Monday, July 26th through Sunday, August 1st
This was a nice short week that finally brought an end the miserable string of short runs of the last week. Due in large part to the fact that I had a home time request in, no make that entirely due to my home request.
Monday morning found me in the parking lot of the receiver when they opened at 6am. I had an 11am appointment, but knew that they had overnight parking available and arrived the night before. When they unlocked the door I was there waiting and managed to swing an early unload first thing.
My MT call was answered by a load going to Wal-Mart in Clarksville, AR 643 miles away. This load didnt get me home, but it did get me to Arkansas and very close to Fort Smith at that. This was a very promising thing because we pull a load or two a week out of there going to Phoenix.
While enroute to Minooka to pickup my Arkansas bound load I sent off a message to the load planners inquiring as to the possibility of being pre-planed on just such a load so that I could actually get home as planned this time around.
I arrived in Minooka a couple of hours early in the hopes of finding my preloaded trailer ready to go, but no luck, I was told to come back later. Its not what I wanted to hear, but the trainee was thrilled. He seems to have this insatiable appetite and the though of driving more than three hours without a meal is almost more than he can stand, so off we went looking for a place to get a bite to eat.
Found a little gem for anyone that is interested, especially if you have dropped a trailer at Kellogg and find yourself bobtailing (no tractor trailer parking). Its called Grandmas Pancake house and they have an amazing breakfast menu. The choices are extensive, prices very agreeable and the flavors are exceptional with portions big enough to make for a good sized takeout for a later meal. The lunch menu looked equally appetizing.
It can be found just south of the Pilot off of I-80 x 122. Just drive past the Pilot to the light where we turn west to head to Kelloggs (Rte 3, Minooka RD). Its in the far west side of the shopping center on the Northwest corner. Dont miss it if you are in the area and looking for a bite to eat.
By the time we finished our meal it was time to pick up our trailer and head on down to Arkansas. All went well until we hit the hills on Hwy 7 in the Northwest corner of Arkansas. I let the trainee off easy last week and jumped in the drivers seat when we hit a stretch of mountain driving last week on a stretch of I-77 in West Virginia (I wasnt in the mood to be sitting in a stalled out truck on an always busy I-77). But since that time he has had more time to practice his shifting and was to the point where he didnt grind every single gear, (at least he was hitting them about half the time). I knew it wasnt going to be pretty(and warned him in advance), but there is no time like the present to learn that pesky mountain shifting thing that always goes so well the first time or two with new drivers.
For those of you that have never been on Hwy 7 in Arkansas, well, lets just say its a bit of a bear and takes no prisoners. More than once I have had to come to a complete stop behind another truck that missed a gear or two thus turning themselves into a rather formidable road block. Well tonight it was our turn and the trainee didnt disappoint.
As I said earlier, I had warned the trainee of the upcoming challenge. As we made our way through the Branson area in Missouri he seemed to think he had it all figured out. After all, he had only momentarily missed a gear or two up to this point. So far, not too bad, I said. I was willing to admit that these hills in themselves will test a trainees ability and he was brimming with confidence at this point and was sure that he had everything under control and wasnt at all worried about what lay ahead.
How quickly that all change.
I had to keep telling him that parking in the middle of a highway wasnt really a good idea. But then again, he only did it three times, so who am I to judge. I was a rough start, but a mere 90 miles and almost 2½hrs later he knew how to shift gears like a pro. Well, not quit, but the improvement was notable, even though the poor guy looked exhausted and I think he aged a year or two in the process, but he loved it and isnt afraid of hills anymore.
Earlier in that day I had received a reply to my request for a preplan of AC units out of Fort Smith once empty and was absolutely thrilled to learn that I would be back in Phoenix by Wednesday night with a load that delivered Thursday morning. Hot ####, I was actually going to pull into the house on the very day that I asked for only three weeks after leaving. Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy!
It was even one of those loads where I pulled into town on Wednesday afternoon and didnt delver until Thursday morning. That meant that neither of those days would count towards my home time and my official home time wouldnt start until Friday, thus allowing for a lengthy home time without making any waves.
