Monday, October 31, 2011


I didn't stay out too long on the truck before getting right back off again.  I've been in Modesto, CA since Thursday morning, when Craig dropped me off on his way to LA.  It's been fun having a few days here without a doctor appointment to go to with my Mom, but that will change starting today.  Her first round of Chemo went pretty good, and we'll have a follow up appointment with that doctor this afternoon.  Then on Wednesday a visit to the radiation doctor.  That appointment will determine if I get back on the truck right away or stay a bit longer. 
I spent the better part of yesterday taking pictures of one of my twin nieces, and then on the other niece's daughter Gwen (my grand niece) for her first Halloween pics.  Of course we also had to carve some pumpkins.  These don't even come close to the pumpkins I used to carve when I went all out for Halloween back when I lived in Modesto.  I'll be passing out candy tonight and hoping to see a lot of cute little kids instead of the posse of adults that were out the last time I was here on Halloween.
Craig made his delivery in LA and was then dead headed all the way to Salinas, CA to Fresh Express to pick up a load yesterday afternoon.  It'll be a short trip, as he only has to go to Woodburn, OR and the WinCo to deliver on Tuesday morning.  With any luck, I'll be able to get back on the truck either on his way down or on he way back up later this week or weekend.  Hope y'all have a "spooktacular" Halloween evening!

Monday, October 24, 2011


Our home time, as usual, went by way too fast.  It is my most favorite time of year, when all of the summer folks head back home and the year round  folks start having get togethers.  I would be hard pressed to say which season is more beautiful up here, Fall or Winter, and it was with a heavy heart that we packed up and headed back to the truck yard Friday afternoon.
Very early Saturday morning we headed to Wallula, WA to pick up a load of boxed meat.  This particular load had three deliveries, two in Los Angeles and one in Phoenix, AZ.  We were loving the miles attached to it, but as we waited for our trailer to get loaded, we watched as the clock ticked and with every minute, went the chance that we would be able to deliver it on time.
Three hours after it was suppose to be ready, we finally got the go ahead to hook onto it, and after fueling and scaling, we had to send the message that if we were to keep this load, it would deliver late.  We got as far as La Pine, OR for the night, and first thing in the morning we were beeped with the message to swap loads with another driver in Redding, CA.
Now normally this would not be an issue, but I was slated to be dropped off in Modesto to visit my Mom and take her to a couple of doctor appointments.  Unfortunately, the new load we were assigned, headed us back north instead of south.  I really hated making that phone call to my Mom, but I had no other option.  Our new load is from Fresh Express and will deliver in Auburn, WA Tuesday morning.
All along our drive today we saw the billboards for the Mega Millions and PowerBall Lottery, so when we stopped in Chehalis, WA for the night, we made sure to get us a couple of quick picks for each never know, trying to figure a way for me to get south may not be a problem after Wednesday!

Friday, October 14, 2011


Love this time of year.  It's still much too warm for my liking in the Central Valley of California, but at least further North, it is starting to get a chill in the air.

Our last couple of trips required us to do the dreaded "night driving" again, but thankfully, last night we were able to sleep.  We are currently in Livingston, CA with an empty trailer awaiting the load that will take us North and HOME!  Yes, it's been over three months since we have been home and we are so looking forward to a couple of days there enjoying the below freezing temperatures in the morning and the chilly 50's during the day.

We also need to close up the house for winter in the event that we don't get back there until Spring.  With the plans of Craig dropping me off in Modesto every month while my Mom continues her recovery, we just aren't sure that we will be back before Spring.

Hopefully the next time you hear from me, it will be from my favorite chair in front of our fireplace enjoying a glass of wine!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


The one thing we have noticed, over the years of traveling Interstate 5, is that Oregon loves their College Football.  Without fail, on any given Sunday, you will no doubt notice them flying their college flags from their windows, and in the case of the Oregon State University fans, a beaver tail from the back end of your vehicle.
Yes, last Saturday, the Interstate was filled with cars, trucks, and an orange and black bus, occupied by people all wearing orange and black.  The trucks were loaded down with grills and ice chests, the cars had OSU stickers plastered all over them, and you just can't miss all those flags flapping from atop the roofs of the vehicles.
I had to look up OSU's record so far, and sadly they are 1-4, but the losing record did nothing to damper the fighting spirit of the loyal fans on the way to a Saturday afternoon game of football.

Monday, October 10, 2011


We ended up getting a Foster Farms load out of Livingston, CA last week after our marathon 6 drop assignment that finished up in Madera, CA.  The load delivered to the WinCo in Woodburn, Or and then in Sumner, WA at the CostCo.  Before we were unloaded, we were beeped with our next assignment that would take us to Stanwood, WA to the Twin City Foods for a 43,000 pound load of frozen vegetables. 
I have to say that we have really enjoyed the weather the past few days while up North.  Overcast, rainy, and cool temperatures.  Just right for leaving the windows open at night.  I'm sad to say that with this present load that we are on, we are headed South, and already have hit the warmer conditions in the 80's.
It's always nice to drive south on Interstate 5 through Seattle, except of course when you hit commute traffic, but fortunately we were able to bypass the traffic and enjoy the picturesque scenery of the Emerald City.  We are looking forward to one day soon, using our home time to take a trip to Seattle and explore the area for a few days.
The load of vegetables are headed to Riverside, CA for a delivery this afternoon at the Fresh & Easy warehouse.  Since we are delivering so late in the day, I'm sure we'll continue to enjoy our streak of being able to sleep at night and drive during the day. 

