August 31, 2009
I was trying to steer clear, as much as you can avoid each other in a truck, and thought I had been successful, but alas, Saturday I developed all my old allergy symptoms, sneezing, watery eyes, stuffy nose. I thought maybe I was just allergic to Nevada, but by Washington it was getting worse, and then yesterday evening...WHAM.....hit the fever achy stage like a brick wall. I haven't been sick like this in years and its not fun! My boss gave me the day off for a sick leave day, but you know...it's just not the same a curling up on the couch watching food network and eating warmed up chicken noodle soup, which is pretty much what I'd like to do right now.
Anyway, this morning I layed in bed while he unloaded and I think the whole fever stage is over. I just feel wiped out and now I get to cough for a week. Lucky me!
This was the scene Saturday night as we left Winnemucca, NV. We drove about an hour north and parked. No hurry on this load. The whole thing was about 550 miles and we had from Friday night to this morning to get here.
In this business its the small delights that make a day great. We went grocery shopping on Saturday as we were more or less out of everything. If you recall I mentioned that our new fridge has a small freezer section in it. I've never trusted those little freezers b/c the only time I've used one, it let the stuff melt all over everything. But I thought I'd give it another try with some frozen sorbet cups or something that wouldn't leak. And then I found these...Itty bitty single serve size of coffee ice cream by Haagen-Dazs. Ooooo the possibilities! They fit perfectly in the freezer and as it turns out...this one freezes things really well. This could be a very bad thing to discover.
August 26, 2009
This isn't new, but I thought I'd include it on the tour. The Entertainment Center and pantry. We keep our logs on the computer and also have to make copies of bills, so I keep the printer up here. And our TV. Malcolm made a stand for it so when we want to watch, it can swing out and then we can put it away flat against the wall when we don't want it. Another one of his amazing inventions.
Windows that open and have screens on them. The windows by the upper bunk always opened, but these are much larger, and before they were just glass. And also the built in fan there is nice to have. We had a refrigerator in the old truck. But this one is so nice and clean and NEW! And when I opened the door the other night I discovered that it has a light that comes on inside...just like a real one! We got excited over that. It also has a little freezer section which the old one didn't have, so that's also going to be fun. Silly I know, but it's kind of cool!
Leather seats in lovely shades of black and gray. They have the usual air ride in them, as well as the back and seat adjustments. But they also recline all the way back AND Malcolm got the seat heaters too. Paris is going to LOVE that this winter.
A sunroof that opens, and it has shades that you can pull from the center to each side if it gets too bright.
The leather wrapped "smart wheel." Formally the controls for the cruise, jake brake, and lights were on the dash. Now its all on the wheel.
About twice as many gauges and switches as before, and I don't know what half of them are for. But is sure does look cool!
The Cummins RoadRelay. This little beauty is mounted about the visor on the driver's side. It, in great detail, monitors all aspects of the engine like fuel economy, gallons of fuel burned while idoling, etc. It's main use is to assist us in adjusting our driving to achieve the highest fuel efficiency possible. This lovely little box cost $1000, but hopefully it will pay for itself in fuel savings.
And then there is this... the thing that is single handedly making my job a living nightmare. The shifter for the 18 speed transmission. It has two splitters instead of one, and 18 gears instead of 10, and I simply am having a miserable time making it work for me. Last night I took over driving just north of Kansas City. Got through town all right, but then I got off the interstate to head south to Oklahoma, and went through a very popular shopping area that stretched for miles and must have had about 300 traffic lights. I swear I lost my gear at every light, and of course every light turned red on me! I felt like I stopped at ALL of them. It was a miserable night, and by the time it was finally over, my back, head, eyes, hands, fingers, stomach, and everything else hurt from the tension. But it did get a little better before the night was over...a little. Its just not much fun dreading my driving shift, and so far today I've avoided it, but I know its coming. Its coming very soon.
Those are most of the changes, the biggest one's anyway. There's some new stuff on the exterior too, but I'll show you those in the next post.
August 24, 2009
However, there's a short 150 miles left to our destination and I'm still alive. Based on a little occurrence this morning, I'd say that's a miracle of sorts....that is is would be if I were a superstitious person. Let me explain.
