Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Craig loves a challenge. Give him a load assignment that most drivers would say they can't make, and Craig will work with the numbers, and some how find a way to make the delivery and have it be legal. His brain goes into overdrive when he is presented with these loads, and as I have said before, I do believe you can actually see the steam coming out his ears from the brain cells going into over drive figuring out the miles and the hours it will take to get there, within the miles per hour allowed by law.

When he called into dispatch to let them know that the truck was repaired and he was ready to roll, little did he know just how much would be piled on his plate. There was a loaded trailer in the yard in French Camp waiting for him, loaded with bananas, which needed to be in Puyallup, WA by 5am Wednesday morning. No genius needed here to figure out that was impossible for him to complete, but they wanted him to get as far with it as he could, and then relay it off to a team.

The swap occurred in Weed, CA at 4pm, and faster than a speeding bullet, the trailers were swapped, and my man of steel was hooked up to a meat load with a delivery in Stockton, CA for 6am this morning. Brain cells engaged, and it looked like he would just squeak in at the consignee with nary a minute to spare. Off he went south again, and did a quick 8 hour break in Redding, CA. Leaving again at 2am, he had 200 miles to Stockton and 4 hours to do it in.

With no need to leap over tall buildings, Craig pulled into the consignee right on time and checked in for his unload. By 7am he was sitting in a dock, and once he gets a two hour break in, he will be able to legally leave again. That's the good news, the bad news is he only will have three hours left of drive time for the day, and that's just enough to get him to Salinas or to the company yard for yet another load assignment before he turns back into Clark Kent.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Sometimes, no matter how much preparation you put in, things will still be screwed. Such was the case yesterday with Craig's deliveries. Oh sure, the first one went like clock work, but it was just tempting the trucking Gods too much to hope that the next two drops would go as smoothly.

As was expected, the receiver in Livermore still had the issue of the tight quarters in the dock area, but to add insult to injury, they took well over 3 hours to unload 3 pallets of meat. Then once he got to the receiver in San Francisco, about 30 minutes ahead of his appointment time, they informed him that his appointment was actually 5pm, not 4pm, and that he would have to vacate the premises until his appointment time. Oh yeah, let's see how many spots you can find in San Francisco to park a 18 wheeler!

Driving around for awhile, Craig finally saw some trucks parked along a street and thought he just might as well park there too. It served him well, and at the new appointed time, he pulled into the receiver again to find the docks still full. Inquiring inside, and after reminding them that they had indeed said he would have a dock at 5pm, they booted a Foster Farms driver out, which made him a tad bit upset, but at least Craig was in a dock.

You would think life would be great at that point, but as Craig's 14 hour driving clock was dwindling fast, he started thinking of what his options would be. Since he started the day at 6am to get to his first stop in Sacramento, he could only drive up until 8pm. But as it turns out, driving would be the last thing he would be doing.

Tick Tock.....Tick Tock.....the 14 hour clock runs out and Craig is still in the dock and the last pallet is finally unloaded from the trailer just after 8pm. All Craig can do is pull out onto the street, park, and pray that it is a place he can legally stay for at least 8 hours before he can legally drive again. He notices a couple of trailers parked here and there, and walks the street for a bit to make sure there are no posted "no parking" signs. Feeling somewhat confident, he crawls into bed and hopes for the best.

Awaking around 4am, he does the "peek out the curtain" routine to see if there was a ticket anywhere on the truck. Finding none and breathing a sigh of relief, he proceeds to get as far away from San Francisco as he can, before the morning commute starts. He has an easy drive into the yard in French Camp, where his truck is promptly put into the work bay, and I am waiting to whisk him away for a nice hot breakfast at the restaurant down the street.

It seems all is right in our little trucking world again. Although it had it's rough moments, the last load was successfully completed, with a boatload of detention pay, the truck has been repaired, and Craig has a full belly. It may not have worked out as we planned, but it worked out okay, and we'll take that outcome any day.

