Olympic National Park

Aug, 25

   We are home and are  taking a few days on the bikes to go to Olympic National Park. We have never been to the park and the weather is just rite for winding roads and summer warmth. We may be at Fort Stevens State Park on the coast tonite which is just a few  miles to Astoria and a couple of brewery’s that we like to go to if in this area. A large fire took most of Astoria’s water front out a year or so ago and will be nice to see if anything has been done with it yet. Also Fort Stevens is the place we like to go clamming for razor clams and then make luscious homemade clam chowder or linguine with clam sauce when we settle in for the bright stars and constellations viewing deep in the evening darkness with sound of ocean breakers in the distance. 
 I hope to have some pics to share  by the weekend.
  Happy Trails!!

Catching up from coming West

A review of the last few days that has taken us West and home safely.

Last Wed–Aug. 10th
   We started out the day with going in for a good breakfast knowing that today would be a long one and I just wanted to see if anyone would be in the little restaurant that was just a short distance from where I grew up and wondered if I would know any of them. We sat down and ordered and no, there wasn’t any one there that I knew. I was a little disappointed but, maybe next time…….
   Sturgis motorcycle rally is going on this week , so its always entertaining to see all the bikes and people watching that goes on while rolling down the hiway in this area of South Dakota. It was pretty warm outside and most of the girls had shed their outer layers……. the guys too …… We then ran into a detour that added 60 miles to paid miles which I couldn’t appreciate and it
had to be at the end of the day going into Montana. I would have to go North to Miles City as part of the road out of Broadus, Mt. had fallen away and no truck travel West of there on Hwy. #212.   I hadn’t planned on that…Ugh.   We arrived  in Miles City and still hadn’t eaten supper and it was almost dark. A long day. No trouble sleeping for sure!
614 miles
8-16-2011-1 (2)
Thurs, Aug 11
   I knew that starting as early as my log book would allow, would get me almost out of Montana by nitefall. I must get to Spokane Friday morning  by 8am. That is when the 1st consignee (receiving business) opened up for the day. We stayed in St Regis, Montana this evening but is not exactly that close to Spokane, Wa. so up early again and out on the road by 6:30am. One good thing is that we will gain an hour soon and be in the Pacific Time Zone. My log book is calculated in Mountain time Zone. I live in the Pacific Time Zone. I must log fuel from the comdata card in Central Time Zone . I also travel in Eastern Time Zone. If you log the wrong time within an hour of when you fuel and use that card, you can get a citation of falsifying log book (big money) and you don’t find out about it for about 90 days so you have no idea where you were or when by that time. For example: If your in Pacific and you get fuel at 10am, you must log it in mountain time,11am, which is really 12pm central time and the reverse from Eastern Time……….#@!??  Take control!!
Don’t forget about shippers appts. or consignees appts when you are not in their time zones and plan on being there the next day!!!  They don’t take pity on you!!  Believe me!
550 miles
Friday–Aug 12-11
   5:30am, I want to make sure all this gets done today. After Spokane, comes Seattle dropoff and I’m hoping I can manage that one also today but there will be Friday traffic and won’t get there before late afternoon. I call ASAP to see what’s the latest that I can unload in Seattle and he warns me , no later than 3:30pm. Hmmmmmmm…. About 300 miles from Spokane to Seattle on Friday afternoon. I figure 5 hours straight but I need a few truck and load checks also… I’ll go for it!!  thank goodness for Subway…When I get to the Spokane stopoff, they have just moved into a new location and  alot of product all over and I can’t just back in and unchain. It takes moving this and that and he apologizes for the wait.. time is getting away from me…..OK , finally its off and back out to the arid landscape of Eastern Washington. Combines from all over are in this area to harvest the wheat crops of this region for market and  they must get all of it done in a short time. Caravans of blinking lights tell approaching traffic to beware  of slow vehicles on the roads and interstates. Again I must be careful and wait my turn to pass safely. Golden strips of land mowed down and clouds of chaff fly to the South with a North breeze as the farmers keep up the regiment of making sure the rows of wheat are meticulously cut and all the kernals come out the hopper into the semi’s and out onto the roads to go to the elevators galore. Around the clock is the norm for this operation and you will see a managerie of  headlights in the middle of the night far out in the fields for as far as you can see and no stopping for anything! When done with that field,  they then load the combines onto lowboys  or stretch trailers and go to the next golden acreage up the road and start all over again. It’s really quite a sight to see!!
   We keep going and  start up over the Snoqualmie pass on I90 and the jake brake bellers all the way down  to the bottom. It’s 2:30pm by now and I’m pretty sure I can make it if the Friday traffic stays at work.  When we go over the floating bridge on the way to I5, what a beautiful view of the channel on Lake Washington. I feel like I’m home now as this is truly the Northwest.
   We double check the directions and  ease into the city of Seattle. I only have about 20 minutes to get this off ….. A couple of stoplights from the consignees lets me know I will make it. When we get there , the receiver says” Was wondering if you would make it”. The last piece of equipment comes off and he signs my papers and we both breath a sigh of relief…..Thank goodness….
   We stay the night just out of town and  know by tomorrow night we will be home.A satisfying thought since we are very close and just need to get there safely to begin our vacation in a week or so…..but first, R & R for awhile. I know I won’t leave the house for the first couple days even though the weather is superb. I don’t want to!!
Happy Trails!   412 miles
   Here is a rundown of this trip that originated on July 21….
10,018 miles——34 border crossings——no days off but had enough logbook hours to complete this trip legally.—-24 days out
Here is a rundown on this trip that originated on July21