Last night I took a few moments to read a little of my current book. (If you want a full review of the book, click on its picture in the side bar.) In short the story is in part about an Apache girl. In the portion I read last night, the girl wakes in the night and hears an owl and is frightened. According to the author, in Apache beliefs, if you hear an owl then someone is going to die. Even worse, is to hear the owl, and then see it fly across your path. If this happens, then you are the one that is going to die.
The alarm clock went off around 6:00 this morning and I thumped the snooze and lay there for a while listening to a very slow drizzle of rain on the metal roof, trying to avoid getting up. And suddenly I heard an owl calling, quite close. We hear them frequently in the trees that are in the surrounding area, but our 10 acres is open and most of the land immediately bordering us is as well, so the owls are always heard, but distant. I rolled over and glanced out our open bedroom window and there he sat. A Great Horned Owl was sitting on the ridge of our garage roof, just yards away from the bedroom window. He sat there and hoo-hooed a number of times while I watched, and immediately the part of the story I read last night came to mind. How strange that I should read that, and then wake up to an owl.
And then suddenly, he turned and seemed to look directly at me, though I'm sure he was looking at the house itself, and lifted up on his silent wings. He flew directly at me, and it almost seemed as though he were going to fly right through the bedroom window, only he pulled up at the last minute, and I saw his shadow float across the window and floor as he passed and landed on the roof right above our heads, where he sat for a while longer continuing his morning serenade.
Like I said its a good thing I'm not superstitious because if I were, I'd have had a miserable day awaiting my eminent death. But I'm not, so I was able to snicker at the coincidence with amusement, and then enjoy the wonder and awe of such a close encounter with one of these allusive animals God created. It was an awesome way to start the day.
The truck is really cool, though like I said, the whole shifting thing is weird. But we'll get used to it. Other than that, we're already getting 6.5 miles per gallon, where as we averaged 5.8 with the old truck, and this one isn't even broke in yet. And the sleeper portion is amazing. One wouldn't think 14 inches would make a significant difference, but we feel like we have a castle back there. There is so much room! And we have been playing with the remote door locks, the sun roof that opens, and our new trailer lights that we added all day. We splurged on this truck and got a few luxuries. Well....we LIVE in it...so I guess we figured there wasn't any harm in making it really nice for ourselves. I mean when your confined to an 86 inch fiberglass box for a home...might as well have it be really comfy!
We're delivering just east of here in Minnesota in the morning. From there...who knows? That's one thing that is really fun about this job. Everyday is a mystery, and every trip holds something new to discover and enjoy.
August 21, 2009
August 20, 2009
Off with the old and on with the new. Here's a sneak peak at the new Johnson Trucking! More to come on this later.
Malcolm is really really proud of the new truck. I'm glad he's so pleased with it.
My view Monday night as I waited for Malcolm to come in from looking at his new baby (the truck).
I've been doing a little cooking, not much but some. Sunday morning I made this for breakfast. (took the photo with Malcolm's cell phone so its not a very good picture.) Don't judge the the dish by this picture. It was really really good! Mind you, I'm not saying good FOR you, but it was good. For my birthday, my in-laws gave me several fun things, and one of them was a cookbook, from which I got this recipe. First thing I've tried from the book, but if the rest of the recipes are anything like this...its definatly a winner for a cook book!
Here's the recipe:
Peaches and Cream French Toast
16oz loaf of french bread, cut into thick slices
8oz pkg of cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup peach preserves
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Cut a pocket in each slice of bread, being careful not to cut all the way through, or puncture the sides. Combine cream cheese and preserves. Carefully spoon cream cheese mixture into each pocket.
Combine the eggs, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon, whisking till well mixed. Dip each slice of bread into the milk mixture, coating each side. Shake off excess, and place in pre-heated skillet. Cook on each side until nicely toasted. Serve with powdered sugar or maple syrup.
We just used the powedered sugar and it was plenty and delicious. Also, I'm thinking of trying it again with another type of presevervs, like strawberry. I think there are lots of variations we could try!
And for a parting shot...
