Happy Birthday Trapper!
I have to say, living on the road and sneaking and buying a birthday cake is impossible, especially being together 24/7.
Yesterday, as we were doing laundry and the weekly trip to the grocery store, I did manage to pick up this little "one serving" cake, a card, and candles! I was tickled!
I would have been more tickled if I had known what kind of cake this was... the name of it was in Spanish????
I had to stash the cake in the fridge and hope Trapper didn't need a soda while I was in the terminal showering. Luckily he didn't!
Last night, after dinner, I decided I better go ahead and light the candles! Although, his birthday wasn't until today....
Happy Birthday Sweetheart!!
Happy Birthday Trapper!
Trapper decided to start driving after his 10 hour break, so I think it was around 3:00 a.m. we were back on the road. For me, I was fast asleep! We stopped again about 50 miles from Laredo due to the fog and the driver was getting tired. Good decision to stop!
We arrived at the terminal, checked in, got the trailer inspected, and found out we are number 90 on the board. Looks like we'll be in Laredo for a couple of days... oh well... shorts and flip flops! Yes! It's 85 degrees.
Quick showers ... we were on the way to the border.
As you walk through the border crossing you can't help but notice the big deterrent they have.... crowd control measure or extreme measure? You judge for yourself.... check out the man sporting the machine gun!
The second check point went without incident. The guard asked what I was bringing back with me. I put the bags on the table and just said, "Here, you can look." He glanced inside the bags and gave me permission to go on... That was all I needed to hear!
The rest of our Thanksgiving Day we spent walking the streets of Laredo, TX USA, in the shopping district. You can find about any "knock off" brand your heart desires and really great prices.
We messed around so long in Mexico and Laredo... our Thanksgiving dinner was at Pizza Hut. The other restaurant chains had closed early. You can always count on Pizza Hut being open! We ate and talked about our Mexican Thanksgiving Day journey.
In the past 9 months, Trapper and I have been to the Bahamas, Canada, and Mexico... the one thing, we both agree on, is that it is always good to be home!
This Thanksgiving is one I will never forget, and yes, I am thankful to be home!
Today started at 8:00 a.m. in Joplin, MO... Our legal clock wouldn't let us start before then, so with a few minutes to kill... the truck got another bath and we were headed south!
This week has been tiring for both of us and you can tell it today. At 94 miles we stop for coffee... 190 miles into our day... we stop and eat... 275 miles we stop again.... by this time we're laughing about stopping so much!
We'll be in MO, OK, and TX today. You definitely know when you get to TX because Texas is a proud state! Everything is huge in TX, they have awesome rest areas, they are proud of their state and display it... and today... they had some awesome traffic jams! 3:00 p.m. approaching Dallas.... check out the traffic! I was beginning to wonder if they were having an evacuation!
Downtown wasn't much better.... in this picture we are approaching "Lovers Lane".... I don't see much love going on here.... an hour later we had traveled maybe 15 miles.... No love at all....
We finally made it just north of Waco, TX and decided to stop for the day. We will take our 10 hour break and maybe try again in the really early hours tomorrow to avoid the traffic.
It's going to be strange not being "home" for Thanksgiving. This will be the first one I've missed in a lot of years. However; if I had to choose between Thanksgiving and Christmas... I'd much rather be home at Christmas.
I'm still keeping my fingers crossed about going to Mexico tomorrow or at least while we're in Laredo this time. If not, that's ok too... we'll be back to Laredo again soon, I'm sure.
Trapper might actually get his safety test completed while we are here. We've received two qualcomm "reminders" that he needs to do this soon!
The last time we were here, he said he couldn't do it because there were so many people in the room and he couldn't concentrate.... I just laughed... this is a man who can listen to FOX News, talk on the cell phone, and read an article on the internet simultaneously.... AND he can tell you what he heard, what he said, and what he read!
Lucky for him he can do the test online now.... while he listens to FOX News and talks on the phone!
This morning started cold... 20 degrees and the wind is blowing... I'm wishing us to California! Quickly!
We made it to the Smurfit Container place for our delivery, early, like always! Our paper will now go on to it's final product stage from here.
Here's a picture of what we've been hauling for two days... and a picture of the only snow I could find....
I'm not disappointed about the snow but the truck ahead of us did have a little bit of a hard time pulling away from the dock because of the ice! It's funny how a thin sheet of ice can make this huge truck and all it's wheels not work right!
Being unloaded, I sent the empty call on the qualcomm and now we wait... but not for long, we've been preplanned to pick up in Council Bluffs, IA tomorrow at 1:30 pm and deliver in Cheyenne, WY on Tuesday afternoon.
