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A Trip from the Southland to the North Bay and Other Happenings

A Trip from the Southland to the North Bay and Other Happenings

Old Apr 13, 19, 1:12 am
  #1  
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A Trip from the Southland to the North Bay and Other Happenings

Tour of Duty 26th March 2019 to 5th April 2019
Part I: 26th March to 28th March


I got word from dispatch that the same truck I dropped off in before going home was available and ready to go to Petaluma, California. I accepted the trip and looked ahead to what trips might be available and saw a fair amount of activity both in the Kansas City area and Independence, Kansas. So I booked a flight on Southwest leaving the evening of Thursday 28th of March from SJC going to MCI with a stop (no plane change) at SAN. I figured that if plans change the money could be used for another flight if I had to cancel. I also transferred my clothing and hygiene articles into another bag as the bag I used for that purpose was coming apart. That bag was used as a spare stopgap bag and I ordered a new bag online.

The evening of Tuesday 26th March I got transport to the same lot where I dropped the truck. I was given the space number and proceeded to that space and at twilight's last gleaming I located the key, loaded my gear into the truck and did the inspection and mounted my placards and transporter tag. I waited until that time in the evening to do the pickup to allow for the evening commute period traffic to die down.

Trip: Santa Ana (Irvine), CA to Petaluma, CA 444 paid miles
Make: 2017 Chevrolet
Model: Box truck
Transmission: Automatic
Route: California 55 to Interstate 5 to California 12 to Interstate 80 to California 37 to US101
Highest elevation: 4,144 feet at Tejon Pass Interstate 5 one mile south of the Los Angeles/Kern County line or 2 miles north of Gorman, CA and one mile south of Frazier Park, CA
Highest unleaded price USA: 3.619$ per gallon at North Petaluma Petaluma, CA
Lowest unleaded price USA: 3.059$ per gallon at ARCO Buttonwillow, CA


Traffic moved well for the most part and I made first pit stop and fuel stop in Castaic, CA where I topped off the fuel tank. Then I booked a room in Buttonwillow before ascending the Grapevine. Since the truck was only two axle the 55mph California truck speed limit did not apply. I climbed and then descended the Grapevine. I checked into my room in Buttonwillow and made two trips to get the gear I wanted into the room from the truck. The first trip was uneventful but the key or lock malfunctioned on the second trip and I needed the assistance of the front desk to get in my room! I asked for and was granted a noon checkout as a result. I spent the night in Buttonwillow, CA.

Wednesday I took on fuel before leaving Buttonwillow then headed north and got off at the Harris Ranch exit (California 198) and had midday rations at Harris Ranch Express before continuing north. I stopped in Santa Nella and there were some rain showers there and I saw a rainbow. I took on fuel in Lodi then headed west on California 12, Interstate 80 and California 37 before connecting with northbound US101 and I headed to Rohnert Park where I had late evening rations and I spent what turned out to be a rainy night in Rohnert Park, CA.

Thursday it started out dry. I opted to put on a little fuel in Petaluma to ensure the fuel level was right for delivery then I proceeded to the receiver and it was dry when I arrived at the receiver in Petaluma. However rain started to fall while delivery was in progress. My gear was safely under cover before the rain started. It was raining pretty good while I was in the office. I talked to dispatch and learned there were no trucks available in the Bay Area or California but there were several trucks available in Independence, Kansas. I ordered an Uber to go to SJC and that was a long trip. Air tickets out of OAK and SFO were a lot more expensive going to MCI.

En route to SJC on the Uber the rain stopped at about San Rafael and we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco proper. We took some streets and connected with Interstate 280 to leave the city and then took Interstate 380 to connect with southbound US101 near SFO. Traffic was heavy in spots but I arrived at SJC with more than enough time to catch my flight.

I checked in and checked my bags which weighed 40.5 and 47.5lbs. I took some time before I cleared security and I had TSA Precheck on my Boarding Pass so I cleared security and did not have to opt out and there was no additional screening for my carry on's. I goofed the previous day and forgot to check in at T-24 and it was 4 hours 15 minutes later before I remembered so I checked in and got B58. Because I took my time between check in and clearing security I did not measure how long it took.

