Deliver and reload in eastern Colorado, then drive 1400 miles to Stockton, CA. Deliver and drive 140 miles north to reload. Mission begins at 8:30am on Thursday. You must be at the reload in CA before 2:30pm on Friday.
Not a mission impossible, but definitely a challenge. Very little room for error or delay. We got a great start from Colorado, before we ever got to the place where we were to load!
But the wind! Lets just say our fuel mileage hovers around 6 miles per gallon, but with the wind, by the time we got to Cheyenne, WY we were averaging 3.6 mpg. Gusts were 45+ mph and as a result of blowing snow and multiple accidents, Wyoming closed I-80 from Cheyenne to Laramie. We backed into a parking spot at a truck stop, somewhat shell shocked. If we'd been balloons there would have been some audible hissing as we deflated.
It wasn't that the load waiting for us in California was the only load available! Our broker already had some other ideas lined up "just in case." BUT the load we were aiming for was a really good paying load and the backup plan wasn't so great. We really wanted the load that the broker had lined up. So after a few moments of contemplation, a phone call to the broker, and a study of the map, we set off north, quite a ways north, and then turned west, heading off on a self-invented detour over to Laramie.
We drove all night, pushing the truck right up to the limit of the speed limit, which makes for bad fuel mileage and hard sleeping conditions. But by the time it was my turn to turn in, apparently I was tired enough. I didn't wake up till Malcolm pulled into the agricultural inspection station at Truckee, CA. And of course they said we didn't have all our paperwork. Another short delay. But it got worked out and after a few minutes of waiting, we were on our way again.
We arrived at our delivery point at the Port of Stockton around 9:00am. Its a neat place, on an old military base. Because of security, I'm wary of taking pictures, so just take my word for it, but maybe I'll get brave one day and be seen with a camera. We like this place because they load and unload quickly...usually. And today they didn't let us down. We had to wait for them to finish loading another truck, and then we pulled into the warehouse and wind rowed our load of millet out onto the floor.
|the other piles of grain in the warehouse. The millet was behind me.|
|Malcolm walking next to a pile gives you a hint at scale.|
Should you accomplish the mission, your reward will be a high paying load that is light weight. You'll get good fuel mileage. You'll have 2 1/2 days to go 1800 miles. You'll get to go past the house for an over night stay and laundry time (not fun but needed). In addition there will be another good paying load waiting for you at the other end.
After loading our sunflower seeds, we pulled out onto the mostly abandoned road in the mostly abandoned town and set the brakes. Time for a short breather before heading back out of California.
Up the road we stopped again, parking in the road, to get a better look at a place we'd noticed on our way in.
And behind all those orange trees, nearly completely obscured from vision, that orange laden sidewalk led to this treasure.
Malcolm went to bed after we got some dinner, and I got the pleasure of driving through Sacramento traffic on a Friday evening. The "Reno Rush" as I like to call it. In southern CA they all run to Vegas for the weekend. And in central California if seems they all go to Reno, though it wasn't as bad this trip as I have encountered before. I made it through the typical traffic jam, across the ridiculously pot holed Sierra Nevada mountain highway, and dropped down into Reno just before dusk.
We stopped at midnight and slept for a while. Malcolm commenced driving this morning around 5:00 and at present I am sitting in the truck waiting for him to come back out from the Cabelas store in Billings. He wanted to pick up something the store was holding for him before we go home. Twenty-Eight miles to go!
We'll spend the night at home and finish the trip tomorrow afternoon. The sunflower seeds go to a town southeast of Fargo and we're reloading potatoes clear up on the North Dakota/Canada line. Then its off to Spokane.
The mission was tiring, but the reward pays off. Good rates are always enjoyed, and trips with time to rest and catch up are appreciated by all.
|my co-pilots were too worn out to work much today|