Cool! I haven't been to Wyoming. Maybe Thanksgiving in Denver, CO???
We're going to go ahead and drive the 100 miles back to Council Bluffs, IA this afternoon, this way we can take a break and not have to get up really early tomorrow morning!
But... as fate would have it... at 9:00 p.m. the load gets cancelled or unassigned, as they say. So here we sit... waiting on the next beep beep... guess we won't be in WY or even close to CO for Thanksgiving... I just wonder...
According to Trapper we were finally loaded at 5:30 a.m. I must be getting accustomed to the truck rocking while they load it... I slept right through the process. Guess I was tired....
We are really heavy... 45,000 lb load.... but no mountains... we're only going to Sioux City, IA. I checked the weather and it looks like they are getting snow today. Will I see more snow?
We stopped in Joplin, MO... CFI Headquarters... to fuel and get the tractor and trailer inspected. This is a requirement if you are running through Joplin. Here we are in the inspection bay... our trailer has a seal leaking, so we have to get it fixed before leaving....
Trailer problem corrected we are back on our way. Kansas City, MO gas is $1.49. I don't remember the last time I saw gas this cheap. I did a double take!
Our legal driving limit is dictating we stop in Council Bluffs, IA for the night. We will have about 100 miles to drive in the morning to make our delivery in Sioux City, IA at 11:30 a.m.
Arriving at our Wal-Mart Distribution center at 7:30 a.m., they were quick to get us in and docked. Wal-Mart has got to be the safest place in the world for dock workers and truck drivers.
This one, in particular, you dock... and they make you pull completely away from the trailer and park in another location. They radio you when the trailer is empty but you can not hook back up until their yard dog pulls the trailer 4 ft. from the dock.
Successfully unloaded and en route to Hodge, LA to a place called Smurfit Stone Container. Process of elimination said we were picking up paper. The directions were sketchy, so we fall in behind a pulp truck and after a short CB radio conversation, he escorts us to the plant.
Our appointment was at 9:00 p.m., but the trip was going to be tight with the hours, so we went on early. The guard told us that the load would not be ready until at least 9 p.m. I guess keeping my fingers crossed didn't work.
To the truck stop for the rest of the day. Trapper slept and I cooked and played on the computer. Arriving back at the plant at 8:00 p.m. we were told it would be 11:00 p.m. and we were asked to park across the street and wait.
I was amazed when I saw this truck being unloaded. I have seen pictures of them unloading wood shavings like this, but never in person. The driver was still in the truck! I've never seen a hydraulic lift this big. I can't image them picking us up like that... everything would be falling everywhere in the truck. They were running trucks through this unloading process like cattle through an auction.
Finally, at 10:30 p.m. we are at the dock. I gave up around midnight and went to bed. I woke up a couple of times to see where we were but right back to sleep. This is going to be a long night...
Leaving Missouri this morning it was 24 degrees. Trapper notices on the bill of lading, under special instructions, "Prevent Freezing".... well isn't that sweet... we're suppose to prevent that how????
Today will be a 600 mile day. We're stopping in West Memphis, the terminal, to take showers and get fuel. Yes! I feel like I've been in the mountains camping in a pop up tent for three days. At this point a creek would look really good! But, it was my choice to skip them yesterday, the load came first.
Being "cooking challenged" by nature... my cooking creativity has been stretched to the max. The first week we were back out, I cheated because I cooked all kinds of food before we left home... this week I'm toughing it with the slow cooker and microwave.... but check this out.... tonight's dinner.... BBQ chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, and bread. All served up on a paper plate, real silverware, and a drink in a can. Challenging but do-able!
A couple of nights ago, I noticed the driver beside us with his atlas thrown on the steering wheel and a flashlight pointed at it. He was making notes on his dashboard pad. It dawned on me that he was mapping out his route. That's when I realized we are truly a spoiled breed of trucker's these days.
For us, we have all the essentials... coffee pot, laptop, GPS, microwave, fridge, tv, slow cooker, cell phones, and most of all storage room!
We have enough clothes for a week. Between us we have 7 pairs of shoes, 3 jackets, and I have duplicate "essentials." We carry enough groceries for at least a week and get aggravated when the cell phone or internet reception is bad. How things change, huh?
We are delivering in the morning at 9:00 a.m. and we'll be off to Hodge, La, 100 miles north. We are preplanned to deliver Monday in Sioux City, IA... cold weather here we come!
Don't let me forget my national "cheap" gas report.... today's winner, somewhere Mississippi... $1.57!! I wonder if I could store some of this in the truck and take it home with me.
