June 27, 2008

Count Down

I'm finally there.....the count down to being home. I'll be there this afternoon. We're driving through northern North Dakota south of Williston, and it already feels like home. I love it when we get back into this territory, the Dakotas in general, because though its not quite the same, it looks similar to home and I just feel more relaxed with each passing mile.
Anyway, I'm retiring from truck driving, and thus blogging, for a couple of weeks. Thats how long we are planning on staying home....barring freak snow storms or other natural disasters as we are all familiar with how they tend to change things.
Which reminds me, yesterday we were high tailiing it across southern North Dakota driving into a really nasty storm. We were still traveling with the other driver from Baker (see following blog) and he came on the CB and said he wanted to slow down a little and see if we could miss the storm. As it turned out, we did, only catching the southern edge of it and a few sprinkles. And there was nearly golf ball size hail all over the road and in the ditch. Glad we backed off and let it pass. That would not have been pretty on the truck.
You should see the grass out here. After watching it stay brown all spring and not growing, its so nice to see it so lush and green. For those who don't know, we had absolutly no rain or snow to speak of this winter (until the freak snow storm in May). It was really bad. I'm talking dams down farther than they've been in years, and absolutly no grass to speak of which meant big time problems for the ranchers and farmers too. When it snowed in May it kind of opened up the sky's and now we're facing the opposite problem. It won't stop raining long enough to cut the hay. But when they do manage to cut it, as a few are in North Dakota I noticed....there will be hay. The grass is so tall I noticed it was up to the sides of the cows and dragging their bellies.
I'm quickly learning that out here, its either feast or famine in many ways.

I'll have lots to share in stories and pictures when I get back in a couple of weeks. So don't forget me in my absence.

June 26, 2008

A Runnin Fool

You know in the movie, Forest Gump, when he's running through town and the old man in front of the store says "that boy's a running fool"? Well I don't know why that line stuck in my head, but I think of it everytime I take Carlie Jean out to play. She truly is a "runnin fool." She LOVES to run, and goes and goes. Long after Paris gets tired of it and starts snooping, Carlie Jean is still running big circles and doing "fly by's" at Paris trying to get her to run some more.

When she's done running, she'll join Paris in snooping around. This is only after a long running time. Paris likes to pluck off the flowers on the clover and toss them. She's teaching Carlie, but Carlie just grabs big mouth fulls of grass and flowers. She's not very much lady-like.

I couldn't pick a picture, so I just downloaded them all. Thanks for your patience as I brag about my babies again.

There is a chain of truck stops in the mid-west called Sapp Brothers. Most all of them have a water tower next to them shaped like a coffee pot, and they are mostly all a different shaped coffee pot. I think they are neat, so I snapped a picture. This one is the Sapp Brothers in Omaha, NE.

We're in central South Dakota on our way to Williston, ND. You want to know how small this country is from the trucker's perspective. Well we were pulling off the interstate rolling through Grand Island, NE, and we pulled up next to a truck at a traffic light. It was another owner/operator that used to work for the same guy we worked for in Billings, and left there shortly after we did. Not only that, but it was one of the three guys from our town that worked for that guy. Not only that, but he's on his way to Kill Deer, ND which is not that far southeast of Williston. So we've been running together all day chatting about the company we worked for until recently, home town news and goings on, and of course, trucking. Well, he and Malcolm were chatting. I went to get some sleep when they started talking trucking stuff. I told Malcolm earlier, this country always seemed so large to me, but really....its juat a small lady-like.

June 24, 2008

Soggy in Wisconsin

In case your wondering what turns a 26 mile trip into a 57 mile trip, check out the pictures below.

See the pump pumping the water back into the "river."

See the houses in the trees. This was/is a neighborhood.

Such a piecefull little river.

These people had a sand bag wall around their house, and it looks like it worked, but they lost their yard and garage. These were all taken in Fort Atkinson, WI.

The next picture was taken in Iowa, north of Cedar Rapids.

I'm not sure how much of that is actually supposed to be river.

Enough water water everywhere....here is a pretty barn in Wisconsin. There are so many huge dairy barns up there.

We're in Kansas now....we left Wisconsin this morning around 6:30am. We make tracks don't we? We'll be delivering in Oklahoma in the morning, reloading and heading to Williston, ND. From there we are supposed to go to Billings, MT, and then home.

Speaking of home....my father-in-law killed a rattle snake IN MY FRONT YARD yesterday when he was mowing. Oh, the joys! I guess Paris and Carlie won't be running around like little wild indians out there. There are lots of rattle snakes in our part of the country, but not in my YARD!!!! Thats against the rules. There was also a really long bull snake in there too. Those are harmless, but I still don't want him in my YARD. Better yet, he was seen slithering out from underneath my house. I guess on the bright side...maybe I don't have mice in the house now. They are always a problem, but I'm thinking if I have a snake den under my house, the mice probably vacated. If I see any snakes that close in, I might vacate the area too!

