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Three Trips, Two States, Two Train Rides, No Flights

Three Trips, Two States, Two Train Rides, No Flights

Old Apr 12, 18, 3:54 am
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Three Trips, Two States, Two Train Rides, No Flights



Sunset Palm Springs, California 12th March 2018


Sunset Hesperia, California 15th March 2018


Palm Springs, California


Sunset Goodyear, Arizona 13th March 2018


My ride from San Bernardino, California to Selma, California


Selma, California


Fowler, California


Fresno, California Amtrak Station


Sunset Fresno, California 16th March 2018


Sunset Fresno, California 16th March 2018
Tours of Duty 12th March 2018 to 16th March 2018 and 20th March 2018 to 24th March 2018

I got word of two trips and a rental car was booked for me to Phoenix. I booked a room in Phoenix and was fortunate to get any room for the price I got due to Major League Baseball Spring Training as many hotels were either full up or jacked their prices sky high.

The time came on Monday 12th March for me to get the rental car and I got stuck in traffic in various places especially in the Redlands/Yucaipa area. I did stop for rental car fuel and paid 3.339$ per gallon for unleaded in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. I had evening rations at Wendy's at the Pilot in Palm Springs and made it to Phoenix very late. I barely had time to take ten hours in the hotel room.

Tuesday I got unleaded for 2.259$ per gallon in Phoenix then turned in the rental car then got a ride to the shipper. There was some confusion as to exactly where to go at the shipper but I finally was taken to the truck. The shipper was the main headquarters terminal for a trucking company I worked for back in the days I was a company driver driving tractor/trailer. The shipper made a mistake and I was left waiting for someone to come and sign for the truck but that person went home instead. I finally got a hold of a sales director who advised me to proceed without the signature and I ran that by after hours dispatch and I finally got underway but the delay cost me.

Trip: Phoenix, AZ to Perris, CA 325 paid miles
Make: 2014 International
Model: Road Tractor
Transmission: Standard Straight 10-speed
Route: Interstate 10 to California 79 to Ramona Expressway to Rider Street
Maximum Elevation: Unknown but Beaumont, CA along Interstate 10 is listed at 2,582 feet
Highest diesel price USA: 3.729$ per gallon at Love's Coachella, CA
Lowest diesel price USA: 2.939$ per gallon at Pilot Avondale, AZ


When I got underway I stopped for fuel in Avondale then went on to Rudy's BBQ in Goodyear for evening rations. After I took a nap I headed west and in Arizona I was able to get the truck up to 75mph legally. After a pit stop in Quartzsite, AZ I made it to Blythe, CA where I spent the night.

Wednesday I headed west on Interstate 10 and it was windy. Strong winds slowed my progress at times. I phoned up the receiver and was told I'd need a buyer number and Lot number. I talked to dispatch and was told that was not needed. The scale in Banning was closed because trucks were backed up so I was able to proceed. I took Highway 79 south from Beaumont and that stretch was twinned. I headed west on Ramona Expressway to Rider Street then took Rider Street to the receiver and made it to the receiver less than ten minutes after closing time. I ended up going to hotel and checked in then had evening rations at a nearby restaurant. There was some drizzle and it may have rained overnight. I spent the night in Moreno Valley, CA.

Thursday I was able to complete delivery in Perris, then I got transport to the next shipper in San Bernardino. I got to that shipper in San Bernardino and that place was a yard in a not so great part of town that had many vehicles of questionable quality. The truck I was to take had a mudflap missing and that was replaced. Finally I was good to go and I was able to get the bill of lading signed at this shipper.

