Tuesday, January 31, 2012


It's only a matter of time, after enjoying almost a week of what I consider a "normal day" in trucking driving, (getting a good night's sleep, waking up without an alarm, a leisurely morning of getting dressed and putting on at least mascara, and enjoying breakfast in the truck), we ended up on a four day run of night driving and no opportunity to take any photographs. 

It started on Friday morning, after our drop in Clackamas,OR at the Fred Meyer DC at 7am.  After being unloaded and sending in our empty call, we were told to drop our trailer there and await a load that night at 9pm.  The only great thing about it was being able to bob tail about a mile down the street to the parking lot of a McDonald's where we would spend the next 12 hours.

Not to sound like a broken record, but do you think during that 12 hours that we could actually sleep?  Nothing worse than knowing that you need sleep, but not being able to get any, but that's usually how it goes, and innocently thinking that we would only have to do it for one night, (again I should know it never is just for one night), I didn't stress too much about it and went about playing on my computer and watching the homeless guys who made their home in the bushes surrounding the parking lot.

Our load would take us to the Boise, ID area, where we would make two deliveries in Nampa and Garden City.  Those deliveries went as planned, and as we headed to a nearby truck stop we were beeped with our next assignment.  With Craig's hours already nearing using up all of his 70 hour clock, it was a load out of Wallula, WA (257 miles away) to be picked up the next morning.

However, this particular load would require us to once again, start off around 6pm, get to Wallula around 11pm, hook up to our new load, grab a couple of hours of sleep, and then take off again, repeat that a couple more times to get us as far south as we could before a repower of the load by another driver would take it into LA for delivery.  We ended up sleeping on and off, doing a 8/2 sleeper berth option to get us into French Camp by 2pm Monday afternoon.
The upside to all this night driving?  We ended up being able to meet up with my brother and sister in law, and my two nieces and grandniece last night for dinner.  Here is a photo of the aftermath of that dinner and a picture of Gwen sporting a sock monkey hat I had made for her by a facebook friend who is very talented .

Friday, January 27, 2012


I've finally reached the milestone 1000th post on my blog.  Let the confetti rain down and the band play!  I don't imagine it is such a big thing since I have been posting since 2006......and it's only taken me 6 years to do it, but God willing I'll have another 1000 in me before we finish this trucking adventure of ours.
Tuesday morning we awoke to blue skies and mid 60 temperatures as we made our way south to San Diego to pick up a load of Dole bananas.  Remember me telling you about the off port site, tucked away in a residential area?  We had the pleasure of going there this time to pick up our load. 

It really isn't too bad after you have been there a few times.  There is a homeless guy, who I guess I can't really say is homeless, because he now lives on the grounds of the facility, and likes to make a few bucks by helping the drivers back in.  He really is a big help with the cars and buses that zip up and down the street on a steady basis, getting them to stop long enough to allow the drivers to back into the dock.  We're always happy to give him a few dollars every time we are there. 
On our way out of southern California, and to our eventual stop for the night at Wheeler Ridge, we were blessed with the most beautiful sunset we have seen in a very long time.  It just kept getting better and better as the sun set.  I managed to capture a few shots with my camera, and these shots are straight out of the camera with no editing what so ever.  Yes, it really was that amazing and a great way to end my 1000th post!

Thursday, January 26, 2012


We drove into the bowels of LA Monday morning and the Industrial District.  No wide streets here, and cars lined both sides of the road.  We managed to find our first little "hole in the wall" receiver and eeked out a spot in front of their gate to park the truck until someone showed up.  A little before 7am, we saw a lone car pull up, and a small Japanese man exit the vehicle.  He waved to us as he walked into the office and Craig followed shortly thereafter with the paperwork.

With limited English, he pointed to the dock and proceeded to walk out into the street to aid Craig in his blindside back.  Craig had already told him that I would help out, but he stood his ground on the street, and with what I can only describe as the precision of a white gloved traffic cop in New York City, he executed hand signals to get Craig backed up in one continuous movement as I stood open jawed in amazement at just how perfectly he instructed Craig.

Once into the dock, as he walked by me, I took the opportunity to tell him just how fantastic his help had been, and with a big smile and a bow to me, he quickly went inside and had us unloaded in 10 minutes.  Now that is how a delivery should go and quite the opposite of how our last delivery would turn out to be.

First off, you got to love (not) appointments 8 hrs apart.  Our next delivery was only 17 miles away, so we drove to within 300 yards of the facility and parked.  On the off chance that they might take us early, Craig went ahead and walked to the guard who kindly told him to check back in at 3pm.

