Saturday, April 25, 2015

April Showers and Mountain Views

This time last week we were in southern Michigan heading towards our morning delivery destination in Ludington. Since then we've been down to Oklahoma, and then from there into western Colorado and up to Idaho, where we are now sitting. We stayed busy, up till yesterday morning. But this 
weekend is kind of a dud. We did a little piddly load last night, 250 miles across Idaho, and delivered this morning. Now we can't reload till Monday morning over in Oregon. 

But that's OK. A break is nice once in a while, and it give us time to catch up on things that aren't as easy to do when we're hurrying down the road. Things like blogging, and napping which is what's going on at the moment. I'm blogging, and everyone else is napping. This is how I get my "alone" time on the road. Put everyone else to bed and close the curtain between the sleeper and the cab. 

The weather was perfectly cooperative this week. We got to admire the April showers and Spring storms while avoiding being in them. This one was coming up over the Rockies just south of Colorado Springs. 

We were bouncing down to Monte Vista, CO for a morning reload. A little while later, when we got off the interstate and headed west, the clouds and late evening lighting were playing with each other. Evening will always be my favorite time of day for pictures.

The next morning, after loading in Monte Vista, we headed north up the two lanes into the mountains and towards Utah. But before we left the valley, I tried to get a few more pictures. Those crystal clear skies of the evening before had given way to haziness. I only ended up with one I really liked, and I hit the shutter button a split second too soon, so I only ended up with half of the three horses. But I liked the reflection in the water, so I kept it.
Taking pictures while zipping down bumpy roads has it's challenges to be sure. Timing being a big one.

We delivered our Colorado barley in Blackfoot, ID yesterday morning, and then sat most of the day waiting to see what would come up for the weekend. Something eventually did, though not what we had hoped. Still, like I said, weekends like this give us a chance to catch up on other stuff. 

We pulled out of Blackfoot Friday evening and headed down to a fertilizer plant near Soda Springs, ID. On the way there, on US 30, we crossed Fish Creek Summit. It's a spot where the view is awesome, no matter the time of year! I always enjoy that particular view.
Yesterday evening there was some kind of system moving through. We were just behind it, which we appreciated when we noticed the slushy snow in the grass along the wet road. Nice to admire the drama of the storms again while avoiding their effects. Things looked more ominous from the valley floor, but we never got into anything more than an intense, but brief rain shower while we were loading.
Again, evening light....always my favorite. And when it comes to storm clouds, that angle of the evening sun always makes things look so much more dramatic than they really are. And more beautiful!

During all that waiting yesterday, one good thing did happen. A rather awesome thing actually, and the big event of the week that we'd been looking forward to for a long time!
Yesterday we paid off the truck! 

And it feels so good to have that done! One huge step closer to financial freedom!

At the beginning of the year I had told friends that 2015 was going to be a big year for us, and this was part of it. I expect it to just get better as we keep moving forward. 

Four more weeks and then home to hay! Can't wait!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Something New

It's not that often that we get to go down new roads. Not saying that we've traveled all the roads there are to travel. It's just that having been doing this for a number of years, and working with the same broker for most of that, we have lots of customers we haul for, but they tend to be the same ones, or in the same areas. So new roads are rare and a treat.

This past week we were north of Seattle delivering and we had to get over to Wenatchee, WA to pick up apples. We decided to take a shortcut on US 2 across Steven's Pass instead of sticking to the interstates. I was happy about this for 2 reasons: it's such a novelty to get to see new areas, and I'll do anything to avoid Seattle. I simply do not like driving around that city.

So turns out, US 2, or that segment of it, is breath takingly beautiful! It quickly earned it's way onto my top favorite drives list. For my local friends from Chattanooga, it's like the drive up through Ocoee, but about 100 times grander!

We spent the night in Wenatchee with the windows open. I love when the weather is the right temperatures that we can turn the truck off and sleep with the windows open. I didn't think, though, about the three hundred million blooming apple trees that fill the valley there. So I've been battling a bit of an allergy/sinus thing for a few days since. Essential oils to the rescue and I'm finally getting over it!

This was our view as we sat in construction traffic waiting to leave Wenatchee and head to Michigan with our apples.

We could have actually taken US 2 nearly all the way from Wenatchee to the delivery in Michigan. This is one of those loads where things got messed up and we have too much time to get it done. The extra time would have been idea for a 2 lane excursion, but it also provided the time to stop in Billings, MT and pick up some horse mineral I've been wanting to try, and so we decided to stay on the big roads.

I got my mineral and can't wait to get home with 5 more weeks. (I'm dying with impatience to get home, but what's new.)

The weather has treated us quite nicely this trip across. Warm but not too warm, no rain, and the North Dakota wind even treated us decently.

We are down to our last 300 miles, so today we will get around Chicago, and then find a place later this afternoon for the girls to get out of the truck and run.

This next week has to be a faster paced week though. I know when we're busy I complain about being tired, but when we've got so much extra time and we're getting plenty of sleep, I have too  much time and too much brain space to dwell on things I can't do anything about. Right now, my mind is consumed with home and horses. I need to get busy so I won't have time to miss them so much.

Our boys, Sky and Duke! 
And I just realized that if your not one of my Facebook friends, you haven't had the pleasure of meeting Duke yet, so I'll introduce you to him in a later blog post.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Start of April

Hello there! I've been gone a long time. I'm acting on a random impulse to share a few pictures with you. And we will see what comes of it. As I've said before, like a broken record, I want to blog. But when it comes down to it I just can't get motivated.

Now that we live in Tennessee instead of Montana, our loads have switched around a little, and not just because of our location, but also because freight is in a constant state of changing, depending on what the loads are paying. No cheap freight, and all that goes with that.

So lately, one of the places we tend to get loaded at when we're leaving the house and heading out for a round on the road, is a quarry north of Stevenson, AL. It's actually in Tennessee, just barely. It sits, quite literally, just there across the line, as you'll notice in the last picture.

But the point, and what I wanted to share today, is that the last 12 miles of the drive are lovely. Once we head north out of Stevenson, it's a little two lane drive winding through the hills. And when we left home a week ago, the clouds were low, shrouding the hills behind a curtain of mist. I love the Tennessee (and Alabama) hills, especially when they are like this.

Quarries are not pretty places. They tend to be more like ugly scars on the landscape. But this one is pretty hidden, tucked into the valley like it is. And I'm thankful for it because it gives us a good source for loads to get out of the southeast and back into the areas where we do most of our trucking. We generally load ground limestone there, and haul it to a few different places. This time we went to northern Indiana to a fertilizer plant. The limstone is used as the carrying agent for the fertilizer (they coat the limestone grounds with the fertilizer).

It was a pretty decent week last week, at least compared to first quarter, which was pretty slow. We're hoping the following weeks go as well if not better. Time goes by much quicker if we stay busy.
Six more weeks and then we will head home to start haying! As always, we can't wait to get back home.