Wed. is a long way and long day

Yesterday we did get loaded but it was a bit of trial and error to get the job done. The first problem that arose,  was the two machines were alittle too long for what the permits would allow so the shipper took the torch and cut off some of the fittings etc. that just didn’t need to be on the machines. For example: overhang on the front of the trailer with the trailer being stretched out all the way on the fifth wheel, was 39″. States will only allow 36″ so something had to give. Then with the last machine  bumped up against the front machine, the overhang over the back could only be 4 foot and it was 5′, so they worked to get that machine  closer to the first. Eventually, it all went on. About 45,000#  together making the load about 78,000# total which is fine. 80,000# is legal. I eased out of the driveway and scaled out at the local truckstop ($10.00) and we were on our way. About 130 miles into the drive, the permit  dept called and said Ca, would not permit this load because it was multiple pieces and they wouldn’t permit the overhang on the back so  it took about 1 1/2 hours to figure out that when I get to Nevada, the agent  would have to get another truck to haul the last machine thru Ca. and then they would release a permit for one machine. By that time , it was getting close to late afternoon and I was looking for the place we would stay for the nite and figure about how far I could make it today and still get it off on Thurs late afternoon or early Fri, morn and still be able to load the next load before Fri. afternoon so we don’t have to sit for the weekend.  The deadhead (unloaded miles) will be about 150 miles  so that’s 3 hours at best in LA traffic alone…….  I know of a place in Mt. that will work for the nite. And there was a good watering hole right there too!!!

About 250 miles—Happy Trails1
   Today is going to have to run  like clockwork if I am going to be at the Nevada border by nightfall. I am still 60 miles or so from the Idaho border, then Utah, and i’m heavy. It’s pitch dark out yet but I have to get started and get 25 or gal. of fuel just to get me down to Idaho Falls where I can fill and aquire points for showers etc there. I need to have this done by  twilight. It’s time to hit the super slab then. Daylight only travel!
   It is early morning cool out and we have the valves turned off for heat under the hood. Air conditioning works better when no heat can penetrate from the engine.  Fleece is in order for awhile. I better enjoy it for i know how it will be later.
   As I rumble up over the overpass and onto the interstate, there isn’t much traffic yet and its a good time to plan my day to a tea so that I end up where I need to be tonight. Daddy-o is drinking his coffee and checking the map one last time , making sure we know how many miles from here to there. The sun is just starting to appear from my left and its doesn’t take too long before my jacket comes off. All the alfalfa fields are so smooth and brilliant true dark green in the valleys where that is mostly whats grown around these parts. Its trucked all over the  Western Us from here and  another crop starts. About 9am, I get  so sleepy that I have to park and take a 10 minute nap. thats it! No more! I need to be at that border by nightfall! Logbook regulations changed a few years back  and at that time, drivers used to be able nap and continue on  with 8 hours sleeper time til the next duty start. Now, you have 14 hours from the time you log on in the morning till you log off duty with 10 hours sleeper time. So—for example: if you start at 6am–you have until 8pm to  stop and must log 10 hours sleeper time til next day. Now, that sounds like a long time but if under an oversize for example, it goes quick because of daylight and in winter its really short. Thats where taking a nap like you should do, gets shortened because you don’t know how your day is going to go and  your under that time restraint (Govt. thinks that drivers should be more like 9 to 5ers) but we work thru the nite sometimes or strange schedules, always thinking ahead of how we can get loaded over the weekend or unload before payday to get paid for that freight. We don’t operate in those terms . Time is money!!
   Construction is unbelievable in the Salt Lake City area. And of course, I need to get thru this area because of the curfew for oversize loads.( No travel between 3:30 and 6pm )   I manage to get south of this border for the curfew and keep going .I make contact with the other driver that will be taking the other machine and we agree to the place that we can get this task done as quickly and safely as possible. He has to unload in the morning and we will meet him after that and unload that one machine and we will be on our way to the destination. I have the ramps so I need to get there first and there are 4 trucks now.
 6:30pm           The temperature is getting very warm now as we are going down in elevation. I pull thru the Az/nv port of entry. I get the red light and I have go in and show them the permit Always some questions, but they bid me farewell. I only have 35 miles left and I will be at the border!
I made it. I find a place to park, do bookwork, send some paperwork to the office and now it time for supper. Thank goodness, so far I’m in line for tomorrow,
683 miles—–99degrees——-Happy Trails!



