Been a while

OK, now so much has happened I started to put off writing because there is so much to say.

After Donner Pass we ran to a little town called Crows Landing CA and picked up a load of tomatoes that we hauled all the way to Williams South Carolina.  We got to this place in middle of nowhere down all these tiny back roads, parked until someone showed up in the morning and I asked “are we in the right place?”  Yep.  Got unloaded and we headed up to our main terminal in Tunnel Hill Georgia to pick up a load headed to Kent Washington and home time.  We got out of the terminal as quickly as we could and with an extra day in schedule, we called our oldest son and he picked us up and we hung out with the grand kids.  This is the BEST part of the job, seeing family and friends all over the country.  We then headed out and had a good trip to Seattle.  Our delivery appointment was for 8:00 AM on Tuesday but we rolled in at about 10:00 PM on Monday.  The guy told me we would have to wait until 8 AM since he could not give me an empty trailer, I said “fine, I don’t need an empty since we are home” I dropped the trailer and drove to my parents house.

We had a BLAST in Seattle.  Tuesday night we went down to Lake Union to hang out with our friends on their boat and watch “Duck Dodge”, a sailboat race that is held every Tuesday night in the summer.  My friends Bill and Trish brought their boat across the lake to hang out with us and our future changed.  We have been planning (and I have been doing research) on buying a 38 to 42 foot Catamaran Sailboat to live on.  We had not decided whether to put it in California or Florida.  Well,  after Anne saw Bill and Trish’s 34 foot Sea Ray powerboat, she said “This would be awesome and we could live right here in Seattle”  It is always easy to think about living in Seattle in the summer as it is the most amazing town in the sunshine, summers are just not that long.  She has, however, been to Seattle a number of times in the winter so she knows what she is saying.  I am now doing the research on a power boat and since it will cost about a third of what the Cat would have cost our plans are much closer.  Spent time with my daughter and all three of my sisters where in town so I made a big spaghetti dinner and we had a pool party with the whole family.  We also went down to the waterfront for a seafood lunch and Anne, Aleena and I took the ferry across the Sound to Bainbridge Island and back and then we headed up to Queen Anne Hill to have dinner with my Nephew Aaron and his Fiance Sarah.  We love these two and it was so nice to spend a few hours with them.

Anyway, five days flew by, the weather was perfect and our batteries were re-charged.  Saturday night we headed down to our Kent drop yard and picked up a pre-loaded trailer headed to Target Distribution Center in Fontana and we were off….

Dropped that load and headed up towards the coast near Monterey.  Just before we got there they sent us back South on the Coast to Santa Maria and  loaded up on lettuce and we were off to Annapolis Junction Maryland.  Saw something pretty cool in the middle of the night in the California high Desert.  About 40 miles East of Barstow I saw these very bright, kinda eerie lights in the sky.  There were two of them and they just hung there for over two minutes, then another light appeared a little higher and then another next to that one.  About 30 seconds later the first two lights faded out.  This repeated for about 20 minutes.  It was star shells on parachutes from the Marines at 29 Palms doing night training.  Pretty cool.  Picture below but not clear.

Awesome storms across Oklahoma and a couple of amazing sunrises.  I love the sunrises and sunsets we see.  At least a few times a week they are amazing.

OK, I need to tell on my wife…..
Just after we crossed into Oklahoma from Texas we switched drivers.  It was my turn.  I did the pre trip and got settled in and off we went.  Anne sat up front with me to watch the amazing storms on all sides of us.  We were kind of in a clear pocket so visibility was amazing as the lightning was hitting in all directions.  I had been driving for about 20 minutes when Anne’s phone beeps and she looks at it and says “Oh-Oh, a severe thunder storm warning”  I laugh because I think she is kidding.  Then she says “did you hear me?  A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING”  I said, “honey, I can see the lightning all around us”  She shakes her head and says “No, a thunder storm”  I say yes, I see it” and she says (like I am not too bright) “a THUNDER storm!”  I just started laughing so hard and said “other than lightning, what do YOU think makes thunder?”  Silly Valley girl.  I think I giggled for an hour.

So we made our delivery just South of Baltimore and we had a full day to get up to Boston so we hung out and had dinner at one of our favorite seafood hangouts with my Nephew Dustin and his wife Jill.  Dustin is a Major in the Air Force and is a JAG officer based at Andrews AFB and Jill is a Captain in the Air Force and is a C-17 Pilot flying out of Dover.  We had a great time with them and they dropped us off at the TA and we got some good sleep.  I got Anne up at 04:30 AM for breakfast (did I mention she is NOT a morning person) and after we ate and she felt awake we drove up to Peabody MA to pick up a load of frozen seafood headed to Anaheim CA.

My turn to drive but we sat there for five hours until we were loaded.  Massive downpour and flash flood warnings and I got soaked closing up the trailer.  I got the bill of lading and put the info into the computer and we were off.  We did not find out until St Louis that I had made a mistake.  We got pulled into a weigh station just West of St Louis (Anne was driving) and they told us we were 3200 pounds overweight on our tandems (trailer tires) and we were at 78,600 gross (our maximum allowed gross weight is 80,000)  I said “No way, we the load is only 34,600”  We only scale the load if it is 37,000 pounds or more.  I grabbed the bill and looked, it said “Net Weight 34,600″………….but a ways over to the left is said “Gross weight 39,400”  The DOT guy let us adjust the tandems and we were able to get legal on all the axles…….for every State Except California, where we were, of course, headed.  In CA, if you have been following the blog you might remember, the rear axle can be no more than 40 feet from the kingpin.  We had the tandems at about 44 feet from the kingpin to make the load legal and there was nothing we could do.  If I had caught this at the shipper we could have had them reload the trailer or take a pallet of two off but I missed it.  Going into SoCal, there is only one weigh station you cross, the one at Cajon Pass between Barstow and San Bernardino where we got shut down the night we learned about this law.  What we learned that night, however, is they close the weigh station late at night. I did the calculations and figured out that if we ran hard, we would pass the weigh station at 3 AM on Monday morning.  We both needed showers but we had to suck it up and keep moving.  The plan worked and we sailed by the closed weigh station at 3:30 AM.  Got to our Colton Terminal and went to sleep.  Got up this morning and took showers, did laundry, got the truck washed, made our 14:00 delivery in Anaheim, dropped the empty trailer at the leasing company, headed over to FedEx in Mira Loma to pick up a different empty trailer and headed to one of our favorite sushi restaurants and a little grocery shopping.  Sitting in the Wal-Mart parking lot waiting for our next load assignment.

It has been a good few weeks.

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2 Responses to Been a while

  1. Anne Miller Leonard says:

    AND just for the record. I thought in severe thunderstorms it was suppose to be RAINING. There was no rain, just the massive lightening. Okay so it rained later but not when I got the alert. You learn something new everyday. I am glad you enjoyed my blond moment!!

  2. RC says:

    HEY! This isn’t right! Truck drivers are not supposed to be having that much fun! 😉

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