, the dose of reality I got watching TV. There was talk of the family of 7 shot and killed, a small plane crash killing 2, the head on collision killing 2 that closed down a major Interstate in LA for 7 hours, not to mention, the police pursuits that they interrupt TV programs to broadcast in the event there is death and mayhem that they can air live.

I had forgotten just how much I was immune to all this while I had worked, accepting it as daily occurrences, and being surprised, and yes, even disappointed, when a day would go by without something dreadful happening. Being in my little “bubble of protection” I realized, has shielded me from what was routine in my previous work life, but it has also given me the opportunity to know what is really important in life. Do me a favor, before this day is over, make sure those important people around you know how much you love them………you just never know when that bubble might burst.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Sometime, during the night Saturday, it snowed, because on our journey back to Interstate 5 on Sunday morning after getting loaded in Tillamook, OR it looked as if a good dose of powered sugar had been sprinkled over the landscape. We enjoyed the change in scenery from the day before, and made our way to Canyonville, OR for the night. There, with no TV reception, we enjoyed watching the last of the episodes we had missed of "Life on Mars", a new series on ABC, on one of our laptops, with an Internet connection.
With plenty of time to deliver this load, we awoke naturally Monday morning, without an alarm, and to be honest with you, these days, that seems to be anywhere between 4am and 5am. I remember, back in the day, when that time used to be the reason to curse the alarm clock, but not now……boy have things changed.

Again, as the night before, while we slept, it must have snowed, as there was yet another fresh dusting of snow as we traveled over Grants Pass in Oregon and into California. We made it into the Company yard in French Camp for the evening, where Craig was able to get his 2010 registration sticker for the truck and I did a quick load of laundry. Then it was time for some dinner and a date with Dr. House and Jack Bauer.
Our plan today is to make it into the Company yard in Bloomington where we will stage for a 10:15am delivery time at CostCo, just a mere 15 miles away on Wednesday morning. We suspect, and I doubt anyone would bet against us on this, that we will be headed down to San Diego for a banana load, especially with our sparkling new TWIC cards in our grubby little hands. But as I have said before, that is the joy of trucking, you just can’t be too sure of what you will get next.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Most of us have have probably heard of the fairy tale about the Princess and the pea. In order to keep harmony within the small confines of this truck, from here on out, it is now the Prince and the pea. You see, my husband, has this extraordinary ability to know if we are one degree off center when he parks the truck. He never fails to lie down on his bed and instantaneously know that he will have to change ends in order to maintain the balance of having his head higher than his feet. Me on the other hand, could have and have had, blood rushing to my head as I lie down, and I will not change ends. Nope, not gonna do it, I am a creature of habit. So every time he does, I call him my little Prince and the pea.

Now, I will confess, and concede, that the top bunk is not the most comfortablest of bed. It has a split mattress, that if you do fold the bed up, there is a definite concave indentation in the middle of the bed when you open it back up. For that reason alone, we have stopped folding the bed up, and I have put up with less head room when sitting on my lower bed to fix meals. I figurered it was the least I could do, but Craig had other ideas.

Over the course of the almost 10 months we have been in this truck, he has bought additional padding to put on his bed in an effort to make it comfortable. When one was not enough, he bought a second one, and even with doubling that to make almost three layers of padding, that still wasn’t enough for my Prince to not feel the proverbially pea under his mattress. That is until today, when shopping at the Fred Meyer, where he found a 4 inch thick piece of foam rubber, which we both agreed should do the trick.
Back at the truck, I volunteered to assemble his bed, in hopes that finally, my Prince would have the good night’s sleep he has been so desperately seeking. I first took the bed completely apart. I rearranged and turned over the split mattresses trying to fluff them up to their original shape. Then, the first foam cushion went on top of that. Then the second foam cushion, folded in half to make it really cushy. Then finally, the mother of all foam cushions went on top, followed by a covering of a fleece blanket to keep them all in line and conformed to the bed.
I anxiously called my Prince back into the truck to try it out. The gleam in his eye as he saw the fluffy bed awaiting him was hard to miss, as he pulled himself up onto that mattress and boldly proclaimed that it was more comfortable than any bed he had ever been on before. And with that, at least the problem of a lumpy bed has been resolved and I doubt he will ever feel that little tiny pea I put under his mattress, but if he does, that just goes to prove to me and everyone else that I did marry a real live Prince after all.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


