Friday, April 30, 2010


All the while trying to get some sleep Wednesday, the rain fell, and as the rain fell, I had to wonder how it would effect us going over Snoqualmie Pass. I checked the forecast, and it was calling for light snowfall. Oh great.....I know we haven't had near the amount of snow we have had the last two years, but is it ever going to STOP snowing this year?

Our trailer was finally ready around 10pm, and with barely 10,000 pounds of home decorating items on board, we took off towards Spokane. As I mentioned previously, Craig did manage to eek out about 5 hours of sleep during the day, and I was already feeling the burning in my eyes. But I need not have worried because the adrenalin rush I would be soon experiencing, would keep me wide awake for a good couple of hours.

We stopped in North Bend, WA for a dose of caffeine, where the temperature was 44 degrees and it was raining pretty good. We took off thinking, "well this isn't so bad", and by the time we got about 10 miles up into the pass, it started snowing. Then it really started snowing, and hard. It was coming down so hard and so fast, the roads were completely covered, and as we drove further up the incline, we began to see trucks starting to slow down and loose traction. It was a bit like playing dodge ball as Craig carefully avoided trucks on all sides of us, as he kept our truck and trailer moving, knowing that if we came to a stop as well, we would never get moving again without help. The one time we could have really used a fully weighted trailer was now, and as the drive tries started slipping, and visibility got very limited, we inched our way up to the summit. There was no worries about being sleepy at that point, as all mental and physical pistons were on high alert.

Reaching the summit, we knew we just had to make it back down off the pass and we would be okay. It continued snowing, and with the wind blowing it directly into our path, it was at times hard to see where the road was, but we finally made it as the snow turned into sleet and then quickly into rain. Big sigh of relief there, and a prayer of thanks as the next Mother Nature element we began to face was high wind gusts, but after what we just faced, even that didn't seem so bad.

We arrived at our first stop a couple of hours early, and took advantage of the down time waiting to get unloaded by taking a quick nap. It took longer than expected before we were finally on our way to our last drop. Doing a quick check of the time, we knew we had to be in and out quickly in order to get back to the yard before Craig's 14hr clock ran out.

There was another TWT driver already in the dock, so Craig took off to help with the unload in hopes that we would get into the dock quicker. It worked, and within an hour we were unloaded and had just 60 minutes left to drive the 40 miles back to the yard. Craig then dropped the empty trailer and drove the truck to the shop where they would finally check into the engine fault light, the APU issue, and do a service on the truck.

Since they would have the truck the remainder of the day and possibly into Friday, the company put us up in their contract hotel in Spokane. Oh boy were we ready to head there! With very little solid sleep under our belts the past 48 hours, and knowing the comfy beds that awaited us, we were more than happy to pack up and head downtown for some well deserved rest and sleep!

Thursday, April 29, 2010


I knew you could, but saying it and doing it are two different things. Once again, after going empty at the CostCo in Sumner, WA, we received a dispatch that would require us to do some night driving. With a 9pm appointment for a drop and hook, we headed to Chehalis, WA to drop our empty trailer at the Fred Meyer DC. From there we bob tailed to a small truck stop just down the street.

We made ourselves something to eat and then hit the bunks for sleep. Well sleep was what I was hoping for, but I never got tired, and I forced myself to try and just managed about an hour before all the noises outside of trucks scaling and screaming into the speaker woke me right back up. Thankfully, Craig was much more successful in the sleeping department, as I heard his deep sleep breathing from the top bunk. And is much much more important that he sleep than I do. I can always get several cat naps sitting in my seat during the night.

Our dispatch is to deliver to two different Fred Meyer stores, one in Spokane and the other in Coeur d'Alene, ID at 7am and 9am. The only draw back on this load is the time we pick it up and the last delivery, which will leave us dangerously close to not having any time left on Craig's 14hr driving clock to get us back to the company yard in Spokane. Worse case is that we will have to spend 8hrs in Coeur d'Alene in the parking lot. I can only hope they have a Starbucks inside that store like they do so many others!