Monday, March 29, 2010


The swap in Canyonville, OR with the trailer full of lumber didn't last too long. No sooner had the swap been completed, when Craig was told to take it to Weed, CA and swap it with another driver with a trailer loaded full of meat and four deliveries. The swap was completed at about 3am Sunday morning, with the first delivery being in Newark, CA at 11am. After completing the delivery, Craig drove to French Camp, where he would stage for the remaining three deliveries this morning and receive the bounty of food which I had brought to him.

We enjoyed a short visit, while partaking in Craig's favorite meal of Chinese food, and then I left, so that he could rest and get some sleep. He is currently sitting at the first of his drops today in Sacramento. Then it will be off to Livermore and then finally in San Francisco for his final two stops.

The stop in Livermore we have been to before, and didn't really enjoy the experience. The dock area was so tight, it was a real struggle to get backed into it. The stop in San Francisco is a new receiver that we haven't been to before, but Craig has done plenty of research, and is armed with all the information to get him in and out and back to the company yard in French Camp by this evening.

It seems that the truck has developed a slight leak of coolant in the line that runs over the fuel tank. The last thing we want is a reason to be pulled into the weigh stations, so the sooner he can get that looked at and fixed the better off we will be. With any luck, he will be in the yard early enough tonight to have it in the shop.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


When I last saw Craig, he was heading back to Fresh Express in Salinas, CA Thursday night. By the time he arrived it was well after midnight, but thankfully, he was able to find a parking space in one of the three small truck stops withing a two block radius of each other. He still needed to get the trailer washed out before dropping it, but had to wait until the wash out guys showed up to work. Therefore, he slept for a few hours, woke up, got the trailer washed out, dropped it at Fresh Express, and then bob tailed back to the truck stop to get some more sleep before his next assignment was dispatched.I think he managed a few more hours of sleep before he was calling me with an update. Later in the day, the dispatch finally arrived via the QualComm and he was hooked up and heading down the road by 4pm. With what is becoming the norm for just about all the drivers we have talked to, his driving hours would once again play a part in this dispatch. It seems the loads coming from Fresh Express lately have had some mighty tight time tables attached to them, and Craig's latest being one of them. It is due in Seattle by 2am Sunday morning, and no matter how much he would have loved to have made the delivery, it just wasn't possible with what he had to work with.

It was decided that he would have to power through the night and drive from Salinas, CA to Canyonville, OR where he would swap loads with another driver. Around 3:30am this morning, I got an email stating he had arrived safely, made the swap, and was getting some much needed sleep. In his possession now is a loaded trailer with of all things........lumber. This load is headed to Hollister, CA for a Monday morning delivery and within the driving limits of Craig's log book with just a few hours to spare.

It will also allow him to have some time to rest and hopefully catch up on some sleep. I'm sure the fact that he will be able to come through French Camp on Sunday and receive a bounty of home cooked food that my Mom and I will put together for him, will be enticing enough for just about anyone. You know what? I even managed to swing by the bakery down the street and pick up a few of those wienie roll ups, but Shhhhhhhh, don't tell him, we'll just keep that our little surprise for him.

Friday, March 26, 2010


How can you not be happy living in an area like this? Granted, it is only this beautiful for a couple of more months or so, until the hot California sun will have taken away all this lush green and replaced it with a dull brown landscape. Until then, I plan on enjoying it as long as I can!To say we have been lacking in the sleep department the last week is truly an understatement. As you have probably read from other trucking blogs, the "hours of service" rules that govern how long truckers can drive, can be a real thorn in the side, especially when you are forced to drive when you are sleepy, and aren't allowed to drive when you are wide awake. You just can't force a body and mind to shut down on a certain time table as most, if not all truckers will attest to.So over the past week, we have gotten sleep when we can, and just powered through the times when we couldn't, but would have given anything to be able to put our heads on a pillow. Wednesday, and I use that word loosely, as it actually seems like it was a week ago to be quite honest with you, we dropped the bananas in the company yard in Bloomington and received a dispatch out of Carson, CA with an appointment time of 8pm Wednesday night. Since Craig had been to this particular receiver before, he knew how they operated, and also knew that we could drop the trailer and park in their lot. It was an overnight run from Carson, CA to Tracy, CA so we hightailed it over there to shut down his driving clock, and give him the best shot at making the 5am delivery time.At best, we were hoping for an 8 hour break, but luck was with us, and we managed to get a full 10 hours sitting idle until the trailer was ready. Do you think that during that 10 hours we would be able to get some much needed sleep? A logical person would probably say yes, but try as we did, the only sleep we finally managed to get, was the 90 minutes between when we checked on the trailer after the 8 hour break, and when it was finally ready at the 10 hour mark.Off we head to Tracy, listening to as much old time radio, and comedy channels that we could handle. Craig was the trooper, and got us into the consignee right at our 5am appointment time, and no sooner were we unloaded, and we were told to head to Salinas, CA and drop our trailer for a load to be determined later. Driving another two and a half hours, we finally bob tailed to the truck stop down the street, and got some sleep.......four hours worth, but it was a solid four hours. I do believe our body clocks are so messed up, they don't know what to do.