 Now, the only thing that would make this day work for us, is if we could get in a 8 hr break so that we would have hours on the book to get the heck out of LA after our delivery.  In hindsight, we didn't need to worry, as 3pm rolled around and we were told that the container our product was going to be offloaded into hadn't arrived yet from the docks.  All I can say is thank goodness for our broadband card and the Internet.

Finally, around 5pm, after squeezing into a dock which left no more than an inch or so to spare with the doors of the trailer open, we were being unloaded.  Happy to be free to leave, we had another 90 minutes of commute traffic to endure before we finally arrived at the company yard in Bloomington, CA and a well deserved night of sleep after a very long day!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Would you believe when we awoke in the morning it was 40 degrees?  Yea, I couldn't either.  What a strange winter this is shaping up to be.  We continued south and didn't run into snow or ice until about LaPine, OR.  We came upon a few drivers that weren't as comfortable driving on the snowy roads, and as soon as we could safely pass, we were well on the way of making it over the final summit on Hwy 97, near Chiloquin, and onto bare asphalt again.
As we neared the Mt. Shasta area, we could definitely see a difference in the landscape from the previous week.  Remember this photo of Black Butte?
Here it was as we made our way into Weed, CA where we took a nice lunch break and enjoyed a great meal at the Dos Amigos Restaurant.  Armed with plenty of leftovers to feed us for dinner, we continued south into Corning were we fueled up and called it a night.

Sunday morning we had our sights set on making it into Lebec, CA so that we could watch the playoff game between the Niners and Giants.  No surprise there, as once again the Giants took the game and will enjoy playing in the Super Bowl in two weeks.  We took to our beds to get some sleep before taking on LA in the morning for our two deliveries.

Monday, January 23, 2012


We got about a good 6 inches of snow overnight in Spokane on Thursday, so when we awoke early Friday morning, we trudged our way into the driver's lounge to take showers and do laundry.  While I was waiting for the clothes to dry, Craig took the opportunity to start our pick up and head over to the Wal Mart to buy himself some snow boots!  Seems his feet didn't particularly like the loafers he was wearing while putting on chains on Snoqualmie Pass.

When all the housekeeping duties were completed, we took off for Wallula, WA to Tyson Meat to pick up our load.  It wasn't scheduled to be completed until Saturday  morning, but we had high hopes that it would be ready for us when we arrived.  Just as we hoped, it was loaded and ready for pickup, but what we didn't like so much was maneuvering around the snow piles and slush that had built up on the Tyson property.  Once hooked up to our loaded trailer, we couldn't find a place with bare ground to slide our tandems either.  Craig, ever the optimist, drove off anyway, sure that we would find some place with a patch of bare asphalt.
Needless to say, we spent way too much time driving around with no luck, and finally just took matters into our own hands, prayed for the best, and did a quick slide near an on ramp to hwy 395 and were thankful that traffic was light.  We had to laugh when we scaled out, as there had to be several hundred pounds of snow and ice built up on the scales, along with the ice that was clinging to our truck and trailer, but we scaled out legal and were on our way.

The roads were pretty good, however when we turned off onto Highway 14, along the Columbia River Gorge, the roads got a bit tricky with a major layer of ice on the road.  Earlier in the day, they were restricting commerical trucks, but had lifted the ban by the time we got there.  I'm not so sure they shouldn't have kept the restriction, or at least required chains as there was quite a bit of it where I was doing the white-knuckle death grip on my door and arm rest. 
With Craig's great driving skills we make it to Biggs Junction and our next hurdle.  The dreaded Pilot Truck Stop and trying to get fuel.  As usual, it was packed, and it took us just over an hour to make our way in and out.  We were looking forward to getting onto Hwy 97 where we knew the roads were suppose to be a bit better and they were.  With no real time constraints on this load, we decided to call it a night at the rest stop between Shaniko and Madras, OR and await to see what the morning would bring us.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Remember in my last post mentioning the possibility of putting on chains to get over Snoqualmie Pass?  Yep, right there I should have known I was jinxing Craig and in doing so, ended up joining the chain gang later that night.

The streets of Renton, WA were like a ghost town Wednesday night, as most people in the greater Seattle area must have headed the advice to stay home and not venture out onto the streets.  That made our trek to pick up our load that much easier.  However, with the load being over an hour late being loaded, and with the knowledge of the chain control over the pass still in effect, the 5am delivery appointment would not be made.

