Saturday, October 31, 2009


Thursday night, after going successfully through the level one inspection in Banning, CA they pulled into company yard in Bloomington to catch some sleep. Friday, they stopped in Buttonwillow, CA to have Charles practice his backing skills. Craig put into use his small orange cones and Charles went to work. As Craig tells him, "I don't care how many times you have to pull up, or how long it takes you, just as long as you don't hit anything"......and so good.

As they ambled along up Interstate 5, Craig noticed the red light on the QualComm lit up. Upon inspecting further, there was information for them to swap out a load with another truck in Dunnigan, CA, just north of Sacramento. Well, this certainly wasn't expected, but it didn't come as a surprise either. The load they were getting was yet another load headed into Arizona, this time to the Tucson area where they would be delivering to 6 different stores.

Unfortunately, this new assignment didn't have the pleasure of plenty of time, so Craig crawled back into the bunk while Charles drove in an attempt to get some sleep. Craig is pulling an all nighter, as this load needs to be in Tucson by noon today. One thing is for sure, Charles sure is getting a taste of how busy the trucking world can be.......and by the way...........................

Friday, October 30, 2009


I confess, I was just like Charles (the trainee), when I was first out in the truck with Craig, all excited and giddy, about going through a weigh station. It was really the mystique of it all more than anything else. In my car, passing by and seeing all the trucks lined up like good little soldiers, I wanted to know exactly what goes on there, that us regular people weren't allowed to participate in. Little did I know just how boring and a pain it can be when you drive a truck.So imagine yesterday, after loading at Sara Lee in Tolleson, AZ and heading west, Charles announcing to Craig that he wanted to keep driving until he reached a weigh station that was open for him to drive through. Shouldn't be a problem right? Well they come up to the first one before they even get out of Arizona, and the green light on the PrePass goes off allowing them to pass it by. Crossing into California, they quickly come upon another weigh station but soon realize when they get the green light again, that the weigh station is closed.

But luck was on Charles' side when they came to the weigh station in Banning, CA. The trucks were lining up and right before they closed the scale due to the back up, they managed to get into line and await their turn going across the scales. Slowly inching their way closer to the scale house, it was finally their turn, as Charles drove the required 3 mph across the scale and was hit with the red light. What were the odds, with not even a week of driving under his belt that he would be hit with the red light and a request to head to inspection bay number 1 for a full level one inspection, which is the most thorough of all inspections you can have. Boy, Charles sure knows how to do it right on his first time, even the Officer had to chuckle out loud when Charles handed him his temporary commercial license and didn't even have 8 days worth of logs in his log book. But after a thorough check of all the required paperwork, and a complete inspection of the truck and trailer, they were rewarded with stickers on both the truck and trailer, and a reasonable assurance that they wouldn't be called in for another inspection at least until next year. Yep, be careful what you ask just might get it!

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Wow.....I don't know what happened to Grumpy, but according to Craig, he was down right chipper and dare I say.....pleasant and personable....while they were in Long Beach, CA delivering the frozen french fries. In all the times I have been there, I've never so much as seen this guy crack a smile, much less engage in any type of conversation. But yet, there he was, Craig said, chatting away, smiling, and being quite his polar opposite. Will wonders never cease.

