February 28, 2009

Home Again, Home Again

I can't remember the complete line of that nursery rhyme, but you get the idea. We went home. And I'm sitting here in the truck now frantically typing because I'm having a moment of inspiration and motivation to write, but we're going to drop into no man's land Nevada here shortly, and I won't be able to post. SO.....
We got home last Thursday. Oh yeah, you got the brief note on our sudden Montana snow storm as I ended my post on Southern Cal. Well the storm let up just as we got to Billings and in fact we only had a dusting in our yard.
The plan had been to take a few days off and go to the ranch in Baker to visit, help move some dirt with the bull dozer, and get a quick stitching lesson from Malcolm's mom. However, as rotten luck would have it, they all came down with a nasty flu like bug, and not wanting to get it ourselves, we opted to steer clear. So we spent the days at home getting a few things done and enjoying home time. (reports are that everyone in Baker is mostly recovered and we're greatful.)
Malcolm for the most part played around with Brandon the first few days as they were both home at the same time. In fact we had dinner with them the first three days we were home. Twice grilling at our house, and then Jessica fed us Sunday. Then after Brandon went back to work, Malcolm got busy building shelves in his shop and getting things organized. He was pretty much out there the entire week.
I spent time at home reading. I read this book, one my sister recommended to me weeks and weeks ago, and I just go to it. It was a GREAT little read. Took my maybe two hours to read the 150 some odd pages, and I think everyone should take the time to read it. Great great little story!
And I read the Montana Quarterly, which is a really nice publication that I picked up at the bookstore. I enjoy reading about my new state.

I also cooked good meals, spent some quality time with my good friend Barnes and Noble, took Ella to school to learn how to be a beauty queen, and got my hair colored at last (my sparkles were showing through up top again and I had put it off too long!) Here's a recent shot of my little beauty queen.
We had a week of beautiful weather. It was sunny everyday and like in the 50's or even higher one day. Just wonderful weather. Then of course, Thursday it had snowed during the night a little, just an inch or two, and gotten cold again. Friday morning, we woke up to about 4 inches on the ground and more coming down. It snowed till about noon, the big fat pretty flakes. And fortunatly, it was one of those snows that melted off the roads quickly once it stopped. In fact the roads were dry last night by the time we left.

And when we left last night I checked my email for the first time in a week and got two big pieces of news!

First, my friend Laura who lives in Nashville now had emailed and asked if she could come out for Spring Break the beginning of April. I'm so excited about this! Just giddy with the thrill!

Second,there was an email from the company that I ordered my bookshelves from saying that they have shipped....a month early!!!! I can't wait to get them, get my books out of those stuffy old boxes and let my friends get some air and sunshine where we can gaze fondly at each other in our special room. I miss seeing my books!

So that was our week in a nutshell. Overall, it was uneventful, but I have to say the way our lives tend to go, uneventful is a blessing, and it seems to take that route more and more, thankfully!

Hope your week was just as enjoyable and relaxing as ours. I'd like to wish you all a happy weekend, but from the looks of the weather channel, most of my southern friends and relatives are in for a heck of a weekend weather wise! Hang on to your hats and stay warm and dry! In short, stay inside with a good book...maybe Small Change!

February 20, 2009

Southern Cal

Well, I imagine you might be tired of seeing snow, so I'm sharing a different climate with you. Here you are in Souther California, just a scant few miles from Arizona and Mexico.

California is a diverse state when it comes to geography. I suppose that is easily attributed to its size. I can stomach everything from say Bakersfield north and call it pretty and might would even consider living there (as a last resort). However, everything south of Bakersfield....well I might would still call it pretty in its own unique way, but the only way I can imagine living there is if I was dead and they buried my body there. Just not my type of place. These pictures show a nice evening in the desert with temps in the 60's, but let me assure you, we've passed through plenty of times in the summer with scorching temps well over 100 degrees.

Yeah....I'm ready to pack my bags and move....right!

