Wednesday, September 30, 2009


We arrived at the Port of San Diego around 2pm, and were met with about 8 trucks already sitting and waiting for loads, not to mention the ones that were already in the dock. No worries though, as the detention pay started adding up, and trucks started leaving, we were finally in the dock by 5pm. They made quick work of loading the organic bananas from Ecuador into the trailer, and 45 minutes later we were headed out of San Diego and towards LA.

Thankfully, most of the commute traffic was over with by the time we hit LA, and we pushed onward to Wheeler Ridge for our first fuel stop. With it being well after 10pm, we decided not to drive any further, and crawled into bed for some sleep. In the bright light of the early morning hours, we could see just how dirty and bug infested the truck was. A quick message to dispatch, and we were authorized to go by the Blue Beacon in Lodi, CA for a truck wash. Back in our boat hauling days, when we were required to wash the truck and trailer every week, we frequented Blue Beacons quite often. I have to say, the company got their money's worth this time. They spent a lot of time on this truck trying to get it clean of the road grime and petrified bugs. With a shiny clean truck, we continued our trek north and called it a night in Corning, CA. Craig decided to sleep in, and around 6am we awoke and made the walk to take showers and do laundry. We are now 6 days and counting until home time, with our sights set on Halsey, OR tonight for our stop. That will set us up for a 90 mile drive into Clackamas,Or tomorrow morning for our 7am delivery of the bananas. The good news so far, is that there have been no kamikaze bug crashes into the windshield yet....but the day is young.

Monday, September 28, 2009


After leaving the rest area, we made a day of driving and stayed in French Camp, CA. We were able to get a great night's sleep, and then hit the road by 5:30am. It was a nice relaxing driving into the Los Angeles, with a stop at Wheeler Ridge for fuel. We got into the company yard in Bloomington around 2pm, where we received our appointment time for Stater Brothers in San Bernardino over the QualComm. Wouldn't you know it????? It was for midnight, Sunday night! Just when you think you are done with the middle of the night driving, it comes right back and pulls you in again.

With time on our hands, we settled in and made ourselves comfortable. What wasn't comfortable???? The blasted heat that is lingering here in California. Didn't anyone notify Mother Nature that it is the end of September??? I kid you not when I tell you that after visiting the driver's lounge and returning to the truck, the door handle was so hot you almost couldn't touch it. A check of the temperature, with it radiating off the metal trailers and asphalt, showed to be at 124 degrees! Time for being sequestered inside the truck, heat shields activated, and APU blasting.

While enjoying the cool blast of air, the QualComm beeped with a preplan to pick up bananas at the Port of San Diego Monday. That certainly gave us a good idea how the rest of our week will pan out. Sunday we did more relaxing and napping until we had to leave for the delivery in San Bernardino at Stater Brothers. We have been there once before, and with it being only 15 miles from the yard, we left at 11:15pm and arrived just in time for there "no arriving 30 mins ahead of time" policy.

The delivery went as expected, with a nice 4 hour detention, and time to cat nap to the jostling of the truck. Then it was back to the yard for yet some more sleep. We need to wait until noon, to get an 8 hour break in before we can head to San Diego and pick up the bananas. We should arrive around 2:30pm and then depending on how long it takes them to load the trailer will determine where we will make it tonight. All we know, is that we are 8 days and counting, from our well deserved home time and some cooler temperatures!

Sunday, September 27, 2009


I'm sure I am like most of you, and wonder just where our tax dollars go and wonder just how much waste there is in government work. Oh sure, as Craig likes to remind me, "You are an ex government employee", and I can tell you that I saw my fair share of how freely the money can flow. So every time we cross into California, and have to go through the Agricultural Inspection Station, I do my usual rant on what exactly is it that they really do?When we approach, we always have the bill of lading ready for them to check. What strikes me odd, is that as the Inspector comes to the driver's door, they hardly glance at the bill of lading and wave us through. Now most bill of ladings, you would never know what it is we are hauling by looking at it. Further more, when we are empty, Craig just announces that "I'm empty", and they wave him through without so much as a second thought, even though there is a big sign saying "all empty trailers will be inspected". So what exactly are they looking for? I'm convinced that the State of California could save some major bucks by rethinking how they do this agricultural inspection, but what do I know? Craig on the other hand, is convinced that someone will read this and make a point of pulling him in for an inspection. Somehow, I doubt that will be the case, but boy will I be eating my words should that happen!