  The weekend went quick and the weather was  beautiful all the way to Eastern Montana. The Montana DOT was glad to get their precious cargo as this is the time to really get all the lines on the road while the weather is good. The temperature has been quite warm and a forcast for 98 today. Very glad to be unloaded early.
    Again, looking for something to haul out of this area but I know their is not much manufacturing in this area. I do have a couple of agents that deal with this part of the state though and I get in touch with them promptly.    By 1pm, someone has lined up two loads that will coinside with each other but I must back track 140 miles to pick up the first one in the morning. This one is an oversize load that will go to Southern California and into the oil fields or the farming community. Not sure exactly yet what it is that I will be hauling. Never heard of the name of this freight before. We’ll see. When loaded that one should be able to be unloaded by Thurs. afternoon or Fri. morn. Two trucks are on this particular load. It is not very wide and will be under 10′. That means I could go at nite with the proper lighting if I wanted. Over 10′ is not allowed.  The other load will be picked up in Los Angeles and will come back up to Eastern Montana probably over the next weekend. That one is going to be a farm truck and forklift, I think. We go to the local Walmart for some groceries before we take off for this next load. With an oversize on , there is not much chance of finding one right at the freeway exit and I can not go any further off the hiway than about half a block or so since I will be under permits for each state and will be routed by the state . I can request a route that I want and then they  reroute if nessesary because of construction etc.  Each state will meet up with the other to continue on with the route as you go from each state to the next.  (sometimes its a zig zag , depends on how wide or tall you are. overweight usually doesn’t take priority).  We have our supper and Daddy-o is checking things out for tomorrow. Shower time and R &R.  I hope everything goes on the trailer ok in the morning. Sometimes it just doesn’t fit and you’ve traveled a distance. Money wasted.   
   Happy Trails!!

load comes up for over the weekend


    By 7 in the morning , I am prepared for the phone to ring and for me to do some calling. Friday is always a day that you want to have something lined up so you can get it on and go for the weekend. You don’t want to have to sit and do nothing over those days if at all possible!  By 10am I still have nothing and am getting alittle apprehensive. By noon , I am starting to accept the inevitable.  But  at 1:30pm an agent calls with some hiway paint that will take me to Eastern Washington and is just right for the weekend with a Monday unload. Only trouble is , it’s 180 miles from here and i’m not sure I can get there in time. I keep right with it and manage to get around Portland in rush hour to get there at just 5pm. they quit loading at that time but it works out fine and I pull away from the plant at 6pm with 2500 gal. of yellow hiway paint for the state of Montana. Since it’s getting toward supper time, we decide to stop close by for the nite and get our supper and shower. I’ll start early in the morning and most of the scales will be closed  because of the weekend.
truck'n 7-2011 009

Thurs. is a blur……….


