Monday, August 31, 2009
I'm all about saving the environment, going green, saving a tree, and so forth. But the save the planet people in Texas, which seriously, I didn't think Texas thought of anything but football and beef, have decided to outlaw the idling of any semi truck from April to October. I've been to Texas in the summer, and it ain't pretty. I say we gather all the people behind this and make them sleep in a truck, in the middle of the day, with the temperature sitting at 100, and see how long they can last.
So anyhotcrossbuns, I was reunited with Craig last night, and his load of frozen french fries. After a very restful night's sleep, and fortified with a fresh cup of coffee this morning, we headed out, but with a pit stop planned for Selma for a visit with Craig's parents. It has been awhile since we have had a trip where we had extra time and this one fit just the bill.
We had a great visit, a fantastic lunch, and a stop at Wal Mart to refill a prescription, and we were on our way, but not without a couple of plates of Craig's favorite cookies. Didn't I tell you he is one of the most spoiled men out there??? We also were fortified with enough magazines to keep us entertained for quite awhile.
We are presently sitting at the Petro in Wheeler Ridge, staging for our 11am delivery tomorrow in Long Beach, CA. We have the heat shields activated and all the windows blacked out. I'm hoping when we wake in the morning that Summer will be just that much closer to leaving the building. Oh, and don't forget to say your rabbit, rabbit, rabbit first thing in the morning. It certainly couldn't hurt!
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Armed with a boost of energy, the three of us took off towards home after the movie, inspired to create, and create we did! First off, we all had quite a chuckle when my Mom started cooking the mancotti in boiling water. (Those of you, who have seen the movie, must certainly remember one of it's funnier lines). But then we started on some little gems called "Lemon Blossoms". I must give credit to Ms. Paula Deen for these little bite size delights, and they are so wrong on so many levels. The first being that I could quite literally eat at least half of these in one sitting!Now you must realize, just how inspired we must have been, to heat up the kitchen and start cooking, as it was 105 degrees yesterday in Modesto, and for the first hour that we were home, none of us realized that the AC was not working, as the temperature climbed to near 90 degrees inside the house. Finding the breaker box and flipping the switch did the trick on the AC, as we went about glazing the little bite size cakes. I probably don't have to tell you that there were some that either didn't make it to the glaze bath or were quickly disposed of when they were dripping wet.Needless to say, I would highly recommend that you try these out for yourself, and get the recipe here. Don't blame me if you become a total lemon blossom addict, I have warned you. Thankfully, I am going back out on the truck today, that is if I can heft my lemon blossom laden body up into the cab. But right now, you'll have to excuse me, it's time for me to saunter into the kitchen, to snatch just one more bite size delight, to calm my new found addiction.
Friday, August 28, 2009
While Craig was on his way there, I was busy having my hair cut in preparation of his projected arrival in French Camp to pick me up on Sunday afternoon. It's nice to have the short hair while on the truck, but along with it comes frequent cuts. I'll have to arrange another quick stop of in Modesto before we take home time in October for yet another cut and color.
As I type this, Craig is waiting patiently for a phone call to let him know what dock he is to go to. This particular load is scheduled to be delivered in Long Beach, CA at San Pedro Forklift on Tuesday morning. The lax time frame on this delivery will allow Craig to accumulate a few more driving hours. All he had to work with today was 7.5 hours, and with the drive from Pacific to Kennewick, coupled with the load time and scaling, he will be left with just an hour by the time he is done. That will set him up for a relaxing afternoon/evening in Pasco, WA before hitting the road first thing in the morning. Something tells me it will be another Adam 12 watching marathon for him today.
His plan is to make Weed, CA on Saturday, and then the Company yard in French Camp on Sunday, where once again, I will rejoin him on the truck. I do enjoy my time visiting, and I know it is never long enough for either my Mom or my Nieces, but even after almost 9 years of marriage, and being together 24/7 in the truck for almost 4 years, I still get butterflies of excitement in my stomach, when I get reunited with Craig........and I think that's a good thing.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
He did manage to pull himself away from his ransom goodies long enough to drive into the Company yard in Bloomington, CA to stage for his morning delivery in San Bernardino. That delivery went well, and after dropping off the pallets he was told to hook up to another trailer in the yard in Bloomington, and deliver the contents near Compton.
