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From the Land of Mesquite and Cactus to the Land of Joshua Trees and Sagebrush

From the Land of Mesquite and Cactus to the Land of Joshua Trees and Sagebrush

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Old Dec 4, 18, 4:01 am
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From the Land of Mesquite and Cactus to the Land of Joshua Trees and Sagebrush

Tour of Duty 19th November 2018 to 26th November 2018

A trip to Houston fell through but I learned of a trip from Bruni, Texas to Mojave, California. I never heard of Bruni, Texas before and I did some research and found it is a tiny dot on the map roughly an hour east of Laredo. I looked at transport options and ended up booking an air ticket on WN from LGB to SAT with a connection in LAS for 172$ all in. Flights to LRD Laredo on AA and UA were a lot more expensive and with higher checked bag fees (70$ to check two bags) making it even more expensive Southwest just looked better and better with two free checked bags included. I considered myself fortunate to get such a good price considering the air ticket was last minute as I learned of the trip the same day I flew. I checked in online immediately after booking.

I made final preparations for the trip and got transport to LGB. I checked in and my bags weighed 43.5 and 45.5lbs. I cleared security after a queue and did not opt out due to time constraints. Both carry ons were given additional screening. Something in my boot bag caused an alarm. The contents of my boot bag were emptied into bins and then run through the x-ray and then I was cleared. Total time from beginning of check in to clear of security was 28 minutes.

Southwest #5439 LGB-LAS B-737-700
Boarding Pass B38 Seat 21F Cruising altitude 27,000 feet Estimated flying time 0:42, actual 0:43
Depart: Gate 2 Scheduled 17h00, actual 16h58 Taxi/hold: 11 minutes
Arrive: Gate B15 Scheduled 18h05, actual 17h58 Taxi: 6 minutes


We boarded via stairs and I boarded via the rear stairs. The plane was mostly but by no means totally full and there was an empty middle in my row. Drink orders were taken at the gate before pushback. It was announced it was clear and 64F at LAS. Pushback was 2 minutes early and takeoff was to the northwest. We made left turns and I saw the Los Angeles Basin in the twilight and San Pedro. We went overwater and I saw Catalina Island. We made landfall at 0:06 and I saw much of Orange County and part of the Inland Empire. Seatbelt sign went off at 0:15 as cruise was announced. I got cup of soda at 0:18. I thought I felt descent at 0:21. Seatbelt sign went on at 0:26 and I got pretzels at the same time. Descent was announced at 0:27. I saw Primm, NV at 0:33. I saw Interstate 15 on approach. We landed south to north and I saw some tall buildings of The Strip during taxi. We arrived at gate 7 minutes early and deplaned via jetway. I went to Concourse C and had some evening rations at Popeye's during my layover.

Southwest #661 LAS-SAT B-737-700
Boarding Pass B57 Seat 7F Cruising altitude 39,000 feet Estimated flying time 2:07, actual 2:06
Depart: Gate C23 Scheduled 20h25, actual 20h24 Taxi: 8 minutes
Arrive: Gate A11 Scheduled 00h55 +1, actual 00h42 +1 Taxi: 4 minutes
Reclaim checked bags 15 minutes after arrival


We boarded via jetway. It was announced there were scattered clouds and it was 52F at SAT and we were further advised of possible bumps on climb and descent. Pushback was one minute early followed by takeoff to the west. I saw The Strip immediately after takeoff. Then we turned south and southeast and during the turns I saw Interstate and Jean, NV with Primm, NV farther in the distance. Seatbelt sign went off at 0:23. Drink orders were taken at 0:31 and I got Ritz Crackers and Pretzels at 0:37. Seatbelt sign went on at 0:40 and remained on for the duration of the flight. At 0:51 I got can of soda. At 1:02 I saw the lights of Las Cruces, NM with the lights of El Paso, TX farther to the distance. I saw the lights of the Permian Basin then Pecos, TX at 1:25. Announcement that descent would begin came at 1:30 and it was 52F and cloudy at SAT. I actually felt descent begin at 1:44. We went into the clouds at 2:00 and broke under the clouds at 2:01 and I saw the lights of the San Antonio area. We turned north and I saw downtown San Antonio at 2:03. We landed south to north and arrived at gate 13 minutes early. We deplaned via jetway. I got transport to hotel and spent the night in the Windcrest area of San Antonio, TX.

