Come along for the Ride!

I am so glad you are here. Stay with us as we travel everywhere. I hope you will enjoy the ride.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Part two (scroll down and read part one first)

We found a place to park and sleep and actually got a good night’s rest before our pickup.
Monday morning dawned bright and clear, the first for many days. We even got a good glimpse of Mt. Ranier. Although I didn’t have any opportunities to get any pictures.
We drove to our pickup and got loaded. We were hauling 190 pounds all the way to Ok. City. It didn’t take long to get loaded but the paperwork was the glitch. We were hauling a high security load so every I had to be dotted and every T had to be crossed.
And then we were moving away from Seattle. It seemed melancholy somehow to finally be leaving the west. I really didn’t mind being out here if I wasn’t wanting to get home so bad. And Seattle is a lovely city. The winters are mild with temperatures averaging between 30 and 40, and summers between 70 and 80, it is almost perfect; that is, if you can tolerate the moss that seems to thrive everywhere.
We were traveling Route 90, past the truckstop where we “lived” while there and then further and further east. But first, we had to climb Mt. Baker. It appeared to be a whole other place. The snow was heavy and thick and beautiful. The day was still bright and sunny even up on the mountains so the views were outstanding. And the roads were clear.
I drove first and drove through Washington and Oregon, retracing our path from one month ago when we came west. Shortly after entering Idaho Pops began to drive.
At the Utah line he started to have snow and it was beginning to stick to the roads.
I woke up because I felt the motion of the truck had stopped. “Where are we?” I asked. He told me that we were in Evanston, Wy and that Interstate 80 was closed due to the weather. I got up and took the dogs out and then laid back on the bed and listened to road conditions on the radio. After about an hour, we were told that we were allowed to travel. Pops continued slowly on the bad roads. I slept, waking every once in a while and seeing the big flakes pound against the windshield. 
In the early morning I realized that once again the truck was stopped. We were at a rest area. Pops was out of driving time. It wasn’t snowing now, but the roads did not look good. I figured that I better get moving cause I would rather drive without snow than with it.
I did have some snow, sometimes real hard. The roads were horrible. We saw a truck that had jack-knifed in the road. Then the wind picked up and visibility was minimal. I kept going though. I didn’t want to stop unless they closed the road and I was hoping that that wouldn’t happen.
It was hard to enjoy the scenery in conditions like this but we did see a lot of antelope. We saw some mule deer too and even saw 3 elk.
The roads seemed to improve once we reached Laramie and then by the time we got to Cheyenne they were good. The roads were bare and there wasn’t much snow anywhere. We were now over the mountains and was now heading south.
Once we reached Denver we then began heading east again. It was so good to see the Rocky Mountains in my mirrors. I do really love the beauty of the mountains, but not when the weather is bad or when it is dark.
Now we were in Kansas and boy, is it windy. When we stopped for a break at a rest area I heard about tornadoes. They were hitting somewhere in Kansas but I didn’t hear where. But as I drove I watched so many tumbleweeds rolling across the road.
Then it was Pops’ turn to drive and I went to bed. I woke up when we reached Ok. City. We were parked and had 5 hours until our delivery. I took the dogs out and then went back to sleep. When I woke up next I fixed us breakfast of bacon, eggs and homefries. Yummy!
We delivered at an Air Force Base and didn’t have any trouble there, except for Lucy not wanting to allow the guards to inspect the inside of our truck. What a guard dog. Haha
We were sent to Tulsa for our layover and were offered several high paying loads but they were either going to California or Texas. One was going to Edmonton, AB, CA. No thanks, we want to go east.
So we waited until we were called and told to go at once to a nearby clinic for a drug screen, both of us. What are the chances of both of us being pulled for a random drug test at the same time? Really!!
When we got back to the truckstop and found a parking space I noticed that right in front of us was a truck that had burnt. The hood and the roof was all burnt up. So I spent the afternoon watching them come inspect that truck, take pictures, transfer the load to another truck, and then load the burnt truck onto a flat bed and take it away. Wow, that was something. I’m glad I wasn’t here while it was burning.
We got a load offer picking up here in Tulsa and going to Minneapolis for tomorrow night. We debated whether to accept or not and decided that it was probably the best strategy for moving us east. We didn’t have any eastward load offers here and we usually get  Chicago load offers from there. It’s a gamble, but we took it. Now we have to avoid the snow and the tornadoes.

Last week in the West Part 1

So we were looking at spending the weekend in Lodi, CA which is near Sacrmento. There is a flying J truckstop there that we like to go to. There was another Fedex truck there and we barely saw them all weekend, they stayed in their truck and kept to themselves. But so do we most of the time.
We did go inside to do laundry and had two loads of clothes with only washing machine available so needless to say it took awhile. But we had good company while in there. There was a woman driver also doing her clothes. She ran team with her husband until his death and then continued on her own. I had a lot of admiration for her. I would not want to be out here alone. She was from Oklahoma and was very nice to spend time with.
Then later another couple came in. They were also expediters but for a different company. They owned their own truck and was doing dedicated military runs. They were very happy with their jobs.
We started to wonder if perhaps we should consider buying our own truck. But with the economy it is scary to think about the risk.
We had spent two other weekends in this place and so we knew that there is no church near. So we held our own services as we sometimes have to do. But we had a good discussion and lesson with each other and of course had communion. We gave our offering to a man in need of money because it was a holiday (presidents day) weekend and he was out of money until Tuesday.
The weather was absolutely beautiful. It was 68 degrees and sunny.
On Monday around noon we decided to take our truck to get some lights fixed and while on our way there we got a load offer. It was going back to Seattle again. We accepted and got the load so as soon as our lights were fixed we took off.
I was driving first and so I was going through the flatlands of route 5 in California. I began to see many rabbits along the highway. At one point in time I saw 17 rabbits in the space of 1 mile, no kidding! That’s a lot of rabbits.
The roads were good and once we reached Weed near Mt. Shasta Bill started to drive. I went to sleep and woke up somewhere just before we reached our delivery destination and began to drive again.
Our destination was very near the airport in Seattle. We saw a lot of huge airplanes.
Before we even got that load delivered we were offered another dispatch picking up immediately and delivering just 10 miles away. It was going to take about 45 minutes total pickup to delivery and the money was good so we accepted.
So just a short time later we were parking at the truckstop. Our usual place that we like at that truckstop wasn’t free so we parked in front of the restaurant. It was a pretty full lot because the mountain pass had caused the interstate to be closed.
It was raining really hard and the threat of avalanches was great.
We stayed in the truck only getting out when absolutely necessary. Even the dogs didn’t want to get out because of the rain.
Toward evening I thought that a piece of pie sounded good so I went inside to get some. They had apple so I ordered that and brought it back to the truck. It looked so good. I took a bite and something wasn’t right. I took another bite and realized that it tasted like onions. I looked at Pops and asked if he thought that it tasted like onions. He said it did and so that was that. We didn’t eat the pie. I didn’t want to go back in since it was raining so hard.
The next day, Thursday, we sat around all day waiting for a load. None came. Friday we waited some more and again none came.
Saturday I was getting bored with movies and it was still raining and still no loads. I asked Pops if we could go inside to eat just to get out of the truck for awhile. So we did. While in there I told the waitres about our “onion pie.” So she gave pie and ice cream for free to take back to the truck with us when we left.
Our frustration with not having a load was getting to be real testing. I was beginning to have second thoughts about this job. At the same time one of our friends back home has just gotten hired with Fedex doing what we do and I was happy for her.
We are not getting a load. It is almost 2 months since we’ve been home. It has been more than 3 weeks since we have crossed west of the Rocky Mts. It is pouring down rain keeping us trapped in this truck. My tv won’t come in because of the weather. My movie selection is limited. And I want to cry, out loud.
Finally, finally we got a load offer. And it was going east, across the mountains!!!! We accepted and waited for what seemed a really long time before we found out that we did get the load. It was picking up on Monday and going to Oklahoma City for Wednesday. It was a military load and that scared us because they sometimes cancel at the last minute so we didn’t want to get our hopes up but at the same time we wanted to have high hopes.
We found a church that was very close to where we would be picking up so we decided to go there. We got up early and showered and then drove to church. It was a small church but they had about 85 people and they were the friendliest group of people we ever met.  I would say out of 85 people, 75 came up and talked to us.
We found out that their evangelist had passed away suddenly about 6 months ago so their elders were filling in behind the pulpit. The Sunday School teacher was a young man, Ben Faulkner was his name. He was very educated and taught a really good lesson on the church of Ephesus.
After Sunday School the main worship started and they had a praise team like many churches do now. The singing in this congregation was amazing. I just couldn’t get over it. They sounded like they were 500 people. The rounds in the verses and the harmony was great. And the young girl that played the keyboard was really good.
The sermon was brought by Howard Herndon. He is one of the elders there. He spoke on Balaam and his donkey and how we need to be looking for God’s direction and not following after our own desires. Balaam knew God’s laws, he knew what God wanted but chose to be disobedient for sordid gain. It was a good sermon and reminded us to be alert and watchful that we don’t fall away.
We found out that they would be having Sunday evening services and so planned to come back and attend.
During the afternoon we found a Walmart and restocked our groceries.
After that we drove back to the church parking lot and took a Sunday nap. That is until we heard, “boom, boom, boom.” What is the world? Pops got up and saw that some kids were bouncing a ball off the side of our truck. But once they saw him they took off fast…and left their ball. Hahaha that sounds like something I would’ve done when I was a kid.
Sunday evening service was good. It was more of a Bible study. We studied an eye for eye, retribution. We had a good discussion and I was impressed with everyone’s participation. We spent some extra time that evening getting to better know some of those there.  Of course we loved meeting Howard and his wife, Sieg and his wife and daughter, Robert Taylor and his mom and sister. I love making new Christian friends but when we drove away that evening I had that sadness inside that I might not ever get to see them again this side of Heaven. But there’s always Facebook or in the case of Sieg, email.

Burnt truck

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ice Caps and Fog

Up and Down the West Coast

We only had two loads during the week and one picked up close by us. It was at a well known glass factory and we were headed to Snohomish, WA. That is just outside of Seattle.
We were carrying empty glass bottles and they were going to a distillery.
So we drove the now familiar Rt. 5 back up the coast and at one point it began to snow hard and just as we passed the chain up area they turned on the lights and began to enforce the chaining up. We continued on up and over at a slow pace but without any problems. Pops is a good snowy road driver.
We reached our destination very early the next morning and no one was waiting for us. It was a small storefront shop in the middle of a very small town and didn't look at all like we thought a distillery would look like. So we waited several hours before someone showed up to unload us. There was no dock so we had to use our liftgate and the owners forklift to get the tall stacked bottles off the truck. But finally it was done. I went back to the cab of the truck to finish up the paperwork while Pops went inside with the owner to return his pallet jack. He got a quick tour of the distillery.
He told me that they use Yukon Gold potatoes and cook them and grind them and then they ferment them for 4 days. Then they go into the still and after the distilling process the liquid comes out as beer. Then it is distilled for a second time and it becomes whiskey or vodka depending on the ingredients used.
Now I wonder why someone wastes good potatoes on alcohol, but obviously it is very much in demand.
We then drove to the TA truckstop at the base of Mt. Baker. We were here about a week ago. It is a beautiful area and a nice truckstop.
Pops needed to sleep and I sat and read so as not to disturb him. I gazed out at the mountains too. It was a foggy day and the trees at the high elevations were covered in thick ice. It was a sight. Normally we see the mountain caps covered in snow but the ice was a sight to behold. It made everything look silvery. As the day wore on I keep taking pictures of the same mountains as the fog surrounded them.
The next day we got a load picking up in Portland, OR and going back to down Rt. 5 to Oakland, CA. It was a pickup at another glass factory. The same name just different town. It was going to a glass factory also.
So we picked up and drove through the night.
As we were driving to our destination in Oakland we passed areas and streets that I had visited many years ago when my son, Tom, was in the Coast guard here. Pops got to see the skyline of the city of San Francisco, and the Bay Bridge.
Now we are once again away from the city and nearer to Sacramento at the same truckstop that we were at earlier in the week.
I don't mind being on the west coast as long as we can keep moving but it is time to go home. We haven't been home since Dec. 27th. I am homesick. Sometimes I just about can't bear it. I pray that God will line us up for trips heading east. I have asked others to pray also.
I even contacted our company and asked if there is anything they can do to help us out.
I hope that something works out for us soon.