Inside the trailer were twenty pallets of freshly dug up Idaho potatoes, all snug in their bags. Their destination was to a produce outfit that according to Craig, was one messed up place to deliver to. At this point in our conversation, I knew it was a good thing I wasn't in the truck. The dock situation was so tight, Craig said he only had about 2 inches to spare on each side of his doors before hitting something. But that would be the least of his worries there. Seems when he checked in, they only wanted half of his potatoes, and he would need to pay a lumper, but that they didn't take a ComCheck. Thankfully, he had the cash on hand to pay the $60, but was quickly dialing into dispatch to see what they wanted done with the rest of the potatoes. After making sure that Craig understood not to move from the dock, they went about making phone calls to see what to do about the remaining potatoes.
A short time later, Craig was told to head to the produce district in downtown LA. Putting his navigation trust into our GPS, who we named "Dot", he was able to roll right to the location of the drop. What surprised Craig, was that the Receiver was a brand new, sparkling clean building, with five open docks, and state of the art flat screen TV's and surveillance cameras. Who would have imagined?
With the potatoes finally unloaded, Craig was given his next assignment to pick up juice in Vernon, CA tomorrow morning at 9am. With that information, Craig headed off to our super secret squirrel parking place in Vernon for the night. The load of juice is destined for Auburn, WA on Thursday. With any luck, I'll get in a quick visit with him when he drives through French Camp tomorrow evening. I have my doubts there are any brownies left from that ransom pay off.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
WHERE WE HAVE BEEN
A PLACE TO REMEMBER
WHAT WE'VE BEEN THROUGH
These words really say it all, after Craig and I finally took the time to stop at the Living Memorial Sculpture Garden, on Highway 97, just oustide of Weed, CA. We have passed it so many times, always commenting that we would like to stop and check it out. I'm so happy that we did. What an unexpected surprise tucked away at the southwestern base of my favorite mountain, Mt. Shasta, in the Klammath National Forest. This is a place for quiet reflection and a great tribute to those who serve in our armed forces. While walking around, I couldn't help but feel my heart swell. It swelled with sorrow for what has been suffered, it swelled with pride for those who bravely serve, and it especially swelled with appreciation for all the men and women, past and present, who put their lives on the line, so that I can live in the greatest Country in the World.
One of the first scuptures you see is the "Peaceful Warrior"...."There must be those who, loving peace, will fight against aggression to perserve that peace". Another scupture was the "Greatest Generation", which I think says it all as a tribute to those who fought in what is considered the worst of worldwild conflicts.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
But today is a new day and with it comes some good news. At around 10am we were finally dispatched to pick up frozen french fries in Kennewick, OR at Columbia Cold Storage and deliver them to the WinCo Distribution Center in Woodburn, OR tomorrow morning.
On top of that, we were also sent a pre plan dispatch to dead head to Hermiston, OR Friday after our unload, to pick up yet more frozen french fries, that are destined for San Bernardino, CA Monday morning. Today has turned out to be a good day after all!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Our next assignment, after of course our deter at the Starbucks, is to get a load of frozen french fries from Columbia Cold Storage in Kennewick, WA and transport them to another cold storage facility in Spokane. That will set us up to get the truck into the shop to see if maybe "this" time, they will actually fix it. Something tells me they just might do it this time, or suffer the wrath of the dispatchers, who would rather deal with us via the computer, than tie up their time on the phone.We don't load until 1pm tomorrow, so as I type this we are headed to Pasco, WA to the truck stops just outside of Kennewick. We will enjoy excellent TV reception, (will give me a well deserved break from playing bingo), and we have decided since we have so much time in the morning, we will treat ourselves to a nice healthy breakfast at the local restaurant nearby. I think I read somewhere that bacon, biscuits, and gravy do absolutely no harm to arteries.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
It was our first year of trucking that we happened upon one near our yard in Bloomington, CA. We were looking for a quick snack at the time, and when Craig saw the taco truck pull up, he rushed into action and soon returned to our truck with some tasty nuggets of meat and spices tucked into a soft tortilla. From that moment on, I was willing to go where I had never gone before.........in search of reliving that delectable moment.