Apparently one of the big entertainments down here, especially on the weekend, is to pack your super expensive RV, or in a few cases your antique barely held together camper, and go camp at random places in the desert. There doesn't seem to be designated areas.

You ought to see the weekenders. They gather by the hundreds and park in circles all over the place, roll out their canopies, even put up flag poles with various types of meaningless flags (at least meaningless to me). The big sport here is taking your dirt bike, dune buggy, or four wheeler out into the desert. We see them by the hords roaming the dunes and hills. California is making the truckers lives hell over air pollution, but hey, who cares about the desert eco system right?This was a Thursday. Desert traffic was at a minimum. Now here's what gets me.

Maybe I have an exagerated idea in my head, but it bothers me that all of this is taking place on the border. Interstate 8 runs literally yards from the border. I've sat and watched "the fence" for miles. At one place you can even see a little Mexican border town not so far off in the distance. To me, it seems really cruel for all these afluent (or horibly in debt) Americans to go park their big RV's and go zipping around the desert in their expensive toys right under the nose of this little Mexican town. I can't see much of the town, but what I can see....well it looks like the typical image of what most Americans imagine Mexico to be like. You know...little stucco houses and not much going for it? So maybe I'm over reacting, but I would have a hard time going out in the desert and riding my four wheelers up and down the fence line for fun. And I've watched them do just that!

This is the west bound agricultural inspection station. California has one on every major, and some minor, roads entering their state. They stop everyone and ask if you have any ag products in your vehicle. I've seen house plants stacked on the shoulder, and boxes of fruit, etc. And for us truckers, if we're hauling ag stuff, they have to inspect out paperwork. Honestly the whole thing seems like a joke and I'll tell you why. First of all, I could hand them bills from anything, but they hardly EVER look in the trailer. For all they know I've got 300 Mexicans back there. Secondly, they hardly even look at the paperwork. Some look harder than others, but here's an example of what a joke it is. One night I handed them my stack of bills. I had had them stuck in the pocket of the door, and when I grabbed my papers to hand over for inspection, I accidently handed them our expired South Dakota over-weight permit as well that I had put down there and forgotten. You'll all be releived to know that the state of California approved my outdated SD over-weight permit and stamped it big and black good to go! What a relief! Glad they approved!

Well thats California for you, and like I said before. They get their very own Trucking 101 blog entry, coming soon in the near future. ( It will be more of venting, soap box type lecture, but you'll still learn some about the wonderful world of trucking.)

This is a poor picture, but I wanted to show it to you anyway. One of the neatest things they do out here, mostly in the southwest, is decorate their overpasses. This one I think is in Arizona just across the line. Its just gravel. I keep wanting to get pictures of the overpasses, but never get to it. But just to give you an idea:

Texas has cowboy themed overpasses. In Dallas all the columns on the overpasses have giant stars etched into the concrete. In Amarillo the overpasses have the word "AMARILLO" on them, and the L's are cowboy boots. In New Mexico the overpasses have designs painted on them in beautiful shades of turqoise and terra cotta. In Arizona they have painted southwestern designs on them. In Salt Lake City, all the overpasses have Olympic themes painted and carved in them and the barier walls have mountains etched into them. And I'm not talking like graffitti type stuff. These are artistic and beautifully done! I wish all states did them.

Despite the sandy geography, the warm temps have been nice. I go down there and get a good case of spring fever. Then I come back to what I'm looking at right now. We're about 60 miles from Billings and down to one lane and 1/4 mile visability and a lot of white stuff in the air. I checked the weather. We're supposed to get 1-3 inches of snow today at home.

