We didn't have to wait long to hear about a load swap. Arriving at the Tyson Meat Plant in Wallua, WA Friday night, we went arrived at shipper and then dropped our trailer. We found out our load wouldn't be ready until morning and that suited us just fine, as we were going to just park in their bob tail lot and get some sleep. We were beeped shortly thereafter with information to swap our loaded trailer with another driver in French Camp on Sunday. Works for us, as Craig had just enough hours to get us there.
Saturday morning we get up and hook up to our loaded trailer. I send in our daily hours and then give the weekend dispatcher our eta to French Camp, as long as the roads are traffic are clear, not even thinking that there might be a problem. I always like to throw in that disclaimer because you just never know what you might come up against out on the road. We get a message back saying that he has heard the roads are bad on Highway 97 in Oregon.
Well that got me into action checking the road conditions, and wouldn't you know it, since 2am they were requiring chains due to ice on the roads. We knew we had a couple of hours before we would be on Highway 97 so I kept checking and finding the same information listed on the website. At Biggs Junction, where Highway 97 intersects at Interstate 84, we decided to park and check if anyone was saying anything about the road conditions.
Our first clue that things must not be too bad was that the parking lot was relatively empty, so it seemed to us that no one was staging there until the chains restriction was lifted. We also didn't hear any info from any of the drivers and saw that trucks were leaving the Pilot truck stop and heading south, the direction we would be going.
Fortified with a sausage mcmuffin with egg, we took off to find the roads seemingly okay. We could definitely see ice along side the roadways, but in our opinion the roads looked passable. We started seeing trucks parked off to the side of the road from time to time, and then came upon another one of our TWT drivers pulled over and standing by his truck. We pulled in behind him to see if there was any assistance that we could offer. Seems when they called for chains earlier in the evening/morning hours, a lot of trucks pulled off to the side to wait it out. This particular driver was sitting on a sheet of ice and couldn't get any traction to pull away from the side of the road. Craig tried to offer him suggestions on how to get himself unstuck, but he wanted to wait for a tow truck. Who are we to judge and off we went. We did encounter a couple of trucks that had chains on still that pretty much held up the flow of traffic until we could get around them. We couldn't understand the need since about 80 percent of the road was down to pavement, but as soon as we could safely pass them we were off and ended up staying at a rest stop in Grass Lake, CA for the night. This morning we completed our run into French Camp, CA and handed off our trailer and took possession of a trailer loaded with bananas that we will take into Puyallup, WA on Wednesday morning. That should leave us with one more trip south into French Camp to start our requested home time by Sunday the 17th. You think someone just might be ready for a little R&R?