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Seems like dreaming about that Starbucks latte was as close as I was going to get to actually drinking one. After arriving at the Lamb-Weston facility in Prosser, WA, and dealing with all the road construction, and trying to get turned around, we finally got told to back into a dock three hours later. Then we watched as five other trucks started to arrive and deal with the same chaos of the construction and limited space, as they started a congo line down the torn up street waiting for their own dock.

Oh, might I also add that the heat index was rapidly rising, and with signs posted for no idling, we did what any reasonable person would do. Rolled up our windows and blasted the APU. Boy that device is a life saver! One of the other truck drivers pulled out his lawn chair, and walked over to sit under a chair and wait out his turn for a dock.

Speaking of the dock, we sat at ours for yet another three hours, before they were finally done with loading and paperwork. There was a false start where they had us pull out, then figure out that they were short on their count, had us back back up to the dock, only to then figure out their mistake and finally have us shut our doors and seal them. But then you now know the sad story, that with so much time wasted, although with some hefty detention pay, we were running out of time to get scaled and hit the road, so my Starbucks stop had to be scratched.

After a few adjustments on the tandems, we scaled out just barely legal with the full limit of 34,000 on the trailer axles, and a mere 100 pounds under the 80,000 gross pounds for the truck and trailer. Off we went with the sun starting to set over the Columbia River, where we made it to a rest area near Antelope, OR and called it a night.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


After unloading at Fred Meyers on Tuesday morning, we were advised to drop our trailer there and await our next dispatch. Suffice it to say, neither one of us got much sleep waiting to hear the chirp of the QualComm with our next assignment. But long about noon, it did chirp and we were given not the pre plan that they had notified us of earlier, but a new dispatch which would be ready by 7pm and with two deliveries in Spokane the next morning.

One thing we have learned with the Fred Meyer loads, is that they will take you well ahead of your appointment time. What we weren't sure of, since our delivery times were 6am and 8am on Wednesday morning, was if they would taken them after midnight. With the load being ready by 6pm, we scaled out and headed towards our first stop.
After fueling at the yard, we arrived at our first drop around 1am. Craig went in search of an employee, and was told that they would love to unload us, however, that the person who had the keys to the dock doors wouldn't arrive until 4am. They further said we could back into the dock and await their arrival. We both climbed into bed and set the alarm for a nice 3 hour nap.

When the alarm went off, we tried to clear the fog from our brains, acclimate where we were and what we were doing, and then checked in to start the unloading process. We only had to drop 4 pallets, which was done in quick order, and we were off to our last drop well ahead of the 8am appointment time, and certainly within the 14 hour work clock.

By 6am we were at the yard, and were told to check back in at 1pm for any load assignments. We had decided to take another nap before heading out and doing some errands. We were able to pick up our new glasses, head up to our P.O. Box and pick up our errant payroll check, and swing by our house for a quick 30 minute walk through. We then decided to just head back to the yard to sleep in the truck in the event we had an early morning dispatch.

Craig called into the office while we were on our way back and was informed it would be sometime today before we would be dispatched on our next load. We both sighed a sigh of relief knowing that we would be able to get back into a "normal" sleep pattern again. This morning, after a good solid 10 hours of much needed sleep, we got up, took showers and did laundry, and then promptly received our next assignment.
As I write this, we are at the Lamb-Weston facility in Prosser, WA awaiting almost 45,000 pounds of frozen french fries. We had an interesting time getting into the facility with the road work that was being done right in front of their loading docks. This load will deliver in San Bernardino, CA at Stater Brothers on Sunday. It should be a nice easy drive south, with absolutely no night driving. The only way to celebrate that is a stop by the Starbucks down the street before we hit the Interstate........mmmmmm I can almost taste that latte now!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


As I write this, the truck is being jostled back and forth, as the produce is being off loaded from the trailer. Craig is up in his bunk trying to catch an hour or so of sleep. The last couple of days have really been a blur, starting with the marathon drive Sunday night. Craig used all of his driving hours to get us into Canyonville, OR, with the help of mass quantities of Diet Mt. Dew, and then the many stops for a bathroom break. He felt a bit jittery when we laid down to sleep, but he nodded off quickly.