We stayed in Corning, CA on Thursday night, and then Aurora, OR Friday night. Not much happened between here and there, and this morning we found ourselves at the familiar Fred Meyer DC in Clackamas, OR, along with a couple of our other TWT drivers. We were the last to get unloaded, and as we had watched the other two drivers leave the lot, we wondered where we might be sent next. We both had our guesses, and much to our surprise, we were sent to the one place we very much wanted to be sent..........Tillamook, OR.If you remember, last October was the first time we were sent there, and ever since we have been wanting to go back. First, for the beautiful drive along Highway 6, and secondly, for the cheese, summer sausage, sour dough bread, and fudge we would buy for our dinner, but more importantly, the third and best reason..........the ICE CREAM. I've said it before, but the ice cream there is the freshest, best tasting ice cream, outside of the home made maple ice cream my father in law makes. Make mine a double scoop please!Without much fan fare,we made it into Tillamook just before noon and walked over to the visitor center to buy our goodies. Since we don't load until tomorrow at 1pm, we have a nice $104 layover pay for the day to keep us happy while we wait......well that, and the bounty of goods we bought to consume. Good thing we have a great Internet connection here too, because TV reception is out of the question. We've already decided to bobtail over to the Fred Meyer store down the street in the morning for a cup of Starbucks and some grocery shopping. That should leave us plenty of time before our 1pm appointment for one last stop at the ice cream counter before we leave town!

Thursday, January 22, 2009


We arrived at the receiver in Long Beach, CA Tuesday morning, to see three other TWT trucks already there, and before we left, three more would show up. This caused a problem, as this particular receiver usually only gets 4 trucks a day full of frozen french fries, and the refrigerated containers that they load the fries into, were dwindling fast. We waited almost 5 hours, (at $13.00 an hour), until they could scrounge up some additional containers. We were two of the last ones to get unloaded that day, while two trucks had to stay the night and wait until the next day to get unloaded.
As soon as we went empty, we were given a dispatch down to San Diego to pick up bananas, and to our delight, since we are the proud owners of our TWIC, we can now go to the harbor to pick them up. Sure beats having to go to the little hole in the wall, alternate loading place, tucked within a residential area, with no parking and little room to maneuver. Since it was past noon, and our pick up wasn't until the next morning, we decided instead of going out of our way to stay the night at our company yard in Bloomington, to head down Interstate 5 and stay at the one rest area that was about 50 miles from San Diego.
Arriving around 2pm, we had no problem finding a space to park, and took off immediately to take in the views. Say what you will about the Golden State of California, but it's coast line is one of the most beautiful, and this day would prove to be no different. Also, with the rest area being smack dab in the middle of Camp Pendleton, we had the added highlight of watching military training at sea and in the air. With the drone of the helicopters overhead, we retreated to our truck for an evening of rest and relaxation making use of the duct taped antenna.
Wednesday morning we arrived right on time for our appointment, and drove into the harbor, where we were confronted with our first check point. Here is where we whipped out our TWIC, had the officer check our faces against the photograph on the card, and gave us the go ahead to our next check point. We realized later that all the people milling around the first checkpoint were escorts, waiting for the poor soul who did not have a TWIC, and would have to pay $28 an hour for their services.
At the next checkpoint, we again had to show our TWIC, and were then given our port pass to proceed to the dock to pick up the bananas. As we waited for our turn, (yet another 2.5 hours of detention pay), I watched as other trucks left and made their way through the first of 3 checkpoints to exit the harbor. There, the Customs/Border Agents screened the truck for what we guessed was radioactive material.
With bananas safely on board, we used the scale facility in the harbor to make sure we were legal, (we were), and headed out towards the exit. As we approached that first checkpoint, we noticed an orange cone with a sign saying "closed" blocking the road. There was an alternate road around the checkpoint, which we saw an agent pointing to us to use. As we passed by, we found out why they were closed. Guess a lunch of fast food with fries was more important than checking our truck for anything illegal. Oh well, onto the next checkpoint.

