Thursday reload for the West!

 6am——–  This morning, I still don’t have directions for this military base that is about 100 miles from here. We will make our way up to it and hopefully get an answer when I call.

   The air conditioner is on from the APU and feels so wonderful! What a great machine that is and not having to run the engine with the fuel prices as they are. The generator takes approx. .25 gallon instead of 1 gallon per hour…….So much more economical.
   As I peak out, there is some fog accumulating along with much humidity. Last night we walked across to the other side of the freeway to Applebees for a decent meal and no fast food for once. Some good excercise too after our refreshing shower and enjoying the warm weather in the evening. Something we don’t have that much of in the Northwest. Soon , I will have to do some laundry just to get us home which shouldn’t be but much more than a week. I’ll find a place in a day or so when we stop for the night at a truckstop. the larger ones have all the facilities and I keep soap and downy on hand in the truck for clean clothes. This trip I didn”t take along all short sleeve because we never know where we will be and we did end up in North Dakota in 18 degree weather quite abit. So we ran out of some of our light weight duds.
   10am
   We found the entrance to the base without difficulties  and not much for security  either. Usually it’s open the hood, all the boxes, all the doors, get out and stand over there, sniffing dog along with mirror under the tractor and trailer. I think this base id just for reconditioning equipment maybe.
  4 informative, friendly soldiers were loading 4 trucks while we were there and a few extras came as we left. I backed into the loading dock and with one soldier motioning the humvees onward, it only took about 15 minutes and we were chaining down and making sure all paperwork is  completed with military. Daddy-o really knocked his head on a bracket sticking out from the back of one of the humvees and called for me to get some paper towels quick……… It peeled the skin back and down and really bled ……. he’s good now but it gave him trouble for about an hour or more. He said he heard the skin tear …..ouch!
   As we headed North, some dark blue  foggy, stormlike clouds were forming toward the West. It wasn’t long and it was a downpour for about 20 minutes and of all things, one of the other trucks that was loading with us got into a fender bender and 3 other cars were up against the wall….grrrrrrr.
   I called in to tell them all went fine and told them my ETA would be on Monday. Knowing that military does not work on the weekends, that will give us plenty of time if we get about 525 miles in the next three days. 

6:30pm–Central time
   We headed for a large truckstop for the night and had some supper from a pretty good buffet.3-29-2012-2
3-29-2012-1


  Happy Trails!!       390 miles–no tolls–load–
   

Wednesday unload instead of Thurs.

4 :45am

   I estimate that we have about 350 miles to go to  reach the destination very close to the gulf. Getting directions on Tues., consignee said 3:30pm would be the latest we could come to get unloaded. So just to be on the safe side, I need 6 hours to get there with traffic and breaks to arrive about noon or 1pm.
   As we approach, we will be unloading at a huge refinery that makes jet fuel and as we stop at the gate to check in, we must watch a movie about safety and of course, where all gear thats required on job site. ( hard hats, long sleeve  shirts,long pants, safety shoes which I don’t have along this trip,safety vest.) 10 mph for the speed in this facility, and someone must come to get you at the check in place and bring you out at the end of your stay. Actually a very dangerous place to work and everyone has to play by the rules . It’s like a huge bomb in there. This fuel is refined to up around 160 octane or so the attendant mentioned. (He wasn’t entirely sure). The refinery is being expanded within facility.
   Meanwhile, our office called earlier and ran a load by me,. A military load going from Mississippi to California. I had asked them to put in my screen that I wanted a NW load but they wanted to run it by me anyway. At first I declined as the money wasn’t that good,  and not really going where I wanted to go but about a half hour later , she called back and they had raised the rate about $800.00 ………..Hmmmm.  I quickly figured out the rate against the miles and told Daddy-o ” I really better take this one and we will take our chances getting North when we get there ” . He aggreed too. It’s a farily light load and fairly low so its done. She checks to secure it and calls back with a confirmation.
   The weather is balmy and about 80 out . Blue sky with wispy cirrus clouds making their way northerly slowly  and  being on the gulf, acertain amount of coolness  in the air coming from the water near here. These are the  times when I wish we could explore the area some , but of course, we don’t have the time right now and need to get going for tomorrow. There are a couple of old forts right here that would be interesting to check out. One is an old Spanish Fort that was built around 1715 or so and was occupied by the same family until around 1914. Interesting!
7-4-2012-4


    Happy Trails!!    340 miles–no tolls– unload–Good day!

