Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Dodge City,KS

Just the name of this town has me conjuring up visions of the old west and the long cattle drives when they would bring their cattle to market. Camp fire coffee and beans for dinner. Yummy! Just thinking of that is making me hungry! Although I am sure the cowboys of yesteryear would agree that the boffee, beans and day old bisquits got might old after weeks on the trail. As I sit here, it is a beautiful morning. It isn't very hot outside as it is only about 10 am and there is a nice breeze. Unfortunately, that breeze is blowing around a very unpleasant smell. Cow shit! But what can I expect when I am here to pick up freshly slaughtered cows that will soon be on supermarket shelves or in fine dining establishments?

Yesterday morning J woke me up at the last rest area in Kansas. With an appointment at 2100 last night in Denver, my plan was to head to our yard for the day. I figured while killing time until our appointment that we could get some shopping done for Vegas. We could also grab a shower and do some laundry. When I was about 100 miles out, I got a message that they could unload me whenever I got there. Figuring we can do all that other stuff later, I headed on in. The sooner we get unloaded, the sooner we will have our next load.

I drove straight to Frito Lay and they actually let me drop the trailer instead of getting unloaded. Awesome! Only problem is that they didn't have any empty trailers. I sent in a message and my FM had me to over to USF and grab a trailer from them. When I got there, I found the trailer but there was another Prime driver snatching it. Shoot! I started looking for other empty trailers but there were none to be had. About that time, the other driver walked up and asked if I was a team or solo. I told him I was a team and he said I could have the empty that he had. He was going to go sack out for his 10 hour break and he knew that as a team we would get a load before he did since he was going on break. I thanked him and waved as he headed out.

I hooked up to the trailer and found out that the reefer unit wasn't working. Not a good sign when you are in the refridgerated business. I sent in a message to Road Assist and they had me take it down to the TA to see if they could fix it. The TA was swamped and said that it would be several hours before they could get to it so they just put us in line. J and I headed in to grab some breakfast and then he was heading back to bed. While we were eating, our FM called and was wondering when we would be ready to go. I explained the situation about the trailer and he said that wasn't going to work. He told us to forget about that trailer. Take it back to the yard and he would find us another one. He was needing us to head to Dodge City where we would pick up a load but they were needing empty trailers to get our loads on. I headed back to the yard and dropped the broken one and found an empty there and headed out around 1415 hours.

It is about 380 miles or so to Dodge City. I drove until about 1730 and then woke J up and he drove the last 160 miles. We made it in and dropped the trailer and found out that our load wasn't ready. We weren't really surprised as these meat loads are never ready until the VERY last minute. Our load info said that is was to be shipped any time yesterday with a final departure time of 0600 today. Meaning that is was supposed to be ready no later than 0600 for us to pick up. We spent the night at the Flying J here. I went to bed around 2300, WAY to late for me, and J stayed up calling about every hour to see if it was ready. At 0530 it still wasn't ready so we went in and grabbed a shower and are now back over here at Cargill waiting for the load. If you noticed the time on this post, it is now 1000 hours and still not ready. I messaged in to dispatch and they said what they have been hearing from sales, who is talking to the customer, is that they may not even start loading it until 2nd shift. I'm not sure if their second shift here is the afternoon shift or the night shift. I am guessing probably the afternoon shift. So that means I will be sitting her all day playing on the computer and watching movies. On the bright side, J will have a nice day of good sleep since I will be parked!

Once we do get under way, this load has two stops. The first in the Los Angeles area and the last up in Tracy,CA. We are probably going to deliver the one in the LA area and then have someone else take it up to Tracy for the final delivery. If we take it to Tracy, we won't make it to Vegas when we are wanting. We could, but that would also be about a 500 mile deadhead to get there. So we will probably leave from the LA area. I am hoping that they may find us a load out of there delivering up to Henderson,NV. That would be ideal. It would get us to Vegas and we would get paid to drive up there as opposed to driving nearly 200 miles for nothing. I will keep yall posted!

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Yesterday things didn't go quite as planned. Turns out that they DID change our appointment to load until today. So yesterday, while sitting there thinking I still had to get loaded, I was signed in and they actually loaded me. The only problem is the load they gave me was for another Prime driver there that was a solo. They wanted him to take the load yesterday to deliver in Denver so that he would have time as a solo to make it there. After figuring out the cluster, I got with the other driver and we switched loads. After that we headed over to a hotel and spent the night there.