June 23, 2008

Seeing the Flood First Hand

Most of you reading this probably watch the news, or at least read the paper, on a regular basis. Doing so, you would have seen pictures and news stories about the extensive flooding going on in Iowa.
Malcolm and I have been aware of the flooding, heard stories from friends who drove through the state, and seen a few pictures as we have walked by TV's at truck stops. However, we haven't seen a lot of the news coverage. We just new it was really bad.
Well yesterday we drove through Iowa. We came out of Council Bluffs on I-80 and about 50 miles east of Des Moines, we got off on a side road heading north. We had seen along the way where the water had been over the interstate in places, where corn fields were still large shallow lakes, and other damages done in places, but nothing major. However, we were not off the interstate 5 miles before we were taking a detour because of a washed out bridge, and immediatly started wondering if it was going to be worth it to save a few miles. Perhaps we should have taken the longer route with more interstate driving.
The detour wasn't too bad, though narrow in one place. And we got to drive through the Amana Colonies (look it up online, it was interesting) and that was neat. I looked them up after we stopped to see what they were. Its 7 little towns that were started by a religious group from Germany in the 1840's. They practiced communal living and continued to do so until the 1930's. I was surprised they lasted that long. Anyway....I got off track.
So we were winding through the beautiful Iowa country side and Malcolm was tired so he went and layed down. I was driving and he hadn't been laying down 5 minutes before I crested a hill, took a gasp, and yelled for him to come up.

He had told me I was going to be driving through a town, but I hadn't realized that it was going to be that big of a town,. What I was looking at was downtown Cedar Rapids and piles and piles and piles of garbage thrown out on the sidewalks. I'm sure you've seen the pictures on the news, because at lunch today we saw Cedar Rapids being featured on Headline News. We drove right through the heart of down town, or what was left of it. I can't begin to tell you what it was like...other than heart breaking. Malcolm quickly jumped into the driver seat and took over because all the traffic lights were out, and we didn't know what we might encounter in the down town area. As it turned out it was a smooth drive through, but oh so sad. There was a stack of about 50 computers in front of one building. Another had piled up sofas. I could go on and on. The water mark on the buildings was high. I just couldn't imagine a city like that flooding. All you ever see flooded are these little "back woods" towns. But this was like looking at a miniatre of downtown Chattanooga.
Malcolm stayed up after that and we both did some sight seeing. We came to Dubuque, IA and saw a huge barge half sunk in the middle of the river and leaning against the bridge support. We stopped and ate and then finished the last 50 miles to our destination in Milton, WI. Along the way we had to take another detour because the bridge in that town was nearly underwater. It was dark, but the city lights illuminated the water and I could see it just barely below the cement of the roadway. Once we crossed the river, our road was closed, so we had to continue on another route, but it worked out ok.
In the end, we probably would have made better time staying on the interstate, but I was glad we got to see the damages firsthand. As we sat at lunch today and watched the news, well I feel silly admitting to it, but I almost teared up looking at the pictures of Cedar Rapids. It was something else to see what we had seen on Headline news. I just can't see how a town gets over something like that.
Malcolm's sister has a friend that lives in Oakville, IA whose dog kennels washed away and last I heard, she had gone to look at her house from a hillside and it was standing in water and leaning to one side. Rachelle told me yesterday that the whole town is destroyed.

Today we are on our way to Jefferson, WI to load in the morning. I guess things up here are bad off too. We're having to take a detour because many of the roads in Jefferson County are closed do to bridges being washed out.
Nothings washed away in Montana yet, that I know of, but we've had rainy day after rainy day and its so wierd. It seems like the weather patterns are just so messed up. No rain for so long, and then we're drowing in it, and I guess Iowa and other areas are having the same experience. You just don't know what to expect anymore.

Sunday morning we were driving through eastern Nebraska. It was beautiful (its my third favorite state in the country). You know those long sprinkler systems on wheels that farmers use in their fields? I don't have a picture to show you or I would, but I think most people are probably somewhat familiar with what I'm talking about. Well we probably drove for 20 minutes or more and those sprinkler's had been turned on their sides, disconected and twisted around for miles and miles. There was also a barn that had the roof blown off and a grain bin that was crushed, as well as a number of trees torn apart. There must have been a tornado or some incredible wind there recently.

Well thats my news to share today. We're loading in the morning heading for somewhere in Oklahoma. Somehow, and correct me if I've got my geography wrong, I don't think Oklahoma is in route to eastern Montana. Am I right? Well, we were here all day before we got this load, so I guess there's not much to be had. I'll just be greatful we got a load, and trust our broker to get us home as soon as he can. Hopefully thats going to be sooner than later.

June 21, 2008

Favorite Things

For some reason the other day I was thinking about an afternoon in Tennessee when Mom and I watched Opera and she was doing one of her "favorite things" shows. Oh....the envy! She had gone to Macon, GA because that was reported to be the town she was "most viewed in." Non one knew she was coming, and the day before the show, she had gone around town from house to house at 4:00 in the afternoon, and if you the resident was watching her show, she gave them tickets to the next day's filming. And no one knew it was going to be a "favorite things" show, so all these fans not only got the surprise of being in the audience of her show, but they walked away with thousands of dollars worth of stuff. I would LOVE to go to a "favorite things" show.