Checking in with dispatch, Craig was especially happy to hear that our load would not be assigned until sometime Friday, but would we mind after our 10 hour break was up at 8pm, to bobtail to the company yard in French Camp,(120 miles away), and pick up another trailer to take back to Fresh Express? Sure, why least this way Craig was able to drop me back off at our pickup, and he could then drive straight back to Salinas last night, drop the trailer and still try and convince his body that he really can lay down and sleep during the night like normal people. But hey, no one ever was convinced that Craig was normal, but he's mine, and I love him anyway! Thanks Honey for a great week out on the truck. Can't wait until April to do it full time again!

Thursday, March 25, 2010


I've talked about the taco trucks in southern California before, but today was a first for me. While walking back to the truck from the driver's lounge, there was a very nice gentleman driving around the company yard selling fresh, hot, homemade tamales. I had my choice of either chicken or pork, and because there was no reason to choose between the two, I bought one of each for both Craig and I. These beauties were a sight to behold, especially since the provisions on the truck are getting down to items that seem to get passed by often when we are fully stocked. You know that lonely can of soup, beans, or tuna that gets shoved back in the far recesses of the cupboard? Yep that is what we are left with. So to give us a reprieve from items not so enticing, the tamales seemed to fill the void, both in our pantry and our stomachs. Now I can hear some of you out there questioning this food purchase, but we have never gone wrong, or had a bad experience, and yes I know, there is always a first time. If you are a bit adventurous, and like to live life on the edge, it is truly one of the best things about being in LA.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


OMG indeed......I'm not sure what day this is, and I may not even be sure when I'll be able to get back off the truck. This was suppose to be just a nice, easy, little run down to LA and back, but it is turning into a marathon of dispatches and very early morning drives. Not that I'm fact, one of the dispatchers, who has been with the company for over 20 years, said that they have never seen it so busy. I think Craig's log book can attest to that!Monday afternoon we did receive a dispatch while sitting out our 10 hour break in Vernon. Because of the "no parking between 2am-4am" in the City of Vernon, at 2am we took off to the company yard to hook up to our waiting loaded trailer of frozen french fries. After taking showers, and getting a cup of coffee, we drove back to Long Beach to make the 8am delivery. By 9am we were empty and directed to head to San Diego to pick up bananas. Seven hours later with a loaded trailer of bananas, and once again, no time left on the clock, we found ourselves parked for the night on a street in National City, CA which we were assured was okay to park on.

No sooner had we parked, when the Qualcomm starts beeping. Dispatch wanted us to drop our loaded trailer of bananas in the company yard in Bloomington, deadhead 450 miles to Salinas, CA and by the way, how soon can you accomplish that? OMG....after first catching our breath, we sat and figured out what was indeed possible and legal, and then called into dispatch to let them know what we could accomplish. First off, we had to take a 10 hour break, then we could get the bananas to the yard, after that it is anyone's guess what we will be doing. There was talk of heading back down to San Diego for another banana run instead of going to Salinas. At this rate, my little 3 day ride on the truck with Craig may turn into a full week. Aside from consistently getting up every day at 1 or 2 am, we are enjoying ourselves, enjoying the beautiful southern California weather, and even more so, looking forward to that vacation week!

