Apr 16, 2013
|We are back to work after a 3 month break. I must admit, it felt great! But three months may have been just a bit, too long. I had a difficult time wanting to return to work. Is this premature? Hanging out with retired folks, taking it easy during the peak of our money earning years? Maybe. But I don’t regret it. We have met such wonderful people, are making plans for our own retirement and were able to refuel our souls for another decade of hard work. I can definitely see ourselves work camping in the future, living 6 months in Florida, 6 months in Maine and settling into a comfortable mobile home community in the sunny south when the time comes. But until then we have LOTS to do and are rolling up our sleeves for the next 10 year plan. And Jim has quite a plan. But I can’t speak of that yet.
The truck weathered the winter well in Maine. We began preparing the inside for another year of trucking across the country. Our refrigerator quite working; it had been acting weird for a while. So we removed it, rearranged the inside and will buy a cooler soon. The focus is on eating less and exercising more. I learned some great yoga over the winter at the campground, which will get put to practice.
Our dispatcher remembered who we were, we got our load out of Maine and headed west. I actually was a bit worried I had forgotten how to drive the truck. Jim drove the first few hours. But within seconds of sitting in the seat, it came back to me. What was hard to remember was all the other “stuff” we have to do.
Now I absolutely LOVE my girlfriends or children calling me on the phone when I’m out here driving. But at those times when we pick up or deliver or are trying to find a place, I simply should not be on the phone. It’s like an avalanche of things that have to be done immediately; and in the back of your mind you’re calculating if it needs to be done in time to make it out before rush hour nearby, and Jim is in a hurry to get down the road…………aaaaaahhhhhhhhgggggggg! Don’t rush, take it slow I say over and over and over again.
One thing we learned while relaxing in Florida, was the transition in couples lives after retirement. Most people work separate jobs, seeing each other for a while at home everyday. After retirement, they are together constantly, which has it’s own challenges. We realized we won’t have that concern. :)
Let’s see, we headed from Connecticut to Denver, Colorado. There were baby calves and foals all over the fields we passed. Spring was in the air and it was a beautiful sight. However, news came of a massive, spring winter storm heading our way. We managed to pick up a load of Busch beer heading to two stops in northern California and got out of there before it hit. The wind chills were suppose to get down to -10. I was quite worried about the babies I had just seen born in the fields!!! About that time, we realized we had cleaned the truck out a little too well. We removed our winter chains and cables in the process! Oh, and no winter coats either. I mean, it was suppose to be SPRING!!!
The first delivery of beer took us on a route we had never been before. Susanville, California is located on the edge of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, north of Reno, Nevada. After dropping only 3 pallets here (I was hoping to get rid of more weight than that) we contemplated our journey to the next delivery. There we four choices. First was to return the way we came in, stay on the interstates and head over to Sacramento then north on I-5 to Willows, California. Our load assignment paid us 150 miles from our first delivery to our second. Going the main roads was an extra 300 miles out of route. Forget that. The second choice was what the people at Susanville suggested. Go north on the US routes then cut across another route to Red Bluff. That was 110 miles longer than our trip needed to be. And looking on the satellite view of Google maps, it looked like it was all mountains.
The other two options took us more directly over to I-5. However, these routes also contained sections of roads that were “California Advised 30’ trailers”. We opted for the shorter of the two. Our logic was that it was not tourist season yet so the roads wouldn’t be that busy. And if we waited to late evening there wouldn’t be much traffic. Now these roads didn’t mean you couldn’t take a 53’ trailer on them……….it just advised against it. And you would be responsible for any accidents caused when you had to take a sharp turn and your trailer was on the other side of the yellow line. Leaving Susanville, we drove north on highway 34, up, up, up into the beautiful Lassen National Forest.
The scenery was gorgeous. The sun had not yet set and we were surrounded by tall, straight Ponderosa pines, maybe even some redwoods. We turned onto route 32, saw the advisory sign, thought things were going rather well. Then the “oh crap” moment came. I was driving and Jim was “advising” in the passenger seat. In the dark he could see the drop off thru the trees on the curves. I kept my eyes on the highway. This section of route was posted at 45 mph. We however drove 25mph. There were no guard rails. The trees which grew to the edge of the road became the guard rails. The road was very curvy and crowned, which caused our trailer to slide even farther into the inside curves. Jim made a few strange sounds on these curves. We decided if we saw headlights, to stop and wait for the car to go by. The road kept on curving for what seems like forever and was thick with trees. We only met a handful of cars. The most frightening moment was the tanker truck we came upon. After just leaving a tight curve, the road straightened out and we crossed a new, wide bridge. At that exact moment, we met the truck going at a rather fast pace. Whew!!!!! Glad it wasn’t anywhere else on this 23 mile stretch!!!! To anyone who rides motorcycle or sports cars, this road would be heaven. We decided it was the 2nd worst highway we had ever been on. Jim said it took 5 years from his life.
Upon delivery the next day, the guy unloaded our trailer asked which way we came from Susanville. When Jim told him, he commented that he doesn’t even like going that way in his car. He said if we had gone thru to Red Bluff it was all straight up and down hills. So bad that cars burn up their rotors. Let’s just say, we will NEVER take that load again if it has a Susanville delivery on it.
We left California with a load of leaf lettuce going to Bessemer City, North Carolina. It was one of those “got to drive 24 hour” type. Then we got another fast load of chicken out of NC going to OH. Oh yes, this is all coming back to me now!
We are now on a “leisurely” trip to Spokane, Washington with pizza from Kentucky. Sounds like we will be seeing ANOTHER freak spring snowstorm. I look forward to seeing beautiful Montana again though. Tootles!!!!!