Well, I may never (probably never) get to do that, but it DID give me a slightly silly, but still fun idea for a blog. Actually I might even make it an installment series. So I snatched my camera and started with what was easily at hand...

I present to you....Sarah's Favorite Things - Beauty

Now don't get too excited. As much as I'd love to, I can't afford to send you all a sample of these items. (wouldnt' that be fun though) And I'm sure several of you are thinking, "Beauty??? Our no fru-fru Sarah who lives in jeans and didn't wear makeup for years is starting with beauty products?"
Well yes, for several reason, but mainly one. Like I said....thats what I had most easily available to me at the moment. But I'm working on the other collections.
SO, lets begin..

I have several favorite beauty products, but I am sharing my favorite three today:

Gucci Envy Me: a couple of years ago when we were in Springfield, MO I wanted a new perfume, not that I remember to put it on that often, and found this. I love it! Rationing it because it was a little pricy, but arn't all nice perfumes? Anyway, if your ever at the perfume counter in your department stores, check out this one. Its really nice! My favorite of the ones I've tryed and had.

MAC eye shadow: they have a whole line of cosmetics, but I've only ever tryed the eye shadows. I like them because they have about a million colors including some really fun ones, and also because you can apply them lightly, but you can also put them on and your eyes will just pop with color. (only for brave and rebelious moments) Check out the teal one! I loved the color. I have nothing to wear it with yet, but I loved the color so I splurged.

MAC has two downfalls for me. The first is the worst...no one in Montana sells it. Fortunatly for me, I'm not limited to Montana shopping malls! The second is they are kind of pricy...about $14 a piece. But if you bring in 6 empty containers you get a free one! (like I'll ever manage to empty 6 of them...maybe in about 12 years I'll have used these up!)

OPI: Yes, your amazed I'm sure, but I DO paint my toe nails and even on occasion, when I manage to have a few, I paint my fingernails too. Here's one of Sarah's Little Beayty Tips for nail biters - even though it looks kind of silly to paint seriously short nails, the bright color catches your eyes as you lift you fingers to your teeth and you remember "oh yeah...not supposed to do that...where's the chewing gum?"

I used to be cheapo nail polish like Revlon and Cover Girl from Walmart. I discovered though, after treating myself to a pedicure in Billings one day, that the OPI polish they used stayed on my toes for a month (I seriously left it on that long....I told you I'm not a big beauty person!) So I invested in a little collection and also discovered that not only does it stay on forever, it also drys faster than my cheapy stuff and so I don't mess it up, which was inevitable with my other stuff.

I discovered at Mom's, that she keeps her OPI nail polish in the refridgerator when I opened it to look for some juice. I was a bit miffed for a moment, and asked her why her nail polish was in the fridge. She said it lasts longer that way, doesn't get dryed out.

Well, I havn't put mine in the fridge yet. Ours in the truck is so small I decided I'd better reserve the space for bottled water and whatever else we put in there to eat or drink, but I'll definatly keep that in mind for future reference. Anyway, I thought that was interesting and thought I'd share that little tip from Mom.

So there you go, a few of my favorite things and tips. Did you ever think you'd be recieving beauty tips from little ole me? Probably not.

Be looking for future installments of "Sarah's Favorite Things."

June 18, 2008

The Lonely Road

Last night I drove from Fernley, NV to the Utah/Nevada state line on Highway 50. I started at 8:30pm and finished at 3:00am. I wish I had done this during the day so that I would have pictures to share with you.

Along the way I crossed flats of sage country, it is considered the "high desert" I believe. I also wound along mountain "trails." I say trails because I was literally hugging the shoulder of the opposing lane in order to get my trailer around the curve, the whole time praying that no one came along going the other direction.

As I left Eureka, NV I passed a road sign that dubbed the highway "The Loneliest Road in the Country." No doubt it is.

I drove over 350 miles, passing through three small towns (one considered a partial ghost town), 4 houses way off the road, some mining lights off in the distance (Nevada is a huge mining state), and meeting only three trucks and four cars going the opposite direction. Now granted, it was the middle of the night, but I've been on parts of that road in the daytime, and its not much more traveled by light. I certainly wouldn't want to break down out there.

There is no question in my mind that it is the loneliest road I've ever been on, and there was something really peaceful about the solitude, and awing about being able to still drive for hours in this country and never see another living soul, and very little evidence of them either.

June 15, 2008

Four Fabulous Days

My four fabulous days are over. I'm sitting at a "killl plant" in southern California smelling the pungent aroma of meat and bone meal permeating the truck. Its 118 degrees and though we've lounged around for four days, I'm exhuasted. So I'm going to take myself back to the previous four days and I'll take you with me.

The past four days have been absolutly wonderul. Let me tell you all about it.

One would have thought that it was going to be a really bad weekend. The reason being that we delivered our load on Thursday morning and then learned that there wasn't anything to be had load wise until Saturday morning. That meant two days of sitting, thus making no money. Mark, our broker, did find a pidly little job that involved running a 16 mile loaded trip between grain elevators 70 miles north of us, and told us we could do 4-5 runs a day until Saturday morning. It didn't pay anything to speak of, but it was something to do, and it was better than making nothing, so we accepted it. Mark called to set it up, and they had canceled the order.

