Home for the Holidays!!

Wed:  8am

   I don’t have to hurry as this last one does not come off until noon and I am only about 40 miles from it. Another crane appt. so hurry up and wait….. More curbs, shrubs, trees etc. but I’m determined to get home today. All turns out fine and we are out of that school yard where the new unit was hoisted up on the roof and ready for installation. This elementary school will be in great shape when school begins early Jan.

   On the way home, traffic is very concentrated in the downtown areas along with the bypasses but  it’s not raining or windy so we keep on going southbound, are prompted into the port of entry, letting us go ahead.  There is a small fuel stop that I really need to get extra fuel at  and not have empty tanks sitting while at home. 60 Extra gallons on  and finally turn into the driveway to say  “no problem, we made it home for Christmas”!!. I want to turn our tree on……we decorated before we left for work at Thanksgiving time. What a relief……….. Merry Christmas everyone!!!
12-23-2011-1

Arranging for early unload of 3rd stopoff

Tues—3:45am


   Yesterday was a stay in the saddle day and managed to make my logbook work ok for an early start this morning. (You must have 10 hours off in between  when you stop to when you begin your day) 
12-23-2011-a    12-23-2012-b  Cold out , about 20 in Southern Idaho. I have called ahead and the consignee is so cooperative!! He agrees to meet us  by 2pm and get his material off if I can make it. (this goes to a secure place that can only be accessed by security clearance). No food yet today and I can’t stop as I need to get there and unload this so i can get to NW Washington for the last one tomorrow. Once this one is off we can relax and figure on getting home yet Wed. nite which is my goal.
   It works out and we find our way out of this medium sized town and I can see a fog bank to the West. That means we better pop over the high Cascades before we settle in for the night to quick.!! It can get ugly up there in just a few hours and we are to close to home to screw it up now!!
12-23-2011-c

Happy Trails!!         604 miles

2 more stopoffs and we’re home

Monday–4:15am

   I slept on and off last nite mostly because I knew I must not be late this morning.  This stopoff is in a huge retail store area that will be very busy by 8am if we don’t get in and out fast. As I begin my short journey back to the exit that I will unload at, I wonder about how I will get into  and up against the building where the crane will snatch up the unit and put up on the roof, then how to get out and back out on the superslab. When arriving, its pitch dark and that is something that always bothers me as if you go to far, you will have to turn around and that would be hell. I ease into the area and stop……..I put on flashers and overhead flashing light just to make sure everyone can see the truck because I am not going any further! We have checked on the computer on map quest and I have an idea of the area from that, thank goodness. It’s about 5:15am now and I am real early. About 10 minutes later, a Suburban pulls up and puts on his flashers and tells me to follow him in.  Daddy-o has walked the driveway’s and he is skeptical also . I check once more for all the curbs, shrubs, trees, roof lines, flowers, more curbs, buildings, signs, tree branches and where they are located, swing wideeeeeee and hope for the best. Ahhhh…. i”m in and up against the building and waiting for the crane. I spy my retreat exit for later and we sit tight and wait…………
Very nice guys to visit with and soon the crane pulls in , they work right along as the road is getting a litttle busy……… my paperwork is signed and we ease out and now its on to the next stopoff 1325 miles up the road and its Monday. We need to be home for xmas. It will be tight……..

Happy Trails!!       703 miles today

Daddy-o gets propositioned…………

6am.—Sunday

   Cold and frosty in the truck this morning before starting up so when the alarm went off, I crept out of the covers and poured the water in the coffee pot and turned on the APU ( Auxillerary power Unit and selected 70 degrees for the heat  and crawled back in for a few minutes. Coffee will be done in about 10 minutes……..I looked out of the windshield and could see frost shining off the dark ground around me and thought for a minute it was snow. We landed in Dalhart , Tx. for the night  because I was soo tired when we arrived at the edge of town even though it was not late at night at all, I just didn’t want to go any further and we did not have to hurry .(Friday night in Wichita Falls, Tx.)    I really only have to go to Central Colorado area to unload at 5:30 Monday morning with a crane waiting to put this unit up on the roof of a retail store.( Air handlers again). While checking for the nearest truck stop in the area of where I’m to unload, I found out that it had been done away with  and I had a dilema as to where we could spent the night and  still get some dinner. I ended up going ahead of destination place and will have to go back in the morning about 15 ,miles. No choice…….The cirrus clouds were high in the sky and the temperature was a dry 62 with  light winds from the west switching directions from the  brisk, sharp morning winds that made you loose your breath while walking against it .   
   Finding a place to park was upper on my mind and finally achieved that goal across from  a filled up truck stop in a less  than desireable motel parking lot that we had been to before because we liked the diner  there etc. I climbed in the back to arrange things and could see a couple girls taking there walks……so I stayed in back. Sure enough a lot lizard showed up on her bicycle and asked Daddy-o  “Hi , what time you got?” Daddy-o gave her the time and then she asked ” Hey you got time to talk?” He chimed in and said ” no . I’m talking to my wife!!!!”   “Oh, ok, no problem” and off she went……xmas money!
  There is a seedy side to this business and its something you end up putting up with. Although its not as bad as it used to be but in big cities there is always a few. But on a bicycle!!! 
   After unloading this unit , I will be on a marrathon to the North West to get  2 more stopoffs completed by hopefully Wed evening.  (1400 miles)  That will give us Thurs. to get home and  get ready for  Christmas. I figured i’d make it back……..

