Crazy Lucky

We had decided not to commit to a dedicated run for Christmas this year because the normal spot market rates had jumped through the roof and the contract rates had not gone up enough.   

That plan lasted a whole week. 

We had made a delivery in Auburn WA and had booked a good paying load from Portland OR to Los Angeles and then a great paying load from LA to Dallas.  We drove 160 miles empty to Portland and got loaded about 1 PM.  When they brought the BOL, they brought TWO BOL’s.  I asked what the extra bill was for and they said “For the second stop”.  Uhhhh nope.  They had loaded the wrong load on us.   They then unloaded the trailer and then said our load would not be ready for at least 5 or 6 hours.   That did not work, we would not be able to make our pick up to Dallas which would ruin our whole weekend.   Anne jumped on the computer to try to find us a replacement load to LA.  She called on a load to Santa Barbara and it turned out to be a contract mail run for Christmas.  It was also a large broker we have worked for a lot and they were excited Anne had called.   The load did not pick up until 3 AM so Anne said “no, that would not help us and you are not paying enough”  This is a very condensed version of how the 20 minute conversation went.

Broker: “what if I paid you $3 a mile” 

Anne: “then I would be stuck in SB”

B: “what if I made it round trip”

A: “then we would be stuck in Portland”

B: “what if I just kept you going round trip”

A: “now we are interested”

The problem is that we were quite a ways above the contact market rate and so they were looking to replace us and we knew it.   We made three runs and they did not have us on a fourth and said they were looking for a load for us.  A couple of hours later with no response other than that they would understand if we found something else, we started calling on other loads.  We found another broker with mail loads from Portland to Anaheim.  The rate was not quite as good but still great and very steady.  1004 miles each way picking up at 4AM and delivering at 3AM with no break and no dead head.  The only downside was a trip a day over Siskiyou Pass on the Oregon-California border.  The weather can get very nasty over that pass.  

This is where the “crazy lucky” part happened.  We have made 16 trips over the pass with clear weather for the most part and a little rain a couple of nights.  Here is a picture from a couple of nights ago. 

This morning in the warm sunshine, on our last trip South before we head home for Christmas, we get this notice….

We got over the pass before the storm hit. We deliver in Anaheim tonight and pick up a mail run to Cincinnati and then home by noon on the 21st.  I have tickets to see the new Star Wars movie that afternoon at 4.  Then a hot buttered rum and Christmas music while we decorate the tree and play with the grandkids.  Looking forward to lots of family and 5 weeks off.

Merry Christmas everyone. 

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The Grind

Holy crap are we tired.   We are running Christmas loads for the postal service. Round trip from Portland OR to Anaheim CA. and it is getting old.  On our last round trip before we head East from Los Angeles to go home for Christmas and a month off.  Kinda funny because we are not actually working any harder than we did as company drivers back in the day but we are not used to it anymore.  We keep looking at each other saying “screw it, let’s just go home” but the money is just too good to pass up.   

We will be home on the 21st about noon and I have tickets to see Star Wars that afternoon at 4pm.  We did take a day off last week to drive up to Snohomish Washington to see my parents.  Awesome visit but we took 24 hours off and had to drive for 7 hours of it.  

Thanks to Amazon, all the Christmas shopping is done and we put up the Christmas decorations before we left.  Just going to put on some Christmas music, make a couple of hot buttered rums and trim the tree.   

Oh, and hang out with all the grandkids.   Life is pretty wonderful.   

Speaking of “It’s a Wonderful Life” I also need to watch “Die Hard” because it is not Christmas until Hans Gruber falls off Nakatomi Plaza.

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Family Weekend

We were blessed to have most of the children in town and all the grandchildren. We got to spend quality time with all and took some amazing photos. Ty in the Sky took some beautiful photos on the walking bridge with his drone. Pretty perfect weekend. Great food and lots of football. Perfect weather and now its time to head back to work.

