Saturday, September 27, 2008


Yesterday after I posted, we got unloaded and received our next work assignment. It was preloaded so there was no rush. I headed south on I-85 and stopped at a Blue Beacon to get all the lettuce washed out of the trailer and we grabbed a shower and some lunch at the TA. From there J took over driving and drove us into Atlanta,GA for our load. Picking up a load of candy from Mars (not the planet!) and were headed to Victorville,CA. We had time to get there as they set an appt time of 1000 on Monday so J stopped at the rest area on I-20 at the GA/AL state line. I get up around 0430 and we are off by 1700. This was going to be a nice leisurely trip.

Around 0800 I pull into the Pilot at x47 in Alabama. We needed to get fuel and this was our stop. I head in to go to the restroom and J heads to get the fuel receipt. When I come back he is on the phone with Prime. Apparently there is a solo driver at the same truck stop that we are at, and he needs us to pick up his load. He was 12 hours late getting loaded, had a blowout that he had to wait for repair on AND someone broke the seal to the trailer and stole 4-5 cases of meat. Not sure if he had a padlock on it or not. He still had about 1200 miles to go to destination in NY and there was no way he could make it as a solo. That is where we came in. We still can't make it on time, but we will be there a lot sooner than he will. I did make sure that dispatch hat let the receiver know that some of it was stolen because I didn't want the responsibility or the headache of them blaming me. He said that they had been notified and would just do a count when they received it to see exactly how much was taken. With all of that taken care of, we switch trailers and I head back the direction that I had just driven. The first three hours of my day looked just like the second three hours of my day. It was like deja vu except I was going the opposite direction.

Now we are headed to Kentwood,NY with this meat load that pays less than the load we just switched out with him. But, we are headed home after this trip, so it is further from NY to TX than it is from CA to TX so the run back should pay a little better. I think it will come out i the wash in the end. Just as long as we are back in Dallas on the 2nd by around lunch.

As a side note, the driver that we switched with had a male brindle pitt bull that was almost 9 years old and has driven one and a quarter million miles with him. He was so adorable but I'm sure he would have bitten my head off if the driver wasn't there. He didn't take too kindly to me when I initially knocked on the door to wake him up so that he would know we were there. But when the driver got up and got out and we started talking, he said he was friendly. I asked if I could pet him and he said yes. So I let him smell me first and then he was my instant friend. Tail just a wagging and play biting me. That may freak some people out, but not me. That is just how dogs are and how some show affection. If you watch dogs play, they do the same thing to each other, they play bite. So I don't mind, as long as it isn't too hard. And I don't believe the crap abut all pitt bulls being bad attack dogs. J and I had a 165 lb German Rottweiller that was the biggest baby with us. But he was very protective of me. I could tell him it was ok, and his demeanor would instantly change and he would become docile. I think pitt bulls are the same way. I have only been bitten twice and each time from two different dogs. Know what kind they were? Chihuahuas. Yep, so much for the big bad ass dogs being the mean ones. It is the little ones that you have to watch out for.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Bessemer City,NC

Ahh, I remember this place. Back at the Dole facility here. Back several months ago, they had set up an appointment for us at something like 0100 in the morning. Originally it was earlier that evening, but we were delayed at the shipper in Soledad,CA so they changed it to 0100. We get here with that load, and guess what. They don't even open until 0600 for receiving. So we sat here till they opened and then went inside with out paperwork. They saw that it was the previous days load and said that they would get us unloaded first. So we had to wait at least until the first two truck were done because they were backed into the docks. See they showed up in the middle of the night and just claimed a dock so they could be unloaded first. Finally, after going in at least twice, and them telling J they were working on getting us to a dock, I go in and raise hell. Apparently the guard that we checked in with, who wrote our information down on the dry erase board, did his job, but the girls that came in at 0600 erased it and put it at the bottom of the list. There was a supervisor in there who raised hell with the workers and needless to say, we were in a dock in less that 10 minutes. So, now that we are back at this location, and early, I am hoping it isn't a repeat of last time!

We knew we would be pressed to get here on time since I was out of hours the day we picked it up. But we kicked up the speed and drove straight through. Made the 2500 miles in about 50 hours or so. I took over this morning in Daingerfield,TN which is right before the I-40 and I-81 split. That meant I had the curvy and windy part of I-40 through TN and into NC. If you will remember back this is the same stretch of road that the bear ran in front of me! I really hate that part of the road though because there are so many curves and the speed is about 45mph for trucks. On top of that, this tropical depressing that is sitting of the coast of the Carolina's meant that it rained on me all the way in. UGH! But I am got us here, and it one piece and on time, so the day is off to a good start! Now we wait and see where this afternoon takes us. Hopefully to a place where we can get a shower! I guess I could stand out in the rain, but with my luck, as soon as I got the shampoo in my hair, it would quit raining. Then how silly would I look??