Loading to go West

Monday,. 6:00am

   Everything went well on Monday and we unloaded the crane parts out to a wind farm in Wisconsin in the afternoon. There was an oversize loaded truck there that was resting….. he learned that a special operator had to come to plan and operate the piece of equipment that was on his truck and the bad thing was that he wasn’t going to be there until Wed………….Bummer!   We had ours off in about a half  hour and was on our way to getting some fuel. I called to see if I could still get the first pickup loaded yet Monday afternoon and the dispatcher said they quit at 3:30pm and I still had about 150 miles to go to pickup so we decided to fuel and shower and then mozey down to the S. W. part of the state and find a place to call home for the nite. I fueled at a large truck stop and the pump clicked off at $784.00 for 200 gallons. I get our clothes ready and we go in to get ahead of all the others that will want to shower around supper time. No problem, we are early on this day….Afterward, I call to make sure all the pickups are coordinated and make sure that I get the first one that need to be unloaded on gets loaded last and the last one that needs to be unloaded will be loaded first. Very important!
Tues.  6:15am
   The first two pieces of equipment get loaded ok, but when I get to the third shipper, I find out that they shipped this piece last Thurs. and somehow it didn’t get put in the computer so…. that is a bummer for me because that piece would have taken me very close to home and not have had really any deadhead.  Now I will have to find somethnig from Seattle down  to Oregon or have to go home empty.  Costly!!! I call in and they to figure something out but in the end I just have to go and I’ll look for an LTL (less than a truckload) to fill out the trailer for as much revenue as I can get on the trailer with the amount of deck space that is left. Dang!
   The wind started  up as I headed North out of central Iowa. It was a pretty gusty wind too and was hoping that when I turn West it wouldn’t be so resistant. The temperature was just a little too warm to be comfortable without the A/C but we tried to ignore it and it mostly worked with the  window open just a slit while heading West. There were stratus clouds high in the sky with afew  cumulus peaking out over the horizon and I figured there was a front coming thru since the wind was trying to switch slightly. Soon a blue sky revealed the bright sun for a good stretch of the  day.
   I decided to pass thru my old home town since it is only 5 miles from the interstate and found it quiet and green. Many memories and ghost like buildings  that aren’t even there anymore , bring back many quick, easy to remember daily jaunts to school and up to Dicks market for a Walnut Crush candy bar back in the 50’s and 60’s. The home place where I grew up is still there and a different color from when I lived there. It certainly was a good place to grow up. Very small about 500 people.
   We find a place to call it a nite and have some suppper and do my paperwork. Now it’s dark and surprisingly cool. The wind has calmed and it’s time to relax!
8-9-2011-1
Happy Trails!!          447 miles today

Catching up from the busy week

   We were so busy for a few days that alot of ground got covered and no time to report on all the things that happened and things we viewed while passing by.