Monday bright and early

4:45am

   Alarm went off and I knew that I wanted to get going soon. Coffee smelled good and Daddy-o checked everything while I did paperwork and we flicked on the lights and eased out onto the superslab even though the truck wasn’t warmed up to operating temp. just yet. Only 23 degrees now and the fog was in layers as we climbed up small hills and kept heading South . Just last week , we had been in 80 degree temps down in Louisianna and kept heading  further that way for at least 60 and short sleeves.
   I am about #45,000 for the load and so all together about #78,000 heading into the wind that had rounded over night and was very strong for hundreds of miles. I managed to keep it in the high hole (overdrive) and putt  down the road. 4 ports of entry were open  but they let me weigh and go on my way.
    All the flooding that took place in the Hamburg area of Iowa, left much dark sand on the farm land and with all the wind blowing northerly, it was a sand storm far off all around. Huge drift wood in the ditches left behind by all the water, was still lying close to the road, slivery grey and twisted with no bark left.
    We found a place to park for the night and called it a day. More log books to enter times and memos and make sure of correct # of hours all in the right places….. a couple of phone calls to get in and we are finished for this day………Daddy-o’s patch on the air tank is holding well and looks like we will get home to put the new one on…….Here is a pic of  a double pumper in the Dakota’s, one of many!
3-26-2012-1

   This is one beautiful rig with a huge house on it . All the comforts of home!
3-26-2012-2


   Happy Trails!!     532 miles–no tolls—

busy weekend

Saturday started at 5am and we were out the gate by 5:40am. We had about 400 miles to run before I could unload and I unknowingly told    the shipper that i would be ready to load at about 2:30pm………. I certainly didn’t know if that would work or not but it was a good starter that maybe I could ask  for extra time if need be………. wind and more wind but finally arrived at the consignee about 1 :30pm. All of the guys there just  started up two fork lifts and informed me that I should drive out from underneath the generators one at a time as they lifted them up. One on each side…….. No problem, I was out of there in about a half an hour……… Having called the person that would be at the drill site (oil) , about 100 miles away, for the next load,  he said he would meet us at a Cenex  station and he would direct us out to the site….. AS we wove our way up the mountain, one place on our right  had given away and I was hoping they were going to fix it before I came back down……….the road base looked alot like sand and that may be soft. Coming up to the top (what a view) I rounded the site and parked while the boom truck started to pic up the two counter weights and boom (2 pieces) that would be loaded onto the bottom deck and tied down…………

    As we decended down the slipshod road that the grader was trying to fix back up, I flipped on the jake brake and geared down in the low box (deep reduction). Slowly   , I made my way down and out to the hiway and waited for all the truck traffic to pass before easing my way out   and starting up the hill …….. Flashers are blinking , as I start up the hill and luckily no one is in that big of a hurry…….. All the way up and all the way down with a hill coming up that I point to Daddy-o and tell him that this hill should be interesting pulling (knowing that it’s too steep for the regular pulling gears) and as we run up at top speed, then rpm falling back , one after another gear is selected with the last two, skipping down to #3 in the low box in less than a minute, and grinding up to the top , now with 4 cars and trucks behind me…….. these roads are not engineered like a freeway so it takes twice as long to maneuver.   Now , all I want to find is a place to park for the nite and relax and have some dinner, which I manage to find coming into Killdeer, ND. I grab it immediately and do my paperwork. A nice saloon across the street with a flashing sign saying “prime rib, sat. nite”.   We were both ready for a good dinner and time to relax before we get going tomorrow………….
3-26-2012-1 (2)

   The weather was sunny but cold and had no idea it would be 18 degrees by morning……..The wind had a definite bite to it and we both grabbed our coats as we hurried over to the saloon………..it was full of happy people since it was pay day just the day before. The whole NW area of North Dakota is so very prosperous now and anyone that says they can not find work is only fooling themselves. Truck drivers start around $25.00 an hour and can work 7 days a week. Tons of construction for the roads  and drill sites are being filled from workers all over the world. It mimicks the gold rush of California in 18 and 49!! It’s nonstop up there especially since spring is here. There is more oil up there than in the Middle East, Really! So why are we not self sufficent?………Why are we paying $4.15 for diesel or gasoline?   The average gasloine price today throughout the country was $3.93 a gallon. What a shame…….

Happy Trails!!    487 miles–no tolls– unload–reload–done by 8pm……….

Friday–long day

  I promised a pic yesterday and didn’t have time or a imperfect connection when I did, so today raced by like yesterday and we still haven’t had dinner……..

 

3-23-2012-1


 Last night it poured while in a truckstop in Missouri and we were hoping it would blow over for today but this morning it was still not good out. Many tornadoes  warnings have been in this area but as we traveled north, the rain receded and clear sky’s enabled us to get farther than I had thought we would get before calling to see if by chance we could unload this load on Sat or Sun. Monday would be ok but you never know, there might be someone there on site. When the consignee called back , he assured me that there is someone there 24/7 to get things unloaded and back out down the road. So……as I call about 3 agents for anything in this area that might work for a load out, I get a callback from an agent that I have never contacted before. He has a legal load (no oversize) that needs to go to Mississippi…….. The rate , weight , miles, and deadhead will definetly work and I can load this on Sat., Yes!!   This load coming up was 1925 miles and the load going back down will be 1850 miles  so that should get us back down south by Wed.
 