As luck would have it, we still need to get the APU fixed AGAIN, and we have yet another engine check light going off. Seems like when it rains it pours. Road service has been advised of our need to get those two things taken care of along with a 30,000 mile service on the truck. With any luck, all three of those items will be taken care of when, and if we ever can make it back to the company yard in Spokane.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Tuesday morning we headed over to Milwaukie, OR to the United Grocers to make two deliveries. One was for 7am and the other for 10am, at two different check in areas of the complex. Everyone was a bit confused at first as to which dock area we needed to be at first, but putting a few heads together, we finally figured it out. By 11:30am we went empty and were told we would have to put off getting the APU fixed for a later time, as we would be repowering a load from another driver, and to head to the TA truck stop in Aurora.

Upon arriving there and not seeing the other driver, we figured with a 5am delivery in Sumner, WA at the Costco, that the longer it took the driver to get to us, the earlier in the morning we would have to drive. I finally asked for an ETA so that we could get an idea of when we should get some sleep and were told that he probably wouldn't be in Aurora until around 6pm. Looks like a bit of night driving for us.

Of course you know how that routine goes. You try and get sleep when you're not tired, and as soon as you are tired and sleeping, it's time to get up and drive. But with some diet Mt. Dew on board, we scaled our new load, fueled up, and headed towards Sumner, WA.

You gotta love the CostCo's and the set up they have at their distribution centers. If it wasn't for having to open the doors of the trailer, you wouldn't have to leave the comfort of the truck. They take your paperwork at the guard shack, assign you a dock door, hand you a pager and then sit back and relax. When your pager goes off, you drive back to guard shack, retrieve your paperwork, and leave on your merry way. It's a beautiful thing, just like this rainbow I saw after one of the many rain showers we had yesterday.I'd like to also give a shout out to Chris, one of many who suggested what those fields of yellow we have been seeing might be. After researching everyone's response, I think Chris got it right. It seems to be rapeseed. Rapeseed is grown for the production of animal feed, vegetable oil for human consumption, and bio diesel. Thanks Chris for the info. I've often commented to Craig that it would further the education of a lot of people if farmers would just label their crops. I think that covers our agricultural lesson for the day.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


We made our way to Aurora, OR Sunday night with plenty of time to get settled and watch "The Amazing Race". There was a time, way back when Craig and I were first together, when we entertained the idea about submitting a video to try and get on that show, now we seem to have enough adventures to keep us entertained without having to race anyone else.

We keep passing these fields of yellow on our travels that past couple of weeks. Craig keeps saying it is some type of crop, but I'm leaning towards it just being weeds. Anyone out there want to chime in on what it might be? Our delivery went smooth again at Del Monte in Portland, OR, with the usual sit around and wait for a few hours, and then getting a door and being unloaded within 15 minutes. There was another driver complaining about the wait, but as Craig loves to say...."we get paid for sitting around, so it doesn't bother us". That comment usually doesn't promote a full fledged bitch session when only one party is complaining, so the other driver went in search of someone else to talk to.

After going empty, we needed to drop our trailer at the Fred Meyer DC in Clackamas, and then head over to Halton CAT back in Portland to have the truck looked at. A few days ago we got a dash light indicating some type of oil problem, however the truck was running just fine. We found the dealership and made use of their very nice customer lounge while they quickly went to work on our truck. A short 45 minutes later and a bad sensor was replaced and we were headed to the ThermoKing about 15 miles away to have the APU looked at. Again, within an hour, and after having to take everything off the bottom bunk, including the mattress, the APU was fixed, or so we thought.

We had received our next assignment to pick up a loaded trailer at the drop yard in Wisonville, OR. Upon hooking up and checking paperwork, we stayed there for the night and started the APU to test it out. Wouldn't you know it, about 1 minutes after starting it, it stopped and flashed an error code. Oh well, maybe after our delivery this morning we can be routed back to ThermoKing to have it checked again.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


It went like clock work again in Port Hueneme, CA picking up a 36,000 pound load of pineapples. I can never tired of that sweet smell every time we pulp the load and get a whiff. As we made our way back towards the Grapevine, it was evident that the canvas of the hills had changed from the week before. Now, along with the spots of yellow and purple, there were patches of bright orange from California's state flower, the poppy.We made Friday an easy day by stopping for the evening in Buttonwillow, CA with thoughts of having a Starbucks fix in the morning, but when morning came, we decided to postpone that treat for a rest break in Santa Nella, CA and the Starbucks there. Four hours later we were in Corning, CA to fuel up and tackle the dirty laundry issue. Once again, we decided to make an easy day of it and parked there for the night.