Monday, March 22, 2010


Well, what they say about Ralph's in Compton, CA is true. I can attest to no truck driver exaggeration going on there. We actually had the good side to dock on this morning, and with an early morning appointment, the timing couldn't have been better. Even got one of the more spacious (which is stretching it a bit) areas to back into. But as we like to say, "didn't hit anything, didn't get hit, life is good". We were however detained at Ralph's a bit longer than our appointments allowed, so we were 15 minutes late to our second drop. Now the last thing you want to see on the freeway enroute to an appointment you're already late to is CHP doing a traffic break. We never could figure out exactly why, as traffic was moving smoothly, but after 3 or so minutes he took off and so did traffic again. We then saw another CHP unit doing the same thing on the opposite side of the freeway. Go's LA.....enough said. At the last delivery I was glad that Craig had me along to spot for him. We were given a dock, which when your doors are open, allowed for about 1 inch of clearance, from hitting the stairs. You can see from the picture, just how adept I am with my verbal backing skills to Craig..... you can also see, some other drivers weren't so lucky.

Oh get this, at our last drop, we at first thought there wasn't going to be a need for a lumper to unload the trailer, but after about 30 minutes, there was a knock at the door. I roll down the window and the young man proceeds to tell me his boss says that it will be $90 to unload the trailer, or if we want to do it ourselves, it would be free, and he was dead serious when he said it. After telling him we would be more than happy to have a CommCheck issued for the unload, I had a good laugh about the thought of us unloading it for free.

When we went empty, Craig had all of about 15 minutes left on his driving hours for the day, which made us boogie on over to our not so special parking place in Vernon. You remember it right? How after parking there on and off for over a year, right before Christmas we awoke to a parking ticket? Well, we will be parking there again, but only until Craig generates new driving hours at midnight. Thankfully the Grinch doesn't come around until after 2am to start writing tickets. By then we will be long gone and headed to the company yard in Bloomington where no one cares what hours of the day you park.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Well, maybe it wasn't the trainee that looked like he was 12 years old after all, that caused them to be pulled into the weigh stations for inspections. Maybe it's some magical, invisible, flashing neon sign, attached to the truck, because this morning at 4am, with no other trucks in sight, Craig got pulled into the scales in Dunsmuir, CA. We're not talking a simple Level 3 this time....Oh No......he got the mother of all inspections, the Level 1.

I'm beginning to think that the State of California has ramped up their inspections trying to earn a bit more revenue. But they came up empty handed with Craig, he passed with flying colors and is proudly displaying a green 2010 sticker on both the tractor and trailer. What wasn't too cool, was the extra 30 minutes it took off of Craig's driving hours. He is so tight on his schedule with three deliveries in the LA area, that he will need to stay put in Vernon and leave after midnight. We learned our lesson last time there, no staying in Vernon between 2am and 4am, as neither one of us would like to venture what a second parking violation would amount to.

But on a happy note, I drove out to French Camp this morning and loaded myself into the truck for a nice little three day trip with Craig. I've already made myself useful by filling out all the paperwork on this three deliveries and have somewhat made myself familiar with the routing into each stop. We are hoping to get an idea on where to head after we go empty so we know what direction to head at midnight. If all else fails, we'll just drive into the company yard in Bloomington to await our next dispatch.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


It feels more like the first day of summer. It has been almost 80 degrees here at my Mom's house the last couple of days. I keep longingly looking at the temperatures back home in Usk, WA and see that the mornings are in the 20's and it only gets up to maybe 50 during the day. (sigh)...... I miss that...... I hope it remains that way in three weeks, when I'll be enjoying a nice hot cup of coffee on our front porch with Craig. Speaking of Craig, he made his 4am delivery in Spokane at the U.R.M. Distribution Center, and then ended up collecting 5 hours of detention pay while they sorted out some product that was mislabeled and about 12 cases of yogurt that they didn't order. In the end, after sitting there while the powers that be made phones calls back and forth to each other, he ended up leaving all of the product there after all, and took off for the company yard.

Later in the afternoon, he was given a load assignment to pick up meat in Wallula, WA at the Tyson Plant for this morning. He decided to go ahead and drive the three hours there, drop the trailer, and stage in their lot until his load would be ready. Upon awaking this morning, he hooked up to his loaded trailer, scaled out, and was happily heading south towards the three drops that he has in the LA area.

