Well here I am finally in the ‘Valley of the Sun’, Phoenix, Arizona and my tractor parked at the company headquarters. I have once again learned that it isn’t always “what” you know but rather “who” you know when it comes to getting what you want. This truism was evident in my more than three-week effort to get down this way with several near-misses.
I’ve spent the weekend here in the Phoenix “burbs” having arrived early Friday evening amidst all the news about the two T-V news helicopters that collided here earlier in the day.
Rather than deal with the unknown parking situation at the terminal on a weekend night, and wanting to make the trip to pick me up as easy as possible on my various hosts, I chose to drive beyond the headquarters facility to the nearest Rest Area some 30+ miles further down I-10, half-way it seemed to Tucson.Since arriving, with more than two days to spare before my scheduled delivery, I’ve visited with friends and family and spent two nights sleeping in a regular bed, although my niece Zoe’s was a little short. I also managed to get a much-needed haircut.
I’ve seen some relatives I haven’t seen in more than a dozen years, many of them just young kids the last time I saw them. Now they’re married with young families of their own. Clearly the next generation has a firm foothold and is about to take over.
Last night I stayed in my truck and after resting only three hours was on my way to a five a.m. delivery of my 45,600 pound load of bottled water. The shipment originated in Stockton, Ca., and was picked up Thursday morning at nine a.m. with the final destination a local “Sparkletts” distributor here in Phoenix.
The more than 700 mile trip was uneventful but I did enjoy some more unique sights and experiences along the way. Among them, crossing the treacherous “Grapevine” a mountain pass along Interstate-5 and 100 miles or so south of Bakersfield. A major route between northern and southern California the pass is located at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley. Along the way there were plenty of trucks, lines of them traveling in both directions. As we neared the bottom of the long, steep downhill grade semis were limited to a speed of 40 mph. Finally and suddenly at the bottom, you find yourself in the community of Valencia and the “Magic Mountain” amusement park a short distance to the west, just 26 miles from Los Angeles. Time to change the radio to my favorite oldies station, K-EARTH (KRTH) One-O-One!
The company headquarters in Phoenix is everything I had imagined. A complex of 11 modern buildings. A “Driver’s Center,” 9 or 10 lanes for fueling up, and of course “Building 1,” where the “Administration” hangs out. I spent a wad at the company store this morning, buying several shirts and also a number of tools to help me in my job.
The weather here has been just as expected … HOT! Although “cooler” than recent temperatures it was still in the high 90’s and up to 104 degrees during the day, “not bad” the locals say. On Saturday I saw a distant dust storm in the area and was glad that we weren’t in the midst of it. Onerous looking to say the least!
I’ve now driven more than 21,000 miles since hitting the road with my mentor and more than 7500 miles since going solo 32 days ago. Where I’m headed next? Who knows?