We were in Nashville, TN this morning before I realized the truck was moving.
I managed to sleep through driving out of the truck stop, onto the interstate, and from Lebanon, TN to Nashville, TN. I opened my eyes, only because the truck was slowing down and the engine gets loud, and saw a Schneider Truck (the big orange ones) next to us and thought we were at a weigh station.... we were in rush hour traffic! Good Morning Nashville.
Slowly getting motivated... I managed to make it to my co-pilot seat and got settled in for the days run. Our appointment today is at 5:00 pm and we're taking it easy. Illinois makes your day longer.... 55 mph for trucks. Yippee!
We received a qualcomm message regarding a $20 receipt for lumpers on our last load. The company wasn't going to reimburse the charge... it was "unauthorized". On our end, it was necessary so we could get the load unloaded and get the paperwork back so we could send it to CFI so they (CFI) could collect their money for the load...
At this time we've received two qualcomm messages regarding this $20 and according to the last message there are four people involved in trying to "approve" this reimbursement.... CFI's payroll clerk had to talk to the CSR... who has to talk to the shipper... who has to talk to the lumper company... and then the messages have to take a reverse course and then "maybe" will get a call.... and find out if we'll be reimbursed or not.... and we wonder why the Auto Industry Big Wigs flew in on their private jets to beg for money?????? Why not spend thousands vs. hundreds....
I'll get off my "corporate waste" soap box....
We decided to forgo showers and go on to our delivery early. Arriving at 1:30 pm... turns out it was a drop and hook. Worked out perfectly for us... after we sent the unloaded call, we were immediately dispatched to Effingham, IL to pick up a load by 6:00 pm and deliver in Opelousas, LA on Saturday at 9:00 am.
Leaving Effingham, we're both already tired and knowing that we'll be pushed on this load, we're driving late tonight. Trapper and I were talking about the reaction time and distance it takes to stop this truck. The discussion came up due to idiotic drivers that think you can stop on a dime.
Anyway, driving I-55S, I'm settled in my seat and my mind is wandering... I look up and see a huge figure on the shoulder of the interstate, poised at the white line like a track runner waiting for the start gun.... I mutter... "Ahhh deer." Trapper says, "What's wrong?" I repeat myself a little louder, "DEER". By this time the deer has decided we would win the competition and turned back to the woods. Trapper applies the brakes all the while saying, "Where, where?" I said, "It's gone now."
The conversation went on for a minute... Trapper being a hunter, of course, the first question was, "Was it a buck or doe?" It's funny how a woman can say one thing and a man hears something totally different. Trapper thought I said, "Oh dear!" and he was questioning what I had forgotten or what had happened... Dear vs Deer??????
We're stopping in Missouri tonight and we're both ready to stop... never a dull moment!
Today started like any other morning... I wake up and don't have a clue where I am, what time it is, or what state I'm in. After the "Good Mornings" then come my onslaught of questions to Trapper... "Where are we, what state, and what time is it?"
Actually I'm not that bad... it does start running together at times.
We began our day nice and easy. Trapper was up early having "his" time and I took my brisk morning walk to the truck stop. We knew we wouldn't have to leave early, we didn't pick up our load until 1:00 pm. and we only had to drive about 60 miles.
Arriving early, like always, our shipper decided they would go ahead and start loading us. I did my daily chores and walked over to Dollar General while we were waiting.
Loaded and leaving came around 2:00 pm and we started toward IL. We don't deliver until 5:00 pm on Thursday, so we have plenty of time. Trucking is like any other job... busy days and not so busy days.
We decided to stop at the Pilot Travel in Lebanon, TN. This is a huge truck stop. I think it will hold 100 trucks and it is full!
Before I started riding with Trapper, I read a lot of blogs from girlfriends, wives, etc. and they were all worried about "lot lizards" and their significant other's fidelity. Well, 10 total weeks on the road, I had not seen the first lot lizard and then came tonight!
There she was walking down the long line of trucks, knocking on every door that had the cab lights on. I read somewhere once that Tennessee didn't have lot lizards... they were all volunteers! (Tennessee Vol's... get it?)
Anyway, on a more serious note, earlier today, there was a girl at the first truck stop trying to get a ride to PA. She didn't have anything with her other than the clothes on her back and a cell phone. She was asking every driver that walked by if they were headed to Pa. She most likely would have gotten in the truck with anyone.
It makes you stop and wonder what it was that put these girls in the position they are in... bad luck, bad judgement, bad choices... how will they get out of their predicament... do they want out... do they have family or friends...