This morning I got up and we got out of the hotel and back over to the shipper at 0645. There were already probably 20 trucks there. Crap. I just knew that I was going to be sitting until mid-afternoon before I could get loaded. Knowing what to do I went across the scale so they could get my empty weight then I went inside to check in. Even with all of those trucks there, I was the first one loaded. It had something to do with where the load was going. Since it was the Denver run, it is supposed to be loaded ASAP so I could get on the road. I felt just a little bad since there were obviously a bunch of trucks already there, but not bad enough to offer for them to go first. LOL I had already waited over 24 hours for my load so I wanted to get it and get the heck out of there.

This was a cool place to load at though. I am hauling bulk potatoes. They put them on a conveyer belt and toss them into the back of the truck until they get you as close to a gross of 80,000 lbs that they can. It was fun to watch them being shot in the back of the trailer. The only problem is that since they are just loose in the back, when I hit a big bump or a bumpy bridge, they will move around. I can guarantee that my axle weight now is not what I started out with since I know the potatoes have shifted around. I just hope I am still legal! But I do have a CAT scale ticket showing I was lefal when I left. I can't control the condition of the roads out here!

This place that we picked up at also sets the appointment at the receiver. The appointment they set up for us is Monday at 2100. When I saw this, I got really aggravated. We gave that load yesterday to a solo because it was supposed to be a solo load and this load we picked up today was supposed to be a "team" load, meaning that we had less time to deliver than a solo would. After seeing the appointment time at the receiver that they gave up, a solo could have taken this load as STILL had extra time. ARGH!! Sometimes this is so frustrating! So we were dispatched on this Friday afternoon to pick-up on Saturday morning. They moved the pick-up to Sunday morning and now we deliver on Monday evening. That is three days to go a whopping 978 miles! Sheesh!!!!!!!!!

On the bright side, we are sending the July 4th weekend in Vegas with some friends! So the extra time we have tomorrow before we deliver will work to our advantage. We will be able to get the truck cleaned out and do some shopping. My swimsuit is MIA so I am going to have to buy a new one since we are spending Sunday out at the lake. Saturday we are gonna BBQ. We are really looking forward to it. These are some friends that we went to high school with that we haven't seen in over 20 years. Thanks to FaceBook we have connected back up so we are having a mini reunion. It should be lots of fun!!!!

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Holy cow! Can it get any hotter or muggier?? I am sitting here in Charleston waiting to get loaded. It is 0953 hours and my dash reading shows 117 degrees!! I got out to sweep the trailer and I think I just lost 5 lbs. It is crazy hot out here!

Early yesterday morning J got us into Franklin,IN where we made our first drop at 0300 in the morning. From there he headed down to a Flying J and we got out and had breakfast and a shower. We had one more drop but it wasn't until 1300 hours. J called and checked with them and they told us that they were busy but they had plenty of parking so we could come on down if we wanted to and they would work us in early if they could. That sounded good to us. That way I could get parked and J could get some good non moving sleep.

J hit the bunk and I took off to drive the short 15 miles to our final destination. When I checked in, she asked me if I was dropping. I didn't know I could drop, I thought it was a live unload. She said I could drop. Sweet! The sooner I get this dropped the sooner I can get another load. I went and parked the trailer and unhooked only to find that there were no empty trailers. I sent a message in asking where to get an empty. A few minutes later they tell me to go to the Great Dane dealership and pick up an empty there that had been repaired. After I picked that up, I headed to the Flying J to wait for our next load. That last appointment wasn't until 1300 and I ended up ready to roll with a new empty at the Flying J at 1115 hours. I love when things work to our benefit.

For all the good luck I was having that morning, it wasn't to continue throughout the afternoon. Well, I guess that depends on how you look at it. We finally got our next load assignment around 1345 hours. However it didn't pick up until this morning. J was sleeping and the pick-up was 299 miles away. Our appointment showed that we could pick up today between 0630 and 1200. I decided that we would just stay parked where we were and leave later that night. If I would have left then, I would have gotten to this area around 2000 hours or so and I hate getting to a truck stop in the evening because it is hard to find a spot to park.

Once J got up, we had lunch and decided on a plan of action. He headed out around midnight and drove about 200 miles. We stopped in Mt Vernon, IL when I got up and had breakfast and then I took over. I had to make a stop at the Pilot here in Charleston before I came to the shipper because we needed load locks. Then I made it to the shipper just a little after 0800 hours. When I get here I find out that I am #20 in line. Great! Then I get a message from my FM saying that they may not load me until tomorrow. WTF? I ran in and checked with the office to find out. If we aren't loading until tomorrow then I am heading out and getting a hotel for the night. It turns out that the office told me they would load me today. Damn. And the swimming pool at the hotel was already sounding wonderful. Guess it wasn't meant to be. So instead, I am sitting here in the back muddy parking lot of Black Gold waiting for my turn to be loaded down with potatoes that are destined to become potato chips!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Des Moines,IA

I think this is the longest that I have gone without posting when we haven't been off! Sorry about that to anyone that has been reading and waiting for an update. I have no excuse other than I have just been tired!

