After waking up at 9:00 a.m. or so at the TA in Troutdale, Dudley and I walked about a block down the street where there was a Love’s with our showers and drink refills. After my shower I put a call into Pammie’s cousin who lived in the area. Looking up their number I noted that their house was less than five blocks from where I was standing. Wow! Unfortunately I had to leave a voicemail. Giving it a second thought: Sunday. Cousin was a Lutheran school teacher. Church.
We had a delivery to make and I knew we would not be coming back to this truck stop. Oh, well.
We took our load of orange juice to the grocery warehouse. I had evidently learned from my very bad birthday driving experience and got us to the warehouse waiting lot without incident. The warehouse was situated on an almost residential street, but that was not uncommon for greater Portland. The ubiquitous trees made almost every street look residential. Pretty cool.
Actually it was pretty cool. The temperature was 59 degrees when we walked to the Love’s and it was in the mid-60s now. I walked into the guard shack and stated my business, presenting my paperwork at the same time. I asked them to be gentle since it was my first delivery. They were. They instructed me to pull through the appropriate gate so they could check the seal.
On my way back to my truck I passed another driver walking up to the shack. “Careful, Dude,” I said in a low voice. “Those guards are in a baaaad mood today.”
“Really?” he replied.
I nodded and walked on.
When I had pulled in and met the guard at the back of the trailer the guard asked if I had told the other driver that they were in a bad mood. I just smiled and he passed us on through to Door 29.
The door was in the middle of three open spaces. Hallelujah. The odds of me hitting another truck had just sunk to almost nothing. After some coaching by Dudley and a couple of pull ups I nestled back against the door seal and went into the receiving office with my paperwork. I was motioned “over there” someplace to deal with the lumper prince. I went over to a trash receptacle where I had seen him talking to other truck drivers and waited. After perhaps 20 minutes of no conversations with anybody I went back and tried to clarify where “over there” was. He pointed to a station across the big room where the lumper prince received us lowly truckers. Over I marched and within a few minutes he told me to go wait in the truck until I was released. Two and a half hours and a bunch of rocking and rolling later I got the call on my cell phone and I went back into the warehouse to finalize things.
We then set out for Jubitz, the Cadillac of truck stops in the Pacific Northwest. “It has everything,” I was told, “even a chiropractor.” Big deal.
Jubitz was about three quarters of a mile into an industrial area of north Portland within half a mile of the Columbia River. I managed to find a pull through (meaning I wouldn’t have to back in) parking spot perhaps 150 yards from the main building. I would walk that distance many times over the next three days. Dudley wanted a couple of days to reset and he got it plus one more day. Anything over three days and the days would not count towards my 35 days of OTR training. I got to know the place pretty good.
Around 2:00 p.m. I heard from Pammie’s cousin and we made arrangements for them to drive from near the TA over to Jubitz to pick me up so we could go someplace for dinner. Cuz put her husband on the line and he seemed to know right where I was. They would pick me up at 4:30.
Dudley’s associate came and picked him up way before I made my way over to the appointed pickup spot in front of the Jubitz night club. Seriously, they have a nightclub called The Ponderosa. It’s entrance had two diesel stacks on either side of the double doors and as I walked through the doors just to see what was going on, a light confrontation was concluding. A bigger, older bouncer type guy was escorting (without any touching) a smaller, younger trucker looking dude out of the club. The escortee was saying how he didn’t need the night club, He could go back to his own truck and his own beer and have a good time. The D.O.T. would NOT be pleased.
My dinner companions arrived at the appointed time, and we went to a retail / commercial area about a mile and a half away where we saw a BJ’s Brewhouse. I’d had an excellent burger at the BJ’s in The Woodlands, Texas, so I said I thought it looked like a good choice. Seating was not a problem since it wasn’t even 5:00 p.m. yet. The hostess still asked something about a reservation. I looked around the empty restaurant. Whatever.
Seated by a window, the two of them talked about how they got together and what they’d been doing for the last 40 years and I explained how I had gotten into truck driving. It was a delightful couple of hours. While cuz was a native of my home town and we caught up on the small town gossip, hubbie was a Portland native and gave me a course titled Portland 101. The evening ended too soon but, this being Sunday, Monday was a work day for cuz. Hubbie, the snake, is retired. After they drove me back to the truck stop, I got on my laptop and cranked out a couple more entries for this blog. I was asleep by 9:30 and never did hear Dudley come “home.”