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Since I couldn't drive yesterday, we didn't make it very far. J had to get up early to get us to the shipper, then they canceled that load, then they found another one, then we got loaded and by the time all was said and done, J only had about 2 hours to drive. So he made it to the first rest area southbound on the 101 and he called it a day. Plus he had a big headache from being off his sleep schedule. I got up bright and early and was on the road by 0300 hours. It was a grueling trek across California since I could only do 55. Finally made the Arizona border and was able to kick it up to 65. Our appointment is at 0830 Friday morning so basically we have 2 days of driving to get 2500 miles. I made 600 today and made it to Flagstaff and used every bit of my 11 hours allowed for driving. J plans to make it to Amarillo tonight which will put him right at 600. From there I will get us to Little Rock,AR which is another 600 and then he will get us to the North Carolina Border which is another 600. That will leave me with about 150 or so to do Friday morning when I take over at 0300. I will have till 0730 our time to get the load there. That shouldn't be a problem and gives me 4.5 hours to get there. Piece of cake. I don't like driving this fast because our fuel mileage isn't great. I would rather have the money in my pocket. But with me being out of hours yesterday, we didn't really have a choice. But by me not driving yesterday I was able to get a restart on my hours. And because J didn't drive on Monday, since I got us there that morning and we didn't get another load until Tuesday, he also got a reset on hours. So we are good to go.

I am curious where we will go after this. We told them we needed to be home on the 2nd and this delivers on the 26th. I am guessing back to California and then a load to Dallas from there. We shall see.

I'm off to get my beauty rest now. The older I get the more I seem to need!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Santa Maria,CA

Yesterday morning I got up in Barstow,CA and proceeded to make my way over to Santa Maria. Routing had me going down through Los Angeles to pick up the 101 but I had another plan. Why should I deal with the morning rush hour traffic when I could take the CA state roads that were designated truck routes. AND it would be about 14 miles shorter. So instead of heading south on I-15 I take off west across CA58 to Bakersfield. From there I hit CA99 south about 10 miles where I pick up CA166 that takes me right into Santa Maria. I knew it would be a small two lane road, and sure enough it was, with quite a bit of truck traffic. But boy it sure is a windy road with LOTS of mountains. Hit 6th gear again with a ton of cars and trucks behind me. Once again it was a road that I had not traveled before so I was taking my time. Going the speed limit where I could and even slower coming down some of the mountains. It was a pretty drive though but it did take me about 6 hours to do the 252 miles to destination.

Once I got into Santa Maria, I had to rely on the GPS directions because Prime did not have any directions to this location. GPS wouldn't even take the address of 1895 Ray Rd but it would take 1799 Ray Rd. Logic tells me that my location will be a block further on Ray Rd so I just followed what it told me. I find Ray Rd and turn on it to make my way down to the receiver. GPS told me I was there in the middle of a field. Ok, well, not exactly in the middle of a field. See the road kind of Y's off and if you go to the right, you stay on a well paved road and the name of the road changes. If you stay straight, you stay on Ray Rd but it is a road between two agricultural fields where workers are out picking the product. And it is a very rutted road that was probably paved 50 years ago. BUT, the road sign did say it was Ray Rd. I decide to keep going hoping that I was going the right direction because at the end of the field I could see a large building and I was hoping that it was the place I needed to be. Thank goodness it was. I get there and find someone and they tell me where to park. They had ordered 100 55 gal barrels of adhesive. However they didn't have a building to store them in, they had semi trailers with doors on the side. So the first half got unloaded by hand, after I backed up to the trailer, and just rolled off my trailer. Then we had to move the truck to another flatbed trailer that we unloaded the rest off onto. It only took an hour from the time we got there and they did it my hand. No jacks or anything. It makes me wonder why they can do it by hand so fast and yet we can go to other receivers and they have forklifts and it takes them 2-3 hours. Hmmm

Anyway, we get done there and I get one of them to sign my paperwork and ask if there is a truck stop anywhere close. Luckily there is and he gives me directions and we are off. I only had about 15 more minutes to work before I was out of hours. I go right to the truck stop and since we got there around 1100 local time, we pulled right into a spot. Our FM had sent us a message telling us that freight was slow so we got out of the truck and headed to the restaurant that was right next door after sending our FM a message to call us if we got a load since we would be out of the truck. Over on someone told us about a place that has great food, BBQ Tri-Tip and they actually BBQ it out front. Wouldn't you know, this restaurant we stopped at, Pappy's was the place? I had the Tri-Tip Steak Sandwich and J had the Huevos Rancheros. Both were really good! Headed back to the truck and still no word. That sounded like it was telling us it was nap time.

