September 22, 2010

Convenience At Last!

I tell you what! I can't count the times I've been sitting around wishing I could get my saws sharpened while I was tanning at the grocery store!
And now I finally know where I can do just that! On US30 in Oregon west of Portland! How's that for convenience?

September 21, 2010

Go Visitin

You have to go visitin' over at my friend Judy's blog and see what happened last Friday. She is in western North Dakota, not too far from Baker, MT.

We're in California today, fresh from Washington, and on our way back to that lovely and cool state.
The mood has fizzled here in the truck, so I've been avoiding the blog. No point in sharing sour spirits.

On a good note, it looks like we just might get a day at the house this weekend. So hopefully that will give me the boost I need to get back to business with blogging.

Till then, go visitin at Judy's.

September 17, 2010


Hard to believe, but today is Ella's second birthday. How time flies. I figure most people don't keep close track on their dogs birthdays, or celebrate them, but seeing as how my three girls are more than dogs (my children really) I do keep track of it and have every intention of celebrating this evening in Idaho Falls with a piece of pie. (any excuse to cheat on my diet!)

I picked Ella up from the airport late one chilly November night. As soon as I had signed for her I opened the crate door to have a better look at her. I remember she sat there and looked at me for a moment, and then marched right out and into my arms, like she new that's where she belonged. From the moment she was carried into our house, she established herself as the baby...and has utilized the power of that position ever since.
(Ella's first morning at her new home.)

She had won my heart from the first moment. It took the others a bit to decide if they were keeping her. Paris, I think, felt the most reluctant. She was a mature 2 year old and I think she worried that her position as the princess was being threatened.

Carlie was still an uncoordinated adolescent, and she saw a potential playmate in Ella. She loved her from the start, as long as Ella stayed away from the food bowl and stopped playing when Carlie decided the game was over...which is hard to make a puppy understand.
Ella has been a joy in our lives. We both say that among the three of them, we like her personality the most. She is a sweet, loving, gentle girl, though she does have a saucy side that was evident even as a youngster.
And as timid as she is now, she was quite the daredevil as a pup. She learned to jump between the driver and passenger seat a full year sooner than Carlie Jean did. She has given me quite a few scares!

When I first decided to get another dog, I worried that their would be a lot of hard feelings between the three of the girls. But my concerns were soon put to rest. After a few weeks, she was just another member of our pack, and a wonderfully comfortable pillow to rest on.
After her initiation, Ella became everybody's baby.

She's grown a lot in the past two years. She got her spots in...

...and then her hair started to grow longer. Its always kind of sad when you look up and realize your baby isn't a baby anymore.
Though she's the biggest in size, she still the youngest in years and at heart. She has retained the puppy antics much longer, which just makes her all the more adorable.

Ella is a delight in our life. I love her so much! She has given us each a special gift. She is a snuggler for me and Paris, someone to rough house with for Malcolm, and Carlie Jean's constant side kick and companion. When I take the girls out, Paris will wonder on her own, but Carlie and Ella are side by side the entire time. Some people said I was crazy to have three dogs in the truck with me. I wondered if it wouldn't be a little too much when I first started considering making the move to add a third "child" to our family. I'm so glad I did. I don't think any of us could imagine life without her. I know it certainly would be a little empty if she wasn't here with us.
Happy Birthday Ella!

September 14, 2010

Looking Around

When last I posted here, we were en route to Baker, MT with a load of fertilizer. It had been hinted at that there might be a load from near there to Pennsylvania. While I was looking forward to that b/c it was something different, the practical side of me wasn't thrilled. For starters, we're not registered to run in that state so we would have had to get trip permits and that sort of thing. Also it would have been a lot of toll roads to go where the load was headed. But most significantly, loads out of that part of that part of the country don't pay too good.