After we left Pittston, we picked up a hazmat load we delivered to Hillsboro,OR. From there our next load had two pick ups. One in Yakima,WA and the other in Odell,OR. This load had too much time on it so we dropped it at the company yard in Salt Lake City,UT. On the lot was our next load waiting to be picked up. We are currently just east of Des Moines,IA and are headed to Indiana. We have two deliveries there. The first one is in Franklin at 0300 in the morning and the other is in Indianapolis at 1300 hours. Now you are caught up!

I realize that sometimes I get too caught up in what we have done each day that I forget to mention all of the beautiful things that we see along the way. I had an incredibly scenic drive across Nebraska on I-80 this morning. With all the rain they have had recently, everything was gorgeous shades of green. This morning as the son was coming up, there was a mist hanging just above the grass and it was almost magical the way it just hovered there. I saw numerous cows with their calves nursing and a doe standing in a pasture eating her breakfast. Mornings like this are the reason that I enjoy living out here on the road. I love my mobile office. :)

Thursday, June 18, 2009


After J took over last night, I headed off to bed. I didn't sleep very well and I guess I can just chalk that up to the road departments inability to make the surface of the roads and bridges match. I mean, how hard is it to make a bridge level with the rest of the road surface. Apparently it is pretty hard because every bridge that J crossed over last night seemed to have about a 3 inch drop!

J did a great job last night of gettin me to Milton,PA. That was over 600 miles that he drove on his shift, through horrible rain storms and fog. He did awesome. When I took over in Milton, I only had about 80 miles to go to get us to the receiver. I made it there in about an hour and forty-five minutes, which isn't bad considering I had some steep pulls in the PA mountains, and I hit morning rush hour traffic. I immediately went off duty when I got there so as not to go over on my hours since I could only work 3.5 hours today. I got us there at 0730 and by 1130 or so we were ready to leave. I took the scenic route of US 11 through Scranton to get back to I-81. Note to self: Don't take that road EVER again, even if it is a Truck Route, seeing as it takes me right through down town!!

I made it to the Pittston yard and as I was pulling in my Qualcomm beeped with our next load. My FM and I both thought it picked up today. He called to see if I could pick it up and then come back to the yard since it was a tight pick-up frame. I was coming to the yard here to have my APU worked on. When we were talking on the phone, we realized that it picks up tomorrow and not today. That actually worked out great for us. I have time to get the truck fixed without being rushed now. Also, I will get a restart on my hours which I need very badly. So in the end, it all worked out.

We will stay here at the yard tonight and then tomorrow afternoon head over to NJ, only about 80 miles away, and pick up our next load. This one will deliver on Monday morning at 1000 hours in Oregon. It is about 2800 miles but shouldn't be too hard of a run to make it on time. It will also be nice to be up north where it won't be quite so hot. I like the more spring like weather as opposed to the weather in the south where it has already been in the 100's. What we will have to watch out for is the tornados that have been hitting the northern part of the US. Yikes!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Another day down and another 1000 or so miles under our belts! We finally got loaded out of Monte Vista and were on the road around noon on Tuesday. We had to make a quick stop to get a CAT scale, since we didn't trust the shippers scales and grab some lunch, and then we were on our way. We had almost 1900 miles to go for a Thursday morning appointment in Scranton,PA. I told our FM we probably wouldn't make it but that we would keep him updated.

For some unknown reason, and I'm not going to question why, but we have been gettin extremely good fuel mileage lately. Since we came out of the house a week ago, we have been getting over 7 mpg. And all four runs that we have been doing have been at around 65 mph because of the time frames. Even on this run, we have been running 65 to try to make the appointment, and we are currently getting 7.43. Amazing really considering we are over 79,000 lbs. We are actually about 79.5 K. Anyway, I think we will be able to make our appointment, however it will be close.