After unloading, they headed to the company yard in Bloomington to await their next dispatch. Craig was hoping for this, as he (1) had some laundry he wanted to get done, (2) had an appetite for a taco truck burrito for lunch, and (3) confessed to a plan to walk next door to the cookie outlet store for a 50 cent bag of cookies. You gotta love it when a plan all comes together. Let's hope he brushed those cookie crumbs off my bed when he was done! Their next dispatch came over the QualComm, and it would be to complete a team load headed to the greater Phoeniz, AZ area with 5 different deliveries to Fred Meyer stores. That was the good news, the not so good news, was that it would be handed off to them at 3am in the morning, to complete the deliveries, with the first one starting at 11am on Wednesday. Of course that started a debate between us as to the time difference between Arizona, who like a stubborn child, has refused to participate in the whole Daylight Savings Time thing, and what time it would actually be when they crossed the border into that State. I'm not sure we ever settled it, but they made all the deliveries well ahead of schedule.You can see from this photo, that Charles is giving Craig the "stink eye" glare, as he took this picture for me. What my dear husband won't do to appease me, and I'm sure if Charles stays long enough to finish his training, he'll get used to being in front of the camera. They completed the deliveries and yet another first for Craig, tracked down the company yard in Phoenix where they called it a night. First reports on this yard are that it's facilities are comparable to our other yards in California. You can see from the photos Craig took, that it was sunny and warm in Phoenix.They are slated to get out of sunny Arizona today, with a pre plan to load at the Sara Lee plant in Tolleson, AZ and head north to the Albertson's distribution center in Portland for a Sunday morning delivery. As for things on the home front, I awoke to the first snowfall of the season, and a prediction of 4 to 6 inches of snow. Thankfully, there is a warmer front coming through later this afternoon with rain that will melt any snow left on the ground after this morning's storm. I'm just not ready to give up Fall yet for Winter.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Life in Usk, WA goes on as usual, with a rain storm coming and going from time to time. The mornings are chilly, with the temperatures dropping below freezing, and the frost leaving it's mark on the ground, the plants, and the windows of the pickup. They are calling for a wee bit of snow this week, but you know how those forecasts go....they are only right about half of the time!As far as Craig and Charles (his trainee), they arrived late evening in Spokane, WA on Saturday, and drove into the Pasco area to the Tyson Meat Plant on Sunday. I forgot to ask Craig how Charles took to the odor in the air, that I am sure hit him square in the face when he arrived. I always find the shirt pulled up over my nose, or my face buried in my sleeve works well. I'll have to remember to add those tips to my little book of helpful information that I keep in the truck for future trainees.

They dropped the trailer, and Charles was given the opportunity to show his backing skills, and then bob tailed to the company drop yard to pick up the loaded trailer of frozen french fries. The load is just under 45,000 pounds, and with a bit of adjusting, they scaled out legal, although they will have to do the fuel and weigh station shuffle, as they drive towards Long Beach, CA.

Sunday night they stayed in Weed, CA, and on Monday, after a stop at the company yard in French Camp for showers, made their way to Wheeler Ridge where they set up camp. Craig did the honors this morning, up early and on the road by 4am, to make the drive into Los Angeles and then into Long Beach to make the delivery. Best not to throw Charles into the massive highway system in LA in the dark. Currently, they are parked in the yard of San Pedro Forklift, awaiting their call into the dock. I'm sure by now, Craig has explained how Grumpy likes things done. Better to know these things in advance, than find out first hand how Grumpy got his name.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Craig has been busy the last couple of days. After loading in Durante, CA, and when I say loading, Craig had the pleasure of pallet jacking the 22,000 pounds of wine onto his trailer himself. True to my husband's adventurous spirit, he made quick work of it and was back in the driver's seat and on his way North in short order. He decided to make the company yard in French Camp, CA his stop for the evening, which was a great idea, because he was able to make good use of the laundry and shower facilities there.

Up with the sunrise, which these days hasn't been until after 7am, he called his next pick up destination in Sonoma, CA to see if he couldn't arrive earlier than the 1pm appointment. Sure, it would eliminate any chance of getting any detention pay, but if his calculations were correct, he would make it into Spokane a full two days ahead of delivery, and therefore get himself in position to drop the load early, and head out with a new assignment well ahead of the drivers coming back from home time on Monday. Arriving in Sonoma, amongst the backdrop of vineyards, he was loaded and on his way in under an hour. With a stop down the street at a public scale, he was on his way once again. Craig did have the opportunity to photograph another milestone with his truck, when the mileage rolled over to 400,000 miles. Seems like it wasn't all that long ago when I had documented 300,000 miles, but when you spend most of your time driving, it doesn't take long for it to add up quickly.While headed north with a destination of LaPine,OR he received a phone call from his new trainee, who had been put on a truck that was headed south. After a bit of discussion, it was decided to meet up at the Pilot truck stop in Chemult,OR and as I was talking to Craig on the phone around 10pm Friday night, the trainee was delivered to his door.