SO....we sat in the parking lot of Walmart in Logan, UT all day Thursday. This would normally sound incredibly boring, but for starters we were tired and down troden about not going home, so it was kind of restful for us. Also, we had purchased a couple of movies at Walmart, along with a few other things we needed, and so after a wonderful (and really cheap) meal at a little Mexican resteraunt there in the strip mall next door to Walmart, we lounged in the truck and watched the second National Treasure movie which we had not yet seen.

Friday....we slept in...actually didn't set the alarm clock with is unheard of for us. It was a treat. Even Carlie, our 6:30 alarm clock, didn't go off.

We had a bagel and latte at Starbucks for breakfast....I've had a lot of Starbucks lately, but who can complain about that? Then we came back to the truck and watched our other movie, Tears of the Sun. This was truely a great movie. For starters I'm a Bruce Wilis fan anyway, so it already had that in its favor. It was a great story, moving for me, and had action too for the guys. I highly recomend it. Gist of the story....he is the leader of a special ops. unit that is sent into a waring African country to remove an American doctor from a mission. She refuses to go without the other workers, all Africans, and he is torn between following duty and orders, or following his heart and what he know's is right. I was moved by the movie. It wasn't too graphic, but you saw enough to know what the people of this country were going through. It was ethnic cleansing without a doubt. You really ought to watch it. I'll loan you my copy if you want.

After the movie we went to eat at the little Mexican resteraunt again, because the other option was pizza and taco bell, and we like the little place a lot anyway. So we ate there twice within 24 hours. Who can say they've never done that before anyway?

And then we went back to the truck and I got online to look at Morgan horses for sale, because even though they cost an arm and a leg I imagine I'll get one one day.

It was at this point that Malcolm asked me if I wanted my birthday present. And even though my birthday was still 5 days away, I knew there was no point in resisiting because Malcolm can't hold my gifts for more than a few hours. It drives him crazy cause he wants to give it right now. So, I said sure and he gave me a little box that had these in it:
The beauty is not just the only gift. He'd put thought into it too. They have the little screw on backs, which I had never seen. He knows I have a hard time with always losing the backs of my earings.

And then he asked me if I wanted my aniversary gift, and even though its almost a month away, I laughed and said sure and look what I got!!! He said I could return it if I didn't like it, but who in their right mind would do that???
Its supposed to be representative of past, present, and future.
I love my husband.

Friday afternoon we decided to go ahead and drive up to Idaho where we were loading in the morning. We had dinner at the local bar (because typical of so many western towns large and small...thats all there was), dining on a Swan's boxed pizza (that was the entirity of their menu) and bottled Pepsi. Mmmmm.....Then we watched an episode of CSI...love that show...and went to bed.

They woke us up at 3:00am (that part wasnt' cool) to load and Malcolm drove to Ogden, UT where we fueled and I took over. We stopped in Beaver, UT and ate at a Mexican (get the point that we like Mexican?) resteraunt we frequent there. (is it odd that we have resteraunts all over the country that we "frequent?") Yummy food and the best chips and salsa of anyone...

Then I drove, cause Malcolm was still tired, across southern Utah and northern Arizona on back roads, across a gorge of the Colorado river which was breathtaking, and within 30 miles of the Grand Canyon so you bet I got to see some great scenery.

We were going to stop and rent a car and go see the Grand Canyon because we couldn't deliver this load until Monday morning, but I decided that it really wasn't enough time because it wouldn't have really even been a full day to see it, plus Malcolm was exhausted, and we wanted to stop and shower in Flagstaf and spend the night there because it would be cooler than Phoenix. Plus we still had to drive to Phoenix which was another two and a half hours from Flagstaf...longer for us because we go so slow up and down the mountains.

We arrived in Flagstaf around 6:00 Saturday evening and went to the Little America truck stop there. We like to stop there. Its kind of nicer than your average truck stop. We walked across the road to Black Barts..which as it turned out was a camp ground/antique store/ resteraunt where the wait staff pause in their work occasionally to sing to you. Now you laugh....and I did too at the outbreak of the first song. Actually I think I turned red in embarrasment for them...but as the evening progressed it was actually really nice. We wern't really super hungry (and it was pricy) so we split the rack of lamb. I'd never had lamb before and it was really good! And the "staff" were actually all students of the Northern Arizona University. They took turns singing various types of song while a young gentleman played the piano. I scoffed at first because the setting was like that of an old dance hall salloon...we were in the old west you know...but the first song they sang was "Under the Sea" from The Little Mermaid, so you can see where I was a bit taken back. None of the music really fit, but after a while it kind of was just fun and enjoyable. The best part was when the waitress checked my ID, and after a pause, with genuine surprise in her voice, said, " WOW You look amazing!" Not feeling so bad about 31 anymore.

