Are We Having Fun Yet?

The Six Flags doot dooot doot doot doot jingle thing is bouncing around between my ears.

Today, Joe is out of Slave Driver status and he is “My Hero”.

Last night we got as far north on I-5 as Lathrop, California before we quit for the night.  I was able to get in a bit of time with the computer.  He had Ubuntu installed on this laptop a long time ago.  It is supposed to be a Linux based software and not the hated Windows.  This morning he showed me how to get into it and make it work.  So far, very good.  Almost like my Mac.  When I have some extra time I will delve into it further and see what it is and how it works.  For now the photos I uploaded out of my iPhone all came in to the file right side up – instead of turned sideways as the Windows thing wanted to do.  I’ll try to get into the photos a bit later.  Maybe even in this post.

We got to the Walmart Distribution Center in Red Bluff early this afternoon.  About 1 p.m. local (3 Central).  Hook up went very well and we were able to think about getting quite a few miles down the road yet today before we shut down for the night.  Okay, that didn’t happen.

We left the Walmart yard and I got about 4 miles out when I could not shift into 10th gear.  When I did the engine lost all power and tried to shut down on me.  In 9th gear and at high rpms it was wailing.  I told Joe I was having trouble – over our little family two way radios.  He could not believe what I was telling him.  So we pulled off the road and we switched trucks.  I got in his and he got in mine.  As I was getting up on the road from the shoulder he buzzed around me and got in front.  Down the road he went and I thought I had just been shifting the pattern wrong.  Has happened before.

Highly excited Joe called me on the two way radio and said “We’re going back to the shop.  There is something wrong with this truck, it won’t shift into 10th gear”.  Okay, now what planet am I on?  Seriously now.  Where have I been?  I could have sworn that I told him it would not go 10th gear.  He is making it sound like this is new to him.   “I told you that” I said, rather snidely.  “I know”, he said, “but I didn’t believe you.  This has never happened before so I didn’t think it was real”.  Okay, well thanks for the props here guy.

We did get back to the shop and within a matter of minutes I had my front truck switched out to a different one.  He called the shop guy and told him why we were back.  And he didn’t believe me either.  Go figure.

My light bar wasn’t working again.  Joe got out his tester thingy and began poking it in one plug and checking my light bar, then another plug and go check, then the last plug.  He determined that it was on the truck side again and not our equipment.  He got things fixed so I could safely go down the highway.

By this time this craziness had eaten into our road time and we were not going to get very far tonight.  We both are beginning to feel these long hours and the many miles.  My right foot is swelling  because of being confined in a sitting position for such long hours.

Joe made the decision that we were going to stop really early tonight and get and even earlier start in the morning.  That is okay with me.

Wait…I haven’t told you the best part of todays adventures.  Our dispatcher sent me an email with 12 more trucks we are taking from the Walmart Distribution Center in Red Bluff and going to Pomona.  Now our total has risen to 30.  Our original 18 still have to be delivered by the 9th of June and we have until the 18th of June to get these added 12 delivered.

Tomorrow we will have 12 of the 18 delivered and we will return for the next round of 4.  Our plans to see our California daughter on the 10th have flown out the window but she will still be here in California when we get all of these trucks delivered.  I’m really hoping to get some down time of a couple days when this mess is over with.

I-40 Westbound - California/Arizona Border

When I was a teen living in the north eastern corner of Colorado I dreamed of California.  The warm weather all year round.  I thought there would be green grass and trees everywhere since it was always warm.

The Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, and several other groups of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s extolled the virtues of California and the beaches.  The first time I came this way I was shocked that everything was dead.

Nothing but dirt and rocks forever.  No familiar green mile markers on the shoulders of the roads to mark the passage of the miles.  There are, however, call boxes every so many miles for stranded motorists to call for help.