We have had the pleasure of sampling some of the Taco Truck's other staples while at the yard. So yesterday, when we found ourselves with some time on our hands around lunch time, waiting until our appointment time for our next load., we decided to treat ourselves when the taco truck showed up.
How sad for us and our stomachs, when the time came for us to leave, and the taco truck had not shown up. With growling stomachs we headed off to the Shipper with our dreams shattered of having a delicious morsel of hand made goodness to satisfy our appetites. We continued to think about it, and Craig was even hoping that it would be there for dinner, but I scoffed at his wishes, saying that I had only seen it at the yard around breakfast and lunch time.
But wouldn't you know it, as Craig patiently sat in the front sit of the truck, longingly looking out the window for the taco truck, I was in the back of the truck on the computer, smugly thinking to myself, that he was wasting his time. And then the taco truck showed up . We felt as if we had won the lottery, and I was silently thanking myself for not ridiculing Craig for his unfailing faith in the taco truck showing up.. That darn burrito was so much better tasting than my words would have been, hot sauce or not.......
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Guess where we were from 11:30pm Tuesday night to 8:30pm Wednesday night??? Still looking at the entry gate to the previously talked about Receiver. Does this look familiar?
I was beginning to feel, no strike that, I did feel like I had been taken hostage, and believe me now, when I tell you this, unlike my compadres in Stockholm, I felt absolutely no loyalty to my captors. I know a lot of it had to do with lack of sleep, and I must confess my compulsive disorder that made me play bingo for 14 hours straight on the computer, certainly didn't help the situation. If felt as though we would never leave and when we finally did, I was too tired to even care.
But we did manage to get an 8 hour break in before we had to make our second delivery on this ill fated load. As I have mentioned before, I am a bit of a control freak, and when things are not going as I would like them to go, let's just say my intestines like to join in on the fun. So this morning, heading to our second drop and a location we have not been before, it causes me a bit of anxiety, so think to yourself just how smart Craig was to wait until we safely arrived at the Receiver, before telling me the reefer had showed an error message about 15 minutes earlier and was not working.
A frozen load, a warm California morning, reefer not working, and no signs of anyone in any big hurry to unload us. Cue the intestines to start doing the somersaults and you have an idea of how this load continued to be a pain in my, well........, I think you get the idea. Craig made the mandatory call into the Service Department, and reported the problem, and let them know we were at the Receiver, but that the reefer wasn't working. They were happy to just have us take it to the yard when finished, but Craig, ever the resourceful sort, took matters into his own hands.
First Craig checked all the controls on the panel, and then did as one highly paid computer tech told me when I asked him about computer problems......."Unplug the thing, plug it back it and reboot it. It'll work every time". And wouldn't you know it, the reefer started right up!
I'm happy to report that we are finally done with that load and are the proud recipients of a new assignment. We are picking up Dial Soap at a distribution center in Ontario, CA and will have a nice drive up to Grandview, WA with it for a Sunday morning delivery. Let's hope we have clear sailing for this one, my insides could use a break.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
We had been given a tight schedule, and dispatch had been informed that the delivery time would not be able to be met, but we were told to just go into the Receiver and that they would unload us when they could. Famous last words. This Receiver, come to find out, only receives from 7pm to 3am, and with us pulling up in front of their lot at 4am, we knew any unloading was not going to happen. We ended up dropping that load in the yard for another driver to deliver at a later time.
Flash forward now to us sitting in our truck, knowing that we are here during "normal" unloading times, and get the notification from the security guard that they will not accept our load. What the #&!%.......... Craig kindly inquires as to what is the problem, since we had an appointment time scheduled, and he was told, "we do not accept frozen loads after 9pm". You would think someone would have told our customer service that when the appointment was made, right???
Anyway, (deep sigh inserted here), long story short, we called our people, who took all the information down, informed us to stay where we were, that customer service would work on it in the morning, and to call our dispatcher at 6am. Check, check, and check. All done and still waiting to hear something back. Oh, and need I mention that we had a second delivery we were suppose to make at 6:30am?????