So, I was not too terribly disappointed when our broker had something different in mind when it was time to reload. He had a load of safflower seed loading in Glendive that went to Kansas for a Monday delivery. Paid a little less, but stayed in a good part of the country. And the best part....it meant we could spend the weekend at ranch with Malcolm's parents.

We got there Friday evening and just kicked back. Malcolm's mom had just gotten back from a trip to CA to visit family and so she was just as eager to relax and get some rest as we were. That's pretty much what we did all day Saturday too, except the four of us did take a brief 4-wheeler ride to look around some.

It was initiated by me. I wanted to go out and see if I could get a better picture of Sky for his papers. One without his legs all stained from red mud like they were in the last pictures I got. 
So we went looking at the horses.
and then they left.
Then Malcolm's dad wanted to check on some of his cows that were the late calvers. So we went and looked at cows...
...and then they left.
On the way back to the house, we took a detour to check on a well. And along the way we passed one of several stack yards where they had just finished up stacking all the hay.
I think a full stack yard must give the same feelings as a full pantry. Just makes you feel prepared and ready and secure somehow. Do you know what I mean?

And then we went and looked at some fencing projects that were in the plans for the near future.
Can't remember what the details were. They were talking about the corner posts. I was busy, off in my own little world. A place I tend to go to quite frequently when the conversation turns to things that don't involve me and I don't understand.
Instead, while they talked, I looked at birds...
and admired the feather Malcolm had found for me earlier on our ride. Wonder what kind of hawk lost it?
After that we were finished looking around, so we went back to the house and finished relaxing until it was time to leave on Sunday afternoon.

Man am I ever ready to move! I wish our house would sell, but so far no one had even looked at it. All in good time, I'm sure, and for the most part I'm fine with that. But when we go to the ranch, I get SO impatient.

We delivered in Goodland, KS yesterday morning and then reloaded in Great Bend, KS and drove to Paris, TX where we delivered this morning. Now we are sitting in line at Mount Pleasant, TX waiting our turn to load. Its off to sunny California again! Rollin Rollin Rolling...or at least we hope! We've done enough sitting these past weeks. Now its time to ROLL!

September 9, 2010

Across The North of Oregon

Yesterday we drove across the northern part of Oregon, from west of Portland in Saint Helens (not the mount but the town in Oregon) all the way to the Idaho line and beyond. The entire trip is a feast for the eyes.

We loaded fertilizer in Saint Helens, OR yesterday around noon, and then after grabbing a quick snack (and getting me out of Portland), Malcolm went to bed and turned me loose to enjoy the views as I drove.

I requested that he drive me out of Portland for several reasons.

Reason #1: Seems like there is always heavy traffic in the Portland area, no matter what time of day you pass through. I don't like traffic and Malcolm is so much better at it. So it just makes sense that he drive that part.

Reason #2: Seems like 9 times out of 10 its drizzling rain when we're in Portland or looking like the skies could open up. I don't like driving in traffic and add rain to the picture....well its not my favorite situation at all.

Reason #3: I wanted to take pictures, as I had yet to get a decent picture of what is really a rather lovely city in its setting. Amazingly the skis turned off the water works and I finally got the shot, by pure accident and luck as this wasn't even what I was really trying to get a picture of. Seems like many of my favorite pictures are accidentals.
Things I like about Portland, based on what I've seen of it driving through on the interstate. Portland has lots of neat architecture, old ...
...and new.
In addition to the buildings, Portland is not short on unique bridges to admire. This one is west of town off of US30. I think its the Saint George bridge, but my memory might fail me.
There is also TONS of lovely landscaping along its roadways, though I wasn't able to get pictures of that. But the overpasses and barrier walls have vines and all sorts of shrubs, etc growing on them. 

As picturesque as the Portland area is, I can't help but like the rest of the drive even more. I followed I-84 clear across the state and into Idaho. Its a diverse landscape that changes almost literally around every turn.
Immediately upon leaving Portland, you enter the Columbia River Gorge with rock formations, waterfalls, and lush forests.
Mount Hood is up there somewhere too, but the cloud cover was so heavy it was completely hidden from view.