With almost a solid 8 hours of sleep, we awoke to take showers and do laundry, before heading out again around 8pm last night. We stopped in Chehalis, WA at a WalMart, where I quickly did our next two weeks worth of grocery shopping, while Craig took a little cat nap. I gotta say, I love going to WalMart at 2:30am, and having the entire store to myself. The only draw back is maneuvering around the boxes scattered around the aisles as they restock the shelves.

From Chehalis, we only had a good hour to go before we arrived at the Fred Meyer DC in Puyallup. We were sent a pre plan load yesterday while we slept, which is going to require some creative thinking as to how it will all work out on paper, but as the previous entry indicated, Craig thinks he knows a way to make it work. A quick phone call in a few hours will confirm that and then it looks like we will be off to Spokane.

I'm hoping it does work out, as we have our new glasses that we ordered waiting for us at the WalMart, not to mention last pay period's check, which they mistakenly mailed to our home instead of directly depositing it into our account. If time permits, we will be making that run home for the check as well. Now I think it's time for me to crawl into bed for a little cat nap myself!

Sunday, September 20, 2009


After hooking up to the dry van in Salem, OR and heading south, we made it as far as Weed, CA before Craig ran out of hours for the day. While waiting to share a plate of Chili Colorado at our new favorite restaurant, Dos Amigos, Craig called into dispatch to let them know of his lack of hours to complete the run. Being a Friday afternoon no doubt played into the voice on the other end saying, "just call in tomorrow, and let Larry handle it". Nothing like passing the buck, but I was too busy munching on chips and salsa to even give it a second thought.

Craig had set the alarm for 1am to get an early start for our Saturday. He wanted to get into the yard in French Camp, CA and drop the load going to PG&E, and then hook up to a reefer and get over to Salinas. When the alarm went off, he bounced out of bed, announcing that he had some great sleep and was ready to go, as I mumbled a few choice words, which were muffled by the covers. Craig told me as he does most early mornings, "Why don't you stay in bed?", which I in turn, thought "why not?", and mumbled to him to be sure to take the right on ramp on his way south.

While I was being bounced around in the bunk, and trying to fall back asleep, my husband, was doing some heavy duty thinking while in the driver's seat. It really bugged us that we couldn't complete the Fresh Express load to Puyallup, WA, and in the very early morning hours, while bouncing down Interstate 5, it finally dawned on Craig how we could make it work.

During one of my many comments of "where are we now's?", he informed me of his plan. It was really simple. By the time we would get to Salinas on Saturday, we could start a 34 hour reset of his driving hours. Our load was not to be picked up until 4pm Sunday, but if we could delay that a few hours, we could get a 34 in and be able to complete the run without having to do a swap. Oh......and yeah, it would require 2 nights of driving. Oh well, that's what we have caffeine for, right?

When Craig called into dispatch upon our arrival in Salinas and told them of our plan, they couldn't have been more happier, or appreciative, especially after they confirmed that we could make our 5am delivery on Tuesday morning. Well, there wasn't much left for us to do, after we had dropped the trailer at Fresh Express, than to sit back and relax.......and that's exactly what we're doing. I'll let you know all about our trip up, and how we survived the night driving, when we arrive safely in Puyallup on Tuesday morning. Now where's the nearest coffee shack?

Friday, September 18, 2009


After two weeks of traveling between Emeryville, CA and Salem, OR, we are on the verge of dropping the dry box van in the yard in French Camp tomorrow morning, and then getting a refrigerated trailer back, and heading to Salinas, CA for a Fresh Express load on Sunday. Good thing about the past two weeks? We ran hard, up and down Interstate 5. Bad thing? Craig has just enough hours to get us to Salinas tomorrow, and then just enough hours to get only to Corning, CA where he will run out of hours. We'll probably end up doing a swap with someone either Sunday or Monday, but we do know one thing for sure, and that is that wherever we are tomorrow night, we will be for at least 24 hours until he can recoup some hours on his log book or maybe even do a 34 hour restart. Over the last few days I have been able to take a few pictures, not the best quality, when trying to take a shot of San Francisco from across the bay, or trying to catch a shot of the hot air balloons we saw early this morning near Eugene, OR. I'm hoping now that we seem to be out of the transformer business, at least for the time being, I might be able to find some motivation to take some more photographs. But right now it's time to hit the sack, we have a 2am wake up call! No rest for the weary, at least until Monday!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


If you want to know every little nuance of driving between Emeryville, CA and Salem, OR, we are the people to go to. Since the 8th of September, we have now had 6 dispatches which have taken us from Salem to Emeryville, with a couple of stops in Sacramento thrown in for good measure delivering potato chips.

