The 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.
The 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Much 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.
Of 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. 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. Naturally, the pets love the cooler temperatures, as well.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!