Kay Echterling

Going where the load takes us.
  • Day39

    Break Time

    May 4 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 70 °F

    Another reset here in Logan, UT after a run down through Las Vegas and the Mojave to LA and back.

    We sprung a coolant leak and had to limp the truck the last 500 miles, but made it before the drip became a torrent.

    My favorite part of resets are cleaning the truck. Living in a confines space with a German shepherd, particularly Bruce, certainly has it's charms, of which dog hair is not one.Read more

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  • Day27

    A quick stop in the PNW

    April 22 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 50 °F

    We came from Utah. As per usual. All of our loads come and go to and from hq in and around Logan. This time, though, I got to experience Montana.

    Big sky country is an apt moniker for this sprawling landscape, though I slept through a lot of it. The first few hours were uninterrupted brown scrub hills, occasionally dotted with a home or highway maintenance facility.

    Once we got far enough west, though, the landscape began to change. A triumphant return to forest, said I! Pine trees, and spruce and doug-fir, oh my! My allergies were also excited. 'Conifer pollen in spring!' They exclaimed. Violently. Through my nose and itchy eyes.

    We stopped at a spot called the 50,000 $ Silver Dollar. A quaint gift shop/diner/saloon/hotel/corral/truck stop. They really did have it all. A lot of kitschy 'gifts'; everything from Montana printed shot glasses and t-shirts to cheap mood rings and coon skin caps. We got a magnet with a multi-colored German Shepherd on it. We now have home decor in our truck house, friends and neighbors!

    Last night we parked in North Bend, WA up by Snoqualmie Pass. It was wonderful to wake up this morning to misty, forested hills, pink trees and fresh, green shoots in the roadsides near us. As allergic as I am to this ecosystem, I sure do love the PNW.

    One thing I was excited about experiencing on this adventure was watching Spring across our different environs in the west of our country. It has been fun to see. Purple dappled hills with the occasional white and yellow bursts in the deserts. Snows melting and thunderstorms across Idaho and Utah. The trees in wetter and warmer climes beginning to put out buds and shoots and flowers.
    The promise of fruits and bees and summer smells on the breeze.

    We're going to take our first round of time off in June for our anniversary. Our plan is to check out the tiny town of Cortez, CO. A blip on hwy 491 between New Mexico and Utah, about an hour from Durango. (See you in Durango!) We're going to go check out ancient Anasazi ruins on horseback, go offroading on some of our country's most famous off road tracks and check out this tiny town that seems to have everything we want in a new spot to hang out for awhile. Plus, my allergies are calm out there.

    Looking at real estate out there (for funsies) one could purchase a whole villa for 750k. That's the cost of a small two bedroom in Portland.

    Today we are headed to Gig Harbor to offload goldfish and milano cookies before grabbing a load in Puyallup bound for SLC. Too bad they track everything and cookies 'falling off the truck' will certainly be noticed.

    For the time, sneezing aside, it's nice to be back in WA for a few hours. It's nice to have time to miss it. Though, for many reasons, I do not miss Portland.
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  • Day20

    Desert Drivin'

    April 15 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 84 °F

    The sun rises at 0500 in Phoenix, AZ. After doing our reset, and some much needed cleaning, we set out again from Logan, UT and headed south.

    I do so enjoy the desert SW, particularly imagining what the landscapes were like when they were ocean floor. Layers and layers of mulitcolored and textured sediment towering above the plateaus.

    Our route took us through Kanab, UT! A lot has changed for this tiny little town in 10 years. Mom and Cas, the motel we stayed at is now a block sized Best Western, but the pool is the same. The rock store and brew pub we visited are still there, though neither was opened. There is a lot more shopping. Stores one would find at any mall, but lined down the main street of this once iconic town.

    We stopped in Cameron, AZ for an attempt at rest, though tonight will be easier. Some of our loads require drop off or pick up at all hours of the night, which throws off our sleep schedule.

    In Cameron we visited a 'trading post'. Or art store focused on Native art. There are a lot of these on Reservation lands and throughout the Southwest. Many of them tourist traps, complete with chinese made dream catchers. Though some are simply awesome and actually feature local artists, culture and food.

    The gallery, as that's what I would call it over trading post, was called Painted Desert. I fell in love with some of their horn and shell carvings and felt friendly toward a particular Kuchina doll with a long snoot and red tongue. That doll and I are friends. Their book section was awesome, as well. Tales of the Navajo Codetalkers, first hand accounts of Native ghost stories, a plethora of children's stories. It goes on. Books on textiles and my favorite, that I'll have to grab next time; Medicinal Plants of the American Southwest! Sam and I both picked up separate books about Coyote at the same time.

    We picked up an electric skillet last week, which has been a game changer. Though our fridge is quite small and we cannot store leftovers, or many provisions for long, I now have a way to cook meat and veg! Certainly a step up from microwave foodies and cup o noodles.

    We are headed back to Miami, AZ before, once again, headed back to the yard in Logan. The video included was taken in said town from the motel room we spoiled ourself with. We wanted to have a Game of Thrones premier date., which was fun. I more enjoyed the room to spread out and a hot shower that was not at a truck stop.
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  • Day14

    Day 24

    April 9 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 46 °F

    We have driven 7696 miles so far and been through many different climes.