Trip: San Bernardino, CA to Selma, CA 300 paid miles
Make: 2012 Freightliner Cascadia
Model: Road Tractor
Transmission: Standard Straight 10-speed
Route: California 18 Waterman Avenue to California 210 to Interstate 215 to Interstate 15 to US395 to California 58 to California 99
Highest Elevation: 4,190 feet at Cajon Pass Interstate 15 6 miles south of Hesperia, CA
Highest diesel price USA: 3.679$ per gallon at Pilot Hesperia, CA
Lowest diesel price USA: 3.279$ per gallon Valero San Bernardino, CA


After I got underway I stopped almost immediately in San Bernardino to get fuel as the tanks were almost empty. I had to do two transactions, as there were two fuel tanks, one on each side. Then I headed up the Pass and took on even more fuel at the Pilot in Hesperia. Then I had late midday rations and afterward I took a nap. When I fired up to proceed the Check Engine and Stop Engine lights came on. I rechecked the fluid levels which were satisfactory upon pickup. I found out that coolant level was low so I went inside, purchased a gallon of coolant and put it in. That solved the problem for awhile and I proceeded. I made it to Tehachapi and the warning lights came on again so I purchased two gallons of coolant and replenished the level. I made it to Bakersfield, CA where I spent the night.

Friday I got rolling and the warning lights came on north of Bakersfield. I stopped at the Flying J and put the other gallon of coolant in. Then I proceeded north on the 99 and got to Tulare when the warning lights came on again so I diverted to the Love's truckstop and purchased and put in another gallon of coolant and it started to rain as I did so. Then I continued to Selma in the rain but the rain quit before I got there and I made delivery with less than one hour to spare before the receiver closed for the weekend. I got transport to the Amtrak station in downtown Fresno and it started to rain before I arrived. Upon arrival I booked my itinerary then I checked my bags. I waited while it was raining and the train was delayed.

Amtrak San Joaquin #716 FNO-BFD
Depart: Scheduled 18h34, actual 18h57
Arrive: Scheduled 20h46, actual 20h49


The train arrived late and departed 23 minutes late. I went to the Snack Car to get evening rations and found out the sandwiches and hot dogs and burgers were not available so I had a personal pan pepperoni pizza and soda. Almost all time was made up and the train arrived into Bakersfield only 3 minutes late.

Amtrak Thruway Bus #5816 BFD-FUL
Depart: Scheduled 20h55, actual 21h00
Arrive: 23h50, actual 23h59
Reclaim checked bags: Almost Immediately Upon Disembarking


The bus was not totally full and I had a row to myself. The bus departed 5 minutes late. This itinerary called for the bus to stop at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. Normally I would transfer to another train but that was not the case this time as the bus was to go to Santa Ana with stops in Fullerton and Anaheim. There was rain as the bus entered Orange County and it was raining as the bus arrived in Fullerton 9 minutes late. I reclaimed my checked bags almost immediately at the side of the bus then got transport home.

After several days at home I got locked into another trip and a rental car was booked to Yuma, AZ for the next trip. Tuesday 20th March I got the rental car and headed south on Interstate 5 to Interstate 805 to California 52 and I stopped in El Cajon for evening rations at Golden Corral. Then I headed east on Interstate 8 and gained elevation and went over three summits all over 4,000 feet in elevation with the highest being Crestwood Summit at 4,181 feet before descending toward the Imperial Valley. The Imperial Valley was below sea level. I made it to Yuma, AZ where I booked a room and spent the night.

Wednesday I took a look at downtown Yuma and took some pictures before getting fuel for the rental car which was 2.359$ per gallon for unleaded. Then I got a lift to the shipper and the truck was not quite ready but I did not have to wait long then I loaded my gear and did inspection. I got signed off and was good to go.

Trip: Yuma, AZ to Salinas, CA 574 paid miles
Make: 2018 Peterbilt
Model: Dump Truck
Transmission: Standard 13-speed
Route: Interstate 8 to California 86 to Interstate 10 to Ramon Road to California 111 back to Interstate 10 to California 210 to Interstate 215 to Interstate15 to US395 to California 58 to California 99 to California 58 to Interstate 5 to California 46 to US101
Highest Elevation: 4,190 feet at Cajon Pass Interstate 15 6 miles south of Hesperia, CA Lowest Elevation at least 200 feet below sea level near the Salton Sea (Salton Sea elevation -235 feet)
Highest diesel price USA: 3.759$ per gallon at Flying J Thousand Palms, CA and Pilot Hesperia, CA
Lowest diesel price USA: 3.199$ per gallon at Flying J Yuma, AZ


After I left the shipper I went to the Flying J in Yuma to top up the fuel tank as the price of fuel was lower in Arizona as opposed to California. I had to get emergency triangles and none were available at the so I headed to Love's in Yuma where I got the triangles then I had evening rations. Afterward I proceeded across the Colorado River into California. I made a stop in El Centro and I booked hotel room farther along. I headed up the Imperial Valley on California 86 into Riverside County and the lowest elevation was over 200 feet below sea level near the Salton Sea. I made it to Indio where I spent the night.