With enough fuel on board so that we could bypass the mess we knew that the TA in North Bend would be, we continued onto the chain up area to begin our work.  To be honest, the hardest part of it all was trying to open up the bags of the new chains that had been equipped on our new truck.  The freezing rain was pelting us along with a gusty wind, but within 40 minutes we had all the chains legally required installed and we were on our way.  At the bottom of the pass, it took all of 10 minutes to remove them.

We made the delivery at 7am and by 9am we were safely parked in the company yard in Spokane as the snow came steadily down.  Our next load assignment wouldn't have us leaving the yard until Friday morning, so we enjoyed the down time to catch up on sleep and watch as the snow piled up outside. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


It's a running joke between Craig and I.  Every time we close up the house for the Winter, it doesn't snow.  The two times I decided to try and stay at the house, once in 2008 when we broke the record for snowfall in a 24 hour period, and one again in November of 2010 where a 100 year old record was broken for snowfall, it's a guarantee that snow will be sky high.
So imagine my hesitation getting back onto the truck this winter, which measured by seasons past, has had the least amount of snowfall so far, and hearing about a major storm to hit the Pacific Northwest.  Of course, our first load would take us right into it's path and those poor souls in Seattle can blame me for the woes of snow driving on hilly roads.
These pictures were taken as we headed north, the proverbial "calm before the storm", as I marveled at the lack of any snow on Black Butte, and virtually no snow on the ground as we passed Weed, CA and passed over the Siskiyou Summit. We only managed to hit some rain showers as we decided to stop early for the evening in Aurora, OR and await the arrival of the storm and traveling when the roads would be less crowded around 1am.
We got through Portland and then as we crossed the border into Washington the snow was falling and the roads were more white than asphalt.  What also surprised us, was the amount of traffic that was still on the roads, and being more afraid of the four-wheelers than the weather conditions, we took it slow and easy, as we passed car after car spun out on the Interstate.

What normally would have been only a 3 hour drive, turned into a 4 1/2 hour drive which still got us into the Costco in Sumner, WA right on time for our scheduled delivery at 5am.  After our unload we drove the 10 miles to our Company Yard in Pacific to park and await further instructions as to our next load.  Thankfully, our next load is out of Renton, Wa tonight at 10pm, where we will once again hope to avoid traffic as we make our way over Snoqualmie Pass (hoping we don't have to chain up) to make our delivery in Spokane in the morning.

Monday, January 16, 2012


Today begins the start of our "new normal" after a long 7 months of our lives being altered by the effects of cancer and the death of a parent.  I wouldn't wish parts of this on my worst enemy, but there were other parts of those 7 months that will be cherished as the priceless gift that they were.  Memories good and bad, but the bad ones are slowly fading, as the good ones rise to the surface like a rich cream that coat my brain with joyful images.

I slept last night in the truck for the first time in almost 6 weeks.  I can honestly say, it was the best sleep I have had in a very long time.  We spent a few hours yesterday cleaning and organizing the truck, then doing the grocery shopping and stocking the pantry and refrigerator.  My portfolio of paperwork was stocked with receipt books, load info cover sheets, continuous seal reports and comm checks.  I also made sure to stock up on new pens and can safely say, I'm ready to take back my responsibility for the mass of paperwork that is required on each load.

We will be heading out shortly to Livingston, CA to Foster Farms to pick up a load of chicken which will be delivered in Sumner, WA on Wednesday morning.  I'm happy to be back occupying the passenger seat again, taking photographs of our gypsy life out on the road, writing about our adventures, and finding peace in knowing that we have a very special guardian angel looking out for us along everysingle mile we drive.

Monday, January 02, 2012


6-1-33        1-2-12
Some of you have noticed my absence in blogging world over the past month.  I've had the privilege of  taking a journey with my Mom as she traveled down her last days of living in her physical form here on Earth.  Most of us think that our parents will live forever, and the unexpected end of her life was hard to initially accept.  In the end, it was always in her hands and the loving grace of God as to when she would finally leave us.  That time came this morning as she peacefully slept at our local Hospice House.

Something moved me to go to her side at 6am, with one hand holding her hand, and the other placed softly upon her chest, I told her how much I loved her, and that she was free to go, and that I had kept my promise to never leave her alone while she awaited God's calling.  Her breathing slowed to a stop.  Her nurse was summoned, and at the moment I heard him tell me that indeed "She is gone"", there were other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout:  "Here she comes!"

Welcome to Heaven Mom and let the party up there begin as you unite with the family and friends that have been waiting with open arms for you.  My love for you is unending and you will always and forever remain in my heart.


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