There must be a massive need for these transformers, as yesterday, when we dropped in Salem, we were told to hook up to an empty dry van again, and head directly to Emeryville. When we got there this morning, we were told to take the loaded trailer to our Company yard in French Camp, drop it there, hook up to another dry van, and head right back to Emeryville to pick up yet another loaded trailer, and then head up to Salem as quickly as we can.

With the back to back dispatches, Craig's driving hours are getting slim as we have been using his maximum amount of driving hours the past three days, and will be left with only about 7 hours to drive tomorrow before we have to stop and be just short of delivering in Salem. I don't know when we will ever get a refrigerated trailer back, we figure they got a good two weeks to keep us on this routine, before they will need to head us up north for our requested home time in October.

One thing we know, it may be a bit boring, but when you are using all your available hours, you are moving, and if you are moving you are making money. That we can live with!

Sunday, September 13, 2009


As I mentioned in my last post, this run we are on has a lot of time on it, with delivery not until Monday morning at 8am. After leaving Kettle Foods, we decided to stay the night at our fuel stop in Coburg, OR. We were able to get a prime parking space and settled in for a night of Internet and TV watching.

We had no need to get up early, and finally left around 7am with our next fuel stop in Corning, CA as our destination. It was an easy drive into Corning, where once again, with a great parking spot we sat back and relaxed the rest of the afternoon and evening.

This morning we woke up and took showers, then did laundry, fueled the truck, and had an easy 80 mile drive into Dunnigan, CA where we are staged for our delivery in the morning. It's only 10am and with tons of time on our hands, I just may finish my book I'm reading and still have plenty of time to play on the computer. Let's hope we can get a change of pace load assignment tomorrow after we go unloaded. Even LA is starting to look good about now.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Well, after our totally filling Mexican Food dinner last night, we had a very restful sleep. Feeling a bit lazy, we slept in until almost 6am before heading out towards Salem, OR to drop the transformers at the Receiver. By noon we had arrived and went about scaling the load at their facility and then unhooking. At first, it was requested that we take a loaded trailer back to PG&E in Emeryville, CA, but the powers that be said to grab an empty and head once again to Kettle Foods for a load of chips.

Seems like a repeat of Tuesday all over again. We even saw the same driver, that we have been shadowing on the same loads as us all week, when we arrived at Kettle Foods. But it got a little interesting when Craig checked in and was told our load has already been loaded. A quick call into dispatch, then back into the office, then back out onto the grounds to search for a trailer that was brought in earlier in the morning. AHA...there was a trailer sitting on the lot that was already loaded and ready for us, all we had to do was hook up and take off.

Sometimes a weekend load is a bit crappy, when you only have just under 600 miles and the Receiver does not accept loads until Monday morning. That is the case with this one. We will definitely have a slow and easy ride into Sacramento, where this load is delivering to at 8am on Monday morning. I'm not sure how we are going to get out of this rut of transformers and chips in a dry box van, and get back to getting our normal refrigerated trailer back. But, as long as the miles pay the same, I guess it doesn't matter much, just remember to lather, rinse and repeat.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


It didn't take long for us to lose the nice cool temperatures we had while in the Clackamas area. As we headed south, I watched as the thermometer slowly rose higher and higher. We decided to stay in Roseburg, OR for the evening, after passing the Bayliner Boat Plant we used to go to all the time. It sure was shocking to see that their complex was almost empty of the hundreds of boats they used to have on their property. Looks like this is yet another boat plant that will be closing down due to the economy.

From Roseburg, we only had about 300 miles to drive to Dunnigan, CA where we were going to stage for our delivery in Sacramento this morning. Along the way, we stopped in Corning for fuel and showers. We were just about the only truck in the lot when we pulled in around 5pm, but come this morning at 3am, there was hardly room to maneuver our way out.

