May 11, 2009

Kicken Back for the Weekend

We had a very relaxed weekend. Weekend's pulling a hopper are often pretty laid back. Most of the places we deliver to aren't open on the weekends, so we frequently have two days or more to go what should only take a day or less.

Friday afternoon we loaded cull peas, which is basically the broken bits and imperfect dried peas, in Spokane. They were destined for Stockton, CA where we unloaded them this morning at a storage warehouse on the port. The trip was 931 miles. We stayed the night just west of Spokane, and then Saturday morning we headed south, covering about 450 miles a day.

If you ever get the chance to drive US 97 through Oregon, please do. Its a really pretty drive through mostly rural areas of the Oregon high desert. You are surrounded by open rolling hills, but to the west you can see the peaks of Oregon's mountains, Mt. Hood, the three sisters, and many others, all snow capped and hiding their tops in the clouds.

We stopped Saturday night in Redmond, OR where we went to Wal-mart for bottled water, Shipton's, a farm supply store, for some piece Malcolm needed for his grease gun, and dinner. Sunday we finished the trip, stopping in Chemult at a little cafe for breakfast. Their Mother's Day special was a Belgium waffle with berries, or berry crepes. I went with the waffle, then later saw the crepes at someone else table and wished I'd taken that route, though the waffle was really good.

We stopped at a roadside pull off a few miles from the interstate and let the girls out. We were in the shadow of Mt Shasta in northern California. You can see this mountain for miles and miles and miles. It's incredible.

We ended up staying there about a half hour or so, letting the girls snoop around. They were intrigued with the large pine cones, and also chased bugs that did "fly by's" every so often. This morning we unloaded and then waited there are the port for reloading. This is confusing and makes little sense to me as to why we were able to go in to unload, but not reload. We had to apply for a "TWIC" card, pay $132 each, get fingerprinted, photographed, etc. and that takes 6-8 weeks to be processed etc. Anyway, we weren't allowed to drive in the port to load because we didn't have that special card. So, conveniently our broker, Mark, had another truck in the area loading and that driver happened to have a TWIC card. So after he got his truck loaded, he met up with us and drove our truck in to be loaded. We were allowed in, but couldn't drive. Does that make any sense? I realize its a security thing, but like Malcolm said, for all they know we could be holding a gun on the guy. Anyway, I guess the main thing is we got reloaded and are heading north to Washington again with a load of fertilizer. I guess the good thing about having that TWIC card, when we get it, is that we can use it to get into any port or refinery. So that will come in handy, at some point.

On a "neat oh" note. The port warehouses, offices, etc are on an old navy base, so we got to drive past the old buildings, and actually drove into one of the warehouses to unload. I took a picture, but you couldn't really see anything past all the bug smears on the windshield. Seriously they were so thick, my camera wanted to auto-focus on the bugs, not the interior of the warehouse. I would have washed the windshield, but didn't want to draw attention to the fact that I had my camera out. Some places have strong feelings about photography. But I operate on the principle that if they don't have a sign posted....the sky's the limit for me and my camera, though I still use discretion and try to not be conspicuous.

Don't accuse me of playing favorites. I love all three of my girls, but my little beauty queen is just more appealing for the lens. So I know I end up with more picture of her, but isn't that the way it always is with the baby, verses the older children?

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