Saturday, July 31, 2010


Have you ever had a dream where no matter how hard you tried to move, you feel as if you are moving in slow motion?  That's how I'm feeling today.  It always happens, every time we  put in for home time, we both get antsy to just get home.  It's really funny, because we could easily stay out longer than two months, and we did that a lot when we delivered boats, but as soon as we decide to go home, every day out on the road just drags.  Adding to that misery, is the fact that Craig will run out of driving hours to get us to Spokane on Sunday.  So we will finish this load assignment Monday morning with the delivery of wine, and happily start our home time then.
Both times we have had this particular run, it has been on a Friday, and just like last time, traffic played a big part in our day.  I used to think that my commute from the valley into the bay area was bad, but I gotta tell you, Highway 101 out of the bay area into the Napa/Santa Rosa area is worse.  Of course throw in major road construction and you got the double whammy of frustrations.  At our first stop, we were in and out quicker than we had been before.  Appointment time 11am, and out thirty minutes later.  If it wasn't for some nice scenery along the way, it would have been more painful than it was.
Oh, I almost forgot.  Craig said I must include these photos for the guys that read my blog,  that they would appreciate it  One of the delays on our travels was because of this back hoe that flipped over on it's side.  We had to wait, while the rather large rescue vehicle made it's way, very slowly to the site of the scene.

I have always loved the symmetry of grape vineyards, chalk it up to my Type A personality, and I got to enjoy my fill of them on our drive to our second stop.  Who wouldn't love sitting out on a grand veranda, sipping a great glass of wine, and enjoying looking at acre after acre of vineyards.  Peaceful and relaxing, and that was the thought I tried to keep in my mind as we did battle with bumper to bumper traffic.
At our second stop, with it's wonky dock set up, I got out to coach Craig in via our cell phones, then enjoyed sitting in their cool warehouse while the forklift guy went about loading pallet after pallet of various wines from all over the country into our trailer.  The last one to be loaded were some wine barrels, that we surmised would be used for displaying wine bottles.
After finding what was listed on the Internet,  "as the only public scale between Ukiah and San Francisco", we headed south on Hwy 101 into Petaluma to scale.  And I have to ponder......with so much wine being distributed out of the area, why pray tell, do they only have one scale that you can find before hitting the weigh station near Fairfield?  Not only that, but the hours of operation were only 7am - 11am and 1pm to 4pm!
Any way, we scaled out great and continued on our way, only to run into major traffic jams on Interstate 80.  By the time we finally rolled into Dunnigan, CA for the night, we spent almost two extra hours of Craig's driving time on traffic issues, and with the new electronic logs, there isn't a darn thing you can do about it but eat the time and realize that your home time will be delayed by a day.  I think I'll go back now to visualizing those grape vineyards for awhile.

Friday, July 30, 2010


If you noticed my Twitter update on the sidebar of the blog, then you know that we were doing a bit of night driving last night.  Where to you might ask? Well.......while lounging around yesterday in Salinas, waiting until our load was ready at Fresh Express, we got beeped with a pre plan for after we dropped the loaded trailer of fresh produce in the company yard in French Camp.  It was to be in Napa, CA by 11am for the first of two pickups of wine, with the second pick being in Santa Rosa, CA at 2pm.

We were already operating on an 8 hr break in order to get to Fresh Express at 8pm for our appointment time.  Then we would do the required two hour additional break after we picked up the trailer and grab us a power nap, before we would have to high tail it to French Camp, drop our loaded trailer, hook onto our empty trailer, and try and get to Napa before 3am to facilitate doing yet another 8 hour break before going arrived for our 11am appointment.  Did you follow all of that?  Don't worry, sometimes I don't either, but then for the most part I'm just along for the ride.
So this morning, after about 4 hours of sleep, Craig says to me....."You know, most wives aren't this lucky to have a nice romantic getaway to beautiful Napa. Valley  Never mind about staying at anything like the Vanderbilt, you get to stay at the Peterbilt Bed and Breakfast, and forget about wine tasting, I'm giving you 40,000 pounds of wine by the case.  How's that for spoiling you"?  I mumbled something left unmentioned under by breath and rolled over under my covers wondering just where was my breakfast in bed.  On second thought, best not mention that to my husband, no telling what he would serve me.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Here I was clicking away on my camera the last two days, not realizing that I had inadvertently hit a switch, which disabled my camera from actually capturing what I was photographing.  Don't worry, wasn't anything too spectacular, just the usual things that catch  my eye as we travel along the highways.

We left Biggs, OR around 3am on Wednesday morning and drove to within 15 minutes of the driving hours that Craig had for the day.  That put us into Corning, CA around noon, so we treated ourselves to a salad and some downtime of computer playing.  We decided to wake up around 2am and take showers, before heading out on the last leg of our assignment, into Hollister, CA.  We arrived in Hollister by 9am this morning, by way of first stopping at our yard in French Camp, and scanning our prior trips, grabbing a cup of coffee, and using the facilities  By 9:30am, we were unloaded and waiting to hear what our next assignment will be.