February 18, 2009

The Madison Valley

Sunday evening on our way home, we had another beautiful drive through Idaho and into Montana, passing through the Madison Valley. A storm was brewing in the mountains around us, so we didn't waste any time getting through. It can get ugly up there really fast when the wind starts blowing. It doesn't even have to snow, because the wind just picks up whats already on the ground and before you know it you can't see more than a 1/4 mile, often less.
As luck would have it, Malcolm woke up from his nap just as I was approaching the pretties part of the drive, and since the sun had not yet set, though it was close, I was able to get a few pictures.
A view of a snowy valley in Idaho as we approached the MT/ID state line. You can see the storms brewing in the mountains.Snowy fields in Idaho. Check out the tops of the fenceposts peaking through the snow drifts in the forfront of the picture.
The next four are old buildings along the roadside on this one stretch of roadway. The last one is my favorite. I like old buildings and barnes.On the otherside of these mountains is Yellowstone. We used to drive through this pass, but since they closed the road to trucks due to construction, we now turn west at the base and head up the Madison Valley to Ennis, and then north towards Bozeman and the interstate.The Madison Valley. If you can look past all the development, its a really pretty area, but aparently I'm not the only one that thinks so. Most of the ranches have been subdivided into large tracks and now have large modern houses standing on them.The picture about and below show one of the massive eld herds that live here. We've seen them a few times, but I think they must stay up in the trees a good part of the time. Only occasionally will you see them in the fields. Back during hunting season, there were literally (and I'm not exagerating) dozens upon dozens of pickups parked side by side all along the highway, men in orange vests laying the grass on the shoulder, and way out in teh field, barely visable a small group of elk huddled into a tiny circle just watching. I'm not agains hunting at all, but this was a little pathetic. I failed to see the sport.

This is new to me. I'm calling it Para Snowboarding, because I don't know the real name. I've seen it once before in North Dakota, but this day there were about 6 people out. It kind of looks fun, but I don't think I'm coordinated enough to stay on my feet.And this is in Utah Tuesday morning. We got caught in the early stages of what turned out to be a very nasty storm in northern Utah. Here we were crossing a mountain pass to get to Logan and pick up some butter. The road was nasty on its own, but at this point the wind picked up a lot of snow and...well you can see the result.

February 16, 2009

Abbreviated Home Time

In short we got home last night at 10:00 and here it is 5:45pm on Monday and we are on our way to the office to pick up a trailer and go to Salt Lake City. Well, it was a short break, but our longer breaks recently are out of the norm. We just got spoiled by them.
Nothing like walking in your back door late at night after being gone a week and discovering that your freezer went out while you were gone, and everything in it has thawed mostly, not to mention that at least two things (on the top shelf of course) leaked all over everything else and made a puddle on the bottom of the freezer.
Fortunatly the fidge half seems ok so far. We called a repair guy who couldn't come till tomorrow, so that will be next weeks project.
I spent my morning cleaning out the freezer, trying to salvage what I could (it wasn't completly thawed, I exagerated, but I threw away a lot of stuff because I was afraid of it). So nice...just love it when that happens.
In happier times this afternoon I cut quilt squares and ironed on the applique pieces I cut out last week, called and made an appointment for Ella and I to go to classes to learn how to be fancy show doggie and person, and watched 2 episodes of CSI that I had DVR'd as well as an episode of Dirty Jobs during which he visited a dairy and helped artificially insiminate cows and delivered calves. Awww......it is that time again! You should see all the itty bitty calves that are starting to show up in the corals and pastures around here. I love watching the new calves and lambs be born. That was really fun for me last year at the ranch.
So, that was it....now back to the road. I took some pretty scenery pictures Sunday evening as we were driving through the Madison Valley coming home. Malcolm woke up just in time to take over driving before the sun set. I even got a huge herd of elk for you. I'll get those posted...probably tomorrow. or so.

