Sunday, January 19, 2014

Super Bowl Bound

What a great game. I predicted this at the beginning of the season, but I didn't talk any smack. Let's see those Seahawks tonight....maybe I should have made that bet at the beginning of the year in Vegas.

Let the Orange madness begin. Can't wait to go home and enjoy the craziness.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Unconventional Christmas

We have had a fantastic few weeks. The month of December is notoriously known in the trucking industry as...slow. Depending on what you haul it can be fast and furious the two weeks before Christmas since people are shopping for food, ordering presents on line that need to be delivered or basically consumption of all kinds is up. But then the week of Christmas even truck drivers are trying to pick up their last loads and make it home in time to celebrate with their families.

We were wishing our boss a Merry Christmas and he told us that he hoped we would stop and enjoy a nice meal (when do you ever hear that?)...So we enjoyed a fantastic sushi dinner on Christmas Eve and on Christmas day we were doing laundry and enjoyed a delicious Christmas buffet at The Rolling Hills Casino in Corning, CA. London got real lamb and turkey for his celebration.

This is our first year hauling DEF during the holiday season. From our past experience, trucking slows way down from Christmas week all the way into the new year. If trucks don't run, the stores don't sell as much product. We pulled into the Barstow Love's store last week and there were 6 trucks parked in the lot...unheard was like a ghost town. Since we normally just drop our load and head to the next, we took the opportunity to take an awesome walk with London in the desert....chasing jack rabbits. He had a great time and I almost had to carry him back to the truck he was so tired!

We spent our break last week at Whiskey Petes in Primm, NV. Best break we have ever had. The room was 19.95 with our CDL and we had a comfy king size bed on the 15th floor watching all the Californians coming down the hill into Vegas. A monorail that runs across Interstate 15 over to Buffalo Bills casino where they have a roller coaster and an awesome log ride and also stops at Primm Valley Casino where we got a couples massage and went shopping at the outlet mall until we couldn't carry our bags back to the hotel cause we found so many great deals. So much to do...we had a blast. We will definitely be making this a pit stop again very soon.

We are now heading to Reno where my favorite slot machine is located. It's a penny game involving fishing that is so fun to play and also paid me $75 last time we were there waiting to be seated for breakfast...yaaay!

We hope everyone had a great Christmas and look forward to celebrating another new year. Be safe out there.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Blizzard With a Side of -27 Please

Cold week on last week's run. It was a beautiful 70 degrees in Vegas where we spent the morning with our boss getting our new computer system hooked up in the truck. The old system kept crashing every time it updated itself, so we have been going back and forth with paper logs. The new system is awesome and it's so nice to receive all of our orders again and our elogs are once again working great. We left Vegas around 2 pm and headed up to Cedar City, UT. It certainly didn't take long for the weather to change.  We knew it was coming so it wasn't a big surprise, I was just hoping to get to Salt Lake to load first. I really don't mind driving a tanker empty, but as I headed north of St. George, the wind was horrific. It started to rain and then turned into frozen little pellets of rain and with 5 miles it was a full on blizzard....sweet. You just don't have the traction like you do when ur carrying 45000 lbs. But on the plus side you also don't have that weight behind you pushing you down the mountain passes. Slow and steady goes the ship...I got away from everybody and made my own pocket and creeper along at 35 mph. By the time I got to Cedar City I had seen three semis flipped over on the side of the freeway, and the chatter on the CB from the southbound drivers wasn't any more promising heading north. I decided I was going to shut it down and pulled into The Loves in Cedar City. Now this is one of the many reasons why I love this job. First of all I knew none of the northern stores were going to run out of product that we were heading to if I decided to shut down for the night and secondly...the best part...When trucks start pulling off the road into truckstops due to weather, it's normally mass kaos. Trucks fill the spaces quickly and it becomes a cluster because drivers start parking anywhere and everywhere. I pull into the kaos with my flashers on and pull right up in between the building and the first pump, set my brakes...hmmm..yep this was my spot for the night. Almost like it was reserved for me...oh wait a is reserved for me. A great benefit driving a Love's truck.