One year on this lonely stretch of highway the air was filled with migrating butterflies.  They splatted all over the windshield with their yellow goo.  When we stopped near Ludlow at the Dairy Queen to get some water to drink the birds had a smorgasbord.  I termed it the “Grill Buffet” since a lot of birds were picking the butterflies off the radiators of the many trucks parked in the sand lot until they were chased away by the drivers.

Volcanic outcroppingAs in New Mexico, there is an ancient volcanic out cropping that stretches for several miles.

Some travelers have entertained themselves by going into the desert and picking up the volcanic rocks, taking them to a sandy area and creating hearts, smiley faces, there are the requisite name initials and the plus sign, such as JB + LB.

Some travelers have even been inventive and tried to create a primitive picture of sorts.  Now it is kind of bedragled since some of the rocks have been pilfered by other travelers to add to their creations.

I was going too fast to get a good picture of these rock pictures, they all turned out blurry.  Maybe sometime I’ll be able to stop by the roadside and get a good shot of the road art.

Salt? Calechi?

Still along I-40 west bound, as all of these photos are, there is a span of about 4 miles on the highway but about 50 miles off in the distance of this white substance.

I have no idea if it is salt, kaliche (probably spelled incorrectly) – pronounced ka-lee-chee.  Nothing grows in this white baked portion of the desert.  Almost looks like snow on the ground.

Within a span of about 150 miles the landscape changes from mountainous to flat.  The grasses turn to scrub brush and volcanic rock to this barren and inhospitible place.  Another few miles and it changes back again to the scrub growth predominant on I-40 in California.

I-5 at Tejon Pass

Near the bottom of the Grapevine on I-5 in California at the Tejon Pass the mountainous range is covered with this grass that has turned brown.  The surprising thing is this growth of some kind of purple flowers that spreads up the mountainside in some areas.  This, too, is a sparsley populated area.

A lot of ranching is done here in this part of California.  Further north on I-5 we go there is farm land that grows all different kinds of nuts.  Almonds, pistachios, cashews, and more.  I don’t think they grow walnuts here, but I’m not sure of that.

The fruit bearing trees are in huge orchards with row upon row of trees.  The nut trees are planted the same way in straight lines.

Grape arbors are abundant in this area of California.  Not as pevelant as the Napa Valley but there are a lot of them.

Cattle grazing on Tejon Pass

This is the last photo for today.  I thought this shot would be interesting.  The foothills of Tejon Pass or Tejon Summit, not sure which it is.  The crags lifting from the earth and covered in their brown grasses, at the base of these foothills the grass is greener and cattle graze contentedly.

This is at the bottom of the Grapevine.  These mountains form a circle, of sorts, around the valley here.  It is beautiful in its own way.

Joe has left me for the hotel’s hot tub to soak away his soreness while I get my blog updated.  I’m off for a shower and getting ready for bed.  Tomorrow will be a long day.  Getting these trucks delivered before 3:30 local time still might happen but I’m not betting on it.  And the long drive back to get 4 more trucks.

On our way back up to Red Bluff, if I’m not driving the pickup, then I’ll get some pictures of the nut and fruit orchards and the grape arbors.  Up near Sacramento there are rice paddys that are water filled and the green shoots of the rice are poking their heads out of the water.  Kind of an interesting site.

Everyone rest well.  I hope you and your families are well, as we are.  Have a great weekend.

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About Message In A Fold

I am an over the road truck driver in Drive-Away Transport part of the year, and the sole bookkeeper of this operation the other part of the year. I do a lot of whining until I can get in my craft room and play with paper and glue. View all posts by Message In A Fold

2 responses to “Are We Having Fun Yet?

  • Maureen Mathis

    I remember that year of the butterflies; we had them here in Texas, too. It was creepy how the birds would feast on the remains on the car grills!

    • Message In A Fold

      Those butterflies….what a sight it was. I wonder what it was that caused so many of them to appear at one time. And, all over the place since you had them in Texas. How weird that was. Haven’t seen anything like it since then either. The planets must have been aligned in the right pattern, you think?

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