Wednesday, February 29, 2012


After dropping the empty container at Tyson in Wallula, WA, we were dispatched to bob tail to the company yard in Spokane.  After taking advantage of the laundry facilities and getting a good night's sleep, we were told to head home and await Craig's new team driver, who would most likely be in the yard Wednesday morning.  With that we cleaned out the truck of all of my possessions and headed for an unexpected stay at home, which we both loved!
On the way home, we decided to stop for breakfast, and wanting to try some place different we finally stopped at Frank's Diner in North Spokane.  This diner, voted the best place in Spokane for breakfast for over 11 years in a row, is actually a railroad car that was built in 1913.  It originally was a sleeper car and then converted to a dining car, before being retired and moved to Spokane. 
There is also something about dining in a vintage train car that adds to the experience. The antique wood and brass of the interior makes the atmosphere warm and inviting.  Just past the front door, you see the counter with a view of the grill, which on any given month serves over 15,000 eggs and 2 1/2 tons of hasbrowns.  Beyond the counter are train car booths for either two or four people.  But best of all?  The food was fantastic.  This will definitely be a place to bring friends and relatives when they come to visit.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


On our travels up north we went from sunshine and bare, dry pavement, to snow and ice covered roads, overcast and windy, and then back to pare, dry pavement again all within 8 hours.  The wind however, remained.  Here is our day in photos:

Monday, February 27, 2012


Of all the years we have been traveling up and down Highway 97, we have never stopped at the Peter Skene Ogden Rest Area until this past Saturday.  It is well hidden, and you have to keep your eye out for the sign, but boy was it worth it to stop.  I would rate this as my newest, favorite rest area.
Reading about Mr. Ogden, I found that he led the first recorded journey into central Oregon, discovered Mt. Shasta, rescued the survivors of the Whitman massacre in Walla Walla, and the city of Ogden, Utah is named after him.  The rest area is the site of one of Oregon's most sensational murders, on May 10, 1961, where two children were thrown from the cliff, which plunges straight down about 300-500 feet to the floor of the Gorge and the Crooked River.  The accused, a woman by the name of Jeannace June Freeman, was the only woman in Oregon's history to be sentenced to death.
Aside from that last bit of gruesome history, the rest area itself is beautiful, with fantastic views of the Crooked River Canyon, and the ability to view the historic Oregon Trunk Railroad Bridge, constructed in 1911, and to walk across the Crooked River High Bridge, constructed in 1926, which was used until the late 1990's.  At 296 feet above the river, it was the nation's highest single arch span when constructed.

The bridge built to replace the Crooked River High Bridge is known as the Rex T Barber Memorial Bridge.  It was named after the Oregon native, born and raised in nearby Culver, OR.  Barber achieved fame in World War II by being the fighter pilot who in 1943, shot down the airplane carrying Japanese Adm. Yamamoto, the mastermind of the attack on Pearl Harbor.  There are a few displays of his military achievements and a history of his life afterward.
The one thing you will see over and over as you walk around the rest area, are warning signs about the cliffs, to make sure you supervise children, and because there have been many dogs that made the fatal error of running and jumping off the cliff, pets are restricted to your vehicle or to the designated pet area.

If you happen to find your way on your travels through Oregon on Highway 97, don't miss your opportunity to view this scenic landmark.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