Our delivery at the Grocery Outlet in Sacramento went smoothly, as after our empty call was entered, any hopes of a nice Salinas run to Fresh Express was thrown out the window. We were dispatched to the PG&E complex in Emeryville, CA to drop off our empty trailer and then hook up to another dry box trailer loaded with transformers to be taken right back to Salem, OR.We were able to miss most of the Bay Area commute traffic and arrived in Emeryville at 9am. By 11am we had jockeyed around four trailers and were finally hooked up to our loaded trailer and heading back out of the Bay Area. We did our calculations, and with the driving hours Craig had left we knew we would be able to make it into Weed, CA for the night. I have mentioned this restaurant before, but you will really be doing yourself a disservice if you are in the area, you do not stop at Dos Amigos Mexican Restaurant. This is now our favorite place for Mexican food, and you can not get better service anywhere, from the made from scratch corn or flour tortillas, to the special roasted jalapeno peppers. It is always a treat when we can make a stop their for a meal. The load we are on isn't scheduled to be delivered until Saturday, but we were already told we can drop it tomorrow. We plan on being on the road by 6am and making our delivery by noon tomorrow. Hopefully, that will put us in line for a good run this coming weekend!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


After arriving at Transformer Tech, and hooking up to one of our dry box trailers, we inquired as to our next assignment. Immediately the information started chirping on the QualComm computer. We would be headed just 4 miles away to Kettle Foods, in Salem, OR to pick up a load of potato chips. Well this certainly was a first for us, and with our appointment only an hour away, we took off to get the trailer loaded.
It was quite the busy place, with trucks coming and going. We checked in and were told we would be called when our dock was ready. Two other TWT trucks pulled in that had also gone to get a trailer at the same place we did. About a half hour after our appointment time, we were called, and into the dock we went. It only took a few minutes for them to have the trailer completely loaded down with these tasty morsels. This particular load is headed to the Grocery Outlet Store in Sacramento, CA for a 5am delivery on Thursday. We are hoping to avoid the heat of LA and be sent to Salinas for a Fresh Express load. Sure would like to keep enjoying the cooler weather a bit longer, as it is predicted to heat up again this week.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Labor Day???? Nope......more like Lazy Day. Other than delivering our load of bananas to the Fred Meyer DC in Clackamas, Or, we did absolutely nothing on Labor Day. Oh sure, we lounged around as much as you can inside a cab of a truck, watching TV and surfing on the Internet. We had hoped for a dispatch when we went empty, but it would never come, and to be honest, we weren't all that much surprised by it.

On the way up to Clackamas on Saturday, we sure did enjoy the cooler weather that Oregon was offering. When we decided to call it a day in Halsey, the cooler temperatures brought with it some rain. Yes, that's right......RAIN. What a sweet relief that was from the hot, muggy weather of southern California. It was the first time in such a long time, that we for once did not sleep with the APU running. Then yesterday, after unloading, we were able to sit at the TA Truck Stop in Aurora with the windows down all day enjoying the cool breezes.This morning, with the windows having been left open all night, it was overcast and chilly, just the way we like it. But as the morning rolled along, the sun came out and it has warmed to a nice 65 degrees. We were beeped with instructions to go back to the Fred Meyer DC in Clackamas and drop our trailer. Then we are to bob tail to Transformer Tech in Salem,OR to pick up a dry box trailer. We have yet to receive an actual dispatch to know exactly what we will be picking up, that will come in time no doubt. We are just happy to be rolling again. Hope your own Labor Day was as relaxing as ours.

Sunday, September 06, 2009


When it was all said and done, we sat for 9 hours before being called to the dock to get our organic green bananas from Ecuador. It took them all of 15 minutes to load them into the trailer. The only thing that made the wait worth while was the detention pay for sitting that long, and hopefully the pleasure someone will get eating those darn bananas.

