October 29, 2009

Dodging Snow Storms

West of Austin, TX.

Between Abilene and Lubbock, TX.

We missed the big one, but from what I hear its a mess. Interstate closed in Cheyenne, trucks stuck, and our friends in Nebraska say its not pretty there either. We're in the cold, but not the big mess, though we did a little snow driving yesterday too!

Yesterday morning when we woke up on the Texas/New Mexico border it was 65 degrees. But things changed quickly. We hit snow in the hills east of Albuquerque

and by that afternoon it was only 32 when we stopped in Grants to have the oil changed.

West of Albuquerque, NM.

Ran through another brief but intense snow shower between Gallup and the Arizona line. That one was fun. It was cold enough and snowing hard enough to cover the road. It amuses me that it takes a couple snow storms before people get back in the swing of things. Even the big trucks were creeping along at 40mph. The road wasn't so much an issue as the wind shield was. We hadn't added de-icer yet and the windshield froze over. Made it rather difficult to see where the road ended and the ditch began.

Its 27 this morning as we approach Flagstaff. Brr! The girls did not appreciate it when I drug them out of bed and put clothes on them. Not how they want to start their day.

Flagstaff is nestled up there in those hills. Its a climb up to it, and a drop off the other side to move on west. Arizona is far more diverse than people think. So much of it is desert, but in reality it hosts multiple types of desert, from sand dunes, to rocky sage country. And Flagstaff is its own little eco-system up there in the hills. Its often cool when the rest of the state is scorching under 3 digit temperatures. After driving across all the miles of sage, cedar shrubs, red rock and dirt, its refreshing to be surrounded by pine forests and breath the mountain air.

We don't know what we're doing from here. Hopefully Mark will have a nice load with lots of miles and a high rate for us. We need something like that to make up for the past 6 days. Keep your fingers crossed!

Just pulled in to Nestle Purina to make our delivery. It's 20 degrees, but at least the sun is shining! It's a beautiful morning in Flagstaff!

October 26, 2009

God Blessed Texas...

...with rain!

I tend to be the type that keeps a positive outlook. So much so that I think my optimism gets on Malcolm's nerves sometimes. Oh well! This trip to Texas has been plagued with what some would consider bad news. First we loaded on Friday morning in Stockton, CA, knowing we couldn't deliver until Monday morning. A few hours later, Mark called with our reload, and the unfortunate news that we couldn't pick it up till Tuesday morning. That was bad news because that meant sitting in Elgin, TX for a day with nothing to do.

My being the ever persistent optimist immediately saw the blessings to this situation. I pictured myself roaming the streets of a quaint little Texas town, browsing shops, taking in the quiet beauty of simplicity, and maybe getting my brows waxed. As it turns out, Elgin in just a few yards shy of being an Austin, TX suburb. There is a quaint Main Street, but its all businesses occupying the old buildings, and the main part of new Elgin has a 4 lane highway running through it.

I imagined what a great opportunity this would be to take the girls out for some long overdue running time. They love to run full tilt in big wide circles when we let them out to play, and they did that a few days ago in Oregon, but it was a brief stop. I imagined we would take them out for a long long run! Alas, its raining, and appears to have been doing so for some time. Everything is soggy, soggy, soggy. Add to that a chilly temperature of 55....anyone who knows my girls knows they wouldn't be running even if the sun was shining, especially Paris. They'd be huddled at my feet asking to go back to the truck.

Still I my optimism persisted. We'd find a good place to eat and have a yummy meal just as soon as we dumped off our organic soybean meal.

We arrived at our destination around 8:45 am. The equipment immediately got plugged up and we weren't finished unloading until after noon sometime. Malcolm got soaked because he was trying to help the guys fix the problem in the pouring rain and gusty winds. We snacked on crackers and cheese when he got in the truck to warm up.

Finally unloaded, we called our reload to ask if we could load today possible? And the answer was sure, as long as we could be there by 3:00pm. We had two hours and the trailer was filthy, and there isn't a truck wash within a 30 mile radius. Malcolm feeling discouraged, still damp and cold, and operating on an empty stomach, finally decided to just wait till tomorrow and hope the rain washes the trailer. Of course...its stopped raining now. So after a lunch at a local BBQ place that looked promising and turned out to be just so-so, he's now back in the trailer trying to sweep out soybean meal that has turned to glue because of the rain that got in the trailer while unloading.