At the second stop, we handed a copy of the bill of lading to yet another agent who stamped it and sent us onto the last checkpoint, where yet another agent took the stamped copy and our harbor pass and sent us safely out of the harbor. If President Obama is looking at way to cut costs, I think eliminating one or more of those checkpoints might do the trick.

We managed to avoid any major LA traffic, and made our way north to our first fuel stop in Lebec, CA, and then drove into Buttonwillow for the night with thoughts of a hot breakfast in the morning. With a Denny's across the street, that is exactly what we did this morning. Now with full stomachs we make our way north, with our final destination being the Fred Meyer DC in Clackamas, OR on Saturday morning. Yep, life's a beach and we couldn't be happier!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


If it's stuck and it's not supposed to be, WD40.
If it's not stuck and it's supposed to be, Duct Tape.
The quote above sums it up real well, and as I was watching my husband the other night, they are right. If you have a can of WD40 and a roll of duct tape, you can pretty much fix any of life's problems.

Since permanently installing our satellite dish up at our house, we have been making do in the truck with what we can receive on our TV locally. There are only about three places we have found so far, where TV reception is out of the question. So when we discover a new place, I get the pleasure of watching my husband leap into action.

He first moves the small antenna that we have all around the truck, turning and twisting it to try and receive a good signal, and then I see him reach for the duct tape and know he is trying something new. I watched as he found a metal pole he had purchased months earlier and stashed under my bed for just the purpose he had in mind. I now realize, what that strange lump was, that I had been feeling while sleeping!

Then he grabs for the trusty duct tape. A smile crosses his face as he starts the first strip going around the antenna and then the pole. As the fragrant smell of the tape is lingering in the air, he continues to wrap the two items together, until confident that even a nuclear blast would not cause them to separate, he puts the tape down and proudly shows me his accomplishment.
With the cable attached to the antenna, my man genius, puts the antenna towards the front of the truck, aims it out the window and viola.....we have TV. A few gorilla like pounds on his chest and a grunt or two and we have a satisfied male species in our presence. As the saying goes.....

"To err is human. To repair with Duct Tape, divine."

Monday, January 19, 2009


We all know how we should count our blessings, and I do, but I have also been counting the days that we have had clear weather of any of that white stuff, or even that wet stuff, that falls from the heavens. I for one. am counting that as one of our many blessings today, and from the look of the forecast, it seems we may have many more days of excellent driving weather ahead of us.

We made it into Selma, CA yesterday afternoon, and had the pleasure of spending some time with Craig's Mom and Dad, enjoying a great Mexican dinner at Sal's, and then some down time at their house. Craig was once again spoiled by one of the women in his life, with a bag of his favorite cookies and some pumpkin spice bread. I thoroughly enjoyed the pumpkin bread, it was so moist and flavorful, I may need to think of a way to ransom Craig off to get some more when we pass through Selma again!

This morning we were both surprised to realize that we had slept in until 6am. We knew we had a relatively lazy day ahead of us, so there was no rush in hitting the road. We made it as far as Wheeler Ridge, where we stopped at the Petro to do a load of laundry, which gave us the excuse to walk across the street to the Starbucks for a late morning coffee. Of course, just the sun coming up every morning would be a good enough excuse for us to partake in a Starbucks, especially when truck parking is close by.