While we were in Denver, J was able to get a restart on his hours, however I was not. So when I start driving in the morning, I will only have 3.5 hours to work before I am legally out of hours. Tonight J is going to push his 14 clock and try to get in his whole 11 hours of drive time to get us closer. This way I can get us the last little bit and hopefully get unloaded fairly fast and then drive over to our yard in Pittston, which is only 13.5 miles away, to spend the rest of my shift. I am also going to have them check the truck out while we are there. Our low-voltage alarm keeps going off and I think it has something to do with the APU work we had done a couple months back while we were out in Ontario,CA. Hopefully they can figure out what the problems is and get it fixed. And hopefully it will be an easy fix. :)

It has been really nice the last few days with us driving up across I-70 to Denver and then to southern Colorado and now up to PA. The weather has been beautiful! The temps are just perfect. If only it could be this way year round, I would be extremely happy. It has been in the mid 70's during the days, maybe low 80's and in the 60's at night. This is my idea of summer! My only regret is that we are in the truck and I can't fully enjoy it. Not that I regret being in the truck mind you. LOL But this is when having a normal job with weekends off sounds really good! Especially when all our friends are going to the lake or BBQ'ing. But on the flip side of that, we get to see the most beautiful scenery every day. And I know that beats their views in their offices each day!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Monte Vista,CO

With us being on a FedEx kick, we made it into Denver about two hours before our deadline. J had taken off from Memphis and got me over 600 miles closer than when he left. He dealt with a LOT of rain and storms through Oklahoma, and managed to get me into Wichita,KS where I took over. I had quite a bit of rain also but once I got up onto I-70 and west of Salina,KS the clouds disappeared and the blue skies appeared. It was a beautiful drive on into Denver. I had a minor mishap with directions, meaning the directions we had were COMPLETELY wrong, but a phone call to the receiver got me to where I needed to be.

A few hours before I made it to Denver, I had sent in a message asking if they knew if we were going to get another FedEx load out. I was on my last page of my logbook and needed to go by our yard there in Denver and pick some up. They said they didn't know yet. Since I was running ahead of schedule, I thought I would go by the yard first, just in case we got to FedEx and got another load and had to head right out.

About an hour after that exchange on the Qualcomm, I get a message saying to get an empty trailer from there and deadhead to Salt Lake City,UT. Hmmm That is about 500 miles. So I send in a message and ask if we have a load there waiting for us. I get an answer of no, there isn't, but there isn't any freight currently in Denver. (This is on a Sunday.) So I have a choice of going 500 miles empty, and hoping for a load once I get there, or staying in Denver overnight and seeing if there is something on Monday. We decide to stay in Denver. It just made more sense financially to not waste that fuel, when we wouldn't get there until today (Monday) anyway and I knew we could get something today that would be closer. Even if we had to go to Kansas for a meat load. After we dropped the FedEx load, we headed over to a motel we had stayed in before and checked in. There were no empties at FedEx so we just bobtailed out and figured we would check the company yard this morning.

This morning around 0700, I get a call from our FM that he has a local delivery for us. It doesn't pay but $50 however there is no empties to be had. By delivering this load, we would get ourselves an empty. I was going to head over there by myself and make the delivery and then come back to the hotel to get Joe, but then thought better of it. Knowing my luck, I would be stuck there until after check-out time and J would be stuck at the hotel sitting outside. I hated to do it, but I woke him up and we packed up and both got in the truck and headed out.

We made it to the yard, picked up the load and some logbooks and headed over to Pepsi where we made our local delivery. Talked with another Prime driver for a while named George. But he could be Willie Nelson's twin, and that is no lie. He could seriously be a stand in for Willie. He got a dock and then about 20 minutes lated I got a dock right next to him. J was asleep and George aka "Willie" got out and helped guide me in. I had to back into a dock that was inside the warehouse from off the street. These are tough backs because you are backing INTO a building, not a dock on the outside, and it is very hard to see because it is dark inside. And they are usually very tight spaces. Imaging a normal size two car garage and you want to park two full size SUV's inside, like Suburbans or Expeditions. Wider than normal vehicles. You could do it, but if you have a two car garage at home, you know you wouldn't have much room to open the doors. That is how these docks are, but for semis. I hate the inside docks like these! Anyway, got it done and headed back to the company yard to wait for a load.

Luck was with me because not 10 minutes after I arrived back at the yard, I had our next load. I needed to be down in Monte Vista,CO by 1500 to pick up a load of potatoes going to Scranton,PA. Since it was about 250 miles, I told him we couldn't make it by 1500, but I could make it between 1600-1630. I bumped up our speed and pulled in at 1630. Whew! Because they closed at 1700! But, it gets worse. Their production line had broken down and they were waiting for a part. AND there were at least 7 other trucks in front of us. We checked in at the office and came up with another game plan. They decided that we could come back in the morning and they would get our load then. They were already going to be working till probably midnight, 7 hours past closing time, just to get the other trucks loaded. We have plenty of time to deliver this load even if we left tomorrow, so by loading us tomorrow morning, it helped them out by not having to stay so late, and we can chill here tonight. We aren't in a rush. Besides, they couldn't even guarantee they would get the other trucks out tonight because of the problems they were having. No biggie!

