March 31, 2010

Burnin' Rubber

On our way to California and once again we are delaying the home time pictures because there are more current events that should be shared.

It is roughly 1700 miles from Mount Pleasant, TX to Helm, CA. That is easily done in a day and a half of steady driving. We left Mount Pleasant yesterday around noon, and intend to be in Helm first thing Thursday morning.

A week ago, when we told Mark the broker that we wanted to go back to work on the 29th, he hinted that we might want to wait till after Easter weekend. This was not because he is a super religious person. He was insinuating that getting loaded the end of the week could be a challenge due to Good Friday. But we stuck with the 29th plan. We just didn't think our budget could afford two and a half weeks off, as lovely as that would have been. In retrospect, perhaps we should have taken the hint.

We've been burnin' rubber...figuratively and literally. The figuratively part is obvious, what with 1700 miles to do in a day and a half. But let me explain the literal part of that phrase.

Despite three good paying trips this week so far, I think I can safely say we haven't made any money, at least not much. We seem to be spending it as we go.

Yesterday I posted about Malcolm's encounter with the deer on Monday night. If you haven't been filled in on that one, read the post below this one.

One would have expected that one troubling event would be all for the week. After all, we seem to have pretty good luck (overall) and rarely have more than one catastrophe at a time. We're lucky that way (usually). But then there is that saying that my sister reminded me of months ago, troubles come in threes.

Yesterday evening sometime between 5:00 and 6:00 I was driving while Malcolm laid down for some rest. I had come about 200 miles and we were in a pretty part of Texas, with a pretty sunset about to be in the works. I was enjoying my audio book and the scenery when something caught my eye. It looked like a bird or something flying towards the truck from the left. I still don't know what it was, but it was a good thing I noticed it, because I glanced in the mirror just in time to see little pieces of black stuff go flying all over the road. I thought at first "Oh I've killed that poor bird." But then as the pieces continued to fly out from under the rear of the trailer I realized it wasn't a bird.

You know how they say that bad things seem to happen in slow motion. What happens in a few seconds seems like it was much longer. I think it truly is that way, because I remember watching this go on for a while and the sudden realization that it was pieces of the trailer tire or mud flap or something, and then having to get slowed down and off the road. But really it was in a very short length of time, because those pieces I'd seen flying were on the road just behind us when I got stopped.

It turned out to be the trailer tire.

Let me pause here to reflect on a post a did back last summer when we were getting the new truck. I discussed the tires and the reasons we had chosen to get "super singles" this time verses the normal dual tires. Well...you can throw all those reasons out the window. It wasn't worth it. We'll never ever ever have super single tires again, and probably will get rid of these as soon as we can!

Had we had duals on we could have limped along, but with the singles we were stranded on the side of the highway, 20 miles west of Gainesville, 40 miles from the nearest tire service center, a long way from Helm, CA.

It took the service truck 3 hours to get to us, but eventually, and about $1500 later, we were pulling back on the road.

Neither of us had been able to sleep white we waited. Malcolm had been up since 10:00 the night before with only a 30 minute nap, but was worked up over things and so sleepless. I'd been up since 6:00am, but since I'd had some sleep during the night (and drank an energy drink) I wasn't able to sleep either. So after the tire was fixed, we drove to Wichita Falls, got some dinner, it was almost midnight, and then laid down for a few hours. I got up at 6:00 this morning to drive.

Still had time to get to California early Thursday. We were just going to have to push harder and throw our attempt to get good fuel mileage to the wind. Speaking of wind...its been blowing hard all day and we're driving straight into it.

Wednesday has been a beautiful day. Sun shining, 75 degrees, gorgeous morning...except the wind. I drove all the way to Amarillo and was just getting on the interstate when I glanced in the mirror and something didn't look quite right back there. Malcolm woke up about the same time, maybe because I hit the rumble strip on the shoulder when I was looking in the mirror, and since I needed to stop for a break anyway, I pulled off the next exit and into a truck stop.

The mudflap had been whipping around in the wind and had gotten slung up on top of the rear tire. So I pulled it out, went inside for a minute, and then we rolled on down the road, me driving and Malcolm returning missed phone calls from the passenger seat.