When I say happily, it's because he will be coming through French Camp Sunday morning and picking me up to join him for his deliveries. I'll only be on the truck for what we predict will be 3 days, just long enough to make the deliveries and then get a load going back up north. But regardless, we're sure to have lots of fun.....after all how couldn't we.......he is slated to deliver at the dreaded Ralph's in Compton, CA and I'll finally get to see the place with my own eyes.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


After all the work that has been going on at my Mom's house over the past 7 weeks, we thought it was about time to treat ourselves to a little bit of fun. Early this morning, my Mom and twin Nieces, got into our pickup, and we took off to the one place that brings a smile to just about every woman on the face of the earth.......OUTLET STORES! We had a beautiful drive from Modesto to Gilroy, CA to feast our eyes on over 145 different stores. If you felt you were lacking something in your life, then this was the place to go to try and fill that void. We were under a bit of a time constraint, and to be honest with you, I'm glad we were. Both of my Nieces had to be back home by 5pm, one for night school and the other for a training session at the gym. If it wasn't for having to leave when we did, I just may have had to fib to Craig about just how much I spent, but thankfully, I was able to keep it to just the bare essentials. On our way home, the back of the truck loaded down with our packages, I was ever so happy to see that the scales in Santa Nella were closed for northbound traffic. I seriously doubt that we would have passed on the weight limit had it been a requirement for us to stop. We arrived safely home and after unloading our packages, and doing a little impromptu fashion show with all of our new things, it was definitely time for my Mom and I to put our feet up. Speaking of relaxing, with the limited hours of driving time Craig had on the books, he had a leisurely drive from Weed, CA into Wilsonville, OR yesterday. He swapped out his loaded trailer with another driver who had an empty trailer. This morning he was given a load assignment to head to Sunshine Dairy in Portland and pick up over 40,000 pounds of yogurt.

He was able to drive only as far as north of Pasco, before having to shut down because of his low driving hours. He will need to leave around 1am tomorrow morning to make his 4am delivery in Spokane. He is happy to report that his hours will be looking real good come Friday and that he should be able to get a good run out of Spokane. That makes me happy too, because after all, if the wheels are moving, he's making money, and I need to pay for all those things I just couldn't live without at the Outlet Stores.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Today we are back on track with trucking news. After all isn't that what most of you come to this blog for? I may be wrong, and if so, I'll be sure to throw in a few mundane things we do while off the truck. Oh and when I say "we", I really mean just me, because let's face it, it seems like Craig is never off the truck. But before I start rambling too much, let's get back to the subject matter.

Monday while on his way to Fresh Express in Salinas, CA, after I jumped ship and headed back to my Mom's house, Craig was called several times wanting to know just how long it would take him to get there. Seems they were having a shortage of trailers and his empty trailer was in hot demand. After having it washed out and then dropped in the yard at Fresh Express, he was given an assignment, which after doing the math, it was determined the load would take 42 hours of driving and break times and if he was able to leave right then, there was only 36 hours left before the first appointment. Sometimes no matter how you do the math, it just doesn't compute.

With what hours he had left on his 14 hour clock, he was asked to take it as far as the company yard in French Camp where another driver would have the honors of getting it just that much further down the road. It seems to us that freight is way up lately and everyone we have talked to, including Craig, are rapidly running out of hours to drive, but that is always a good thing for the paycheck.

After spending the night in French Camp, he was again told to head back to Fresh Express to drop yet another empty trailer and await a dispatch on another load going out later in the day. By 7pm, he finally had his loaded trailer and an assignment which again, doing the math, was impossible for him to complete with the hours he had left on the books over the next few days. Trust me, Craig will rack his brain trying any number of combinations of driving hours and required breaks before he will admit defeat and inform dispatch he can not legally complete the run.

So, leaving Salinas around 7pm he was told to drive as far as he could and check back in the morning. He made it as far as Weed, CA around 3am and called it a night. This morning when he called to ask what the plan was, they still didn't know what they would do, but with his remaining 7 hours that he had to drive today, he was told to make it to drop yard just south of Aurora, OR and that hopefully by then, some type of plan would have been formulated.

