Forest Park, Georgia
Stuffed with marble-sized, brilliant black and crimson Bing cherries and a few too many crisp, yet juicy peaches (my two FAVORITE fruits), our two week Time-at-Home in British Columbia, Canada is over. We are back on the road, a little discombobulated after dropping our load at the Atlanta-area terminal.
We agreed to vacate the vacation early because of not one, but two panic calls from Western Dispatch. They had an overflow HOT load in Seattle – our truck was in Portland at the truck hospital, healthier but not cured – that HAD to go to Dallas! Please, please, please and oh thank you, thank you, thank you and 36 hours early we loaded the rental car and headed south.
Smart me, just to be on the safe side, insisted on picking up a few groceries at Safeway in Kelso, Washington, although I had visions dancing in my head of the Signature Kroger store two miles away from the Dallas area terminal.
We arrived at the repair shop to pick up the truck with a meager stock of supplies, off our sleeping schedule, in need of showers – more for the emotional lift of hot water cascading from a powerful jet than to wash away dirt – almost forgot to fill the rental car with fuel before returning it and no time to stow our gear and organize the truck, the smaller the space, the greater need for organization!
You guessed it, the HOT load waiting for us at 0330 Eastern: return to Seattle and pickup about 6,000 pounds to bring back to Portland by 1000 Eastern time – just enough time. We think they gave our Dallas load to another team, but alas we cannot prove it.
Our second load was a, “you’re the ONLY team in the area, please can you,”return trip to Seattle to be loaded with air cargo bound for LAX but not before a four-hour out-of-route stop to replace two of the trailer brake pads. One on each axle was cracked. I’m hanging my head in shame. I pre-tripped the empty trailer, but I did not adequately assess the two cracks. I saw that the pad depths were on the edge of legal, but I thought they were okay. A cracked brake pad is a Department of Transportation violation. When Greg did his pre-trip while we were being loaded, he deemed the cracks unfit for inspection in California, a state desperate for cash. #@$^$#@$!!!!!!! The company shop agreed. We detoured via the TA truck stop for repairs.
We arrived fried in Los Angeles on Thursday night. The freight gods, also known as the warehouse crew, smiled on us. The load was late, normally a pain, this time a good thing. We had a few extra hours sleep and a shower before heading to Atlanta.
Yesterday, at Checotah, Oklahoma, the home of Carrie Underwood and the steer wrestling capital of the world and which has a 10 percent sales tax, holy mackerel – I found my stride. The rhythm was returning. I celebrated by making a special hors d’oeuvre for Greg, my Smoked Salmon Stuffed Eggs.
Sitting in the back of the truck, bumping down Oklahoma’s bone jarring stretch of I-40 I shelled snap peas, peeled eggs, sliced the smoked salmon, wild caught, into tiny bits and waited for the goat cheese to soften. Mixed all parts with 1 T of Hellman’s mayonnaise and spooned onto these fabulous new crackers we found in Kelso’s Safeway. Gluten-free is our new BFF, Best Food Friend. Crunchmaster Multi-grain crackers with flax seed and sprinkled with Sea Salt. Yummy but not gummy.
Made with brown rice flour, whole grain yellow corn, potato starch, safflower oil, oat fiber, evaporated cane juice, sesame seeds, flax seeds, millet, sea salt and quinoa seeds. Sixteen crackers equals 120 calories.
This afternoon we’re checking into a Hampton Inn. We need to catch up on paperwork, including bookkeeping, work that we planned to do in Portland before taking our first load, including visiting the local IRS office to pay our annual Highway Heavy Use Vehicle Tax – $550.
I’ll fill the fridge and the cupboard, we’ll organize the tractor and tomorrow afternoon we’ll be ready to roll. We plan on a three week tour and then we have visions of Time-at-Home in a lakeside cabin in Quebec or an early 19th century country house in New Hampshire, owners (friends) beware!