We had an interesting run when we were finally able to get rolling again after being down for truck repairs.  Our dispatch was to pick up a loaded container at Tyson in Wallula, WA, instead of our normal company trailer, and head to the Port of Oakland.  The details, as always, were a bit sketchy on the delivery, as our truck was not registered to enter the port, but we hooked up and started our way south, just happy to be on the road again.
With having a late start on this load, we made it into La Pine, OR for the evening and then decided to stage the next day in Dunnigan, CA before making our journey into the San Francicso Bay Area on Friday morning.  On our way into to CA, I took the opportunity to capture another picture of my favorite mountain, Mt Shasta.
About five miles from Anderson, CA the traffic on Interstate 5 was coming to a stop, and the buzz on the CB radio was active.  Instead of trying to decipher the CB talk, I immediately went onto the CHP activity log online, and found out a hay truck had caught fire, and the road was closed and traffic was being diverted off the freeway.
As we slowly crept, about 90 minutes worth, to the vicinity of the off ramp, I took a few pictures I normally wouldn't have been able to take at highway speeds.  Then, wouldn't you know it, just as we were going to have to take the off ramp, we were the first vehicle they allowed through on the freeway and past the fire. 
We made it into Dunnigan to stage for our delivery and attempted to get some more details regarding what to do once we got to the port.  We weren't too successful, other than to find out that we would be meeting up with one of the local TWT drivers, but no one seemed to know where that would be.
Friday morning we ended up getting to the port area by 5am for our 6am delivery appointment.  With quite a few park heres and then end up moving theres, we were finally given the cell phone of the local driver so that we could coordinate where to park for him to take our load into the port.  Only one problem, he didn't even arrive until 9am!  Long story short, 5 hours after arriving at the port, we hooked up to an empty container and we're heading north back to Tyson.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Eleven years ago today, Craig and I made a commitment to live as husband and wife til death do us part.  It was a simple ceremony, with just the two of us and the required witness, making our vows to each other and asking God's blessing on our union.  Only knowing each other less than a month, we knew the risks going in, but it felt righ,t and God continues to bless us as we tally another year of never once regretting our decision to live the rest of our lives together.

If we would have guessed where our lives would be today, eleven years ago, I doubt it would have even been close to where we are today.  By taking a few more risks along the way, we have arrived at a place where we couldn't be happier, except to be able to be "home" more often.  Nothing shows us that more than when we have to pack up and go back out on the road again.

We've had some long discussions lately on where we want to be in the next couple of years, and everything is pointing towards Craig trying to get more of a local job within the company where he would be home a couple of times a week.  Until then, in order for him to be home consistently, and more often is to go back driving team, where there is extra money for him to be home at least 5 days a month.  We don't envision him having to do this for more than 1 year, as by then my retirement income that I have been waiting over 6 years for will finally start coming in.

What does this mean for this blog?  I'll still be updating you on Craig's adventures, as the teams for TWT are now heading on more runs east, as far as Florida.  No doubt I will have lots of pictures from Craig and stories to tell of his adventures off his normal route of Interstate 5.  For me it means being able to finally start to begin the process of putting down roots at our little house by the river in Usk, and having a sense of community within our little town.  I'll be taking photos, doing small refurbishing projects, decorating the house, visiting my BFF Cori in Walla Walla, and of course making trips to California to visit family as we continue to grieve, heal, and find our new normal without our beautiful and loving Mother & Omie.

For now I'm still on the truck for a couple of weeks, and for today, loving my husband even more than I did eleven years ago, thankful for his support and desire to make our life the best it can be, because really, as long as we are together, with the love we have between us, life doesn't get much better than this.  Happy Anniversary Craig!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Day four and we are still waiting for the truck to get repaired.  On a happy note, at least this morning, the new part has been delivered.  Word on the service shop floor is that it should be done in about two hours.  Don't know how reliable that source is, but on day four, I'm willing to believe......if it gets us moving again.  I can't take much more of this "held captive" sitting still in the Kenworth lounge all day.  With fingers crossed, I'm hoping for a load assignment by this afternoon, that is if our mole inside the service shop is good on his word.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


