Monday, December 31, 2012

GOODBYE 2012 - HELLO 2013

It's the last day of 2012, and like so many others today, I'm looking back on this past year and all that has happened.  2012 did not start out well for our family, as we lost our Mother/Omie on January 2.  There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of her and miss her dearly.  She would have so enjoyed watching her great grand daughter Gwen celebrate her first birthday and marvel as she learned to walk and talk.  Although she might not understand some of the decisions we all made in our lives, she was always our greatest supporter.  I take comfort in knowing that she is still looking out for us and sending her love to surround us.
Craig did one last go around with team driving, and I got to say, he had the best driving partner of the lot.  We both enjoyed getting to know Justin (Junior to Craig and I), and watching as he learned the ropes and became yet another great employee of TWT.  There isn't anyone around who loves chicken more than Justin and it has become a running joke between Craig and I every time the work chicken is said.
While Craig was buy teaming, I got to enjoy for the first time in five years, living at our home for almost 8 months straight.  In that time, I managed to grow some veggies, and keep our plants and flowers thriving to the amazement of both Craig and I.  I was also able to do quite a bit of redecorating/painting of our home and we are both looking forward to being able to truly live there as Craig nears closer to his retirement.

Speaking of retirement, after a long six and a half years of waiting, I finally reached my retirement age of 55, and was so happy to start collecting.  Not only does it give us some breathing room financially, but takes the sole burden off Craig for supporting us, and we now have a much better health insurance plan than we have had the past 7 years.
We are looking forward to enjoying the last years of Craig truck driving journey, taking time to stop and smell the roses (mini trips during home times), and cherishing the opportunity to create memories out on the road together in the upcoming year.  May all of you be blessed, happy, and healthy in 2013....thanks as always for coming along with us on our journeys.  It wouldn't be the same without you!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


I couldn't let the day pass by without saying "Merry Christmas" to everyone.  Craig has been pretty sick since he had to chain up during that blizzard.  It really took a toll on him, and this is day 5 and counting of him not feeling too good, or having much of a voice.  I've been fixing him hot lemon and honey drinks the last couple of days and that always makes him feel better for a little while.
Since the blizzard, we have been lucky with good roads going back over the mountain passes again, no doubt with the help of positive thoughts and prayers from our loved ones.  We skated by once again very early this morning when we left Weed, CA at 3am as a new storm was fast approaching.  In celebration, we were able to stop at the Rolling Hills Casino in Corning, CA where they have one of the best buffets that I have every eaten at.  I was able to load up on some fresh veggies, prime rib, and a piece of cheesecake......yum yum.  Made Christmas that much  nicer for us.
What wasn't as nice to see was the $2.00 senior citizen discount we got.  Since when did we grow so old?  I still feel like I'm in my 20's.  Oh well, we managed a little yule time cheer and donned some reindeer ears for a quick photo opportunity.  Craig of course had to act like he didn't want to, but we all know better.
We are scheduled to pick up a load in Modesto, CA Wednesday afternoon, and head right back up through the mountain passes again and deliver in Sumner, WA on Friday.  Some positive thoughts and prayers are always appreciated for a safe journey, and that Craig will not have to put on least until he is feeling back to normal.

Friday, December 21, 2012


I see that the December 21st arrived, and contrary to what the Mayans have foretold, we are still here.  Craig and I have been dealing with trying to deliver a load of frozen fries in a blizzard.  We thought we had avoided the bullet on Wednesday, when we received the load and headed to Warden, WA to the Columbia Cold Storage.  On our way, we ran into quite a bit of snow falling down, making it look very much like a winter wonderland.
Glad to have over 43,000 pounds of weight added to our trailer, we headed south, and as we had Pasco, WA in our sights, two things happened.  One, the snow stopped and we had bare pavement and clear skies, and two, the reefer stopped running.  We were in the perfect place to call road service and have them give us the go ahead to drive straight to one of our repair shops not more than a mile away.  Two hours later, the broken wire found on the reefer unit had been replaced, and we were once again headed south.
We hit Hwy 97 at Biggs Junction, OR and managed to drive a dozen more miles to a deserted weigh station, where we called it a day.  Waking to clear skies had my hopes high that we could possibly avoid any snow, but one look at the weather radar and we both knew that we would be facing a huge storm face to face.
The road between Bend and Klammath Falls was the usual winter snow packed road with a light snowfall.  Between Klammath Falls, OR and Grass Lake, CA the roads were bare and dry, and then, about 4 miles from Weed, all hell broke loose.  We had wind gusts up to 50 MPH and the the snow started falling.  Looking at the weather sites, the storm had been declared a blizzard, and Craig quickly pulled over to start putting chains on.
Every indication on the Internet had the roads still open going south, although they were completely shutting down traffic heading North from Redding and even up into Oregon on the summit, Grants Pass, and Canyonville area.  It was an anxiety filled ride for me, as I watched Craig do his best winter driving and try to avoid all the passenger cars on the road that were spinning out and sliding sideways.  We managed to get to the Lakehead Rest Area at mile marker 702 where we pulled into an open spot and decided to call it a night.  We only had about 90 minutes left on his driving clock and knew we would have issues finding something further down the road.

Awaking this morning to our snow covered truck, we took survey of our surroundings, checked the Internet, and was even able to talk to a CHP officer that was driving through the rest area.  We slowly took off, only to be stopped at a chain inspection area, where we were told a big rig had spun out near the bridge and that truck traffic would not be allowed through for at least a couple of hours.  With that we pulled off to the side of the road and presently await word on when we will be allowed through.  We know from looking at the radar, that we only have about 15 miles to go to hit rain and be out of the least for today

Saturday, December 08, 2012


I know it's been awhile since I last posted.  Seems all we have been doing lately is night runs.  Trying to sleep during the day, starting our driving day at 10pm and finishing up about twelve to fourteen hours later.  For at least the time being, we finished up our last night driving Thursday morning in Pleasanton, after leaving Reno, NV at 10pm the night before.  After a staying at the yard in French Camp and resting up, we hit the road early Friday morning headed to Clackamas, OR.
We had picked up a loaded trailer of bananas and made our delivery this morning at the Fred Meyer DC.  When we weren't beeped with a new load after we went empty, we decided to head over tot he truck stop in Troutdale, OR to wait it out.  With only 4 hours of driving time left on Craig's 70 hour clock, we knew the odds of us getting anything today would be slim.  With that in mind, we took off on foot to the outlet stores down the street.
We enjoyed walking and window shopping, although I couldn't resist a pretty new pullover sweater at Eddie Bauer.  It rained off and on while we enjoyed the chilly, overcast weather.  Finding nothing else to purchase we headed back to the truck stop to our truck.  We were dispatched on a new load that doesn't pick up until tomorrow, and delivers in Vernon, CA on Wednesday.  Looks like we'll be enjoying some "normal" driving hours for at least the next few days.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Since being back out on the truck, and traveling Highway 97 near the town of Shaniko, I always think about the "Shoe Tree".  I wrote about it previously here and here.  It was a sad day indeed when I saw that it had been intentionally burned down, but much to my delight, a new "Shoe Tree" has been found. 
It is located in the same general area as the original tree, but on the other side of the highway and by a large turnout area, so it is easy to stop to take a closer look at it and take some pictures.  I wasn't quite ready to part with my summer flip flops yet, or they would have found themselves joining the other foot attire that was dangling from the branches.
I really hope that this new tree catches on and that it will soon have as many shoes, boots, sneakers, and flip flops as the original tree had.  I'll be happy to check out it's growth each and every time we travel near Shaniko, OR.
And to those party poopers who burned down the original shoe tree?  Well, let's just hope they stay away from this one.  I'd love to see it grow and get fat with shoes for many years to come.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


It's not often we get routed off our usual Interstate 5 / Highway 97 corridor, but that is exactly what happened yesterday.  We had picked up a load of Tyson Meat in Wallula, WA after we dropped the bananas in Auburn at the Safeway DC.  Looking at what hours Craig had available on is 70 hour clock, we knew we would not be able to make the delivery in Riverside at 0300 on Monday morning.  After advising dispatch of the situation, we took off south to await to hear what the plan for a swap would be.
A few hours into our drive and we were beeped with a message to swap trailers in Chemult, OR and take a load of bananas to Puyallup, WA.  With a delivery at 0500 Monday morning, and only 355 miles to drive, it fit in perfectly with the driving hours Craig had, leaving 90 minutes left to spare.  It also gave us the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful drive along the scenic Williamette Highway, also known as State Route 58.
It had been quite awhile since we have been on on this highway, and it didn't take long to start enjoying it's beauty.  The fall foliage was on display, along with many rivers, streams, waterfalls, and lakes.  Of course there is never an opportunity to pull a big rig over for a photo shoot when inspiration hits, so I did the best that I could from the front seat of the truck.
All too soon, the 87 mile connecting highway between Hwy 97 and Interstate 5 was traveled, and we drove onto the Interstate and left one of the most beautiful drives  in Oregon behind us.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Thanksgiving......I fear this holiday has lost it's true meaning to far too many people these days.  Instead of taking a day to enjoy family and be thankful for our many blessings, it has become the day to start camping out to get "Black Friday" specials for Christmas.  I couldn't believe I saw my first Christmas commercial on TV before Halloween!