OK, so we can't load till tomorrow. Fine! We'll have a relaxing evening, treat ourselves to some dessert somewhere, and load first thing. We can still be in Flagstaff first thing Wednesday morning. Its only a little over 1000 miles. Malcolm called Nestle Purina in Flagstaff to change our Thursday appointment to Wednesday. The appointments there are always way too far out, but they always move them up for us. Not this time! They are out of bin space and we can't deliver till Thursday at 9:00am. There went our last hope for a decent week. We've had 2 really good weeks, running over 4000 miles each week since we left the house last time. This week, we'll get two trips in. This one we just finished technically goes on last week, so the Flagstaff run will be our first trip for the week, and unless there's a really good paying shorty between Thursday and Friday, we'll probably be loading for the weekend after Flagstaff which means we'll have another trip with too much time.

I don't mind the leisure time, but when your working on goals, pushing to accomplish things, hoping to be able to take a few days off for Thanksgiving and Christmas feeling quilt free....well you want to the weeks in between to be just as jammed packed full of work as you can handle.

Oh well...always the optimist, I'm already off looking at silver linings. We'll have time to eat at that little place north of Dallas that we like. We'll be driving across northern New Mexico and maybe we can stop at the Mexican restaurant in Moriarty that Malcolm loves. It will be dryer there, surely, and maybe the girls can play then. Its supposed to be cold and snowing in Flagstaff on Wednesday, but nicer on Thursday! We'll have at least two more nights of sleeping in a parked truck. Maybe we can find one of those Red Box movie things and I can get "The Proposal" which I've been wanting to see. I haven't shared these "good" things with Malcolm yet. He's spirit is almost as damp as the weather. I don't think he's in the mood to hear them yet.

Here are a couple shots I got coming across southern NM and TX. I was driving when we went through Phoenix on Saturday.so no picture of that city. What a traffic nightmare! Four lanes merging down to one for construction and DOT had it out for the trucks! They had at least 7 pulled over in a 15 mile stretch! But I did get this shot of Las Cruces, NM on Sunday morning.

Las Cruces is just a hop, skip, and jump from El Paso, TX, which is on the New Mexico and old Mexico border. I mean this quit literally. At one point driving through El Paso you are on I-10. There is the interstate, next to that the railroad, next to that the Rio Grande, and there is Mexico.

I know that all of Mexico does not look like this, but the city across the river from El Paso is about the bleakest I've ever seen. It truly looks like every image I ever pictured in my mind of "Mexico." Crumbling adobe houses, narrow streets, poor, poor, poor. Perhaps my eyes deceive me, but gazing across the river, that is how it appears. What saddens me more, is that they can gaze across the river too. Not such a great shot of El Paso. It was hard to get one. And granted it has its crumbling adobe houses, its graffiti, its poor sections, too. But looking at that particular view of Mexico made me incredibly thankful that God placed me in a country as grand as the good ole USA. Granted we have our issues, and our government is screwy sometimes. But thank God I live on this side of the river!There flag was bigger......but these two meant a lot more to me.

And after loading these pictures and looking at them blown up to full screen size, I'm thinking that with a soggy day spent in Elgin, TX with too much time on a load and the prospect of a week with lower profits...what do I have to complain about?

God blessed Texas...and me!

October 21, 2009

Playing With Picnik

I've been playing around with a photo editing web site I saw on another blog. Its been fun. Here are a few of my little quicky projects, just for fun. I'm posting the before and after shots.
My Yellowstone Buffalo

The Zinnia's in my yard.

Here is a link to Picnik.

October 19, 2009

Sunday Stills: The Letter "C"

I'm doing Sunday Stills on Monday. Not because I didn't have time yesterday. I had loads of time, but as soon as we stopped yesterday afternoon, we walked over to a Chinese restaurant to eat and then we popped in our movies to watch. We watched all three of the Lord of the Ring movies this weekend. We had only seen the first one.

Having said that, you can probably guess that if we watched three movies, then we weren't very busy, and you guessed right. We delivered our load in Wiggins, CO on Saturday morning, but our Fort Morgan reload had been canceled. So instead we drove 450 miles empty to Cortez, CO to reload this morning.