It's now around 4pm and I have yet to hear from Craig about a swap or a drop. We do know that he can not even come close to getting it delivered by the first appointment time of the three drops assigned to this load. No doubt he will be spending the night in the drop yard and receive a new assignment sometime tomorrow. Too bad for him he didn't get to come back through town, because that left over corn beef sure tasted good today at lunch, with a side of that bread pudding!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I never had the privilege to meet Craig's Grandfather on his Mother's side, who are by the way Irish. The name he went by was "Shorty", because of his height, but in Craig's eyes he was a giant of man. I do believe that Craig's wicked dry sense of humor came from his Mother, who has the twinkle of the Irish in her eyes whenever she and Craig go back and forth with a wee bit of good humored bantering. Myself? Not a bit of Irish on either side of my family tree, but I still love to cook, which is becoming my annual St. Patrick's Day feast, a corned beef and cabbage dinner.
We will be enjoying it a night early, as our invited guests had plans for Wednesday night, but we will take pleasure in the meal as if St. Paddy was sitting at the table with us. This is one of the few times that I get my Mom's kitchen to myself, as she leaves the cooking to me, but not without a few looks over my shoulder to check things out. In fact, I've even caught her sneaking a peek under the lid of the pot a time or two. What's on the menu you ask? I'll be happy to tell you, but even happier to be eating it later tonight. First off we have a slow cooked corned beef, garlic and butter tossed potatoes and carrots, cabbage, and of course a good red Irish ale to drown it all down with. But the item most of the guests will be looking forward to the most, is the bread pudding with a whiskey cream sauce that we will be devouring for dessert. You can find the recipe for the bread pudding here.I may not be Irish, but I do love to cook this meal, and you can be sure that around that dinner table tonight, there will be a toast or two raised in honor of "Shorty" and Craig's Mom, their Irish eyes no doubt smiling, both here on Earth and in Heaven, for the part Irishman I love the most......Craig.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Sunday, Craig rolled into French Camp, CA to stage for his deliveries in Stockton and Manteca for Monday morning. After I enjoyed a great afternoon visiting with my cousins in Elk Grove, CA, I drove into the yard to meet up with Craig. Since we knew he would be within a few miles of the company yard after making his deliveries, I decided to spend the night with Craig in the truck and go along with him on all four of his stops.

What a treat that was to be back together again in the truck. A bed never felt so good, and the hum of the reefer was just the icing on the cake. We sure are looking forward to us both being back on the truck after vacation in April. For those 18 hours that we were together last night and today, all was right with the world again. And just like it usually is with me on the truck, Craig had no problem ignoring the paperwork involved with four stops and left all of the organizing and sorting up to me. Since he had been to these stops before, I didn't even have to worry about navigating or figuring out routing as he pretty much relied on his memory and the GPS to get him safely to each of the Food 4 Less stores we delivered to. I was able to enjoy a very red sunrise this morning sitting at our second stop. As the sun rose, and the morning wore on, the four deliveries were completed and it was time for me to leave the truck again. I have made a few plans in the coming week that prevented me from staying on the truck any longer. By the time we had driven back to the yard in French Camp, Craig had received his next assignment to head to Fresh Express in Salinas.

I'm hoping to be able to jump back on the truck for a quick two day trip down to the LA area the next time Craig is headed south and comes through French Camp. We are down to just a little over 3 weeks until vacation and some long overdue time at home.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Thursday afternoon Craig finally got a dispatch to get him out of the company yard after two days of attending classes. He took possession of a trailer full of meat, that another driver dropped in the yard because he was taking home time. Craig hooked up to it and with his first of 3 deliveries being at Unified Grocers in Seattle, he knew if he got there early enough, he could just stay the night in their holding area. Around 7pm, he arrived in Seattle. and found plenty of room to stage until his 5am appointment time.

It only took about 45 minutes for the unload and he was on his way to his second stop. They weren't so quick there, and by the time he was unloaded he had managed to collect 3 hours of detention pay, and be late for his last appointment. Over the phone, Craig told me that I would have been glad not to have been around on his last stop. Evidently, it was a little mom and pop store tucked away down a tiny little street, and get this, they were getting a pallet of lard.