This morning we got up at 4am, much to the displeasure of Craig, but I can handle him better than I can the crowds at a WalMart on the weekend. I wanted to hit the store in Anderson, CA before the rest of the city was up and moving around. With our cupboards full again we headed back onto Interstate 5 and made our way north. We recently experienced a warning light having to do with the engine of the truck. A call has been made to road service and if all works out, we should be directed to a CAT service shop after we make our delivery in Portland tomorrow at 10am. To add insult to injury, our APU is acting up as well. We're hoping we might be able to take care of that as well.....but for now, we'll just sit back and enjoy a great Sunday drive through Oregon.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Ever since I've been back on the truck, I have refused to put on shoes. I have been more than happy to wear my flip flops everyday, rain or shine, and was adamant about refusing to wear shoes.......until this past Wednesday, when we were forced to live in snow for the better part of 30 hours. With a great Mexican lunch waiting about 200 yards away, I was finally forced to put on my shoes and trudge through 6 inch deep snow to my oasis down the street Dos Amigos. It wasn't as inspirational walking back to the truck, after all the victory was already mine with my tummy full, but cautiously I made my way back with a helping hand from Craig.

With our midnight departure from Weed, CA my flip flops were back in their rightful place, on my feet and the shoes were retired to under the bunk where I hope they will remain for quite a few months. We made the majority of our drive in darkness, but as the sun began to rise we could see in the distance that snow had even fallen as far south as the Grapevine. An early morning crop duster was our traveling companion for a few passes over a growing crop, and I was transported back in time when I noticed this old abandoned pickup next to an oil rig in the middle of a field. We made a swap, our full trailer for an empty trailer, with one of our buddies in the parking lot of the new TA in Wheeler Ridge. He had the pleasure of trying to make the delivery of the frozen french fries as it began to rain and possible snow over the Grapevine. We found a great parking spot and retreated to our bunks for a bit of rest and relaxation after an all night driving stint.We had been given our next assignment already, so we knew we had the rest of the day and night to kick back. Up this morning for a hot shower, and feeling quite refreshed, we headed to Port Hueneme for another load of pineapples, going right back to the Del Monte processing plant in Portland, Or for a Monday morning delivery. With driving hours back on the books again for Craig, it will be yet another great weekend of driving in store for us the next couple of days.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


What was it I said in my last post? Better not call to see if we can get in early, in case there is a night load in our future. Little did we know, and we actually thought we weren't going to get dispatch after we went empty. We went to the Jubitz truck stop in Portland, we have never been there before, and wanted to check it out. We were entertaining thoughts of a nice relaxing night there, maybe taking in a movie in the lounge, and then the QualComm started beeping.

We were dispatched to Columbia Cold Storage in Kennewick, WA to pick up a load of frozen french fries at 11pm. There was the night load I had predicted. Off we went, with a stop in Troutdale for fuel and a Subway sandwich, since dinner would be while driving. Arriving in Kennewick three hours prior to our appointment, we found a place to park in their staging area, and Craig swept out the trailer.

Around 10:30pm we were given a dock and we both crawled into bed to try and get some sleep. The rocking of the trailer from the forklifts loading the french fries prevented us from getting any decent sleep, and by 1am were were finally loaded and headed to the company drop yard in Pasco, WA to get in an 8hr break. We knew we wanted to utilize the split sleeper option as we had heard of a storm coming through central Oregon and northern California and wanted to get as early of a start as we could. After scaling in the morning we were headed south by 10am and watching the skies darken and cloud up. By the time we hit LaPine, OR it had started raining and with our sights set on Weed, CA, we hit snow showers about 45 miles away. The snow stopped by the time we got there, and we snagged one of the last few legal parking spots, and crawled into bed.When we awoke and looked out the window, it was a winter wonderland covered in white fluffy snow. Craig enjoyed my play by play of trucks trying to leave the parking lot and getting stuck as more trucks, not wanting to lose their momentum, all jockeyed for position. It was nice to know that since Craig was out of driving hours until midnight tonight, that we wouldn't have to try and make our way out of the mess as well.As of now, we are still waiting to hear if there will be a swap on this load or not. We are thinking that with the weather conditions playing havoc on both Interstate 5 and Highway 97, they just may try and change our appointment day/time instead of finding someone to swap with. In either case, we have no worries today, other than to figure out what time we want to brave the elements and walk to the Dos Amigos restaurant for lunch.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Man, did Craig and I sleep good on Friday night! We got into Wheeler Ridge, CA around 5:30pm and found us a spot way out in the back of the lot by ourselves. I made us a tasty dinner, as as I mentioned in my last post, laid down to relax. We had opened up all the windows and vents, and with the strong breeze blowing, it was a wonderful, cool evening of sleeping.