Southwest #1951 SJC-SAN B-737-700 Boarding Pass B58
Seat 17F Cruising altitude 37,000 feet Estimated flying time 0:58, actual 1:00
Depart: Gate 19 Scheduled 17h00, actual 17h01 Taxi: 8 minutes
Arrive: Gate 9 Scheduled 18h20, actual 18h15 Taxi: 6 minutes


We boarded via jetway. The plane was almost full. It was announced there were scattered clouds and it was 68F at SAN. Pushback was one minute late and takeoff was to the north. At 0:01 we made a reverse "U" turn to head south at the very south tip of the San Francisco Bay. While headed south I saw SJC and downtown San Jose. I saw Monterey Bay at 0:10. I saw the Monterey Peninsula at 0:11. Drink orders were taken at 0:13. Seatbelt sign went off and cruise was announced at 0:18 and I saw the coastline to the distance. It was announced our estimated arrival at SAN is 10 minutes early. I got pretzels at 0:21. I got cup of soda at 0:23. At 0:25 I saw yellow down below from flowers that were blooming. I saw Point Conception to the distance at 0:30. I saw what looked to be Ojai at 0:32 and I saw the Ventura County coastline at 0:34 including Point Magu. We were over Thousand Oaks at 0:35. I saw Malibu at 0:37 as we went overwater. I felt descent begin at 0:38 and seatbelt sign went on and descent was announced at the same time. At 0:39 we went over the Palos Verdes Peninsula and at 0:40 I saw San Pedro and went overwater once more. I saw Santa Catalina Island at 0:41. We made landfall at 0:51 and I saw La Jolla. I saw Mission Bay at 0:52 and I saw Qualcomm Stadium at 0:53. We made left turn then turned right to line up with the runway and I saw Balboa Park on final approach. We landed east to west and arrived at gate 5 minutes early. After the thru passenger count I changed seats and used the washroom.

Southwest # 1951 SAN-MCI B-737-700 Thru Passenger
Seat 3F Cruising altitude 39,000 feet Estimated flying time 2:29, actual 2:29
Depart: Gate 9 Scheduled 19h10, actual 19h11 Taxi: 9 minutes
Arrive: Gate 34 Scheduled 00h15 +1, actual 23h56 Taxi: 6 minutes
Reclaim checked bags 26-27 minutes after arrival


I was a thru passenger and stayed on board. The plane was was mostly but not totally full and my row had an empty middle seat. It was announced it was 56F, overcast with light rain, drizzle and mist forecast for arrival at MCI. Pushback was one minute late and takeoff was to the west and I saw Mission Bay and Sea World immediately after takeoff. We went overwater at 0:01 and turned left and I saw the aftermath of the sunset. We turned left again and made landfall at 0:05 over Imperial Beach. I saw the Border Field Park and the Mexican Border and Tijuana to the south. I saw the San Ysidro Port of Entry and the south confluence/split of Interstates 5 and 805. At 0:06 I saw the Otay Mesa border crossing. At 0:08 I saw Tecate, CA and Tecate, BJ. At 0:15 I saw Calexico, CA/Mexicali, BJ. At 0:20 I saw Yuma, AZ. At 0:21 seatbelt sign went off. I got Ritz "Plane Crackers" at 0:28. At 0:34 I got cup of soda. At 0:36 I saw the lights of the Phoenix metro area. At 1:01 I got second cup of soda. At 1:07 I saw the lights of the Albuquerque area. Seatbelt sign went on at 2:01. I felt descent begin at 2:02. I did not understand much of the Captain's announcement but I heard it was overcast. We went into the clouds and i was unsure of the direction of landing on a wet runway. We arrived at gate 19 minutes early and we deplaned via jetway.

I had a wait to reclaim my checked bags then another wait as I was unable to immediately contact the hotel where I booked a room to summon the airport shuttle. No one answered for awhile. Finally I did get a hold of the hotel after sitting down and plugging my phone in to give it some juice. There was more wait for the shuttle but the shuttle came and I checked into hotel and spent the night in Kansas City, MO.

NOTE: No pictures are available due to a catastrophic event on my old Smartphone where all the pictures that I took were erased and due to the fact I have not yet gotten a new Digital Camera.
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Old Apr 14, 19, 12:41 am
  #2  
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First Time This Year to the Dirty Side; Twice in the Same Day and Same State

Tour of Duty 26th March 2019 to 5th April 2019
Part II: 29th March to 4th April


I awoke to cloudy skies on Friday 29th March. Once ready I checked out and ordered transportation to the main office in North Kansas City, MO. There were a few raindrops en route to the office but it was dry when I arrived. Very soon after I arrived a thunderstorm hit and the thunder shook the building. I took care of some business and received some clarification about some changes that were due to take effect the first of April. There were some trucks available that were going to New Hampshire. However I looked at the situation including the weather forecast for the next week and I opted for a trip from Independence, Kansas to Orlando, Florida. A rental car was set up and I was picked up and taken to the rental car location. When I arrived at the rental car office it dawned on me I forgot my jacket. So after I was officially in the rental car I headed back to the office and was able to retrieve my jacket before carrying on. I stopped at QT for hydration supplies then stopped for evening rations at Woodside BBQ in Kansas City, KS. Afterward I continued south and encountered some rain at times. I ended up spending the night in Emporia, KS.