 
Happy Trails!!    yesterday 487 miles  today  547 miles —35 gallons fuel–182 gallons fuel……….ugh!!! getting scary!!

Wednesday—

6:30am

    Today I need to get some fuel as it felt like running on fumes when we eased into a small truckstop last night , in a town just above a major freeway and I figured not that many trucks would be in this spot and an Applebees is just across the  road from here . Buffalo wings would sure taste good after all we accomplished since this morning………Tornado warnings and sever thunderstorms are forcast and a fine mist forms around each window as we make an immediate right  off of the freeway and Yes, there is a place to park…….The CB is blasting out the warnings to all to take cover and we check ou tjust where the counties are that the worst is coming from……..we are right on track for the worst……..wind is getting stronger and another soundoff on the CB….. Getting fuel was tricky as it was just starting to drizzle again,  the sky was dark with grey clouds hurrying North. I decided to get just 60 gallons here because I couldn’t get a shower with fuel purchase. Will get more at a place  where we can get a shower free. 
     12pm—–Acouple of hundred miles up the road, there is a nice place  to have some breakfast/lunch and get cleaned up along with more fuel  (182 gallons) While having our lunch, the sky opened up and there was no way we could get back to the truck without getting soaked so I went, with the one umbrella that we had and Daddy-o stayed back with all the gear til I could get closer and he baled in………. we were both wet for sure………..
    All the trees are leafed out and some of the white dogwoods were peaking out of the cluster of green, every once in awhile, along the 4 laner. Even saw some bamboo with young leaves, light green and fluffy. 

Happy Trails!!             403 miles—no tolls—- 60 gallons fuel–182 gallons fuel–( 15 minutes has to be logged each time you fuel)   Paperwork—check load and chains and binders, tires, pay some bills, look for a Walmart for some groceries and fruit–we are out of everything— call it a day……..am starting to have a lot of laundry ………tomorrow will have a pic of this load……my fuel filter is getting down in the red at times., otherwise truck is running sweet!

Tues– busy day to unload………

5:30am

    Pitch dark this morning but made some coffee and thought about where we would be going in just a little while. I have been down below New Orleans before and really like traveling down there especially  in the southeast area . Unbelievable shipping and cargo with barges etc. coming and going on the canals and rivers along with the shrimpers  and their traps stacked high on their boats , ready to bring in catches for the day.
   We arrived ., after getting slightly lost, but recovered and found the place for this broken genset.  While they did not know what building to send us to, we waited and finally got unloaded with an awsome overhead crane and were done in about 10 minutes……….
       I spyed a small casino/truckstop on the way down and we dove into a hole that wasn’t taken and went in for a Subway for a quicky breakfast/lunch and while I called in to have them empty me out, Daddy-o said he needed to take one of the racks out in the trailer tool box and straighten it out for the next time we need to get into it, which we hope would be yet today……..I was pooped out from getting up early and I always feel like I want some time  before the next load, although I have to keep in mind that freight is slow so if I get a call ,I need to consider that…………a quicky nap was in order.
      2 or 3 loads simply would not work for us that agents had called about.  A couple of hours later, someone from our office passed this load going to the North central part of the country by me and I decided to take it since it was already 2pm Eastern time. I called this shipper and got the directions and he said, if I could make it  by 4 or 4:30 , we could get loaded and be on our way….
   4:31pm we arrived and were out of there by 5:30. The wind was still strong and a balmy 80 degrees and since the wind was from the South , I was game to go North yet this afternoon and take advantage of it. This freight goes into the oil fields in the Dakotas and is 1920 miles from Louisiana . probably will unload on Monday although they may have people on the drill site thru the weekend—–will see.

Happy Trails!!         unload—load—98 miles

wind , wind, wind

7am

   While getting going at a pretty good time, the awful wind just blew from the south all day and it was so hard to just get down the road…………. headed into it all the way and stopped  mid Oklahoma panhandle for a quick Subway and off again. As we progressed, a weather report warned of tornado and severe  rain and weather until 10pm tonight ,. Funnel cloud was sited and dark  purple cumulonimbus clouds  raced NE along with us  at times. Torrential  rains followed which was good as it gave us a free wash and finally found a parking place and Wendy’s was for supper…………Am pretty worn out and allways  feel this way when in the wind, grinding down the road one gear down from overdrive……bummer. 
   Forgot  to post this pic of the wonderful hot springs in Genwood Springs, Co. that we viewed while walking across the pedestrian bridge looking for a place for supper.