Up Saturday we took showers and treated ourselves to a hot breakfast before hitting the road. We had a beautiful day of driving, enjoying the nice weather and the less crowded weekend roadways. With a bit over 400 miles under our belts, we pulled into Corning, CA at the casino and called it a night. Sunday morning, we took advantage of the free soda and coffee at the casino, and fortified with sufficient caffeine, we headed north again. I couldn't believe how high the water was at Shasta Lake. On previous trips through there, we have marveled at how low the water level was, and I know I have a picture of it somewhere on my blog, but just couldn't get up enough energy to go hunt it down for comparison. It was another great driving day on Sunday, and by 5pm we had made it to Aurora, OR where we have been ever since. Our delivery today isn't until 1pm, and although we thought about calling to see if we could get in earlier, we thought better of it in case there was a night load in our future after we go empty.

Don't know if you noticed or not, but I'm trying out doing some "twitter" updates on my sidebar of the blog throughout the day. Not sure if I'll continue it or not, but it does give friends and family a more real time update on what we are doing and where we are headed. Now I think it's time for a little blog reading myself before we head out for our delivery.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


We rolled into Oxnard, CA Friday morning around 10am, and right away we noticed there were two other TWT trucks already there. Craig had no sooner checked in when we got a message via the QualComm if truck 280 was there. Well yes in deed he was, and parked right next to us. We were instructed to have him sit on our load waiting to be unloaded and take his empty trailer. You would have thought we asked him to cut off his right hand. He immediately got on the phone as we calmly filled out the paperwork and waited for him to realize that since he didn't have a TWIC credential, he was unable to be dispatched on the assignment just 10 miles away in Port Hueneme.

The swapping of the trailers commenced, and we were headed to the Port. Having never been there before, we weren't sure what to expect, as each port can handle security differently. We were happy to be greeted by a friendly security guard, who after checking our TWIC credentials, pointed to where we needed to go and sent us on our way. The dock was no more than 100 yards from the entrance, and we could already see that there had to be at least 20 trucks parked in and around the docks.Craig checks in and gets the info on how the loading goes and grabs himself a seat at one of the picnic benches by the office with everyone else. After awhile, I notice that Craig is sitting by himself, and then see a guy in a truck pull up and talk to Craig. Seems it was the bewitching time for lunch and the loaders and office personnel made like cockroaches when the lights are turned on, and vanished from the area not to return until 1pm.

We were finally given a dock and in under 20 minutes we had a partial load of pineapples, and were told to proceed along with several other trucks to another loading facility 2 miles away to pick up the rest of our load. Like good little soldiers, we all proceeded down the road for our last 4 pallets of organic pineapples. By 3pm we had paperwork in hand and headed back north.This time however, we totally bypassed LA and took Hwy 126 out of Ventura to get back to Interstate 5. Along the way, I enjoyed seeing the fields of flowers being harvested. As an added bonus going that route, we also bypassed the scales in Santa Clarita, not that we had anything to avoid, as we only had 40,000 pounds of pineapples and not anywhere near being overweight.Hwy 126 was a nice departure from the hustle and bustle of how we normally get out of the LA area. It was almost like being in the Salinas Valley area, with the abundance of fields of produce and fruit, and the many little fruit stands erected along side the roadway every mile or two. Going through the City of Fillmore, I noticed a McDonald's which still had it's vintage McDonald's sign still proudly displayed. We arrived at Wheeler Ridge, CA thirty minutes before Craig's 14 hour clock would have expired. After putting together something for our dinner, we were both more than happy to lay back and relax, and before too long, I heard the sound of Craig fast asleep. I was more than happy to join him in peaceful slumber.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Tuesday was Craig's birthday, I won't go as far as to say how old he is, but he can now officially order off the senior menu at Dennys. We weren't able to do anything special, because when Craig called into dispatch to put us on the board, he was informed of a load waiting for us Wednesday morning. Because neither one of us wanted to try and get ready in the predawn darkness, we decided to close up the house, do laundry, and head into Spokane and spend the night in the truck. That option also gave us the opportunity to stop by Wal Mart on our way in and pick up groceries and a very nice piece of chocolate Oreo cake for each of us to celebrate Craig's birthday..........Dennys will have to wait for another time.