Thursday I proceeded to Thousand Palms where I took on some fuel and that is where I experienced my first raindrops. After I fueled I detoured by taking Ramon Road to Highway 111 in Palm Springs then I rejoined Interstate 10. There was light rain in Palm Springs and there was some wind. It rained in Banning as I crossed the scales but was not pulled in. The rain quit by the time I reached Redlands. There was rain going up Cajon Pass then the rain stopped but there was fog as I entered the clouds at higher elevations of Cajon Pass. At the top of Cajon Pass I broke into sunshine. After a pit stop and more fuel I started my run up US395 then California 58 west and I stopped in Tehachapi where I had late evening rations. Shortly after I left Tehachapi I entered rain and there was lightning and heavy downpours and that continued off and on all the way into Bakersfield then the rain quit and it cleared up. I cut over to Buttonwillow and headed north on Interstate 5 to Lost Hills where I spent the night.

Friday I headed west on California 46 and made a brief stop in Cholame then another stop in Paso Robles where I took pictures of downtown. Afterward I headed north on US101 the Historic El Camino Real. I booked a room in Salinas for the night. Upon arrival in Salinas I missed a turn the first time so I re routed and finally made the turn the second time and made it to the receiver shortly before closing time and I completed delivery. Then I got transport to the hotel where I had reservations and I spent the night in Salinas, CA.

Saturday I booked my train itinerary and I found that Business Class was cheaper than coach for my itinerary. I got transport to the Amtrak station in downtown Salinas. I checked my bags which weighed 44.5 and 42.5lbs and waited as there was a delay. It started raining while I waited.

Amtrak #11 Coast Starlight SNS-LAX
Depart: Scheduled 11h48, actual 12h31
Arrive: Scheduled 21h00, actual 20h09


The train was late arriving and departed 43 minutes late. It was raining when I boarded but we got out of the rain before long. I had midday rations at one of the later seatings in the dining room and had an Angus Cheeseburger. The train was late arriving in Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo then early arriving in Santa Barbara, Oxnard, Van Nuys and Burbank. I got evening rations from the Cafe Car and had an all beef hot dog and chips and soda. We arrived at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles 51 minutes early. I went to the Metropolitan Lounge as my Business Class ticket allowed me entry. I was able to use the washroom in peace and had a chocolate chip cookie and soda before being taken to the connecting train.

Amtrak #796 Pacific Surfliner LAX-FUL
Scheduled departure 22h13, actual 22h13
Scheduled arrival 22h42, actual 22h42
Reclaim checked bags 4 minutes after arrival


This was an unremarkable train ride and the train left Union Station spot on time and arrived at Fullerton spot on time and I got off, claimed my checked bags after reaching the station and then I got transport home.

Postscript: I don't know if the above trip will be my last driving commercially as there is a technical issue with a DOT Physical I took recently in order to be recertified to drive commercially for another year. I was unable to get a timely appointment at the place where I had my DOT Physical last year and for the previous year or two before as well. As a result I had to get it done at another location and the doctor at that location wants to hear from an Ophthalmologist I saw last year but that Ophthalmologist will not be available until Monday the 16th of April so I am currently unable to drive commercially and am therefore "grounded" and out of work at least for the time being. Though I provided the Letter of Clearance the Ophthalmologist issued last year the doctor did not accept it because though it said I was visually cleared to to drive, it did not have the magic words "commercial motor vehicle" so the doctor wants the Ophthalmologist to clarify that I am visually cleared to drive a commercial motor vehicle.
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Last edited by Loose Cannon; Apr 12, 18 at 4:03 am
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Old Apr 12, 18, 4:15 am
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More Pictures