I haven't had the opportunity to ask the hundreds of questions that my curiosity ridden mind has, but they arrived in Spokane, WA last night, where they were indeed told to drop their trailer and hook up with an empty. Once that was completed, they dead headed to the Tyson meat plant in Pasco, WA where they dropped the trailer, and then bob tailed to the company drop yard and picked up a loaded trailer of frozen french fries, that will be delivered to Long Beach, CA Tuesday morning.

As far as the trainee goes.... as Craig and I like to far, so good!

Saturday, October 24, 2009


I've been asked a few times, what I do when I stay home, and Craig takes off in the truck, either by himself, or with a trainee. To be honest with you, shamefully, I do exactly the same thing as in the truck......a whole lot of nothing. I truly think, much to the detriment of my physical health, that I have perfected the art of just "being".........okay, it what it is..... I am a professional couch potato. I spend my days, much like in the truck, on my laptop, keeping up with the latest Hollywood gossip, the activities of my friends on Facebook, and conquering the latest level on any given computer game I might be playing.

Yes, I can hear the mumblings out there now..."just how does she manage"? and I'm here to tell you, it is an accumulation of the past four years of refining the art of relaxing. This from the person who in her pre trucker life, had to have everything scheduled at least 6 months ahead of time. Oh sure, I still get several phone calls a day with updates from the road, to know that things are running smoothly without my involvement, ( as if I really do anything, other than to constantly ask Craig the "what if" questions on the load), and between you and me, I'm sure Craig is happy to get a break from that from time to time.

I have taken to scouring the Internet for food recipes, and I still can not get enough of watching HGTV and looking around our tiny house imagining all the decorator touches I could do to it. Oh yeah, that is if only we had all that extra money we would need to accomplish all that my imagination envisions. I do get to enjoy some of the greatest scenery around, with a water view out every window and fresh mountain air just an open door or window away. But right now, you'll have to excuse me, I'm about ready to settle in for a Man vs Food marathon on the Food Channel......let my work day begin!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I guess it shouldn't come to anyone's surprise, that the trainee that Craig was scheduled to get, called into the office Monday and quit. I used to think hiring and retaining dispatchers was a losing cause, now I know hiring and retaining truck drivers is even harder. Yes, I get it, after all I lived it, having your spouse out on the road for weeks on end. That the separation is even harder when there are children involved. I really think that before a company actually hires a driver, that they should have a mentor, or support person available for the wife and family, to answer all the questions that come with the job. Just may help cut down on some drivers quitting before they even get started.

Craig ended up sitting at the yard all day Wednesday, but not without knowing what his next assignment is, and do I even dare say it? That he will in fact be assigned yet another trainee. Hopefully, this one will make it out to the truck, and last the entire training period. I know it's asking a lot, but one can hope for a better outcome this time around.

This morning will find Craig headed to Durante, CA for the first of two pickups. He will load at D'Aquino Italian Importing Company with what seems to be wine. This is a first and a load in which I wish I was going along for the ride. When he is done at his 10am appointment, he will head north to Sonoma, CA to the Groskopf Warehouse, where even more wine will be loaded into his trailer on Friday at 1pm. When loaded he will be headed to Spokane, WA to make the delivery on Tuesday.

Somewhere between Sonoma and Spokane, the plan is for Craig and his next trainee to meet up. Time will tell if the outcome will be the happy one that I am hoping for.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Once again, while I sat lounging around at home, Craig had to pay a visit to Ralph's in Compton, CA. This is at least the third time he had been sent there, and every time I haven't had the pleasure of being there with him. It seems every time he is there, it takes up most of his day with unexpected delays. Additionally, of all the shippers and receivers Craig has been to, this is one of the most challenging to get into and out of the docks, due to the limited space.