Around 1630 we wake up and J sends a message asking if there is anything on a load. A few minutes later we get a load picking up in Salinas today but with no busines code or address. Our FM isn't sure where we are picking up but it will be this morning some time around Salinas. Knowing CA and knowing there aren't many truck stops we decide to spend the night in Santa Maria and head to Salinas this morning. After that decision is made, we head back to Pappy's for dinner. I had the taco plate which was absolutely delicious and J had the Tri-Tip Steak plate. OMG they were awesome. Got a full belly, headed to the truck, hung out for a while and then it was off to bed. I did some figuring and since I used all my hours yesterday, I can't drive at all today. Luckily there is time on the load for me to be able to get a restart on my hours. That meant that J had to get up this morning and get us up to Salinas. They said we will load around 1100 local time, so we figured if we head on up there, we can get a spot and grab a shower at that Pilot before we load. However we are still waiting on a message with the name and address of where we are loading at. All we know is somewhere in Salinas.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


That is where I ended my day and J took over. I don't think I have been so glad to have my day done with. I started out this morning in Denver,CO. Woke up, got my caffeine and was off. Heading west on I-70 I told J to check the map for me because I was pretty sure that I could not go through Eisnehower Tunnel because we have a hazmat load. I knew there was a detour there for hazmat and oversized vehicles. Sure enough, after checking the map, J tells me I will have to go over Loveland Pass. When he said that, I remembered that was what the sign said. I wasn't happy about that because I had a feeling Loveland Pass was a tiny two lane road and I don't like those under the best of circumstances, let alone in the middle of the night when it is a road I haven't been over before. J heads to bed but tells me to wake him up if I need him. I made it over without waking him up, but holy cow my nerves were frayed by the time I made it back to I-70. Loveland Pass is definitely a two lane road, no shoulder, no guard rails, vertical drop offs AND there was already snow up there. I went up in 6th gear using the whole road for the switchbacks because I HAD to if I didn't want the trailer to drop off of the cliff. Coming down was also in 6th gear with the engine break on. Speed limit was 30 freaking mph with turns posted at 20 or 25 mph. NEVER again will I take that road in a semi. If we have a hazmat, we will take I-40 and eat the 100 miles out of route! It isn't worth the headache. I even just pulled up that road on Google maps and looked at the satellite view. BAD idea! At least I did it at night. I probably would have really freaked if I could have seen exactly how far down it was during the daylight!

We did stop in Green River,UT and had lunch at the restaurant there at the West Winds Truck Stop. They have pretty decent food. I love their chicken fried steak. Anyway, I only got about 480 miles today because I had all the mountains, in Colorado and Utah, and those are time consuming when you are constantly going to 7th gear. So we stopped in Richfield,UT and I called it a day and J took over. He only has about 440 miles to drive tonight. We are stopping in Barstow,CA for the night. We deliver in Santa Maria,CA about 250 miles from there tomorrow. But we deliver between 0800-1000 local and that is between 1000-1200 our time. So I will get up in the morning and drive the last part. We figure we have a better chance of finding a parking place there in Barstow,CA where we have 4 truck stops to choose from. We go any further and the pickins will be slim.

Friday, September 19, 2008


J woke me up this morning in Brazil,IN and I drove the last 200 miles to the receiver. We knew we were going to be late since we were 7 hours late leaving the shipper. We drove 65 the whole way, only stopped for fuel and made it there only 3 hours past our appointment. We did tell Prime and they said they notified them that we would be late. Another team left the same place about an after us and delivered to the same place and got there about 45 minutes before us. AND they said they stopped in Texas and took a 5 hour nap and stopped at the yard in Springfield and were there about an hour. I can only say that they must have been driving 75-80 the whole way. They are owner operators and not lease operators so they must have been hauling ass. Anyway, made it there and thought we were going to be able to drop but they made us stay. Running late for that and then getting held up for 3 hours there made us 4.5 hours late for our next pick up which they already had us planned on. It is a hazmat load going to CA and they didn't have any teams at all with a hazmat endorsement that could pick it up. So now we just got loaded in Adrian,MI and are headed out to Santa Maria,CA for a delivery on Monday between 0800-1000 hrs. Today has been a really long day and I am worn out. Because of where we dropped in Ohio and where we picked up here in Michigan, I had to take freaking back roads all the way up here. Those tiny roads and towns wear you out! Especially since all the towns insist on the state highway having at minimum four 9o degree turns on two lane roads through downtown with cars parked on the side of the road!!!! But we are off to scale to make sure we are legal, grab something quick to eat, then J is heading out and I am headed to bed!!

Oh, another funny, but probably TMI story about Smokey today. He has eaten some nylon rope that J had braided for him to play with and then he found a strip of his old harness that he had previously chewed up. Well, today he had issues going poopy. Seems there was a pretty big chunk of 1 inch wide nylon harness that didn't want to come out, along with about 6 inches of rope. Now, not the whole rope, but one of the tiny strands that make up the nylon rope. So he was pushing and pushing and had a turd hanging off that wouldn't come out. So he tries to sit and scoot his butt, and I stop him from that or else he is going to have shit all over him. Being the good Mommy that I am, I had to bend over, pick up a leaf and litterally pull the shit out of him. I know, TMI, but it was damn funny. And he gave me a look that said "Thank goodness you got that out of there!"

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Since we have to be in Springfield,OH in the morning, we picked up the speed yesterday when we hit Arizona and have been going 65 mph ever since. Luckily, coming east, we are currently getting 6.8 mpg. Happy happy! If we can keep this speed up and minimize our stops we can make it to the receivers around 0800 tomorrow morning. Only 3 hours late but not bad considering we were 7 hours late leaving the shipper. And there is a bonus that this is just a drop and pick up an empty so we don't have to worry about missing an actual appointment to be live unloaded. I did 619 miles today. Been a while since I have done over 500 since we slowed down to 55. But I did feel like I actually made it somewhere going the faster speed!

I am still gearing up for the cruise. Got a message yesterday from Michelle. She got a call from her cruise booking agent, or someone with the cruise line. She was told that Carnival struck a deal with the new port in Houston and Carnival will be docking out of there until the repairs on Galveston are made after the devastation that Hurricane Ike caused. We were worried that it would be cancelled at the last minute, so we were extremely happy to hear that it was still on and that we would have an hour less to drive to get to the boat! There are six of us girls going and we will drive down Friday afternoon, spend the night in Houston and then head to the boat Saturday afternoon. I think we have to be on board by around 1500 and she departs at 1800. Or something like that. I'm so excited!!!

Our FM sent a message that we may have a load out of MI back to CA for a Monday morning delivery. It is a hazmat load and loads at noon. It will be tight to make it on time, but if we can make it in and get dropped by 0830 and back on the road, we should be able to make it with no problems. And being hazmat it should pay decent AND it will make it on to next Friday's paycheck. Cha-ching!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Is it really already Tuesday? Where did this past weekend go? We spent the weekend in Santa Rosa,NM with the intention of both of us getting open water certified for scuba diving. Things just didn't go exactly as planned. We finally got in the water on Friday afternoon and only went to a depth of about 10-12 ft as we had to do certain skills underwater before we could go any further. I had difficulty taking off my mask under water. We had to be able to do this as practice because when diving you could get your mask kicked off by another diver. This is why you need to be able to get it back on and get it cleared of water. See, when you dive, your mask blocks your nose so you do all of your breathing out of your mouth and your regulator. Now when you take off the mask, you automatically want to breath out of your nose. Well, as you know, that doesn't work very well in the water. We tried three times for me and I just couldn't do it. Now each person is different on how they do this. My instructor, breathes in through his mouth and out through his nose, and this is the way he was teaching me. My problem was breathing out my nose because of the bubbles that came up my face and blocking my nose after I exhaled so I could inhale through my mouth. Now you may think this would be easy, and I can sit here all day long and do that exact thing when I am not under water. But just try it when it is underwater. There is just a little more pressure on you! At the end of that day I was kind of bummed but I knew I could work on it the next day. So we headed to the hotel, did a lot of studying for our academic part of the course and crashed.

0600 the next morning we are out of bed and ready to go at 0700. First we meet in another room to go over dive charts and planing dives, then we go back to Blue Hole for another round. This day we have Misty with us, whom is our instructors wife. Her and a friend of theirs, Moon (I know, nickname!) got in late the night before because they had to work. We have known Misty for about 10 years. She told me she had the exact same problem. At first, J and I went in the water, and tried to practice and find ways that would work for me, and we couldn't. Then Misty got in the water with me, and did it in baby stages. She also had a few pointers that helped tremendously. First, breathe in AND out, through the regulator, don't use your nose to exhale. And second, tilt your head all the way down making your chin touch your chest. And lean over. When you exhale through the regulator, the bubbles go along your jaw line and up by your ears, never getting near your nose. THAT was the magic trick for me. I had to take my mask off and breath for 1 minute without it before I could put it back on and clear it. And they had watches timing me. He doesn't cut corners because this could save my life. Mission accompolished with Misty and now I get in the water with Riaan to actually be tested on this skill. We head down again and I actually did it! He timed me at 3 minutes before I could put my mask back on. I had my eyes closed, because I was looking so far down and it is hard to see in the water without a mask, but I looked up a few times and he was looking at his watch. I just figured it was the longest minute ever and just seemed that way since we were underwater. By the time he finally let me put it back on and I got it cleared, he gave me a hug underwater and J gave me one also. They knew that was a big obstacle for me. We get done and go up top for J and I to take a break.

Riaan was headed down next with Misty and Moon so they could get one of their advanced dives done. The plan was for us to do our first actual dive when they came back up, unfortunately, it didn't work that way. Moon ran out of air and him and Riaan had to surface faster than they should have. Therefore, Riaan was done diving for that day. Pack it up again, go get something to eat, study some more and hit the sack.