With laundry done, and the last weigh station passed, we pulled into the Flying J at Fraizer Park, just a few more miles down the road, to fill up the tanks and reefer. We have over 45,000 pounds of frozen french fries, and with our tanks only half full when we loaded, we had to plan carefully for our fuel stops since we were only 100 pounds under the maximum weight allowed (80,000 pounds). With full tanks, we headed towards the greater LA basin and to our super secret special spot that we have to park at in Vernon, CA. This will set us up nicely for the 18 miles we have left to go in the morning into Long Beach for our 8am delivery and having to interact with Mr. Grumpy. Maybe a nice thick slice of the pumpkin bread might sweeten him up a little bit!

Saturday, January 17, 2009


You can all breathe a sigh of relief and sleep soundly from here on out........both Craig and I now have our TWIC (transportation worker identification card) and can now go back to the Port of San Diego, present our cards, and pass through three different check points, to be able to transport terrorist free bananas to a store near you.

It proved to be more difficult to pick the card up than it was to apply for it back in October. We were notified around the first of December that the cards were ready to be picked up in Pasco, WA, but it has taken us this long to get a load out of the area on a week day where we had enough time to go into the TSA office to pick them up and activate them.

So Thursday night, with me happily back in the truck, from my fiasco attempt to go home, we received our assignment to go into Kennewick, WA Friday morning to pick up a load of frozen french fries. With plenty of time to deliver, we knew that after we loaded we could drop the trailer in our drop yard in Pasco, and bob tail over to the local TSA office to pick our cards up. Little did we know just how busy it would be there.

The set up is typical "government thinking", with only one work station/computer to work off of. We walked into a small waiting area with 7 drivers already waiting either to activate their card or to apply for one. It was humorous sitting there listening to them do the normal truck driver BS talk with each other. Several of them were there by force, as they just weren't going to apply for this $134 ID card, but I think they liked the idea of keeping their job, so they were there, but complaining about it.
Luckily, the one woman who could do the applications was on lunch, and the other woman there was only authorized to do activations. After three other drivers were called in, we got to go in and activate our cards and leave, and it only took a little over an hour. We can now enter a port and not have to have an escort. Don't you feel better buying those terrorist free, Homeland Security screened bananas now????
Feeling like we had accomplished something, we decided to just stay in Pasco, WA for the night. Leaving this morning around 5am we headed south where we encountered a winter wonderland on Highway 97 between Moro and Madras, OR. Before the sun rose, we could see that everything was covered in a very white sheet of frost or ice. I was hoping to be able to take some pictures once the sun came up, but by the time I had enough light, we were into warmer areas and the frost covered scenery was just a distant memory.

The rest of our drive today was very peaceful and relaxing. No major traffic problems and we pulled into the TA truck stop inn Redding, CA around 4pm. We plan on taking showers in the morning, fueling up the truck at the company yard in French Camp, CA and then getting the truck a well deserved wash in Lathrop, CA. Then we will meet up with Craig's Mom and Dad in Selma, CA tomorrow night for a visit with them and a meal out..........Trucking doesn't get much better than this!

Friday, January 16, 2009


As we suspected, after unloading the bananas, we were told to stay at the Fred Meyer DC in Puyallup, WA and await a load which would take us into Spokane. This gave us plenty of time to think about the options we had once we made it into the company yard after unloading. You see, a few days earlier, I saw an opportunity to apply for a government job in Newport, WA, which is about 15 miles from where we live in Usk. The job intrigued me, and I liked the idea of being able to contribute again to our monthly income, at least until my retirement starts in 2012.
So around 2pm, with a very heavy trailer loaded with general merchandise for a Fred Meyer store in Spokane, we took off for an 8pm delivery. Thankfully, the pacific northwest has had a reprieve from the month of storms which bombarded it, and the roads were clear, and with only having to do battle with some fog, we unloaded and were in the company yard by 9:30pm Wednesday night.