As I sat here at the kitchen table working on uploading pictures, I glanced over to see what the girls are doing. Paris is curled up in my lap sleeping. The other two found the best seat in the house...the rocker warmed with the afternoon sunshine. I love this photograph!
Now a couple of favors to ask. I don't normally use my blog for this sort of thing, but I thought I'd go ahead and impose. I have a couple of prayer requests, and I am a firm beleiver in the power of prayer, so I thought I'd reach out to as many as I could through this.
I have a very close friend whose husband has just left her, and has now confessed, and is flaunting his new girlfriend. Its a very painful time for her, for all the obvious reasons, and she is confused and angry and just so very hurt. Please pray for both of them.
Also, I recieved a call from Mom last night. She was calling to let me know that my cousin had been told he had cancer in his thyroid. They did surgery to remove the thyroid, and discovered that the cancer is malignant, and also he's having a tough recovery from the surgery. So if you could also please pray for him and his family in this difficult time.
Many thanks to you all and I'll be back around in a few days! Happy weekend!
August 19, 2009
Went to the rodeo, delivered the load to Three Forks, picked up the new truck, delivered the old truck, got my hair done, and so on. Actually we've been home, but not home. What time we've had here, has been spent gutting the old truck, and now he's out there designing and building computer stand parts and other such things for the new one. Tomorrow is moving day, provided he gets all his stuff done so I won't be in his way. I've got to move all our things back in the new truck, and in a way its a shame. Its so nice and clean and unmarred in there, and I kind of hate the thought of disturbing that. But in we must go!
Thought we might leave Saturday on a good paying load to Los Angelas (ick!), but alas, it fell through (we're both clapping our hands and smiling inside). The money would have been great ($2.00 a mile!) but we both wanted to stay home. So we'll try and have this wrapped up by the end of the day Friday, or at least my part will be...he can do what he wants...and we'll take the weekend off to really be home! Just a couple days for a breather before we hit it hard again!
The new baby is beautiful! I'll have pictures later.
Montana is treating us well this week. Saturday and Sunday the high's were in the mid-60's. WONDERFUL weather! Since Monday its been a little warmer, in the 70's, and I think it was supposed to be around 80 today. And apparently it rained last night, a good soft soaking rain. We needed that. It feels, smells, and almost looks like fall! I know that seems crazy to my southern relatives and friends, but....that's Montana and I'm not complaining. I'm loving it!
August 17, 2009
We just left Billings. Have to run to Three Forks, west of Bozeman to deliver this wheat. We just pulled past the west end of Billings and I looked up from my computer and.....
there is fresh SNOW on the mountains.
Yep...August 17th...and there is snow!
Here we go...
My Sunday Stills post is below, a day late but posted all the same.
Last weeks Sunday Stills challenge was "Clouds."
I snapped this one on our way home Friday evening. Crossing into Montana out of Wyoming, we were surrounded by storms all the way home. This was just south of Crow Agency, MT. Not a great shot, but still pretty. It was more impressive in person. We got in the door of the house and less than 5 minutes later a deluge came..literally a wall of water falling from the sky accompanied by lots of lightening.
This one I took last fall when we were haulin' cows. This was in Nebraska north of Bridgeport.
Shortly after taking this picture, I put away the camera and just watched the clouds. That was the wrong thing to do! I was just looking and looking and suddenly realized I was looking at a small tornado descending. It hit the ground, but by the time I had retrieved my camera from the sleeper, it had disintegrated and was withdrawing into the clouds again. It wasn't much of one, but it was the first tornado I've seen in person, up close. Later down the road we passed through an area that had been hailed out. The corn stalks were stripped naked, and there were drifts of hail along the road.
To see more Sunday Stills go here.
August 14, 2009
The Utah state line on US 89. This is a pretty pretty drive. US 89 runs all the way from Flagstaff to I-70 in Utah. Basically you are squeezing in between the Grand Canyon and Arches National Park, and passing the turn offs for those as well as Bryce's Canyon, Zion National Park, and several other special areas. So you can use your imagination as to what an incredible drive it is!