This time proved no different than the previous times there. Upon arrival this morning, he was given a dock, and then proceeded to try and get into it. He had no problem getting the trailer centered into the opening, but then abruptly ran out of room, especially with the long nose of a Peterbilt, trying to complete the back, when you take into account the two yellow cement poles and fire hydrant he had to avoid. But true to form of the majority of truck drivers, there were soon a couple of drivers out helping, and then seeing as they really were at a disadvantage, the driver parked next to him, unhooked from his trailer, which gave Craig the room he needed. Craig was able to repay that same driver, for when it was time for him to leave, Craig unhooked from his own trailer, to give him ample room to leave the dock. You gotta love that about these truck drivers! About four hours later, Craig goes to pull out and finds that unbeknownst to him, he had a trailer full of pallets he wasn't expecting. That means being sent down to the produce area of Los Angeles to drop off the pallets, and then make his way through late afternoon LA traffic to try and get back to the Company yard in Bloomington. By 5pm, he was finally at the yard and waiting until morning to receive his next dispatch. Still no word yet on the status of the trainee he is suppose to get. Maybe there will be some news in the morning.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Ahhhhh, nothing like waking up to the sound of gunfire in the morning. Saturday morning, at sunrise, and let me tell you, not a second later, the sounds of hunters in the mountains around us, was a symphony of gun shots, and I'm sure the frightful fleeing of many deer. Deer are plentiful around our area, in fact, when I returned home last Wednesday, after dropping off Craig, there was a herd of about 20 deer scattered around the property.

With Craig gone, and with me home all day to watch HGTV, I just had to do some rearranging and placing a few new items I purchased for our tiny house. And when I say tiny, need I remind you that it is only 400 square feet? I know Craig is thankful that we don't have more of a house for me to sit and figure out what I want to do with it. It's still a work in progress, as I still need to paint the third wall in the living room, and I'm still waiting, as you can see from the empty frames on the wall, for a couple of my photographs that I had enlarged to be mailed to me, and I need greenery in the wall vase......well you get the idea. But on a happier note for Craig, I have taken to trying a few of the recipes I have been collecting on my computer the last 6 months. Since spending time with my BFF Cori in Walla Walla, she has inspired me like Julia Child, and I have been trying my hand at some new things. On Craig's last night, I did a chicken with three different tomatoes, plum, grape and sun dried, celery, clamata olives, and potatoes, all roasted in the oven. I got to admit, it sure was tasty, and I'm happy for some left overs that I froze to eat later this week. But enough about home. Craig is slowly making his way south. He decided to stop around 11pm in Moro, OR Friday night. After checking with dispatch, and there was no scheduled swap in the works, he only went as far as Corning, CA last night. Today, he will drive into Wheeler Ridge, CA and stage for delivery, however, delivery is not until Tuesday at 9:30am, so he may have quite a wait on his hands, unless they come up with a swap on Monday. Now it's time for me to get back to watching HGTV and listening to the sounds of those gunshots in the distance.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Craig left early Thursday morning to head to Brewster, WA to the first of his three pick ups. He arrived at Gebbers Farms, which has been growing apples at the base of Washington State's Cascade Range for over a century. With over 5,000 acres of orchard, the Gebbers family now farms one of the largest contiguous apple orchards in the world. He was loaded with 20,00 pounds of apples and was soon on his way to Wenatchee for his second pick up of the day.Wenatchee is where things came to a halt. After checking in, Craig was informed that the product had not arrived yet, and further more, that they didn't have him arriving until 3pm on Friday. Craig sat the rest of the day waiting to hear word, but it would seem that the product would not arrived until this morning. He found himself a nice, out of the way, parking spot next to a warehouse, and that is where it settled in for the night.Thank goodness for detention pay, because it wasn't until 2:30pm when the product was finally there, and they went about loading it into the trailer. Of course, any thoughts of making his 9am appointment in Yakima was thrown out the window a long time ago. But onward Craig went, and upon arrival in Yakima at 4:30pm, and checking in, he was the 12th truck in line to be loaded. You can see from the photo all the trucks in docks and off to the left of him. At least on his travels over the past couple of days, he got to have some nice views of the Columbia River and the Grand Coulee Dam. His plan tonight, after getting the last 6 pallets of this load onto his trailer, is to try and make it to LaPine, OR. That will mean some night driving, but with getting loaded so late, he isn't left with much of an option.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


No matter how many times we do this, it never gets easier. Yesterday, after running errands and restocking the truck, we parted ways again. As much as I enjoy our little house on the river, I love being out in the truck just as much. But when we learned that Craig would once again, take a stab at training a new driver, well you know what they say......two's company, three's a crowd, especially inside a truck, and I was kicked to the curb.