The truck needed to be serviced while we were there, so Craig and I ventured over to our pick up Thursday morning, where we had last seen it buried in snow. We were happy to see that virtually all the snow was gone and we were able to hop in, de-ice the windows and go have a nice hot breakfast where we went over our plan for me to go home for a couple of weeks until Craig came back for home time.

After doing a few more errands, I loaded up the pickup with my belongings, and took off down the road. Now I was torn between my love of our life on the road, and a longing to settle down in our house while I drove the 50 miles to Usk. Although there were piles of snow lining the streets going through town, the roads were clear and relatively dry. That is until I took the final turn off to get back to our property.

The small lane was nothing but ice and compacted snow. Hearing Craig's voice in my head, I took it nice and slow and wound my way towards our house. As I rounded the corner I saw that some of the plowed road had been pushed into our driveway, on top of the snow that had already been there. These very large boulders of solid ice would prove to be difficult to move, but I was determined to make a go of it, even if all I had was a plastic snow shovel to do battle with.

I unloaded all my stuff onto the porch by raising it high above my head and then carefully dropping it onto the porch. With that done, I trudged through almost thigh high snow to get to our steps to enter the house. This is where I ran into a major conflict. With the door unlocked, I pull outward to open it and it goes no further than about 1 inch, and I hear it bang against something. Looking down, I see that the door can not clear the decking, as either the house had settled down under the moist conditions, or the decking and door had swelled.

"Oh great"... now what. I see that there is a metal flange on the door that I could possibly remove, "if" I had any tools to work with, which I didn't. At this point I am thinking to myself, "Do I really want to deal with this by myself, let alone, have to drive in snowy conditions, when I really don't have to"? WHAT WAS I THINKING????

I guess it would be one thing, if like my husband, who grew up living in the snow, it wouldn't be such a big deal, but I am a "living in the snow virgin", and I just couldn't at this point, without any assistance, deal with it. Also, since we haven't been there since the massive storms, no one has been able to keep up the snow maintenance. So, I trudged back through the snow to the porch, I somehow managed to raise my stuff back up and over the railing, and loaded the truck back up. With Craig's support, I headed back to the yard where I would get back on the truck.

We will make another attempt at going home the first week of February, where we can deal with these issues together, and be better prepared. Although it was a noble thought of going back to work, I strike that...... I know, I love the way our lives are now, with the opportunity for me to get off the truck and visit our parents, my friends, and yes, even our house, but on my terms and when ever and for how ever long I want. So, my friends, you'll have me around awhile longer, reporting happily, about our life, from my passenger seat in the truck, but I'm still wondering......"What was I thinking"?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


And really..... I'm not sure I have all that much to say. I was so uninspired with what I had to take pictures of today, that I resorted to taking a picture of me, taking a picture of me, in the side mirror. But I can't complain. The weather has been absolutely wonderful the last couple of days.
We left French Camp, CA, Monday morning around 7am, after waiting around for the shop guys to show up to see if we could get an IFTA sticker (yearly sticker that must be on the truck). We were told we would have to get ours at the Spokane yard, and with a 30 day grace period, we weren't too worried about getting it on time. The sun was shining the entire day, and by the time we made it to Medford, OR, where we needed to stop for fuel, we could find no reason to put any more miles in for the day and shut down.
We had some great TV reception, except for the channel we really wanted (FOX) to continue watching Jack Bauer take on everyone who gets in his way on 24. But between the networks and our laptops, we were more than content to be lazy and waste a few hours on mindless entertainment until it was time to go to sleep.
We were up and on the road this morning at 5am with foggy conditions that lasted until the sun came up. At that time, we had mostly cloudy skies the remainder of the day. Yet another easy day of driving, not much more than 400 miles and were made it to the company drop yard just 6 miles away from our delivery in the morning.
We suspect we will have our usual routine after we unload our bananas, that being to sit at the Fred Meyers and either get a load out of there, or be sent south for something else. In either case it usually involves sitting there for several hours until they figure out a dispatch for us. Neither one of us really cares though, we have kinda gotten used to this "lazy trucker" routine we have had the last couple of days, and just when you get used to it, we can always count on it changing. At least then, I may have something to write about!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


We are taking what amounts to a 34 hour reset of Craig's driving hours here at my Mom's house. That it worked so perfectly into the one day off we had requested at the French Camp, CA yard, was just perfect timing. And perfect timing is something we have had a lot of over the past, almost eight years, that Craig and I have been together.