Tuesday I awoke and got transport to the Greyhound bus depot. I learned that I would not be able to get the truck until the following day. I checked in and checked my bags which weighed 42.5 and 45.7lbs. I had to pay 15$ fee for the second checked bag. I waited then got in the proper queue for Gate B. It was announced that due to an equipment issue two buses would be merged into one and my bus would leave late. I had to stay with my checked bags and put those bags by the side of the bus as I boarded.

Greyhound # 9057 San Antonio, TX to Laredo, TX
Depart: Gate B Scheduled 13h30, actual 14h21
Arrive: Gate 4 Scheduled 16h10, actual 17h04
Reclaim checked bags immediately upon disembarking


The bus was quite full but no one sat next to me at first. We departed 51 minutes late. We got on southbound Interstate 35. We went through Pearsall, Dilley and Cotulla then Artesia Wells and Encinal. During the latter part of the trip another truck driver changed seats and sat by me and we had a chat. The skies got cloudy as we approached Laredo. We stopped at the Laredo North station which really was in front of the Truckmovers Depot and the other driver and a few others got off. We proceeded to the downtown Laredo bus depot and arrived 54 minutes late.

After I disembarked and claimed my checked luggage I walked to hotel and checked in. I've been to other parts of Laredo before on several occasions but this is the very first time that I was in downtown Laredo. I put my gear in the room then I took a walk throughout the streets of Laredo and I took numerous pictures on my smartphone since my digital camera is not working. Then I had evening rations at Burger King then took a few more nighttime pictures and I spent the night in Laredo, TX.

Wednesday I awoke to a cloudy day in Laredo. I made contact with the shipper and learned that there was a mixup and the truck assigned to me was not available but another, larger truck going to the same destination was available and I notified dispatch and dispatch sorted things out with the shipper and issued a new work order. I got transport via uber and the uber driver wanted cash otherwise she was reluctant to take me where I needed to go as it was in a remote area. I expected that other drivers would feel the same and did not have time to wait for another drive so I offered 20$. The driver wanted 30$. I countered with 25$ and the driver accepted and off we went. I figured a taxi would still be considerably more expensive. The driver chose to take US59 to FM2050 and drizzle or light rain started as we approached the location where the shipper was. We finally arrived and I made did the usual things I do when making a pickup. Later I gave the driver a bad review.

Trip: Bruni, TX to Mojave, CA 1,500 paid miles
Make: 2016 Peterbilt
Model: Boom Truck E160
Transmission: Standard 8-speed
Route: FM2050 to Texas 359 to Loop 20 to Interstate 35 to US83 to Ranch Road 191 to US277 to Loop 480 to US57 to Spur 216 to US277 to US90 to Interstate 10 to Interstate 215 to Interstate 15 to California 58
Maximum elevation: 5,085 feet at Paisano Pass US90 midway between Alpine, TX and Marfa, TX
Highest diesel price USA: 3.439$ per gallon at Pilot Van Horn, TX and Eloy, AZ
Lowest diesel price USA: 2.999$ per gallon at Pilot Laredo, TX
Permits Required: NM and AZ Trip Permits


It was cool and wet when I got started. This truck was very back heavy as it had one axle in front and three axles in the back. Also the truck had a high centre of gravity. The truck was only a couple of years old but had some wear and tear and was a bit dirty inside. One plus was this truck had Sirius XM Radio so it became a rolling honky tonk. I got underway and headed south on FM2050 and I saw downtown Bruni, TX just shy of Texas 359. I headed west on Texas 359 and the drizzle/light rain ended and it dried up and remained dry for the entire remainder of the trip. I stopped at the Pilot in Laredo to take on fuel and I also parked and had midday rations at McDonald's. This was the first time in a long time I saw diesel below 3.00$ per gallon. Afterward I continued and got on two lane roads. It got dark and I was not making good time due to the truck being top heavy and back heavy. I learned that hotels in Carrizo Springs were quite expensive but found a hotel that was more affordable in Crystal City. The truck also had a bad turning radius resulting in some fun and games on occasion. I saw that the right turn into the hotel lot was not makeable so I turned left into a truckstop just down the street and across the street. I then turned right out of the truckstop and left into the motel premises. After some careful manoeuvres I parked the truck next to a couple of smaller bucket trucks. I checked in and then went across the street and had evening rations at Pizza Hut. I spent the night in Crystal City, TX.