Yuma, Arizona


Yuma, Arizona


Yuma, Arizona


El Cajon, California sunset 20th March 2018


Yuma, Arizona sunset 21st March 2018


My ride from Yuma, Arizona to Salinas, California


Cholame, California Monument to James Dean


Point Conception, Santa Barbara County, California taken from Amtrak #11 Coast Starlight SNS-LAX 24th March 2018


Salinas, California


Paso Robles, California
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Old Apr 12, 18, 4:37 am
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I love the pics. Love small town USA.
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Old Apr 13, 18, 8:44 am
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I hope you get the certifications cleared up and get back into the saddle so to speak. I enjoy your reports.
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Old Apr 14, 18, 10:15 am
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I hope you get your medical card cleared up. I deal with a lot of drivers and it always make me sad when someone who has been driving for decades have to give it their CDL's. Some of the requirements seems a bit over the top to me, but what do I know?
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Old Apr 18, 18, 5:27 pm
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I love the Desert Southwest! Thanks for another fine Freightliner Adventure through some of America's finest countryside!
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Old Apr 20, 18, 10:45 pm
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Back in Business For Now, Here is the Latest...

I got a three month certification from the doctor who did my DOT Physical this year. That was not what I wanted but better than nothing so I will take it. The certification is backdated to 5th of April which was the date of the exam. I was wanting a one-year certification. The three month certification is the leverage the doctor is using to MAKE me see an Eye Doctor soon. I went to the DMV in Whittier to see to it that the records were updated to avoid problems but I had to wait almost three hours so it was Thursday before I saw my Obamacare Doctor to ask for a Referral to an Eye Doctor. Bottom line I can legally drive commercial motor vehicles through the 5th of July. Two of the three companies I contract with are giving me the OK to drive but one is not as there is actually less than three months remaining on the certification due to it being backdated to 5th of April. After I see the Eye Doctor hopefully I will get a letter of clearance saying I am safe to drive a commercial motor vehicle. Magic Words are in boldface. Once that happens I will go in for another DOT Physical and I should get certified from a year dating from that Physical.

I got word from Dispatch at the newest company, one I have not done any trips for yet. I was told there is a truck in Henderson, Nevada going to Huntington Beach, California for delivery on Monday. So I booked WN5454 LGB-LAS for Saturday 21st April and after I get to LAS I will get transport to Henderson and get the truck and get rolling for the first time in almost a month. After that it is likely I'll fly to Florida, probably MCO as flights to JAX are much more expensive as I was told there are a lot of trucks in Jacksonville, Florida that need to be moved and at least some of the trucks will be going to the vicinity of Jackson, Mississippi. So I might be bouncing around the Southeast for awhile to try to make up for lost earnings.
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Old Apr 20, 18, 11:18 pm
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Originally Posted by Loose Cannon View Post
I got a three month certification from the doctor who did my DOT Physical this year. That was not what I wanted but better than nothing so I will take it. The certification is backdated to 5th of April which was the date of the exam....
Well at least you are back on the road. ^ ^
Hope it all goes well for you with the next round of medical checks.

Keep posting photo's of those trucks you are driving.
Some times I put your routes into google map so see where you have been.
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Old Apr 23, 18, 2:31 pm
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I hope this isn't your last, Loose Cannon.

I want to echo what others have said: I find these reports fascinating, for the ability to see a view of the world I wouldn't normally see. I enjoyed the pictures of small town America, and would love to see more. You would help satisfy my inner child curiosity on what inside of the truck cabs - I've always wondered what the visibility is like from up there, and wondered what kind of environment you road warriors live and work in.

I would be curious to see some of the photos of the Amtrack as well.

Keep up the reports. A very different type of travel, interesting nevertheless.
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Old May 10, 18, 8:40 am
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Love your reports!
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Old May 11, 18, 12:34 pm
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Keep it coming! Grew up in the central valley in CA (where you seem to transit alot) and work in the bay area but travel to SoCal a fair amount. I always think I will pass you on the interstate one of these days!

And as a fellow CDL holder, best of luck with the certifications and keep on rollin!
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Old May 14, 18, 11:55 am
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Glad your medical issues are starting to get resolved. Great trip report again. I love the photos.
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