Saturday, July 26, 2008

Good Miles - - Hard Drive!

Smokey Mountain SunsetThe drive from North Carolina to San Francisco, California gave us over 4,000 miles for the week; which is really good miles for only a week of driving. We have been so far behind on bills, buying groceries and other necessities related to driving a truck, we have been depending on pay advances to get us through. This trip will help us get less reliant on the advances.

Log Jam in Oklahoma Lake in ArkansasThe most difficult part of these kind of miles is the time-table. Our first run out of Joplin, MO had a lot of time between pick-up and delivery. However, this load barely had enough time to do it legally. Jane had long hours behind the wheel; waking each morning by 7 a.m. and not shutting down until after 6 pm at night. Thankfully, she is not required to do any gear shifting, or she would simply be unable to drive. Even without shifting, pulling on the steering wheel, getting in and out of the truck, and just crawling around in the sleeper, requires more work for her shoulder than she was prepared for. Oklahoma Indian Casino

By the 4th night, Jane's shoulder had reached an extreme level of pain. Doing exercises with her arm the day before didn't help matters any. Joe pumped her up with Ibuprophin, pain patches, and rubbed her down with "Thera-Gesic" rub. Oklahoma City

Other than the obvious discomfort, the trip was a lovely drive. We drove through the Gorge between North Carolina and Tennessee along IH-40, which is one of our favorite drives in the U.S. Joe was disappointed that it was dark when we drove through, sense he really wanted some photos. However, he was able to get some profile photos of the Smokey Mountains. The evening haze clearly showed the reason behind the name "Smokey" in the range. Oklahoma ArroyoOklahoma Water Park

It was uneventful driving through Tennessee, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. We passed through the panhandle of Texas before entering the beautiful desert plains of New Mexico. New Mexico is

New Mexico MountainsOklahoma Cattle at Water

part of the Chihuahuan Desert Region, same as that of the Big Bend of Texas, where Joe and his family resided for so many years. The desert mountains and arroyos bring back a lot of good memories of his youth.

New Mexico Tourist Trap Tourist Trap in New Mexico

We continued through Arizona and finally made it to California on the 4th day of driving. The drive through Arizona along IH-40 is a very interesting drive; passing past the Petrified Forest, Painted Desert, and the Meteor Crater National Monuments. So many of the Nation's natural wonders are here in Arizona, including the Grand Canyon National Park; but it laid several miles north of our route.

New Mexico Rock Formations Arizona MesaMuch of the drive across eastern California is also desert region, at least until we get to the Tahachapi mountains on the other side of Bakersfield, CA. California mountains are unlike any other mountains in the United States. We find each of the mountain ranges have their own unique qualities, California's one of the more beautiful.

New Mexico TeePee Indian Village in New MexicoOf course, driving across the desert regions proved to be mostly HOT! It was especially hot in the California desert, temperatures reaching up to 110 f degrees in the Mojave. We drove farther west, and it finally cooled to around 103 f before the sun finally decided to resend below the horizon. It was surprisingly cool in the desert of Arizona and New Mexico, with temperatures as low as 58 f in the early morning. We look forward to the cooler temperatures, as we are able to turn off the diesel engine when we stop at night. On the warmer nights, it gets much too warm to sleep comfortably without the air conditioning running. Dessert Thunderstorm in Arizona We actually get an extra cent per mile if we are able to keep out fuel usage within the company average (usually around 6.7 mpg). On the cooler nights, Joe sets the fan in the window and lets the cool air blow across us while we sleep in the bunk. Tahachapee Mountains in CaliforniaNaturally, the pets love the cooler temperatures, as well.Coming into Scottsdale, AZ

We made our delivery near Oakland, CA and headed to a truck stop to do some sorely needed laundry. Since washers and dryers at the truck stop were $2.00 a pop, we decided to limit our loads. They know they have a "captured audience" since these big trucks usually can't get into laundromats.Tahachapee Mountains

Looking down at Bakersfield, CA We were given a load picking up nearby and delivering in Portland, OR the following day. We were on our way when dispatch decided to hand the load off to another driver. Seems we were headed the wrong direction for our up-coming home time. We both have doctor appointments at the end of the month, so we were diverted to a truck stop north of Sacramento, CA until they could find us a load headed back toward Texas.