Unfortunately I had a trainee sitting in a hotel room at the time and I was feeling guilt about leaving him there for an extended period of time and decided to pull out on Monday morning.
It made for a rather short home coming, but there was some incentive awaiting me at the yard. As I have been seeing in many parts of the country lately, Crete seems to have more freight than trucks (Yeah!), and when I delivered my last drop in Phoenix it was the same there.
Quick back step here, I was at the final stop of my two stop load on Thursday morning (moments from going home for the weekend) and the fork lift driver was down to the final skid. It was a stack of three AC units, one on top of the other, each on its own pallet. (Anyone want to take a guess as to where this story is going?)
I watched him pull into the trailer and headed back to the cab to instruct the trainee to send in the empty call. I made it about halfway to the cab when I heard a god awful crunch coming from the inside of the trailer. My first assumption was that top AC units had fallen off the stack as the last skid was being pulled off.
As I peered around the corner into the trailer I was horrified to see that a brand stinking new sun roof had just been installed and was a perfect match to the Freight guard on the forklift. I was looking at hole 5ft long, 6in wide and a truly befuddled forklift driver. That Murphy Law thing is really starting to annoy me. I didnt realize it the first time I read it, but apparently it was written specifically for the trucking industry.
Moments ago I was homeward bound, now Im taking pictures, contacting safety, hunting down managers and collecting names and phone numbers. An hour later Im told to wait for a message from breakdown so that I would know where to take it for repairs.
Im not happy! Its not even noon yet and is well over 100°. I have a wonderful pool next to a lime tree and a fridge full of Mexican beer waiting for me at home and here I sit waiting on breakdown. Welcome home!
I eventually get the lowdown and make my way to the repair shop to drop off the trailer on the other side of town. Unpaid miles, but I dont care at this point, I just want it to be a done deal and I am more than happy knowing that there is a end in sight.
NO THERES NOT!
Almost to the second that I drop my trailer the Qualcomm beeps with a message. Can you come in tomorrow morning to pickup a live load and then go back to the house and start your home time then. They were overbooked and needed me to cover the live load. Then all I had to do was bring it back to that yard, drop it and go home.
Under normal conditions this would have afforded me yet another excuse to spend one more day at the house. At this rate I could have put in 7 nights at the house and done so without hearing a word from dispatch, but then there sits that pesky little trainee, board silly in a hotel room. I couldnt do that to him.
My insatiable appetite for easy miles also kicked in at this point because the live load that I was to pick up had a drop delivery just outside of Atlanta anytime prior to Wednesday, midnight. That was a whoping 1868mi run. I would be able to get it first thing Friday morning, bring it back to the yard and park it, go home for the rest of Friday and the remainder of the weekend. Then head back to the yard mid-Monday morning and head on back to the eastern time zone.
As it worked out, it's a good thing that I did so. When I pulled into the yard Monday morning there wasn't an MT trailer to be found. No MT, no load. But then that isn't really much of a problem when I'm in Phoenix. There is always that favorite reply that I just love using when on home time. "No trailer, No problem, I'll be back tomorrow and see if there is one then".
I don't know what's going on in Phoenix. Empty trailers used to be plentiful, but it's a bit of a crap shoot lately.
Oh yeah, there is a trainee sitting in a hotel room. No worries today, I have a loaded trailer going 1800 miles.
Another week down.
All I had to do was lay a new Travertine Tile floor in the kitchen before going back to work so that I could get some rest, oh yeah, and take care of my DOT physical (what I assume is the true reason that it was so easy to get home this time.) Apparently Im still alive, Im good for 2 more years.
Monday, July 26th through Sunday, August 1st
Miles include deadhead
Minooka, IL to Clarksville, AR ....643mi
Fort Smith, AR to Mesa, AZ .1263mi
Total Paid Miles ..1906 Miles
Actual Miles .1959 Miles
1906mi x .44 = $838.64 + Stop Pay $30 + Training Pay $150 =$1018.64
(Mon-Thur morn only; Home week)
CRETE - A Year in Review
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I just got the message I've been dreading for months, hell, I've been dreading it since the day I got my APU!
"Your truck is due for trade, get to Lincoln ASAP"
I've never NOT wanted a new truck as much as I don't want this one.
My beloved APU, my microwave, my home cooking, all my spacious room. My world is crashing down around me. What did I ever do to deserve this. I want my old Freightliner. (Wow, that's something I never thought I'd hear myself say).
I don't care if my front wheel is falling off. I don't care if everyone calls me Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as she backfires all the way up hills and blows out continuous puffs of BLACK smoke. Who needs a transmission that shifts whenever you want it too (it's nothing more than an over rated convenience anyways). So what if only half the windshield whipper works and the headlights can't blind a bat.
I'm SadLast edited: Aug 11, 2010
I'm working on last weeks update, but here is a hint. It kicked ###. It helps to get an 1800mi drop delivery run out of the house followed by an 800,500 and 1200 mile run with the same asap pu and drop schedules.
Almost zero down time and solid running got me somewhere in the neighborhood of 3900 miles. I ran out of hours sometime Saturday morning, but the trainee still had hours available. I could have sat in the passengers seat logging on duty, not driving and we would have delivered the last run in PA Sunday night with something in the 4400mi range.
But then I would be sitting at 80+hrs and unable to drive should we find ourselves in a situation where the trainee was in over his head. So with that in mind I tcalled the load in Columbus and wrote the truck up for a splitter problem in the trany.
It's acting up again and sounds like the high/low gear is going to fall out of the trany every time I go from high to low unless I'm at a complete stop when I do it.
Of course that worked out great because of the 4 mechanics scheduled to work on Sunday, 3 called in sick and I still have a very moody transmission.
But as I have recently learned, I only have to get it to Lincoln and I will no longer have to worry about it.
That was last week.
This week I found myself in OH and 2 of my last 3 loads have been under 250 miles and I find myself sitting in NY state painfully close to Jersey. At least I can count on my new trade-in orders to get me out of here sooner than later.
I don't get on here much - hardly at all while on the road (again, I've been busy). One of these days I'll get an Aircard or similar, but right now I'm typing on an ancient Palm Treo. You should hit me up on facebook - jdrentzjr is one of my friends on there and we talk on the phone pretty regularly. I did get to show it off to him at the Pilot in Oak Grove KY a couple weeks ago, and he passed by while I was waiting in line for fuel at the Love's in Chouteau, OK yesterday on my way to Ardmore. Now I'm in Grand Island, NE where I'll be delivering in about 7 hours.
And yes, I'm making money - after all my regular deductions (truck payment, fuel, cargo insurance, etc) AND a full month of health insurance paid for (that was a $865 hit) my settlement last week was $630 and change. I did have to spend a day at a Freightliner dealer last week for a busted O-ring on the turbo outlet and broken hose clamp on the EGR, but this week's should be much nicer without that full month's health insurance payment.
In another 4 weeks I should have my plates/permits paid for and start seeing $1500 settlements.
I'll also send you a private message with my name (for facebook) and phone number in case you don't still have them. Give me a shout sometime!
The bad ones are the middle school kids from the ghetto. They are totally out of control.
I did send in an application to Crete and am waiting to see if I hear back from them.
Sorry in advance. Catching up with some older posts.
I feel your pain.
*** AVOID REFERS LIKE THE PLAGUE ... or ... REFERS ARE A PLAGUE ***
I also sent a message in after delivering my 255mi load in PA and landed a 1400mi run to Topeka (so that's what it takes to get out of PA without pulling another 200mi run).
That run didn't get me to Lincoln, but I figured they would have me loop up there on the way. But when I asked about it they said the 140 out of route miles was too much. So I droped that load last night (a day early) and assumed they would bump me up to Lincoln, but no!
Weekend dispatch got their claws in me. There was a preloaded trailer 70mi away that needed to go to PA. I considered trying to get out of it, but it was a solid 1200mi run with just enough time on it to fit in a reset before an 11am delv on Monday.
I couldn't see turning down a 3500mi week with a fresh 70hrs to start next week. Plus I wont have to worry about getting stuck with another string of short runs because dispatch has to get me to SC immediately so I can get trainee home for his break and they will also be forced to get me to Lincoln area again to trade out the truck.
So for now I'm still holding on tight to "Old Blue"
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