February 14, 2009

Trucking 101: Weigh Stations

Like a game of cops and robbers, the DOT is generally viewed as the "bad guys" by truckers, and probably vice versa, though not knowing any DOT personally I can't say for sure. Even with nothing to hide, most truckers avoid the DOT like the plague. That said, its easy to understand why weigh stations are not exactly a popular stopping place for drivers, and we tend to avoid them if possible.
One method of avoidance is to dodge them by taking side roads, something thats usually frowned upon, and often the roads available are specifically restricted to trucks for this very reason. Not that it stops those desperate to avoid scaling.
Another way to avoid a close encounters is to subscribe to PrePass. I'll get you more on this in a bit, but for now just know its a device in the truck that signals you to pull in or bypass.
Generally speaking, the reason for not wanting to go into a weigh station has many bases, but probably the most common reasons have to do with log books being out of whack and weight issues, as well as the simple fact that it takes up time and time is money out here. The weight issues are more of a concern for truckers in the business of hauling hopper trailers, livestock, and others like this as they are generally paid based on the weight they haul instead of the miles they run, and therefor often overload their trailers. We did with the hopper and occasionally do on the cattle though its not as common of a problemm with that it seems.
So, what I thought I'd do is walk you through a weigh station and the various scenarios that can take place. And also give you a couple tips that will help us out. I've got a few pictures, but they are not the best. It was hard to photograph around the stuff on the dash and the windshield. Just think of it as a real world view from the truck.
Weigh stations are usually marked by signs that are posted at least a mile in advance, though I have seen a few that are further and a few that give less notice. Be aware that in some states, mostly western, they may be called Ports of Entry instead. But basically if you see this sign, its pretty obvious whats down the road for the trucker.

This sign is at the Laurel scale near Billings, MT. The lower sign says "Prepass Site" indicating that this weigh station is served by PrePass. For the most part, all major scales have PrePass service. There are, however, some in more remote locations that do not, and also a few states that do not participate. Among these are Kentucky and Idaho which have their own version of a prepass type service that truckers can subscribe to. We do not subscribe to those states systems, but we do have PrePass.

About 1/2 to 1/4 mile from the scale there will be a second sign indicating whether or not the scale is open. As you approach a weigh station, if it is open the best and most helpful thing you can do is to move into the left lane and stay there till you are past the weigh station. This is because all trucks are expected to merge into the right lane well before the station, and also it helps trucks re-enter the roadway and get their speed up without having to worry about where you are.

Do you see the PrePass sign? Its the big white one. It says "Follow In-Cab Signal." Drivers with PrePass have a device on their windshield that looks something like this.

Now lets go back to this picture.

Most often, but not always, there is a scale in the road beneath the first sensor. Look closely next time you drive past one. You can see it there in the lane. As the truck with PrePass drives over the scale, and under the first sensor, the sensor reads the box in the window, identifies the truck, reads the weight, and transfers the weight and truck information to a computer in the scale house. Now at this point I'm not sure if a person looks at it and decides or if the computer makes the choice, but the decision is made as to whether or not the truck must enter the station. As the truck runs under the second sensor, it transmits a signal to the box in the windshield of the truck.

If the green light flashes and beeps at you, you are free to proceed past the scale and continue down the road. However, if you get a red light, you must enter the scale and be weighed. (the center light is yellow...I think it means the batteries low, but I'm not sure)

This particular day, Laurel had their PrePass turned off. Thanks a bunch! So in we go!

On those days when you do get PrePassed, there is a third sensor in front of the weigh station. I beleive this one registers that you passed the scale. We pay a monthly set fee of $16 for the service, but when we were with Prime, we payed per pass. So everytime we got a green light, we were charged a certain amount, I think it was like a dollar or something. And I think its this sensor that transmits that information, but I'm not sure exactly.

Once you have entered the scale, there is a set speed limit you are supposed to slow down to. Some scales have a bypass lane within their drive, and a scale in the road as you approach the main scale. If you are going to correct speed and they are satisfied with your weight, they might bypass you in this lane and you can skip back out to the road. If not, then you are to drive up to the scale in front of the scale house. Some states require that you come to a stop before moving onto the scale. Others want the flow of traffic to continue at around 5mph or so.

