Monday, September 26, 2011


It's been a long week.  Never really adjusting to the east coast times we kept when we traveled to Chicago, we managed to find ourselves still on the night shift when we picked up our load at Fresh Express last Wednesday.  Craig did have fresh hours, since we ended up doing a 34hr reset in Salinas, but with the time constraints of a tight delivery schedule to three different locations, it mandated us starting our driving on day one at 4pm and driving until almost 3am. 

We made it to a rest stop about 60 miles into Oregon, where we thankfully found an open spot and camped out there until after 5pm when we once again started our day with a 2am delivery in Tacoma, followed by a 5am delivery in Puyallup, WA.  There is where we had to hand off out load to another driver who had just delivered some bananas.  It was after 7am when we finally got the green light at our dock, and Craig's 14 hour clock had run out.

We ended up trying to sleep amidst the noise of the yard goats zipping around with trailers and the constant beeping of them backing into docks.  We knew we would have yet another night of driving as all the loads coming out of the Fred Meyer DC are overnight loads into Spokane.  Our dispatch on the QualComm awoke us mid day with a pickup at 8pm and a delivery at 5am.  At least we would have a couple of hours to stop off at the yard to take showers and do a load of laundry.

After the unload, we were given a dispatch to pick up meat at Tyson in Wallula, WA so we zipped over there to their yard to drop our trailer before Craig's driving hours ran out.  We managed to catch some sleep before picking up our loaded trailer at 7pm and once again, driving through the night to get as far as we could. With a few stops for a caffeine boost and to eat, we finally arrived in Redding, CA around 8am.

We finally managed to fall asleep around noon, only to be rudely awakened by the sounds of the Thunderbirds doing fly bys at the Redding Air show at 4pm.  Damn those planes are loud, but we were able to go back to sleep and make our departure at 1am for our first delivery in Oakland, CA at 6am.  We arrived an hour early and much to our surprise, we were flagged down by their yard supervisor to come directly into the yard and back into a dock.  By 6am we were unloaded and making our way towards Modesto for our last delivery.

Since we had so much extra time, we decided to stop in Ripon, CA at the truck stop for some breakfast before making our final leg into Modesto.  We're sitting in the Sysco lot now awaiting to hear which dock they want us to back into, and then we are both hoping to catch a break and get back into a somewhat normal schedule.  The only photo I have been able to capture this past week was this sunset in Wallula, WA before we left.

Monday, September 19, 2011


I really don't think I need any words to go with this post. Sit back and enjoy the sights we have been blessed to look at over the past few days.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


We're making our way West, after finding our way out of Chicago, with one wrong turn, but a quick recovery on Craig's part to get us back on the right toll road.  Thankfully, if we are ever sent there again, we'll be much more familiar with the way in and more importantly, the way out of Chicago.
I have been enjoying the Fall like weather ever since we arrived in Chicago, with temperatures mostly in the mid 50's with some rain thrown in for good measure.  Making our way through Iowa and Nebraska you can't help but notice the corn fields and the family owned farms dotted along the Interstate.  I found myself fantasizing about life on a farm, living in one of the many cute farm houses, chickens, a few cows, and living off the land, and then reality sets in and I go back to playing my games on the computer.
After two full days of driving, and making it to Rock Springs, WY we are finally going to enjoy two shorter days, thanks to Craig's driving hours, making our way through Utah and Nevada.  I'll have to tackle our laundry pile, and figured the best incentive will be while in Reno.  What's better than a little casino action to make laundry a bit more pleasurable?

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Since Sunday, we have been making our way East, reminiscing every time we passed by a landmark or an  area of interest we had previously been to in our past travels hauling boats.  It was great being back on some old familiar ground and seeing how the landscape had changed in the past three years.  I had forgotten how some states, such as Montana, have some really nice rest areas to stop at and make use of the facilities.  I swear the individual rooms they had at this rest stop, were bigger than bathrooms in most homes.
As we drove further East and adjusted to the time zone change, we also had to accommodate Craig's driving hours, which left us leaving earlier and earlier each day.  The upside to that, is having the pleasure of watching the sun rise each morning, and arriving at the truck stops early enough to have no problems finding a spot to park.  Speaking of that, we passed the truck stop in Hudson, WI where Craig picked me up at to begin our trucking journey together back in 2006.  Had to take a photo of that for old times sake.
We made sure to arrive early for our appointment at Fresh Express in Franklin Park, IL mainly to miss the Chicago traffic.  We knew there might be issued when Craig checked in and they were a bit confused as there was a TWT truck that had delivered yesterday, another TWT truck parked in the yard to get unloaded, and then us.  But, I'm happy to say the unloading of the apples was the least of our worries, except maybe this lovely dock.  With limited space to work with, Craig had to jack knife the truck in order to squeeze it into the space.  Got to love those challenges.
After the unload, we were sent the dispatch to pick up lettuce bins from the same location.  Only problem was, they only have a load of lettuce bins once every three days, and the TWT truck that was there the day before had taken them.  So now they had two trucks sitting there with no product.  After waiting a few hours, we saw the other TWT truck take off, which we found out later was a scavenger hunt through Chicago to find more lettuce bins at a different location.

