Saturday, January 26, 2013


I hope to never have to say those two words again, and quite frankly, I've never been so scared in my life as I was Wednesday night.  We had finished up an overnight run into the Boise, Idaho area Wednesday  morning, and had gotten the usual 10pm load time at Americold in Ontario, Oregon for that night.  It had been extremely cold all day, starting out at near zero and hovering at 20 degrees throughout the day.  Our loading of the frozen fries went smoothly, and we started out on our 640 mile run to Pleasanton, CA for a Friday morning delivery.

The first 30 miles went great, with the exception of ice forming on the sides of the windshield, the roads seemed fine.  "Seemed" is right, because what we couldn't see was the smooth, clear sheets of ice forming onto the road as we approached our first hill.  It didn't take long for us to first feel the tires slipping and then lose traction as we slowly climbed.  Halfway up we could go no further and knew we had to put chains on.  Thankfully, on the secondary highway we were on, Highway 95, there were two lanes for uphill traffic, and by blocking the outside lane, there was still room for any other vehicles to pass safely by.

We quickly put on a set of chains on the drives and one on the trailer and continued up the hill.  We passed a couple of other trucks that were stuck on the road, and to be honest, we should have wised up that it wasn't going to get any better further up the road, but with no turnouts or places to pull safely over we continued on.  It didn't take too much longer before we were stuck again and had to stop to put a second set of chains on the drives.

We finally reached near the top of the summit when we again lost traction.  Looking ahead we saw at least 6 other trucks and cars in the same situation.  We were able to get as close to the side of the road as we could, and we assessed the situation and decided to stay put until some sand or daylight helped the situation.  Heck, even the DOT trucks were having a hard time staying on the road and getting sand on the roadway.

About three hours later, we could hear traffic moving by us, and we got up to assess the situation.  Finding the roads sanded, we drove to a flat area and took the chains off and continued onward.  The roads were fine for awhile........then the next major grade we came to the black ice appeared again.  We lost traction, truck sliding one way, the trailer the other way, and we had no choice but to stop and put on chains again.  By this time we were experts putting on chains and we had them on in 10 minutes flat and making our way up the grade, knowing full well that we were shutting down at the first available place to pull off the roadway.

We managed to drive 190 miles in 9 hours, between that 3 hour stop and putting on chains.  There were way too many times we lost traction, too many times we could have lost our lives, and too many times we knew that we should have never left Ontario after getting our load.  I have no doubt, that by the grace of God we were saved from a serious accident, and have vowed to each other that we will never have another night like that again.  Thankfully, this time we were given the opportunity to live and learn.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


We made it into French Camp for our home time on Friday, Jan 4th just as we requested.  Got our rental car, and instead of heading to an Urgent Care Facility to have Craig checked, we successfully ignored all signs and symptoms of something wrong, and proceeded to go about our prescheduled plans.  Don't get me wrong, I stressed several times to Craig and we should go have him checked, but he's stubborn, and the doctor was the last person he wanted to go see.

We enjoyed some great times with our families, and by Wednesday, it was apparent even to Craig, that he needed medical attention.  Thursday morning, we were sitting in front of the Urgent Care waiting for the doors to open, and an hour later, with medication ordered, we were on our way to pick it up and get Craig on the road to recovery.
I'm happy to report, that Thursday night, was the first night in three weeks that Craig slept through the night.  What a relief, not only for him, but for me too, as I had managed to catch a cold while we were off.  We sometimes think it is so much better being on the truck and keeping all those germs out there in the world at bay.

Come Friday morning we were back on the board and waiting for our assignment.  It didn't come across the computer until 4pm, when we were told to hook up to a loaded trailer at the yard and deliver a load of Foster Farms chicken to Puyallup, WA on Sunday morning.  It sure felt great to be back out on the open road, and even better that road and weather conditions were clear with no signs of snow.  Now we begin the countdown for our next home time, and hopefully we will be clear of any illnesses to fully enjoy it.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013


On Friday, December 28th, we had picked up a load of lumber in Mill City, OR, and headed south.  The load didn't deliver until today, and we were safely at the company yard in French camp Saturday night.  With Craig still not feeling too well, we happily rested at the yard on Sunday and then on Monday morning called into dispatch to see if we would in fact deliver.

It took most of the day Monday, but by 3pm, they finally decided to take us off the lumber load, and bob tail us to Fresh Express in Salinas for a load picking up on New Years day.  As with most new year eves we have spent while out on the truck, we knew we wouldn't be out celebrating like most of America.
Instead, we went all out and purchased a quart of eggnog, and by golly we threw caution to the wind, and drank the whole thing!  Then nestled in our beds all comfy and enjoying some computer time, we drifted off to sleep before 9pm.  Yep, we are the party animals, aren't we?

We did get up on New Years day and walk a few miles, first to the Denny's down the street for a nice hot breakfast, and then over to Fresh Express to check on our load.  We had hoped that it would be loaded early, but we weren't able to hook up to it until 3pm, which left us driving late into the night.

We are scheduled for a week off starting on Friday, but as with most times you ask for time off, it is a crap shoot if you get in on the day you want.  However, since we have some non-refundable reservations made, we have stressed to them just how important it is that we get back into French Camp.  We'll see how this all works out later today.  I know I'll be keeping my fingers crossed.


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