There's probably a time in every one's life that we all make the "bad" calls... it's what you do with it that matters. My own life... I've helped a lot of people... in different ways and when I needed it the most and probably realized it the least... the favor was returned to me a hundred times over... I wonder if the girl this morning is on her way to PA tonight...
It's a different world on the road. You see a lot of things that you would never otherwise see. It puts a different perspective on life.
Early this morning we were at Technibilt to pick up our load headed to the Bronx, NY. I got up early (imagine that) and went over the maps again and the gps. Trapper and I agreed (with help from google earth) on our route. We agreed that we didn't want to get into the Bronx tonight, so we were going to stop at the last service area on the NJ Turnpike... just before crossing into NY. This way we could be in and out of NY... bypassing traffic and problems. Solid plan!
Everything was set, we were loaded, and leaving! Yes! I could see myself wearing my "I Love NY" sweatshirt in a couple of days! I could see my pictures that I knew I would take!
And then it happened.... we drive 3 miles, stop at a red light, take off from the red light, and we are all of a sudden coasting down Hwy 321 in Newton, NC! That's right... the truck completely turned off... no gauges... no power under the hood.
Hwy 321 is four lane so luckily we were coasting in the far right lane and then we were stopped in the right hand lane. We tried a couple of things.... still nothing... Trapper gets out and puts the triangles out behind us and then calls the service department of CFI.
A qualcomm message confirmed a wrecker was on it's way and a second qualcomm message confirmed that my hopes of going to NYC were just reassigned to another truck!
My picture taking for today started with this... the wrecker backing up to us to pull us away from our trailer. Our trailer was taken to a safe place by a different truck.
Four or five hours later we are back in the truck. We had blown a huge relay fuse caused by two of our four batteries being bad and the other two were really low.
Earlier today our relay driver showed up and took our trailer onto Bronx, NY tonight. We have his empty trailer and are headed to the nearest truck stop.
We've been dispatched to pick up on Wednesday in Old Fort, NC and deliver Thursday in Nashville, IL.
I'm a little bummed because we didn't get to "the city" but we didn't for a reason. Everything does happen or does not happen for a reason. This is a job, first and foremost... but the vacationing/siteseeing side is a perk!
For the curious readers... no compensation for days like this... you make money when the truck is moving... being towed doesn't count.
The bright side is that this didn't happen in NYC, we are rested and ready, and maybe the jinx is broken now!
I'm still (secretly) wishing us to California!
The last 10 weeks have taken us to Canada twice (he doesn't particularly care for crossing into Canada), North Dakota two times, the Gulf Coast dodging a hurricane, and the state of New York a couple of times.
Before we left North Dakota, I told him I was "wishing us" to Florida... we made it as far south as North Carolina. Keep this in mind for a minute....
Today, our lumpers knocked on the tractor door around 5:00 am to announce they were finished unloading us. Way cool... I slept through it. I can hear Trapper up and around, closing the trailer doors, etc, and I knew we were rolling... so, I turned over and back to sleep. It was 5:30 am and I saw no sense in me getting up. The truck stop was only 8 miles away.
The truck stops, I think we're at the truck stop. I stay in bed.
As the cab is getting lighter (from the sun coming up) I yell to the front to ask him where we are. I'm always confused. He says we're right outside the delivery place. That was wierd but I turned over again.
A few minutes later, I hear a strange man's voice telling him we can't stay parked here. He agrees and the truck starts moving again. Silly man (Trapper) had been sitting on the road (right next to the driveway of Aldi's ) reading an article online for 2 hours! Some days you just don't feel like driving first thing in the morning.
Eight miles later we are now at the truck stop! Showers will be had soon! But, business first... we are number 2 on the board, 16 trucks in NC with 16 more inbound. We are wondering if we will be leaving today or do I need to call friends or parents to come get us for a while.
Our best bet was to shower, gather the laundry, and get it done. Again, the qualcomm never dispatches you while you are sitting in the truck... we must leave the truck. (LOL)
Showers done, we are feeling great. The laundry was in the process of doing and we decided to eat breakfast and hang out for a little while. Trapper returned to the truck and I stayed with the laundry.
A truck was would be nice right now too... the salt/slag has us looking like we were on a trail this week.
"Why are you looking at NYC?", I subtly asked. His reply was just as subtle, "You jinxed us." I busted out laughing, "We are NOT going to NYC!" His subtle reply again, "Yes we are."
I grabbed the notepad and the qualcomm... "Oh gosh, we are.", was all I could say.