Thursday was Thanksgiving Day and the weather was still cloudy with no precipitation and I proceeded though I did not make good time. I encountered a few Immigration Checkpoints in Texas and I perceived that there was a heavy Border Patrol presence in Texas. I stopped to take on fuel first in Eagle Pass, TX then in Del Rio, TX. I stopped to take pictures of Comstock, TX then I took pictures of the Pecos River and bridge on US90 between Comstock, TX and Langtry, TX at sunset. I continued west on US90, a two-lane road through the darkness and was not happy that some drivers did not dim the high beams on their headlight. I stopped in Sanderson, TX where I made a pit stop and got a couple of snacks at the only convenience store that was open for evening rations. I considered shutting down but decided to proceed to Alpine and I phoned up a hotel there and was told there was suitable parking for the truck. There was some fog west of Sanderson. The fog got quite thick and I was concerned. I think I ran over a skunk in the darkness somewhere out in the middle of nowhere on US90 in West Texas. I finally got out of the fog and was able to pick up the pace which was a good thing and I pulled into the hotel and shut down with just 3 minutes left in my 14 hour workday. I spent the night in Alpine, TX.

Friday I took some time and took numerous pictures of downtown Alpine, TX. Then I proceeded west and took pictures of downtown Marfa then I took pictures of Valentine, TX before reaching Van Horn where I took on fuel and had late afternoon rations at Wendy's. I finally got on the Interstate and left the two-lane roads behind until much later in the trip. After a rest stop just west of Sierra Blanca, I proceeded to the Flying J on the east side of El Paso where I took on fuel. I'm glad I took on fuel there and not in Anthony due to construction in that area. After 702 miles into the trip I finally exited the Lone Star State and entered the Land of Enchantment and the 11 western states. I stopped at the New Mexico Port of Entry to purchase a Trip Permit then I phoned up hotel to see about parking. Then I proceeded west and spent the night in Deming, NM.

Saturday I stopped in Lordsburg, NM to take some pictures then I got some Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) and had midday rations at Arby's. I proceeded into Arizona and stopped at the Port of Entry which was open and I purchased Trip Permit. I stopped in Willcox, AZ and took some pictures of downtown before heading to the Rest Area at Texas Canyon Summit, the highest point of all of Interstate 10 at 4,974 feet. I took some sunset pictures and made pit stop then proceeded west to Tucson where I made another pit stop. I was going to eat but changed plans as the service at the restaurant was slow. I proceeded west and stopped to take on some fuel in Eloy and I got a pre-made Ham and Swiss sandwich from the truckstop for evening rations. I continued into the East Valley of the Phoenix area and spent the night in Chandler, AZ.

Sunday I made good time through Phoenix into the west side of the Phoenix area. I took on fuel for the final time in Avondale, AZ then got caught in traffic jam in the Buckeye area. I exited and found a parking spot and had midday rations before proceeding west. I made stops in Salome, AZ and Blythe, CA before stopping at Chiriaco Summit for evening rations. I phoned up hotels in Beaumont and Redlands and I was going to stay in Beaumont but found the gate to the truck parking was closed so I continued on and spent the night in Redlands, CA.

Monday I headed west on the 10 then north on the 215 through San Bernardino where I joined Interstate 15 and ascended the Cajon Pass. I stopped in Hesperia and had midday rations before proceeding north on US395 then I headed west on California 58 into Mojave. I stopped in downtown Mojave and phoned up the receiver to get clarification on directions. I took some pictures of downtown Mojave then proceeded to the delivery location for execution of delivery and conclusion of the trip. After delivery I was given a ride to the Metrolink Station in Lancaster, CA. I caught a Metrolink train leaving at 18h17 and arriving Union Station in downtown Los Angeles at 20h42. The train departed and arrived right on schedule with numerous intermediate stops. I headed to the pickup location for uber and while waiting for my ride I found that the handle on my bag that had wheels would not retract despite my best efforts. The bag with the handle out still fit and I got transport home to end the tour of duty and while home I got a new wheeled bag with handle and disposed of the old one as I figured it not only would take a lot of time to get the old bag repaired but the repair cost might approach if not exceed the cost of a new bag. I was home for just over a week and I am now locked into a trip from Texarkana, Texas to Ehrenberg, Arizona. An air ticket on WN is booked for Wednesday 5th December from LGB to LIT with a connection at LAS. A Greyhound bus ticket is also booked from North Little Rock to Texarkana for Thursday 6th December.