We got to the other side of Amarillo and I looked in the mirror and something didn't look quite right back there...the mudflap was up on the tire again. I pulled off on the shoulder and Malcolm went back and pulled it out. On we went.

About 5 miles later I looked in the mirror and something didn't look quite right back there. Apparently, because the mudflap had gotten thrown up on the tire when the tire blew last night, it now wanted to be there permanently.

So for the 3rd time I pulled off on the shoulder and Malcolm went back to fix it.

4th time

5th time and this time it was starting to wear a hole in the mudflap

Sometime after the 5th time, when Malcolm assured me it was definitely staying put this time because he had tied it, I got distracted by a conversation we were having and forgot to check it in the mirror.

The 6th time we pulled over it had been up there long enough that it had burned the mudflap nearly in two.

Obviously at this point the mudflap is a total loss, but its still an issue because this is also rather hard on the tire.

7th time

This time Malcolm, amidst cursing and shaking his fist (not really), stomped to the back of the trailer and took the mudflap weight off, which is that shiny thing at the bottom of the weight (refer to one of the above pictures or the mudflap) that is supposed to keep it hanging down and straight.

We stopped a total of 7 times in a 60 mile stretch, loosing about an hour of time in the process. But I guess the weight was the trick. Its still flapping around back there like a crazy flag, but its staying off the tire and that's what counts for now.

We've made it to New Mexico and still hope to be in Helm, CA tomorrow morning, though maybe not quite so early. Fingers crossed! Maybe, if trouble truly does come in threes, the insane mudflap is the third thing, and if so then that's fine with me. Its more of a nuisance than anything else. It has definatly made for a long morning!

To end, I once again turn to my girls who always make us smile....Ella fixed her hair yesterday. She's practicing to be Alfalfa for Halloween this year.

And a couple days ago they had twins at the ranch. I hate that I missed them. I've never seen twin calves before. And look...a red one and a black one, both heifers. Too sweet!

March 30, 2010

On The Road Again

After a wonderful break at home and the ranch, we are back on the road again. We left Sunday afternoon, after loading sulfur in Billings, and delivered in central Nebraska on Monday morning.

Now we are in Texas loading feather meal at our old haunt, Mount Pleasant. This after delivering a load of DDG this morning in southeastern Oklahoma.

I had somewhat hoped that we would get on a different freight lane when we left the house and get a break from this Texas/California run. No such luck. However, it is a profitable load, so I'll not complain too much.

A week and a half out of the truck worked wonders for our attitudes. Granted, we'd still rather be home, who wouldn't, but we're not as bitter and cranky as we were before the break. Hopefully the attitude adjustment will hang on a while.

I had intended to share a few photos of our adventures at home, but something more current came up. So we'll postpone the pictures of home time for a few days.

Remember his little scene from back in December?

If you missed out on that little adventure you can refer to this post for the entire scoop. Just to re-cap though, Malcolm hit a deer in the middle of nowhere in South Dakota, and by a freak of nature, it slashed the steer tire and we were marooned on the side of the highway for several hours till morning.

Because of the damage to the front bumper, we had to replace it, and since we were replacing it, Malcolm decided to go ahead and order an Ali Arc bumper so that next time the damage would be done only to the deer, and not our truck.

When we were home for one of our day and a half fly by breaks, he picked the new bumper up at Kenworth and put it on the truck.



Looks pretty invincible doesn't it?

So we spent $2,600.00 on this bumper to protect the front of the truck, and what do you think happens?

Last night Malcolm hit a deer...or rather I should say a deer hit Malcolm.

Dang thing ran into the side of the truck...go figure!

Dented the hub cap...

...and busted the skirting that covers the fuel tank.

As you can see, the deer left a souvenir with us to remember it by. Sorry for the gore. I meant to be showing a close up of the damage, but the meat is just part of the shot.