I automatically, being a 10 week trucking wonder, jump into my trip mode. "I need to check the weather, check the map, set the gps, where do we pick up, when do we deliver..." I could have gone on with the statement/questions, but he was getting that look on his face. You know the look ladies... it's the "I'm ignoring you look."
I checked the map out tonight, after he went to sleep... we can't go the way the map wants us to go, we run right into a traffic circle in the Bronx... we should stay on the BIG roads.... for my sanity and my picture taking!
We are at our pick up place tonight... Sears Logisitics in Hickory, NC and headed to NEW YORK CITY tomorrow~ good weather, good road conditions, and good directions, I hope.
Keep your fingers crossed!
Ok, so, we left Fargo, ND and made it to MN on Friday.
Saturday and Sunday have taken us through WI, IN, IL, OH, WV, VA, and we have landed in Salisbury, NC.... two hours from my hometown. So close and yet so far....
9 states, 1600 (give or take a few) miles, 2 time zones, cold, snow, sleet, cold, rain, mountains and the wagon trail... we are safe and sound in NC.
Driving through WVa there is a 6-7 mile stretch coming down the mountains that has these warning signs posted every mile or so. What a humbling feeling... You are in a vehicle weighing 80,000 pounds, larger than anything on the road, yet more vulnerable... in a lot of ways...
Driving our legal limit of 11 hours for two days... takes its toll. Arriving in NC late and trying to find a truck stop is near impossible. On I-77 there are only a lot of small and medium, which are a nightmare to get in and out of. We decided to go on to our delivery spot... Aldi's Warehouse (grocery warehouse). It was right off the interstate so very easy to find. We are a little gun shy because of the event in North Dakota...
This place was very organized and plenty of room. Everywhere should be this easy... We arrived at the guard shack around 8:00 pm, we don't deliver until 5:00 am tomorrow morning. The guard whips out a piece of paper and says, "Pull to dock 22, slide your tandems to the rear, open the doors and back up to the dock. The lumpers (contracted unloaders) will knock on your door when they are finished unloading you in the morning." Room Service, I guess! This was great!
Now... point me in the direction of the showers....
On the way through North Dakota, we entered a small town named Rugby. I also noticed a state marker sign boasting to be the "Geographical Center of North America."
Today I finally had a chance to look this up on the internet and I am proud to know that I have now been to the geographical center of North America. I will strike it off my bucket list!
It is an interesting story, but too long for me to type... check it out at http://roadsideamerica.com/
We were dispatched early this morning to go to Fargo, ND to pick up a load of sugar that will be delivered in Salisbury, NC on Monday morning. S-w-e-e-t 1300 mile trip (no pun intended). We were dead headed 354 miles from Minot, ND to Fargo, ND.
The temperature was COLD, to me, which equates to about 32 degrees to everyone else. We are empty, the wind is howling, and it is sleeting... As much as I talk about snow, you'd think I love it. I do love it when I'm walking in it. Ice, really scares me. If I were in NC right now, living my old life, I would be going back to bed because I would not be out in the mess.
However; I love this life, and I will don my jacket and boots and push through it. Today will take us through ND and probably to the east side of MN. This is going to be a tight trip because of pick up and delivery times so I already know we'll be pushing our legal hours.
Good Morning picture from Minot, ND... you can laugh now. I'm from the south! This snow/ice stuff makes me nervous!!
I will never get tired of these windmills. The rain/sleet/snow had stopped by this part of the trip, and although Minnesota has lovely landscape, the ride is horrible. I know there will be bumps but I-94 is what the pioneers must have endured on the wagon trains.
We bounced for a solid 200 miles. I had to stop and wonder what exactly the state does with the tolls they collect. They have awesome rest areas... maybe that is it!
In my 10 weeks on the road, I've never had a day that I wanted out of this truck so bad! And it wasn't just me... Trapper jumped into his Mountain Man character with all the whip sounds and yee-hawing! I think he was having fun with it. Maybe he saw the look of distress in my eyes!
Once we were relieved of the I-94 adventure.... we stopped and called it a day! Never a dull moment!
Today was one of those days you have to write home about. This is what trucking is all about!
Let me set the stage... yesterday my main concern was seeing snow, right? Ok... I saw some snow and I was pretty at ease all day... I had all my maps done, looked over the directions again, and I was confident we wouldn't have any problems.
We had driven almost our legal limit for the day and we were both getting rather tired (yes, riding is tiresome too). Our directions were sketchy (in our opinion). The "ship to" address and the written directions from our dispatch didn't match at all, according to the map. We knew we would really have to pay attention the closer we got.
