May 19, 2012


There are different ways to truck. Some drivers go all over the place, a different load every time. That would be us.
Some drivers are "regional" drivers, meaning they do different loads but stay mainly in the same part of the country, such as the southeast, or northeast, etc.
And then there are drivers that are "dedicated," and those drivers mostly do the same load (sometimes a little handful of loads) over and over and over again. Just the same destinations, back and forth, and back again.

This past week, we got to pretend to be "dedicated" drivers. It wasn't our plan to try it out, just the way the broker needed the loads run. Apparently there was a shortage of fertilizer in Idaho, and so we, along with several other trucks, spent the week going back and forth hauling in their fertilizer for them.
It isn't easy to see I know. I had a hard time getting my reflection out of the picture. But the green line is our route.
We started last Friday in Stockton, CA on the port. The fertilizer is brought in from overseas and they unload the ships cargo into warehouses there. Some of the port buildings are in the old Rough and Ready Naval base that closed in 1996. It's neat to go in there and see the old buildings and warehouses.
After loading, we'd head north to Sacramento, and then turn west on I-80 and drive into the Sierra Nevadas, crossing Donner's Summit, dropping down past Truckee, CA and making our way towards Nevada.
still a little bit of snow up top

back on the bottom, almost to the state line
Have you ever noticed how sometimes the landscape changes dramatically at state lines? Clearly geography played into the determination of boundaries and territory lines when such things were being determined. When you cross into Nevada, the mountains almost immediately fall away and appear only in the rear view mirror. There are a handful of large hills when you get east of Reno, but they are short lived. After that, it opens up onto the high desert.
It is so dry here this year! It's terribly dry at home, but as we've been driving around these past few weeks, we've come to recognize that eastern Montana is not alone. There is a serious lacking of the color green in most of the western states we've been in so far this spring. Nevada usually is rather brown and tan, but there should be a little bit of a green glimmer in there this time of year. It was missing.

At Winnemucca (try saying that fast several times), we turned north on US95. This two lane highway stretches in a nearly straight line for 120 miles before veering off to the east.

This is a long stretch of empty highway. There are only 2 towns in the 120 miles before the road bends east. They are itty bitty towns that the highway just shoots straight through with hardly a slow down.

Long valleys of cattle country and hay farms stretched between rocky mountain ranges.It's beautiful and open, vast and empty. You'll pass a sign that warns "Next gas 100 miles" and later "Open Range next 130 miles." I love it!

When the road does bend to the east at Burns Junction, a little intersection with three boarded up buildings and a weigh station that's open randomly, you still have another good 100 miles or so of open empty land. And one and a half more towns, the larger being Jordan Valley, before you get back to "civilization." There is a cafe at Jordan Valley that we enjoyed meals at this week. The JV Cafe had excellent home made soup, and other things to enjoy as well.

Malcolm and I really like this part of Oregon. We have discussed it numerous times and feel that if we ever have to move again, if we don't go back to TN, we'd like to live in southeastern Oregon, maybe somewhere around Burns or Jordan Valley.

The last stretch of road takes us over some steep hills and past an Idaho weigh station, and 20 miles later we pull into Nampa, ID where we delivered the fertilizer.

The whole run was 586 miles one way. Between last Friday and this morning, we did it 4 times, bouncing empty the entire distance back to Stockton to reload. Easy driving through beautiful country, and I'll look forward to being out there in the Oregon outback again soon. But for now, we're grateful for something different. It was time for a change. Apparently we're not ready for dedicated driving. It was getting a little bit old.

After delivering this morning in Nampa, we're headed east to the other side of Idaho. Got a load of potatoes waiting on us that have a date Monday morning with a french fry cutter in North Dakota.

Before I go, a sneak peak at the "new" truck. This is the '99 W900L Kenworth we picked up in Pennsylvania a few weeks ago.
 It's being tweaked at the shop in Billings. It's nearly ready to come home though. So far the plan is to probably take it out for it's maiden voyage towards the end of August. That is, unless anyone walks up and offers to take the gray truck off our hands. Anyone interested?


Badlands said...

I love your 'virtual' tours!
Thank you!

ACountryCowgirl said...

Fun post:) I will show Eric this pic he will be drooling. He asked the other day if it was a W900. He said that would be his choice:) See same man:) hee hee!!! Nice truck!!!

Pure Prairie Soap said...

What Mrs. Badlands said! You are our eyes taking us to places we have never been. Thanks for your wonderful posts.

Michaele said...

I think that is what I would like best about your life. Driving all over the US and being able to think
"Maybe we will settle in here someday". You have no idea how much I miss mountains.

Frugal Canadian Hermit said...

Nice KW. You know, at first glance of your map picture of CA and Nevada, I thought for a minute there you were traveling right by my area. Just the way of the picture without seeing what is above and below, it looked just like B.C., Alberta, Manitoba, and Northwest Territories up north. Did'nt realize the similarities before. But then I seen the name Sacramento and I knew I was dreaming.

Frugal Canadian Hermit said...

Loved all the scenic pictures too. I just may have to do some cross border trucking sometime.

Muffy's Marks said...

Hey, I curious about what those sleepers look like!! Could you post pictures one time. Nice truck by the way. I love your posts they are like mini vacations for me.

Dreaming said...

We just got back from our return through WY last night. I realize that our trip - there and back - was less mileage than your trip... and we only had two legs. Ugh. I don't know that I could do what you do!

Oh, I did snarl at most of the Swift trucks as we passed them. I decided that sticking my tongue out was a bit too immature! So, a little lift of the lip to show my displeasure of the company's response to your situation!

Kellie said...

Beautiful pictures! I miss the mountains.

Shirley said...

Lol at Dreaming!
That sure is ranch country, I can just imagine loping my horse across those plains....

Eric said...

nice truck but while it's in the shop can I make some suggestions. 7" straight stacks, bowtie drop visor, texas front bumper or ali arc bumper I'll leave that up to you. Ditch the cab marker lights and air horns (hide some train horns somewhere), and some of those extended quarter fenders that follow the contour of the tire down to a couple inches off the ground. Hope this helps you out...I'm gonna have a nice truck when your done with it.

MTWaggin said...

I've not been over to visit recently, glad I'm catching up. I was in SE Oregon for the first time last May and it was really lovley. You always show such wonderful scenery and I adore your commentary. Keep it up girile and that new truck ROCKS! Can't wait for the tour. If you ever land in Billings on a weekend day and can let me know in advance I might just speed down and meet up with you (I know only Montana people drive 250 miles for lunch).

Elizabeth Martin said...

Beautiful country!!!