I have to say, Malcolm and I took it pretty well. I think after enough experiences with it, you just kind of accept it. Its irritating a bit because of the damage obviously. Malcolm already called this morning to see how much that particular piece costs....around $1200 and that's just the cover. If the supports are damaged....well that costs too, and then the paint job, not to mention the graphic obviously needs to be replaced too. We'd save on the labor costs cause Malcolm would put it on himself. We might can get away with patching it up...maybe. We'll have to let the guys at the shop look at it. He's also contemplating leaving it off and taking off the other side too. He has a storage box and a hanger for our snow chains he'd like to put on the truck, but they don't fit on it with those skirtings on there. So...maybe this happened for a reason. He could use the storage space those things would free up.

I feel worse about the deer than the truck. I hate it when we hit them. Its so unfair! And I especially hate it when we hit them this time of year and into the summer, because we're basically killing two deer, not just one. More than likely it was a doe and she was probably carrying a fawn. I'm crossing my fingers that, even though its warm and green in Oklahoma, that she hadn't had a fawn already. The thought of it tucked away in the grass somewhere waiting for her to come back to it just sickens me.

Ok, that got depressing...sorry! Anyway, just some aesthetic damage this time, no mechanical damage, and we'll soon be rolling towards California. I'm curious to see whats changed in the last two weeks. This time of year is always amazing because nature changes its appearance so quickly as life is renewed everywhere you look.

I'll be back in a day or so to post my pictures of home time entertainments, including some of me playing cowgirl.

Here's a preview...

March 16, 2010

Horse Blogs and Give Aways

I so enjoy reading all the blogs that are from horse people. I'm living my dreams vicariously through you.

Lots of you do give aways, and I don't enter many of them, but I've started taking more of an interest and this one caught my attention.

Recently I joined another blog and the girl over there makes some really neat nick nacks from horse hair. Right now she's having a contest and the winner gets a bridle/key fob that is made from mane hair.
Check it out...

March 15, 2010

Just When You Think its Done...

Well I've had enough winters out west to know that March does not mean winter's over. However, one would start to hope that maybe its thrown the worst at you, and indeed, maybe it has!

After a couple of days in California we were loaded up and heading out, on our way to Buhl, ID for Monday. We left Friday late afternoon. The morning's beauty and springlike weather had phased over to cloudy and drizzling light rain by the time we were finished loading.

If you've not had the pleasure of experiencing traffic in California, let me go ahead and clue you in before you head out to do that. Generally speaking (outside of the LA and San Fran areas) its not too bad except for "rush hours," but that can be said for any city really...mostly.

But come Friday afternoon...say around 3:00...you do NOT want to be trying to leave California on I-15 or I-80. Reason being is....in the south, all the Californians who live within the Los Angelas area leave early from work and they ALL go to Las Vegas for the weekend. Further north, everyone who lives around San Francisco and Sacramento make their way across the Sierra Nevadas to the skiing areas or to Reno for some weekend gambling away of their paychecks.

The same can be said for traveling on Sunday evening, because they all have to go back to work on Monday morning. Thus said, you don't want to be trying to enter California on either of those routes on Sunday. Trust me...we've done it too many times. I know. Listen to me...I'll save you many hours of sitting in traffic.

That said...

...so we left our pickup in Lathrop, CA (that's just south of Sacramento) on Friday late afternoon and traffic was of course horrible, and it was raining which put everyone in a bad mood. It seemed heavier than usual for some reason (the traffic not the rain) for a Friday afternoon.

We soon found out why. Despite the wonderful warmth of the valley, the cold still clung to the mountains. It took us a couple hours to get into the lower mountains, but it was still just raining. However, 30 miles ahead of where we were at, everyone was having to chain up, and stay chained for about 40 miles to get across Donner's pass. It was pouring down rain, and that's putting it lightly. The very idea of chaining up was insulting after spending several glorious days in the warmth, even having to break down and use the AC! And then to think of chaining up in the pouring rain...just not interested.

So we joined a group of about 3 trucks who were protesting the chain up and parked it on the side of the road till morning and the end of the storm, which we hoped would bring about the lift of the chain law and maybe also a relief from the traffic.

By 10:00 the next morning...no such luck.

As you can see, traffic was not any lighter. It was crawling even slower than the evening before. I guess everyone heard about the fresh snow, and we overhead on the CB that they usually get their last snow up there around mid-March (thank you Lord!) so maybe they all wanted one last ride down the slopes. I can understand but it sure was aggravating!