My ride from Bruni, Texas to Mojave, California
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Last edited by Loose Cannon; Dec 4, 18 at 4:15 am
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Old Dec 4, 18, 4:13 am
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Laredo, Texas


















Old fashioned fire escape at Rialto Hotel, hotel I stayed in. This hotel was built in 1925.


Old fashioned fire escape at Rialto Hotel, built in 1925. I stayed at that hotel.


Statue of St-Augustine
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Old Dec 4, 18, 4:23 am
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Miscellaneous Texas pictures



Crystal City, Texas


Quemado, Texas


Comstock, Texas sunset 22nd November 2018


Pecos River between Comstock and Langtry, Texas


Sunset 22nd November 2018 Pecos River between Comstock and Langtry, Texas


Sunset 22nd November 2018 Pecos River between Comstock and Langtry, Texas


Pecos River between Comstock and Langtry, Texas
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Old Dec 4, 18, 7:02 am
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Thanks, it's always enjoyable to read something other than the myriad first class and luxury hotel trip reports.
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Old Dec 4, 18, 9:42 am
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Fantastic report. Those old buildings in Laredo are certainly beautiful.
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Old Dec 4, 18, 9:43 pm
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Alpine, Texas



Brewster County Courthouse


Another shot of Brewster County Courthouse


Mural


Another Mural


A look at the main eastbound drag in Alpine


Historic Holland Hotel


Still another Mural


Amtrak Train Depot. The Sunset Limited stops in Alpine on its route between Los Angeles and New Orleans.


And still another Mural


Texas has some fall colours


Interesting roadside park


Eastbound US90, main eastbound drag through downtown Alpine


Theatre


Roadside Park
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Old Dec 4, 18, 10:01 pm
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Old Dec 5, 18, 12:16 am
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Old Dec 5, 18, 12:20 am
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Old Dec 5, 18, 12:34 am
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Arizona also has fall colours
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Old Dec 5, 18, 12:45 am
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Texas Canyon

Texas Canyon is the highest point on Interstate 10 at milepost 320, 320 miles east of the Colorado River and 70 miles west of the New Mexico state line or about 14 miles east of Benson, Arizona and about 20 miles west of Willcox. Arizona. The posted elevation is 4,974 feet above sea level.

Sunset 24th November 2018




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Old Dec 5, 18, 12:51 am
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Chriaco Summit, California

Chriaco Summit is not the highest point of Interstate 10 in California but it is the highest point on Interstate 10 between Indio and the Arizona state line. There is a service station, convenience store and a restaurant. In addition the George Patton Museum is also located at Chiriaco Summit.




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Old Dec 5, 18, 1:10 am
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Mojave, California



sunset 26th November 2018


sunset 26th November 2018















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Old Dec 6, 18, 7:51 pm
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Ooh.. Texas courthouses! I've been doing roadtrips all over Texas the last few years visiting the county courthouses. (Paris and Pittsburg. Texas that is. Visiting all 254 Texas county courthouses). Definitely neat to see someone else's view of the roads here.

Your photo of Alpine is pretty good, I was there at the wrong time of day. Looks like someone spraypainted the Prada Marfa since June when I was there
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Old Dec 7, 18, 1:23 pm
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Your trip reports are such a refreshing departure from the usual lounge and first class air travel reports.For a while now I have been wondering about the economics of your job. I obviously don't want detailed numbers, just the principles. Looks like you are getting paid by the mile plus I assume hotels and food. So when you say a flight is too expensive and you have to take the bus part of the way, do you get compensated for the additional time or is this just part of the job. Who decides whether it is too expensive? When you say "dispatch" is that a company that "sells" the transfer and then contracts with you for the driving?

Keep on reporting, I really enjoy your reports.

JM
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