His new trainee will not come on board until Monday, so until then, Craig was given a dispatch for three different pick ups, in Brewster, Wenatchee, and Yakima, WA to pick up apples. Those will be made today and tomorrow, and then he will head down to the dreaded Ralph's, in Compton, CA. That is, unless he is swapped out with another load on his way down, in order to be back in Spokane to pick up his trainee on Monday.We don't know much about him, other than he was originally hired on as a flatbed driver on the System side. He was only out on the truck three or four weeks, when he asked to be switched over to the TWT, because it offered him better opportunities to be home more on a regular basis. We all know that is one of the main reasons new drivers quit, and we are also all too familiar with how hard it can be. I'm hoping for Craig's sake, that this second try at training has a better outcome than the first time.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Not much going on in the Shantz household, and really, isn't that what time off is all about? In fact, we had the good intentions yesterday of going out and about exploring the greater Spokane area, but got as far as Best Buy and Target, and well, the rest as they say is history. After grabbing a bite to eat, we thought it was a much better idea to just go back home and relax, and have Craig play his new video games.

Right before we went on home time, I took these pictures and thought it would be a good time to share them with you. The first was at the Pilot at Biggs Junction, OR. We had a prime parking space, and a driver, wearing heavy gloves caught my eye as he was examining the grill of his truck. Others stopped by to converse with him, and as he stepped to the side, I saw what the attraction was:Seems somewhere on his travels, he made a direct hit with a bird. He was trying in vain to remove said bird, when he received more than his share of other drivers coming by to offer their opinions, because after all, I doubt there is a truck driver out there that doesn't have an opinion on something! He was unsuccessful in removing the bird, and just left it where it had embedded into his grill, but the looks of the drivers walking by and catching the sight, and then taking a double look, was very entertaining for awhile.

Now anyone out on the road can appreciate having bathroom facilities at the ready, and we can only be envious of those in the huge sleeper cabs which are self contained. So when I caught sight of this System truck hauling it's own restroom, I thought that was the ultimate in self containment.So tomorrow the home time comes to an end. Craig has a re evaluation on his back injury from two years ago in the afternoon, and then back in the truck. We will know later today if he will make another go of having a trainee, and that will determine if I will also return to the truck as well. But until tomorrow arrives, we are kicking back and getting real good at this relaxation thing.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


On our way home from Walla Walla, WA we decided to stop off at the Country Mercantile just outside of Pasco, WA. We have seen it, and it's advertising for their big rig parking, but have not stopped...... that is until we heard someone at the corn maze we went to on Thursday night, rave about it. So just past mile marker 30 on Highway 395, we pulled into their expansive parking lot. Off to the left, during this Halloween season, they too had a corn maze, but it was what was beyond their doors that tempted us on so many levels. They have a deli, a good size home decor/souvenir area and beyond that??? The grandest area of every kind of delectable treat you can think of. They had jams and jellies, oils and sauces for cooking, salsas of every kind, and a window to look through and salivate, while workers went about making hand made candies. There were aisles of these sweet treats, and hand scooped ice cream! So as not to go overboard on the sweets, they did have an area of their fresh field grown fruits and vegetables, but Cori, sorry, no white pumpkins, just the usual large orange ones. We left a with a bag of sweet onions, sweet corn, and macadamia nut brittle. Oh yeah....we also managed to have our arm twisted to enjoy a cone of that delicious ice cream, chocolate covered cheery for Craig, and I went for the coconut fudge almond. We were not disappointed.

