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2 week road trip in a semi truck- part 2

Updated on August 22, 2013

Part 2 - Trip

For those of you who are just starting this story, in order to understand you might want to start at the beginning.

More show and tell

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Official "Hug a Stranger Day"Look!!  It's the 'Happy Cow'See, I got a quick shot of Magic Mountaindry shaving - no shower availableGeneral Patton MuseumYep, I can see this ISN'T gonna fit in the truck!To the right - that bush with the pretty red flowersShops - you can see how I could have fun
Official "Hug a Stranger Day"
Official "Hug a Stranger Day"
Look!!  It's the 'Happy Cow'
Look!! It's the 'Happy Cow'
See, I got a quick shot of Magic Mountain
See, I got a quick shot of Magic Mountain
dry shaving - no shower available
dry shaving - no shower available
General Patton Museum
General Patton Museum
Yep, I can see this ISN'T gonna fit in the truck!
Yep, I can see this ISN'T gonna fit in the truck!
To the right - that bush with the pretty red flowers
To the right - that bush with the pretty red flowers
Shops - you can see how I could have fun
Shops - you can see how I could have fun


The bad part about going up a mountain is having to come down again.  The roads snow covered, icy and slick with a truck that ‘shouldn’t’ go on the road because of it’s length, it was at best ‘hairy’.  Twists, turns and hair pin curves - down 5000 feet.  We sure were going down faster than we went up!  For the most part I kept my eyes closed, not wanting to see my own demise.  My left hand was hanging on to my seat belt, my right on the door handle, like that is going to do any good. 

My Husband had to laugh at my behavior, he was used to it, I wasn’t.  Finally he told me, “You can open your eyes now, we are almost at the bottom”.  It was still dark and I couldn’t see anything, thank goodness.  I have Aides Tonic Pupil and it prohibits my eyes from adjusting to the dark,  and I hate that I can’t see at night.  I was exhausted from working so hard keeping in my seat!  Just before we hit Red Bluff we spotted a truck stop that was closed but had 1 parking space available.  We pulled in and I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.

waiting CAN be fun?

The alarm came too soon, I wasn’t ready to get up so I stayed in bed until we reached our destination of a Walmart distribution center, Red Bluff, CA. Since there wasn’t any coffee yet, I didn’t have a problem staying in bed. 2278 miles to deliver a 600 lb piece of equipment, sheesh. We needed the 53 foot trailer we were hauling to make more deliveries, so we found our way to an area we could park, while waiting for the phone call to our next assignment. It was at a gas station that had ‘ok’ coffee, but it wasn't Pilot coffee. We parked in an empty lot not meant for trucks but there weren’t any signs that said we couldn’t be there. Looking around the truck we noticed there was some volcanic type material on the back bumper, so I scraped that off for a friend of mine and put it in a baggie. I was collecting as much stuff as I could from my trip, for friends.

My husband knows I like playing those scratch off games so he bought me one, my favorite ’Cash Word’. I played the game and won $20! I was on a roll! While we were waiting I looked over and there was a young man peeing on the side of a pick up truck at the gas station. Hmm, isn’t that strange, I thought. There was a perfectly good bathroom inside, oh well. He got into his vehicle, a car and drove over to the gas pumps. My husband decided to go inside to find out whose truck it was. It ended up being the managers truck.  When the young man went into pay for his gas, the manager confronted him. A fight ensued, the young man punched the manager and ran out the door. The manager followed him and as he got a hold of the car door, the man took off, the door stayed. I watched the car take off with the young man holding on to the door, what a sight! The police of course were called and my husband had to give his account of the story. This trip was getting more and more interesting by the day!

Hug a Stranger day

The call finally came for us to head South to Lodi to make our pick up. We would pick up a load of canned goods for then head for Albertson’s in Phoenix, Arizona. I got to see the ‘Happy Cow’ from the cheese commercials. Ok, so maybe it wasn’t the EXACT cow, but it sure did look happy! There were lots of olive groves (I think that’s what they were) and cows for me to view and on both sides of I-5 were mountains so I had a lot to look at!

