Archive for August, 2009

Stuck in OKC

So here we sit in Oklahoma City waiting for a load. No idea when we might get something so no idea if we should be awake or trying to sleep. Of course you can only sleep so much. This is the down side of trucking. When you are not rolling you are not making money.

Right now there is too much freight moving capacity to go around so lots of people are sitting. If you read the economic news about the industry there are clues that the companies see an end in sight. Orders for trailers to be delivered next year are up. Tractors are going to be more expensive because of more emmissions controls but orders are strong there. Companies are investing in infrastructure to be ready when things turn around.

GPS Saves the Day

Following instructions to the shipper that said go half mile and turn left on Knott. We went more than half a mile and were about to turn around when I whipped out the trusty iPhone and found we had to go one more block. Trainer said he’ll keep me a little longer now.

Been Awhile

Sorry for the long silence, we have been working some weird hours.

As I said before we were going from San Antonio to Phoenix. It was a trailer full of toilets from American Stamdard destined for a Lowes in Perris, CA. In another effort to game the system he arranged for us to drop it at the terminal in Phoenix in hopes we would get a long run out of there. I did laundry and got a shower. Late in the day the told us to take an empty trailer to the terminal in Fontana, CA. Given the Hours of Service (HOS) rules from DOT I was the one who had hours to drive but even I couldn’t make it and remain legal so we spent the night in a truck stop in Cochella, CA. Overnight we got our next assignment which is to pick up carpeting in La Mirada, CA at 10:00PM CT tonight and take it to Arlington, TX and possibly part of the load to Oklahoma City. So our effort to game the system only got us into a bad work cycle were I drove late last night and then slept until 10:00AM CT and will have to start driving at 10:00 PM CT tonight. Shortly here I am going to try and get some sleep.

Maybe we will get an interesting run on Sunday.

The rest of the day

We got rousted from where we were parked, next to the DQ, by the owner of the property. He pointed out the no truck parking signs at the entrence. We played dumb and said we came in via the DQ and didn’t see them. He gave us bogus directions to a place we could park.

Around this time my trainer contacted someone at the company outside his normal chain and discovered they thought we were still in New Mexico never actually having routed us to Seminole. Of course this was all the fault of the driver manager we deal with and nothing to do with us. The fact that there was never real closure about the move from Hobbs to Seminole was not relevant. By doing his end run around the system we now have a pick up in the morning that will get us to San Antonio tomorrow and another the next morning that will take us to Phoenix by Thursday. Who knows what happens after that. Tomorrow I’ll see some parts of Texas I have not seen but I have made the run to Phoenix before.

Seminole, Texas

So here we sit. We made our delivery this morning in Hobbs, NM and decided to move back in to Texas because there is supposed to be more freight here. Not an option I would have as a company driver but since my trainer is an owner/operator (O/O) he can do it. Regardless, it is now 2:30 PM and we still don’t have a load. I should try and get some sleep.

Driving!

I drove from Oklahoma City, OK to Amarillo, TX today. The driving part is relatively easy. It is the darn getting going and stopping part that is a bitch.

I started out in fourth gear instead of second which doesn’t work so well with a 37 thousand pound trailer behind you. A few minutes later I didn’t give it enough fuel and stalled again.

I dealt with the construction zones without freaking out even though the only allow a few inches to spare between the concrete barriers, or so it feels.

When it was time to get off the highway the fun started. What little down shifting skils I have deserted me. Nothing seriously dangerous happened but I did exit a little fast and take the corner in to the parking area a little sharp.

After lunch we were back in the truck when a rough looking young woman of questionable morals approached the truck (a “lot lizard”). She asked to borrow the CB to see if anyone in the area needed “their tanks polished or the insides of the cabs cleaned.” Remind me to write more about this later when I have a real keyboard. It was very interesting to listen to.

We arrived in Hobbs, NM around 5:00 PM and don’t deliver until 7:00 AM tomorrow so we are sitting in a truck stop that is just a convenience store with a big parking lot. Not a lot of excitement.

The other interesting thing that happened today was that my mentor asked me “How do you spell ‘Hobbs'” and I told him. Why that is interesting is that he asked in Spanish. I think listening to him talk on the phone to his brother is dusting of some very old neural pathways.

We are now watching a hot copy of “88 Minutos” with Portugese subtitles. Fortunately it is not dubbed so I can understand it. Al Pacino flick.

First day with mentor

I promise I’ll create better subjects than just counting the days.

Got to the terminal about 10:00 this morning and found I had been submitted for a driver number. Around 11:00 it came through and about 15 minutes later I got a call from my mentor saying he was pulling in. I finished lunch, got my stuff and headed for the driver’s lounge to meet him.

He is a fifty year old Mexican who has been driving on and off for years. He is an owner/operator which means the truck is his and he leases his services back to the company. He gets more per mile but also pays for his fuel, permits, licenses, maintenance, etc.

He seems like a decent guy and I think we will get along. He is already teaching me Mexican slang for various obscene things. I’ll probably end up getting in trouble some time down the line for telling a Mexican joke I hear from him.

It was very interesting when he said to the other two guys we were talking to that they were all Mexicans and they both said no. One is a natural born citizen and the other naturalized.

The only bad news so far is that the maintenance on his truck ran long and he is out of driving hours so we will be spending the night in Lancaster, TX.

Tomorrow we go to Oklahoma City and then somewhere in New Mexico.

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