The last day was Sunday. We got up, grabbed McDonald's and hit Blue Hole. I was really excited to get this done, but it wasn't meant to be. We went down for our first dive, and I had to come right back up. I was down for just a few minutes, but I panicked. See, I have done the Scuba Discovery thing in Cancun, so I know I can do this. But that was open water, lots of sun, you would see 40' down as if you were right on the beach. But this is a HOLE in the ground. It is 81' deep and only about 60' across at the top. Therefore, not a lot of light gets filtered down. Picture this. Have you ever seen Titanic? The one with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet? You know how they show the underwater wreckage of the Titanic and it is all dark and all you can see if what light the little submersible gives off? That is how dark it was. I have never been claustrophobic, but that is what I felt like. Because we couldn't get the two dives the day before since Riaan couldn't dive, we wouldn't have been able to get open water certified because that requires 4 dives. J was able to get 2 dives in on Sunday and takes his tests so he is Scuba Diver certified, but not open water certified. I finished all the academics and did the underwater skills, I just didn't complete the dives. So all I have to do now is complete the dives. Luckily Misty and Riaan are great and they decided I am just a fair weather diver! This means I need sunny beaches. So we are makind plans to meet again somewhere sunny next spring, on a wide open beach, and get my dives out of the way. Unfortunately I won't be diving on the cruise in October, but that is ok. This is something I have to take at my own pace and that dark hole in the ground just wasn't working for me.

We all said our goodbyes and we headed to the TA there in Santa Rosa to spend the night. We were just too exhausted to head into Albuquerque. I woke up bright and early the next morning ready for a load. He didn't have anything right away so I waited a while then went inside to get some breakfast to go. I said good morning to one of the drivers at the counter, got my food and was back in the truck eagerly awaiting on a dispatch. Finally get a message from my FM that he is going to have us repower a load going to CA but the guy is in Albuquerque and to sit tight that he is sending him to us. After I send a message back stating it would be easier for me to go to him so he doesn't have to backtrack, I get the OK and I am off. I drive 130 miles to the Route 66 Truck Stop and Casino at exit 140 and find the Prime truck. I go knock on his door and guess what? It is the driver I said good morning to when I got my breakfast. Now I didn't know he was a Prime driver, and we didn't say anything more than Hello, but wouldn't you think they could have put two and two together and figured out we were at the exact same truck stop that morning??? We got a laugh put of it, but it sure would have been easier if we could have taken care of it that morning in Santa Rosa! We got squared away and deaded out. Drove non stop and when I took over this morning, I got us to the receiver with 15 minutes to spare. Dropped the 10 pallets weighing only 10K lbs and headed over to the Fifth Wheel Truck Stop here in Fresno where I currently sit waiting on our next load.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Santa Rosa,NM

Picked up our load in Manteca,CA and headed out on Tuesday with it. We made it into Albuquerque around 1830 where we dropped it off with another team. Since we had a little time, we went ahead and spent the night there and got up this morning and dropped our trailer over at Shaw. On the way over there we saw a roach coach. Couldn't resist good authentic mexican food so we pulled over and grabbed something to eat. We each got the carne asada taco plates. It was delicious but the sauce and onions/jalapenos were freaking hot! My lips were on fire for about 20 minutes. But it was worth it!

From there we headed on over to Santa Rosa. When I called and made hotel reservations, I specifically asked if they had truck parking, with a trailer. They said yes. Thank goodness that we dropped the trailer because there is NOT truck parking here. There is a lot next door that we could have parked at, but they didn't specify that it was next door when I called. We got here around 1100 but they let us go ahead and check in. We got checked in and took a nap and then got up and got to studying our academics for our scuba certification.

Last night Ironpony sent me a PM asking if we were still going to be in Albuquerque. I told him no, that we would be here, but if he was coming on I-40 past here to call us. Sure enough, he came right through Santa Rosa and right in time for dinner. I had him park in the lot next door and we went across the street and had some pretty darn good mexican food for dinner. It was great meeting him. I just love meeting people in person that we have been talking to online. It is always great to put a face with a name. We had a great time and I hope we get to meet on the road again and get to visit for longer. Unfortunately, we had to check on Smokey, he had to get back on the road to make his destination for the night, and our dive instructor showed up while we were eating and we needed to get studying.

After getting the room situation figured out, we started studying. We studied for about 3 hours until around 2300 and then decided to call it a night. The goal is to get our confined water dive finished in the morning, have one dive tomorrow afternoon and then get in three dives on Saturday. And in between get the rest of our academics done. Since he is a PADI instructor we have to take several tests before we can get our actual certification. He has been diving since 1991 I think he said and he has well over 2000 dives, so he knows his stuff and takes it very seriously. He doesn't skimp on the teaching, and I like that. I want to know what the hell I am doing down there underwater!

OH! During dinner J had to step outside becase we finally got a call from Justin. He is doing his pre-BUDS training right now. He passed his first PST test with flying colors so he got liberty to go off base and finally was able to get a cell phone so he called. We are so proud of him! They said the first PST is the hardest and if he passes that, he should be fine for the rest. Once he finishes this, he will be off to Carmel,CA for SEAL training!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


As luck would have it, we were unloaded and go our next work assignment just in time to hit rush hour traffic. Our next load picked up today at noon and we delivered last night. We are picking up in Manteca,CA which is right next to Modesto where we were yesterday. Instead of fighting traffic, I decided to come back the way I went yesterday on the little CA highways. Only two lanes, one each direction, but it went completely around the San Francisco/San Jose area on the top side. Even though it was about 20 miles further, we made much better time than if we had attempted to go through that metro mess.