We found a Pilot truck stop near Lodi, CA (My husband has a book of all the Pilots in the US) where we were to spend our 10 hours off. My youngest daughter had been calling me on the cell phone telling me how much she missed me and needed a hug. I spotted a truck driver walking and decided to ’send’ her a hug. I stopped him and told him it was the official “Hug a Stranger Day” and had my husband take a picture of me hugging him. I sent it to her via text for her to upload on the computer and photo shop her face on it. I’m inventive if nothing else! She did get a giggle out of it. We decided to eat at the restaurant next to the Pilot, the best that I can say about that place, they have food. Maybe it was an off day for the chef.

I - 5 one LONG road

Has anyone ever traveled South on I-5? Wow, that is a long road! It seemed like we were never going to get out of California! We were headed to Phoenix, AZ and by the looks of the map, it was going to take us DAYS to get there! Los Angeles is in a valley and in order to get there you have to go up some mountains. Going up a mountain fully loaded in a big truck (40,000+ lbs) can be… well taxing. You try to get up to speed which of course is not going to happen, but you try. A vehicle who doesn’t have as much power as you slows you down, cars are in the lane you want to be in to stay at speed, slows you down. You downshift to pick up speed, try to get in the good lane, once you make your pass you get back in the ’granny lane’ only to come upon another slow truck and do it all over again.

The song 'Hotel California' kept playing in my head... "You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave" The radio stations kept playing it, I began to wonder.... 'Are they trying to tell me something?'

You get to the top which means of course you have to go down the mountain. Here it was dark yet again and I couldn’t see much but the feeling of going down a mountain at break neck speed is… terrifying. Again I was gripping my seatbelt and door handle closing my eyes. I suppose it is here that I should insert that his truck is governed at 67 mph, so my break neck speed and yours probably varies. It was difficult to appreciate the beauty of all the lights of the City miles away, with my eyes closed. I vaguely remember seeing the sign for Magic Mountain as we were whizzing by, trying to get a picture of it. Once we got to the bottom I opened my eyes in amazement, this certainly was a beautiful City! But now that I was at the bottom I couldn't see as much, too bad I'm such a chicken.

Yep - Pay to park

I could still see the lights of Los Angeles when we were 45 miles to the east, somewhere along the line we got on I-10, it was amazing! (Some navigator I turned out to be)  I suppose one has to keep their eyes open to change roads.  Our 10 hours were almost up and we needed to find a parking spot.  Looking at the billboards we were finally able to locate a place to park, this would cost us $7.00 for parking to sleep.  We were parked on the side of a mountain/hill and I had to prop my feet on the seat to keep from falling out of the bed, that was  Once we had slept all that we could sleep we did a little walking around, not too far though because we couldn’t leave our load unattended.  Since there weren’t any showers available, my husband had to shave using his side mirror.  He's used to it, it's amazing what one gets used to doing!

As we got closer to Arizona I noticed it was getting hotter and hotter, the temperature was around 108 degrees.  From ice storms to heat waves, whew!  I sure was seeing some different weather.  As we headed toward the Chocolate Mountains I was getting excited, but I thought gee, with this heat, surely it will all be melted.  Ya gotta keep your humor on  trip like this!  I swear it was so hot were in Death Valley!

The last stop in California was Blythe.  We stopped to see the General Patton Museum, it was closed, but I did get some good pictures of the tanks and such.  The truck stop wasn’t a Pilot and you sure could tell, the coffee tasted worse than mud. 

I probably should mention in here about the bathroom facilities on the road.  There aren't many.  In a car you can just whip in anywhere, in a truck that is a different story.  Most places have signs that say "No Trucks", so of course you can't pull in there.  If you should try it you will undoubtedly get someone running out yelling at you.  For my comfort and that of my husband he keeps a 'container' in which to go #1.  It has a nice tight seal so when you're bouncing down the road it doesn't spill all over.  In the middle of the night, it sure is nice not having to get dressed to get rid of all the coffee that has been drank during the day!


I couldn’t wait to see the Saguaro cactus's I’d only seen on TV, I wanted one for my yard! After reaching Quartzsite, Arizona we spotted a Pilot Truck stop to take a shower and fill our coffee cups, YAY! Pilot coffee. It had been a WHOLE day since I had good coffee. We noticed the temperature was 114 degrees, I had never been in such temperatures before. There were some little shops within walking distance so we headed to them to see what they had to offer.

