March 15, 2012

Trying to Stay Busy

This time of year, freight slows down a bit. This effects things in a good and a bad way. First the bad: we do more sitting, less driving, and the paycheck starts to reflect that.
The good: we sometimes manage to get more home time because we have a wonderful broker that is really good at routing us past the house when things are slow.

Last week was the shortest so far. We were home the 3rd through the 5th. We left the house Tuesday morning (March 6), drove to Billings and to get Malcolm's CDL renewed and to reload. 
the Wasatch Mtns and part of the salt lake in Utah, Wed. March 7

We were delivering in Utah on Wednesday morning, reloaded, delivered in North Dakota Thursday morning, reloaded and were home by Thursday late afternoon.
a full moon rising over southern Idaho fiels
 We had a load going to California, but couldnt' deliver till Monday.
So we spent the weekend at home, and it couldn't have been a more beautiful weekend! The temperatures were in the 60's and though it was a little breezy on Friday, it was still a gorgeous day. We spent lots of time outside.

For Malcolm's part, he stayed busy with a project. His dad needed some land leveled for a new shop that they are going to build. So Malcolm got to spend practically the whole weekend playing with his bulldozer.

I made multiple trips to the corral to visit the horses, and then decided to take the plunge. Fancy, who joined us in November, was reportedly a former trail horse. However, she's just  been a broodmare for the past 4 years, and I hadn't put her memory to the test yet. But Friday I decided, with a little encouragement from Malcolm, to find out what she could do. It went really well, in that she didn't throw me off or anything of that sort. She was really frustrated over leaving her herd, and she seems to have forgotten how to steer. But I think  with some regular riding (hadn't figured out yet how that's going to happen) it will all come back to her. I can't speak for her, but I thoroughly enjoyed being in the saddle, even if the whole ride was a battle of wills in directional heading. I think I can speak for her when I say we were both rather sore the next day. We're both out of shape from a lazy winter and a lengthy break from riding.
someone ate her forlock. I havn't discovered the guilty part yet. But I'm disgusted with them.
We left home bright and early Sunday morning...
south of Three Forks, MT
... and were sitting at our destination south of Sacramento first thing Monday. Pea flour is a very powdery product. It makes a mess when you unload it. It also covers Malcolm from head to foot.

Our next load was a piddly little 150 mile trip from the Sacramento area to just over the mountains in Sparks, NV. That's just outside Reno. It had me worried for the week's profitability. I mean it paid decent for such a short load, but it was awful early in the week to already be trying to fill gaps. And that load was basically a gap filler.

Got that delivered and then reloaded Monday night in central Nevada. We drove all night long, or rather I drove all night long. We left the shipper just before midnight, and by sunrise I was on a little 2 lane road, north of the Great Salt Lake in Utah.

as you can see, I still haven't gotten that little speck of whatever it is cleaned out of my lens. I think this camera is going to have to make a trip to the doctor soon. It ruins good pictures!
The entire process of the sun rising over the mountains was breathtaking. Because of our preferred driving shifts, I usually get sunsets, not sunrises. So this was a real treat.

We arrived at our destination around 9:00am. Lewiston, UT sits about 4 miles off the Idaho/Utah border. At first there was some confusion about delivering. They were not expecting our kind of trailer and had the pit we'd dump into under construction. They tried to say we were supposed to deliver somewhere else. Our wonderful broker convinced them otherwise, explaining that "somewhere else" would cost them. We had to sit for several hours and wait, but they eventually figured out that they could get the pit operational and unload the product.

This was a load of ground limestone. It's an interesting product because it is basically powder. But as we drive to our destination, it vibrates and settles and pretty much turns back into as close to solid rock as it can be again. Only at that point, it's in our trailer. And solid rock does not go through hopper doors very easily. Malcolm has to beat and chisel at it the entire time. With enough agitation, it turns back to powder, one handful at a time. It's a long and messy process....

...and it is not one of his favorite things to haul, for multiple reasons.
for the record, he's wearing a yellow shirt and a red hat (um...it's an earthy tone of yellow though)
He went through a lot of laundry this week, with all the powdery things we hauled.

After that we got a load of fertilizer to North Dakota, and we just finished unloading pea hulls in Minnesota.

Now we will try to get reloaded today with sunflower seed. If not today, then tomorrow, but hopefully today. This is our weekend load. We'll go home with it and then deliver on Monday morning north of Spokane, WA. .

Products we hauled this week:
1. pea flour from ND to CA - an ingredient for a horse feed mill
2. wheat from CA to NV - an ingredient for a pet food mill
3. ground limestone from NV to UT - an ingredient for cattle supplement
4. 1152 fertilizer from UT to ND for a farmer
5. pea hulls from ND to MN - a pet food ingredient
6. black oil sunflower seed from MN to WA - an ingredient for a bird food mill

From leaving home last Sunday to arriving in Spokane, WA on Monday morning, we will have driven about 4800 miles.
This will be our third weekend home in a row. And this weekend the temperatures are supposed to hit mid-70's with sunshine! You know where I'll be!


Shirley said...

That seems like a lot of miles for 6 loads! God bless all the truckers who make commerce possible, and the brokers who help them.
Have fun with the horses! It sounds like Fancy did pretty good for not having been ridden for 4 years. there are a couple of ground work exercises you can do to refresh her memory about steering. Message me on Facebook.

MTWaggin said...

Have fun riding this weekend and I'm sure Malcom will have fun doing more dozer time if needed! You guys stay safe and give the girlies a hug from me.

Charade said...

I sure hope that mask is adequate protection!

thecrazysheeplady said...

I love all your behind the scenes info. And the on in front of you scenes too :-D. I have a spot on my camera too. Trying to get the nerve up to send it off. Have fun riding! I gave Hickory his spring haircut today so he's not looking quite so shaggy. I believe spring has sprung.

small farm girl said...

I bet your truck is a mess after all that dust.

Michaele said...

Loved this post Sarah, as always.
I really do think you can call the whole USA your home. You are more familiar with it than most of us are of our own single states.

Frugal Canadian Hermit said...

It's kinda interesting all the places you guys get to see and all the different products you haul. Never know, someday I just may give the hiway hauling a go, just to see some different places, but I will try and remember not to haul any limestone. That stuff sucks, I can just tell. If it can't run out the hopper itself, I'm thinking it just might have to stay where it's at.