One of the "perfect timings" was while Craig was in truck driving school, and he came home one night to hear that I had put our house up for sale. Now, don't get the wrong idea, I didn't go out and do it without his knowledge. We had talked about it, but he just wasn't sure I was ready to give up the cute little house we had worked so hard to fix up. He was more shocked, than anything else, to know I had moved forward with our plans so quickly, and thankfully I did. It was the tail end of the big housing boom in California, and shortly after we closed on our house, the bottom started to quickly fall out and the prices fell dramatically.

One of the other major "perfect timing" events was when we switched to the reefer division (TWT) from the boat fleet. We had sensed for a while that the economy was shifting, and fueled by the thought of wanting to be more regional than over the road, we made the switch last May. Within 4 months after we left the boat fleet, it was completely closed down and the drivers were switched over to the flatbed division. I'm glad we were able to make the choice of where we wanted to go, instead of having the choice made for us.

There have been so many times that we have looked at each other and said, "Boy, that was perfect timing", avoiding a storm or two, or accidents on the roads, or even being blessed to buy the pick up from Craig's Dad, at a time when his Dad no longer needed it to pull a travel trailer. But the most significant of these events has to be when we first met and then quickly married, which turned a perfect timing event into a perfect match!

Since finally leaving the snow on January 3, and heading south, we have had a wonderful week free of the "white stuff" and once again, the timing was perfect to avoid the mess in the Pacific Northwest while both Interstate 5 and 90 were closed due to flooding. Let's hope our trend continues when we hit the road and head north to make the delivery of bananas to Puyallup, WA on Wednesday morning. Like they say....." It's all about timing"!

Friday, January 09, 2009


Having been born and raised in California for all but going on a year now, I have had my experiences with earthquakes. No..... I'm not old enough to have been in the big 1906 quake in San Francisco, thank you very much, but during the Loma Prieta quake in '89, I was driving on the freeway to go shopping in Livermore when it hit. At first I thought I had a flat tire and pulled off to the side of the road to check, as others did behind me. Finding no flat, I continued onto the mall, after all, I had shopping to do.

It wasn't until later that evening, when I came home and turned on the TV, that I saw the path of destruction that the quake had left in San Francisco once again. All those years working in San Jose, in a building built on springs, the quakes we would feel while at work, were a nice rolling motion, nothing like what we felt last night while watching TV in the comfort of our truck.

Now granted, if you look on most tractor/trailer rigs, you will see the wording "air equipped ride", meaning that there are air bags for the suspension. Those air bags, no doubt, helped to soften the jolt of the 5.0 magnitude earthquake with the epicenter being no more than 5 miles from where we were parked. We actually heard it coming seconds before the big jolt hit. At first, before our minds could wrap around the fact that it was indeed an earthquake, we both thought it was just one of us being a tad bit over aggressive in changing positions on our beds. But being true ex-Californians, we quickly returned to watching TV and surfing the web on our laptops as if nothing had happened.

On a happy note, about 3pm yesterday we received our next dispatch, as many of the trucks that were there with us must have. When we awoke this morning, there was only 1 truck left sitting when there had been 10 just the night before. As I type this, we have driven down to San Diego, picked up some bananas, scaled, and are now headed back to the yard to fuel up before making our final drive into French Camp early tomorrow morning. That is where my Mom will pick us up for a day of R&R before trying to head up to the Pacific Northwest, where Interstate 5 and 90 have been closed due to flooding and mudslides. But enough about that, we'll have to deal with that soon's time to relax!