With absolutely no parking any where near, Craig was asking for a direction to head when he put in his empty call. He was told to dead head to Wallula, WA to the Tyson Meat Plant for a load going out Saturday morning. By 5pm he had dropped his empty trailer, parked the tractor in their staging area, and was ready to fix himself some dinner and call it a day. If our calculations are correct, he will be in French Camp, CA come Sunday afternoon, and if you want a sure bet, you can bet that I'll be there waiting for him.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Over the course of the past 6 weeks, while I have been staying at my Mom's house, and amidst the numerous bags of bits of wallpaper I have painstakingly scrapped from every inch of her walls, we have also painted. Painting isn't what it used to be, when slapping up a coat of white or off white paint did the trick and everyone was happy. Oh days, you scour the paint chip displays at your local home improvement store, armed with the false security of watching hour after hour of way too much HGTV. You would think this would be an easy decision, but there my friends is where you can slowly start to make yourself go insane.

Thankfully, they now have sample jars you can purchase with the paint color you are convinced is the perfect one. But then, just in case, you pick a back up color, and before you know it 3 trips to the home improvement store, and 12 sample jars later, you have picked out the colors of your dreams. Either that or you are just so worn down from the whole process that you give up, because you are convinced the guy in the paint department is silently thinking you might need some HGTV intervention. So a decision has been made, and I think we are happy with the colors and off we went for one more trip back to the paint department to purchase four gallons of paint. Have I mentioned just how big her living room and entryway are? We stood nervously at the counter, taking one more glance at the paint chips, then we looked each other in the eye and nodded with agreement that we had made the right choice. But secretly? I think we were both wishing it was back in the day, and the only decision was to choose some variation of white. Life was so much simpler then.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


Craig and Eric made it into Puyallup, WA at 5am Monday morning for their delivery of bananas, and immediately after going empty were told to drop the trailer and await a load going into Spokane. Around noon, the load was ready, and off they headed with only one delivery to a Fred Meyer Store in Couer d'Alene, ID. They ran into light snow/slush falling going over Snoqualmie Pass, but as they got down over the pass it cleared up to just be drizzly and overcast.

By 8pm, they were completed with their delivery and back in the Company yard where Eric took off for home and Craig took some time to do laundry and let it sink in that he was finally done with training. Between you and I, I think he is extremely happy to be taking a break from training. We have had lengthy discussions on the topic and he will not even think about another trainee until the end of August. Today finds Craig attending a Trainer Class, and then tomorrow a Recertification Class, which should update all his credentials for another year. I know he will be looking forward to getting back out in the truck by himself, with a couple of ride alongs from me here and there, until it is time to pack up our pickup in Modesto on the 3rd of April and head for HOME!

Sunday, March 07, 2010


Hear ye, Hear ye.....let it be know across the Internet.... the Earth People have returned from where ever they have been hibernating during the winter. We can now expect to see them out and about and especially in Oregon, where this bus was spotted. Craig and I have always enjoyed seeing them travel about in these colorful vehicles and to see them camped out along the Interstate all summer long, hitch hiking with their cardboard signs indicating which town they would to visit next. Spring has certainly arrived on the west coast.

The latest update on Craig is that it does appear to be just a bad muscles pull in his back. He has seen significant improvement today, after testing it out last night by driving a few hours from French Camp to Corning, CA. He again drove about 5 hours today from Canyonville, OR to Toledo, WA, with no additional discomfort, and for that we both breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Saturday, March 06, 2010


Bananas it was after their marathon run of deliveries in Arizona. They got the dispatch Thursday morning with the scheduled pickup not until Friday. That meant that they could do a leisurely seven hour drive to the Casino just outside of San Diego and get another good night's sleep. Friday morning, Craig drove into San Diego, and since this load would be picked up at the Port, Eric would have to be let off the truck prior to arriving because he was not in possession of a TWIC credential.

While Craig was sitting at the Port, Eric managed to find a mall a short distance away and soon found himself occupied. After a three hour wait to get loaded, Craig was calling Eric to be heading towards the previous drop off location while he went to go scale the load, and while he was hopping in and out of the happened.