    Today, we are back in Salt Lake City after a haul out to Lathrop, CA and back. In one day we went from high desert at the base of the Wasatch Mountains to the marshy fields of the Sacramento River Valley. And the next day, today, hqve returned to SLC.

    Passing the Bonneville Salt Flats was amazing. Even the road reflected the blue of the sky in a shimmering mirage.

    The trees began to grow sparse coming East through Donner Pass, the Truckee River burbling happily below the roadway into the high desert. I even saw to gentleman suiting up tp go spelunking in the abandoned goald mines, complete with old trolly tracks running into and out of them. The mines, not the men.
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  • Day12

    New Mexico to Arizona

    April 7 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 61 °F

    Most of these photos are from, or leading up to and away from, Salt River Canyon in AZ. The photos don't do the nerve wracking height of the cliff faces justice.

    This canyon separates two Apache Reservations from each other. One the White Mountain tribe and the other the San Carlos.

    Unfortunately, the amount of semi truck parking at looky loo things is limited. We were unable to visit the fry bread stand, which made is both sad. But, the rest stop was open air, perched atop a cliff. Complete with hiking trails through the canyon and down to the muddy river.

    Today we are headed west from SLC toward Lathrop, CA. I will get to see Donner pass! Nom nom. nom. Hahahaha
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  • Day9

    The Southwest

    April 4 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 66 °F

    We made our way south to New Mexico qnd are urrently headed west to Miami, AZ. It is certainly nice to be out of the NW, at least for a few days.

    It's been neat to watch the landscape changing as we roll through desert canyons and arroyos. I neglected to take pictures through Moab, but the buttes and hills are awesome out there. Giant red and sandy rock faces protruding from the Earth.

    I keep feeling I wouldn't mind living in the desert, but then I remember that it gets upwards of 100°f in the summers.

    We drove past the Navajo-Gallup pipeline. Which is exciting in that it is a water project that finally recieved funding after 60 years of trying.

    Driving into Albuquerque last night was a glittering display. We could see the city lights twinkling for miles across the flat desert. Coming down the butte towards town, the city looked like thousands of jewels strewn through the darkness.
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  • Day4

    A day off

    March 30 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 45 °F

    We did our 'reset' at the Sharp (the company Sam drives for) terminal here in Logan, Utah. Each week we have to take 34 hours off to reset the drive clock.

    It has been super sunny but hasn't gotten over 50°f. Bruce and I took advantage of the sun yesterday and took a stroll down the dirt road adhacent to the truck lot. It seemed to go on much farther than we went,, but after about a mile and a half it was no longer a road, but a muddy, grassy track.

    When we decided to turn around it was because we happened on about 15 blue herons. I had never seen a flock of herons before, which according to google is called a siege. I am guessing it is mating season, being spring and that I have only ever seen solitary birds before.

    These guys were almost as tall as my shoulders and I didn't dare get close enough for a good picture. I was worried they might come at the dog or myself. As it was a few of them that saw me turned toward me, began bo bing their heads amd making repetitive, guttural honking sounds.

    We spent the rest of the day lounging, cleaning out the truck and doing laundry. Today wr head back to Portland. Sam has requested we be sent east or south, but we'll see how that goes. He is the newest driver in the company and we're making decent money.

    Plus, I get to see the marmots in Idaho everytime we roll down 84. I can't catch a decent photo, though.
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  • Day2

    Back down I84

    March 28 in the United States ⋅ 🌫 43 °F

    We left Portland, again, two days ago after a nice hot shower. We are again headed east on I84 and starting to get very familiar with this stretch of interstate.

    Coming through Pendelton was lovley yeaterday morning. The mountains seemed to be wearing belts made of clouds and the mist sat heavily over the valleys. We stopped at a viewpoint in the Blue Mountains for lunch. The camera on this phone does no justice to landscape photos.

    We woke this morning to a sunny but breezy 40°f in Jerome, ID. I really do enjoy being on open ground. One can see the storms far off. Kind of like when we lived on Kwaj and could watch it raining over the open ocean. But, this time I am watching it rain over grass lands and distant mountains.

    I like this app. It is neat to track where we've been. In 5th and 6th grade I had a caribou tracking project. We would receive occasional emails with coordinates of a particular herd of caribou. My job was to find the coordinates in the map and place a pin in order to watch the herd's movements. Now we have apps that do it for us! And, instead of caribou, I am tracking us.

    We are headed to Brigham City, UT where we will have our mandatory 34 hours of downtime. The upside of this location is that we will be parked at headquarters. Laundry and showers are free in the driver's lounge. Woohoo!
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  • Day0

    Catching Up

    March 21 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 55 °F

    We have been on the road for 9 days now, though it certainly doesn't feel like it. I have been using a different app to track our journey with the goal of sharing our travels, but it quickly became a personal journal.

    Since I still want to share our adventures, particularly with the map feature, I started this one.

    So far we have been back and forth between Utah and the PNW. We have driven 2,729 miles and been to four states so far.

    It is still very much winter farther inland and I am glad I brought my puffy jacket. Two nights ago it was snowing while driving through the Blue Mountains of Eastern Oregon. It was slow going and a little nerve racking, though I was excited to be in a big rig in the snow.

    We are currently by the Olympia Airport delivering a truckload of Pepperidge Farm cookies. Nom nom nom!

    Bruce and I, and often Sam, take regular walks around the places we land. I will try harder to take and share more pictures. For now, enjoy the ones I've got.
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