Thursday, January 08, 2009


We made it to Avenal, CA Wednesday afternoon, with a 3am departure time planned to make it into Long Beach, CA this morning. The truck stop we stayed at in Avenal, has to be one of the cleanest truck stops we have stayed at. This is the second time we have stayed there, and have noticed that more and more trucks are starting to use this relatively new stop on Interstate 5.

We were surprised that we had little, if no, commute traffic to content with once we made our way into Los Angeles, and arrived 90 minutes early for our 9am appointment. Having been at this particular place to deliver many times before, we are accustomed to the rather gruff yard manager, who we have named "Grumpy", and learned on one of our very first visits just how he wants things done.
So as we pull into the yard, we go to the area we know he wants us to park, and then walk up to him with the paperwork, and just politely tell him we are his 9am appointment. He actually thanks Craig and we sit and wait to be called to a dock. The fun then begins, as we watch other drivers, who obviously have not been here before, or remember how the yard manager wants things done, start parking here and there. We laughed as he starts yelling at the drivers, using very animated hand gestures, whistles, and yes, a few four letter words, to convey exactly where he wants these drivers to park.
We finally get called to a dock, and in short order we are, unloaded and informed to head to the company yard in Bloomington, CA. What a surprise when we pulled into the lot to see hardly any parking spaces, and at least 7 other TWT trucks waiting for a load. Add onto that the amount of System flatbed drivers also sitting around. We asked a few how long they have been there, and most said at least 24-36 hours. As I finish this up, two more TWT drivers have pulled into the yard. Looks like we will have to keep our fingers crossed, and hope we will be able to get that home time on Saturday that we requested!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


Shortly after I entered my last Blog update, we received a message regarding the two trailers with electrical problems. Seems there was a miscommunication between Road Service and Dispatch, and it was deemed that we needed to jockey both trailers to the Thermo King down the street to get repaired. We still had a flashing red light on our load, so off we went and about 45 minutes later, we had two trailers fixed and sitting at Fresh Express waiting to get loaded, and a green flashing light on our load. We hooked up, and with no need to scale, due to the light weight of the load (12,000), we called it a night in Salinas, CA. Up early, we knew we had to get the load as far as we could for a swap, in order for the 7am Wednesday delivery in Spokane, WA to be on time. Once the sun decided to show up, the day was sunny, with blue skies and a few clouds. What a change from last week and the storm we had to drive through in Idaho and Washington. I almost felt sorry for the driver who was going to have to take the relay on this load, but then remembered the same thing happened to us on Christmas, so it was a fleeting moment of sympathy.

Driving past Shasta Lake, we could see that the water level was finally on the rise a bit, no doubt from the snow/rain that has hit the area over the past couple of weeks. It wasn't until we crossed into Oregon that the skies turned a bit cloudy and it started to drizzle a bit. But what a nice surprise to be treated to a rainbow when the sun came out again, and we had clear roads and mostly sunshine the rest of the way into Chemult, OR where we were scheduled to make the swap with the other driver. We made the swap and are now in possession of nearly 45,000 pounds of frozen french fries destined to our friends at San Pedro Forklift in Long Beach, CA. The timeline on this load was a bit tight, so we went to bed early, knowing that we would have to be on the road no later than 3am today. The early wake up call would not be an issue, since Craig was up and ready to go by 2am, and with the added energy boost of a bottled Starbucks, we were headed south again.

This load will deliver Thursday morning at 9am, which should set us up nicely for a day of scheduled home time at our French Camp, CA company yard this weekend, where Craig has his sights and appetite set on some of my Mom's home cooking. We had to opt for a day off in California as the last time we saw our pickup in the yard in Spokane, WA it was buried under 5 feet of snow. That is one snow shoveling chore we can postpone for another day!