The good part about all this traffic...if there was one...was that it held us up long enough that by the time we got to the place where chains were required, all the snow had melted off the road and everyone could roll on through chain free. The only silver lining to a very gray cloud.

Anyway, we made it to Buhl yesterday evening, ate at an Arctic Circle (its like a Dairy Queen type place) which was the only thing we could find open in town on a Sunday evening, and then kicked back to wait for Monday morning.

We are now unloaded, reloaded, wheat tested, and heading to Ogden, UT, a scant 150 miles from here (Pocatello, ID). And then we're loading salt and heading to Billings and home.

Most of you know the routine when we're home, but since I have some new friends on here I'll review it. Our internet signal at home is sketchy at best. I sometimes attempt to log on and post something, depending on how long we're home for, but its usually brief and picturless. So if you don't hear from me for a while, don't write me off for dead! I'll be back!

This trip home, we've discussed it and its almost official...we're thinking a week and a half is justified. Won't that be marvelous! And then the icing on the cake....Malcolm's bulldozer (housed at the in-laws ranch) is supposed to be finished having its tracks repaired today. So we are heading to the ranch for a couple days so he can clean out the lot for his dad before calving starts full swing. That means I get to visit my girls over there (that would be the mom and sis-in-laws) and Rachelle and I are going to take a ride around the place if the weather cooperates. So I have to remember to throw my saddle in the pickup when we leave, as well as my muck boots (spelling??). She said its pretty soupy down there from all the snow melt.

Its 55 degrees, clear skied, and beautiful. There are a few snow showers predicted for home next week, but maybe they won't amount to anything (fingers crossed).

Till next time...

March 12, 2010

If You Give A Dog An Apple....

...will she know what to do with it?

Paris and Carlie Jean used to know...but they have since forgotten, or possilbly lost interest, or maybe they just refuse to eat after Ella.

Either way, Ella has watched me with intense interest, and apparently picked up on the proper way to eat an apple. See for yourself.

Ella is like the teenager...with the bottomless stomach. She is beside herself crazy every time food appears, whether its hers or ours. Sometimes I understand how she feels.

Update to the following post

Um, I just reviewed the post I just made about Malcolm's birthday and this last trip (its below)...and its a little lengthy. Sorry! There is one section at the beginning where its just me blabbing about our day (interesting but pictureless)...but if you get through it there are pictures later in the post!

Also, we got unloaded and Mark the Broker did have a load for us. We're heading to reload north of Stockton, CA and going to Buhl, ID for a Monday delivery. And then he's working on a load going from there to Hardin, MT, 45 miles south of home...and then we'll get our week off!!!


March 11, 2010

A Very Happy Birthday for Malcolm

Thank you all for your comments about getting rest and having a good day for Malcolm's birthday. I think you were all good luck charms...because it worked.

Our load of feather meal that we loaded on Tuesday morning, didn't have a delivery date, and since Mark, the broker, hadn't found our next load yet, he said he didn't care when we delivered it. Therefore, we told him we'd happily have it in Helm, CA first thing Friday morning...thus allowing us enough time to sleep in a parked truck both nights, and shower, and get decent meals.

Off track a little, but these lovely ladies were the welcoming committee at the dairy in Texas where we delivered the corn hominy from Illinois on Tuesday morning. They were quite eager for us to unload, but disappointed when we didn't dump it in their pasture.

After loading in Mount Pleasant, we drove 30 miles down the interstate to a rest area, parked it, and passed out for about 4 hours.

I actually didn't sleep...I hate sleeping when its a beautiful day outside (and Tuesday it was sunny and 80 degrees)...so I sat in bed and read, and then got up and drove the 120 miles to Benton, TX where there happens to be a Waffle House with parking nearby. If you haven't noticed yet, we have developed an uncanny ability to search out and remember all the various eateries that we can get to that AREN'T truck stops. We lived off Waffle House just about when we were renovating our house in Georgia back in the day, and so when we're down south...or in Texas or Phoenix...we try to stop at one.