This year, as has been the case since 2006, Craig and I will be enjoying a nice relaxing day together in the truck, traveling up Interstate 5 to stage for our delivery in Auburn, WA Friday morning.  We will take time out during the day to stop and enjoy a hot meal, along with so many other people working and/or traveling today. 

We will also be counting our blessings and giving thanks, for being able to live in the greatest Country in the world, have the freedom to choose the lifestyle we want to live, and having the opportunity to be together and create memories that are far more valuable than any "Black Friday" special that is being offered.

Where ever you find yourselves today, both Craig and I hope you are enjoy this day for what it truly is, with family and/or friends, with a hot meal, with giving thanks for all you do have, and that you leave room for that second piece of pie!

Saturday, November 17, 2012


I've been noticing the fall colors a lot recently, since we headed back north after receiving a load of bananas in San Diego on Wednesday.  The Interstate 5 drive is one of the most scenic once you hit Redding and continue north.  We've had great weather so far, and I finally pulled out a sweatshirt the other day while in Aurora when the temperature dropped down enough for me to see my breath when walking.
We delivered the bananas to the Fred Meyer DC in Clackamas, and were immediately sent when empty to Boardman, OR to pick up a load of frozen veggies.  Can only imagine that they are needed for all of those Thankgsgiving feasts that will be consumed on Thursday.  Craig and I are trying to figure out where we might be on Thursday to have a nice meal and count our many blessings and give thanks.
We deliver the frozen veggie in Ontario, CA Monday morning.  With Craig's diminishing driving hours, we ended up with only 5 hours we could drive today.  We all know what that means for the next couple of days, when he starts regenerating hours........the dreaded night driving........but thankfully, it will only be two days starting out at 2am Sunday, and then 1am Monday in order to make the delivery on time.
With starting so early Monday morning, we are pretty confident we will be relaxing in the Company yard in Bloomington, CA the rest of the day after our delivery.  That will give us an opportunity to do some laundry and catch up on some rest.  Can't wait to know what our next assignment will be.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


As we suspected, when we were first given our dispatch, we knew the Ralph's load was going to be interesting.  What we didn't know was that when we arrived at Tyson, the powers that be added an additional stop in San Diego.  By the time the load was ready, at 5am Saturday morning, we were already behind the eight ball to even be able to complete this load.  We had 1300 miles to our first drop in San Diego at 7am Monday, and 3 more stops that day ending at Ralph's at 7pm.  The math did not compute and we advised dispatch of the situation.

But, the mantra has always been, make your first stop on time and the rest will have to be worked out.  By doing two full eleven driving days, by getting up at 2am, we made our first delivery in San Diego, but by not getting unloaded until almost 9am, that put us behind for our second drop in Los Angeles. Thankfully, it was a holiday, and traffic was much lighter than normal, and we were only an hour late. 

Problem was, it was a holiday,  and they wanted to close by 11am and not pay their employees more overtime more necessary.  Enter Tyson customer service, who convinced them to take our delivery, which was only 2 pallets, that they off loaded right off the end of the truck without so much as backing into a dock.  Sweet......and we were now an hour to the good for our third appointment which went off without any glitches what so ever.

So now we sit at 2pm, with 2 hours left on Craig's 14 hour clock, and the dreaded Ralph's load still in the back of our trailer with a 7pm appointment.  A call into Dispatch was made to see what plans they had in mind, to which we were told they were calling Ralph's to see if they would take the load early.  Both Craig and I knew that was a waste of time, but we waited for the phone call back and were happy to hear the news that we could go to the Company yard in Bloomington and drop the trailer.  They would have one of the local guys make the final delivery on our load and we could finally get a full nights sleep!