    The alarm goes off and I quickly check to see if twilight is beginning to show out my window that is round on the top and has no curtain on that part in the bedroom on the grotto wall. The faux bricks are of desert grey and brown and stick out in places. The whole wall will start to come to life as the twilight glances off the opposite wall and onto the bricks early in the summer. No, not too much light yet. I close my eyes for a few extra minutes and make sure I stay awake! I start going over in my mind what I need to get done in the next 2 hours. I have to be out the gate by 6:15 to 6:30 from the shop. I let 10 minutes go by  and I’m up. That means shower and do my hair, fill the cooler, make coffee for Daddy-o ( he is catching afew winks yet) start up to build air, (truck is in driveway for easy loading) go over my to do list etc. Daddy-0’s  list includes making sure of all the household things such as turning off the water to the street (Don’t want water on our hardwood floors if a leak somewhere. We didn’t hook up ice maker on refrig either), garage stuff, shop stuff, garden stuff, lawn and  sprinklers are set for this time of the year etc. Coffee is made and smells good when he discovers that I’m up. He has everything in order in no time. We ease out the gate at 6:40. I fuel up on the way  and put in 130 gal. for the time being and make my check out for $525.00. Fuel is $483.00 and I end up with about $40.00 bucks for the time being. That’l do.
    There is one truck ahead of me when I get there but that’s ok.  We have plenty of time to wrestle these track panels on and get them in just the right spot for chaining. This person is new to the company so I try to help him with such things as permits and  procedure for oversize loads so that he can get on his way as soon as possible too. He is experienced in the field so hopefully he gets his permits soon.  We both check for a fax # in the office of where we are loading and that helps me  not to have to get out the computer and printer  and start the APU just to get them in hand.  ( I  have everything I need to make copy’s and scan bill of lading from the truck to get paid on Fri. Paperwork for the freight delivered must be in  the office by thurs. at noon Mountain time to get paid on Fri.)
    We are just coming into town and try to find the right place to deliver in the morning. I see some tire tracks coming out of a path, street that is right next to the railroad tracks and I was told it would be next to the old depot in town. Turns out it was 2 blocks up the road and one of the railroad crew that runs the crane on the tracks said he could unload me now if I wanted and I did. The other truck would be about an hour behind me so that would be just right.
   The town we were in is the Town of Murals. Toppenish, Wa., an Indian community.  It has murals all over the sides of the buildings although I did not have my camera there just then. They are beautiful murals of past events. Pictures of stern drive  paddlewheelers on the river bringing supplies to the towns above and oxen and mules laboring in the hot sun with produce and bales of grain going down to the river to be sent off to communities in need of  these wares. The Indians in their full dress of skins and feathers cascading down there sides with papoose on their backs and all in a line on the ridge waiting…… Brilliant purple and pinks sunsets with teepee’s in the distance and some with cavalry near by. Very telling stories on the hardware store outside wall or drug store wall or family grocery store wall. Murals even on the public restroom building. They were just all over. I must go back to check them out further sometime. Would be a good motorcycle trip. We walked around for awhile and then decided we had better find the place that we would call home for tonight and park the rig. We are hungry since that one banana this morning and some peanuts for good measure were long gone and ANYTHING sounded delicous. A little cruddy truck stop on the edge of town is home tonight. They have everything there , food (looks and smells good), bathrooms questionable, but there is hot water, only on the cold side though, and open 24  hours for unintended bathroom trips. Parking lot was full of bull haulers that were lazily outside their trucks visiting with each other for hours. Found a hole upwind and we were set! What more could a person ask for! Tomorrow I will start to look for something out of this area- which is 99% not going to happen. It’s a produce community and mostly reefers loading out of warehouses all over,  through the day and into the early morning hours. One by one they back in and wait for the shipper to load their trailer, 48-53 foot refrigerated vans that may have as many as 7-12 or more pickups all over the area and then they finally start their run maybe to New York City ,Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis,or any town in the U.S. Each pickup will go on the truck  and they have huge ice machines that blow ice over the top of the skids to keep the flavors intact for market and onto our picnic tables when we shop and put them in that plastic bag at the grocery store and clean them for supper. It all comes from the midnight drivers that cross the beltlines of the United States every day and night. Coast to Coast.      Dang, That was a good orange I just had!!!
Happy Trails!

All set to go but…………………….