Parked in another rest area south of Wichita Falls on Tuesday night and slept till about 6am. Wednesday was beautiful! Another pretty day, though partly cloudy and only around 50-60 degrees, and very windy. We drove to Amarillo, had the truck greased, and then on to Moriarty, NM where we stopped to eat at another favorite place. Do you notice that the highlights of our trips seem to always be meals? Might explain why I've put on a few pounds since starting this career. But there are just so many unique and yummy places that we have discovered, and no matter how many times I promise myself, I just can't make myself live on salad.

We got into traffic in Albuquerque, and so we missed a milestone in the trucks life. I was busy watching the other vehicles, and didn't notice the odometer roll over to 100,000. So sad! We had been watching for it and I wanted a picture! But as I told Malcolm, there will be other milestones...like 200,000 and 300,000 and 400,000 and hopefully not, but possibly 500,000. Anyway, we got this truck in mid August, so we've driven 100,000 miles in a little over 6 months.

Driving on, Malcolm was tired, so he went to bed, and I drove on into Arizona. Amazing how fast weather changes. It had looked stormy over Amarillo, but then cleared. It got stormy looking again at Albuquerque and spit some snow flurries on us, but then cleared. And as I approached the Arizona state line it was almost dark, but I could tell it was looking stormy again. After the days weather though, I thought no big deal. However...it was a little bigger deal this time. In fact, about 45 miles into Arizona, the roads turned real crappy, everyone was crawling along at 35 miles an hour, and it was snowing pretty good and blowing. A car had slid off on our side, there was a jack-knifed truck on the other side, and two trucks stuck and spinning out on an exit ramp, all in about a 2 mile stretch.

It was like that almost all the way to Winslow, then cleared up, but then west of Flagstaff it turned crappy again. At that point it was 10:00, I was tired, and Malcolm had gotten up. So he took over and drove on down the mountain to Kingman where we stopped for the night.

This morning, Thursday and the big birthday day, dawned clear, sunny, and chilly. The puddles in Kingman had a thin sheet of ice over them. After a shower at the Petro truck stop, we drove down the road to the heart of Kingman where we have discovered a Cracker Barrel restaurant with a dirt lot behind it. We are obviously not the first trucks to make use of it, and in fact we had a neighbor this morning when we parked. Malcolm's birthday breakfast was delicious and we both ate way too much. At the end of the meal, he thought he'd be cute and ask the waitress what he got free on his birthday. She got all excited and told him she'd bring him a piece of their chocolate coca cola cake. Well, Mr. Smarty forgot all about restaurants delighting in delivering free dessert with a rousing rendition of the birthday song. Malcolm had a goofy grin on his face, but I didn't see the mass of kitchen staff gathering behind me, so I nearly fell out of my chair when they burst into song. The cake was worth the embarrassment though. It was way too rich...and to die for!

After breakfast, I took over driving and gave Malcolm the day off. He looked at rifles on the internet for a while, took a nap with the girls, and then came back up front to prowl around online some more. He enjoyed all the birthday greeting phone calls too, chatting away for a long time.

Over the Tehachapi Mountains in CA it was beautiful and green, a lovely drive. Once we dropped into Bakersfield, Malcolm said he's give me a break. There were only about 80 miles left to our stopping point. He had just started driving when we past an exit, and on the other side, parked on the entrance ramp, lined up and waiting, were EIGHT DOT vehicles. There was one up ahead on the shoulder with a truck pulled over and another heading back south to rejoin his partners in crime prevention. We were in shock...and briefly terrified. It was obviously some kind of speed trap of something like that. For whatever reason, they let us go. I'm not sure why, but I told Malcolm it was the CA DOT's birthday present to him. We haven't had a full inspection in over a year, and its a wonder we haven't been pulled in yet. Now that I type that, today will be the day, but oh well...we'll just get it over with. Anyway, that was quite a sight, those 8 DOT trucks waiting like wolves on the hunt.

When we reached Traver, CA Malcolm visited with another Montana trucker parked next to us while I walked across the street to this orchard and got a few blossom pictures as the sun was beginning to set. It was so pretty, so much pink! I just had to get some pictures to hold me over till springtime.

And then we walked over to this little place. I had gone in before on another stop, and wanted to show it to Malcolm. Its a restaurant/gift shop/deli, with a beautiful court yard in back with a small petting zoo. I wanted to visit the little goats again.