Friday, November 09, 2012


On the road again -
Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway
We're the best of friends.
Insisting that the world keep turning our way

And our way
is on the road again.
It has been a while since I've been on the truck full time.  A lot has happened over the past year beginning with the passing of my Mother, and now the beginning of Craig and I once again traveling together in the big green tractor.  I've enjoyed actually living in our home we've had for almost five years, but know that my "home" truly is wherever Craig is, so the passenger seat beside him will once again be occupied by me, my computer and my camera.
I'm looking forward to reacquainting myself with the usual shippers and receivers, and enjoying the ever changing scenery and experiences we will no doubt be sharing being out on the road again.  We packed our bags and headed out to the company yard last night, but not before stopping for a nice celebratory dinner and a shopping trip at WalMart.  Then we went about organizing the truck to accommodate both of our personal stuff, making beds, and putting away groceries.
Talk about perfect timing.  We left home just in time to miss the first snow of the season, and awoke in the company yard to a winter wonderland of whiteness.  I'm sure this will be the first of many, many days of enjoying snow while on our travels.
Our dispatch this morning was to pick up a load of meat at Tyson in Wallula, WA.  Wouldn't you know it, one of the three deliveries we will be making will be to the dreaded Ralph's in Compton, CA.  What a way to start out, but together we can do anything, even Ralph's!

Monday, October 08, 2012


The countdown begins for when I will once again occupy the passenger seat of the truck.  The last nine months have been great being home.  Before this, neither one of us had spent more than a few weeks here, and I made sure to take full advantage of it.  Not only did I enjoy healthy home cooked meals, but I was able to do a few small projects around the house.
First up, was painting the inside of the entire house.  I originally was only going to paint the upstairs loft areas, but loved the color so much, that I just continued down the stairs and by the time I was done, every room was painted.  Craig and I had discussed what we wanted to do with the second loft area, and decided that it would make a great guest room.  Now the funny thing is that one, we will hardly be here to have guests, and two, in the almost five years we have lived here, we've only had three visitors, two of which have spent the night.

But the room is done for the most part and ready for any guest that would like to venture up our way when we might be home to welcome them.  I still want to think up a great window treatment for the two windows, and I do have an empty wall that is just screaming for something unique.  I'll have plenty of time to come up with something once I'm back on the truck next month, and perusing the Internet to my heart's content.  I'm going to miss being at home, but I'm going to love being with my husband even more.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


The first ever "Cottage on the Hill" Sale is over, and I can pretty much guarantee that this sale will be an annual event the last weekend of September for many years to come.  Cori and I have dreamed of pulling off an event such as this for a few years, and after being vendors at the huge "Farm Chicks" show in Spokane last year,  we felt we had just enough experience, and more than enough creativity and energy to put on a sale at her Cottage.

We didn't do it alone by any means, although at times we felt like we were climbing Mt. Everest with a 100 pound pack on our backs.  Cori's husband Mike was right there along with us, busy in the garage the past couple of months, but even more so that last two weeks, when I arrived in Walla Walla ready to get my hands dirty.  Not only did I get my hands dirty, but there probably wasn't too many spots on my body that didn't have paint, stain, or an ache or pain at some point, and you know what?  At the end of the day yesterday, when the signs were taken down, those aches and pains, and stains were just a hazy memory.

From the first customer who showed up and immediately wanted sold tags put on a few pieces, to the women and men who gave us many compliments on our products, how reasonable our prices were and what a beautiful layout of items we had displayed, we can't thank you enough. Your comments recharged our souls and spirits and has inspired us to make next years event even better.

We had three other vendors who shared this experience with us and we can't be remiss in thanking them for taking the plunge with us and to be in on the building process of something we hope will be a major event in the area that will be a "must go to" on their calendar every year.  We are looking forward to adding at least 10 more vendors to share in the experience with us next year.

Finally, I think the image that will stay with me forever, was the cute young couple that ventured up the hill to the sale, long after the sale was over, and while we were enjoying a victory dinner al fresco at a table on the lawn as the full moon was rising in the sky.  We all happened to look their way as they paused from looking at what meager items we had left, turned towards the beautiful night sky illuminated by the glowing moon, and wrapped their arms around each other and just took it all in. 

That about summed up how we all felt at that moment, hoping to forever remember just how great it felt to pull off something wonderful, meet so many great and interesting people who have the same passion as we do, and know in our hearts that we will never forget just how blessed we are to have the opportunity to truly do what we love.


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