With an 8 hour break, we were able to do a split sleeper berth on the log books, and with having been in hot, muggy, smokey southern California since Tuesday, was it any wonder we wanted to get the heck outta Dodge, if for nothing else but a change in scenery. So after scaling out legal, we headed north and managed to make it over the Grapevine into Lebec, CA by midnight. We had a fuel stop there, and after discussing it, decided to just call it a night and we hit the sack.
Up earlier than we had hoped the next morning, we were sitting in the cab eating our breakfast, when I started noticing movement on the ground in front of us. I focused my eyes a bit, and noticed quite a few chipmunks scurrying to and fro. Not only were the chipmunks out, but also some rabbits. It was entertaining for all of about 10 minutes watching them, and then the lure of the road beckoned us.
The drive up Interstate 5 was uneventful. It was nice to see some strike teams from the fires in Los Angeles were being sent home. Couldn't help but give a silent shout out of thanks to them as they drove past us. We made it into Corning for the night where we began to feel just a wee bit of relief from the heat we have endured the past week. Speaking of that heat, check out our PrePass monitor.......the temperature must have been so hot through the windshield that it melted it from where it was adhered to the windshield.
We woke up this morning very rested, and proceeded to take showers, do laundry, and enjoy a nice hot breakfast as we waited for our clothes to dry. Our plan for today, well , we really don't have a plan, other than to just drive until we feel like stopping. We have less than 500 miles to our delivery in Clackamas, and several options for places to stop within 30 to 150 miles from the receiver. That's my cue to just sit back and enjoy the ride, and that's exactly what I plan to do.

Friday, September 04, 2009


Things I’ve Learned:

A universal remote control does not, in fact, allow you to control the universe.”

Hence the reason we have been sitting down the street from where we are to pick up our load of bananas for the past 6 hours. There were seven of us here this morning. We think the hurricane down Mexico way may have delayed the banana boat. I'm not sure we will ever get out of hot and muggy Southern California.

On the upside???? The continuous piling up of the dollars of our hourly detention pay.

Thursday, September 03, 2009


One of the joys of being a truck driver, is receiving the message over the QualComm that you have been selected for a random drug test. This is the third time that Craig has received this type of message, and the first one since switching over to TWT. The first two were while we were on the boat fleet, once in Pharr, TX and the second time in Tracy, CA. I don't know if the down time had anything with being chosen, but with 9 idle trucks sitting in the yard in Bloomington, waiting for load, we were sure of one thing.........that Craig wasn't the only one having to pee in the cup. At least 3 other drivers were sent the same message to bob tail to a clinic a few miles away and donate some urine for testing.
As I mentioned, it seems that they are having a hard time finding loads for all of us stuck down here in LA, with 100 plus degree weather and smoke hanging heavy in the air. But after two days of sitting, and with the layover pay that comes with that, we were finally given an assignment to pick up bananas tomorrow morning. That assignment came none too quickly, as I can attest to the fact, that these rather hot conditions, can tend to make us a bit cranky, but ever so thankful for the APU. I feel so sorry for the drivers without one.

After receiving the load information, and doing the usual paperwork, I set about looking up the weather fore cast for Clackamas, OR. I am so very happy to report, that if it stays as they predict, I'll have be in low 60 degree temperatures and enjoying some rain by Sunday afternoon. Right about now, that is music to my ears.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


Having been a California resident for most of my life, I have become accustomed to hearing about major fires, burning hundreds of acres of land. In fact, on Sunday evening, while in French Camp, CA we watched every local channel broadcast a fire in Auburn, CA which burned several businesses and more than 40 residences. In the midst of that coverage, we were also informed of the fires burning in the Angeles National Forest. Upon our decent into the Los Angeles Basin, we were starkly reminded of those fires. I doubt the pictures I took can adequately represent the magnitude of the fires that are burning so dangerously close to the urban areas of Pasadena along Interstate 210. The massive columns of smoke, back lit by the rising sun made it clear to anyone, that these fires were a force to be reckon with. With the cost of the fire already topping 21 million dollars, and the acreage nearing 150,000 acres of land, over 60 residences and 3 commercial buildings lost, we can not help but also mourn two brave firefighters who lost their lives, in order to save others. Knowing that Craig, in his younger years, worked these very type of fires, as a member of CDF, now known as Cal Fire, it puts a more personal aspect to what is happening around us. We pray that these terrible fires are contained quickly, and that no more loss of life, or property is suffered. We are thankful to live in a Country that has the best of the best in public safety, from those fighting on the front lines, to the ones who are often over looked, that work just as hard, inside every communications center involved in such an undertaking. May God bless and comfort each and every one of you!


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