So we had a great time in Charlotte NC. We dropped in Ashville and headed down to Charlotte where we basically had the day off as our FedEx pickup was not until 3:00 AM the next day. We dropped our empty trailer at the Pilot and did some pretty serious shopping. Got a lot done and then got a call telling us FedEx was out of empty trailers and could we take ours over there now. We ran over and dropped it which was good as it was our load to San Bernardino CA that they did not have a trailer for. Ran back to the Pilot and got lazy, watched TV and got some sleep. Up at 2 AM and over the FedEx. Load was ready so we got going. I drove until about 1:00 PM and then Anne took over. She woke me up in a rest area in Oklahoma and it was my turn to drive. I got all set, made my coffee and pulled out onto I-40 Westbound…..for 10 whole minutes. It was pitch black near Checotah Oklahoma (Carrie Underwoods hometown) when out of the dark I see a bunch of debris in the freeway. I could not avoid it so we ran right over it. Immediately I hear a loud hiss and I just know I punctured my left front steer tire. I move over to the right shoulder and as I am slowing I notice my primary airtank is empty. That is never supposed to happen. I still have brakes because the secondary tank has air. I am now assuming I ripped out an airline somewhere. Get out and check all around the truck and trailer but all the airlines seem intact. We call breakdown and the start working on getting a tow truck out to us. Three and a half hours later the wrecker arrives and he climbs under the truck and has me start it. He follows the hissing noise to the side of the air tank and where the overflow valve should be is a hole. He says “I can fix this” and goes back to his truck. This makes me pretty happy as that means we do not need a repower and can keep our load. He climbs under the truck and does something and then proudly says “There you go, that should work for a while” I look and he has screwed a big bolt into the whole which mostly stops the leak. It is not the right size of threads so I am sure we will now need to replace the tank. A supposition that Freightliner later confirmed. We were still leaking but my air compressor could keep up and we were good to go. Only a four-hour delay. The next night Anne is again driving and I wake up and open the curtain and we are in a blizzard in Arizona. I mean it is snowing hard. She is driving about 25 mph and not happy. I ask where we are and she tells me we are somewhere between Flagstaff and Kingman and we just passed a sign that said “Freeway Closed” but there is nowhere to get off. About 20 minutes later traffic ground to a complete stop and it was a huge backup with trucks stopped for as far as we could see forward and back. The snow just continued to dump and we are now parked in the left lane of I-40. I check the internet and I-40 is closed from mile marker 129 to mile marker 71. We are at mm 99. The Arizona DOT is not giving an estimate of when the road will reopen as they have a bunch of wrecks to clear. So we go to bed in the middle of the freeway. Four and a half hours later I hear on the CB that the road is reopening. I jump in the driver’s seat and log on to the computer and we start slowly rolling. We make it exactly one mile (just enough to put me into to driving status and out of “off duty” and we grind to a halt again. Two inch thick layer of ice on the freeway and a bunch of vehicles way ahead of us have crashed again. This now includes a hazmat truck hauling gunpowder. We hear there are fatalities and the freeway is now closed until the sun melts the ice in the morning. So we go back to bed. I wake up about 6 AM and make coffee and I am sitting there eating my Lucky Charms (best cereal in the world and if you do not agree you are a communist) It is almost all big rigs out here but I have two cars right next to me and I am sitting there thinking what a miserable night they must have had. Sun is almost up so I climb out of the truck and knock on the window of the tiny little Mitsubishi Spider to ask if they are OK and to offer them some coffee. It turns out it is these two great guys from Northern Ireland who had flown into LA to go to a Wedding Photographers convention in Las Vegas. Since they had some extra time before the conference started they decided to take a day trip to Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon. Could not see a thing at the Grand Canyon and a Park Ranger told them they ought to get heading out since a big storm was rolling in. They said “Big Storm, Americans are soooo dramatic” and went to watch the IMAX movie. That brings us up to me knocking on their window at 6 AM and finding out that they are freezing because they only had an 1/8th of a tank of gas so are only idling when the can’t feel anything anymore. We spent the morning talking and had a very nice time considering. Here is a link to their blogs if you ever want to get married in Northern Ireland. Pretty impressive photographers.
So after over 14 hours we finally got moving down the road. We rolled in to FedEx about 15 hours late and dropped our load then headed over to Freightliner in Fontana to get the truck fixed. We checked into the hotel and the next morning we rented a car and began to play. Headed to Woodland Hills to visit our awesome friends Steve and Lupe Mitchell. Happily, our friend Samantha and our son Tyler (OK, Anne’s Son but I am claiming him) showed up too. A LOT of laughter, steak and more than a few bottles of wine later we called the evening a success. The next morning (Saturday) we headed up to Yucca Valley to visit Anne’s Mom. While there I received a call from my younger brother. He had brought his family to Palm Springs for the weekend and my sister was coming up from Torrence to have dinner together. Anne was not feeling well so I went solo and had a great time with them all. Went up the hill and got Anne and we headed back to Ontario. The next day we met up with Sandi & Bandit and since the weather was cloudy we headed up to Palm Springs again for and awesome brunch and some time spent wandering through an outdoor art festival. So great to hang out with our primary bad influences 🙂
So we get to Monday, we took the rental car back and checked out of the hotel and we are now about five hours into waiting at the Freightliner dealer while the give us lie after lie as to why our truck is not done and when it will be done. My lovely wife is doing her best to keep me from letting loose. I think we will get out of here sometime tonight, just do not know when. Can’t wait to get back in the truck and rolling.