Eventually, after about a hundred miles or so, you come out of the gorge and move across a rolling plain of farmland. Its open and sparsely populated. Right up my alley!

At the other side of the plain, you drop off a hill down into Pendleton, and ahead you can see the Blue Mountains. The pass up there is referred to as "Cabbage." It has national fame among drivers. Its a LONG grade that winds its way over the bumpy hillside.

Once we're up in the Blue Mountains the terrain changes once again. This section between Pendleton and Baker City is my favorite part probably. Pine forests with open pasture lands in the valleys. Its back to mostly ranch land, which warms my heart. There is something incredibly peaceful about this scenery to me.
By the time we got down into those valley's it was getting on towards dusk. My camera didn't care for the motion and the dimness combined, so my pictures of lazy cows grazing with misty mountains in the background were all slightly blurred. But maybe you can visualize it.

After a quick stop in Baker City for dinner, we headed on over the hills into Idaho and on to a little town near Twin Falls to deliver this morning. The landscape in the far eastern parts of Oregon stays hilly, but looses the tree cover considerably.

After this is was dark, so I didn't get to give you a whole tour of northern Oregon, border to border. But this pretty much wraps it up. Most people rave about the western side of the state, and that is by far what comes to minds when the state is mentioned. I'll admit its pretty over there with its milder climate, lush forests, fertile farmlands. But there is something far more appealing to me about the eastern side of the state, with its open ranges, tough hardy vegetation, old ranches, and sparse population. I guess I'm just a cowgirl at heart. I love these tough lands that require toughness from their inhabitants.

This morning in Idaho its 47 and drizzling rain. We're on our way to reload in Pocatello. Another load of fertilizer that is going, ironically, to Baker, MT! We'll deliver in the morning, maybe grab breakfast with Malcolm's dad, then head to our reload. It was hinted at that we might be going to Pennsylvania from there. Wouldn't that be interesting?

September 7, 2010

Diagnosis for the Truck and a New Blog to Share

We're back on the road after a long weekend at home. Once again the truck went to the doctor, but this time it was our doctor at home. Somehow that just makes a difference, though I'm sure the other mechanics are just as talented. Maybe the difference is history and so you feel more confident in them.

Anyway, the diagnosis was simple thank goodness. The new turbo, the one the shop in Saint George, UT put on, was apparently no good. So they simply installed another new turbo and so far the truck is behaving like a dream and no check engine lights have been seen yet!

I'm looking forward to smooth sailing. Could still use your prayers and encouragement though. We have intentions to stay out at least till November 1st without a break at home. After these breakdowns we're going to be behind again, so we hope to make up for it by not taking a break. Its going to be hard, but we'll manage! November first is when we're shipping calves at Malcolm's parent's so that's out goal. To stay out till then, and then give ourselves a break. (this is of course provided the house doesn't sell in that time. If that occurs we'll obviously have to change plans.)

My cousin/dear friend, one of the individuals responsible for me and Malcolm meeting, has started a new blog that I want to share.

When you get the opportunity, I would encourage you to skip over there for a look. Tiffany has blessed my life in so many ways, and I continue to learn from and be inspired by her.  If your a parent, I think this blog will be especially meaningful, but even to us who are not blessed with children in our lives, it has been thought provoking and enriching, even with only the first 5 posts up.

So take a look when you get a chance.
We drove through the Montana mountains yesterday evening over into Idaho and then across to Pasco, WA where we delivered this morning and then sat all day waiting to load. We're currently, finally, en route to Donald, OR which is just south of Portland. Only 180 miles to go. Short miles and a low rate. I'm hoping this is getting us set up for a high paying/high miles load. We'll find out in the morning. I'll be back later this week with pictures and details on our travels. And also a report on how marvelously the truck is behaving itself! I'm counting on that!