   In the meantime, 2  wonderful people in our lives passed on this last week and it has been trying at times , thinking about all the special times we had had with them both…..
12-18-2011-1        12-18-2012-2

Happy Trails!!!

Friday–414 miles——Sat.–304miles——Sun.–364miles
    
Friday night…….
   

Westbound from North Florida

5 :30am

   My alarm goes off and I plug in the coffee for Daddy-0 and reach for my clothes. Today will be many miles to make sure of the Friday delivery. I guess that my miles to travel to central Texas are about 760.
    We ease out of the lot by 6:15 and put her in the wind (west). There is a light mist and very mild out along with quite abit of humidity even for the winter months.(North Florida) Calculating where I will have to get fuel, I figure  around the  middle part of Mississippi and we stop to check everything out including tires, straps and logbook. By the way, last nite on the way to the shipper, only about 15 miles from my destination, a bear flips on the disco lights and stops me along a lonely road and says ” You weren’t speeding  but I want to do an inspection”…….. great, I only have about an hour to get there and he wants todo an inspection at this time of the night.! A level 3 inspection is paperwork only (logbook, license, medical card, registration, truck and trailer. No violations but come on…….they have their quota’s………………
   The weather is rainy and dark when we get going and concentration is required until daylight. We have not turned north at all yet so the weather is very tepid. A little bit of blue peaking out late in the day. Many people are on their way home for the Holidays and shopping for last minute presents. I always enjoy the South in the winter months because the air is so mild and wish I could stay and pretend to be on vacation in the white sands of Northern Florida.
    Tonight we are looking for somewhere to stop and get a decent meal since its been  hit and miss or some time.  This load has 3 stopoffs, one in Texas, 1 in Colorado, 1 in Washington state and another  for a final in Washington state. Two of those have crane appts and must be kept because of the expense and that requires exact directions and making sure of parking and also if there is overnight parking on site. I don’t want parking tickets (at least $75.00). The truck is operating  just fine and no worries at the moment. The oil will be changed as soon as we get home because it will have more miles on it than I usually put on but we are too close to home now to get it done out on the road, Just too expensive…………and Daddy-o likes to monitor more carefully.
12-16-2011-1
Running along the bottom of Alabama…… mild and balmy

Happy Trails!!        506 miles  today              no tolls

Twin Cities freight or NW freight

   Late Wed afternoon I get a call from a favorite agent that offers me freight that is going to the Northwest but has a bunch of stopoffs and it looks like there is a stopoff with a crane appt. that basically can not be met since it needs to be offloaded on next Wed. and goes into Ca. before running up to the Northwest. About 4100 miles of  loaded revenue but its too tight to get it there. After the agent and I check this out, she says “let me call him back and see if there is something we can switch around to m ake this work”. The problem with it is the crane appt. on next Wed. Not enough time to get the other 2 stop/offs off and still get the last one off with weekends etc. included.

  Another hour passes and yes, they have devised another plan. This plan drops one of the stopoffs and adds another but still leaves the crane appt for Wed. I agree and start off knowing I have 300 miles to go until i get to the shipper. I normally would not go that far for a load but this one has a  good amount of loaded miles along with stopoff pay and fuel surcharge so it is worth it. I calculate 5 hours for 300 miles of deadhead and they load til 10pm. When I arrive, there is 4 trucks ahead of me so it will be a long wait. By 12:30 am its my turn and they really get to work since they all want to go home!!
   We are tried and go only about 20 miles before finding a spot to call it aday. It’s 1:30am and ready to get some rest…………

Happy Trails!!   410 miles       

Good riddence!