We decided to head back to the yard, with a stop to buy groceries, upon hearing of a potential snow storm headed our way up in Usk, WA.  By the time we made it into the yard and unloaded all of our personal belongings and groceries, the wind had kicked up and temperature was dropping fast, but all we managed to get over night was some rain.  However, up in Usk, we did manage to get about 6 inches of snow so I'm glad we left when we did.
Up early Saturday morning, we sent in the message we were ready to roll and we were given a dispatch to head to Tyson Meat in Wallula, WA. All went as planned, dropped an empty trailer, hooked up to our loaded trailer, retrieved the paperwork, and then pulled out into the driveway to move the tandems and then we heard a loud metallic "CRUNCH & CLANK".  I looked at Craig and immediately said "that didn't sound good".
Craig got out of the truck and started looking around and immediately noticed we were tilting to the left.  As you can see from the photos, the left front fender is dangerously close to the tire and the right front is well above the tire.  Craig opened up the hood of the truck to get an inside look and saw that it appeared the front left spring had to speak.  What had been a great run with a lot of miles turned into gently nursing the truck and trailer to the Pasco yard where someone else would get the benefits of a nice run south.
As for us?   We are stuck in our lopsided truck, sitting in the yard in Pasco, until the Kenworth dealership, about a mile away opens up.  Our only question is, will they be open on Monday, Presidents Day or not?  Thank goodness we have a full pantry, restroom facilities inside the office, and all the computers, ebooks and smart phones to keep us busy.  It looks like it will be a very long weekend of sitting.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


It has been a very long and emotional four months away from home, but we finally stepped foot back into our home Monday afternoon.  I can not begin to tell you how happy it made me feel.  I know I have said it before, but I truly love our little house by the river and will be looking forward to staying there much more often in a few more years.
There really wasn't much we had to do when we got there, as the snow was only about a foot deep and with the unusually warm February weather, it was rapidly melting.  Craig went about turning the water and the satellite dish back on, while I only had to flip the switch for the hot water heater and turn up the heat.
Do you remember almost 9 months ago, a blog entry about a fellow trucker, Ruth Ann from All Things Bradbury, who had sent me this little gem in the mail?  I was thrilled to receive it and knew immediately what I would turn it into, or should I say, what Craig would help me turn it into.
Yesterday we finally sat down and went to work on it and I love the way it turned out.  What I especially love is that it carries with it a ton of memories from Ruth Ann's husband Brad, who took this thermos on many a run in his truck for a lot of years.  If this thermos could talk, I bet it would have some stories to tell, but I will have to settle for it now being a treasured lamp in our little piece of heaven we call home.  Thank you Ruth Ann and Brad!

Saturday, February 11, 2012


It's not very often that I get a chance to take pictures without the truck rolling down the highway at 55 miles per hour, so when Craig opted to park at a vista point for about 30 minutes before our appointment this morning, I grabbed my camera and went exploring.
Willamette Falls was originally an Indian salmon fishing village.  Beginning in 1842 it furnished power for a lumber mill, a flour mill (1844), a woolen mill (1864), and the first paper mill in the pacific northwest in 1867.  On this cool, lightly foggy morning, with the sun just rising, it made for some fun picture taking.
There are quite a few boat houses that line the riverbank, and given the opportunity, Craig and I often talk about living on the water.  It's probably what motivated us, when we saw the Powerball billboard showing a payout for $325 million, to buy a few tickets.
All too soon, it was time for me to head back to the truck and make our first of two deliveries on our current load.  If all goes as we hope, we should be warm and cozy in our own home by the river Monday afternoon.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012