Well, ND is dark at night... really really dark... at night. I have the map up and I'm looking at the highway signs.... our directions said "west on hwy 19"... the highway sign shows 19 going all directions, the gps is screaming for us to right! Common sense says... if you are traveling due NORTH then LEFT is WEST!
There's a state sign with names of cities on it, right in front of us, with arrows pointing every which way and a hwy 19 sign... ok great... this road is not on the map... gps still saying turn right... directions saying turn west... Trapper says, "Do you think this is it? Is this where we turn?".... That question was like me asking him, "Do you think I look fat in these jeans?" There was no right answer... We debated and finally agreed to turn left.
Thinking all was good... it was asphalt after all... for about 50 feet and around a curve... then it turned into a gravel, ice, snow, slush mess! "Stop!" was the only word I could get out.... "Just stop!" We stopped and just looked at each other.... and looked around....
Uh oh... wrong turn. Now what? It is pitch black outside. He's using the big beam light to see if there is anything ahead.... there's not.... he gets out and walks a quarter mile to check out the road... no where to turn around... we are off the map according to our gps... looked like we were in the middle of a field... and the windchill is probably 20 degrees. So, the only choice was to back up.... back through the bend... back out on the road. Sounds much easier than it was. Twenty minutes (or so) we're back on the road.
Our turn was the NEXT left!
The directions from here were.... turn west on hwy 19 (we did) and turn south between mile marker 116 and 115, customer 2 miles on left. We know we're carrying insulation but we're beginning to wonder where to???
We drive down hwy 19, see the mile markers, but don't turn. We are just not sure what is going on. With the "ship to" address and delivery directions not matching we are kind of skittish. We talked about it, reread all the information and decided to turn around and turn on the street between the mile markers.
We are now on another gravel, snow, ice, slush mess road in the middle of North Dakota! We drive 2 miles and there's a building that appears on our left. It has a construction materials on the outside, so we assume this is it. We stopped!
Trapper sent the "at customer" message on the Qualcomm and then called CFI headquarters. Our gps is showing us off the map... the dispatcher found us on the gps at headquarters and gave us directions out of there back to the main road, just in case.
By this time, we were exhausted and couldn't wait for the sun to come up so we could actually see where we were.
Now... Thursday morning... sun's up... and there's nothing around here for miles. Turns out, this is a building supply company and we were simply delivering insulation. They unloaded us, by hand and gave us directions back to hwy 19. There are pictures in the movie... you'll see what I mean. There is nothing.
Our second delivery was at Minot Builders Supply in Minot, ND, 98 miles away. Our directions... hwy 2 west, start downhill, turn right on the street half way down hill, if come to rail road bridge you have gone to far.
I wanted new directions! But, we made it fine to this place. When you look at the pictures, notice the docking procedures here. We docked at the outside dock first and then had to squeeze into the enclosed dock. Luckily there was enough room to turn around. When we drove in, I told Trapper, "I hope you don't have to dock between the scaffolding and trailer". Well.... he did...
Leaving Minot, ND to Stanley, ND was only 55 miles and pretty country. Stanley is making a stand in the shell oil industry so their economy is good for now. I snapped a couple of pictures of oil wells and the picture of the hay bails. I've noticed in some western states they will bail the hay on the side of the interstate too!
Our directions to Stanley were good. The map was even in concurrence. It was another construction delivery. Making site deliveries in an 18 wheeler! I thought they would just unload the trailer and put the insulation on the ground but no.... the man asked Trapper.... "Can you back up to the trailer and we'll throw a piece of wood across and unload you?" Trapper did just that... perfectly squared us up on the first try and got close enough so the guys could use a piece of plywood to walk back and forth.
Leaving there, our day was done.
In an earlier blog I wrote about the computer work and paperwork that goes along with this job... keep in mind... all these stops required a delivery receipt, 4 Qualcomm messages at varies stages, and the directions and maps. If you were solo, you'd have to do this and drive in a strange place!
Finishing our deliveries, we're headed back to Minot, ND (where we saw a decent truck stop.) At times, because of time limitations, you don't have time or there is no where to shower. Well, it's like camping... which I will use Diane's words (owner of Heads Carolina Tails California blog)... not the kind of camping in the RV towing the car and all the amenities... at times this is like real camping! Showers are our second priority today!!
As the night settled.... showers taken... Trapper treated me to not cooking tonight (thank you!) and we've settled in the truck. I took a nap earlier this afternoon so I am still up at 2:00 a.m. and he's zonked!
The weather report is calling for snow showers here tomorrow... Friday... I just looked at the weather map and it's snowing in Stanley, where we delivered earlier today 50 miles west. I just noticed it's raining now and but the temperature is 36... no problem. I hope snow showers means the same in ND as it does NC... just a little snow...