Once again, J got the day off. We got up at the hotel yesterday and I headed out at 0715 to make our first appt so I had until 2115 before my 14 was up for the day. When we got unloaded in Santa Rosa I still had 3 hours left and figured J may as well get another day off since all I had to do was get us back over to around Modesto and then park for the night. Off we go on the back roads. We were getting hungry, and I was getting tired, so we figured we would park at the Flying J at CA 12 & I-5 which is at mm 485 on I-5. We get there and there is NOWHERE to park. The place is packed and trucks scurrying around like ants waiting for anyone to pull out so they can all make a run for that empty spot. I decide to keep going to where I had originally planned which is the Flying J or Love's that are on CA 99 in Ripon, which would put us about 6 miles from our pickup today. I am getting really tired at this point, but I only have about 40 miles to go. We get there and once again, the Flying J is packed. I had made a circle through the lot and was on the back row headed to the front to try the Love's when J looked up and saw a spot I could nose into. No one had seen it yes as the driver had just pulled out. It was at the other end of the row I was on and when J pointed it out to me, I looked like Mario Andretti hauling ass down that aisle in 7th gear. That was Momma's spot and I wasn't gonna let anyone take it from me! Thank goodness no one saw it and there wasn't anyone else on that row! I got parked and did my log book and realized it was 2110. Thank goodness we found that spot because I was 5 minutes away from running out of hours! But J did get TWO full days off, so I am glad that things worked out that way for him. He could have driven some, but we will be off this weekend, so it isn't like I am going to run out of hours.

Our FM called us last night when we were still up in Santa Rosa to find out for sure when we needed to be in Santa Rosa,NM. It didn't look like he could find us a short run somewhere else and then be able to get us there on time. So he found us a run going to Arlington,TX and we are going to meet up with another team, most likely in Santa Rosa,NM and they are going to repower it and finish delivering it. The only bad thing is that we will be in on Wednesday and we don't need to be there until Friday. But we just roll with the flow. We will break even or just be a little in the hole by going in early, but it isn't a big deal. Since we basically have no expenses and we live in the truck, it is ok for us to have a few easy weeks here and there. We don't have to worry about house payments and such. All we have is our Suburban payment, insurance, and cell phones. We don't even have a credit card, by choice, so we pay cash when we want something or of course use our Visa check card, which is just like a check.

I am really excited for this weekend though! Finally going to get open water certified so Misty and I can go diving while we are on our cruise. And since her husband is certifying us, we get to see him. He is a white boy from South Africa, and I could just listen to him talk all day long! :) So we can enjoy their company and some beers and just relax this weekend.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Santa Rosa,CA

When J took over driving on Friday evening, he drove us from Oakley,KS to Rawlins,WY. On Saturday morning I took over there and drove us to Wells,NV. He took over Saturday evening and drove us about 330 miles into Sparks,NV. Our first drop was at 0700 on Sunday and there are not any truck stops between there and our drop. So Sunday morning I got up and drove us into West Sacramento to our first drop. I found the place easily enough and within about 2.5 hours I was unloaded and back on the road. Next stop is Stockton,CA with an appointment at 1140. I make it there around 1030 because it was only 48 miles away. I get there and get unloaded in just under 2 hours. Although the first 45 mins was waiting on the guard to show back up to log me in. Now it is about 1230 and out next drop is 34 miles away but it isn't until the next morning. I find a truck stop for us to spend the night but it is full. I happened to look over and right next door is a Motel 6 with truck parking. You know what happened then. I parked and packed our things up and we got a room for the night. It was 18 hours that we were going to have to wait so I figured we may as well do it comfortably.

We got a good nights sleep in the room and I headed out this morning to our third drop that was just down the road in Modesto,CA. During all of this, J got a restart on hours since he didn't have to work at all on Sunday because of the way the appointments were spread out. I get to our third drop and J gets out and opens the doors for me. I docked next to another Prime driver and I got a big grin from him when I backed in and set the brakes without a single pull-up. It was beautiful. It never fails to amaze me the grins I get from other drivers when I do something like that because I think they are amazed to see a girl get out of the drivers seat. Now of course I have my bad days too where I couldn't hit a dock straight on with 20 pull-ups. That is just how it goes. I just had a good day.

Finished up there and I am off to our fourth and final drop up in Santa Rosa,CA which is about 140 miles away. I stop and scan in our logs and grab more Comcheks (yes, that is the correct spelling) because we are out and I head out. I also grabbed something to eat and I think that is where I messed up. See, I was eating, and not paying attention to where I was going, and I missed the exit I had planned on taking. I was headed up I-5 and was going to take I-205 over to I-580 to 238 over to I-880 up to I-80 and then hit the 101. I had that all figured out because I knew I couldn't take I-580 through that one part of Oakland. Well, because I did this, I ended up taking CA 12 over to I-80 and then took CA 37 over to the 101. Worked out well because I missed all of the city traffic, but it was a little two lane road that was bumpy as can be.