It's not very often that things work out perfectly in trucking world, but it did for us on Sunday.  We were able to drop the "slow boat to China" banana load in the yard in Pasco, WA and await a loaded trailer full of beer which would arrive later in the evening.  That really left us no other option than to bob tail over to a restaurant  in town and enjoy watching the Super Bowl on a big screen TV in the lounge of the bar. 
You know what else was nice?  Having a couple of nice cold beers (just me, Craig kept to Diet Pepsi), and enjoying a couple of appetizers as we watched the Giants beat the Patriots in a really exciting game.  I'd like to go on record and say my favorite commerical was the Doritos " you didn't see nothing" dog.  Still makes me laugh when I think of it.
After the game we went back to the yard to get some sleep before waking up at 4am to hook up to our trailer and head just 45 miles away to Walla Walla, WA to make the delivery at 6am.  From there we were dispatched to Ontario, OR for a load of frozen french fries.  We rolled into town, fueled up, got a light weight, and then was able to park at the shipper's location to get our 10 hour break in, before being called to the dock to get loaded.
We were happy to see one of our favorite TWT drivers show up, and learn that he would be delivering to the same receiver as us.  Shortly after midnight, we were loaded and scaled and heading out for the first of two nights of night driving.  Thankfully, both Craig and I were able to catch a few hours of sleep during our 10 hour break, but a little after 4am we decided to pull over and take a 2 hr nap in the middle of nowhere in Nevada on Highway 95.
Rested and ready to take on the rest of our journey we took off thinking that we would stop in Reno.  But as I checked the weather for our evening drive, it indicated snow, and neither one of us wanted to take on Donner Pass and putting on chains if we didn't need to.  With what hours Craig had left, we figured we could push on and make it to Dutch Flat, CA and a rest area with a few minutes to spare.
I was a bit anxious, as we went through the Truckee scales and were called in for a Level 3 inspection.  It was evident that they were calling most every truck in, and as I watched the minutes tick by, I was hoping this little stop wouldn't take away too much of Craig's time to make it to the rest stop.  Thankfully, it only took less than 10 minutes and we were on our way and safely parked with about 10 minutes to spare.

Currently, we are once again driving in the middle of the night to make it to our 4am appointment time in Pleasanton, CA.  From there we suspect we may be sent to Salinas for a load out of Fresh Express which would head us back up North, as we have requested home time on or around the 13th.  It's been over 4 months since we have been home and it is long over due for us to spend a little time there.

Saturday, February 04, 2012


So it wasn't pineapples we picked up at Port Hueneme, but bananas......from Del Monte instead of Dole.  I felt like we were cheating since we have never transported any bananas but Dole before.  The guilt lasted all of about 5 seconds.  
The drive to the port was your typical southern California day.....sunny and warm in the 60's. We passed orchard after orchard of oranges and would have loved to have stopped at the fruit stand offering 15 avocados for only $5, but then we would have been forced to eat a lot of guacamole and chips.
The port was packed with other trucks waiting to be loaded when we arrived.  The security guard even mentioned for us to be careful as it was like an obstacle course trying to weave in and around the trucks and trailers parked wherever they could find a space.  Craig checked in, and as we waited to hear his name called over the public address system, saw two more TWT trucks make their way to the waiting area.
After waiting 90 minutes for a dock, we were finally called to one where it took exactly 10 minutes for them to load the trailer.  A quick scale at a small oil company a few miles away, and we were happily on the road headed north.  These bananas don't deliver until the 8th, but we should be in Pasco, WA about 40 miles or so away from the Wal Mart by Sunday afternoon.  Hopefully, we can drop the trailer in the yard and get another load out on Monday.

Thursday, February 02, 2012


It started last week, while we were in Idaho making the deliveries to the Fred Meyer Stores.  A yellow warning light on the dash lit up and taunted us.  I immediately looked it up in the owner's manual, while Craig checked the in dash computer for a readout on what the problem was, and it was determined not to be an emergency, but something that needed to be checked as soon as we could.
 That time ended up to be Monday, when we made it into the company yard in French Camp.  The truck shop  manager said they might have time to look at it Monday, (while we were busy meeting up with family and having dinner), but we didn't hold our breath that it would indeed be looked at.  The next morning, Craig checked in again, and was told to just take it down the street to the Kenworth dealership to have it looked at.
That one mile drive to their shop, along with a nice 5 hour wait in their lounge, ended up with us calling a shuttle from a local hotel to pick us up when the mechanic told us they would have to order a part.  We enjoyed being within walking distance to a fantastic sushi restaurant, and getting to sleep in the next day.  With another 4 hr wait on Wednesday, watching way too many true crime stories on the cable TV, we were finally given the keys to our repaired truck and we headed to the yard for the evening.

This morning we were up early to deliver a load of chicken wings to Foster Farms in Porterville, CA and are currently sitting at Wheeler Ridge, with our sights set on the Starbucks across the street.  Our next dispatch will have us heading to Port Hueneme to pick up some pineapples in the morning.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin