Free grapes!

Thurs. 9am

    Just giving some thought to checking out my little grape patch out back and seeing if they are ready for juice yet. All of these are just table grapes but I like to make them into juice for the winter and be able to get fresh, dark purple  juice to go with our breakfast or lunch whenever we want it as I know by next summer the vines will be full again and I will need the jars for more. These vines were given to us from a neighbor down the road  a ways when he had monstrous crops from his  vines ,while we were visiting one afternoon. He snipped off some canes along with 4 or 5 plants that were full grown (at least 8 years old) and  coaxed us into taking them. We replanted them along a back fence in early spring when the rains are still very prevalent and figured they would give us some extra privacy if nothing else and waited……..Excited to see a few buds a little later and by May, branches were forming slightly. Over the years, we have learned to trim them better and with that comes bigger grapes and not so many trailing vines and thick branches, although by summer we are hacking off extra long  ones that grab the fence and won’t give up for anything.
   About 5 years ago, the neighbors behind us had some stout raspberry bushes that decided to come up in the cool, watered mulch that the grapes have been thriving in and promptly gave me a cup of those delicious treats with out even asking for them and I didn’t pull them up like I should have so now I have slight mess because of all the raspberry’s begging for water also. This year I had 2 full large bowls of those flavorful, deep, red  looking mushrooms and I look forward to next year so I guess they will stay……..Daddy-o loves to go out and get them for desert after supper and Ilike them on ice cream so…………
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Happy Trails!!



Homebound!!

Saturday.. mid morn…….

   WE sleep in just a little because all we have to do is go home now. It’s Sat and no chance of getting a short haul today  for Portland, Eugene, or Salem and I’m not waiting around for Mon. when I’m only about 160 miles from home. When I get that close , I’m already in the house and planning supper in my mind. Everything looks so familiar as I coast along side the Columbia River southbound and see the sun shining on the inlets and somewhat of a breeze making ripples coming to the shore……. cargo ships outbound for the rest of the world, making their way out to Astoria and then who knows  where. It feels like home  and I ‘ll be there soon………..No more showers on demand for awhile, our jacuzzi will  be superb this evening.
   Oregon in the fall is very colorful and am thankful that we were fortunate enough to get to enjoy some of it yet this year.
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These colors are gorgeous all over the US…..
   My grapes are ready for juicing so maybe tomorrow will be the day…………..

Happy Trails!!

No extra partial loads for extra revenue….

Friday, 6am

   I called everyone that I could and there just wasn’t anything small going to the west  that I could have put with this load so face it and get going…… The wind was soooo strong from the west but I was thankful I was lite and all the units that were on the top had been put lower on the deck so no extra drag. Today I know that we must get into Seattle before the Friday rush at the end of the day so that I can make my appointment at 6pm to get the rest of these off. (8units).As  we come across Eastern Washington, there is clear sky’s and not quite as much west wind as in Montana.  Harvest has started and we have seen many truck loads of yellow delicious apples in double trailers going to the packing houses all along these smaller towns just east of the mountains. Ellendale is a good place to stop for some grub this morning as we won’t stop now  again until we find a place to park for the rest of the afternoon (there is a truck stop one exit from where I will unload) just 1 mile from the warehouse  in Tacoma. After grabbing a heaping plate of breakfast,we’re back at it and climb to the top of the summit. As we pop over the other side , I flip on the jake brake and barrel down  the 3 lane, bumpy, wet, heavily traveled interstate toward the bottom. I will be taking a short cut over to I5 that will net us quite abit of time since its not taken as much as I90. Good thing too as a construction zone is coming up and looks like there will be some waiting………just what we need on Friday !
   I am hopeful for a parking place  when arriving at the truck stop and another driver with a flatbed  flags me over to a place  next to his truck (as we were jawing with him later, he tells us that he’s hoping for a flatbed to park next to him instead of a refer  because he is going to get stuck there all weekend and doesn’t want a refer going off every 15 minutes all weekend next to him). He pulls out some pictures of his  old 359 peterbilt that was a  1986 and he had just sold it a couple years ago. Mine is a 1985 so  he  could relate to it and there aren’t many left on the road anymore. Truck’n stories…….. A fellow from Oklahoma.
   Later, we go to the consignee’s and when the forklift operator starts to unload , he spots a smudge on the side of one of the units and  asks me to see if I can get if off …. most of it came off but in the end he signs the paperwork and lets us go.  We find a secure place to park after unloading and call it a day. (logbook is out of time for the day and I must have 10 hours off before the next on duty status can take place).  
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   I can’t believe that 4 of my loads on this trip were air handlers! That never happens especially in the fall of the year…………

   Here is a rundown on this trip out:
   Total miles———–8,854———
    Border crossings———–27
    Days out———————–24
    Gallons  of fuel—————1282
     Toll in $————————$64.00

Happy Trails!!            I’m off work!!!!!
   

4th stopoff in North Dakota

6:15am

   Dark out still this morning and the truck next to me is just pulling out and signaling to go out to the superslab. I guess I better get in gear here for today will be full of miles and not much of anything else. If I don’t get anything else for extra revenue, then I will try to make it to the Seattle area by Friday. Daddy-o tunes the XM Radio to one of our favorite stations, bumps the tires, and checks to make sure everything is tyed down good and   I do paperwork and then we’re off……..      Daddy-o pulls out his tablet and opens to a new page. Today he is drawing out a rack for the boat to hold the extra crab traps that get in the way while crabbing. ( We really need a bigger boat but they are very expensive and it’s not a priority right now.) He has projects that keep him busy throughout the year and that is one of them. He always draws them out first and adds and subtracts things as he thinks of them. I try to make sure he puts the dates on his ideas just for the fun of it to look back on later. Especially the  house plans. 
   We arrive at the next consignee at about 9am and unload 4 more units. That leaves us with 8 left that are stacked quite high and there is a strong west wind. I ask the receiver if he would take those down and set them on the back so that I have minimum  drag and he gladly jokes about bad mileage and moves them. What a relief to move down the hiway without extra  height. 
   The temperature is just a little cooler today and I suspect that this evening will be jacket weather. We continue on and end our day about 7pm. Time for supper and relax.
 
Happy Trails!!  532 miles…..

2nd and 3rd stopoff’s in Minnesota

Tues 6am,

   I peak out of the window and I see afew cars and pickups scirrying around the lot just across the street where we will be unloading and start the APU to make coffee and locate Daddy-o’s cup which can really be hard to find. I slip on my clothes and hope Daddy-o’s foot is better than it has been the last couple days. I have a feeling that he needs to rest it alittle more than he has been doing. He cheerfully says good morning and after coffee, we get everything that is in the front, to the back and then a forklift arrives and wants to know which units are to be hoisted off the stepdeck and carried to the consignee’s warehouse. We jump out and grab the winch bar and unstrap the last two and he signs the paperwork and we bid him good bye.
   Next, we have a stopoff just about an hour and a half from the last one and 2 more come off there. “Thanks for the help”, I say and we are off. This gives us 21  feet of deck that needs to be filled. I call a couple more agents and they haven’t been able to locate anything so far so we continue on to the next stopoff which is about 400 miles up the road.  We end up about 100 miles from the next consignee so we call it a nite and get alittle supper. Hopefully something will come up to stack on the deck for more revenue, we’ll see.

Happy Trails!!    480 miles.


1st stopoff in Indiana

Sunday,   7am

   Sunday is a cool morning but just right for traveling. We are up and  out of the Nashville area and stop for a good breakfast of country ham and eggs to keep us full and satisfied until evening when I plan to get us up to central Indiana and be in the small town that we must unload in , in the morning. I have called ahead on Friday and made sure of the directions and unloading time for Monday. We take a couple of roads that really give us a feel for the autumn days that showoff their rich colors as we wind around Amish country homesteads with their all white houses and out buildings. Harvesting is in full swing and mounds of corn spill out of the surplus , makeshift cribs to start the drying process of the crops to finally go to market
blogging 007.
   When we arrive at the consignee’s place of business, there is a perfect place across the street to camp for the night so we HAVE to check out the neighborhood tavern for the a quick burger and a frosty mug or three …. and then map out the next days  route and  plan for a busy day with 2 stopoffs and plenty of miles that will take us into North Dakota for Wed. The stars are out in white on white neon and I always have to recheck them one more time before I close my window and make sure all doors are locked and all is quiet. Down comforter is toasty……. and all is well………..Goodnight  Daddy-o ,    Goodnight  MJ………

Happy Trails!!!     532 miles

Northbound out of Florida with a stopoff in Nashville!

6am,   Friday

   I awake early and make some coffee for Daddy-o and jump in the saddle, ready to get going and load more air handlers for Indiana 1 stop off, Minnesota, 2 stop offs, North Dakota, 1 stop off,and final in Washington state with 1 stop off. That means , I will have alot of deck that needs freight on as I take freight off along the way. The trick is to be lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time for it me to pick it up. (extra revenue). My 1st drop will give me 12 feet of empty deck, the 2nd drop–16 feet, the 3rd drop, 21 feet,– 4th drop, 32 feet!!!! I make at least 4 calls to people that could possibly have something feasible to go on but we’ll see……….most of the time , it doesn’t happen…….but is worth a try.
   As we load these on the trailer,  4 trucks arrive  going elsewhere in the US and wait patiently for us to get done strapping all the units down. “Just strap snuggley but firmly” the shipper says, so there is no damage to the units. I have hauled these before so I know how fussy the consignees can be . Everything looks good as I go in for the shipping papers as Daddy-o checks the straps one last time before we leave and make sure all the equipment is put away like the winch bar, strap protectors etc. We have the rest of the day to move Northward and luckily we must go through Nashville, Tn. so I plan to get there on Sat. and find a place to park so we can go downtown and check out the scene on Sat nite. This is a great place to have a mini, quicky, fun evening  in Music City and feel like youv’e been revived from work and ready to go the next day .I have a favorite place for spaghetti a short distance from the busy streets, so that is what we’ll have for supper. It’s the best!!
Sat……….
   We manage to find a place to park and walk downtown (about a mile)…………….There is a zombie walk a thon for a fund raiser somewhere in town and is a kick to see all the people dressed as zombie’s with bloody faces and antics like a premature Halloween would look like. The downtown really comes alive in the evening with many shops open and all the bars with no cover charges and the best country music around free to anyone that comes in . Maybe a dozen bars with talented musicians from all over trying to be discovered for that one chance to make it big. They play for tips so its vital to help them out if possible!  We just love  being there for an evening!!!! It’s a great town!!!

Sunny Florida and hoping to travel North before the weekend

   While waiting and finally unloading more air handlers in South Florida, we started to  check for something going out and but to no avail mid morning in Miami area. This was on Thurs. Of interest , these air handlers were coming to a huge warehouse that looked like any tilt up cement building…. but after checking for restrooms inside , I pulled a handle that looked like the old ones at a locker plant and peaked in…… The room was completely white and clean as a whistle, lit up  and  very cold……. it was the size of a basketball court and it was to be the new flower warehouse for some fields out in the glades and nearby that raised flowers for market. We brought 10 more units that were about 6 feet long and 4 feet wide. These would make an addition of again that big and  really hold the inventory. Many varieties to go all over the US.

  Meanwhile Daddy-o checked oil, water, and those pesky tires while I did some bookwork….. I called a few people to see if there was anything going anywhere…… (I’m not fussy on a Thurs. in South Florida) and nothing yet…….
   We know of a place pretty close but to the West of town and head to there because of no room to park where we unloaded and find a spot that would be good for the night just in case we have to stay anf don’t get something out.  It’s $10.00  a nite to park there but alot of the truck stops on the East Coast charge for their parking so it’s just one of those extra expenses. I don’t pay yet as we may be leaving….hopefully…. and I get out my scanner, printer, copier etc. and start to send all my paperwork to the office through the computer. I had 9 sheets  to scan, and send to e-mail so it takes some time . Daddy-o walked up to the little cafe ( a tiki hut with a thached roof) to get some extra coffee, and the phone rings…… An agent has another load of air handlers going north and then West. I decide that would be the best thing for us to do because we need to be back to the Northwest before the  last week of Oct. Seems like that is a long way off but not when your in South Florida and  and  you have several stopoffs to make……
   We take Alligator Alley over to the West part of Florida and pass by a huge panther refuge and see some alligators sunning themselves on the brown and sage green weeds of the shore at the canals edge (with a big fence!) By this time , its about 88 degrees and still fairly comfortable.  A few armadillo’s along the way also and  fisherman  fishing in the canal beside the road. I guess there is some good bass in there. We stop along the way for some delicous grapefruit and oranges to put in our fruit sack that we snack on while going from here to there. We don’t load until Friday morning so as we’re coming north to the shipper, I tell Daddy-0 that we are only  about an hour from some old friends that we haven’t seen for almost 4 years so we take a chance  and call to see if they would like to have dinner with us and catch up on news. Luckily, they haven’t eaten and said” yes, where will you be? , we’ll come get you”.  We plan which exit and  they take us to a great BBQ place and stay for a couple hours and gab……….Then we are off and down the road…………..(.pic to follow)