We managed to get home just after dark last night, after stopping at the Wal Mart for some food supplies. Even in our extra small kitchen, I managed to put together a great meal tonight of grilled rib eye steak with onion/blue cheese sauce, Parmesan crusted potatoes, and some of that sweet corn we bought. I think we got a good start on making up for not getting good home cooking on the truck. Now let's just hope that the pants will still fit when it time to hit the road again!

Friday, October 09, 2009


We arrived in the Company yard in Spokane, WA Wednesday morning around 6am. After dropping the trailer and securing the paperwork for the load, we fueled up, vacuumed the truck and parked it with the other bob tails. Then it was off for the showers, after all, who wants to start your home time looking like we did, after being up all night driving.Then after unloading the truck of our personal items we wanted to take home with us, we finally headed out of the yard to our first stop....STARBUCKS! With caffeine in hand, we made the drive south to Walla Walla, WA to spend a couple of days with my friend Cori and her family. When we arrived at their property, we were greeted to the nicest accommodations anyone could ask for, and lest I forget to say, that Cori is the most gracious of hostesses and the hospitality she showers on you, makes you feel like royalty. Feeling pampered, well rested, and fed like we were going to be next month's plumped up Thanksgiving turkey, we were shocked when Craig happened to look at the weather at home in Usk, WA and find that it was going to be only 14 degrees Saturday morning. YIKES..... when we were last at home it was still in the high 80's and the last thing we thought about was below freezing weather. We were just happy to be day dreaming of finding those cool 70 degree days out on the road. Since we hadn't prepared the house for winter yet, we agonized over whether we should stay with our planned visit or leave a day early, and leaving early finally won out. This afternoon, after lunch, we will reluctantly leave our five star accommodations and head north to what is looking like is going to be the land of the frozen tundra. Thankfully, we did a little shopping at WalMart and had purchased our winter wear for the truck. Looks like we will be needing it sooner than we thought!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


I have posted a picture of this tree once before, when from a distance, I thought it was covered with birds, but upon getting closer, saw that is was covered in shoes. Over the past 18 months, the shoes seem to come and go, but lately, it seems to have been adorned with more than it's usual share of shoes. So today, when we had a few extra minutes, I had Craig pull over so that I could get a closer look. Well actually, I wanted to make a donation. With the rapidly cooling trend we have been experiencing lately, and especially with the unexpected snow storm, Craig's summer flip flops were put out of their misery and were destined for the nearest trash can. "Hey", I thought to myself, "Wouldn't they make a wonderful addition to the tree of shoes"? So here they are, their last moments before joining their new home along Highway 97 in Oregon, just outside the tiny little town of Shaniko. We tied them together with twine, and in one heave, tossed them high above the tree where they landed amongst others of their kind. How fitting that they should spend eternity hanging from this roadside attraction, or at least until someone comes along that might take a liking to them and unhook them from the tree. After getting into the truck to head off into the sunset, Craig spies this other tree across the street: Did you look closely? Looks like there is another trend on the horizon for old Highway 97, and one that I think would draw a whole lot more attention than shoes. I zoomed in close for you to get a good look: Yep, looks like the making of The Tree of Bras. Craig sped off in a hurry, before I could even think about it.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


After delivering our load of boxed meat in West Sacramento, CA Monday morning, we finally got the dispatch we were waiting for.....a run to Spokane, WA for our long awaited home time, after 8 long weeks out on the road. By the time Tony's Fine Foods unloaded the trailer, and we received our next dispatch, we were already 15 minutes late for our appointment, plus we had 40 miles to drive to get to Lodi, CA.

Customer Service was advised of our arrival time, and the good people at Pacific Coast Producers, put us on the "we'll work you in" list. Five hours later, and detention pay to lessen the pain of waiting, we were finally loaded and on our way towards home, which was the good news. The bad news, was that having been delayed getting loaded, we would not be able to make it into the yard by Tuesday night.

We stayed in Corning, CA last night, and tonight we will stay in Biggs Junction, OR where we will take a mandatory 10 hour break, and then leave by 2am to get into the yard by 7am Wednesday morning. Then we'll get to work doing some truck clean up, take showers, and turn in paperwork, before finally climbing into our pick up and taking off for a week's vacation!