The shipping clerk assured Craig that we would have something loaded, sometime that day/evening, so we just kicked back and enjoyed the crisp fall weather that Chicago gave us.  By 4pm we were finally called to a dock, and shortly thereafter we had lettuce bins and cardboard pallets loaded into the trailer.  We were happy to make use of their ample parking area and call it a day and get some much needed sleep.

This morning finds us making our way out of Chicago and all those toll roads and heading West by way of Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada before finding our way to the Fresh Express in Salinas, CA where we will deliver on Monday afternoon.  It will be great having a different route back where we can reminisce some more.

Monday, September 12, 2011


This past Friday, I drove 950 miles in 17 hours to get from Modesto, CA to home in Usk, WA.  A quick stop over to pack up a duffel bag, grab my passport and port credential, and get some much needed sleep.  Saturday I drove to the Company yard to await Craig's arrival with a load of apples he had just picked up in Moxie, WA.  We were able to hit the local Wal Mart, grab some dinner, and get situated in the truck.

During the course of all that, I learned that the load he was assigned, and which will be my first run with him in almost a year, would be headed East instead of the usual South.  In fact, once again, Craig is what he calls the "guinea pig" on a trip that would take us to the Chicago, IL area.  In the past, TWT used to send teams to Chicago all the time, but it proved too difficult to get loads back headed West, so they discontinued going
so far East until now. Even rarer, is that it is a solo run.

So imagine my surprise, and almost disbelief when he informed me of the details of our load assignment.  It definitely brought back memories of the time we delivered boats and the I90/I94 corridor was one of our routine routes.  What a great run for my return to the truck, and we are both looking forward to seeing some old familiar areas through Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin before arriving in Illinois and having to deal with toll roads without the benefit of the electronic toll pass adhered to our windshield.

Since we will be dealing with different time zones, and working around Craig's 70 hour driving clock, we have been having some very early mornings, or as some would say, some very late evening driving start times.  We started out from Spokane, WA at 4am on Sunday morning, and this morning we were hitting the Interstate at 2am.  I don't even want to think about what time Craig told me we would have to get up and be on the road Wednesday, or should I say Tuesday night to make our delivery in Franklin Park, IL at Fresh Express.  I'll just deal with that when I have to.

Thursday, September 08, 2011


 It's usually the remnants of it that you see scattered on the roadway, and on rare occasions it scares the crap out of you when you witness it happening in front of you.  What is it you ask?  The big bang of a tire blowing out. In the almost 6 years that Craig and I have made a life driving on the highways of this country and Canada, we have never had a actual blowout while driving...........until yesterday.  Yep, mark that one off our list of experiences and adventures.
Craig is heading North ,as I begin my migration North early tomorrow morning, in what we hope will be the reunion in Spokane that will get me back on the truck this weekend.  He was enjoying his usual radio shows, when he heard the "pop" and knew instantly that he had blown a trailer tire.  When he called later to tell me about it, I had asked if he had noticed if any of the rubber had flown off, and in his usual sense of humor responded with " I didn't see anyone chasing me down or passing me while giving me the finger, so I'm assuming all was okay".
He safely pulls off at the next exit and gets out to survey the damage, locating the one outside trailer tire that had met it's demise and the collateral damage of one mud flap that would need to be replaced.  A quick phone call into Road Service started the ball rolling to have the nearby TA send one of their service techs to replace the tire, but the mud flap would have to wait until he could get to the truck stop.

When it gets to the truck stop repair bay he is asked the normal questions, but the one that has gotten him the most reaction is the question of what type of engine he has.  In his new Kenworth, he has a PACCAR engine, and most techs are curious to see what it looks like.  As Craig tells me, they all want to look, but no one seems to know how to work on them.  Thankfully, this time around, his engine wasn't what needed to be repaired.  He walked into the store to grab a cup of coffee and a sandwich, and was surprised that upon his return to the repair bay, his mud flap has been replaced.

And just like that he is headed back North again, headed to the Fred Meyer DC in Clackamas, OR to make a delivery of fresh off the boat bananas tomorrow morning.  We don't know for sure, but we hope he will then get a load headed to Spokane, where I will be waiting with my duffel bag to hop back onto the truck and make myself comfortable to report back to you our life on the road viewed from the passenger seat.


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