Wednesday morning we hooked up to our assigned trailer and headed to Othello, WA to pick up a 44,000 pound load of frozen french fries. We arrived a couple of hours early, but we had a dock and were loaded within 90 minutes. It's always nice to have a free scale to use on site, and after a quick adjustment on the tandems, we were set to go. We received a message asking if we could make the delivery a day earlier on Friday instead of Saturday. Some quick calculations, and tossing out our nice easy relaxing first run out the window, we told them yes, and went about planning out new longer driving days.

After crossing into Oregon and driving down Highway 97, we started noticing an ominous looking large black mass of clouds ahead of us. As we got closer, the sky grew darker, and we had a few rain showers drop on us, but nothing prepared us for what welcomed us as we drove into Redmond, OR. The drops got larger, the temperature dropped, and the rain turned into a firm, hard slush. It came down so hard, and so fast, that within seconds everything was white. Always more concerned with the drivers around us, we cautiously drove through town as we watched cars spinning from lack of traction.We called it a night in LaPine, OR and was up and driving by 6am this morning. The sky is blue and it looks like a great day for driving. Our plan is to get as close to Lebec, CA as we can to stage for our delivery in Oxnard, CA on Friday. Freight is still moving hot and heavy and after a great week off, we're ready to take on anything they can throw at us.

Monday, April 12, 2010



1. A period of time devoted to pleasure, rest, or relaxation, especially one with pay granted to an employee.

I'd say that Craig has lived the definition of vacation over the past six days. Sure has been a whole lot of rest and relaxation going on. It's especially nice, since the snowbirds who call this place home with us for four months out of the year, have not even begun to make their way north yet, however, the Canadians who own the lot behind us, visit quite often no matter what the weather conditions might be. Having had the pleasure of delivering into Canada more times than I would like to remember, no doubt they were enjoying the 50 degree temperature during the day and the just below freezing in the early morning hours. We did venture out one day, into town about 15 miles away, to pick up some supplies and have lunch. A stop at the hardware store had us crossing off one of our "to do" list items, by purchasing some address numbers to put on the house. Craig managed to put them up and get right back to his comfy chair without so much as breaking a sweat. Not much else is planned before heading back to the Company yard in Spokane on Wednesday, but unlike in our pre trucking days, when we would dread the thought of heading back to work, we are actually looking forward to it. Something to be said for loving what you do for a living.

Friday, April 09, 2010


"You learn something new everyday"........ and the last couple of days have been no exception to that statement. On and off during times of inclimate weather, we have watched as pea sized snow pellets have fallen from the sky. It wasn't until watching the news during the evening, that we found out this type of hail is called "Grauple". At first I thought they were referring to "Grappa", which I'm sure that those of you who have had the joy of tasting that uniquely Italian drink, and have lived to talk about it, know that Grauple and Grappa are definitely not the same thing. We've had 50mph winds, rain, the aforementioned grauple, and below freezing temperatures, and we couldn't be happier. This time at home has been long overdue and Craig has been taking advantage of it by doing absolutely nothing. We made sure to have plenty of supplies on hand to keep us fortified in our inactivity, and have been thinking that maybe tomorrow, we just might venture down the road to the nearest city to get a change of scenery. Afterwards, I'm sure we'll be happy to come back home for yet a few more days of idleness.All too soon Wednesday will roll around and we will be packing up the pickup, and loading up the big truck for a couple of months out on the road. At least this time, there will be no trainees, and Craig and I can go back to doing what we love best......enjoying each other's company, traveling the roads together, and now knowing first hand the difference between grauple and grappa.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