Alas, we finally made it here. Now when I left Modesto and our third drop this morning, I sent a message to our FM and told him that I would be late to this last appointment because of the lumpers. Took them forever to get me unloaded and I knew that I couldn't make it on time, so I did the CYA thing and sent a message in. Well, we get here and they tell us that no one from Prime called and that on top of the $100 lumper charge and the extra $30 for it being on the floor, that there is now another $50 for us being late. J proceeded to send a message to our FM and asks when we could expect the reimbursement of the $50 late fee because we called in and Prime dropped the ball by not calling and keeping the customer updated. Low and behold we get a message back stating they will pay for it by loading an extra $50 onto our Comdata card and then says that he is going to check into why Sales didn't notify the customer. That is their job, not his, he just forwards the info to them. Not sure when we will get unloaded. We have been here for an hour now and don't have a dock. Hopefully it won't be too long. On the other hand, the longer it is, that puts us later getting out of here, which means hopefully if we go back south, which is most likely where they will send us, then we should hit the city AFTER the evening rush hour. But it is just now 1400 local, so I am sure they will get us unloaded just in time to have the pleasure of dealing with the traffic!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Oakley,KS...for the 2nd time today

Yesterday morning we called to see if the part had made it yet and it hadn't so we got a late checkout at the hotel for 1300 hours. We figured the part should be in by that time. While we waited I did laundry and then we walked across the street to the restaurant to grab some breakfast. For the life of me I can't think of the name of the place, but if you are in Utah on I-70, take exit 40 and the restaurant is on the southwest corner across Main St from the Flying J which is on the southeast corner. I have to say that we had dinner and breakfast there and both were excellent. The breakfast was superb though. We each had an omlett, three eggs at that, and it was awesome. You know how sometimes you get an omlett at a restaurant and it is rubbery because of the way they cook the egg and they just spread it out flat on the grill, add the ingredients and roll it up? Well not this place. They were made how I make them at home, which if I may say so, is really good. They were a bit pricey, at I think $6.99 or $7.99 for the omlett, hashbrowns and toast, but worth it. Neither one of us could finish our plates, and that is a huge omlett if J couldn't finish it so we definitely got our moneys worth.

We finish eating and head back to the room, get the last clothes out of the dryer and we get a call that the part was in and our truck is already fixed. It was only about 1215 hrs. Awesome. This place that worked on the truck was the best. They gave us a ride to the hotel, and didn't mind taking Smokey, picked us up when they needed the truck moved so they could get to another truck then came and picked us up when it was done. They really went above and beyond. When we got the truck loaded up and ready to go again, we asked about a vet so we could get Smokey's stitches out. He gave us directions and let us leave the trailer at the shop while we took Smokey down. We found the place with no problems but they were closed. So I open up the laptop and find another vet there in Richfield. I called and didn't understand what the lady said when she answered, but told her I had two questions. First, where was she located compared to where I was at. Found out it was close so then I go on to explain that we had Smokey fixed in Chicago and just need the stitches removed and I wanted to see if they could do that. This lady just busts out laughing and said she would love to help me with that but I called an auto repair shop! It was hilarious! On the internet they had listed the wrong number to the vet that I was trying to call. She was super nice though and got a kick out of it. She was helpful in the end though because her daughter just had gotten her dog her shots so she put me on hold and called her and came back on the line with the correct number. I apologized and thanked her again and we hung up the phone laughing. This time I dial the right number and get ahold of the vet, playing attention to what she said when she answered the phone, and explained what I needed done again. She said no problem and gave me directions. Litterally less than a mile away. Off we go in the truck down little dirt roads and the lady is standing out in the big dirt lot waving at us so we don't miss the place. We get Smokey out and get his stitches removed, he gets a treat, and the lady doesn't charge us a thing. I can say I am really impressed with all the people in Richfield,UT from the truck repair, the restaurant, the hotel, the vet and even the auto shop I called by mistake. It wasn't a problem being stuck in that nice town overnight at all!

OK, get all this done, get back to the truck and tell our FM that we are ready. We hook up to the trailer and drive down the block to the Flying J to wait for a load. We only wait about 15 minutes and we get a load. But I can't believe what I am seeing. They want us to deadhead 781 miles back to Kansas to pick up a load going back to California. I was about to call him and tell him he had lost his mind, then did the math and realized while is wasn't a great paying load, it still paid decent, even factoring in all the empty miles. So we decide to go ahead and accept the load. Then we run into a problem with the trailer. There is no registration papers for it! We finally get the printer up and running and we are able to get a registration card printed from the Prime website. Now it is 1600 and we are FINALLY on our way BACK to Kansas to pick up this new load assignment.