(I don't know what kind of goat this guy is. Anyone have any ideas? He's neat with his horns and curly hair. Too bad he wouldn't stand still for a good photo, but I wanted to know if anyone knew what he was, so I posted the blury picture anyway.)

They also have two mini-donkeys.

Cute, but I think I prefer the standard size guys.

Also with long ears were the bunnies, who wouldn't cooperate with my and my camera.

This little guy was luckier than the others, except for being in solitary confinement. But at least he got to hop around on grass, and I thought his little mobile home was really neat!

And there were a few kitties, who were shy, but one was brave enough to have his picture made.

The court yard has tables to eat at, and these huge trees in the center that are filled with happily singing sparrows and finches. There must be hundreds and they raise quite a chorus.

And also in the largest tree is this....

...the best tree house ever! Oh if I were a child still, I'd be hounding my Dad to build me one of these!!! Isn't that the most awesome tree house ever? For a quarter, you can go inside. Had we had two quarters in our pockets I'm sure we would have gone in, which makes me wonder about the statistics of its visitors. I imagine just as many adults go in as children...maybe more!

After our tour, we went across the street to eat at a favorite place. We always stop in Traver to eat when we are delivering in Helm. We park there for the night too, because its long about 40 miles from our delivery. This place is very quaint, very simply decorated, and one of our favorites. Its nothing fancy, but the food is spectacular, and the owner, her daughter, and her staff are precious. They always visit with us and fix Malcolm his Carnitas plate that he likes, even though its not on the menu. Last time we were there we had an adventure. The regular ladies were absent, the owner was at home, and the waitress and cook didn't speak a word of english. Malcolm had his heart set on his usual Carnitas, but they couldn't understand him. Finally, the girl got out her cell phone, called the owner, and put Malcolm on the phone with her. Its that kind of casual, enjoyable environment.

And just another reminder that I really ought to learn Spanish. I want to, but I'm no good at those self led language classes. I need to actually go attend a weekly class, but that's hard to do in my situation.

After dinner we bought a little tub of Haagen-Daz Butter Pecan ice cream and took it back to the truck where we took turns dipping our spoons in as I read Malcolm his birthday greetings on Facebook and email, and then he returned a number of birthday phone calls that he had missed while we were at dinner.

It was one of the most enjoyable days we've had in a while, which is kind of strange, since it wasn't that much out of the ordinary. But I heard Malcolm say 3-4 times while on the phone that he was having a great birthday, with such sincerity in his voice, and at the end of the day I asked him if he enjoyed his birthday, and he said it really was a great day. I'm so glad, and also so glad we found ways to make it a little special.

Now, after a nights sleep, its Friday morning and we are almost to our delivery. The sun is rising behind us, and its shaping up to be another beautiful day. Malcolm brought me a vanilla latte from the truck stop and I'm sipping it as we drive past miles of vineyards that are starting to leaf out and orchards that are full of dark purple blossoms. Its beautiful, and fills my heart with sunshine and joy! It makes me feel renewed, and so thankful to God for his amazing love. How he must love us to give us such beauty in this world!

As of yesterday morning, Mark the broker still didn't have our next load figured out. Maybe he will by the time we are unloaded, but if not that's ok. He'll find something by the end of the day I'm sure. And Malcolm told him the other day that we want a full week off at home at the end of the month, so I have that to look forward to and prepare for. Hope you all have a joy filled day, and in case its not going well, I hear is one more picture of spring. I hope it at least brings you a moment of warmth in your heart.

March 8, 2010

Past Exhaustion


That is the magic number and also has a lot to do with the title of this post.

I am past the point of being exhausted. I feel like a piece of road kill that has been run over again and again. Is there a term for this level of weariness? I'm not aware of it if there is one. Someone please give it a name though. I need a label for it.