Home of the Oakland RaidersJane crafting her scults The next day, we picked up a load going to New Mexico, with the promise of another load picking up there going home. We still have not made it out of California as of yet. We're spending yet another night in the Mojave dessert and will be headed toward New Mexico tomorrow.A CFI truck fuels at a truck stop in California

Sugar Bear and IO We regret we were not able to get farther south to Los Angeles to visit with Joe's son, Matt. We were also a little relieved to be leaving California. The direction of the winds here have filled the air with plenty of smog, and has made our sinus' go on "overdrive." The farther south we drove, the worse the smog became. Most of the time, objects only a few hundred yards away looked hazy through the smog. It makes us wonder how on earth anyone is able to breath in this State.Pebbles and Sugar Bear

We will only be home a couple days so we can restock on medicines and pay our doctors more money. Afterward, we hope our next days off will soon be in Florida. We look forward to visiting with John and Christy, Jane's dad and step-mom. We will be scheduling those days when we know more about our traveling schedule. We also want to get up to the Northeast to visit with Jane's kids and our beautiful grandchildren. We have another grandbaby due in the near future, if he is not already arrived. We talked with Nick and Brittany just the other day and she was having some pretty strong contractions at the time.

Hopefully, we can get around to visiting everyone again before our health drives us off of the truck again. We don't anticipate any problems, but it seems every time we are on the road again, something comes up making it necessary to stay home for extended periods of time. No sense "waiting for the other shoe to drop" however. Meanwhile, we will enjoy each day as it comes, being grateful to God for the things we see and the time we spend together with one another and with loved ones along the way. We pray all will stay safe and take good care of you and yours. Until then, God bless you on Your Journey!

Driving through North Carolina Smokey Mountains at evening Church in Tennessee flags across America Cattle Yards in Texas Panhandle New Mexico Welcome Center Southwest Pottery decorating Albequerque, NM Sheep and goats atop a cave Entering Arizona Indian homes in Arizona Dinosaurs... no, they are not real! Driving through the Petrified Forest in Arizona Making of Arizona honey Small canyon in Arizona This is actually someone's house Climbing the Tehachapee Mountains Atop Tajon in the Tahachapee Mountains Driving up I-5 in California


Friday, July 18, 2008

Here we go AGAIN!

Once again, we embark on our Journey traveling the United States and Canada driving a truck for CFI/Con-Way Truckload. Jane's shoulder surgery went well, and after being off of work since February of this year, we are both happy to be back on the road. We missed the traveling and visiting our friends and family during our travels.

After being released to go back to work by the doctor, we finally were assigned a truck which we were required to pick up in Joplin, MO. We drove our pickup truck from Waxahachie, TX to Joplin, and immediately began "moving into" the truck. It is amazing the amount of equipment and personal gear a couple can carry inside the sleeper of a commercial truck. After being on the road for almost a week, we still have not been successful at organizing everything to suit us.

We were assigned our first load picking up in Kansas and delivering in New Jersey. The delivery was set for the several days later, so we had plenty of time to "mosie along" and enjoy the sites. We crossed back through Missouri, and then began the long trek across Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and finally New Jersey.

The drive across the country was nice, the weather good. Jane's shoulder bothered her a little, but nothing unbearable. We would stop along the way at truck stops to walk the dogs, eat supper, work on our sculpts, and then go to bed.
The new truck that they issued to us is a nice truck, except the previous driver took out all of the storage units, for some weird reason. We have been challenged to find room to store things, but we are slowly getting it in order.
Joe enjoyed using his new camera on the road. He is now using a SLR digital camera he got as a gift from Jane at Valentine's Day. Since we lost our archives of photos from years of driving, he has been taking lots of pictures. The external hard drive we use for backing up our data and photos, etc., lost it's formatting somehow, and we were not able to recover it.
We got to see much of our favorite sections of the U.S. when we drove through West Virginia and Pennsylvania. It is a country filled with many hills and beautiful trees. Stopping along the way at one of our favorite stores, Cabela's Sporting Store, we enjoyed a few minutes of browsing and "hope" shopping.
We made our deliver in New Jersey and were dispatched to pick up another load not far away. The next load was a short one that would take us to the southern part of Virginia. After making our delivery in Virginia the next day, we were dispatched to pick up a load out of Winston-Salem, NC, going to a suburb outside of San Francisco, California. We are excited to get the miles taking us from one coast to the next. However, it is a time sensitive load, and we don't have a lot of time to dally and do much shopping or looking around.
We left North Carolina on Saturday, and we are due in California on Tuesday. This wil make for several long days, shutting down late, and starting out early.
Jane has already contacted some of the members of her Ploymer Clay group with which she is involved, and is preparing to stop and have coffee with them if it can be worked out. In any case, we will be traveling across the country on a southernly route, keeping us in the heat we had desperately hoped to avoid. Oh well, winter will be on us before we know it, and we will be wishing for heat again.
We drove across the gorge in North Carolina, just before entering Tennessee and shutting down for the night. We found a truck parking area with room to park for the night, and settled in to prepare for the bed. We will be taking lots more photograps along the way.

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