The ony part that really sucks, is that we are a short 75 miles from Pagosa Springs,CO where we both grew up. We were so tempted to drive over there and come back in the morning. And we could get a green chile cheeseburger that we love from there! But, we made a business decision to stay here. After all, it isn't like this semi gets 35 mpg! It would cost us fuel getting over there and back, so we decided to stay here. But we are going to stare that direction at the mountains and just whine all night....

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Boy, this week I am feeling like a FedEx driver! I am starting to think I should get their pay and the benefits that they get since that is all we have hauled this week!

When J got us into Compton,CA we had our next load assignment. We knew that we were going to be picking up at the same FedEx Facility there in Compton that we were delivering to. After dropping our loaded trailer, J went and checked in and about 2 hours later, they were letting us know that our load was ready. When he headed out, he got to Barstow,CA where he woke me up and I took over. From that point, we had about 25 hours to get about 1685 miles. Piece of cake. LOL

I managed to get about 560 miles and made it to Jamestown,NM and then J took over and did an amazing job of getting us to Oklahoma City,OK which is around 625 miles. That left me with just under 500 miles to get us into Memphis. I managed to roll into Memphis around 1300 making me 3 hours early. I was worried about finding my way to this place. Mainly because it is on the Airport, and I detest getting in and out of airports. But this one was painless.

After I dropped the loaded trailer, I ran down to the lot where they keep the empties at. I grabbed the only empty that was there, did my inspection on it and was just pulling out of the parking space when we got our next load assignment. Wouldn't you know it? I am once again picking up at the same place we just dropped at. That makes things really easy. So I backed the trailer into the spot I just pulled it out of and unhooked. It didn't make any sense to take it out when they would just have me bring it right back!

We were to be here at 1700 so we had a few hours to kill. We headed up to the Petro to grab a shower, lunch and get the truck washed. From there we headed back to the FedEx facility to check in. When we were checking in, we found out that there was another truck that had checked in to pick up our load. Uh Oh. Apparently there is a communication problem. We pulled up next to them and talked a few minutes. We were assigned this load at 1330 and they got it around 1600. Hmmm So we both get on the phone and call our FM's to find out what the deal is. It turns out that this is a daily run from Memphis to Denver and the load number is the same. We were assigned the load for today and they were assigned the load for tomorrow. Luckily we caught them in time because they had already gotten the bills and were getting ready to leave. We were going to stop and get fuel, which we forgot to do when we were at the Petro, and it is a good thing we didn't or they would have been gone with our load! But they were nice about is and understood that they were assigned the one for tomorrow.

By the time we got all that straightened out, they told us we were ready to go so we just hooked up and are on the road. We should be there by 1600 hours tomorrow afternoon! And if we are lucky, we will get another FedEx load out of there. I am liking these FedEx runs! Fairly light loads and we don't use the reefer since they are dry loads. That saves us money, and I like that!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


I have to make this a quick update before I lose signal down here on I-10. I just finished driving and J took over here in Quartzsite,AZ a short 17 miles from the CA border. We only have about 240 miles to go to the FedEx Facility in Compton,CA.

I was wondering if we were going to have to wait until tomorrow for a load since we are supposed to be there at 2000 hrs tonight. Usually that means it will be the next day for a load. Today was our lucky day though because we already have our next load. We are picking up at the FedEx we are delivering this load to. That makes it nice! That load is supposed to be ready to go at 2030 hours so we will drop this trailer, grab the loaded one, and head back out. The next load is delivering to Memphis,TN sometime on Saturday. The delivery time will depend on when the actual load is ready and we are able to leave with it.

So that is what is going on with us. I will update you tomorrow on our progress!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ft Worth,TX - Graduation!