Two weeks ago, we had put in for home time for August 1, hoping against hope, that we would in fact get there by the day we requested.  Anyone in the trucking business knows that thinking along those lines is just plain silly.  But we are optimists, and were told to head to Salinas to drop our empty trailer at Fresh Express, and await our load information.  Craig did manage to get into the conversation about our home time request again.
While sitting in the Pilot Truck Stop in Salinas, the QualComm beeped us with our new assignment, a load of produce headed to two deliveries in Clackamas, one on 7/31 and the other on 8/1.  Feeling now a bit shaky on the confidence scale about getting home, we asked if there was a plan to get us home.  The answer came back in this reply....."nothing in concrete".  A couple of hours later we were beeped with a message that as soon as we are able to pick up our loaded trailer, to take it to our yard in French Camp for another driver to complete.

That still leaves us wondering what we will get, and just how close we will be to getting home on Sunday.  In any case, Craig will still take at least 3 or 4 days off, and I now have a fully functioning camera ready to take photos of whatever might peak my interest on our way there!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Not much of interest on our drive up to Yakima, WA.  We did have quite a few trucks hauling tomatoes pass us by.  Witnessed a lot of vehicles pulled over by law enforcement, thankfully we weren't one of them, and made it into La Pine, OR Monday night, where we experienced one heck of a lightning and thunder display, followed by 30 minutes of rain.  With that storm came much cooler temperatures than what we have had the previous few days, so we took advantage of the windows being down until the flies came to visit and  then we rolled the windows back up and went about fly hunting.
This morning we were up earlier than we liked, at 2am, and drove the remaining 250 miles into Yakima, WA.  The large rolls of plastic wrap were unloaded from our trailer, and then, much to our surprise, large rolls of plastic wrap were loaded back into our trailer to take to their other plant in Hollister, CA.  I had to see for myself, and of course take a picture, judge for yourself, but I found very little difference in the rolls of plastic wrap we delivered, and the ones we are now hauling to Hollister.  But, it is not for us to understand, just drive, so off we went to scale the load and make a return trip right back on the same route we had just drove a few hours earlier.
We stopped in Biggs, OR for fuel, and with what remaining driving hours that Craig had left, made the decision to stay put and head back out again around 3am.  I can't say that I minded much, we are at the Pilot truck stop, right along the Columbia River.  I took this photo as we were crossing the bridge from the Washington side to the Oregon side.  With scenery like this, I could manage to stay for awhile.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Do I even have to tell you how much I enjoyed staying in ocean cooled Oxnard, CA Saturday night?  Or how much I hated to leave there this morning and head into the bowels of the greater Los Angeles area?  But leave we had to do, around 6am, to head towards La Mirada, CA to Packaging Plus to pick up about 38,000 pounds of plastic wrap.  Yep, 22 pallets of large rolls of plastic wrap.  Check out the picture for yourself.
It's not very often that we get a load that does not require the use of the reefer unit.  I don't know how many times Craig has done a double take into his side mirror to check to see if the green light was on, only to remember that we don't have a refrigerated load.  I can only hope we will find another reefer or two to park next to tonight so that I can get some sleep.  I gotta have my white noise.

We were loaded and heading out the security gate around 10:30am this morning, thinking that we were still leaving early enough to miss most of the "weekend  warriors" heading back home, and we might have just made it through, except for the drivers not paying attention and rear ending each other about every mile or two.  I swear, (and I have been known to),  we must have passed at least 6 fender benders in a 15 mile area.  I feel happy just to have escaped being a victim of someone else's inattention to the flow of traffic.

After making it over the Grapevine, we decided  to stop for a short break at the TA truck stop in Wheeler Ridge, CA where we encountered those "weekend warriors" again.  I'm not used to having to wait in line at a truck stop restroom, except for holidays and weekends, where the once fairly uninhabited truck stop is overflowing with people and kids.  We made a quick getaway and headed back out onto the freeway, where doing battle with them is much easier in the comfort of our A/C cooled truck.

This was one of the days that Craig wished that he didn't have to drive.  Just didn't have it in him, but with no extra time factored into this load, which by the way, needs to be in Yakima, WA Tuesday morning, he had to power through any laziness he felt and drive onward.  We quickly grew tired of counting how many other TWT trucks we saw heading in the opposite direction, and were soon lost in our own personal thoughts.  Tonight we will call the company yard in French Camp our home and head right back out as soon as our 10 hour break is over, and waiting to see what Monday will bring our way in the form of entertainment along the highways of California and Oregon.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


We did a really lame thing Thursday.  We were so eager to get situated in Corning, CA and settle in with our computers, that we forgot about the fuel situation in the reefer.  With the temperature outside well into the 100's, the reefer was finding it hard to even maintain the -10 degrees we needed for the french fries.  With it running continuously, the fuel was getting sucked up quicker than we have been used to, and around 8pm, when Craig did one last check on the trailer, he saw that the fuel gauge was under 1/4 full.  We had plans to sleep until 5am and take showers and have breakfast, but what we ended up doing was getting about 4 hours of sleep, getting up at 1am and fueling the truck and reefer and hitting the road.  We weren't comfortable waiting until morning, and well, we'll just chalk that one up as a lesson learned.

Since we were up so darn early driving on Friday morning, we took advantage of the lack of traffic and enjoyed having the road to ourselves, well except for the wrong way driver on the freeway.  I kid you not, we hear about these things all the time, and here we were happily engaged in conversation, when we saw the approaching headlights of a car on our side of the freeway.  It wasn't until the car had passed us that it really sunk in what had just happened.  By that time, we saw the CHP unit rolling code to catch up to the vehicle.  I can only hope CHP got the car stopped before any accidents happened.

If we weren't wide awake before, we were then, and continued on our way to the company yard in French Camp to scan in our last trip, fill up our water jugs, and use the facilities.  Then it was off to Santa Nella, CA where we did stop to have breakfast.  With full stomachs we drove on into Wheeler Ridge where we staged for our delivery in Oxnard as the temperature registered 108 degrees outside.  Heat shields were activated around the windows and we settled in for the night.
This morning we were up early to take showers and then hit the road for our 8am delivery.  As we took Hwy 126 off of Interstate 5, we came upon the wonderful marine layer of fog that had settled in over the land.  I looked as it read 58 degrees and thought to myself, "why can't every place we have to go in the summer be this cool?".  We arrived at Seaboard Produce in Oxnard shortly before our 8am appointment, and would you believe a mere 6 hours later they had us unloaded.  We sat around, watching as the detention pay piled up, almost 5 1/2 hours before finally getting into a dock.  Then it took them only 30 minutes to unload us.  Oh well, we can't complain too much, they are allowing us to stay on their property tonight since our next assignment is only 80 miles away in La Marada, CA Sunday morning.
Right now, for the first time in quite awhile, the windows are down, the sky is overcast, the temperature is barely 60 degrees, and I think I am in heaven!  I really could enjoy summers here!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Now this is how trucking should always be. An easy, nice paced assignment, driving anywhere from 350-450 miles a day, no hurry to get anywhere, and time to stop and smell the roses, or in our case, stop and enjoy a freshly brewed frappuccino. Which is exactly what we did this morning in the small town of Doris, CA. We have passed this little coffee shack many times in our travels, and always wanted to stop, and today was our lucky day. Yesterday, we left Pacific, WA at 6am and headed to Othello, WA with a stop in North Bend, WA for fuel. After checking in at McCain Foods, and finding out our payload would be in excess of 44,000 pounds, we were happy to have their on site scale to deal with the weight issues. Being just 400 pounds shy of the 80,000 pound gross limit, we trudged our way out of their property and decided to get at least to the border of Oregon at Biggs Junction for the evening. We pulled in around 4:30pm and grabbed one of the last remaining spots that were available. This morning, Craig was bright eyed and bushy tailed at 4am! I guess the fact that he was fast asleep by 7pm the night before had a lot to do with him being so energized so early in the morning. I dragged myself out of bed, and by 5am we were watching the sun rise as we made our way south. We did come upon a wicked accident on Highway 97 involving what was left of a small passenger car and a big rig. Looked from our vantage point that the passenger car veered into the path of the big rig from the marks on the pavement of the initial impact. Never a good outcome when that happens.After our stop in Doris, CA for that yummy frappuccino, we traveled onward to Corning, CA where we will make our home for the evening. We'll take advantage of the use of the showers at the truck stop, maybe enjoy a nice hot breakfast in the morning, and then continue south to Wheeler Ridge on Friday, where we will stage for our delivery in Oxnard on Saturday morning.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I'm happy to report that we are back on a normal driving schedule, not that there is such a thing, or that it will last for any length of time, but at least for today, I can say it's normal. All that night driving and making of deliveries under the cover of darkness, makes it seem to me, like I have been back out on the truck for a week already, but it has only been three days.

Sunday, after Craig picked me up, we drove to a rest area about 10 miles from the Oregon border. We were up on Monday by 2am and driving to Chehalis, WA where we would stage for three very early morning deliveries on Tuesday. As usual, getting any sleep was difficult to say the least, but we seemed to get a few hours, and well, that was just going to have to be enough.

We started out at 10pm Monday night, driving first to Tacoma, WA to fuel up, and then to our first stop, also in Tacoma for a 1am delivery. We were a good hour ahead of schedule, but the shipper was sitting on the dock, forklift at the ready, to unload their one measly pallet from the back of our trailer. In and out in record time, less than 10 minutes, we were headed to Seattle for drop number two.

We never know what to expect whenever we delivery to Charlie's Produce in Seattle. The area has been under construction since 2009 and is not due to be finished until 2012. This time around, once we took our approach street to the business, we were hit with detour signs due to the road being closed. With the help of my mapping program and the detour signs, we weaved our way through Seattle and happily found a way into Charlie's.

We were now running about 90 minutes ahead of schedule, but they unloaded us quickly and we drove back to the area of our first stop where we had noticed some truck parking along the street. By the time we made it back to Tacoma, we had a good hour that we could park and take a power nap before heading to Puyallup, WA for our last delivery at 5am.

The delivery at the Fred Meyer DC in Puyallup was as it always is, get a dock right away, spend no more than about an hour getting unloaded, and then the waiting game as to what to do next. In the back of our minds we thought for sure we would be dropping the trailer there and getting another night driving load into Spokane, but were shocked when we were told to find a place to park for awhile.

We headed to the company drop yard in Pacific, WA and got a couple of hours sleep before we were beeped with our next assignment. We both breathed a sigh of relief when we saw that it was a load of frozen french fries to be picked up this morning in Othello, WA. YIPEE....we will get back to driving during the day! This load is scheduled to be delivered in Oxnard, CA on Saturday morning, which means we should have three days of easy driving ahead of us, and maybe I find a use for my camera again!

Monday, July 19, 2010


I can't begin to tell you how great it feels to be back in the truck. No, really, it literally FEELS great. The A/C is on full blast and I think my body core temperature is back to normal, as my toes were going numb from the coldness about three hours after being in the truck. Can we just take a vote and do away Summer? I'd be more than happy to start Fall the end of May!

Craig picked up his loaded trailer around 7am Sunday morning, and headed to the company yard in French Camp where he would be picking me up. I was waiting patiently in the sweltering heat, with my Mom and my Cousin, when Craig pulled into the yard around 10am. We quickly loaded my personal effects and we were happily reunited in the truck once again. All is right with the world again, or at least in our little world.

There was a bit of a surprise when Craig did pick up the trailer in Salinas, CA at Fresh Express. They had snuck in a third stop which was not on the original dispatch. Had the trailer not been ready when it was, I doubt we would have been able to make the deliveries within the time constraints we had. As it stands now, if all works as we have planned, we should be able to make all three appointments and not violate any of the hours of service rules.

The down side of this assignment? We were up and driving at 3am this morning, and with our first appointment Tuesday morning at 1am, we will have an even earlier starting time tonight as we will be staged about 50 miles away from our first delivery. Oh well, back to the night driving schedule again.

Craig is also picking up more and more info on the new electronic log system that was recently installed in the truck. I had a short lesson and quickly picked up on how to do the daily entries, and how to retrieve the assignment information. So far, neither one of us has any complaints, and will be investing some time to review all the training videos we can, before the system gets turned on for good in two weeks.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


While the new QualComm was being installed in the truck on Thursday, Craig received a phone call from Driver Services, asking if he would be able to give a ride to a new driver down to Bloomington, CA so that he could pick up the truck that has been assigned to him. Craig had just been advised of his new assignment, which would take him first to Hermiston, OR to pick up a very heavy load of frozen french fries, over 44,000 pounds, and take them to Long Beach, CA.His pick up appointment was at 9:30pm, so after retrieving the truck from the shop, and loading up his new passenger, he headed off towards Hermiston, OR. A couple of hours later, they were loaded and scaled, but having to do the fuel stop shuffle, due to weight issues, and not being able to have more than a half a tank of fuel on board. Craig drove all night, (just can't seem to get away from that dreaded night driving), and pulled into La Pine, OR around 6am.

From there, Kelvin the newly signed off solo driver, took over the driving duties while Craig got some sleep in the bunk. Kelvin drove through the day until they got to Santa Nella, CA where Craig took over the driving duties, which would have him driving into the middle of the night once again. By 3am they were finally at the company yard in Bloomington, with Craig saying adios to Kelvin as he went searching for his assigned truck, and Craig getting some non moving sleep.

Craig was informed while on the way down to Bloomington, that as soon as he was able to put in his mandatory break, to drop his trailer in the yard, and dead head to Fresh Express in Salinas, CA as they were in desperate need of empty trailers. So this afternoon he will be on the move again, headed north, but will run out of hours just shy of Salinas. He will do another mandatory break, and then reach Salinas early Sunday morning. With any luck, I'll be back in the truck by Sunday afternoon.

Friday, July 16, 2010


We had heard the rumors a few months ago, and then recently, talked to a few drivers who have actually had their truck converted over. What am I talking about? Paperless logs, also known as electronic logs.......everything electronically registered when the truck is in motion and idle. In the words of a dispatcher who has been around for a lot of years..."It's going to change the way we do business".

It's the way most drivers will have to conform to by 2012, and in my limited time in the trucking world, it will definitely change how some drivers choose to operate and use their hours of service. I see the benefits, but also the downfall, to how drivers can sometimes "manipulate" the hours of service rules on the paper logs. With electronic logs, I see a lot more drop and hooks, and swapping of loads, due to drivers having the watchful eye of the computer always keeping track of their actual drive times. Yesterday morning, a new QualComm Electronic Log was installed in our truck while Craig sat idle at the Spokane company yard. We're really interested to see just how it will effect our driving miles, and Craig, always one to embrace anything new as far as gadgets go, has been already pouring over the on line training videos and manuals. No doubt he will have a list of questions to ask the log department before he leaves the yard.
On an up note, from the drivers we have talked to that do have the new system, they have said that when they are pulled into a scale house, that the DOT officers don't want anything to do with it, and just check their license, registration, medical card, and then send them on their way. The way I look at it, if it at all makes life out on the road that much easier for the driver....I'm all for it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Seriously, I miss my husband like crazy when I'm not in the truck, but I got to be honest with you and say that secretly, I'm kinda glad I haven't had to live his driving schedule since he dropped me off on Sunday morning. Usually, we can get ourselves out of the night driving after, at the most, two or three nights, but he has been on it for a week now. I love me my truck time, but night driving? Not so much!

Monday, he was on the road at 2am and driving north from Salinas, CA. This actually was a great time to drive through the San Francisco Bay Area, as I can attest to with over 16 years of commute driving under my belt there. You never want to tempt the traffic Gods by traveling anywhere near there during the morning or evening commute times. He stopped in Corning for a fuel break and a shower, and then powered on into Rice Hill, OR where he shut down and grabbed some sleep.

Back up at midnight, he was driving to his first delivery at the Safeway DC in Clackamas, OR at 4am. Then it was onto UNFI in Milwaukie, OR for his second delivery of the day at 8am. He had to bide his time in the parking lot of the Kmart down the street, as he was unloaded from Safeway by 6am and it was a bit too early to show up at UNFI. Another delivery under his belt and he started making his way to Spokane, WA.

He made it as far as Biggs Junction, OR where he shut down again, and had by now, mastered the trick of sleeping during the day. He was so tired when he called me, I doubt we spent much more than 1 minute talking before he was saying goodnight and falling asleep. With 8 hours of solid sleep, he was again right back at it at midnight making his way on the last leg of this assignment into Spokane for a 5am delivery Wednesday morning.

I got a text message this morning saying that he had arrived safely, and that he would make his way into the company yard when empty. His 14 hour clock will run out at 2pm, so depending on how busy freight is out of Spokane will probably dictate whether he will be enjoying an evening of sitting still or one that will keep him on the go! I don't know about you, but I got exhausted just having to type about his schedule, let alone having to live it. I just may have to go take a nap now!

Monday, July 12, 2010


“Air conditioners are man’s greatest achievement, after beer.”

We made it to Redding, CA in 100+ degree weather on Saturday afternoon. All I can say is thank goodness for that APU! We had a few hours of computer time, before we needed to get to sleep, in order to get up at 1am for some more night driving. I don't think our bodies quite know what to do with the the sleeping schedule we have been on lately, but we did manage to get some sleep and be on the road by 2am.

Little to no traffic is the only good thing about being out on the road that time of morning, and we had an uneventful drive all the way into French Camp, CA where we stopped for fuel at our company yard. We were shocked to see that the front area around the shop and fuel island were crammed with trailers and trucks. As we entered further into the yard, we saw that they had roped off the entire back section to do some type of sealant on the parking area. Sure made it interesting to try and turn around to get fuel.

After a few stops and starts, we got turned around, and as Craig fueled the truck, I scanned our last trip into the computer and filled up our water jugs. Then it was off to Modesto, where we would pull off the "swap Diane for food" transfer. Being that is was still early, we were able to take one of the busiest off ramps in Modesto, and park under the overpass to meet up with my Mom and Niece. Craig's eyes glazed over when he received his bounty of food: chili beans, baked spaghetti, weenie roll ups, and brownies. He grabbed his food, kissed me good bye and was on his was to his delivery 9 miles away.

He ended up having to wait almost 4 hours for them to unload the meat from his trailer, before he could first head over to the TA truck stop in Santa Nella for a trailer wash out, and then go to Fresh Express to drop his empty trailer, and then pick up his loaded trailer. By the time that was all accomplished, his 14 hours clock was just about done, so he found a spot at the Pilot truck stop in Salinas and enjoyed the cool 70 degree weather, while I was sweating away in 100 degrees in Modesto.

Craig will once again be on the road at 2am this morning as he makes his way north. He will try and make Roseburg, OR today, and then with yet another early morning start, make two deliveries on Tuesday in Clackamas and Milwaukie, OR. Then he has one more stop in Spokane on Wednesday morning before he completes this load. With any luck, he'll be routed south again and pick me up the end of the week.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


We really thought we had it easy with our latest dispatch, and by thinking that, we probably jinxed ourselves into what it has become.......back to back sessions of night driving.....UGH! Friday started great as you remember, a nice hot breakfast, and then plenty of relaxing time before our 3pm appointment. Little did we know that it would be more than 8 hours of waiting before our load would be ready, which put us head first into having to drive at night.

On top of that, when we finally did hook up to the trailer, guess what we found? I know we're not the only one this happens to, and really, I'd love to be able to personally talk to the driver that was more than happy to pass off a trailer with a tire in need of replacement. It's unprofessional, it's inconsiderate, and I can only hope that Karma comes back and bites that driver in the ass.

While Craig is calling in about the tire, I start looking over the paperwork, and find that there is no load information for our second drop in Fresno, CA. Back to the guard shack Craig goes, and finds out that the shipping manager deleted that load, presumably because it would put us over gross on our weights. So now we have just one delivery in Modesto, CA and only 36,000 pounds of frozen meat, and a bad tire in need of replacement.

An on call tire guy from the local Les Schwab shows up to replace the tire, and we are finally on the move around midnight. A fuel stop at Biggs Junction, OR finds us loading up with caffeine, and at the rest area just south of Shaniko, we pull in for a 3 hour power nap. Now that the sun has come up, it's a whole new ball game and we hit the road trying to get as far as we can before shutting down.

Our plan is to make it to Redding, CA and take our mandatory 10 hour break, then leaving once again in the middle of the night, make our way to French Camp for fuel, and then drop me off in Modesto on his way to his 8am delivery at WinCo. He has even received a pre plan to head to Fresh Express for a load on Sunday. As we have been known to say, it all looks good on paper, but we'll see how it all pans out as we go along. Trucking......not only a's an adventure!

Friday, July 09, 2010


The last couple of days have been nothing more than a blur. We left Kennewick, WA on Wednesday morning at 1am and rolled into Auburn, WA thirty minutes ahead of our 6am appointment time. Shortly thereafter, we were given a dock and Craig backed in and took to his bed to get some sleep. I, like a fool, stayed up and watched the activity going on around us, to include a small airstrip, where I enjoyed the small planes taking off and landing. I also had a great view of Mt. Rainier. As the detention pay added up, I watched as the clock kept ticking, until we were finally empty at 10am. Craig, who had managed to take a good long nap, was feeling a little chipper, and called into to say he still had hours to run if they had someplace to send us. As busy as it has been the last couple of weeks, I heard Craig tell dispatcher we would be on our way, while I waited to hear what the assignment was. We were told to fuel, wash out, and drop our trailer at AB Foods in Toppenish, WA for what we would only guess would be a load of meat at a later time. The question was, when would it be, and if we would need to get what sleep we could before having to drive all night again? We stopped in North Bend, WA to fuel up the trailer, and then headed to Toppenish for the trailer wash out. When that was done, we checked in at the guard shack, had them sign off on the clean trailer, and then dropped it in their yard.

Now what? That was an easy question to answer, head down the street to the Casino! Still not knowing what the plan might be, Craig called into dispatch to see if we needed to sleep or play, and play it would be. YIPEE.....we would get some sleep and get to play too. With that kind of good luck going our way, we headed into the Casino to check it out. We managed to play a good hour on the slots without losing any money. Then it was off to the truck, where we managed to stay up until around 7pm before getting some much needed sleep. We got a solid 12 hours of sleep and boy did we ever need that. We decided since we were just bob tailing, to head into town this morning and check it out. I love small towns that still have that "old" feeling. Toppenish is even known as the Town of Murals, as most of the businesses display painted murals on the side of the buildings.We stopped for breakfast at a little diner, and then drove back to the Casino where we tried our luck again. Another hour playing slots and we still managed to walk away with what we went in with. When we got back to the truck, our dispatch came across the QualComm. No surprise that we are in deed picking up a load of meat from AB Foods and then we have two in Modesto, CA and one in Fresno, CA.

Now doesn't that work out great? When we make our delivery in Modesto, my Mom will drive there and pick me up so I can stay and visit for awhile, and Craig will be loaded down with all kinds of home cooked food. My Mom has been preparing for this transfer for the last couple of days. It looks like a win win situation for everyone concerned.

Thursday, July 08, 2010


Oh boy.....where do I begin? We've been busy, and grabbing sleep when we can. Tuesday, at 3pm we were sitting at Darigold in Milwaukie, OR picking up over 40,000 pounds of dairy products. When we left at 4:30pm, we were not expecting what we found once we merged onto Interstate 205. It was basically a parking lot. Seems they are doing construction on the Glen Jackson Bridge, one of only two bridges linking Washington from Oregon, and with the commute traffic trying to get across those bridges to Vancouver, WA we found ourselves inching along with the masses.

When we finally made it the ten miles to the off ramp to Interstate 84, over a hour of our time had been wasted. We quickly scaled in Troutdale, OR and then headed towards Spokane for our delivery. We were under a bit of a time crunch, knowing that we needed to get in an 8 hour break, prior to our delivery at 9am. The drive was uneventful, and we found ourselves pulling into the Company yard in Spokane at midnight, with just enough time to get that 8 hour break, and some much needed sleep.

Moving again at 8am, we drove the last 25 miles to the receiver in North Spokane, and two hours later we were headed back to the yard, envisioning a lazy afternoon before getting our next assignment. Boy were we shocked, when we received a new dispatch as we pulled into the yard. With a mandatory two hour break looming ahead of us, we quickly did the math and decided to get at least a hour down the road before we shut down. The shutdown occurred in Ritzville, WA where we treated ourselves to a burrito for lunch.

After our two idle hours, it was off again to Kennewick, WA to Columbia Cold Storage for a load of frozen french fries. We arrived two hours ahead of our 6pm appointment, and then put in another 8 hour break, to allow us the pleasure of driving during the night to make our 6am delivery appointment in Auburn, WA. We tried to get some sleep, but you know the routine, and with maybe an hour or two, we were rolling again at 1am.

Our main goal today is to get ourselves out of the 8/2 hour split sleeper berth cycle and hopefully get some decent sleep before what will most likely be yet another overnight run back to Spokane. But you will not hear us complain if we get a reprieve and get a dispatch that will allow us to get back to a normal sleeping pattern again.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010


I don't know about you, but it seems lately, that I have been writing a lot about things going out on the truck. We get one thing fixed and then the next day something else goes out. Now granted, the truck is over 3 years old, and creeping up on 500,000 miles, so it's to be expected that something will need fixing from time to time. The latest thorn in our side was a leak in a coolant hose above the fuel tank on the passenger side. We noticed it one day a few weeks back, and Craig tightened the clamp, and that seemed to do the trick, until yesterday at our second stop where Craig noticed it again. No amount of tightening of the clamp would slow it down, so Craig had no option but to turn into MacGyver.

In any man's bag of tricks, you always have your "go to" items, and for Craig, those items are duct tape and vise grips. With a leaking problem, vise grips it was, so he restricted the flow of the coolant until we could get to a truck stop to get it fixed. After going empty in Portland at 12pm, we headed first to the TA truck stop in Troutdale about 4 miles away. Boy, what a mistake that was!There was not a parking spot to be found to drop the trailer and get the truck fixed, so we quickly went to Plan B and headed south to Aurora and the TA truck stop there. What a difference 30 miles can make. We dropped the trailer and headed to the service bay to check in and get in line behind everyone else that seemed to have a problem. A couple of hours later, we had the leak fixed and were happily back under our trailer.

This morning we are relaxing, as we don't have a load until 3pm this afternoon, where we will pick up dairy products and delivery them into Spokane tomorrow morning. As I sit in my passenger seat, I'm enjoying some great people watching, when I look up from my typing and see this: I couldn't help but wonder, watching this father/son bonding time, if there just wasn't a future truck driver in the making right there before my eyes. I watched as they drove off, Dad driving and the son securely fastened into his child safety seat, and hoped that they will cherish the memories they are making on the road as much as Craig and I are. Safe travel my friends.

Monday, July 05, 2010


This is as close to any 4th of July celebration we got to yesterday, passing by this colorful balloon arch. You know, I used to think that holidays were only missed by the people that worked in public safety, (law enforcement, fire department, medical field). Lord knows having been in law enforcement for almost 30 years, I missed holiday celebrations several times a year, but I never really thought about truck drivers.......until Craig became one.

While I read about everyone's activities on facebook, their BBQ's, family gatherings, baseball games, and firework displays, I thought to myself, if anyone really even gives a thought to the men and women behind getting all the food and products delivered? I'll admit, that I never gave it much thought before jumping in with both feet into the trucking world.

Let's face it, if trucking was to stop today, the Country would be brought to it's knees. It's as vital as the police and fire protection you demand, but doesn't get anywhere near the respect it deserves. In fact, be honest with yourself, and think about how many times you muttered a curse word or two, when you have been stuck behind a big rig trying to make it up a hill. Or yesterday, when we got the good old one finger salute because we delayed a driver a minute or two until they could pass us.

Until society truly understands the importance of trucks and the people that drive them, we will always be considered "less than" in some people's eyes. I was guilty of it in my past life, but my eyes have been opened. So the next time you see a truck, be thankful that there are still people willing to be apart from their families, to drive the food and products you want to that store near you. A friendly wave, instead of the one finger salute, would be welcomed too!

