Wednesday, March 31, 2010
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
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
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
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
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 not.....at 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
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 truck......it 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
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
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!