Just North of the Border

The U.S. - Mexican Border

The U.S. - Mexican Border near Otay Mesa, CA

Hard to believe that August is already upon us and summer is about to wind down and give way to cooler temperatures, at least in many parts of the country. But let’s not be too premature, there’s still the next 30 days as well as September and maybe part of October to enjoy. Maybe I can stay down in the southern part of the country and not see any snow or temps below 60 all winter long! I doubt it though.

I’m in Mexico! At least it feels that way. Everywhere I go I see signs in Spanish and everyone I hear seems to be speaking the same as I await another assignment. I just completed a 340 mile trip from Phoenix to the “Otay Mesa” area south of San Diego. Even further south yet of National City and Chula Vista! Heck I’m so close to Mexico even the Border Patrol checks me out as they pass. I saw a border patrolman on a four-wheeler a few hours ago arrayed in a camouflage helmet and combatish green outfit with holster ready to do battle. He passed my parked truck seeming to be on the lookout for something or someone outside Swift’s Otay Mesa Terminal on Calle de Linea (that’s the name of the street).

So, here I am back in California again and only about a mile and a half from the Mexican border. Tijuana lies only slightly further. As I drove through southwest California I saw quite a few Border Patrol vehicles (cars and pickups) and even a few helicopters skimming the desert border. Out in the middle of nowhere along Interstate 8 I slowed to a near-stop but was passed on through at a “Border Patrol Check Station.” All of this no doubt part of Homeland Security and immigration control. I’m in the “thick of it” here! The photo above is a section of border fence not far from where I sit.

My cargo that brought me to the southern-most reaches of California? Nearly 850 fifty pound bags of Pizza Flour! With the pallets and packing material the total load came in at 43,645 lbs. When I opened the doors on the trailer to make the delivery they were all still neatly stacked on their 17 pallets just as they were when I closed the doors adding the lock and seal at their origin. It was a smooth drive all the way.

I spent the night last night about 70-miles north of my destination along I-8 at the “Golden Acorn” Casino and Truck Stop in Live Oak Springs, CA. courtesy of the La Posta Indian tribe. I’ve never heard of them and it’s likely they’ve never heard of me. Since they didn’t have a Craps table, and especially since I didn’t have the money, I didn’t play. I looked at the one wall full of pictures of their big winners and admittedly envied the California man who a couple of years ago won a cool $1,950,000 on one of the casino Wheels of Fortune machines. Why couldn’t that be me? One reason I suppose is I don’t play the slots!

After looking around the truck stop store in the connected facility I stood by watching a few hands of Blackjack before venturing back to my parked truck. Once cozied up inside with the “privacy curtains” drawn (just like they are now) I made some bologna sandwiches with a fruit cup and enjoyed a few bites from a chocolate bar washed down with Lemon-Lime Gatorade. Man! This is living!

I thought late this afternoon my next assignment would be a “High Value load” destined to a Wal-Mart facility at their home town of Bentonville, Arkansas. But all of a sudden it wasn’t to be. A 1670 mile trip here one minute, along with feelings of ecstasy, and then an hour later … gone! A long story, good for telling in person. Life’s not fair, but who ever said it would be?

I had planned to be on the road by 9:00 tonight after sitting here since 11:00 this morning, but now it looks like I might be spending the night on a street outside the terminal. I won’t be alone though as I’m in good company with about a half dozen other trucks, with and without trailers, parked in the same area. Ask me too about making the wrong turn less than a half-mile from today’s destination. Thank goodness, tomorrows another day.

Sign of the Day: Caution: People Crossing On Road (Along California’s 8-Lane Interstate 805 – Southbound near the Mexico border).


One comment on “Just North of the Border

  1. kendra says:

    Rick, your writings of your adventures and experiences are truly amazing. I can say you write well!I think you are doing such an exceptional job, I knew you would. Glad to have met you. You didn’t give up or give in. I am honored to call you my friend Rick. Be safe out there and May God continue to Bless You.



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