Sunday, today.....we slept in again, and then we showered at Little America. And this was a treat because Little America doesn't just provide you with a sink, toilet, and standing shower....they put a tub in there too...a really big tub. Don't laugh~! Seriously, you have no idea....a soak in the tub is unheard of on the road, and I'm not usually a tub soaker, but I enjoyed it this time.

Then we drove to Phoenix and I got to go to Barnes and Noble which you heard all about in the last posting. I had a caramel machioto on ice...not as good as the hot version, but at 123 degrees, I just couldn't stomach the idea of drinking a hot coffee. And then as I mentioned in the previous post, Malcolm sent me back into Barnes and Noble, and even though I had already been in there almost two hours, I spent another hour and a half in there, bought another book even thoguh I'd already bought 4, and had a rasberry italian soda....and I'm just loving my weekend.


No I'm not talking about a nice Father's Day grilling...though that sounds nice. What I'm talking about is the parking lot at B&N in Phoenix where we are parked because my loving husband decided to maneuver the obsticle course of landscaped islands designed to keep us out....so that I could go to the bookstore. (he's good to me like that).
I spent an hour and a half in the store blissfully browsing, more like lusting (do you think God considers lusting over books a sin, or was that strickly over people?) over all the marvelous books. There's something about that store.....and I think I have the inside story now.
I had a coupon for 15% off one book, but because I was so brain washed by it all, I forgot to use it. So when I got back to the truck and was putting my purse away I saw the blessed coupon sticking out. Back across the parking lot I go, because a B&N coupon is worth the sacrifice. And when I got in the door to the counter I asked if it was too late to use it because apparently my mind was drugged by all the books. To which the manager replyed..." well thats because we put drugs in the books."
SO....Now I know why I can't resist that store...why I am compelled to stop at every B&N I see and if I can't I feel that some great tragedy has occured.

Anyway, he took my coupon...saved me $3.26!

Back to the roasting part....
Like I said we're parked here in the parking lot at B&N, which is really part of a larger shopping area. Its a balmy (??) 120 degrees.
Oh no big deal....though we abandoned the generator and ideas of saving fuel and have the truck running and all the air vents turned as high as they can go. I wasn't actually sweating (too much) until I got in this vehicle. Thats when I lost my "freshness." Malcolm has decided that the generator duct work can wait no longer, and since we are unable to deliver till after midnight tonight, he hiked (bless his heart cause you know how he doesn't handle heat too well) to Lowe's, purchased the needed pieces, and is in the back working on duct work, trying to make it so that the cool air from the generator reaches us faster and stronger. My husband fascinates me the way he can finagle (sp?) anything into working better. He's a genious.
Anyway, where was I. Oh yeah...
SO we're sitting here in the parking lot, its hot, Paris is thinking (I can tell though she hasn't mentioned it yet) that she wants to go potty. What she doesn't realize is that her little paws will be grilled because the only serface to walk on is ashalt or landscaping gravel. We experience this last year and its sooooooo sad. The problem is in southern CA and western NV. I'll take her out and she trot off to do her stuff. Several feet away she pause to take care of business, and she'll think about snooping around (cause what dog doesn't like to do that...even the ones that are really not dogs at all, but people in little tiny naked (or hairy) bodies), start to walk off and then suddenly (and it was really sad cause last summer she was still so young) she stop and start whimpering and pick up one foot at a time and I'd scoop her up and her little feet would be bright redish pink from the ankles down. Poor baby. Carlie hasn't experience this yet, but I beleive today will be the day.

Malcolm told me to go back to B&N....OMG~~! Riches......so I'm debating doing just that. But the temptation would be to buy more, plus...would it be like the sequel to so many books, and spoil the original? Doubtfully....but it is a possibility. Plus I hate to leave him and the girls here getting in each other's way, only slightly cool, and doing something not fun (this includes the girls because they can't go in the back to play but have to stay up front).

Well...thats us...roasting in Phoenix. Its 4:00 and I need to make a Father's Day phone call, and then I'm going to run away to B&N. I told Malcolm weeks ago that if we ever live in a place where there is a book store near by, and we don't really need a "serious" income...I'm going to get a job at the bookstore. Did you know I worked at a B&N for a couple of months. I won't go into why I left there, but I feel now that I was an idiot to do so. Its a GREAT job!

PS: I had a marvelous 2-3 days previously and I'll tell you why later. My B&N trip was part of it. But I don't have my pictures downloaded yet, and Paris has just made the official annoucement that she wants to brave the roasting pan. I figured it was coming because when I got back to the truck and let them out of the kennel I filled their water bowl...and she promptly emptied it. Oh Paris...when will you learn not to over indulge......she certainly won't learn that lesson from me!

June 14, 2008

A New Arrival

I am proud (and excited) to announce a new arrival!
Malcolm's dad just called to let us know that our mare, Lajar, has had her foal. And....wonderfully....she had another blue roan colt. She had the same last year, a beautiful blue colt with a perfect crecent moon on his forhead, who looks like he's going to be a pretty good sized horse.
I really excited that this years colt is blue also.

Roan - For those not familiar with colors and marking of horses, roan indicates a coat that is intermixed with white hairs. There are two varieties, red and blue. Red roans have a unique redish orange appearance. Blue roans appear to be varying shades of gray.
There are a significant number of roans in our area, particularly reds, but I have rarely seen any in the eastern portion of the country.