Saturday I awoke to rain and it may have snowed some during the night. The rain quit by the time I was ready to go. I took some pictures of Emporia, KS and later en route I took pictures of Fredonia, KS and all those pictures (except a few of Emporia that I uploaded to Facebook) were totally lost when my phone catastrophe happened (more on that next post) later this tour of duty. I arrived in Independence and got the keys for the truck and I loaded my gear into the truck and did my safety inspection. Then I filled up the fuel tank of the rental car at 2.599$ per gallon for unleaded. Then I dropped off the rental car and walked back to the truck.

Trip: Independence, KS to Orlando, FL 1,251 paid miles
Make: 2020 International
Model: Box Truck
Transmission: Automatic
Route: US160 to US59 to US166 to Interstate 44 to Missouri 360 to US60 to US63 to Interstate 555 to Interstate 55 to Interstate 269 to Interstate 22 to Interstate 65 to local roads for construction detour in Birmingham, AL to Interstate 20 to Interstate 75 to Interstate 475 back to Interstate 75 to Florida Turnpike to local highways and roads in the Orlando area
Maximum elevation: unknown but Springfield, MO is listed at 1,300 feet
Highest diesel price USA: 3.059$ per gallon at Pilot Villa Rica, GA
Lowest diesel price USA: 2.699$ per gallon at Signal Mansfield, MO


This was my first model 2020 truck and it was governed to 65mph. In fact there was a sign on the back warning other motorists "This truck does not exceed 65mph." I took on fuel before leaving Independence, KS then took two lane highways until I reached Interstate 44 just inside Missouri. I stopped for fuel and evening rations in Joplin and afterward I looked at the situation and opted to book a room in Carthage. I spent the night in Carthage, MO.

Sunday it was still cool but fair weather and I attended the morning service at Bible Baptist Church in Carthage, MO. The sermon was on Jeremiah 36 and Jeremiah 45. Afterward I had midday rations at Big Ben's BBQ Station in Carthage, MO before resuming my run on Interstate 44. I got off the 44 near Springfield, MO and took Missouri 360 to US60 and took on fuel in Mansfield, MO before continuing to West Plains, MO where I started my run on US63 which became two lane road with curves and grades. I entered Arkansas and the two lane road continued and the curves and grades slowed me down considerably. The road opened up to four lane then became Interstate 555. I spent the night in Jonesboro, AR.

Monday I stopped in West Memphis to take on fuel before crossing the Mississippi River to "The Dirty Side" which is that part of the USA that is East of the Mississippi River. I crossed into Memphis, TN then headed south into the state of Mississippi. The weigh scale was open and I was pulled in for inspection. I got a clean inspection and proceeded. I stopped in New Albany, MS for late afternoon/early evening rations at Arby's. Then I continued east and a few miles before exiting Mississippi there was another weigh scale which was open and I got pulled in for inspection once again. Twice in the same state in the same day! I entered Alabama and made a pit stop before reaching Interstate 65. I made another pit stop in Birmingham off Interstate 65 and booked hotel room. Then I learned that "Malfunction Junction" the interchange between Interstate 65 and Interstate 20/59 was under construction so I had to take a detour which put me on some local streets. I started my run east on Interstate 20 and I spent the night in Oxford, AL.

Tuesday I continued east on Interstate 20 and entered Georgia and the Eastern Time Zone. I stopped in Tallapoosa, GA and had midday rations at Smokin' Pig BBQ. I took on fuel in Villa Rica, GA for the last fuel stop this trip. Since this truck had only 6 wheels and no more I had a choice of staying on the 20 to the 75 or taking the Interstate 285 ring road around Atlanta. My smartphone indicated taking the 285 ring road would add 53 minutes to my trip so I opted to stay on the 20 into the heart of Atlanta and then take the 75 south (which ran concurrently with the 85 for a few miles). I saw there were different exits for the Domestic and International Terminals at ATL. I made a pit stop in Jackson, GA then continued south and in Forsyth, GA the weigh scale was open and once again I was stopped for inspection. I was able to inform the officer of the two previous inspections the previous day and once he learned that he discontinued the inspection and let me go. I continued south on the 75 and I stopped at the Pilot in Tifton, GA and had late evening rations at Steak and Shake. I booked hotel room and continued south on the 75 and ended up spending the night just 5 miles shy of the Florida/Georgia line in Lake Park, GA.