At this point J is driving because it is 1600. We stop in Green River to grab dinner real quick (to go) and we are off again. J does a great job and gets us through Utah, across Colorado and he gets me about 60 miles shy of the Kansas border. We stop at a rest area and then I am up and running. I have about 300 miles to go to the shipper. We had an 1100 appt time, but I got there at 1000 hrs because I knew it was already pre-loaded and ready for us. I could have been there quite a bit sooner, but it rained on me the WHOLE way. And it is a little two lane road the lad 150 miles or so and that meant slow going. I finally get there, drop the trailer, find the new one, hook up, get my paperwork and head out to scale. There is Flying J on the corner just up the street, so we scale and go inside and grab something to eat. Grab the scale ticket, we are legal, and we are off. Now I am backtracking back the same road that I had just traveled earlier in the day to get back up to I-70. I make it to Oakley,KS where there is a TA and call it a day.

As I was getting out of the truck to go inside to the restroom before I woke J up, there was a guy walking his Boxer. He got a kick out of Smokey standing up on the steering wheel watching me and asked what kind of dog he was. We got to talking and I got Smokey out to play with his dog. Turns out his dog is a female boxer but they are the same age. (And luckily he is now fixed!) But they both had a really good time playing and "boxing". It was really cute.

So that is what happened yesterday and today. J is driving now. His goal is to get to Rawlins,WY tonight and then tomorrow morning I plan on making it to Elko,NV. From there we will decide how far to go and where to stop for the night. The first drop we have is in West Sacramento but we can't park overnight. And if J drives straight in, he will get there about 0100 local time and our appt isn't until 0600 local so we will have some time to kill. We have a friend in Winnemucca,NV that we haven't seen in a LONG time. Maybe we will see if we can meet her for dinner or something and kill some time that way. That is something to think about....

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Well, we are spending a night out of the truck at a nice Super 8. By choice you ask? Nope. Here is what happened. After we dropped the last load in Romulus,WI we picked up the next evening in Kalamazoo,WI with a load heading to Carson,CA. It was already going to be a tight run and we were going to barely make it. I had even kicked up the speed so we could make it on time. I woke up this morning in Denver,CO and was enjoying a nice drive. Made it to Green River,UT where I stopped to get fuel. From there I continued along a very scenic drive west bound along I-70. About 30 miles before I get into Richfield,UT I hear a hissing sound. I am losing air pressure according to my primary air guage. This is not good. I watch it for a few miles and it isn't coming up. At this point I decide to wake J up. I know that there is a Flying J coming up in about 15 miles so I milk it in to there. We stop try to figure out what the problem is and can't figure it out. We called road assist and we lucked out and there was a shop right next to the Flying J. When we get down there, after going through Prime and finding out what our options were, we decided to have them go ahead and tear into the dash and see what they could find. That is where the hissing was coming from. Turns out that the problem was at the line going into the guage. And of course neither the Freightliner shop in Salt Lake or Las Vegas has the part we need. They ended up having to drop ship a part out of Memphis that will be here tomorrow around 1000 or 1100 hrs. So.... here we are at the Super 8. I feel bad for our FM because he had to find another team to come pick up our load to deliver it. Not so much because he had to find someone, but because when J talked to him, this was the 4th load today he had to repower. Meaning he had to find 4 teams to take over loads because of breakdowns. Not good.

On a side note, because we are in the hotel, we got to see Sarah Palin give her speech at the RNC tonight. All I can say is WOW. Watch out for this woman.

Monday, September 1, 2008


At the moment it is about 1140 and we are sitting at a Mobil Travel Plaza right here at x20 on I-275 just north of I-94. I am going to get a 34 out of this but J can't drive again until 1500. I am thinking of calling the shipper and see if by any chance they are open and can load us early today so we can hit the road. We were hoping last night we could drop the trailer and pick it up later, but no such luck. J got us to our receiver at around 0200 but no one showed up till around 0300. Then we didn't get unloaded until almost 0500 which is when J's 14 ran out. Luckily this place is only about 5-6 blocks down so we could drive straight here and we lucked out and got the ONLY parking space. It was kind of funny because they said the load isn't exactly what they ordered. There was too much of one kind of tomatoe and not enough of another kind. My guess is that is because they switched tomato loads with that other team. Anyway, J said they signed the bills "Received under protest" which I find extremely amusing.

I did go inside a few minutes ago and got a chicken sandwich from the Burger King here and I wasn't impressed with it. The chicken had been sitting under a warmer and was leathery and the rest of the sandwich was cold. As in the cheese didn't melt and the bun wasn't toasted. Fries were cold too. Lucky for them I just woke up and didn't feel like arguing. I did get to watch Fox News inside and see some of the coverage of Hurricane Gustav. Looks like it hit as a CAT 2 which is wonderful since for a while they were predicting that it could get up to a CAT 5 and it hit Cuba as a CAT 4. New Orleans and the whole Gulf coast was lucky this time.

Joel, we may call you later. It just depends on it they will load us early and when J wants to take off. He may decide to be lazy today, which I don't blame him, and wait until the last minute to take off. I guess when you have a down day, you have to take advantage of it. I know I slept till 1030 this morning and it was NICE!!