Monday, October 05, 2009


Remember how just 6 days or so ago, we were wilting under 100 degree weather? And then how happy we were to have the cool, crisp days in Oregon, exhibiting the glory days of Fall? Well, after leaving Pasco, WA and making our way south along Highway 97, we caught the garbled talk on the CB saying something about 1 to 2 inches of snow??? We both looked at each other, with puzzled looks, since we both were donning our sunglasses and enjoying the clear, sunny weather.Then as we were driving out of the Bend , OR city limits, the skies darkened and there were small little pieces of hail hitting the hood of the truck. I glance at my little calendar on the dash, and remind myself that this is only October 3rd! We continue driving and the hail turns into snow, and not just a little bit, it was snowing heavily. I really couldn’t believe my eyes and what I was seeing. The further we drove, the more it was sticking to the ground, until we were past La Pine, OR and it looked like a winter wonderlandWe stayed the night in Klamath Falls, OR where the temperature got down to 32 degrees as we used the sleeping bags for warmth for the first time in a long time. When we left, we again had light snow falling from just outside of Klamath Falls all the way into Weed, CA. Now I was hoping to enjoy Fall before we rushed straight into Winter. I haven’t even gotten to enjoy the leaves changing yet. But I guess we should have known better, after all, some of the merchandise we delivered to the Fred Meyers on Friday was all Christmas stuff. I guess you can never start too early!

Sunday, October 04, 2009


Do you have those moments, when you get swept away thinking about what you would do if you won the lottery? With loads of time on the road, with only your mind as a traveling companion, it can literally make the day fly by. Oh, and when the both of us converse in this age old "what would you do?" can be quite entertaining.

A few months back, after years on the road never playing, we finally decided one day to buy a ticket, and play our numbers for 10 draws. We never checked the ticket, too lazy I suppose to bother, but rather dreamed of cashing it all in when it hit big. I must confess to an adrenalin rush one day, a few weeks after buying our ticket, when I heard that someone had won the Mega Millions, but had not claimed it yet. Could it be us??? Oh the anticipation of it all, until I checked the computer and found out the ticket was purchased on the East Coast.

Just like that, I was back to thinking about what might be, and when our 10 draws had run it's course in mid September, I didn't even give it a thought until we passed through Pasco, WA yesterday where we had bought the ticket. We walked into the convenience store, and I scanned the ticket on the machine, but the sun was shining way too brightly on the machine to even begin to read what it had said. I was sure it was the "sorry, try again" message.

So when Craig stepped up to the cashier to buy his longed for Diet Pepsi, the clerk, having seen my attempts to read the ticket, said she would check it for us. We both watched as she presented the ticket to the machine, and then wondered when it printed out a receipt. With a surprised look on her face, she said we had actually won something. You know how they say your life flashes across your mind in your last moments??? I think we were both thinking about how we were going to spend the money, when she calmly said....."you won $12 dollars". Well how about that?? We get the pleasure of another 10 draws and Craig walked away with a free Diet Pepsi! Winners indeed we were.

Saturday, October 03, 2009


Since leaving the Central Valley of California last Tuesday, we have experienced, dare I say it......Fall. Of course it rained on Wednesday, after getting the truck washed, but oh the sweet relief of crisp, cool days, is a very welcome change. As we passed by Mount Shasta, we could see the start of her new winter coat of snow. Into Oregon, and the Rogue River National Forest, there was just a wee bit of snow starting to accumulate on the mountain range. Yes, as far as the northwest is concerned......Fall is in the house.

Going on the adage, that a watched QualComm never beeps, we decided to go inside the McDonalds down the street from the truck stop for lunch. Somewhere between bites of their new Angus burger, which by the way I would recommend, the computer was chirping away, and then , and only when the last of my french fries had been consumed, we walked back to the truck to see the red light brightly glowing.Our pickup was for 1pm, but we were pretty certain that the load would be ready, and it was time for a change of scenery anyway. Arriving at the Fred Meyers, we saw two other TWT trucks also picking up loads, and proceeded to hook up to ours and make the pre trip inspection of the trailer. With everything in order, we checked in with the guard, were handed our paperwork and we were headed north to Tacoma for fuel.