Here are some pictures folks that we took yesterday at Graduation! The first one is of all of us. Joe, Jessica, Me and Justin. What good looking kids they turned out to be. The last one was taken the night before graduation at Chili's when we went to eat. I think that it is a great picture of Jessica. She is such a beautiful girl! It is hard to believe that they are both grown and finally we have both of them graduated from High School. Justin is just about at his one year mark in the Navy at the end of this month. Jessica will be starting college in the fall and hopes to get into medical school. We are just so damn proud!!
Now that we have graduation over with, we are back on the road. We are sitting at the FedEx in Ft Worth waiting for our load to be ready. It should be ready by 1600 hrs and then we will head out to Compton,CA to deliver tomorrow evening. We will have 30 hours from the time we leave to get to Compton. I am guessing that will put us in there around 2000 hrs California time tomorrow evening. FedEx loads are usually light and I am thinking we are going to take the southern route this time as opposed to the northern one on I-40. By taking I-20 and I-10 we can pick up our speed to make the appointment while still maintaining decent fuel mileage. Not near as many climbs going that route. Delivering tomorrow evening will also put us in a good position to get something out of CA on Friday headed for the east coast for a Monday delivery.
I feel like now we can FINALLY get back on the road and start making some money. With coming home for Prom, Graduation and then working on the boat, the account is seriously depleted! LOL Momma needs some money in the account so we can enjoy the cruise at the end of July!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Ft Worth,TX

We finally made it to Fort Worth and will get to see the kids this afternoon! I am so excited!

After we made our pickup in Rosenhayn,NJ we headed down to the first Service Plaza we could find and decided to call it a night there. It was still really early, around 1600 or so, but we had a LOT of time on this load. We had two stops and the first one wasn't until Monday (today) moring at 0800 here in Ft Worth. With just under 1500 miles to go to the first stop, we knew we would make it in Sunday afternoon. That is why we decided to stop Friday afternoon. Evening rush hour traffic around Baltimore and Washington DC is horrible so we decided just to wait it out and leave early Saturday morning.

It was an uneventful trip down. We had beautiful weather. I saw so many motorcycles coming down I-81 in Virginia. I was so jealous. It sure would have been nice to be out there for a weekend road trip with all the other people starting their summer vacations! But since we were heading home, I decided that was much better. :)

We knew that we would be in Sunday afternoon so I had sent a message in to the weekend dispatch to find out if we could drop this load Sunday afternoon at the drop lot and then have a solo finish up with the deliveries. The first one was a short local one, but the second delivery was out in Merkel,TX about 170 miles away. So there was still a little revenue left on it. Rollie worked all day for us and finally found someone that could take the load. Unfortuately, when he found someone, that is when he realized that we had a hazmat load and the driver didn't have his hazmat endorsement. Bummer. So we dropped the load at the drop lot, came and got a hotel, then J left this morning and went to go make the deliveries for us.

J is so awesome for making these deliveries today! It is really nice to be sitting here in the hotel chilling, playing on the computer, doing laundry and doing a whole lot of nothing. I haven't done that in a while. Well, for a few days when we were in Atlanta, but I was sore from working on the boat and J's back was out, so that really doesn't count!

As I type this, J is down in Merkel making the last delivery. The appointment wasn't until 1300, but he sent me a message at 1120 that he was there and docked. So that means that he will be back a couple hours sooner than we had planned. Very awesome. Tonight we plan on seeing the kids and doing something with them. Graduation is tomorrow evening, so we should be spending the day with them then also. After that, we will head back out on Wednesday morning.

I am so proud of the kids, and I just can't believe that when J and I got married that they were only 7 and 9 years old. When we started dating again, they were only 5 and 7. It is hard to believe those little kids, which were complete brats at time and couldn't stand to be near each other or even be in the same room at times, are now both graduated from High School and the best of friends. Justin has been in the Navy for a year now and Jessica is going to go to a community college for the first two years and then she wants to get into Baylor's Medical School. I told her she needs to become a plastic surgeon. That way I can always look good! LOL But she wants to work with children. Not an MD but she wants to be an oncologist, working with children with cancer. This girl has a heart of gold. I am so incredibly proud of both of them!

So we are going to be spending time with family the next few days and enjoying the kids company. After that we are hitting the road again to save up some money for the cruise with Jessica in July and saving up so we can head back to work on the boat again. This is going to be a great summer!

Friday, June 5, 2009


After J headed out of Atlanta the other morning, he managed to get us all the way to our destination in Tip City,OH. All things considered, we were only 45 minutes late. I think that was pretty good! It looks like there were a bunch of other trucks with the same appointment time though which worked in our favor. They put us in what they call the "holding pen" or "bull pen" to sit and wait for our dock. Finally around 0600 we got a dock and were unloaded by a little after 0700.

Since we didn't have a load yet, I came back out the gates and parked in the holding area to wait for our next load. I had thought about heading towards a truck stop, but it never fails that if I do that, our next load will be in the opposite direction.