This is an example of blue roan:

This is an example of red roan:

Lajar is a red roan and the stud is a blue roan. Hopefully the colt will keep his color.
As I said, last years colt out of Lajar was blue. Our other mare, Carrie, had a red roan colt who looks very interesting. He is a red roan with black points (main, tail, and last time I looked some on his legs too) Sort or like a bay roan.

I'll post pictures once we get home and I see him.

June 11, 2008

Just A Spoon Full of Sugar.....OR....a Starbucks Frappuccino

You ever have one of those days....dumb question.
Well, we've had one. If you read the following post, you'll hear me in a nostalgic, slightly "woe is me" mood. That was written on the way to our next load.
But let me back up and tell you about the past few days.

Like I mention in the following post...its time to go home. Week three....we're both reaching the end of our rope. Time to go home, but we stretch it out to four weeks because thats the responsible thing to do...that also allows us to stay home longer. Plus:
1. the truck needs to go to the shop in Billings to have a couple of things done.
2. it was time to replace the steer tires on the truck, and we had a trailer tire go bad, so we had to stop and do that on the road, instead of waiting till we got home....where its cheaper
3. the computer, as you may have heard, has been possessed by an evil force, and I need to get home to my software to do battle
4. On a good note we sold our older hopper trailer this week and the guy came to get it yesterday. But then we found out it's going to be 2-3 weeks before the check clears and we were worried that it might be a forgery, even though its a bank draft, and now we have to wait so long. Kind of depressing.
5. I'm totally uninterested in the books I have with me to read.
6. There's other things that escape my mind, but thats good...why dwell on them?

There have been a list of things in the last few days that were irritants or just not going right, and we're both ready for a break.
This morning was kind of the straw that broke the camel's back so to speak. The back hopper was full so we backed up to fill the front hopper, and apparently he hadn't looked to see if we cleared the back auger that was hanging out over the runway, and....well.....I kind of backed into it and it ripped the end cap on the trailer. I don't have a picture, but lets just say its like a foot and a half wide and it covers the tail end of the hopper and it was ripped in two and crushed downward. Its basically what the tarp rests on at the back and it keeps things sealed up and water tight....or at least it used to.

So being at the end of the rope, and the rope is frayed beleive me, Malcolm called Mark, our broker, to tell him we need to get towards Billings to get the trailer fixed (and go home because that was the last straw) and besides that, his medical card expires the 30th so he has to get in for his DOT physical. To which Mark replyed that there isnt' anything going to Montana....at all....until July sometime.
All four of us kind of withered right there.

And after about an hour of being really frustrated over the whole going home thing and working on the trailer (pounding on the trailer with a hammer, wedging it with a pipe, and using that all powerful tool......a roll of duct tape) we're fairly water tight again and thinking that maybe this is a good thing (sorta?), because we would have just gone home, but we really ought to be responsible and stay out at least another week. And on top of that....maybe since we now know that going home isn't actually a possibility right now, even if we decided to...maybe it won't be such a nag in our mind.

Things continued.....We called the receiver of this load and they said it was unloading by appointment only, except the appointment setter was out and would have to call us back..hasn't happened yet and its almost closing time. Then we get north towards Sacremento, and shock of all shocks....a traffic jam...in California? No way! Beleive it! Expect Delays of 45 Minutes.

Well, when things are bad, they eventually look up. We nursed our wounded spirits. We stopped to get a little fuel. While Malcolm was getting fuel I walked across the parking lot for Starbucks (the second one of the day) because I NEEDED it. We both did. And I blissfully ordered two drinks, feeling satisfied in doing something so enjoyable as standing in a Starbucks listening to the whine of the espresso machine and admiring the choices of mugs available (and trying to forget that Malcolm was across the way pumping fuel into the truck...as little fuel as possible because it was $4.92 a gallon and we just got enough to get us out of California and into Nevada where its SO much cheaper...only $4.87!)

Mary Poppins said a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down. Well, we had a lot of bad medicine this morning, but since I'm 30 and not 3, I pass on the spoon full of sugar and followed our medicine with a Starbucks Caffe Vanilla Frappuccino. Ahh....I feel so much better already, and the bad taste of the medicine dissappeared quickly.

While sipping my little drink of sugar, I was playing around with the computer and discovered a way to trick the internet into not shutting down on me when I try and post pictures to my blog. (take that you fiend that has possessed my laptop companion), and so ...though the computer problem isn't fixed....I've been emptying my mind of its stored up things that have needed to spew forth the last couple of days. They are saved for an uninspired day, so I'll have something to put up on the blog.

Ok, so we're feeling much better, and...provided we can get past the scale in Sacremento without a ticket because we are a LITTLE over weight (the truck, not me....don't go there), its looking like a better day.

Curses....another traffic jam...and its not even rush hour yet!