We're on the board and hoping to get back on the road tomorrow to somewhere.... you never know until the beep, beep!!
Our Wednesday started around 7:30 a.m. Today will take us through IA, SD, and to ND.
Stopping at a rest area outside of Sioux City, IA, I snapped this shot of two trucks carrying blades for windmills. I'm still fascinated with these things. We've seen several on this trip... I'm glad our load is only 53'.
We have no "goof off" time on this trip, so our stopping is at a minimal. Truck stops in North Dakota are a premium (atleast on I 29). Trying to preplan our stopping is difficult once in a while. We're on I94, getting off on Hwy 281, and then onto State Road 19. Our directions state we're suppose to turn between two mile markers! Keep your fingers crossed that we find the place.
Two stops on Thursday... Minot, ND (further northwest) and then Stanley, ND (further west). We'll both be tired tonight.
Here's a little movie of traveling through Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota today. Look for the snow!
Just point us in the direction of the freight....
We delivered this morning in Dallas, TX and we were dead headed to Wichita, KS (dead head... you're running empty but getting paid for it) around 8:00 am. Ok, not too bad. I sat the map and gps.
About 100 miles down the interstate, we were sent a message to go to Kansas City, MO instead of Wichita. Ok.... reset the map and gps.
About 20 miles down the road, we were sent a message to go to Kansas City, KS to pick up a load that will be delivered in Esmond, ND on Thursday. OK.... do the maps again!
What a day already!!!! If you were running solo, you'd have to drive, read messages, figure your hours to make sure you could take the load, and set the maps. Some qualcomm's are set were you can't use it while the truck is rolling (for safety reasons, obviously.)
I had just told Trapper a few days ago that I wanted to go "where they measure snow in feet NOT inches!" I was only kiddin'.... I just read the email from my mom saying, "I hope you guys don't have to go to ND!" Oh gosh... here we go to ND. Be careful what you wish for... it might come true!
Before I started riding, I told Trapper I wanted to go the Gulf Coast and to Canada. Within the first month... we were at the Gulf Coast dodging hurricanes and Canada... twice... east coast to west..! Maybe I'll wish us to the Bahamas!
This trip will add two more states to my list. This is my 9th week and I've been in 37 states. We have covered some ground together.
I left TX yesterday with shorts and flip flops on... it was 90 degrees... the truck says it's 48 degrees (here in Kansas) and the high in Esmond, ND is 27 degrees for today. I'll be proud of these snow boots! I think I will put the flip flops up for a few days! The irony behind the boots is that I've never needed a pair of shoes for the snow or cold. I hate jackets, typically I don't wear them, and shorts are my favorite attire. My friends will get a kick out of this.
Today has taken us through TX, OK, KS, MO, and we'll stop just barely into IA. I29 runs right through the edges of these states... keeping up with where we are is a trick. I've noticed the midwestern and western states have silhouettes of the state on the state hiway signs... I've also realized I DON'T recognize some of the states shapes. Sad....
We found the place in Kansas City, KS and picked up our loaded trailer. We made it straight there and straight out! No navigational hazards!!
Here are a couple of pictures for today. The stadium in Dallas... "Home of the Cowboys" and Oklahoma City, OK. Maybe we'll see a little snow tomorrow!
Of course we were dispatched. Trapper was back in the truck about 10 minutes and beep beep goes off. Qualcomm law states.... you will not get dispatched while you are in the truck waiting... you must exit the truck and go do something... when you return you will get dispatched!
Time to get ready to go... make sure everything is secure and directions for where you're going. Answer all the qualcomm messages and send a couple of messages.... finally... you will be rolling.
On the way to do laundry... and get breakfast taco's... this morning gas is $1.79! Gas dropped .10 overnight. Cool~
Today is laundry, showers, and clean the truck out... a friend of ours, that drives for CFI, is enroute to Laredo, TX so we'll all be going out to dinner.
Trapper's son, turned the BIG 21 today~ Happy Birthday!! My son can't wait to turn 21... a few more months child... a few more months....
We're number 41 now so it will be Monday before we leave. We'll have a reset on our hours and be rested.
Eric, our other driver friend, was talking about being in southern California and as he was leaving the lot the security guard stopped him.... he had 2 passengers... of the illegal type.... hiding behind the wind scoop on top of the cab!!!! Who would have ever thought... they'll be adding that to the pre trip inspection! I know I'll be looking from now on.
We went to Outback Steakhouse for dinner. Great food. Lousy service!!! The service was so bad it became funny. We won't be going back there.