The load we were given was to deliver to Ellensburg, WA at 6pm and then Wenatchee, WA at 9pm. As we have become accustomed to, the stores have no problem taking the loads early, and that was exactly what we had planned to do. Along the way, as I always do, I think ahead to where we might stay for the night, knowing that there really wasn't anywhere in Wenatchee to stay. But before I could work up too much anxiety about it, we were beeped with a pre plan to head to Wallula, WA and the Tyson Meat Plant for our next load. We zipped into Ellensburg at 4:30 and unloaded the 19 pallets of clothes and home goods. While in the truck, I checked the Internet and found that they had a Starbucks inside the store. DING DING DING....we have a winner and grabbing some money, off I went to get us a nice caffeine boost to get us through the rest of the night. Happily sipping away on our coffees, we enjoyed the scenic drive into Wenatchee along Highway 97, until all we could see was the moonlit silhouettes of the landscape.

By 8pm we were unloaded in Wenatchee and making our way south to Wallula. Our load was slated to be ready by 3pm on Saturday, and when we arrived at 11pm, we were shocked to learn our trailer was loaded and ready for us. We dropped our empty in their lot and told them we would pick up our load when our 10 hour mandatory break was over with. We braved the pungent smell that only a meat plant can produce, and decided to stay on their premises for the night.It is now 11am, we have our loaded trailer, and have scaled out as perfect as we can on weights and are headed towards our delivery in West Sacramento, which is scheduled for Monday at 6:30am. We have been assured by dispatch, that we are still on track for our scheduled vacation time on the 7th, where we will start out spending a few days with our great friends in Walla Walla. Fall weather, vacation, and friends to share it with.......what more could you ask for?

Friday, October 02, 2009


I know it must seem to my friends and family that I am continually connected to the Internet. It is true that I am almost always online, after all, I have plenty of time on my hands these days, since I quit working to join Craig out on the road. I use it a lot when planning our trips, and after going on almost 4 years, know just about all the exit numbers and locations of importance up and down Interstate 5.

I've become adept at deciphering the images on Google Earth, to find the correct entrance points at Shippers and Receivers, along with checking the streets surrounding the businesses for width and ease of turn radius. Microsoft Streets and Trips is my companion during the days, as I move along with our routed trip plan, marking off the miles as they tick away.

Of course Facebook and Pogo games are always running to keep me entertained when the activity on the road is slow, or the scenery passing by is a bit dull. It can be a bit challenging, along the bumpiest of roads, to even try and keep the laptop on my lap, let alone connected. It's a wonder this computer, a Toshiba, has lasted as long as it has, over two years, when all the previously owned ones have usually bitten the dust by the year mark.

So Yesterday, after making our delivery in Clackamas, OR were were told to deadhead to Chehalis, WA and drop our trailer at the Fred Meyer Distribution Center, and await a load on Friday. After dropping the trailer, we bob tailed a mile back to a little truck stop, and spent the day on our laptops. What was most enjoyable though, was last night, where Craig and I sat in the front seats, like going to a drive in movie, and watched from the dash of the truck, many of the premiere episodes of some of our favorite shows.

Having to deal with 30 second commercials is so much better than the lengthy ones on TV. We had our refreshments, a star lit, cool fall night, and each other's company, with a bit of hand holding and snuggling added to the mix. With the snack bar being only 30 yards away, we could stop and pause the show if needed for some popcorn and licorice!

To some, this may seem crazy, living most of your time out of a truck no bigger than a size of a closet, and having all your personal possessions fit inside a plastic tub. But life is, and will always be, what you decide to make of it. This lifestyle for us was a choice, and we couldn't be happier with it for now. The sense of freedom it affords us, and the memories we have created seeing the USA and Canada are priceless. Yes, it may be a crazy life, but it is ours!


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