Monday, January 05, 2009


After leaving Selah, WA with our 42,000 pounds of apples, we made it as far as La Pine, OR for the night. We decided to treat ourselves to a nice salad inside the restaurant at Gordy's Truck Stop instead of me rummaging through the cupboards for something to eat that sounded good. After dinner, with a nice picturesque view from our front window, and no TV reception, we both settled in with our laptops until we were tired enough to go to sleep. It was nice to see that once we had crossed into Oregon from Washington on Saturday, any signs of snow or ice on the roads were non existent. Getting an early start on Sunday, we made our way towards the California border and a fuel stop in Corning where I made lunch and we took a short break. We stopped briefly at the Company yard in French Camp, CA to drop off some trip packets and called it a night in Santa Nella, CA, which set us up nicely for a 70 mile run into Salinas.We took a short walk once we were parked in Santa Nella to the Starbucks just down the street, and I had the pleasure of enjoying my first real cup of coffee of the new year and a little people watching too, as the holiday travelers were making their way home. We enjoyed some TV while having some hot soup for dinner.

This morning we arrived at Fresh Express at 6am and were immediately unloaded. We went to the local trailer washout to have the trailer cleaned prior to dropping it back at Fresh Express and this is what I saw:Now, as hard as I racked my brain, for the life of me, I couldn't figure out what an open can of whip cream would be doing by the wash bay, but on second thought, maybe I don't really want to know.

After dropping our empty, we were asked to jockey another empty trailer that was at the local Thermo King over to Fresh Express, and then check on three other trailers that had minor problems. Craig was able to fix one of the trailers so that it could be used for a load, but the other two had some major electrical problems that he didn't have the correct tools to try and fix.

We were given a load that was to be ready by 1pm. It is now close to 3pm and the red light on the dock is still flashing red. We haven't seen anyone pull out yet with a loaded trailer, and the hours are slowing dwindling on Craig's 14 hours clock. There may not be any snow here to slow us down, but the whole getting back to work routine at Fresh Express has come to a slow crawl.

Saturday, January 03, 2009


After our little fiasco at the border, we were instructed to go to Renton, WA and drop the heavy haul trailer we had inherited when we made our last swap, and pick up a normal empty trailer at one of the businesses we service. Wouldn't you know it, upon inspection, Craig discovers a flat tire on the trailer, along with a broken clearance light. A phone call to Road Service and off we go to the TA truck stop in North Bend, WA to get those two things fixed.

I have never seen that truck stop so deserted. Usually, it is packed, but with the uncertainty of Snoqualmie Pass being open or closed, and chains required, most truck drivers I'm sure made it down off the hill or over into the Seattle area as to not get stuck somewhere in between. It took about 90 minutes for them to work us into the work bay and change the tire while Craig replaced the broken light. Then we were off to Ellensburg for the night to stage for the pick up of apples in the morning in Selah, WA, about 30 miles away.
We have often wondered, being in Washington State so much, why we hadn't hauled apples before, and if you think about it, along with the celery we have hauled previously, all we need to haul is some walnuts and mayonnaise, and we have the makings for a Waldorf Salad. Yum Yum!

We were all set to head out this morning, when Craig noticed the driver next to us having a hard time pulling out of the parking space. Upon further inspection, the tires of the truck were spinning and had nothing to grab a hold of for traction. Here is just one of the reasons my husband is such a great guy and all around decent human being.
Without being asked, he goes out to help the other driver, even though others were watching from the comfort of their trucks. Down on his hands and knees in 4 degree weather he tries everything his McGyver mind can think of to do, to try and get the driver out. Unfortunately, it was time for us to leave for our appointment time and we had to leave before we could sucessfully free the truck.

We arrived at Zirkle Fruit and enjoyed getting immediately into a dock and loaded. What was great, was that they also had an on site scale, which we gladly used to make sure we were legally scaled. Off we went, heading south, towards warmer lands. It will be nice to head to Salinas, CA for this delivery of apples to Fresh Express, and not have to worry about snow or ice covered least for a couple of days!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin