Thursday, December 30, 2010


As we suspected, they didn't hold onto that Foster Farm load that was scheduled to be delivered in Grandview, WA Tuesday evening.  What they ended up doing instead, was taking it all the way into Pasco, WA, dropping the trailer there, and then bob tailing to Clackamas, OR to pick up a load going into Phoenix, AZ.  So as Craig headed south on Tuesday, I headed north, and right near the border of California/Oregon, we passed each other with a honk and a flash of the headlights.

It was nice to have him give me a weather update on what I could expect going my direction, as I gave him the update on what we had just gone through in Weed, CA where it had just started to snow and the wind was quite gusty.  When I checked in with Craig later that night, he told me that by the time they got there, it was almost white out conditions with the wind blowing the snow across the road, but that by the time they got a few miles down the road, it was clear.

On Wednesday, I made the next leg of my trip to Walla Walla, WA by watching the weather and satellite maps on my laptop.  There was still a nasty storm brewin,g and I either wanted to get ahead of it or stay behind it, and as the morning dawned, it was decided to stay and let the storm get well ahead of us.  That plan worked out well, as we only ran into the last remaining pockets of the storm as we made our way up Interstate 5 and then along Interstate 84, where earlier in the morning the roads were closed due to blizzard conditions. It was as if we entered a different environment when we got to Biggs, OR as the sky was blue and the sun shining and it remained that way until we arrived safely in Walla Walla. 

As we enjoyed the sunshine, Craig and Roy were doing battle making their seven deliveries in the greater Phoenix area in heavy rain.  They even had a delay at one of the stores, when it was noticed that the fuel level on their propane forklift was empty, and having been told that they would have to go retrieve their items at the next stop, and then gathering up enough employees to off load their portion by hand, the guy with the fuel arrived.  It put them off schedule by almost two hours, but they finished up and dead headed to Fontana, CA to pick up a USF Reddaway load this morning.

That leads us to Craig and Roy delivering that load into Spokane, WA tomorrow morning, and I will be leaving Walla Walla also in the morning to pick him up at the company yard to start his home time for the month.  If memory serves me right, this will be the first time ever, besides being in the truck together, that we will actually be at home together on New Year's Eve.  We've already been invited to a party by our great neighbors and with the weather looking good for the next week, we should have a wonderful time at home, and a fantastic beginning to the new year!

Monday, December 27, 2010


My time in Modesto is coming an end, as I will be packing up and heading north early tomorrow morning.  I've been watching the weather, and think we are timing it well between big storms, and the mad rush of holiday traffic.  Time will tell if I made the right decisions.

It was nice to be able to spend some time with Craig at the truck stop Christmas evening.  He was especially happy to have his phone back in working order.  They were both able to do a 34 hours restart on their driving hours, and after delivering in Modesto, CA at the WinCo DC, they were told to  drop the empty trailer at Foster Farms in Livingston, CA and await a load this morning.

They bob tailed to the truck stop down the road after dropping their trailer and enjoyed yet some more down time and plenty of non moving sleep.  This morning, the trailer was ready a full 3 hours ahead of time, and they were hooked up and scaled and heading north as well by 9am this morning.  The load, if they keep it, will deliver in Grandview, WA tomorrow evening at 7pm.  If they make it past Corning  and Weed, odds are that they will indeed keep it.

Roy will only drive until noon, when Craig takes his normal driving shift.  That puts him in position to be driving as they head up Highway 97 and no doubt come in contact with the snow storm I am hoping to avoid when I take off in the morning. If all goes as planned, they have put in for home time on January 1 where we are looking forward to enjoying a few days off before jumping full steam ahead into 2011.

Friday, December 24, 2010


They didn't get a banana load after all, but were dead headed back to California for a USF load out of Fontana, CA.    They had a day and a half of driving and made it to Tacoma, WA early this morning for the drop, but found no empty trailers to hook up to.  Eventually, they were told to go to the Fred Meyer DC in Puyallup, WA to pick up an empty there, and travel to Toppenish, WA for a load of meat this morning.

Usually, there is quite a wait at AB Foods for the meat loads, but I sensed there were a lot of employees who wanted to start their holiday festivities early, and the trailer was ready for them when they arrived.  What wasn't so good, was the weights on the tandems being over the limit and having the load be reworked and stacked in the trailer to make it all legal.  But by noon,  they had scaled out legal and were on their way south with get this........a load delivering in Modesto early Sunday morning.  Thank you Santa for my Christmas present!

They should be at the company yard in French Camp, CA about 4am Christmas morning, and they will take the time there to fuel, shower, and scan paperwork.  Then they will drive about 15 miles to Ripon, CA to the Flying J truck stop, which is only 10 miles from Modesto, and I will be able to spend some time with Craig.

He is super excited, because earlier this week, his new DroidX phone crashed during an online upgrade, and I had to meet him at French Camp and take possession of the phone and high tail it to Verizon to see if they could get it fixed for him.  They couldn't, so they overnighted a new phone to me in Modesto, and it arrived today, just in time for me to bring it to him Christmas morning.  He loves that phone, and it will make his day to have a working one again tomorrow.

Here's hoping all of you will also be able to enjoy a very Merry Christmas with the ones you love.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


And just like that, they are back enroute to Arizona.  With plenty of time for Craig to do his 34 hour restart on his driving hours, they got to the Port of  San Diego around 9am Monday morning.  After checking in and waiting around, they were unassigned the banana load out of the Port, and told to go to the secondary loading area tucked away in the residential area.  No real worries, as they were in and out and headed north by 1pm.

Only problem they would encounter would be San Diego and Los Angeles traffic during a pretty substantial down pour of rain.  It was agonizingly slow, as they made there way north and switched drivers in French Camp.  Roy had the night time driving duties, as Craig checked the weather reports and road conditions as they made their way towards Puyallup, WA.  When they got to Corning, chains were required going over the passes, but as luck would have it, by the time they got to Siskiyou Pass, the roads were clear and no snow in sight.

By this morning they were called to stop their northward progress in Rice Hill, OR and await a team load out of Clackamas by a solo driver.  With a couple of hours to wait for the other driver, they took showers and enjoyed a meal until the swap could be made.  They have six deliveries that they will be making in the greater Phoenix area tomorrow afternoon, no doubt as before, loaded with lots of goodies that will eventually end up under the Christmas tree come Saturday morning.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


The rain finally came to Modesto last night.  They have been talking about this big storm for most of the previous week, and we kept waiting for it, and I gotta say, it is packing quite a punch.  Weather isn't anything that Craig and Roy have had to worry about the last few days, but that may change come tomorrow.

They had the usual prompt unload at FedEx in Portland, OR on Thursday night, then were told to drop their empty trailer at the Fred Meyer DC in Clackamas for a team load early Friday morning.  They were happy little campers when they were able to bob tail just down the street to the McDonald's and not only enjoy a few things off the value menu, but park there for the night and be just a mile away when they returned to pick up their loaded trailer.

Craig got there early again, in hopes of snagging the best load, but when he arrived, there was already another team there and it seemed like they had the only load going out.  A bit confused, he made a call into road service to confirm his load assignment, and found out the other team was hooking up to his load.  Come to find out, they were there a day early, and after a bumpy start, they hooked up to their trailer, scaled it out, and were on their way to Arizona before daylight.

It was a drive all day and all night affair, with them arriving at the first of their 5 stops before noon mountain time on Saturday.  Craig mentioned that most of the employees they came across were none too happy to see yet another load of goods coming into the store.  Seems the holiday spirit is draining out of the employees as fast as yet another load can come in.   But Craig and Roy did their part to take some products out of a couple of the stores, as they took turns at two of the drops to do some grocery shopping to restock their supplies.

By 6pm they were done and at the truck stop in Eloy, AZ with an assignment to dead head back to San Diego today for a banana load Monday morning.  With plenty of time on this load, Craig will be able to do a 34 hour restart on his driving hours, while Roy does the driving duties today.  That should set them up nicely to drop the banana load at the company yard in Bloomington and possibly get a USF load out of Fontana again.  All I know for sure is, if this rain/wind doesn't let up, we may need to put in a call to Noah to reserve room on that ark.

Friday, December 17, 2010


If you thought I was kicking back and relaxing while I've been in California, here is proof that I have indeed been putting in a little work while I am at my Mom's.  Oh sure, when I say work, it really means I am doing what I love to do, putting a new twist on old forgotten furniture and giving it a new lease on life.

My Mom had told me of two dressers she picked up, one free and another for $20 at an estate sale, and I had my eye on a natural pine bench that was in her entry way, that was just crying out for a punch of color.  So Monday I did my rounds to my usual haunts to pick up the supplies I would need to "get 'er done", and today I can truly sit back and relax and enjoy looking at my re-creations.

First up, is this mid century Broyhill dresser:
It had some wear and tear on it, but I was ready to make it look a little more distressed and add some color to it.  When I was done, it looked like this and looks great in one of the spare bedrooms:
Next up is the entryway bench
Here it is after
This little dresser will go in the spare room that I stay in when I visit, and have to say, what doesn't look better with a little black and an accent of burlap?
 Here it is looking fresh and new
I've had so much fun over the last three days working on these projects, that I think my Mom just may find a few more things to makeover during my stay.  It just gets me geared up for my return to Washington and making a go of turning a fun hobby into a profitable business.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


That team load out of Oakland Monday night?  Well, it turned out it was a FedEx load, where they are not too interested in the appointment time, but zero in on the "departure" time.  Craig and Roy collected 8 hours of detention pay, from 7pm (their appointment time), until 3am, when they were finally loaded, and they managed to leave just about 30 minutes ahead of the drop dead departure time.  No doubt, this being the busy time of year for FedEx, that they hire out extra help during the holiday season.
The very light load of FedEx mail and parcels was headed to Portland, Or for a 6pm delivery Tuesday night.  They arrived about an hour early for their appointment, and were promptly off loaded and empty by 7pm.  From Portland, they drove a short distance to Clackamas, OR where they dropped their empty trailer and bob tailed to Salem, OR to pick up an empty dry van to take to the PG&E yard in Marysville, CA.  Craig had the overnight driving duties and arrived this morning in Marysville, dropped the trailer and then bob tailed to the yard in French Camp with Roy doing the driving.

They will experience "deja vu" as they will have a repeat of Monday night again tonight.  Around 5pm they will take off to Oakland, most likely sit around for 8 hours again, and then boogie on up to Portland for a 6pm delivery Thursday night.  No word yet on what their next assignment(s) will be, but anytime they keep you moving non stop, is a good thing in the trucking business.  I think Craig is very much enjoying the team driving experience so far.

Monday, December 13, 2010


It comes as no surprise to other teams drivers, but Craig and Roy have been covering a lot of ground lately.  So much so, that it is making my head spin trying to keep up with what they are doing, and where they are going.  Even Craig has a hard time remembering exactly what day it is, and rarely knows where he is at, except for when he is driving.

After making the five deliveries in the Phoenix, AZ area, they dropped the dry van in the company yard in Phoenix and drove to Tolleson, AZ to pick up a loaded trailer at the Sara Lee Plant.  Then they drove to the company yard in Bloomington, CA and dropped it there.  They took the time to take showers, and then it was off to the USF Reddaway yard in Fontana, CA after hooking up to an empty trailer in the yard , for a drop and hook load which would take them to Tacoma, WA.

As I was on my way south to California, they were headed north to Washington, and I warned them about the rain I was experiencing on my travels, and gave Craig the heads up about Snoqualmie Pass having been closed due to the snow and avalanche control.  I was certain that they would have to travel that pass after their drop in Tacoma, and sure enough, while they were enroute, they received the info to pick up an empty after they dropped the loaded trailer and dead head to Wallula, WA for a load of meat.

Craig arrived in Tacoma around midnight Saturday night, and as he made his approach to Snoqualmie Pass, having watched the radar screen on his DroidX, he knew that the snow had turned to rain, and the only concern would be flooding rather than avalanches.  They safely arrived in Wallula yesterday morning, where Craig called me to report on their progress and then got some well deserved sleep, while Roy took on the driving duties.

Last night, with both of their hours on their 70 hour clock down to zero and 1 hour, they stopped in Redding, CA at the TA truck stop for a few hours of non moving sleep, before Craig generated some more driving hours at midnight.  When the appointed hour arrived, he drove into the company yard in French Camp, CA where they dropped the trailer, and would await for word on a team load out of Oakland, CA for later tonight.
With more than a few hours of down time, (of course it is always guaranteed to change at a moment's notice, as we have come to expect), the plan is for me to drive into French Camp this afternoon with Craig's favorite combination plate from our local Chinese take out here in Modesto.  He has been dreaming of it for the past week, and never fails to mention it to me every time we talk.  Here's hoping his dream comes true and he'll be happily eating his chow mien prior to taking on their next team assignment.

Friday, December 10, 2010


With what I'm sure will be the norm, rather than the unusual, Craig and Roy were told to drop the trailer of frozen french fries at the company yard in French Camp.  That was accomplished around 2am Thursday morning, and then they hooked up to a Fred Meyer load of household products, no doubt which will turn up under many Christmas trees in the greater Phoenix area, and high tail it to Arizona. 

When they received the assignment, and after doing the math, even with a team, the load would deliver about 10 hours late.  The routing would take them on a route they haven't gone before, veering off of Highway 99 in California, and taking Highway 58, connecting to Interstate 40, and then taking Highway 89 south through the Prescott National Forest.  I'm thinking it might have been a scenic drive had it not been already dark by the time Craig drove through it around 8pm last night while he was talking to me.

Since they would arrive so late after the original appointment time for the first of their 5 stops, they were updated with new appointments for first thing this morning starting at 7am.  Craig's plan was to just drive straight to the store last night and back into the dock to await the arrival of the employees to unload their portion of the load.  They will have four more stops to contend with this morning/afternoon, and then with an empty dry van, we suspect they will dead head back to the company yard in Bloomington, CA, unless there is something they can pick up that doesn't need refrigeration.

While that is all being decided, I will be busy here in Walla Walla preparing for my trip south to California.  Although it will be hard to take a break from the restoration business for a few weeks, both Cori and I are gearing up to go full force after the first of the year.  The forecast calls for nothing but rain on our journey, and I'll take that any day over driving in that white stuff!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


After Craig and Roy made the delivery on Monday morning, they were hit with their first legitimate team run, however, it wouldn't start until midnight.  They drove the sixty miles from Vernon, CA into the company yard in Bloomington, CA to scan their paperwork and kick back and rest up for the load later that evening.   By midnight, they were at the USF Reddaway yard, but they would end up waiting over three hours before their trailer would be ready for them to take.

Roy started the driving duties at 3am, while Craig adjusted to trying to sleep in the bunk, while being bounced by the pot holes and rough patches of road along Interstate 5.  With over 1200 miles to travel, it would take them around 24 hours to complete this run into Spokane, WA.  Craig took over the driving duties in Corning, CA and would drive until Biggs, OR where Roy would take over once again.  With a few fuel stops thrown in, they would arrive at the USF Reddaway yard in Spokane at 5am this morning.

With their first run under their belt, they were ready to take on their next assignment, but thought they would have a few hours in the yard, so Craig started a load of laundry.  Before he could put it in the dryer, they had their next load assignment to Quincy, WA for a load of french fries.  He had to take his wet clothes and hang them off the bunks to dry while they headed out to first pick up pallets and then head to Quincy.  This load will delivery in Long Beach on Friday morning, but since they will be able to be in LA by tomorrow we'll just have to wait and see if they will be dropping it in the yard prior to delivery.

As for me?  I'm actually seeing sunshine for the first time in almost a week, but with the prediction for rain the next five days, I'm sure it will be short lived.  I'll be heading south on Saturday, with Cori and her children to California for the holidays.  I'm looking forward to being able to go and see Craig on his way up and down I5 in French Camp over the two weeks I'll be there.  Plus, I have a few projects lined up at my Mom's house to keep me busy and get me ready for the new business at the beginning of the year!

Sunday, December 05, 2010


We had to leave a day earlier than we wanted to, so that Craig could go get his fingerprints taken for his HazMat endorsement.  Once the process is completed, that will mean another two cents a mile for him and Roy while driving team, and speaking of which, the new team driving experience officially started Saturday.

Their first load is a run from the Tyson Plant in Wallula, WA to Vernon, CA for an early Monday morning delivery.  Since the load wasn't picked up and scaled until almost 2pm, Roy had the first shift of driving, while Craig napped in the sleeper.  They ran into a bit of snow going down Highway 97 in Oregon, but nothing too serious.  Craig would have the duties of driving through the night, as their plan was to drive all the way into Wheeler Ridge and stage there for either a swap or for the delivery Monday morning.

They should be in position, come Monday, to get into a normal team driving pattern.  It's always a bit tricky, and seems to take a couple of days, when coming back from home time to get back into a groove.  Their plan is to drive for four weeks and then take four days off.  What we know for sure at this point, is that the stress of picking up and delivering loads by a single driver, working with the electronic log, is now a thing of the past for Craig.  He is looking forward to pretty much stress free driving from here on out, barring any unexpected incidents that are bound to occur while out on the road.

I made it into Walla Walla yesterday, under a light dusting of snow.  Here I thought, the further south I went, the less likely it would be to run into that white stuff while driving. I'll be staying here until the end of the week, where I'll take off further south to visit with my Mom in California for a few weeks.  Then when the new year starts, we'll get to work trying to build up the business a bit more, which might be a bit challenging during the cold winter months, but we have a few ideas up our sleeves.

Friday, December 03, 2010


It seems like every two and a half years, we make a change in Craig's truck driving experience.  He started out driving OTR in the US and Canada delivering boats from coast to coast and border to border.  Then, after sustaining the back injury in July of 2007, and us both desiring to stay closer to family, he switched to the refrigerated division  in May of 2008 and drove basically the I5 corridor.  Well, it's two and a half years later and it's again time to change things up a bit.

The little side business I am involved in with my BFF Cori, has gotten off to a better start than we ever imagined.  We both want to devote more time to it with two spaces in the consignment store now, and also trying our hand with a few sales at the Cottage on her property.  Craig has over the past six months or so, entertained the idea of going team.  It would change things up a bit on the driving side, plus allow him to come home every month instead of every two months.  As he told me, he would much prefer to go team, than to do any more training.

So, starting Saturday, Craig will team up with his previous trainee Roy, (his son in law he was teaming with moved back east and left him without a driving partner), and I will divide my time between home and Walla Walla, WA as Cori and I embark on making the love we have in re purposing furniture and finding vintage items, into more of a full time business.  Both Craig and I are excited about the changes that are happening for us in the upcoming year.

Where does that leave this blog?  I'm not sure if my entries are quite as good when Craig is just relaying to me what assignments he has, versus my actually being in the truck and experiencing it myself.  I guess we'll just have to see how it goes and if the readership maintains during this departure from what we have been able to enjoy together.  I'll be posting as well, about the progress Cori and I make with our business, and hopefully, we'll find a happy medium for everyone to enjoy.  If not, I'd like the thank the ones who may lose interest in this blog that have accompanied us over the past 5 years, as Craig and I have had an adventure of a lifetime together.  We always enjoyed the company....... Thanks!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


Have I mentioned that it's snowing?  I'm sure I have.  We did have a break for two days, one of which I made my escape into Spokane, got a hotel for the night, and awaited Craig's arrival at the yard.  I was beginning to think the forces were against Craig ever getting his home time, but we are home now, happy, warm, and enjoying the snow covered landscape around us.  Might I add, I'm ever so grateful for a husband who knows how to drive in the snow, and now that I don't have to drive in it, I can finally enjoy it.
Let me fill you in on Craig and Roy's travels over the past few days.  After picking up the load of produce in Salinas, Ca they drove straight through to Aurora, OR a full day ahead of their delivery appointment, in hopes that they would be able to drop the load and get something into Spokane by Sunday.  No such luck, and they ended up delivering at the Safeway in Clackamas, OR  on Monday morning.  So much for getting that home time as requested, but they were immediately given a load out of Prosser, WA that loaded at 4pm Monday afternoon. 
While I made my way into Spokane Monday afternoon, they finally went loaded at 7pm and made their way into Spokane by 10pm.  Roy, having used all his driving hours for the day, got to start his home time, while Craig had to stay with the truck and made the delivery at 5am in north Spokane.  As I patiently waited, and watched as the snow began to fall again from the heavens, Craig wasn't able to get unloaded until 9am.  Then thinking he was sure to head straight into the yard to start his home time, they dispatched him to pick up a load of juice on his way in.   
I was beginning to think that I'd be in the driver's lounge waiting for him all day, but finally, around 1pm he made his way into the yard, loaded up his stuff into our pickup, and we made our way home through a snow storm.  Thankfully, this time, Craig did the driving duties, and got us home safe and sound, and in time to join our neighbors at the weekly Tuesday night get together at the clubhouse.  We'll enjoy a few more days at home before it's time to get back to work.


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