I didn't hear about it until later. Craig was afraid at first to call me, but somehow he managed to tweak his back again. Flashbacks to 2007 and being stranded in Fort Stockton, TX were all too fresh back in our minds, and as Craig was telling me I felt my heart stop beating. Too many scenarios were going through my mind, and of course throw in worrying about everything. Thankfully, at least Eric was there to drive and he got them to Wheeler Ridge, CA where Craig did a reassessment on his back.

He was wise to start the ibuprofen right away, and to support his lumbar region, and as he gingerly got up when they arrived in Wheeler Ridge, he walked to the restroom and only experienced moderate pain. He continued the ibuprofen and actually got a pretty good night's sleep, and when he awoke this morning, the pain was minimal and we are thinking maybe it is just a muscle pull, or maybe hoping, but in any case, it is not getting worse and seems to be getting better. He will keep a close eye on it as they make their way north to make the delivery of the bananas in Puyallup, WA.

I met up with Craig in French Camp, CA this afternoon and was happy to see him with my own eyes and see that the discomfort he was in was no where near where we were back in 2007. Am I worried still? Of course! The back is never anything to take lightly, but with all the appropriate people notified, we will just have to wait and see what direction his back will take us down.

Thursday, March 04, 2010


I've been covered in scraps of wallpaper and smudges of paste as I work my way through my Mom's entryway and living room armed with a steamer and a putty knife. If only I had a dollar for every strip of wallpaper that I have taken down in my lifetime.......well, I wouldn't be rich, but I could certainly pay for a day or two at a spa. I'm happy to report that it looks like I just may finish up today, and then we'll get busy painting. Oh.....and don't worry, when I get done inside the house, our pickup is getting a thorough cleaning and waxing. Looks like the only rest I'll be getting is when I'm finally back on the truck!

Craig and I had a good laugh on Tuesday after they had picked up their loaded trailer in Clackamas, OR and were making their trek into Arizona. It has seemed that every time Craig has a trainee, the DOT inspections have increased, and going through the weigh station in Salem, OR was no exception. Craig was beginning to think that there must have been a neon sign on his truck flashing "Inspect Me". It was only a Level 3, checking log book and credentials, and they were sent on their way with no problems, but seriously just as a comparison, I've only been with Craig for two in the past four years, and with his trainees he has had at least 6. If you ask my opinion, I think the DOT officers can see the fear in the eyes of his trainees......either that or maybe looking like you are only 14 years old might do the trick too, which is the case with his latest trainee Eric.

They completed their marathon drive to Arizona, and by 9pm last night had completed the last of the six drops to the Fry's Stores in the Phoenix and Tucson area. The last 36 hours for them have been a blurr of driving and trying to get sleep while on the road, so I'm sure that they truly appreciated the opportunity to get some non moving sleep last night. They are presently awaiting their next dispatch which we suspect will either be a load out of Sara Lee in Tolleson, AZ or some bananas out of San Diego, but hey....we've been wrong before, so we'll just have to wait and see.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010


It was nice while it lasted. Oh sure, Craig sent in a message to the weekend dispatcher, nicely asking for him to not swap out their load, so that he would have some extra time to work with Eric a bit more on his backing skills. After all, he only has one more week before he takes his test, and leave them alone he did. While everyone else they ran into were swapping loads and running non stop, I know they enjoyed the slower pace, but like I mentioned, it didn't last long.

While leisurely driving north towards the Seattle area yesterday, the QualComm started beeping with a pre plan. As soon as they go empty in Puyallup, WA this morning, they are to head to Clackamas, OR to the Fred Meyer DC and drop their empty trailer, hook up with a loaded trailer, and boogie down to greater Phoenix, AZ area for multiple drops to local Fry Stores. Yes, let's hope they enjoyed that slow run, because this new run of 1500 miles will have to be accomplished in about 30 hours of non stop driving as they begin their deliveries tomorrow starting at noon.

I think Craig will actually be looking forward to those two days of recertification classes he is scheduled to attend starting next Tuesday. Then we can start the countdown to a week of vacation for Craig and for when I pack up from my Mom's house and head back home. In just a little over a month I'll be back in the truck again, and I can hardly wait. It seems like it has been forever since I've occupied that passenger seat!


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