The next morning looked much better and we made it up to Salt Lake to load, then to Wells, NV store at 9 degrees during the drop, back to Salt Lake to load, then took care of the Salt Lake City store and got reloaded to head back down to drop it where we began at the Cedar City store. We then headed empty up to Reno, NV to load. It was Thursday afternoon and we had to get to Reno by Friday to load for two reasons.  1) The supplier isn't open on the weekend and 2) Cleon was finished dumping, but Deon was due on Donner Pass by mid afternoon. So instead of taking the long way back up through Salt Lake and heading west we decided to take a short cut directly west from Cedar City heading northwest on 2 lane roads that had no maintenance on them at night and open range. What a great idea. As I drove in the darkness listening to my husband snoring away I wondered how many passes we were going to be going over by the time we got there and then there they were...cows... steers...lots of them. Just standing on the highway in the middle of absolutely nowhere in the pitch black of the night.  I don't think i have ever seen such huge livestock before. They literally came up to the top of the radiator and looked at me like...what are you doing here? What am I doing here? I thought, why aren't you in a warm cozy barn or gauge on my truck said it was -27 outside.

I handed the truck over at midnight in Ely, NV. I warned Jeff about the passes and free range and mentioned he might just want to take 93 north to Wells. The last thing I remember is him pulling into a Chevron in Ely. I woke up in Reno when he was getting loaded...good sign there. He told me that the kind man at the Chevron told him to take the 278 at Eureka up to the 80. My suspicions were spot on, the last pass before Reno on the route we were on was 8% going up and 6% coming down. Jeff said the 278 added 82 more miles, but he only arrived 20 minutes after we initially planned with the original route. Nuff said.

We dropped our load in Fernley, I made it over Donner before the next storm hit, loaded the truck in Stockton and made it to the Corning store...where it was snowing, and the 5 north of there was closed for the night.

The truck did awesome in the snow and ice It wasn't really a bad week, just cold.  But I guess we got to enjoy that with the rest of the nation.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Loving the Southwest Territory

They say payback is a...well you know. After working all summer in the southwest our reward has arrived. The weather has been so enjoyable. I can't remember a job that we have been able to wear shorts and flip flops on a daily basis in November. Temps in the 70's and even 80' yeah, bring it! We spent a couple of weeks in the Phoenix area taking care of all of the Arizona stores. People that know me know that I don't have real fond memories of Phoenix... but I'm getting better about it. I've decided it is a great place to visit, but could never live there again. However, We are becoming very interested in the Parker/Lake Havasu area. Located in the northwest corner of the state on the California border in the high desert...its beautiful. This summer it was miserably hot, 105+, when dropping our loads at the Lake Havasu store, but now it is just perfect! Perfect enough to even look at some properties for a possible second home...we could become snowbirds! Its far enough away from Phoenix for me and the people we have met have been nothing but helpful and friendly. Parker is located directly on the Colorado River and as I was driving through last week on a full moon, I don't think I have witnessed anything more beautiful. We need to get a 34 hour reset in this area to look at more properties and explore this option further.
I also have to give kudos to The Loves once again. When arrived home this week we had each received a cute card in the mail wishing us a Happy Thanksgiving and enclosed was a $20 certificate to buy our family a Thanksgiving turkey or groceries. We have NEVER worked for such a great company that appreciates their employees and takes care of us so well. Thank you Tom Love and family. Nice touch and very much appreciate your thought.
On a different note. Our meals have been almost all out of our truck since California has some of the best Mexican food ever. This must be curtailed. I have not had to buy any new clothes, however, I am not comfortable where I'm at right now and need to make some changes. I purchased a Nuwave Mini Oven which cooks with infrared technology. It grills, steams, bakes and toasts. Just picked it up from home, Amazon is my best friend, and made a few trial runs while on home time. Made filets, broccoli and new potatoes one evening...very yummy. Then tried the baking with some Pilsbury Grand cinnamon rolls. They turned out great, so when we head out tomorrow this will be our new addition to the truck. I'm seeing more grilled chicken over yummy salads and other healthier alternatives.
We have been off for the past 5 days now and we have completely enjoyed our home time. Spent time with family, got our green chili fix, had a early Christmas celebration, got the plates for our new Mini, a snow storm, got a tattoo, lunch with a long lost cousin of Jeff's (30 years), spa day for London, nails done, hair cut and colored and of course nightly soaking in our hot tub that I wish we could bring with us in our sleeper! But fun time is over and its time to get back to warmer weather...oh darn.
As I sit here and finish my glass of Merlot, I wish everybody a very Happy Thanksgiving and hope you all have a great holiday with family and friends. We will be somewhere warm, hopefully, enjoying each others company. Thank God we found each other!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Its All Good

The last couple of weeks have been great. We made a great choice in making the move to Love's and running the southwest region. It is November and we haven't seen one snowflake fall from the sky...and I don't miss it one bit.