   I get a phone call early and the agent tells me all 4 of these loads got cancelled and they don’t know why so i’m back to square zero but thats truck’n.   I am ready to go anyway even  if someone calls with something that would work going East. I have a few things to accomplish since I have the time now…..
12:30 pm.
   I have had 3 other loads offered to me but it’s not for me so when an agent calls me from the middle of the state , I decide to take the load he offers me because I have already hauled these once before  and it pays incredably well. Although,  I could not do this load very easily without Daddy-o on this one. Its those precarious railroad tracks and it has to be on there just right!!!! With the two of us, it will be short work,. I’ll get my overalls out and go to work. It’s an oversize with 12 feet hanging out over the back and 10 feet wide, 60 feet long. Tricky on a stepdeck (flatbed would be much easier for this load) but I don’t want to let this one go to someone else just because it’s a little precarious on the truck. We’ll work with it!
   Dinner with one of the kids and wife at our house and then we will be off for awhile , in the morning.
Happy Trails!!

weekend of sailing classes before I start work next week.


   I am alittle bit tired this morning since I spent all weekend trying to make sure I pass the test that was quite long and alot of hands on situations. Of course , it poured out all morning so the instructors decided to have classroom all morning. Good thing. after lunch the written test and then hands on docking , undocking, and three of us  raising sails etc. and then a out we went to see if we remembered anything that we were taught. The current was still very strong out on the Columbia River and no real wind out there so we had to really keep our eye on not  floating too far toward the interstate bridge. Tacking and gybing and just getting used to all the boats around as we finally decided we needed to get back to the dock. Sails need to be lowered and the genoa was first. Next the mainsail, (don’t forget to put the boom topping lift back on the boom!!) otherwise the boon falls down ( I hate when that happens). Down comes the mainsail and we get back to the dock all in one piece!!! It was a great time really. Next time will be better and not quite so stressed. I passed the test and received certification for  Basic Keelboat up to 24′. I am soo happy. Now I need to practice but I have no boat, right. Maybe I will join  the sailing club up there for a year. Don’t know yet. This pic is not from the class . Sail for the Cure last year on the Columbia. Afund raiser for Breast Cancer that we went on with the club members in Sept. Nice sail!!!!
    On Wed. we load and go back to work. This load will take us to Connecticut.  Much to do to get ready.  Happy Trails!!!

Our last day at the coast for now


   I awoke to the sound of the fog horn just around the corner from where we are camped. Bonk…………… Every 15 seconds, just like clock work and lasting for a second  at a time…. again and again. Almost as if it has to get the sound around the fog to get to the campground resort…. There is some resistance in the horn, and  I wonder if its going to be as foggy as the other morning. I peak out  and the clouds are grey and bouncy as they wane out to the ocean mouth where the bar is pretty flat but fog is sitting there and just wanting to come back in to tease the fisherman in the bay and make them be extra careful about what is around them.  Bonk……….. Yesterday the fog bounced back 6 or 7  times as we loaded the traps and went farther out towards the mouth and then back as the fog rushed back in again and out and in again. Later in the morning, it burned  off farther and  farther out and then the blue sky wouldn’t let anything that wasn’t clear and fresh back in the bay. Finally, it was a beautiful summer day and all worries of danger were gone.  That is the best as one can really concentrate on the task at hand……..big crab and where they are!!!
   By this time , we have almost a dozen of the big ones in the live well.    It will be a great time later today , when we drag the huge aluminum turkey cooker pan that’s filled with fresh ocean water right from the  bay far from the docks where there could be excess leakage from the boat motors of oil and gas.  We dip the long tube attached to the fitting from the live well into the long , tall pan and let it fill 3/4ths full.  We both decide its time to go back to camp and  have alittle lunch. We will have some lunch and then into town to get afew groceries and come back to get our crabs for cooking around 5pm.  At 5ish we each grab a handle on the pan and lift it out of the boat. Up the ramp to the truck and we lift it up onto the flatbed. When back at the campsite, there are many quads just coming back from the Oregon Dunes along with sand buggy’s  to get their supper  and then a quick ride back to the dunes before nightfall. There is an entrance to dunes right behind our campsite. ATV rentals there too. Sometime I think we should rent a couple for the afternoon. fun!!  Daddy-o lights the cooker and  happy hour is at hand. I see steam coming out of the lid. Time to cook…………one by one, in they go…..(I didn’t hear a scream)……..wait for the boil again and time for 15 minutes, no more, no less, out they come. Reddish orange in color and succulent!!  Melt a little butter and slice some lemon or just alone. So great to taste that flavor!!!!! Thats what we come for and of course, just getting in the boat and being out on the water, yea……
Happy Trails!!!