Wednesday I phoned up the receiver for delivery details. I opted not to race the clock. I continued south on the 75 and entered Florida. I made a pit stop at a rest area just south of Gainesville, FL. I made another pit stop in Wildwood, FL before starting my run on the Florida Turnpike. I stopped at Brush Arbor Baptist Church in Orlando, FL where I attended the Wednesday Evening Midweek service. After the service I had evening rations at Sonny's BBQ in Winter Park, FL. I spent the night in Orlando, FL.

Thursday I headed down Orange Blossom Trail several miles then took another road to head to the receiver and I completed delivery. I was talked into taking a short trip from Port Orange, FL to Orlando, FL and I ordered transportation to head to Port Orange, FL.
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Old Apr 14, 19, 2:30 am
  #3  
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Smartphone Catastrophe; Orange Blossom Special; Flights Home

Tour of Duty 26th March 2019 to 5th April 2019
Part III: 4th April to 5th April


I got transport to Port Orange, FL and was dropped off by the truck. I got the keys and loaded my gear and did my inspection and mounted my placards and transporter licence plate. I phoned up dispatch and dispatch wanted me to take a screenshot of the Uber receipt to send for reimbursement. I wasn't sure how to do that and the person in dispatch told me what she thought I needed to do. Either she was wrong or I did something wrong but in any event something went VERY wrong and my smartphone totally shut off. I made several tries to restart the phone but nearly everything (including all the pictures stored on the phone) was erased. I was in a state of panic for a short time until I was able to get the GPS app back and get the app back where I keep my electronic logbook. I got a couple of other apps back and was finally good to go.

Trip: Port Orange, FL to Orlando, FL 59 paid miles
Make: 2016 Peterbilt
Model: Vacuum Truck
Transmission: Automatic
Routes: Florida 5A to Florida 421 to Interstate 95 to Interstate 4 to local highways and roads in the Orlando area
Maximum elevation: unknown but not much if any over 100 feet
Diesel price USA: 2.939$ per gallon at 7-Eleven Orlando, FL


I got underway and pulled into a nearby Wawa as I was going to take on fuel. However, the clearance on the overhead canopy looked questionable so I aborted my attempt to fuel and proceeded to the Interstate. I made a brief stop at a rest area just east of Orlando where I booked hotel room. I stayed at the same hotel I stayed at the previous night due to the truck parking situation. I parked, checked in and then did some laundry before taking a walk to get some late evening rations. I spent a long night reinstalling numerous apps to my smartphone in Orlando, FL.

Friday I was awakened early by thunder. The thunderstorm was over and gone by the time I got up and was ready to go but it felt a little warm and muggy though not as bad as I expect it would be in the middle of summer. I stopped at 7-Eleven to take on fuel. Then I continued south on Orange Blossom Trail. My GPS wanted me to turn left onto a street and I saw it was marked "no trucks" but I already committed myself but I was able to turn into the parking lot of a shopping centre and get back to Orange Blossom Trail. I reached the receiver a while later with no more difficulty other than having to stop at numerous traffic lights. I completed delivery.

After I completed delivery I talked to dispatch. Dispatch wanted me to take a truck from Cleveland, North Carolina to Flushing, New York. Flushing is located in Queens in the Big Apple. The closest major airport to Cleveland, NC is CLT. However the cost of a flight to Charlotte was exorbitant making that trip unfeasible. Southwest was sold out for the day for flights to CLT and wanted 507$ for a flight the following day. Other airlines were more expensive especially when baggage fees were factored in. As a result I ended up booking a flight home with the itinerary being MCO to LAS connecting to ONT. I checked in online. I got my bags ready then ordered transportation to MCO.

I arrived at MCO and checked my bags which weighed 40.5 and 44.5lbs. I learned the load for the first flight was booked at 164/175 and the second flight was booked at 47/143. I was able to upgrade my boarding position for the first flight from C48 to A8. I did not time how long it took to clear security as I took some time before getting in the queue. By the time I got in the queue for security the queue grew. I was not given TSA Precheck but due to time constraints I did not opt out but I still received a partial patdown. There was no additional screening of my carry on items.