Last week we ended up delivering to the Vegas store last, so it was time to try another pet friendly casino. We chose The Hacienda in Boulder City...for a couple of reasons. 1) It was Halloween weekend and Vegas hotel room rates were ridiculous. 2) The Hacienda offers free hotel rooms for CDL holders...bonus! 3) We were both looking for a quiet, mellow weekend.

The Hacienda is located on Hwy. 93 inbetween Vegas and the Hoover Dam with a spectacular view of Lake Meade. It has slots, tables, including craps and live entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights. It has a buffet, steakhouse and even a movie theatre. This is however not the Taj Mahal of casinos.  It is older, however the beds were still comfy. The food was mediocre...not great, but not senior center bland either. They also offer several trucker food specials in the cafe that are a great deal. A 12 oz. NY Strip, 3 eggs, hashbrowns and toast for $8.75...most specials were under $6. It has ample truck parking directly across the highway from the casino and if staying at the hotel, you can park in the casino lot.  There are several hiking trails that go towards the Lake. You can even take a trail all the way to Hoover Dam...approximately 2.5 miles. $29 and $69 helicopter rides take off directly in front of the hotel and fly over the Lake and the Dam. We have taken a helicopter ride a couple years ago from the Vegas airport to the Dam and back over The Strip. It was an awesome experience, so we opted out of the 5 minute ride being offered, but if you have never been in a helicopter, this is a great option. We did however meet a fantastic couple, Daniel and Jena, dairy farmers from Wisconsin.  They had not taken a vacation in 18 years. They were a hoot...its probably a good thing they were leaving the next day, I think the four of us could have found some real trouble to get in to. One of the many bonuses of this job...meeting the coolest people from all around the country that you would never have the opportunity to do if you sat in an office all day.

Our entire hotel stay...for 3 nights was $56.34...seriously. I also hit a 4 of a kind on a video poker machine and won $65...sweet!

I still can't say it enough. It is great to work for an awesome company and be appreciated and run in a fantastic region and have great equipment that is well maintained. We run consistently every week and enjoy a very generous paycheck every week for a job we both are enjoying immensely. We are truly blessed.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Consider The Piper Paid

Well...we made up for lost time. Since our truck was down for a week there were a bunch of stores that got kind of thirsty. We had the busiest week we have had since starting the job...13 stores in 6 days. Every store in Cali...Corning, Lost Hills, Ripon, Santa Nella, Coachella,Tulare, Tehachapi and Barstow. Then every store in Nevada...Las Vegas, Wells and Fernley. Then both stores in Utah...Salt Lake City and Cedar City. Not only does this make 13 drops, it also makes for 13 loads as well. We actually drove well over 5000 miles this week and picked up a new vendor, on the loading side, in Hesperia, CA.

We just finished our reset and took the time off in Mesquite, NV. For almost 5 years now we have driven past the signs for The Virgin River Casino, boasting their $3.99 hamsteak breakfast and $27 rooms. Our last drop was in Cedar City, so we decided this was our opportunity to check it out. We have learned now to figure out where we are going to end up at the end of the week and make hotel reservations in advance, mostly because of London. I know its hard to believe, but not every hotel is pet friendly.  There is definitely more now than there were 5 years ago, but your choices are still limited, as well as the pet rooms tend to fill up faster. That being said, we made our reservation when we were getting loaded in Sparks/Reno on Tuesday for Wednesday and Thursday nights. I'm glad we did because by the time we arrived at 6 pm, the entire hotel was sold out.

The hotel is huge. I had no idea. They have 7 buildings with 3 floors in each building and 2 big pools with jacuzzis in each area. I thought the best thing about this pet room was it had a laminate floor, not scary carpet, that who knows what has happened to it from previous furry pets. It was clean and came with 2 queen beds...not the comfiest beds I have ever slept in, but remember... $27. We faced the desert and our window opened all the way to see the view and get fresh air. We had our hamsteak breakfast, tried the buffet on Thursday, it was steak night. For $11.99 filets or NY strips cooked to your liking, plus any kind of side you can think of,  with salad bar and plenty of yummy deserts. The breakfast buffet on Friday was $6.99 and was delish.

We gambled, played skeeball and air hockey as well as got to go bowling and yes, all of this is in the same casino. Including the room for two nights, food and entertainment, we spent less than $200. We had a great time and would totally do this again.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Our Secret is Out

I'm not sure who had been spying on us, but whoever got this pic, thanks for ruining our plan for the last three years.

London earns his keep...LOL