A couple days off at the Coast. Pacific side







   We awoke at 6am to get ready to go out crabbing in the bay in Southern Oregon. The tide chart says high tide is at 7:53 so we need to get our traps out by 7 or so. When I looked out the window early, it was fogged in and I wasn’t sure if it was too foggy to go out rite then or not. Made some coffee for Daddy-o and turned on the heater for alittle comfort. We dressed in warm clothing as its cold for awhile out there before the sun breaks thru. I go for the light weight down coat and a long sleeve top with a short sleeve underneath. Better to be prepared than not. By 7am  we are at the boat and getting everything organized. We need to get going to get our traps out. We only have a short distance out and around the corner to  make sure we are not in the channel especially since its foggy out. Our lines could get cut if they are. Not much going on though  this morning,  but the bar is open and no lights flashing. That   means the bar crossing is ok for small craft and larger fishing boats to cross out into the ocean. We do not go out in the ocean as our boat is pretty small and we feel more comfortable just crabbing in the bay. Good enough for us. We ease out into the bay from our dock and make sure no one is rite beside us or anywhere nearby. We proceed to our favorite place and load the traps with chicken that I have saved at the house since about x-mas. Chicken backs, necks, skin, what ever I don’t put on the grill goes in the freezer for the traps when we go to the Coast. Last nite I stopped at my favorite place not far from where we camp to get a pint of fresh oysters. These are shucked right here and have just come off  the boat only a couple hours ago. They are delightful and I have about 6 every night with my supper. Daddy-o doesn’t like them too much ( he says they look like chichen dropppings) so I fix them along side whatever we are having for supper.
   We load our traps and put some special bait smelly jelly on our bait before we drop them in. (about 30-40 feet of water)  Another boat comes along side a ways away. I keep an eye on him as its so foggy  . 2 seals bob up and down as soon as the boat gets near. They will eat your salmon if you don’t get it to your boat once its caught.  They are  constantly watching and hungry!! Once thats done we are free to cruise around and wait until we want to pull them up and see what they hold. Ebb tide is the time to keep the traps down but we can’t wait to see whats in them so after 35 minutes we start to pull them and we have a bunch of little ones and 1 big male. They have  to be a certain size to keep and only males.  By 10:00am  it was starting to get windy and the tide was starting to go out and its strong!!! We pick up the last trap at 11:30 and we end up with just 4 big crabs, but enough for our supper plus corn on the cob and an adult brew or two. Last year we had 24 and limited out the first day. But thats alot to clean so we will do it again tomorrow. I guess the crabs are molting to some extent right now so there shells may not be completly full. Ours turned out to be full and rich in flavor! The rest of the day we fiddle around at our site and rest. The sun is out but the wind is cool but that is the Northwest, on the cool side! We still get browned pretty well. The crows steal our corn chips from our table and then they get the Cheetos while we go inside for something. Those thieves!!   They are smart too. Tomorrow is another day, High tide at  9:22am. We will be there!!!
Happy Trails!

Catching up from the 4th of July

Will have to catch up some as the last couple days of hauling before the 4th ended up to be really busy!!!

    The rails that I picked up in southern Ca. for the Northwest were 50 foot long instead of 40 ‘ and they were  manufactured in Germany for the Disney Company. They are specially made for a train ride or adventure ride that I will be taking up to Portland, Or. to get bent for that specific purpose and then they will be shipped back to Ca. or Fl. to Disney World…..  About 150 miles from where I will unload these to be bent, I get another call  from an agent saying that he had a short haul out of Wa. state (just above the border) that needed to be loaded yet that afternoon and needed to be unloaded  Thurs morning 180 miles down the road in Eastern Wa., but was pretty good revenue and wondered if I would like to do it…. I really didn”t want to as we had plans to go to Seattle on Fri. morn and didn’t have any idea if our motorcycles  were ready to go since it was the first time out since last Fall.   Ummmmmmmmm….Ok , I couldn’t pass it up so we found the consignees company (unload) and got unloaded fast. Then I called the shipper to get directions to the next place and  off we went. He said he would wait until 4pm max.  When I got there it was a super load and now I could understand why the revenue was  pretty good. This was also railroad freight but it was 60′ long and 10′ wide.  ( 60’ rails attached to the railroad ties) That meant in order to swing the load around a corner , I would have to stretch out all the way (release the dawgs and set the brakes on trailer,make sure dawgs are all the way out and ease forward with the tractor until the 5th wheel was all the way to the back,set the dawgs again). Then put the two bridges up on the deck and hope that the  railroad tyes would match the bridges , to set the load on, and have12 feet off the back of the trailer. Next , figure out if I would be overweight on the back axel or not and tie down with everything we had,  Precarious!!!! To top it all off, Everyone there spoke mostly Russian. Interesting.  Then order the permits for two states and check to see if we were still under curfew for the city of Portland. (no oversize loads can move from 3:30pm—6pm around most cities). About 5:45 we were ready and it was 6 about the time we got back down to the freeway. Now, two little things to worry about—-a slow leak in one of my trailer tires on the outside back duel and a low beam was out I discovered coming up from Ca.The most important of the two is the low tire but I have a port of entry to cross yet tonite before dark and I could get called in for the headlite since oversize loads must have all lites on and  that means points against me. Ummmm……  I know of a truck stop  on the way out before the POEntry so I stop there and Daddy-o checks for an airhose and I run in to look for a headlite.  All the time the sun is going farther down…….. Have to take the headlite out to check the number on it , back in while Daddy-o puts air in. I find one and rush out and take over the tire job and let Daddy-o put the headlite in. Yes…. we are on the way!!!    I already know where I want to stop for the nite. Its about an hour  down the road. As I approach the POE, the scalemaster is checking the load out and how its tied down and of course , the weight. I get the green lite…Yes! We are home free!! We find a place to squeeze  in for the nite and the sun is just over the mountains.  About 20 minutes of twilight left. I take a few seconds to gaze at the Columbia Gorge that is right in front of me and  always marvel at its beauty. I have gone by two huge dams, one, the Bonneville Dam that is a kick to go see the salmon pass by with big windows inside the dam. Those big baby’s swim by in all their glory and head upstream  to spawn. Some are 50 or more lbs. More on that later…..I start my paperwork and we still haven’t had supper yet. We  grab some McDonald’s and call it good. It’s pitch dark now and am glad I have Daddy-0 here with me to walk back to the truck. When alone I make sure I have everything I need by now so that I don’t have to leave the truck this late. I have a porta potty for wizz’s and I don’t get out at night.  Now for a few winks. I tell myself I need to be ready to go by sun up and set my alarm. If we want to get home to check the motorcycles , I best be unloading this as early as possible to get going home deadhead (not loaded). We have a severe hill to climb first thing tomorrow morning going into Wa. and about 2 hours of driving to unload.  Nite nite
 June 30th—5:30am
   That was way to quick for the alarm to be going off!!! Just get going!!……  We cross the bridge and start up the steep incline. I wonder if all that weight off the back will stay there….. I have 60 miles to go before I make the turn onto the next hiway so we watch for deer and settle in . Very mountainous here so it takes time to climb the hills and go down too. The agent called to tell me that the other loaded truck missed his corner and had to turn around (just a bump on the road) so I take note of where to stop. As we approach the jobsite, its a crane on the tracks and he directs me to where the truck should be and I back in. We are unloaded in 30 minutes. Yea……… He signs my paperwork and we are off for home.  That  was well worth it but left us with hardly any time to get ready to go for the weekend. This should be interesting!!!!!!   We will  get rested later, I guess.
Happy Trails!!!