Our first week out has been a pretty good one. Not a particularly hard running one, but I think we are both just grateful to finally be back at work. We started out in Chattanooga and will end up in Great Falls at the close of the week (a week to us being Monday to Monday because that's when we left the house).
Our first load was kind of dinky. It was a get you going kind of thing. But then we loaded wheat midds back in Chattanooga and went to Bryan, TX. Texas was sunny and warm, with temps in the 70's. And after the chilly temperatures we'd been having at home, we were all enjoying the warmth!
We bounced over to Bastrop, TX from Bryan and loaded up with some chicken meal. That was Tuesday night, and since we didn't have to be in Flagstaff till Thursday evening, we just parked after loading and got some sleep. And then we took our time getting to Flagstaff, still arriving several hours in advance. Which gave us some time to take care of some business and get a little rest before unloading.
Which was a good thing, because the receiver in Flagstaff did not honor our 5:00pm appointment and we didn't get unloaded till sometime after 9:00pm. Afterwards we had to drive north, and find a car wash to washout the trailer, because the farmer in Utah wanted to load bright and early. So we backed into a car wash with an RV bay in Tuba City, and then parked at 3:00am and got some sleep.
I got up at 7am and finished the last 180 miles. Just across the Utah state line, we entered Monument Valley. I almost got us there in time for the sunrise, but we were a tad too early, and didn't have time to wait on it. I bet it would be a gorgeous place to watch a sunrise though!
We loaded near Monticello, UT. We had a bit of a problem as the farm was just a few miles past the Port of Entry. We loaded without knowing exactly what we weighed, as is common when loading on a farm. We have gauges in the truck that give us an idea of what the axle weights are, but they are not exact. That was ok though! The Port of Entry was happy to let Malcolm know he was almost 1000lbs over weight. They also decided to do a level 3 (paperwork) inspection on him since he was there, but they generously agreed to let him try to shift the weight first. Which we do by rolling forward or backward and slamming on the brakes, depending on where we want to shift the weight and how much needs moved.
Not only did it work perfectly this time, but we also got complimented on our paperwork. The guy working the scale told Malcolm that he (Malcolm) obviously knew what he was doing. He also told him that we have the lowest safety rating he's seen. (the lower the better when it comes to safety ratings) So what had started as a bad situation, ended nicely and on a positive note!
We headed north out of Monticello, and since we wouldn't be delivering in Great Falls, MT till Monday morning, we took our time. We even stopped for some brief sight seeing. There was a big pull off near Wilson's Arch, and Malcolm pulled in so we could stretch our legs and admire God's art work.
We were traveling US191 which is pretty much a scenic route no matter which state your taking it through. In Utah it's particularly pleasant at is passes through the canyon country! If you drive the southern length of 191 in Utah, you'll pass Arches National Park, Canyonlands National, and a few others, as well as the tourist town of Moab. Every time we drive that section my determination to return as a tourist one day is renewed.
Outside Moab, Paris reminded us that we were all tired from the short night's sleep...
...and so we stopped for the night in Green River, even though it was only 5:00pm.
This section of US191 is also US6 and it's a short cut to get from Green River on I-70 to just south of Salt Lake City on I-15. It can be a little wild in the winter, but it's always scenic! And on this winter day it was chilly, hovering around 11 degrees or so, but sunny and dry. Makes for good traveling in the mountains!
I like these days when we're not in a hurry. It enables us both to be up instead of one of us asleep while the other drives. And that way we get to enjoy the scenery together.
As is the case in most routes through mountainous territory, the highway shares space with the rails. The road pretty much sticks close to the railroad for this section of the route. I like to admire the tunnels. Years ago, people took a lot of pride in their work, and things as simple as railroad tunnels were even build to look nice. These were dated 1912. I liked the way they framed the openings.
About half way through, the rockiness of these mountains gives way to a more rounded look, but it's no less impressive. Just a little gentler looking.
And eventually there were signs that we were reaching the more developed areas of Utah.
So that's our week in a nutshell and Utah in a lot of pictures.
In case you were wondering about the "new" engine and how it's doing:
The truck engine is doing well except it's using oil, which it shouldn't be doing. Apparently though, CAT realizes there is an issue with their rebuilds. They've asked us to track the amount of fuel we buy and how much oil it's using. After our first 2200 miles, we'd already burned off a gallon of oil. Eventually CAT will figure out what the problem is and then I guess we'll have to take it in to have the engine broken down again and fixed. At least it will be on their buck this time and not ours. But it will still mean time off the road and there's been way too much of that already!
We're rolling again, after our stop at Cabelas. Just came through Salt Lake City and heading towards the border. Tomorrow a scenic drive through Idaho and Montana! As much as I LOVE being at home, it sure feels good to be on the road again!