I could just hear Gomer Pyle exclaiming......"Surprise, Surprise, Surprise", when I received the phone call from Craig Monday afternoon saying he would be starting his vacation about 4 days early. I had just settled in at my friend Cori's guest cottage, and we were already planning a week full of activities, when Craig's phone call put a halt to those plans. But no worries, we quickly went into Plan B mode and planned a couple of weeks together toward the end of May. I know Craig won't mind, as we plan on going to the Farm Chicks Antique Show in Spokane on June 5th, and I have it on good authority, that Craig would rather watch paint dry than go to that show.Craig had dropped his load of bananas in Clackamas Monday morning, and was given a load out of Chehalis, WA for 9pm that evening. The load would have two drops, the first in Spokane, and the second in Coeur d'Alene, ID. He had casually asked if they were planning on him starting his vacation early since he would be in the area and was surprised to hear "yes", but I'm sure not as surprised as I was when he told me the news. Thankfully, I had gone and had my hair cut earlier in the morning, so I was set to head to the company yard when he could give me a time, and we could coordinate our arrivals. Tuesday morning, after a night of driving and completing his two deliveries, Craig called to say that he should be at the yard by 11am, and since I was a good two hours away, I quickly packed up and hit the road. By 1pm, we had loaded up the pickup and were headed home for the first time in over 4 months. It sure felt good, and it didn't take long for us to unload the pickup and sit back and relax. I don't know if we will venture out at all this week or not, I'll leave that up to Craig, but my money is on him itching to get out and about after a few days of relaxation at home.

Monday, April 05, 2010


One of the things about being in a big 18 wheeler, is the lack of access to some really great places to visit while on your travels. One such place is the Multnomah Falls just outside of Portland, OR on Interstate 84. I have tried to capture a bit of the falls as we drive past, but never with any success. Finally, on Sunday, I made it a goal to stop there on my drive into Walla Walla, WA. My only regret was that Craig was not there to see and experience it with me.I don't think I could have picked a better time of year to take in the beauty of the falls. The color of green was every where, you could actually feel the mist from the water falling, and on top of that, with it being Easter Sunday, the normal crowds I see were almost non existent. My best friend Cori and her children kept commenting on how much the location reminded them of the movie Avatar. Not having seen the movie, I can only imagine how magical the scenery must have been after being immersed around the grounds of the Multnomah Falls and Lodge. If you have never been, I would urge you to find a way to stop, and if you're in an 18 wheeler, find a friend or rent a car to get you to this idyllic, magical place.

Friday, April 02, 2010


After his unload in Stockton, CA Wednesday morning, and then a mandatory two hour break, Craig was sent back to the Company yard in French Camp. He dropped his empty trailer at the shop, where a new tire was destined to replace one that was a bit questionable. He was then told to hook up to a loaded trailer in the yard, full of juice, which needed to be delivered in Rocklin, CA Thursday morning at 6am. With only 3 hours of available driving time left, he camped out at the yard and relaxed until he would need to leave at 4am the next morning.

The drop in Rocklin was uneventful, and after the unload, he was sent back once again to the yard in French Camp. Just like the day before, he was told to drop his empty trailer and hook up to a loaded trailer full of meat. Starting to feel a bit like a local driver, he was happy to see from the dispatch, that he would finally get out of the central valley, and take the trailer down to the company yard in Bloomington, CA where someone else would make the delivery on Saturday in Vernon, CA.

He made it as far as Buttonwillow, CA last night, where he shut down for the night. This morning he was up and driving by 5am, and expected to drop the trailer, and hook up to yet another empty trailer in Bloomington by 9am. He then has a dispatch to head south to the port in San Diego to pick up a load of bananas. With the way the loads have been going lately, we aren't holding our breath that he will actually make the delivery of the bananas in Clackamas, OR on Monday morning, before he may have to swap out trailers with another driver.

We do know he has the hours to complete this run, and it will get him that much closer to his scheduled vacation week. While Craig stays busy, I will be packing up and heading north myself starting tomorrow morning, with an arrival in Walla Walla, WA Sunday afternoon. I'll enjoy a few days visiting with my friend Cori, before finally meeting up with Craig in Spokane around April 9th.


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