   Since coming out of Vegas, we trucked up to Eastern Montana—then, since there is hardly any freight up there, I was offered plastic, coiled, black pipe out the Casper, Wy area going down to Midland, Tx. but it was a huge deadhead (unloaded miles). Only reason I took it was because it was Monday and I could have it off by Thurs. and could get my paperwork in the office by noon on Thurs to get paid on Fri. So we ran down there  and  unloaded on Thurs. Then on Tues, an agent called to offer parts from a crane breakdown and haul in Odessa, Tx. , just 30 miles away from where I would be unloading,  going to central Wisconsin, which is a good place for freight to come out of, so I accepted that load and hope that I can maybe get some military freight going back out West. ( We are going on vacation around the last week of Aug.) That load is to be delivered on Monday in Wisconsin . In the meantime, I had some deck space left . The whole top deck of the trailer could be filled out with an LTL ( less than a truck load). I started calling as soon as I was loaded in Odessa, Tx ( crane weights, #36,000)  and found a 12′ air handler that  loads about half way up the road going toward Wisconsin and it delivers in Chicago. Extra revenue and I can get it off before my other load on MOnday going to Wisconsin. Yes!  So the air handler loads in NE Oklahoma but I must get there by Friday afternoon or they will be closed. Ugh! We  grab some  Subway and we’re off. That night we stayed on the turnpike in Ok. and it was ungodly hot!! (103) Thank goodness the A/C is working mavelously. The APU is a life saver!!  I feel sorry for a truck that stops at Mickey D’s and he has his windows open. Been there , done that. For now I am so very thankful!! The air was balmy and thick with humidity and rising up from the asphalt like an oven ready for pizza.  By morning, we continue up the interstate and  roll into the factory by 3pm and pick up the air handler just in time to strap down and get really sweaty. The shipping  office has my paperwork completed and I assure them that it will be delivered by Monday morning in Chicago. I get a chance to talk to an old friend from the office that I have known since I started hauling out of this factory years ago and I haven’t been here for about a year and a half or maybe two. We catch up and bid our good-bys.   Cherokee and Comanchee Nations take priority in this area .We get back on the Interstate , by the way is a toll road and have spent approx. $45.00 to come thru Ok. and there is not really any other way to travel thru here.
    Daddy-o is sketching in his notebook. He draws up all his projects before he actually does them. He just got done with the flatbed that he put on our new pickup.  It took him quite awhile to  get that underway because we had bought a camper and everything  would have to fit perfect by the time he would take the box off and back under the camper. It was painted the same color as the pickup and when he backed under the camper , it fit perfectly! That guy can build anything!!
   Daddy-o starts looking in the exit guide to see where there might be a Walmart somewhere that we  could park and pick up a few groceries and some fruit. We are out of all of it. We have an exit guide that tells what is on that exit within a little ways of the corner. Really helpful when in an unfamiliar area and we stay just over the border in Mo. and find no Walmart as the one here was hit in the tornado just a short time ago. We will look again on Sunday.
Sunday:
   We get to sleep in,  as we only have about 300 miles to go today to get pretty close to Chicago for Monday morning.  Sunday morning is church day for me and I like to listen to  Road to Reality, the Lutherun Hour along with Mass from St Peters in New York if possible on XM Radio. Daddy-o  wrinkles his nose.I try 2 truck stops on the way up to park in over nite, and they are all filled up already (2pm) but these both do not charge for a nights stay.(When you get  close to large municipalities, truck stops charge for a nites stay with 3 hours free for just to eat or fuel –$10.00-$12.00) OK , I’ll go to the last one that is only 20 miles from where I need to unload and when I get into it, there is still a few holes to grab so I take one near the exit but it will cost $10.00 to stay here. I want to be out of here by 6:15am to be at the consignee’s by 7am sharp. Then if everything goes OK, we will be back out of the Chicago area and motoring toward central Wisconsin by 8am. We have 200 miles to go to get the Wisconsin load off ( about 4 hours probably).  By the way, an agent called to offer me freight going to Western Oregon on Fri. and I accepted the load . I need to get all this done on Monday because the next load has 3 pick-ups that have to be loaded on Tues. and its about 150 miles away from where the Wisconsin comes off.  By Tues. morning , I need to be at pick-up #1 by 7 or 8am in Debuque, Ia., then onto Davenport and then to Central Iowa for the last one.
Happy Trails!                   300 miles—-95 degrees
   