Tues.  6am

   The weather is pretty cool this morning as Daddy-o walks up to the fuel desk to grab a couple of goody’s for us this morning. He makes sure all of the lights are working , bumps the tires and checks for anything that might cause the port of entry ahead to call us in. I want to get this off and be ready for something going West.  We make our way to a military gate that is not the right one and we are directed to the other side of the facility and they are waiting  for us. Another one exactly the same was delivered just yesterday that came from San Antonio, Tx. He signs the paperwork and we are off.  A truck stop just 15 miles from here will be our address for today unless we get something rite away. This place charges $15.00  to park for a 24 hour period unless you have $25.00 worth of restaurant tickets or  shop work or fuel etc.
   I am offered two loads that go to Colorado and I pass on those as I usually can’t get West from there and the freight is usually cheap out of there too……… no. Night fall comes with us still here so maybe tomorrow will bring us something productive………
12-13-2011-1 North  Florida has something in the works , I think………….
 
Happy Trails!!        

Monday and we are back on the road

Monday morning,  8:30am

    The sun is already up for awhile and it drives you crazy to have to wait until 9am. After checking the load, tires, logbook,map, permits, and coffee, we are finally running down the road. I am routed down a 4 lane with many side roads coming into it from all angles. This is not an interstate but very smooth and  pleasant compared to the super slab. There is no contact # or person to get ahold of at the consignee which will be in the morning so tonite will be filled with some detective  work on the computer to find out just where this place is. One more day of curfew’s and detours around hiway work and it will be off. These loads can get to be  somewhat annoying  after 2500 miles and we both desire just a legal status next time on whatever we haul but we’ll see, you never know until they call. That reminds me……… As I look at the calendar and calculate when Christmas is, I wonder if we will make it home for the Holidays in time for all that is planned and presents for the little ones. Santa surley will be there.
   I check with our office and 2 agents that are in this area for freight for tomorrow (Tues). “Nothing yet” they tell me and get my number. I realize that it’s  almost the middle of Dec. and know things begin to slow down drastically this time of the year so I must take it all into consideration when being offered freight.
   Stopping  in a small town  in the Western part of Georgia for the nite, we learn that this town was built on the railroad that brought in coal, metals, and produce in the early years when the Georgia Pacific  was just starting up and assemblying their routes and building rail yards in the area.
   Tomorrow  this comes off…………

oversize load curfew

Sunday morning not too early:

   While reading the permits again just to make sure of times and hiways to follow along with detours for  Arkansas  and Tn. , I discovered that Tn does not allow any travel on Sunday at all and that will mean  there is no way we will be able to get this off on Monday.  Tues. will be  as soon as I could get there. What makes it even worse is that Tn. miles are only about 20. Just the corner and I would have been out and into Miss. Oh  well….. we arrived at a truck stop just before the border and found a place to park that was relaxing and in the sun that allowed for no heater for the afternoon. At least a dozen oversize loads were waiting  for morning  and then they would be on their way too in all directions.  I have never understood why  the state would rather have large loads travel on the interstates on a Monday morning when Sunday would have less traffic and congestion and be much safer???????????? 
   Getting somewhat South has its advantages in December. The sky’s are clear and  it warms to about 58 degrees and not cold at all. 
12-13-2011-1 (2)          12-13-2011-2
A few super loads waiting for Monday:

Happy Trails!!     230 miles— 2 detours

Frosty winter miles

5:30am

    Coffee smelled enticing as I fixed the dark brew for Daddy-o that morning and wondered if the sun was ever going to appear from the high country that we were in.The next two days were filled with a certain amount of low lying ,deep, dark fog and wouldn’t give up its lofty coldness for anything. Two fox played near the fenceline while crows swooped down beside the gravel on the shoulder for their share of a rundown jack rabbbit .4 or five inches of snow for many miles left tracks indented and black as the shadows rolled over the mounds of wild grasses attempting to cover hideouts for the critters in the snow. I have a long way to go and am held back by the travel restriction of sun up to sun down through some of the states. The rest will let you go ahead after dark with the proper lighting and its on………… Don’t stop but for only a few minutes, these Dec. days are short.

Happy TRails!!      Wed— 538 miles      Thurs.–542 miles—-no tolls