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Running old school

I have to say I am exhausted. Craig and I have been running old school after a $$$$$$ repair on our truck. The good news is the truck is running well and we have been moving constantly. I forgot how hard trucking can be. When we were company drivers we would go out for weeks and weeks. Never really thought about it but being an owner operator you are spoiled. You run where and when you want. We have been blessed because we have been doing round trip loads out of Chattanooga. Run a few days and then home for a couple days. But running old school we are following the high paying loads and being a team definitely helps.

I say we run constantly but even saying that we have stopped and had lunch with my mother and Craig’s father.  Tonight we are spending the night with Craig’s parents since we had to drop our trailer and it won’t be ready till tomorrow.  Today we arrived at the parents house and they weren’t home yet. We did laundry and took showers. Then we both passed out for a few hours.  I couldn’t keep my eyes open. The good news is we are going home next week for a long weekend. I am going to enjoy our time off for sure.

Rates have been amazing the past couple weeks so I’m enjoying booking our loads since we can be picky about where we go and how much we will accept for a load. I’ve had brokers say I was asking for too much and then had them call me back to see if my truck was still available. We know what we are worth and won’t accept cheap loads.

We did have a first this week. We have never have had a driver assist. What that means is the driver assists with loading or unloading the trailer. We picked up a load of dry ice heading to Amazon. When we got there they told us they were unable to enter our trailer and we would have to unload it onto the dock. Have no idea why. We had 17 bins that weighed 2200 lbs a piece. I was sitting in the truck when Craig called me and wasn’t sure he was able to do it alone. He had done 6 by himself with a pallet jack. NOT FUN. I went in to help and we were able to get them all off. The trailer slanted slightly uphill which was why it was so brutal. It was a good work out and way easier with two people.

We have driven 13,500 miles since we have come out. No wonder I am so tired LOL

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Starry Starry Night… 

Taking along your own professional photographer does have its perks. Our son Tyler ( rode with us to visit family in Washington and took this picture a couple of nights ago on the Montana – Wyoming state line. Pretty damn cool. 

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You never know what you will see out on the road.

My poor husband was sound asleep today when he was woken from a dead sleep by Me, his loving wife screaming “It’s a bear It’s a bear!!!!!” Now let me tell you how excited I was. I have never seen a bear while driving. I have seen deer, antelope, buffalo, birds, elk and every rodent known to man. I even saw two moose in Utah which is the other time I woke him in my excitement. He wasn’t very happy either time.  I’m sorry I am a city girl and really didn’t get the opportunity to see wildlife out my window. In Connecticut we did have deer and rabbits. When I do see wildlife I squeal and scream and totally forget that my husband is trying to sleep. Today I had a dash cam and can finally share my excitement with you. You can’t see it too clearly but you get the idea. I think the first car had a bit of a scare but was able to swerve and miss the little guy. The other thing I found funny was the way he was running, like a swerving drunk sailor loping across the freeway. This did happen in Montana but they had no signage about bear crossing. Only about deer. When I told Craig this he laughed at me. “Have you never seen a bear run? Thats the way they run.” Well how in the world would I know that. I’ve never seen a bear in the wild. Only at the zoo. It was a good day I must say. Especially since he made it across the freeway.


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On our way to Snohomish for our annual anniversary trip to the San Juan Islands. Our son Tyler decided to tag along in the upper bunk and spend the week in Seattle. He is a photographer and licensed FAA drone pilot. We stopped in Utah at Devils Slide so he could get some drone footage there.  I took a video of him shooting a video.  I will also put up his drone footage when he is done editing.  His website is and his Instagram is @ty.inthesky  You really should check out his amazing work. He has a degree in Cinema and Television Production.

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It Feels Good To Be A Snitch

Yesterday, we were on I-82 in Southern Washington on our way to Seattle and we watched this lady sideswipe a pickup as she came onto the freeway.  I watched her in my mirrors for a minute and she was obviously drunk and all over the road. I called the Washington State Patrol and over the next 15 minutes or so talked an officer into an intercept. This woman was so wasted it is a miracle she did not kill herself.  Most of the action was behind me but near the end she sped up and passed me so we got this.  This was about a minute before the trooper caught up to her.