So the strategy here is to not be the truck in front, or in back, and to certainly not be the only truck on the road that morning as we were. The reasoning here is that probably the guys bored and will look closer. Whats perfect is to pull in just ahead of or behind a wide load or something really odd thats probably going to be checked closely. What's not cool is to be female, modestly attractive, and driving past a bored scale house. I can't tell you how many times I got pulled into Laurel when we first started here. They'd send Malcolm on his way everytime, but if I was driving they'd check my paperwork. Come to think of it, several scales were like that for a while. I must just be a middle aged truck driving woman now, because on the occasion that we don't get Prepassed, I don't get pulled in to "visit" much. I'm not sure if I should be glad of that, or insulted.

Anyway, I got off track there. So here we are approaching the scale house. Sometimes they roll you straight across the scale. Sometimes they stop you on each axle and weigh them seperatly. There are laws regarding how much weight can be on each axle. Some scales are really predicatable. Laurel is ALWAYS open 24/7 but hardly ever weighs our axles. Belgrade, MT is closed late at night, but ALWAYS weighs every axle, at least on us. Idaho is unpredicatble going south, but going north they are garuanteed to be open by 6:00am. Utah, almost always open, but almost always prepasses us. California....lets not go there. Wyoming has ports of entry and with livestock we are required to stop. We have to tell them what we have, where we're going, and how many head. But with reefer we can use the prepass system if it goes off. However, they generally stop everone and generally everone goes in and has to show registration and IFTA license, but they are generally really friendly too and its more or less just a time hassle.

Here is the light at Laurel at the scale. If it turns red you are supposed to stop so they can weigh your axle. Green, you move to the next one. If it flashes you have to park and bring in your paperwork.

At a weigh station, the point is not just to weigh you. As your rolling onto their scale they are reading your DOT number off your truck and putting it in their computer. This registers that you were there at that time, so that later down the road, if they check your logs for some reason, and it doesn't reflect that you were at the Laurel scale at 9:30 Sunday morning, they know your falsifying your logs. Also, it pulls up your safety rating and lets them know what kind of record you have as far as accidents, speeding, how past inspections have gone, etc. If you have a bad report, they are going to look more closely at your equipment and paperwork. If a good report is present they are more likely to pass you on. They are also looking at your equipment as you roll by and if anything is amiss or looks bad, they can pull you in a do a full inspection on it. Some weigh stations even have seperate facilities that look like giant garages. This is the dreaded inspection bay where they go over your truck and trailer with a fine tooth comb. We've been inspected like this a couple times. Always pass with flying colors of course. But some are put out of service till tires are replaced, brakes fixed, leaking air lines taken care of etc. If your logs are out of whack, you can also be put out of service for that, which means you get to park there for 10 hours or more till you're logs are back to being legal. Generally a 10 hour break is required I think. I, fortunatly, wouldn't know for sure.

Weight stations have reputations. For instance the one west of Rapid City, SD on I-90 is notorious for being nit-picky. In fact all SD scales, when open, are not pleasant to visit, but they are also hardly ever open. Wyoming is very layed back. Montana can go either way, but Laurel doesn't have a good rep. I havn't heard much about Idaho, but I can say we've had to re-power (which means swap loads) with one of Steve's drivers who was shut down at the Utah port of entry for being over his log hours. And California....lets not go there. It would be ok with me if we never went there. I'm sure you know from general news stories that California is picky and difficult about everyday stuff, so you can imagine the trouble they put drivers through. We even have to have a specific length trailer to go there, and we can't idle our trucks, and ....wait...I think I have another Trucking 101 here.

So there you go, weigh stations in a not so little nut shell. Its more complicated than this in some ways, but its not worth trying to explain it all to you in that much detail. Like I said, take a look next time you go by one and you'll see the "parts" I mentioned in this article. Also, remember to move to the left lane when you see that sign. It helps us a lot.And if you are in an RV, don't use the shoulder of a weigh station exit ramp to fix a flat. And FYI, if you are driving a U-Haul or such type vehicle, technically, your supposed to enter the weigh station too.
( On RARE occasions, like in Crow Agency, MT the scale is in the center of the interstate and serves both east and west bound, so you need to merge right. Your smart...you can figure it out for yourself.)