We loaded around noon in Redmond and I drove east on I-70 towards Denver. More beautiful scenery, and then the Rocky Mountains. Its amazing that they even got a road through there! The had to elevate the road, east and west bound on two different levels, because its such a narrow steep canyon along the river. You have to crane your neck in order to see the sky because the canyon walls are so high. Not much of an opportunity for picture taking at 65 mph though. Malcolm had gotten back up and was driving again, so I guess I could have tried, but I decided to just enjoy it for myself.
Spent the night at a parking area about 80 miles west of Denver, and then drove on in here this morning.
A sure sign that winter is around the corner! We delivered a load of "icesliver," (which is apparently some kind of road deicer) to the Denver road department for the toll road around Denver. Ahh, the anticipation of winter is getting to me. Call me crazy, and most Montanan's will, but I am looking forward to fall, all two weeks of it, and winter. I know I was sick of it just a brief 3 months ago, but this time of year I always get the fall/winter bug!
This is our truck's next to last trip. We're loading later this morning just north of Cheyenne and taking that to Three Forks, MT which is about 45 miles west of Bozeman. Then we'll drive home, strip the truck of all our stuff, and Monday we'll deliver her to Kenworth in Billings and bring home the new baby!
I'm excited about every aspect of the new truck, save one. And forgive me for not knowing the ins and outs of it, but something about the transmission is different and requires a different pattern of shifting. There are two splitters on the gear shifter, instead of one like we have now. I'm nervous about catching on quickly enough to suit me. (I'd explain what a splitter is to everyone but it feels too complicated for this early in the morning. Maybe in a later Trucking 101 I'll cover that.)
Jessica just called and wanted to know if I'd be home Saturday night. Yes I will be, I told her. Well this week was Montana Fair in Billings, and Saturday night, the last night, they always have the rodeo. Jessica said she could get free tickets from her Dad, and wanted to know if we want to go with her. Me, I'm bouncing in my seat with excitement! I LOVE rodeo! Malcolm...I haven't told him he's going yet. He's not such a big rodeo person. Well, I won't make him go, but maybe just us girls will go. I know, I know...I ought to be working on gutting the truck...but I can play a little, can't I?
(actually I plan to play a lot *wink*)
August 12, 2009
Buildings, barriers, and overpasses are all decorated in shades of terra cotta and turquoise. (please excuse the bug spots on the windshield in the above picture).
We're reloading near here and heading to Flagstaff, AZ. We're supposed to be working our way back to Billings, to get the new truck, and I'm not real sure how Flagstaff is enroute to Billings, but I'm trusting our broker to know what he's doing.
In all our frustration last weekend over our load being canceled, we forgot Carlie Jean's birthday on Friday. Luckily, she was busy taking long naps with Malcolm and running around in the thick Arkansas grass to notice. So she forgave us, and we celebrated Monday night with ice cream from Brahms (for us, not her.) So, Happy Birthday Carlie. She's a whoppin' 2 years old now! I think maybe the "terrible two's" are true for dogs also. She's been rather difficult lately, really wound up and not listening very well.
August 10, 2009
In the 1980's the house was struck by a tornado and pushed off its foundation. The roof was torn off and the west side of the house was badly damaged, but it's been restored and is absolutly beautiful. It origianally had 4 rooms and a detached kitchen. They have very tactfully closed in the back porch adding a bathroom, den, and office and connecting the kitchen to the main house. It was so well done, one wouldn't know it wasn't original, except for the windows inside the house.
From Belmont we swung back through Longstreet for one more look and a few more pictures we wanted, and then headed back north into Arkansas and work. It was a rewarding and fulfilling weekend. We had a lot of fun exploring, meeting people, and seeing some of Malcolm's heritage. We came away with a lot.
We are absolutely eaten up with chiggers from snooping around in one of the cemeteries. Malcolm's suffering more than me, having about 10 times as many bites as I do. And I was attacked by mosquitoes in Keachi. But aside from our itchiness, we also came away with lots of memories and over 100 pictures to share with family. I do hope we get to go back by and meet that cousin in Marthaville sometime.
Families are so spread out these days, stretched from one end of the country to another. So it was special to be able to take advantage of our canceled load and utilize the time to visit a place in our families past that contained so much history.