June 9, 2008

Loading Cotton

Last Saturday morning we loaded whole cotton seed in Slaton, TX. We delivered it this morning to Wiggins, Co, which is east of Fort Morgan on I-76, to a Co-Op. It is fed to cattle. It was hot in Texas, around 98 degrees, but it was a dry heat and the wind was blowing so it didn't feel to miserable...at least not to me sitting in the air conditioned cab and walking around taking pictures. It might have been hot to Malcolm and the guy that was loading us.

I thought I'd post pictures of us loading, because you havn't seen this yet, and this is another way they load/unload us. You've seen the pictures of us sitting in the elevator and dumping into a chute. This is different. The loader dumps the seed into the end of the auger, and it carries it up and dumps it into our trailer. They can also unload us this way. They put the one end of the auger under our hopper doors and we crack the doors open. As the product falls out, it is augered up and dumped into whatever they are storing it in. And once we unloaded this way, and they were just augering it out onto the ground in one big pile.

Also, I thought maybe you hadn't seen cotton seed before, so I took a picture of it as well.

When they unloaded us this morning they had a time getting the stuff out of the trailer. They had a guy there who climbed under the trailer and stuck an air hose into the cotton seed from the bottom and blew air up into it. Then he climbed up onto the cotton and sat on the edge of the trailer poking a long sick down into the cotton seed to force it through the hopper door. I guess because of the fiber still on the seed, it all sticks together terribly.

Anyway, so thats cotton seed hauling. It was a nice drive up through Texas, the pan handle of Oklahoma, and through eastern Colorado. And I didn't take pictures to prove it, but no one gets to complain about lack of rain and being dry anymore. Western Texas and southern Colorado take the prize. You havn't seen dry till you've been there! And the wind was blowing all their dirt away in Texas. The sky was just brown.

June 7, 2008

They Have Soul

I love old buildings. There's just something neat about them. Malcolm likes them too. He likes to go prowl through them. I really think older stuff is neater. It has more character, more individuality. It has soul.

When we pulled into the feed mill this morning to get loaded, we both immediatly spyed this little treasure sitting next to the scale. We had to wait for the mill guys to get back from lunch and Malcolm disappeared on me. Didn't take me long to figure out where he might be once I realized he wasn't working on the trailer.

Sure enough, I went and just stood in front of the building and he appeared from the doorway. He'd been in there discovering finds, like a Gulf road map (the kind you buy at a gas station) of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Nevada from 1973.

After we loaded and I was waiting for him to get the paperwork and weigh out, I went and took a few shots of the building and tanks. There's just something about old places and things.

The Pied Piper of Hamlin

Weeks ago we delivered a load of lamb meal to a pet food mill in Hamlin, TX. As we drove through the little town I admired buildings, the surroundings, and noticed that the school mascot was the Pied Piper, which I thought made a rather odd mascot. The name of the mill was also Pied Piper Pet Foods.
Today I made the connection. I knew the story of the Pied Piper, you know, the guy with the flute that leads all the rats from the town? I never realized the name of the town in the story was Hamelin.
Get it? Hamelin...Hamlin.....its almost the same.
Here's the irony.
Malcolm went into the mill to find someone to instruct him on where to unload. And when he returned to the truck he told me it was like a horror movie in there. He said he'd not seen rats so big in a long time, they were running around everywhere, on the machinery, in the rafters, on the stacked bags of dog food.....get the picture?
I didn't go to see....but I was sickened by the thought. Not only are little doggies getting cereal for breakfast, apparently they also may be eating....well....other things.
SO, maybe not the town, but the mill in Hamlin is over run with rats, and the Pied Piper needs to come.

I did a little research online and looked up the mills website. They produce dog and cat food for several unnamed pet food brands and do private labeling at the facility. I couldn't find a list of companies they manufacture for.

June 6, 2008

Sometimes You Don't Want To Know

Sometimes you don't want to know, but in this job we're finding out a lot.
We loaded this morning at a mill in eastern Missouri. Just seemed like an ordinary grain mill. We were loading "cereal finds" which as it turns out is.....
well they had large tubs (really pallets with sides) filled with various kinds of cereal....things like frosted flakes, captian crunch, corn puffs, and even cocoa puffs, or at least these cereals looked like those type things. No name brands were available. I'm assuming it was either the flakes that didn't size up, left overs from cleaning the machines, OR out of date cereal returned from the stores.
ANYWAY.....they were taking this stuff and throwing it together and grinding into a meal which they loaded on us.
We are taking it to Hamlin, TX to a pet food mill. Yes, thats right. Little doggies get frosted flakes in their morning meal too! I just hope they don't really include the stuff that looks like cocoa puffs.

We delivered here before, the Texas place, and we brought in lamb meal that time from CA. We've hauled lamb meal, chicken meal, and "meat and bone meal" which is beef that we picked up at a kill plant in CA. (mostly dairy cows...guess ole Bossy went dry)
The chicken meal went to Purina in Flagstaf, AZ so you know what it was going into....pet food again. And when we picked it up they were bringing in truck loads of the stuff they make it with, which consisted of (very smelly loads of ) left over chicken parts from processing chickens, including the feathers!!!
The "meat and bone meal" in CA went to Foster Farms. I'm assuming that went into chicken feed.
And you know, I'm ok with dogs and cats getting the chicken and lamb in their food, its nutritous. However, I always prefered to think it was choice little cuts of meat like I get. Not feathers and bone and innards all ground up and dryed.
I know of people who make their dogs food from scratch, even have the recipe stored somewhere. But I always thought...."what a lot of time, not to mention money!"
I think now, I'd be temted to fix my girls their food from scratch.