For more reading on PrePass:


February 13, 2009

The Last Few Days

The last few days were nice. Well it didn't start that way. Sunday was a rough day for me, regardless of it being the day we got home. You see I had my worst "close call" ever. I was driving down a side road near Bozeman, enjoying the beauty of a Montana early morning and an interesting barn, when I turned back to the road to realize there was a car in front of me. Not only that, but he had stopped, and I was going about 45mph and wasn't going to stop. My heart did though! Picture my 80,000lb semi swerving (as much as it can) onto the shoulder at which point I realized I was in direct line with an approuching guard rail, and so swerved back just missing the car and the guard rail, and I was sick to my stomach for about an hour following.
Prior to that moment, it had been an absolutly glorious day and so beautiful and I have great memories of my drive up through the Madison Valley towards Bozeman, but from that moment the day went downhill.
Upon arriving home, we were making our way through the neighborhood when a neighbor flipped us off and said "f*** you."
Ok.,..well I was pretty devestated. And to think we were both raising our arms to wave at him. After cleaning up at home, Malcolm went to meet Brandon and stopped at the neighbors on his way out to find out what was up. They guy was outside and Malcolm pulled up and said he wanted to appologize for whatever we had done to upset him. The neighbor at that point was very appologetic and said he was just sick to death of people raising so much dust and it blowing onto his house and yard. (Hello...you live on a gravel road!) So he was really remorseful, and after that I felt better. I was worried that he was put out with us and our truck. But still....those two events were enough to leave a damper on my day.
We would have left back for work on Tuesday evening, but there was a storm in North Dakota, and the truck with our load ran off the road, so we stayed home till Wednesday night when he got the trailer there.
Home time was nice. I like those little unexpected vacations. We spent a couple of evenings with Brandon and Jessica. Malcolm spent most of his days with Brandon. They havn't been home on the same days since before Christmas, so they had a good time palling around. Bradon helped Malcolm build some shelves in his shop and Malcolm helped Bradon pick up his new living room furniture he'd bought.
I cut out peices for my next quilt project, read some, cooked some, went shopping for a new skillet (no luck) and piddled around. I also learned how to work the DVR on our sattelite (thanks to Jessica) and so now am recording all the CSIs on Spike TV. I love that show.

I've had some issues lately of cooking meals that I think look great, but then Malcolm doesn't like them. I was getting tired of it. So on Monday morning while I was throwing together something to eat and trying to figure out what to do for dinner, I had an idea. He was sitting at the table looking at his Cabelas catalog. I pulled out a recipe book that we got as a wedding gift, it happens to have a LOT of pictures, and sat it in front of him with some orange paper. I told him to shred the paper and mark anything that looked good. Brilliant! I fixed two successful dinners from scratch while we were home.
Here is one of the recipes. I liked this a lot. Malcolm thought it was too bready, but thats easily fixed. I just won't add all the topping next time. Be warned. Its not low fat. But I think you could use low fat soup, sour cream, and cheese, and it would help and shouldn't mess with the texture too much.

Dairyland Confetti Chicken

1 cup diced carrots
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup diced celery (I didnt' have any so left it out)
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
3 cups cubed cooked chicken
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (I used canned)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (thought this was interesting for chicken)
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
Confetti Topping

In saucepan combine carrots, onions, celery, and broth. Simmer 20 minutes. In 3 quart casserole, mix soup, sour cream, chicken, mushrooms, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Add simmered veggies with remaining liquid and mix well. Drop tablespoons of Confetti Topping onto the casserole. Bake in 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes or till golden brown. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and return to oven till cheese is melted.

Confetti Topping
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbs chopped bell pepper
1 Tbs chopped pimento (again I didn't have any so left it out)
1 1/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Mix dry ingredients. Add egg, milk, and veggies and 1 cup of cheese. Mix just till blended.