We deliver our trailer to the broker in the morning and then maybe we'll get back on the road.
I'm not really moving, but get a look at the gas prices here! I never thought I'd live to see gas below $2 a gallon.
We've arrived in Laredo, TX, checked in at the terminal, and we are number 55 on the board! Guess we'll be here for the rest of the weekend.
That's ok... it's 88 degrees here and the humidity isn't too bad. I can handle this. I wish I'd brought another pair of shorts now....
We were in the Dakota's a couple of weeks ago... I was looking at pictures of all the snow earlier today.... glad we're not there...
Dinner time... time to cook!
We decided to bust butt to get to Laredo, TX so hopefully we can get out of Laredo quickly.
I love crossing the Mississippi River between TN and AR. Finally I had a clear day to snap a picture. The other few times it's been raining or at night. It's the simple things in life!
Today has been long for both of us. Having a week off and then getting adjusted to being back out on the road is tougher than it sounds.
Trapper says I'm a little cranky today... actually he's right. I think it's because for the past 2-3 days we've only been running short amounts... this is the longest day since we came back to work. We'll both survive, no doubt, but it does take a little bit of time to get readjusted.
Lancaster, TX in sight.... we are finished for the day!
This is crazy! Going to bed before we stopped last night has messed me up! I wake up, peer out the window and don't have a clue where we are! Talk about disoriented!
Trapper's still asleep, so I slip out and go into the store. We were stopped at an old country store. I walked in, looked around, found the restroom and wandered back out in to the store. I got coffee and had to ask where I was! The clerks looked at me kinda wide-eyed! Then one spoke up and told me I was in Etheridge, TN.
Ok, great, at least I know where I am!!
Back to the truck, coffee in hand, Trapper's up and we're moving again. We have to deliver at 10 a.m. We find the place with no problem, get unloaded, and then we have to find a place to park so we can sit and wait on our next dispatch.
We're obviously in an Amish area.... We saw several horse and buggies tied to the light post and going down the streets. This sparked a whole conversation regarding the Amish.
You have to wonder if they don't have the right idea! (My daughter told me if you click on these pictures... you can see a large picture, Thanks Sam!)
Our dispatch came and now we're headed to White Bluff, TN. It's only 83 miles and the Streets and Maps and our Garmin GPS have two different ideas on how we should go. We're going to choose the way with the largest roads!
It's 2:30 pm when we received the preplan and we don't pick up until tomorrow at 7:30 a.m. We're going to head on over today though. According to the truck stop book, there are only two medium truck stops in that area. If you don't arrive early, you'll be looking for a parking lot or wide spot.
Ok, so... wide spot in the road will be the stopping place for tonight. The truck stops are full. Mediums should be called Large Small. The one we drove through was tiny. Truck stops are really not that abundant. Til tomorrow.....
Wednesday morning and we are ready to go! Trapper put us on the board early this morning so we are waiting.
The qualcomm finally beeped around 8:00 a.m.... our first dispatch, YES! It's always exciting pushing the button to see where your preplan is taking you!
Our preplan... 12 miles down the road! We just looked at each other.... we are picking up in the town adjacent to where we live and we don't pick up until 9 p.m.
Ok, so we drive over to the place. We'll be hauling ink, hazmat load, ultimately delivering in Lawrenceburg, TN. They told us it would be fine to drop the empty trailer and they will load us when we get back tonight.
Thank goodness we live close by. At least we can go back home for the day. I decided to make the best of being home and went ahead cooked the meat we were taking with us. I cooked for about 6 hours, froze the meat, and packed it all back in the fridge.
Trapper, knowing he will end up driving all night, made the wise decision to nap. I picked up a couple more items at the house, and about 8:00 pm we were off to get our load.
Arriving at our pick up was tricky. It's a small plant with a tiny, strange laid out parking lot and dock. This was again, one of the times I don't see how drivers do what they do.
We were loaded quickly, right on time, and then we had to send the hazmat info to CFI headquarters and put the "flammable" stickers on the trailer. We left around 10:30 pm and headed toward Lawrenceburg, TN. I made it just west of Knoxville, TN and I had to call it a night. I was exhausted...maybe I should have napped instead of cooking??? Around 2:00 a.m. I had to say goodnight. Thank goodness I-40 is smooth... I couldn't even tell the truck was moving.
Wow! Our time at home is coming to a close. We're both ready to get back on the road.
It was a good break overall. I had so many stories to share with everyone. It's hard to explain what life is like on the road...
Tuesday night, 10 pm we're headed over to the truck stop. We'll go on the board in the morning and see where we're going next...