Thursday, October 06, 2011


I've been asked by a loyal reader to write about the various trucks we have driven/lived in over the past six years and since I don't presently have anything very exciting to write about, I'll be happy to respond to his request.
Our first truck was a Freightliner.  I remember the day Craig received this truck.  He was just released from training and had to wait for it to be returned from the dealer after having some work done on it.  It had previously been driven by a driver who quit, and quite frankly, the truck was a pig sty and reeked of cigarette smoke.  As we worked together trying to clean it up, I kept trying to calm myself down, wondering to myself if selling everything that we owned, and doing this trucking thing was such a bright idea.  But Craig promised me that by the time I would join him, in about two months, that it would smell better and look in tip top shape, and he didn't let me down.
Over the next two months, Craig "frebreezed" it every opportunity he had, and installed a refrigerator, microwave, and TV.  What more would we need?  There was ample room in the sleeper, and we were more than comfortable living in it except for the time it leaked while we were in New York and had to find a way to stop the rain from coming inside.
Being a novice OTR truck driver, we had no comparison to other trucks as far as power or handling, but most of our loads were light when we hauled boats, and when we did have a back haul with a Genie or some other type of equipment, we didn't seem to notice it being inadequate.

When Craig hurt his back in Texas July/2007, our Freightliner was left at a tiny truck stop in Fort Stockton, TX and driven back to the yard by a team driver.  When Craig was cleared to return to work in October/2007, we were assigned an International that had been left by a driver near Roseburg, OR.  We drove up there to retrieve the truck and I was happy to see this truck was somewhat clean, but it had the tell tale smell of cigarettes.  I left Craig with the truck and drove back to California, where I loaded the remainder of our items and met up with him in Spokane a few days later.
The International had windows up by the bunk, and more room in the sleeper.  I remember joking with Craig that it was so spacious we could dance. In this truck we had room to make a small office area on top of one of the cabinets, where we installed a scanner/printer, which we put to good use with all the border crossings we did delivering boats.  It drove very much like the Freightliner and we enjoyed living in it until we made the decision to change divisions and go to the green side of the company TWT.
Finally, on our third truck, we had one that had not been used by a smoker! It was a Peterbilt, and from what we heard over the years, is that die hard truckers swear by a Peterbilt.  I can't say that we will be one of those people.  It was extremely hard to get used to the cramped driving compartment, and as an added shock to my system, I had to deal with no cup holder for the passenger seat.  Oh the horrors of it all!  We couldn't fold up the top bunk without folding Craig's mattress in half and making it like sleeping in a taco shell, so we kept the top bunk down which meant hunkering down under it whenever I needed to fix meals.  Storage was adequate, and with the use of computers and phones to watch movies and TV, we no longer needed to use any space for an actual TV.

The long nose made for some tricky maneuvering and tested Craig's skills at many of the Shippers and Receivers we were dispatched to.  We also didn't think it had that much power going up the hills either.  The one thing we absolutely loved about it???  It had an APU which provided us with wonderful AC when the weather was hot and warmth when it was cold.  We could put up with any other inconvenience as long as we had that APU.
Which not leads us to our latest truck, a Kenworth.  What a blessing to be assigned a brand new truck with a cup holder for both of us and an APU.  The trucking Gods were looking down upon us.  This truck has the new PACCAR engine and Craig has noticed a big difference in performance.  First it gets much better mileage per gallon than any of the other trucks.  We average about 9mpg where we were only getting 5-6mpg with the other trucks.  It takes the hills with power and the turning radius is fantastic.  The fifth wheel is not adjustable, but we haven't found that to be an issue with scaling.

The driving compartment is even tighter than the Peterbilt, and I have joked with Craig that the truck designers should really check with me before designing the inside of another truck.  The lower bed is much bigger than any of the other trucks, which leaves very little room to stand up and move around.  Trust me, there is no room for dancing in this sleeper area.  I do love that the storage areas have doors instead of curtains that snap, and are so large that I have not been able to completely fill them up, no matter how much I have bought at Wal Mart. I would have liked to see less windows, as it causes the sleeper area to get much too warm.  We end up keeping the covers on the windows all the time.

So you're probably asking which one we like best, or you're completely bored with this post and couldn't care less, but I'm going to tell you anyway.   Ideally, if we could take a little bit from each one that would be the perfect situation, but we can't.  The one truck I would prefer would be the International because of the room and spaciousness that it gave us, and in the category of performance, I would have to go with the Kenworth and the new PACCAR engine.   

Tuesday, October 04, 2011


I can't begin to tell you how super awesome it is to not be driving at night this past week.  Of course I know that can change with our next dispatch, but for now I'm enjoying sleeping at night.  Since getting back on the truck with Craig, we have yet to be sent any further South than the Central Valley of California, which is a bit strange, but then being sent to Chicago our first run out of the gate was even stranger.
I've been a bit slow on grabbing the camera to take photos, as there have been a few things that have caught my attention, like the dock hand at one of our many drops (6) yesterday, who was making like Superman on a stack of Corona beer cases while the other dock hand pulled him into the store loading area.  He was even humming the Superman theme as he rolled on by us.
What I have been able to capture is the agricultural diversity of the Central Valley, and it's many crops growing along our route.  By no means was I able to snap a picture of all of them, it proves a bit difficult when driving by at 55mph, but I did manage to get a few.  It makes you stop and realize just how blessed we are to live in a country that can produce such a variety of great things to eat, and the cotton to make the clothes we wear.
Presently we are sitting in Madera, CA awaiting our next dispatch to beep us over the QualComm.  If we had to guess, we will either be sent to Salinas, Ca to Fresh Express or to Livingston, CA to Foster Farms.  Time will tell, and until then we'll just sit back and enjoy our down time.


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