February 12, 2009

My Little Beauty Queen

Check it out! My little Ella is a beauty queen! She won a photo contest sponsored by MonkeyPups Dog Bakery!

I havn't tryed their stuff yet, though I've been wanting to, and now I get to. Or perhaps I should say that Ella gets to. She won a 1/2 lb of organic dog biscuits. And of course she will be sharing with Paris and Carlie Jean. She's such a sweet little sister. Check out their website. Its pretty neat!

February 7, 2009


Have you ever seen an "icebow" before? Well I have.

Last Saturday morning, on our way to Texas, we were driving down Hwy 30 leaving eastern Idaho. This highway passes around the southern end of the Tetons and much of the country is uninhabited, or appears so. It was foggy that morning, but starting to lift. As we were driving through the a town, you could actually see the air sparkling with miniscule bits of ice in it. It was magical. It looked like God was sprinkling glitter into the air.

And as the sun crested the mountains, we were fortunate to be presented with a beautiful show, an icebow. It was so wide that I couldn't get both sides into one picture, but maybe you can get the idea. I looked it up, and beleive it is most similar to what Wikepedia is calling an "Icebow." The statement below was copied from that source. I have documented the source below it with a link to the quote and also a link to a photograph of another icebow that looks similar to what we were seeing.

"An icebow is phenomenon similar to a rainbow except that it is formed by the refraction of sunlight through cloud suspended ice crystals as opposed to raindrops or other liquid water suspended in the air. Generally the appearance is as arc sections as opposed to a full circle. Brighter sections usually occur above, below, and lateral to the center (where the sun is visible). These bright areas are referred to as "sun dogs," "parhelia" (plural), or mock suns because of their bright appearance and possible confusion with the actual location of the sun. Those icebows that are caused by very small ice crystals are one colour, because diffraction blurs the colours together. A 22 degree icebow has red on the inside and blue on the outside."

Our icebow:

The real sun is on the right in the first picture. The bright spot on the left is a "sundog" and the second picture is of the right hand side "sundog" that wouldn't fit into the original photograph. We couldn't see the top of the bow very easily, but it was faintly there at one time. The sun with its two "sundogs" were blinding, but beautiful.

February 6, 2009


Just so you know there are two posts today. I figured some might reach the end of the first post and not notice the next one is new too.

New Babies

Here they are, the first litter for Darling Chinese Cresteds! Rachelle is keeping one of the females as a show dog, but hasn't chosen yet. They are so cute!
Black and White Male Hairy Hairless (HHL)

Palomino Female HHL

Palomino Female Hairless

And now I get to give a little Chinese Crested Lesson.
Yes I said these were Hairless and Hairy Hairless. I won't get into the differenc because I've already gone over that. Ask me if you want me to go through it again. I don't mind. I just don't want to bore you. But in the pictures the two HHL (hairy hairless) look fully coated, and the HL (hairless) has hair on its back. But as they grow, this seems to spread out, plus they will be groomed and then they will have the appropriate looks. This is the best way I can think to explain it.
These three are going to be very pretty CC's (Chinese Cresteds) ( I figured if your learning trucking lingo, you could start learning Chinese Crested terminology as well!)

For Lack of Something Better, Another Trucking 101

To say I've been uninspired to blog would be an understatment. I don't know if I've burned myself out on it, or maybe I'm just distracted by other interests right now. I'm nearly consumed with figuring out how to train myself and Ella for the show ring. The first show is in June, and I'm desperate to get her ready for it. We'll see what happens.

So anyway, most of my spare time this past week has been spent perusing the Chinese Crested Forum and the internet for information, making phone calls, and so on. I go from hopeless to hopefull every few minutes. Its tiring.

In happier news, Rachelle's Crested, Kloey, is delivering her litter as we speak. So far there are two powderpuff babies, one palamino and one black and white. I'll get pictures posted soon. Hoping for some little naked babies too!