3-18-2012-1

Happy Trails!!                       487 miles–no tolls–fuel tomorrow??

Friday- will I get something out of SLCity?

4:40am

   2 alarm clocks this morning as yesterday overslept and didn’t hear anyhting until 6:50am. Thought about it for 10 minutes and then up in the cold and hurriedly dressed and so was Daddy-o so we could make it into where we had to unload at 7am. We are a ways out from the city and I have to go to the north end thru Fri. morn traffic…….along with the hwy construction on the south end that is at least a 8 year project, narrow and twisty in the dark. The temp. in the mid 40’s and is supposed to warm up considerably thru the afternoon and be a nice day, all the time hoping to get a call for something out of this area that can be slow and cheap……..
   A few holdups but as I get to my exit , it is still dark and I suggest that we take a right here instead of a left and wait it out for just a few minutes til twilight   so it will be easier to see the street signs……i don’t want to miss my corner. I can turn around easy here too.
A little later, as we round the corner, the guys are just getting there and he tells me to go around back and wait for ramps to unload the tractor. In an hour , we are done and headed back for some breakfast  (a truckstop nearby).

     About10am I get a call from our office asking if I may interested in a genset going to Louisiana. The rate isn’t the best but it would get me into a good traffic lane for Mon, or Tues. About 140 miles away, #42000 , 1647 paid miles…….Yes, I’ll do it.
    I t will be loading in an area that we both had not ever been to ,as a matter of fact, we had planned a motorcycle trip to this area but never got around to it yet……..Dinosaur National Park (close by). These are arrid, dusty, sagebrush covered lands with some steep snow crusted mountains and plateaus  marked with some adobe colored, jagged sides peaking out to the sky. A few towns dotted along the way  and the directions said turn right at an old dry van on your right  (paved road) before you get to Myton??????? . Go 15 miles straight and when you get to the dirt road , continue on for 5 or 6 miles further, Look for a crane and white pickups , we will be waiting………….Unbelievably, we found it and while there , another driver came over to talk to us and as we chatted,  about whatever , he said ” You guys are pretty open aren’t you?”   We said ” Oh fairly??????? I guess…..  He proceded to tell us about the nudist colony’s that he and wife have visited–lol—lol—-and there is truck parking at most of them – lol–lol—-lol—- and after I was loaded brought over a brochure for us to look at  –lol—lol–lol- and  we are still snickering about it this morning………..Daddy-o  made tons jokes all day, . That is a first for nudist colony’s while truck’n!!!
     Carry on………..We have many miles of mountain roads , narrow and twisty to get over before dark.. Tomorrow is St. Patty’s day!!!!!!

Happy Trails!!!       417miles—–unload–reload fuel—-190 gallons fuel  ($4.20 per gal.) 
                                                                                              we get a fuel surcharge)
3-17-2012-1     3-17-2012-2
 
   

colorful scenery and nice weather!


5:30am


    Last night went so quick and I didn’t get to sleep until after midnite………No time for coffee to be made this morning so Daddy-o went inside to grab a cup of African blend. We need to cover about 600 miles today and  get this off on Friday morning and HOPE to get something out so we don’t have to sit around and pass the time doing nothing……… I have nothing yet for the weekend……… We stayed in the mountains for the nite and it was downrite cold when we opened the door. You could see your breath and I jumped out to check how much fuel I had and decided I would have enough, ( I have a fuel stick that is marked in inches) to get all the way up into the Utah area.As we eased out of the truckstop, the sun was just peaking up over the horizon and we both knew it was going to be a nice day. Daddy-o had never been over the road that would take us into the Glen Canyon Dam area. All the warm adobe browns and almost fushia colored plateaus glistened in the morning sun with a sky blue backdrop and sage green , desert evergreen trees popping up along the hill tops like an artists hand had painted them in all the right places…….. As we approached Lake Powell, there was a port of entry that required all drivers to come in and bring all permits and registrations. This is what we could see for the view from the port………..
3-15-2012-1

Looks like a great place to go fishing for awhile in the winter!

   This is just one of those trips that really make truck’n fun and somewhat exciting. The temperature was about 75 and no wind , which I’d hoped for since they had to put that shed on the top deck and it could be a fuel sucker! But not today, It was truely a good one!
3-15-2012-2

(they made a ramp out of the dirt to load part of this load because the tractor would not fit on the loading ramp)
3-15-2012-3

   Tomorrow we  have about 60 miles to the consignee’s to unload and then we’ll find a spot to wait for someone to call with something going anywhere……..

Happy  Trails!!               582miles