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My husband is the biggest Baseball fan I know.

My husband is the biggest baseball fan I know. He loves everything about the game. He has a zillion stories that involve memories with Dave Niehaus. If I didn’t know any better I would have thought Dave was a family friend. Actually he was a part of the family. Every year during spring training Craig tells me “This is the year for the Mariners” It has been 7 years that I have heard this comment and every year I agree with him. One of these days it will happen. We go to as many games as we can. Last year we drove up to Cincinnati to watch them play. It happened to be Ken Griffey Jr bobblehead night. We saw them in Atlanta and every trip to Snohomish we try to get to a game.

Spring Training Peoria

When Ken Griffey Jr. retired Craig said he wanted to go to Cooperstown when he was inducted in the Hall of Fame. So I spent a very hot weekend in Cooperstown with my husband and part of his family last July. It was a fabulous weekend. We are going to see Edgar Martinez jersey retirement in August and when Edgar Martinez is inducted in the Hall of Fame we will be there too.

Leonard Men

So freaking hot, but worth it

Ready for the induction

The Kid

We are ready for the big day

I kinda love this girl

The reason I started this post was yesterday Nelson Cruz asked Yadier Molina to take a picture with his cell phone of himself and Umpire Joe West. (The only cell phone picture taken at the All Star Game.) It was such a cool thing to do. That these players have such a passion for the game of baseball. And at times still can act like kids. Craig got extremely emotional and I had to tease him. But he loves this game and loves these players. I love that, I love the Mariners and I love this man. GO MARINERS!!!!

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Scary, Scary Day

Well, my daughter Aleena had a very interesting day last week. She met a number of cute guys. The bad part being it was the flight crew of the Tennessee National Guard Blackhawk helicopter that flew her off the mountain after she fell 126 feet down a cliff. She was hospitalized in Knoxville with three broken ribs, cuts and bruises all over, lots of stitches and staples and a messed up shoulder. Kidneys were also bleeding but expected that to clear up on its own and it did. Anne and I were in Oregon when this happened.  Being 2500 miles away REALLY sucked. I would truly rather lose an arm than deal with something like this happening to one of my kids.

Other than Gods grace, there is no reason my little girl should be alive.  Two of the poeple who got to her first were both trauma nurses who happened to be at the lodge and I am so grateful for the care they provided.  LeConte Lodge, where Aleena is the cook, is high in the Smokey Mountains and the nearest road is 6 1/2 miles away and 3,000 feet down.

Although she is not named, she made the local news in Knoxville.  Here is the story.

Where Aleena fell

This is a picture of where she fell taken by a guest of the lodge the next morning.  We cannot believe she lived through this.

Anne and I had to make our delivery in Portland and we were already contracted to an expedited team load to Pennsylvania.  We debated cancelling the load and flying home but we could only get home one day earlier at best and we would be totally screwing the broker we had contracted with.  We decided to run the load since we could not get home before Aleena was out of the hospital anyway.  Our oldest son and his wife were there and also our youngest daughter Shelby along with Aleena’s mom.  It was decided that Aleena would go home with her mom to heal so they rented a car and drove her to South Florida.

Aleena is the toughest person I have ever met.  Seriously, I really mean this.  This is good and bad because every single day she pushes herself farther than she should.  She wanted us to take her to the Boca Raton mall yesterday so she could walk around and, as usual, she totally overdid it.  By the time we got her home she was a mess.  Please keep her in your prayers. After yesterday she is dehydrated and cannot keep anything down.  She still has major shoulder surgery in front of her next week.

Aleena, Scarlett and Shelby

I thank God for my kids who are loving her through this, for my wife who is helping ME through this, for my ex-wife and her husband who are with Aleena everyday and taking amazing care of her, to her co-workers and guests at the lodge who helped in her rescue and the Tennessee Air National Guard who got her off the mountain.   I am kind of a mess.


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