From last Monday morning when we delivered in Granger, WA to this morning when we delivered in Mattoon, IL, we drove 6,376 miles. That pretty much sums up the reason for our exhaustion. Its a lot of miles, and especially a lot of miles when you consider that we have become accustomed to driving around 4000 or so a week.
I feel like my blog has started to be a bit of a log of my gripes, wanting to go home, being tired, going to California and Texas yet again. I sincerely hope I haven't started to be a discouragement to read. Because truthfully, as tired as we are, as much as we wish we were home, we are so blessed. And I am trying hard to remember that, though I have to consciously remind myself on a daily basis just about.
(descending out of Nevada and approaching the flats around the Great Salt Lake)
When I left you last, I was describing how we were being asked to do the impossible, which was get to Washington from New Mexico more or less over night. There were delays in loading, and yet we still made good time, despite the two lane roads making up a good portion of the trip. But then Malcolm hit that winter weather in Utah, and that messed it all up. Fortunately the receiver for that load had agreed to come in early Saturday morning and unload us if we couldn't' make it by Friday at 5:00pm. We pulled into Pasco at 7:30pm, ate dinner, and went to sleep.
(southern Idaho on Friday morning. It was a beautiful day.)
After unloading in Pasco the next morning, we high tailed it over to Clarkston, WA and the guys met us at the mill and poured on the peas. And then it was off again, across US 12 through the ID mountains, where its nearly impossible to make good time, so you just sit back and enjoy the view. That's all there is to do, and I do so enjoy that drive.
We stopped near Bozeman Saturday night and slept 4 hours, then slipped into the house early Sunday morning for a shower and to switch steer tires around as they were getting badly out of round. We need to get into our tire shop badly to get the truck re-aligned, but we just can't seem to get to Billings on a weekday. Which reminds me, Malcolm needs to call them and cancel the appointment we had made for tomorrow morning.
(the hills of eastern Oregon along I-84 on Sunday afternoon. This is somewhere east of Baker City.)
Off again by 8:30am, and drove all night through fog. I am more tired of the fog than I am of the snow! It seems like South Dakota and Illinois have been under a perpetual fog bank the entire winter...or at least every time we're going through, which has been often these last few months.
But, alas, that starts to sound like more griping. Sorry!
Despite being run ragged, I did get a couple of shots for you. Took them while I was driving (shhh...don't tell). I was careful, just held up the camera and punched the button, and took what I could get. If I wasn't' behind the wheel, I was laying in the sleeper trying to go to sleep, so I missed a lot of scenery I could have shared, and I'm sorry for that.

Here we go..something I can say good things about instead of griping. Look what we discovered upon arriving in eastern Montana! YOU CAN SEE THE GROUND AGAIN!!! Isn't it beautiful...alll that lovely brown winter grass? I was so happy to see the ground, instead of all the white! My yard still had a lot of snow in front, but the back yard was bare! It was glorious...except for the muddy paws.

That is basically last week...drive, sleep, drive, sleep, etc.

We are now sitting in Danville, IL, (once again), waiting to load corn hominy, which is going to Texas, (once again), where we will deliver to a dairy there and then go to Mount Pleasant (once again) and load feather meal. You'll NEVER guess where that is going! Or if you've been reading this blog for a couple of weeks, you just might figure it out. Yep...Helm, CA....once again.

Boredom with the repetative loads makes my tiredness feel more tired. (and that is serious bad grammer but, oh well....I'm tired) On the bright side...and I'm one of those annoying people who always finds a bright side (I even annoy myself sometimes), that whole Texas - California thing is going to (once again) keep us out of most of the nasty weather covering the country...once again.

Keep your fingers crossed for me. Malcolm's birthday is Thursday and I'm really hoping we can be on a relaxing run that day, and somewhere where I can get him a good meal, as we've been living off truckstop food for the past several days. That would make a nice birthday for him, but I fear we're going to be sitting in Folwer, CA after unloading, and the only thing to eat there is a not so great Mexican place.

March 5, 2010

The Impossible...and a Strange Sight

Bright and early on Friday morning...well early for me. I know its almost 11:00, but I just got up.

Remember this little scenario that I had posted...our agenda through next Wednesday?

Well we got the Texas part done, delivered it yesterday morning. The idea was to reload in Carlsbad, NM this morning and deliver in Pasco, WA on Monday morning. A nice three days to get the 1525 miles done, and be sitting in their parking lot first thing Monday morning. Then we would have loaded in Clarkston, WA (those peas again) and headed to Mattoon, IL for Wednesday morning. No problem!