Southwest #1323 MCO-LAS B-737-800 Boarding Pass A8
Seat 4A Cruising altitude 36,000 feet Estimated flying time 4:25, actual 4:44
Depart: Gate 126 Scheduled 18h05, actual 18h08 Taxi: 13 minutes
Arrive: Gate C3 Scheduled 20h20, actual 20h14 Taxi: 9 minutes


We boarded via jetway. It was announced it was 73F at LAS with broken clouds. Some bumps were expected on climb. The plane was almost full but the middle seat in my row remained empty making the longest flight so far for me this year to be more tolerable. Pushback was 3 minutes late followed by takeoff to the north. I saw downtown Orlando soon after takeoff. Almost as soon as we crossed Interstate 4 we turned left and I had another look at downtown Orlando. I saw some thunderclouds. At 0:13 we went overwater over the Gulf of Mexico and I saw the west coast of Florida north of the Tampa Bay region. Clouds increased and blocked the view below while over the Gulf. At 0:46 I got Ritz Cheese Crackers and Oreos and the other choices were pretzels and Fritos. The Captain came on the intercom at 0:49 saying the seatbelt sign was staying on so long because we were trying to navigate around thunderstorms.

We made landfall at 1:08 over the coast of Mississippi near Bay St-Louis just east of the Louisiana border. I got a cup of soda at 1:09 and I got second cup of soda at 1:33. Clouds still blocked the view below. Seatbelt sign finally went off at 1:36.I saw the clouds start to break but seatbelt sign went on at 1:48. Seatbelt sign went off again at 2:06. At 2:08 I saw through some breaks in the cloud cover below part of the DFW Metroplex. I felt a few bumps and seatbelt sign went on at 2:41. I got pretzels at 2:47. I saw part of Amarillo, TX at 2:50 through a break in the clouds. Seatbelt sign went off at 3:01 just after we entered New Mexico airspace. I got cup of ice water at 3:32 and clouds blocked the view below. Coffee was offered but I declined at 3:35. I thought I felt descent begin at 3:51.

Descent was announced at 4:10. At 4:14 it was announced there were scattered clouds at LAS and the seatbelt sign went on at the same time as I saw twilights last gleaming. I saw the lights of the Las Vegas Metro area at 4:19 and I could make out Lake Mead at 4:20. At 4:22 the Captain announced a delay vector due to an arriving VIP. It turned out that Air Force Two with Vice President Pence onboard was landing at Las Vegas. We circled around and at 4:34 it was announced we would be in Las Vegas shortly. We proceeded and lined up to land north to south. I was on the "wrong" side of the plane to see the Strip. We arrived at gate 6 minutes early and we deplaned via jetway.

I took time to recharge my phone and by the time I was done some of the eating establishments were closed. I ended up getting evening rations at Jersey Mike's and Nathan's.

Southwest #950 LAS-ONT B-737-700 Boarding Pass A59
Seat 23F Cruising altitude 28,000 feet Estimated flying time 0:38, actual 0:34
Depart: Gate C16 Scheduled 22h40, actual 22h38 Taxi: 7 minutes
Arrive: Gate 403 Scheduled 23h40, actual 23h23 Taxi: 3 minutes
Reclaim checked bags 12-13 minutes after arrival


We boarded via jetway. The plane was mostly empty and I an entire row to myself. Pushback was 2 minutes early followed by takeoff to the west. I saw the Strip immediately after takeoff. At 0:02 we turned left and I saw the 215 ring road around Las Vegas. At 0:07 I got pretzels. At 0:13 I saw the lights of Baker, CA. I thought I felt descent at 0:14. I got cup of soda at 0:18. I saw the lights of Barstow at 0:19 and felt some bumps. I saw the lights of Victorville/Hesperia/Apple Valley at 0:25. I saw clouds at 0:28. I saw the lights of San Bernardino through breaks in the clouds at 0:28 as we turned west. We went below the clouds and I saw the junction of Interstates 10 and 215 and Colton, CA at 0:29 and I was able to make out the Arrowhead Regional Medical Centre and the former headquarters of World Prophetic Ministry in Colton at 0:30. I saw Fontana at 0:31 and I saw numerous truck terminals. We crossed Interstate 15 at 0:33 and I saw the two major truckstops in Ontario at 0:34. We landed east to west and arrived at gate 17 minutes early. We deplaned via jetway. I got transport home to end this tour of duty.

NOTE 1: I learned the following day that approximately 21 minutes after my connecting flght from LAS to ONT took off, Air Force One landed at Las Vegas

NOTE 2: I got a newer Smartphone as a indirect result of the catastrophe that happened with my old smartphone. Though I did take pictures during the flight from MCO to LAS I have not been able as of yet to upload those pictures.
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