All I got to say is thank goodness there is a cookie factory right next door to our Company yard in Bloomington, and that said cookie factory was visited yesterday by two people who shall remain nameless to protect their identity, but that while there, they purchased some cookies at their outlet store at the special price of 10 cents a piece. This is exhibit A........the aforementioned 6 inch big iced sugar cookie:
And this is what is left of it.......and it's only 7:45am. Sometimes cookies do make life just that much sweeter.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
We will get into the Company yard in Bloomington, CA around noon, which will give us time for a mandatory 10 hour break before our first delivery at midnight tonight in San Bernadino, CA. We then have a final delivery at 6:30am tomorrow in Commerce, CA to finish up this load. No telling what we'll get load wise when we go empty in the morning. I'm not the least bit worried about it, after all, I'm enjoying my changing views, inside our air conditioned truck, sipping on a latte. Cheers!
Monday, August 10, 2009
When Craig was telling me about this phone call later, he had told me all the things he thought would be said and implemented. None of them sounded too good to me, and with the fact that all the office personnel had taken a 7% cut earlier in the year, so that the drivers would not be effected by the bad economy, I was braced for the worse.
As the conference call started, the Company drivers, such as Craig, were the only ones calling in. They would be addressing the owner operators and team drivers separately. As expected, the economy was blamed for the changes that were happening, and to be honest with you, we have been extremely fortunate, in that we really haven’t felt the crunch like so many others. Craig works for a family owned business, no doubt they have felt the effect as much as anyone else, and if we had to tighten our belts to weather through this storm, so be it, hit us with your best shot, and so they fired away.
First, they would cut the detention pay by 7%. Okay, I can live with that. After all, I don’t know of all that many companies that even pay detention from your appointment time, to the time you get loaded or unloaded. Then they said that the trucks would be governed (a computer on the truck with sets how fast it can go) from 65 mph to 62 mph. Okay, let’s analyze this. We drive 99% of the time in California, Oregon and Washington. Two of those states are 55mph and the other is 60mph. Now granted , that will make it a bit more difficult on the hills, but again, I think we can live with that.
Craig, patiently listening on the phone, was prepared for the other shoe to drop, and was surprised that there were no more cut backs presented. Really???? That was all?? WHEW ……talk about dodging a bullet. It could have been so much worse. So you might be asking yourself, okay we heard the bad news, what is the good news? Craig is still employed ………enough said.
Sunday, August 09, 2009
So on Saturday morning, before we even had a chance to call in, Craig received a phone call letting him know of his assignment, only it wasn't until Sunday with a pick up in Kennewick, WA at 11am. Knowing that we now had an extra day off, we settled back into our chairs, and then the power went out in the neighborhood. We didn't expect that either.
After waiting an hour to see if the power would come back on, it didn't, we went about packing up our stuff and loading the truck for our eventual return to the road. With no power, that meant no water pressure, so we knew we would be taking showers at the yard when we got there. It seems that just the day before, the brand spanking new driver's lounge was open for use, with three state of the art shower rooms, and a new laundry facility. We really didn't expect that.
After cleaning up and organizing the truck, we went to the local Wal Mart to buy some groceries for the next few weeks. While I went about trying to find a place for everything we bought, Craig went over the check list of the things he had put in a request to get fixed on the truck. Everything was completed, except the QualComm computer, which still doesn't work. We didn't want to expect that, but what can you do?
This morning we got up, grabbed a fresh cup of coffee out of that new driver's lounge, enjoyed our breakfast in the truck, and then did the pre trip inspection of the truck and trailer. All looked well, and so Craig pulled up to the fuel island to fill up. While I walked around the trailer to empty the garbage can, I noticed a rather large bald spot on the right rear tire which had been hidden on Craig's initial inspection. Time for a tire change at the trailer shop, and we didn't expect that delay.
We are now finally back out on the road, albeit with a handful of unexpected set backs and delays. I can only hope that that will be the last of them for a while to come, but to be honest with you, that's what makes life just that much more interesting. We like to roll with the punches.....that's just what we do, and would you expect anything else?