Except Mark, the broker, called as we were unloading yesterday in Texas and switched things up a bit.

Because we are a team, verses solo drivers, people tend to think we are invincible and can get the impossible done...and not to brag, but we almost always do get it done. Seems like we frequently get loads that are, shall we say, challenging to complete on schedule.

So Mark called and it seems someone in IL had under ordered peas, and they were running out of peas fast. So super-team- truckers to the rescue. Mark needed the Carlsbad, NM load to be in Washington today by 5:00pm. We weren't able to get loaded and leave Carlsbad until 5:30pm. Basically what I'm saying is we were being asked to get over 1500 miles done in less than 24 hours.

We're north of Salt Lake City this morning. We almost would have made it to Pasco in time, but Malcolm ran into winter weather out in the mountains of eastern Utah and since we were on two lane roads, it slowed us down a bit. Luckily they are going to unload us first thing Saturday morning, and then we'll get the peas, and shoot for Illinois for Monday morning. Two days ahead of the original schedule and we'll be worn down after its over, but it ought to work out good for the pocketbook.

So that's the story. I'm about to take over and let Malcolm get a nap.

Oh! I almost forgot to tell you the funny story from this morning. I missed it and am so sad that I did! Malcolm was driving, as I said, in the mountains of eastern Utah on US6. He was almost to I-15 and there was a big hill that descends down into the valley. As I mentioned earlier, the weather had turned kind of nasty, and apparently the road was icy. At the top of the hill, in the uphill lanes he counted 4 trucks that had spun out. This usually happens when one spins out and then the others have to slow down to avoid hitting the first, which results in the others loosing traction as well. So there were the four trucks stuck at the top of the hill. Half way down the hill there was a mustang in the middle of the road spinning its tires and not getting anywhere. A little further down the hill he could see flashing lights at the bottom, and as he got nearer there were also orange barrels set up. Thinking "what now" he approached the bottom of the hill and there, pulled over on the shoulder was........are you ready for this......

....an AIRPLANE!

Bet you didn't see that coming! I know I sure didn't! That was a first for us. Oh if I only had a picture!

March 3, 2010


This was the view last Friday evening in the mountains east of Reno, NV. I didn't get it posted b/c of our visit with Karen and John at the Rough String on Saturday. The picture didn't near so interesting after that visit.

But yesterday, as we left California, the scene was much the same. So rather than try and catch another shot, I'm using this one. I didn't want to be playing with a camera since there were about a million DOT cops sitting in every nook and cranny just watching for someone to pick on. Don't know what was up with Nevada DOT yesterday. They had their feathers rumpled over something though!

Mark, our broker, has us tentatively planned for a number of days. In fact, if it all goes according to how he has it booked out, our week looks something like this, starting yesterday and taking us through next Wednesday.

(our route is the green lines)

As we sat in California yesterday, delivering our meat and bone meal that came out of eastern Washington, I had the windows rolled down enjoying the warmth. It was a beautiful morning, sunny and warm, but just to the west of us dark ominous clouds were rolling in. I love storm clouds and they did not dampen my high spirits or enjoyment of the mornings beauty. In fact they added to it. I think tree branches are such pretty things, and make such neat designs against the sky. The pictures don't quite do it justice, but they were rather striking with the dark clouds behind them, and the hawk in the uppermost branches only added to the scene.
I've always thought trees were lovely, but since moving to Montana three years ago, I have gained a whole new appreciation for them, as they are kind of few and far between in our country.

Rates are down and loads are apparently a bit hard to find. Not a happy bit of news. It makes me think of last March and April when we ran a total of 6 loads in two months time. Its a rather sickening feeling when I think of it. Granted we're in a different line of trucking than we were then, but I'm still keeping my fingers crossed and praying that we're not going to see a repeat of last year.

On to happier thoughts...my girls always put a smile on my face. It doesn't matter how warm it is outside, Paris still seeks any heat or sunshine. Yesterday she found both on the floor of the truck, one of her favorite places due to the little window and the floor heater. Nothing gets in her way of soaking it in. Would you call this a head rest, or a foot rest?

I'm not sure.