I sat there for a couple hours and then finally got a load. Our next load was picking up in West Alexandria,OH and delivering to Bensalem,PA. Damn good paying load at almost $2.00 a mile. Yes, that is the one part of having a hazmat endorsement that I love. Anyway, I wrote everything down and headed to get the trailer washed and then went to go pick the load up.

Picking up the load went smoothly and by 1430 I was headed back to the truck stop to scale. The first time we were on the scale we were perfect. Our steer axle was over by 140 lbs, but that would change as we burned off fuel. Our drive axle and trailer axle weights were both 33,200. Both exactly the same! Talk about even weight distribution. Knowing that we were good on weight we headed in for a shower and a hot meal that didn't come wrapped in foil.

Our delivery was set for today at 1130 eastern time in PA so we weren't in a rush to get here. We took it nice and easy and drove 55 to get the best fuel mileage. It also started raining around the eastern third of OH and has been raining ever since. J made it to around mm 179 to a Service Plaza on I-76 and that is where I took over. For the most part I made it to destination fine. Counting the one missed turn and having to get back to I-95 I was still about 2 hours early.

So here I sit waiting for them to come tell me which dock they want me at. We have another pre-plan and it is another hazmat load. We will be picking up in Rosenhayn,NJ and delivering to Ft Worth,TX on Monday. That works perfect since Jessica's graduation is Tuesday night. Then come Wednesday morning, we will be back out on the road at it again.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


I have to say that getting back into the swing of things running team is harder than you would think. After sleeping in a non-moving truck or in an actual bed for the past month, I am having a hard time getting used to sleeping with the truck moving again. I have been exhausted the past few days from going to bed too late and not getting enough sleep. I think part of that is also that I have missed J so I want to spend time talking to him when I should be sleeping. I better get out of that habit real quick!

Last time you heard from me we were in Weatherford,TX. We ended up and got a load that afternoon heading to Florida with three drops. Our daughter Jessica drove out to Weatherford to have lunch with us which was a really nice treat. After that, J took a nap until it was time to pick up the load. See, another solo driver had picked it up in Plainview,TX and was on his way to drop the load at the drop lot we use in Saginaw,TX. Once we got word that the load was there, J got up and we headed out.

The first part of the trip was uneventful. He drove and got us to Natchitoches,LA. From there I took over and got us to the first rest area on I-10 inside the Florida state line. From there J took over and got us to within about 100 miles of the first receiver.

The first drop was in Port Everglades, which is the actual sea port there in Ft Lauderdale. The gates didn't open until 0500 local so we had to kill a little time before we could take off. J was exhausted and went to bed and I went ahead and did our trip paperwork and got all of that scanned so that we could get paid. Then I headed out and made it there about 45 minutes early.

As I was driving in, I realized that this was a Port and I was figuring that I was going to have to use my TWIC card to gain entry. Then I had to remember where it was. LOL Since we have had them, maybe about six months, we have yet to have to use them. I knew it was either in my wallet or up in the pocket above the passenger seat. As it turns out, they didn't even ask for it. They just wanted my drivers license and made me a temporary Port ID. I was kind of bummed since we spent money on the TWIC card and I didn't even get to use it. On the bright side, I didn't have to dig it out either!

Since I made it to the first receiver, I got lucky and got a good dock. It isn't an extremely small place, but it certainly isn't big. So I got a really good door with room to maneuver when I was backing in. If I had been ten minutes later, I would have gotten a dock that would have been harder to back into and closer to the fence. The only problem I did have was that I showed I had an 0700 appt and they showed I had a 1000 hrs appt. Not good. Luckily I was only unloading five pallets, so they worked me in, which was really nice. Especially since my second appointment was at noon.

While I was sitting there waiting to get unloaded, I pulled up Google Earth to have a look at my second drop and see what it looked like. From the looks of it, I knew it was going to be TIGHT. And I knew it was going to be one of the hardest backs yet. But I was up for the challenge! So as soon as I got unloaded, I headed over there with a positive attitude, ready to tackle this backing job.