The first thing I picked up was a hair brush, mine had gotten forgotten at home. I’d been using my husbands and it just wasn’t doing the job right. We next found some pretties for 2 of my daughters, crystals and such. I got a desert rose, it’s a fossilized flower that had been hit by lightening in the desert (or so we were told). We found a Trilobite for my youngest daughter who loves Paleontology. There were a few other things that we purchased for friends, a lady that I know loves the color purple so I bought her a small bottle of Amethyst, her nickname is ’The Purple Lady’ so this would be appropriate. It was a very nice little stand of businesses and we were having fun shopping but it was time to go, if I wanted to stop and look at a Saguaro!

My Mission

I was on a mission to collect a cactus, so every one we passed disappointed me. I wanted them all! It’s fairly difficult to just pull over on the side of the road when driving a Big Truck, you can’t just stop anywhere. We came to an area that allowed for a pull off, so we stopped. I finally got up close and personal with a Saguaro! Boy was it big. I knew there was no way I was taking one of these home. I should mention here that yes, I know they are protected, and yes it would be illegal to take one. So no, I did not! But Arizona seems to be the only place these grow, how odd!

My husband had been through here before, but this time he got to see it with my eyes. The desert was in full bloom and it was BEAUTIFUL! There was green everywhere, and the flowers! There was this one plant that I had been seeing for some miles, and when we stopped I got a close look at it. It was a dark green with beautiful orange/red flowers and looked very soft, from a distance. When I got close to it I seen between the green ‘leaves’ there were these wicked looking thorns. We found a dried piece that had broken off, my husband picked it up and thought it would be fun to smack his butt with it. Yeah, it wasn’t fun when it stuck. Funny for me to see! That was going in the truck with me!

It took DAYS!! (well only 3)

show route and directions
A markerRed Bluff, CA -
Red Bluff, CA 96080, USA
get directions

B markerLodi, CA -
Lodi, CA, USA
get directions

C markerLos Angeles, CA -
Los Angeles, CA, USA
get directions

D markerBlythe, CA -
Blythe, CA, USA
get directions

E markerQuartzsite, AZ -
Quartzsite, AZ 85346, USA
get directions

F markerPhoenix, AZ -
Phoenix, AZ, USA
get directions

Phoenix in my sights!

My sister in law taught me how to transplant cactus's so when I found one (not saguaro) I got a piece of it.  I set on the dash, it was amazing to see how many times my husband got it stuck to his fingers!  After about the 10th time of it sticking to his fingers I took pity on the poor cactus and found a safe spot for it.  I couldn’t help but giggle every time it happened.  It looked as though he was going to keep me in the truck and not send me home on a bus, he said over and over this was the best trip he’s ever taken.  He was actually enjoying driving, even if my hair was all over the inside of his truck.  Did I mention my hair is around 29 inches long?  I shed like a German Shepard, so everything had my hair stuck to it, before we were done on this trip we probably could make a wig.

As we neared Phoenix there were more and more Saguaros, it was starting to get dark and they looked like little people waving in the night.  We found yet another Pilot to spend the night at, not far from our destination.  Our appointment time was 11 am so we had plenty of time for sleeping.  I probably should mention our sleeping arraignments, he has a double bunk truck, both twin beds.  All of our stuff sits on the top bunk, which means we share the twin.  He gets the wall (covered in my hair) and I get the edge, when its time to roll, we do it in unison.  Not sure how we manage to do that, but it seems to work for us.  All the cool ‘married’ stuff - well that’s between me and him, not to share with readers.  The last paragraph of my Hub ‘Why isn’t my wife sexually active?” fits right in here!


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    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Michigan

      We did go on another one in June, but that ended too quickly for my tastes! Maybe I can go in November after my grandson is born. His mom will be taking sometime off of work for that so she can stay at home!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      7 years ago from south Florida

      Fun to read, susie. Glad you both made it back safe and maybe sound, too. Is there another road trip being planned?


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