ok, so first of all you should know that im not otr, not really the typical here but i thought i would share the day i had.
ok, so i ship off to boot camp on the dec 28th, so i have been searching for a temp job to keep me busy, many phone calls and dead ends later, i get a phone call yesterday from a guy i had called a couple weeks back, they are starting up sugar beet harvest and need a couple drivers, he asks if i can come out the next day and give it a shot. im running short on cash so i accept- almost anything would be better than nothing.
after i got there this morning I met with the owner for about 15 minutes before i went to meet with the driver he had running that day so i could ride along once or twice and see what I think, and drive it once to see how i did. we hauled the first load and right when we get off the piler he asks me if im ready to drive, I say sure, why not?
well we were in an 05 freightliner columbia, 435hp mercedes, 10 speed with a 48' aulick live-bottom (locally made!) first thing i find out is that the throws in its tranny are very close together, no farther apart than in my 88 f150's 5 speed. I was trying to get used to the truck as fast as i could but was still grinding gears fairly often, i was thinking "oh great, this looks really good..." we get back to the field and after waiting for about 2 hours due to a tractor that broke down, i pulled out of there with my first load for this guy with his top driver riding shot gun headed north out of bridgeport on 385.
some of you that have drove that road know that there is a hill that isn't huge, but big enough to get in your way is the first obstacle. i had just enough room to get the truck up to 65 to get as best a run at it as i could (and was kinda worried about missing a gear with a load in a new to me truck) but i managed to pop down to 9th, then 8th, then 7th without missing a beat... thats right, put a load behind me and i can make it happen! didn't have a problem with it again!
a couple of miles after turning onto 26 (where the dot like to set up the portables) it drops downhill for about a half a mile, and me and my passenger are talking about how the trailer like to weave when it catches the wind, and just like somebody flipped a switch, I hit a wall of rain. I killed the cruise and turned on the wipers, and the rain turned into hail, not big hail, but little pea sized that was coming down hard enough that i could not see the taillights of the car in front of me half the time... for a second we thought that they had stopped in the middle of the road... by this time I was creeping along and had my hazards on. after about 10 miles of this the hail cleared up and it turned into a light rain, but it sure looked like they got a fresh snow!
we get to the piler to weigh in and they tell me i need to split weigh (truck and trailer seperately), which means that the guys at the field loaded me too heavy. but i don't get my weight right away, i will get it when i come back for my ticket.
the pilers that they use for sugar beets have two places to unload, into the hopper (from a sidedump or similar) and onto a conveyor for guys that are running livebottoms like me. in order to unload onto the conveyor, you drive over it (its got a plate that covers it) and then the open up the cover and you back up to it. the thing is that the part you have to drive through leaves you about 4 inches on either side, and the last thing i needed to do was tear up equipment- ours or thiers. so i downshifted into low and idled across, looking from mirror to mirror, too afraid to even blink, finally the tag on the trailer clears and the guy running the piler motions for me to back up, but the truck does not want to climb up and over the lip to go back up onto the ramp, i finally let it roll forward a couple of inches and it popped up over, got the signal to stop. I got out and checked my job, perfect, centered and everything! I went through the controls on the livebottom as he had shown me before and unloading goes rather well.
I get back to the scalehouse, pull up on, get handed my ticket and my weigh in was...
107,100 pounds! on my first trip! holy cow, i not only pulled more than our harvest permit allows (basically an overweight permit, and we did tell the guys to load it a bit lighter), but it was about 45,000 pound more than what I have pulled most of my driving career! it made all that had happened seem like it was nothing, and I must have impressed them, cause I start tomorrow...