We're in Nogales, AZ, so close to the border that many signs are in spanish first and english second. We delivered to a transfer warehouse, which means our peas will be loaded onto a Mexican truck this afternoon and taken across the border. Don't know yet what we're re-loading, but we'll find out within the hour.

We were home Wednesday and were able to meet Malcolm's mom and sister for lunch as they were in town delivering poodle puppies to a couple of people and putting one on the plane. So that was nice to be able to visit and then they came to the house so Malcolm could weld a piece for his Dad's tractor that had broken. Well I think it was for the tractor...not sure, but he welded something for him.

So thats about it. Thats what we've been doing. I have a couple of pictures of a sun ring and a few others, but I havn't downloaded them. Guess I'm just in a funk. But I'll get myself together here shortly, and get back on the ball.

In the mean time here's more Trucking 101 stuff. We'll postpone our lesson on Weigh Stations until I can get the illustrations needed. We havn't been through any weigh stations when I was awake but not driving so I could take photographs. I'll get them for you later.

But I remembered another trucking slang term:

four-wheeler - thats all you guys in the cars and pickups.

Trucking 101 tip for all your four-wheelers:

When you find yourself in a traffic jam, take notice of which lane the majority of the trucks are in. More than likely we've been on the CB chatting with trucks going the other direction and they have informed us which lane is blocked. Therefor is 75% of the trucks are in the right lane, more than likely the left lane is blocked or closed. Go ahead and save yourself and us some time. Merge into the appropriate lane. It's all the people that wait till the last minute to merge that makes the traffic slow down so much. And as for those trucks that arn't in the right lane, they are the ones that don't have their CB on. So ignore them.

My sister called me one time from a very frustrating traffic jam and wanted to know why these two trucks were driving side by side holding up traffic. She was rather perturbed with them. And I tryed to explain, though I don't fully understand how it works myself, that it is a beleif in the trucking world that if two trucks drive side by side in a traffic jam and hold back all the cars that would try to buzz ahead and ride out the closing lane to the end before merging, that it helps traffic ahead of them flow more smoothyl, the merge takes place faster, and it gets things rolling quicker. I don't understand exactly how it works, but thats whats going on and it does seem to work. So, if you find yourself in that predicament, just stay behind all the trucks. Chances are you'll get there just as fast as everyone else.

We have a saying out here. "There isn't any freight so hot that it can't cool off in the ditch." Meaning, that no load is so important that its worth risking damage to body or truck. The same could be said for you four-wheelers. There isn't anything so important that its worth risking your neck just to get in front of us or other cars. Slow down and enjoy the day. You'll get there sooner or later.

February 2, 2009

Trucking 101

In a previous post I gave you a trucker's dictionary of sorts. Well I remembered three words that got left out. Here they are:

meat wagon - ambulance
gator - a chunk of tire or rubber laying in the road
zipper - the dashed line between two lanes

"South bound, you got a gator on the zipper."

Did you know that road numbers not only identify which road your on, but also the direction of the road?
All odd number roads run north and south. For instance I-5 goes from southern California to Washington state.
All even number roads run east to west. Interstate 80 runs from New York City to San Francisco. This rule applies to national highways as well.

Furthermore, the number also indicates its relative location in the country. Lets start with the even numbers running east to west, and look at the far south. The smaller numbers start at the bottom of the country and the further north you go, the higher the numbers. Interstate 8 runs along the US/Mexican border. Further north if I-10, I-40, I-70, I-80, I-90, and I-94 runs across North Dakota and other northern states.
As for the roads that run north to south, if you start in California, you'll find I-5. Moving eastward the numbers increase. Interstate 15 runs from Los Angelas into norther Montana, followed by I-25, I-35, I-55, I-57, I-65, I-75, I-81, and I-95 runs up the eastern seaboard.

So there you go. A little trucking and geography lesson rolled into one.

Next lesson: Weigh Stations