Down into the LA smog

3:30am

   That alarm goes off way before I wanted to hear it but none the less, today needs to go the way I want it to go. I want to get all the way down to the center of of LA before the rush hour is in full force. If I get caught in the 8am  bumper to bumper jumble up, the lift truck could be gone and then there I would sit till Monday. NO Way!
4:30am
     Daddy-o  runs in to the C store and fills our water jugs and bumps the tires quick.  I do my paper work and make sure everything is tied down good as the roads are soooo rough in Ca., that my tv could fall off the sleeper wall and get wrecked. Bungies, chains,tool box  handles, etc , all need to be checked.
   It’s pitch dark out as we weave around the parking lot and out to the sign that says ” I5 South”. There is about 4 trucks that follow me out to the freeway and as I turn south and out into lane #4 (lanes number from the center of the road out on each side), I grab one gear after another and look to see if the weigh station is open (the very next exit). Can’t believe it –the big word is out  (closed). Every truck mashes on it just in case the sign changes to open. This is a severe mountain pass and  it goes up very fast. The lanes are packed with semi’s by now and all of them are trying to get to their destination before the rush hour devours them. As I look ahead up the hill, its like alleys of red lava are  spilling around lite curves from the tail and brake lites of the trucks in sinc up ahead. I start out in lane#4 and quickly move to lane #3. Lane #4 are all loaded trucks and some are expecially slow. Don’t  want to get behind any of them since I’m empty and moving right along. If I have to gear down, I’ll never get going this fast until the top and it’s about 6 miles up. Right away a loaded truck pulls out to pass another and I must make a desicion right away to either slow up or go to lane#2  which is a NO NO. Heavy fines if you get caught  because you are obstructing the cars as they go up the hill. I glance in my mirror and no one is  too close so I  do it and don’t signal thinking a bear will not notice me as much as if I signal.  I plan to dive back in quickly but there  is just too many trucks out the that lane so I keep going and after about 6 trucks, I see a hole and dive back in. Up and up until we all reach the top and everyone starts grabbing gears and I stay in lane #3 for the ride down with the jake brake  echoing while going around many more trucks . There are hundreds or thousands coming in to the city and it being Friday, makes for careful driving to maintain lane control and watching the signs above. It takes about an hour to get over that section  and down into the maze of LA. Every hour that goes by means millions of commuters getting on the road so I keep my concentration and arrive at the auction yard by 7:30am.
10:30
   We get loaded and have another 3 hours to just get out to I 15 North. This load goes to a used equipment dealer in Eastern Montana and I want to be there Monday morning. We end up in Las Vegas for the evening and will start out fresh in the morning.   In the meantime, it’s dinner time.    Ka-Ching……………….
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Happy Trails!!           This is a boneyard  for airplanes in Mojave , Ca.  Extra parts

Thurs. comes early

5:15am

   I awake and immediately make coffee for Daddy-o and let him sleep while i get things ready. I  need to get to North Vegas by 8am and then I find out that the freight that I will be taking to Eastern Montana on Friday, will have to be loaded by 9am on Friday. the lift , tow truck that will be backing up to my stepdeck and driving the truck and super lift  onto my deck , and will only be there until about 10am tomorrow morning so I must get this freight off this afternoon and then get closer to L.A.  so that I can get down the loading yard  (auction yard) and in position by 9am. We have about 100 miles or so to get the other machine loaded onto the other truck and get the proper paperwork made out just in case he doesn’t get part of my freight to the job site. I don’t want to be liable  for it as he is not from the company that my equipment is leased to.
   6:30am
   I ease out of the parking lot and start up the hill outside the casino in the  early morning haze and watch as all the gauges start to come up to operating temperature and I make sure they  don’t run too hot. It’s still over 90 out and it doesn;t take long for the needles to peg out! Good thing i have a 6 core radiator that I love dearly and its big!!  not like the new ones that are blairing  continuously. I reach the designated place to make the switch and the other driver is not there yet. He has two pieces of equipment  that must come off at an auction yard for auction soon to go wherever. He arrives by 10:30am. We make the switch and he must wait for his oversize permit and I go on my way to the Buttonwillow area in California. The desert has a pungent odor of wet dust and soggy , leafy bushes from the shower that just halfway came down from the sky shortly before hand . The cumulonimbus clouds were dumping dark blue nets of rain just out of reach from us and all I could sense were the smell of the results of that rain. I could never forget that smell after living in Southern Cal for 12 years in the 80’s . The desert will come alive after a rain.   I pull the mountain passes and end up on the other side of the Tehachape’s. I call the consignee in Butttonwillow, Ca. and tell him that I will probably be  to the job silte around 4pm. He says , OK and says he will meet us and that the job site is really about 20 miles North of what he says in the beginning. But it ends up to be about 40 miles and that ticks me off!!  Winding around and around out in the hills of the Valley, we finally get to the spot to unload. He taps his right shoulder (on his back) with his left hand and that means back in the drive-way. These are signals that I learned as a mixer driver in Southern Ca. years ago. Also 2 whistles mean: back up and 1 whistle means: go ahead, when your unloading mixed cement doing sidewalks or driveways etc…………. We unchain and since I have the ramps,  the rollagon buggie gets unloaded and we are out of there!  Back down to the grapevine and  its  8:30pm……                    I know of a perfect spot to have a decent supper and get some rest….. showers and supper feel good!!    I know now that the only way to make sure I get down thru LA into Gardena , is to get up and out by 4:30am………. I better set my alarm for sure!    Actually maybe 2!
Happy Trails!