Warning: High Levels of Sodium

Here's the picture I promised of the salt pile. This was at a salt mill on the north side of the Great Salt Lake near Ogden, UT off of I-15. There were many piles of salt there, but we loaded off of this particular pile. The stream of salt coming out of the auger was continual. The salt we picked up went to a DOT salt shack in Saint Maries, ID for the road department to use on the roadways during the winter. However, don't fool yourself. I beleive your table salt was in another pile like this one, sitting out in the open on the ground, with the sea gulls flying overhead.

As you drive along I-80 on the south side of the lake you pass two other salt mills. One is Cargill, which is the major beef packing company in the country. We've delivered cows to several of their kill plants, as well as picked up processed beef when we drove for PRIME, INC.
The other mill is Morton, with the cute little girl with the umbrella posted up on their building so large you can see her clearly from the interstate. She has a particularly large pile of salt sitting next to her.

Don't be fooled about the size of this.....there was a large front end loader driving around on the top of the hill leveling it out, if that gives you any indication. And if you don't know what a front end loader is.....well it looks kind of like a bull dozer.

Ok, on to greener pastures. We're loading in Missouri this morning, well barely in Missouri. We came in last night through Illinois, from the opposite direction our directions were from, because I didn't know we were coming in this way when I got the directions from the nice lady. SO...we were coming in on back roads from the east, and it got dark, truly was a lovely drive up till the darkness, and we're trying to interpret the directions...backwards.... and we get to Chester, IL, which is a little town on the river just before you cross into MO. And we're on this highway, but when you get into town our GPS said turn on this little side street, even though the road signs said 150 went straight. I said turn, Malcolm said straight. We went straight....even though we had to stop for TWO semi's to turn out of that little side road. And so we went straight, and 150 dissappeared and we turned down another little side road that the GPS said would take us back to 150. Almost ran over a fire hydrant, had trees dragging the top of the truck, went down a steep hill that for all the world looked like it woudl catch the hoppers and drag them, made the turn and were met with a dead end sign.....no highway 150. So there we are, in a run down little neighborhood, no where to turn around, tree branches dragging along our roof, and the neighborhood running out to move their cars off the street, because apparently this is a common problem....there were semi tire marks on the cement, and the neighbors seemed to know what to do to save their vehicles. We backed up, crawled out of there with our tails tucked, made it back around the fire hydrant, and took the little side road that looked rediculously small and...tada.....we were on 150. Kudos to Malcolm for being an excellent driver and not destroying the town or us. Curses on you, Chester, IL, for not posting a few signs like "150 turn here," or "truck route," or "NO TRUCKS." Seriously, it looks like it happens frequently. They need to do something.

Anyway, it felt like old times (not the good ones) when we drove for Covenant and were ignorant young truck drivers up in the northeast getting into all sorts of sickening, make you want to hide under the covers so you can't see, kind of events. Like the night we got lost in Queen's NY...actually that was with Prime. Ahhh...the memories.

But here we are in Missouri, a few yards from the river and that wretched town, but it already feels more open. Like we parked on the side of the road last night, and this morning we pulled up alongside this cornfield...so OPEN and peaceful.

And now we're loading and going to Texas....back to the land where EVERY road is truck friendly.

Hope you all have a great weekend.

June 3, 2008

A Quick Update

Hello all. Did you think I left forever? Well, I havn't felt real inspired lately, and there hasn't been much going on since we left TN and the reunion. Which was really fun by the way. Afterwards we ran to Mississippi after loading at the big grain elevator in downtown Chattanooga. From Mississippi we went to Flagstaf, AZ, and from there we drove to Brawley, CA. We loaded in Brawley, emptied in Traver, CA, loaded in Firebaugh, CA and went to Collinston, UT. Yesterday we loaded in Ogden, UT at a salt mill on the Great Salt Lake. I did take a picture of a huge pile of salt for you, but I havn't downloaded it onto the computer yet. From Ogden, we took the salt to a DOT salt shack in northern Idaho. We emptied out last night and drove down here to Clarkston, WA where we just finished loading peas that are going to Mattoon, IL. From there, I don't know for sure. Mark, our broker, said probably load to Mississippi again and then run kind of the same route. He's got us lined up for some hard running this week, which will be tiring, but if we pull it off, it will mean some big bucks, and that will make up for our extended time off last month. BUT.....I sure am envying all the talk about going to movies and playing in the garden I read today on Mom and Meagan's blog.
I'll get that picture of the salt posted sometime, but if you don't hear from me for a few days, don't get sad. I'll be back. I think we're just going to be running like "old times" for a few days....meaning I drive while he sleeps, he drives while I sleep, and there's not a lot of playing going on.
So..till later....