Since we had 2 days to do it, we just puttered along, covering about 225 miles a day. It was a beautiful drive across the Rocky Mountains through Colorado's high country. We took US 285 and US 160, two roads we had not been over before. Its much different crossing the Rockies on a two lane than on I-7o, and very much worth the drive.

This past week's Sunday Stills Challenge was the letter "C." I tried to think of something original, other than the first thing that came to mind, such as "cold," "Carlie Jean," and "clutter." Then yesterday afternoon I had a brainstorm. I had a few pictures I was really pleased with from our drive and I suddenly remembered we were in Colorado. Hello letter "C!" All the state signs at the borders welcome you to "Colorful Colorado," and so that's what I'm going with this week.

Here are a few shots from Colorful Colorado!

Approaching the mountains from Wiggins, CO, east of Denver.

Out of all the beautiful vistas, this was my favorite!

This was called "Chimney Rock." I'm beginning to wonder how many Chimney Rocks there are in our country. I know of at least three now!

My second favorite shot.

Now, this weeks challenge is landscapes with a focus on fall foliage, so unless I have a chance to take some different shots, you might see these again next week! No, not really. Surely I can get something fresh for next Sunday.

For more Sunday Stills visit this link.

October 17, 2009

A New Family Member

Congratulations to my brother and sister-in-law. Ken called me last night to inform me that Sarah is pregnant. (not me...her. We share a name.)
So around June I'll become an aunt again. The whole time he was talking I could hear my 5 year old niece in the background joyfully telling him to tell me she was going to be a big sister. Of course she wouldn't get on the phone and tell me herself. I've been gone just long enough for her to know who I am, and yet I'm a stranger. Takes her a while to warm up to me when I come for a visit.
Anyway, I suppose I'll be even more of a stranger to the new little one. But that's OK. He/She will one day be old enough to know who I am.
So that's my news. Other than that it was an uneventful week, and the weekend is shaping up to be the same.

October 14, 2009

Back On The Road

After a wonderful two weeks at home, we are back at work. Actually we returned to the road on Monday, but we've been busy getting places. I, unfortuntaly, seem to have returned to work with a complete lack of motivation for anything....work, blogging, anything!

Hopefully it will all come tumbling back onto me soon! I was pumped about returning to work and going places for...oh...about the first hour. And then it lost all its appeal, and I spent the rest of the afternoon brewing over not being able to have my every whim come true. Seriously....reality stinks sometimes.

We had a great visit and Mom and Dad. We saw lots, including a day in Yellowstone and it snowed twice while they were here. We also had our first little arctic blast. It didn't go above freezing for between Thursday evening and Monday afternoon. Brrrr! Very Brrrr! My poor parents nearly froze I think. But they still had a great time in Montana. I let Mom take the majority of pictures with her camera and I have copies on a disk, but I'm having issues getting them downloaded onto my computer. I'll get a few up to share with you as soon as I can get it figured out.

For now, we've already been to Colorado, reloaded, delivered in Sparks, NV, and now reloaded and headed to Oregon. From there we're reloading in Idaho and heading to Nebraska for a Friday morning delivery. On the road again and rolling full steam ahead!

Hope your all having a great week! Here are a few shots from Yellowstone to keep you in suspense.

The Northwest entrance to the park by Gardner, MT. The elk was scratching her neck in the forground. She was supposed to stay all prettily posed, but I guess the itch was more than she could bare.

While at Mammoth Hot Springs, we watched some elk that were enjoying the green grass in the resort yard. This bull graced us with a spectacular bugle or two right there next to the car. I've always wanted to hear that in person. It was just as incredible as I had imagined, maybe more so.
We only drove the north highway between Gardner and Cooke City. That's all we had time for. There were a lot of buffalo on that route though.

Something happened with my camera. It was letting in too much light, even though I hadn't changed any settings. I don't know what was going on. I was excited about this picture until I downloaded it. Its not near what it should have been. But it still gives a decent view of the northern section of the park.Unlike coyotes outside the park, who run as fast as they can at the first sight of a person or vehicle (for good reason), this fellow knew he had no worries and so continued hunting mice in the grass while we parked next to him and watched.