Miami, Florida

Thurs, morning,–5am

   Have been trucking right along to get air handlers to customers in Orlando and Miami areas.Northern Oklahoma was unloaded on Monday and then we had tire problems on the trailer and found a reputable tire dealer to switch  tires around. Two new rims and  hopefully that will take care of the problem for awhile. We will be watching to see how two older tires wear coming back out West from South Florida. Tues and Wed were sun up to sundown and this morning hoping to get ahead of morning traffic and succeeded  getting to destination by 7:20 from north on the Coast (only place to stay but 100 miles away). Warm and muggy but a pleasant 80 degrees.


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Air handlers to Florida……

Happy Trails!!   1490 miles—

A quick load out of Eastern Montana

Thurs–

   Early  on  Thurs morning, we ventured about a 100 miles to the East and loaded up a quick load that will take us to a better freight area for the weekend and that is the object of taking something that is not the best paying when  one gets out of a freight lane with good paying freight. For example: you get a great paying load out of Houston going to North Dakota. There is no freight usually going out of North Dakota so you end up bouncing (deadheading) out to maybe Minn. or Iowa or you are offered a low paying something just to get going and you have your choice, take or leave it. No one is upset with you, it;s just whatever you want to do………….. I choose to take this one and get going.To me, I’ll run a cheap load once in awhile and still make some on it, but that’s just me. Friday is just around the corner and I’ll take almost anything if it’s going to a place that has regular flow of freight. I don’t care if I have to tarp it or not. I’m thankful to get something . I’ll wash up later…. This particular one didn’t have to be tarped so I’m off! I t was those blocks of scrap metal and they pay by the ton. I light weighted(take truck onto scale) before loading and that tells me just what can go on the truck (weight) and what can;t. I manage 23 ton (46,000#) and we are off and running in about 2 hours. One good thing about this load, it’s low with no wind resistance and is loaded  heavy on the drive axel (about 32500#) (the limit is 34,000# on that axel) so the truck carries it well. It’s not dragging it.  I need to unload this by noon on Friday so I can get to another one before the afternoon is up or have to lay over for the weekend. My gross weight  is 79,420#. that leaves me 500# for fuel to make 80,000 #, legal weight . 60 gallons @ 8lbs per gallon is 480#’s. That’ll do!!! ( I have about 50 galllons on board.) My tanks hold about 230 gallons total.
   An agent that I have worked with from time to time over the years, called and offered me another shorty for over the weekend going down to Ok. and that’s a good area so I said yes. That one loads on Sat. so now I don’t have to hurry…….. we will  be able to stop earlier that I had originally thought tonight and get some extra sleep which I need because last week was a marathon and those weeks tend to  wear on you after awhile. Daddy-o gets tired too. Riding is hard to do!!! Next week will be busy so I can use the extra rest……..

Friday…..
   We stay in the Fargo area and  get going by 7am. The port of entry is closed on the Mn. side and we slide by quickly.There are some  red and yellow leaves tumbling across the hiway as we head southeast and a reminder that fall is closing in fast. Huge, white cumulous clouds drift toward the North and they all look exactly the same, as though we were viewing them with 3D glasses on. I still have a couple hundred miles to go but know I will be fine with time and probably end up waiting for them at their lunch break at the place I’m to  unload at….. sure enough, as we  just get started  to unchain, the buzzer goes off and it’s lunch for the workers…… one more time over the scale and we are out of there to jump on the superslab and head to the next shipper for Sat. morning, bright and early…………… By monday morning, we will be in Northern Oklahoma…………

Happy Trails!!      536 miles–2 days