Saturday, July 03, 2010


Well the commute traffic kicked our butts yesterday. We had, what we thought, would be plenty of time to get to our first shipper in Santa Rosa, CA. All went extremely well, going through Pleasanton, then Oakland and Berkeley, but by the time we crossed the Richmond Bridge, traffic started slowing down as we merged onto Highway 101. It didn't get any better the further we drove, and as we inched our way along, we watched as our window of extra time slowly started closing in on us. We finally rolled into the shipper two minutes past our appointment time. Good enough in our eyes, considering what we just drove through.Four pallets were loaded onto the trailer in Santa Rosa, after backing into one of the strangest angled docks we have ever come across. Craig had to jackknife the truck in order to get the trailer angled just right. From there we headed to Napa, CA with thankfully, a bit less traffic than what we encountered earlier. We were about an hour ahead of our scheduled appointment time when we arrived at 5pm, but would end up waiting almost 3 hours before they even began loading us. Of course, by this time, Craig's driving hours had expired, and after finally getting loaded, we parked around the corner on a little deserted dead end street and called it a day and got some sleep. We did an eight hour split sleeper berth break, and were up at 5am this morning, and headed to the only scale we could find within a 30 mile radius in Martinez, CA. Finding the weights within our limits, we headed to the company yard in French Camp to drop the trailer. Enroute, we were beeped with our next assignment, to bob tail to Fresh Express in Salinas for a load later this evening. We completed our required two hour break to meet the requirements for the split sleeper berth option, while enjoying a Starbucks down the street from the yard. It was still cool enough to sit outside and do some holiday weekend people watching. With our coffee and pastry finished, we jumped in the truck and took off for Salinas. We have two deliveries in the Portland, OR area on Monday morning. Depending on when this load will be ready at Fresh Express, will dictate how this run will go. Day driving or night driving??? Guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Friday, July 02, 2010


I'm pleased to announce the newest truck stop to open on our normal routing on Highway 97. The Crater Lake Junction Travel Center was just completed a few days ago, and is located right next to the Kla-Mo-Ya Casino in Chiloquin, OR. For reference purposes, it is larger than the Pilot in Chemult, but not as large as I first thought it would be. There is probably about 20-25 parking spaces for trucks, with still plenty of room on the out skirts of the parking zones, for the middle of the night ghetto parking that seems to happen when places get full. When we stopped by there today, there was not a truck to be seen. It was almost like everyone is afraid to be the first one to use it. It does have that never been used look to it still, and God willing, those using it in the future keep it that way. We have rarely used the parking lot of the casino prior to the opening of this new travel center, because it just didn't work into our schedule. The one time we did stop there and check out the casino, we were not impressed, but anytime they create additional places for truckers to stop, I'm happy. Speaking of truck stops.....did you all hear the big announcement yesterday? Flying J and Pilot have merged, and part of the merger was that they sell some of their properties to Loves. We found this little bit of info out when we stopped in Corning for a short break and saw them putting up the new Love's signs over the Flying J signs. Plus they had the entire lot closed off as they were changing out the fuel island pumps. I immediately went online to see what the deal was and found the big announcements on both the Love's and Flying J websites. According to the press release, we can all expect to see some updating of a lot of the truck stops we currently use, and again, I'm all for that!

We dropped our trailer of boxed meat in the yard in French Camp and with only about 6 hours for us to use today, they managed to find us a run up to Santa Rose and Napa to pick up some wine and take it back to French Camp again. Not exactly sure how that will pan out with the Bay Area holiday traffic, but anytime you can head up to the Napa Valley is a good thing to me. I'll let you know how it turns out on my next entry.

Thursday, July 01, 2010


I can say, that the 6 hours of sleep we got while parked in the yard of the trailer repair shop, with the windows open, was the best sleep we have had in a few days! We were up at 7am on Wednesday, when the employees started showing up to work, and by the time Craig got dressed and walked into the office, they were already on the job checking on parts for the repair. They had us back the trailer into one of their work bays, where they went about replacing some valves and lines that were blown off when the air bag exploded. That was the easy part, the hard part? Finding an air bag to replace the shredded one. As we watched the clock slowly tick, we knew that if the trailer was not repaired by at least 10am, we would never make our first appointment time in Burley, ID. Then came word that they would have to overnight the part and we were looking at at least a day's delay. Fortunately, our company yard had an air bag in our trailer shop, and someone was dispatched to Pasco from Spokane to deliver the part.

An hour into that wait, we received a phone call from dispatch saying that they would reassign the load to a team who would be able to complete all the deliveries, and that we would be reassigned to a load out of the cold storage facility across the street from Tyson. Upon arriving, we were told to obtain an empty trailer out of the back lot, to which we found only 1, and would you believe it was red tagged for repairs? With Craig's knowledge of reefers, he checked out the error codes on the unit, and found that all it really needed was a bit of coolant to get the level back to normal, and for the error code to reset.

With a now fully functioning trailer, we pulled it across the street and into the dock to get loaded. Three hours later and 38,000 pounds heavier, we were headed south. This load is destined for Wilmington, CA for a Friday morning delivery, but with Craig's limited driving hours the next couple of days, we will take it only as far as French Camp. We stayed in La Pine, OR last night, and will make the last 460 miles into French camp this evening, where we will drop the trailer in the yard.
In other news, this morning while I was checking my blog, I happily noticed that I had reached a milestone.........over 100,000 page views to the blog in the last 4 and a half years. I don't know who the lucky person was that had the actual 100,000 hit, but I managed to be second and took a photo of it for prosperity. Thanks to all my fellow bloggers and readers for the help in reaching that milestone!


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