I made it over there with no problem. As I was making the turn which put me on the last street I needed before my last turn, I realized we were going to have a problem. This was an even tinier street than it looked on Google. I had to take up two of the three lanes to start the turn and the WHOLE street I was turning onto. Not to mention having to have to wait for numerous idiot four-wheelers so that I could make the turn. Note to you four-wheel drivers out there. If you see a truck stopped with a blinker on trying to make a turn and you are behind him, PLEASE stop so that we can make the turn and get out of everyone elses way. And if you are on the street that we are turning on and are coming down the street towards us, STOP and give us room to finish making the turn. Don't keep coming and stop right in front of us where we can't make the turn. Did you not see the truck coming right at you? And then don't have the nerve to give us a dirty look or the finger when YOU have to back up so we can finish making the turn. Believe me, we are NOT going to be the ones backing up. Also, those thick white lines at intersections, which are your stopping points, they are there for a reason. Most of the time, if you stop right before that line, that WILL give a truck enough room to make the turn. If you stop past that line, you will be having to back up for us to make the turn. Those lines are actually there for a reason and they have a purpose. That is why they are called the stop line, not the "cross this point and stop five feet in front of it line." Ok, tiny rant over, on with the blog. LOL

After finally making that turn, I get down a few blocks to make my turn where the receiver is. This is an even smaller street and it is what used to be a residential street but now has businesses on it. The property is on my left and has a chain link fence around it with two concrete poles at the driveway and has three docks. But the only one that you can get a semi into is the dock on the south side closest to the fence because you need all that room to get backed in. Also the street is only big enough for a semi to go down it, and not room for anyone to pass. Then, you have cars parked parallel on both sides of the street. Shit! Time to wake J up! J gets up and jumps out while I put my headset on and he calls me. He has to tell me exactly when to stop, when to pull up and which way to turn the steering wheel, because it is so tight, I can't see everything. I finally got backed in, because J is great at being able to look and see which direction I need to go and how far, and he is able to tell me to where I understand. I will say though that everyone had stopped what they were doing and had come out to make sure I didn't hit their vehicles. HAHA Or it could have been the fact that the catering truck was out waiting on me to get parked so he could pull into the business across the street. See, it was break time and I think everyone was waiting on the "roach coach" as we like to call them so they could get something to eat. Hell, even we got something once I turned the truck off. They always have awesome food.

Feeling pretty good about managing to get backed into that dock, and with a full belly, we tried to decide what to do about our last drop. It was only about 1100 hrs local while we were sitting there, but our last drop wasn't scheduled until 1800 hours, THE NEXT DAY. Dispatch had called and they said they couldn't reschedule. We decided to try our luck and just go show up and see if they would unload us a day early. When we got there, I told them that we were a day early, but that we just hated for their product to sit on our truck a whole day since we were already right there. I turned on the charm, believe me. :) Wouldn't you know it, even though it took about 5 hours total to get us worked in and unloaded, but it worked. They must have liked my smile! LOL!!!!

We were excited to get unloaded and figured we would have to wait until the next morning for a load. Nope. Got one right away to head over to Bradenton,FL to pick up a heavy ass juice load for a cheap ass rate. Neither of us was really happy about it, but it beat sitting. The only problem is that we had a dirty trailer that we needed washed out. We decided to head towards Bradenton and find one on the way. We made a quick stop at the Seminole Truck Stop on US 27 about 4 miles south of I-75. Yet another place with kick ass burgers. OMG they were delicious. Definitely worth driving the 4 miles off the interstate for. Note to any driver that reads this: They charge $10 for overnight parking. But they won't charge you if you are just stopping to eat. Also, the little restaurant is all outdoors with covered seating and the bar is an actual Tiki Hut. Very cool. But the mesquitos will eat you alive, no joke!

After eating, I headed to bed and J hauled butt over to pick up the load and find a trailer wash along the way. Only problem was that there isn't a single freaking trailer washout in the whole souther part of Florida that we could find. And the closest one up in Tampa, 40 miles north of where we needed to be, closed at 2300 and didn't open until 0700. So that wouldn't work. We ended up switching trailers with another Prime driver that was up in Tampa at a hotel getting a restart on his hours. Funny thing is, after the face, we realize that is is U2Exit who posts over on Primedrivers.net. Small world. I sent him a message apologizing for the cluster and thanking him so much for letting us have his trailer. We had a meat load that we had emptied and we HAVE to have a washout after those loads to make sure there is no blood in the trailer. Health regulations and all. So he was a life saver for us but it screwed him on his end. So I told him to tell his FM that our FM owes him, BIG TIME!

After finally getting the trailer switched out, the load picked up and scaled, J was able to wake me up and it was my turn to take over. I headed out this morning and ended my day in Atlanta,GA around 1545 hours. Our appt is at 0200 in the morning (our time) and we aren't going to make it on time. But I figure it isn't our fault that Florida doesn't have any dang trailer washes and that our Sales department over-booked Florida with too many loads and not enough drivers in the area to handle them. We will get there as soon as we safely and legally can. We have bumped our speed up to 65, which is still 5 mph slower than the speed limit, but we still won't make it. J has the mountains of Tennessee and Kentucky to get through and that will slow him down. We will just do what we can do.