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FINALLY!! I MADE IT!! (also; Going to California) – 0156hrs

Posted by admin on Oct 31, 2008 in Where Am I?

Whoo Hooo for me!  Rolling through Walcott, Iowa this evening, I started to get that all-to-familiar bladder twinge right around Exit 280.  Much to my surprise, I saw a billboard for a TA coming up at Exit 284…hmmm that number sounds familiar… OH YEAH!!  WALCOTT, IA!!  IOWA 80!!!  Home of the world’s largest truck stop, some truckers would even call it Mecca has parking for over 800 trucks, boasts the largest retail facility dedicated to trucking (it would rival any Super-walmart!), and has been a “dream” of mine to stop there ever since I decided to go on this crazy grand adventure!  (Please don’t remind me of the LAST time I was in Walcott, IA..m’kay?)

Anyways… didn’t do the tourista / a.k.a. Mr. Wong thing this time (yes I DID snap a couple…I’ll post them later), but just hit the fuel island long enough to drain the bladder and grab a fresh cup o’ Joe.  Let me tell you, hands down, THE best cup of trucker coffee I’ve had yet.  I don’t know if I hit the pot just right, mixed it just right, or somehow the austere surroundings made it TASTE better… but it was a mighty fine cup indeed!

So…once that was done (definitely make plans to return there for a more “tourista” type visit someday)… I rolled on down (over?) the highway of I80 towards Chicago, arriving here in Mantena, Illinois about a half hour ago to find that the receiver is closed for the night.  <sigh>

The GOOD news is we are pre-planned for a pick-up tomorrow morning… HERE in Manena… going (ya ready for this?)… National City, California!  Yup…left coast bound…again!  ROFLMAO  It’s nice piling on the miles…AND I’ll get to make the same trip through Vegas, Death Valley, and the Mojave Desert all over again!  Just snapping photos from the opposite angle!  ROFLMAO

By the way people… when you’re out there in your “four-wheelers” (what we call your cars)… Please, please, PLEASE don’t try to race us coming onto a highway on-ramp in a desperate attempt to get in front of our slow-asses!  IF we can get over, we will usually… if we don’t, it’s because someone is on our left that you can’t see and trying desperately to get your tired-ass old car to move faster to get ahead of us is only going to end badly…FOR YOU!!

I damn near put some middle-aged woman and her kids in the guard rail today because she tried to race up from behind me on the right merging onto the highway.  I had already had a rig with several cars behind on my left and couldn’t go anywhere… needless to say the only thing I could is try to slow down, but the stupid… (witch..yeah that’s it) only tried to insist on merging honking her damn horn the whole time.  A quick blast on the air horns and the impending impact with the closing guard-rail ultimately convinced her she should apply HER brakes and get behind me where there was plenty of room.

She came around my arse-end, and barreling up to my drivers door, and with her two small kids in the back, gave me the one-finger salute.

In the end, there was some poetic justice about it all though… in her fevered mind to make sure I knew her feelings about being in HER way on HER highway when SHE wanted to come on…she damn near rear-ended the car in front of her, had to jam on the brakes HARD… then realized… oh yeah, this exit coming up was hers and she slid back in behind me and got off the highway.

<sigh>  Dumbass four-wheelers

 
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When the parent’s away…the teenager will…sleep?? 0223hrs

Posted by admin on Oct 30, 2008 in Where Am I?

Been another busy couple of days… got our load into LA (Walnut, CA a suburb of LA actually) without incident… ran into a bit of an issue with the reciever however;  by policy, when we bump a dock, the first thing the driver is supposed to do is turn off the refer unit.  See the way those things work is that they blow cold (or hot!) air through a canvas “tube” along the roof to the rear of the trailer, where it sinks to the slotted floor to be returned to the refer unit and reconditioned.  When you open the back doors (as in when docked) it just blows that conditioned air into the dock area, and subsequently sucks the warm dock air in through the floor of the trailer, thus making the refer run harder and warming up the product quicker.

BUT…

The dumpass receivers only know that if the refer isn’t running, it must not be cooling thier product, hence…hissy fit!  So this receiver says the product is ruined (a load of Tropicana orange juice) that was to be maintained at 32 degrees (BUT keep from freezing the Bills Of Laden – BOL say!  ROFLMAO)… they claimed that because we bumped the dock at 1400 hours, and they couldn’t be bothered to start unloading us for an hour and a half with the refer NOT running, the product must be ruined.  Well…we had their dock dork call Prime’s honchos to get things straightened out…hence the customer pulled the product off the truck and check it again… ‘magine that…right at 32 degrees where it’s supposed to be!

Anyways… we bugged outta there in a hurry and headed up to the Frieghtliner of LA to have them look at our driveshaft (front one of the two)… it’s starting to rust where the yolk connects to the driveshaft, making us nervous that it might puke the shaft going down the road.

Once we got there, we had already gotten our next load assignement (picking up in Earlimart, CA north of Bakersfield…however LA Frieghtliner couldn’t see us until late the next day… AFTER our scheduled pick-up time.

Well, we blew off the driveshaft (hoping like hell!) and scooted north to the next load… we arrived at the 0900 appointment time, got our load going to Manteno, IL due Friday at 0700.  Because we needed to go Northeast of LA, we back-tracked to catch I15 our of Cali going into Nevada and Colorado.

Man what a ride!  In the space of 24 hours I went from LA, through the Mojave desert, through Death Valley (where the dash temp computer said it was 117 outside the truck!) to Vail and Denver Colorado!

BTW…let me backup a minute and say the drive out of LA to Earlimart was friggin awesome too!  Leaving LA on I10 North, you have to go through this wicked winding, mountainous terrain know to truckers as Grapevine.  It’s one of the place truckers “cut thier teeth” sort-to-speak because it’ll test your nerves with 7% grades, lots of curves and heavy LA traffic.  Well, because we were empty, I got to play “super-trucker” and go flying by all the slow-boys loaded and handled Grapevine with ease!  Next on the list… Donner’s Pass <gulp>

For some of you dear readers that have been observant… I’ve already posted some pics up to the Flikr account of the journey through the Mojave, Death Valley (passed through Vegas at night which doesn’t photograph worth a shit), then earlier this morning going through Vail, Colorado… breath taking all of it is all I can say… I’ll throw a few pics as a sample below, but make sure you take a look at the entire album!

So… current day… my shift began in Denver where we jumped on I76 North into Nebraska… let me tell you..what a boring, dull, shitty highway that is!  Flat, straight and the most exciting thing in all of the barren terrain I could see was a farmer tending his fence with a quad-bike and herding dog while the cows stood there and watched him!  <YAWN>

Caught I80 (my old friend!) in Nebraska and headed East into Omaha, NE where I currently sit at the Frieghtliner here in town.  My co-driver headed over to his house for some wife time while I watch the load and try to get the truck checked in first thing in the morning.

We’ll head out (pending repair time) around 1800 tomorrow (tonight) for Illinois, or, if the repairs take too long, we’ll hand this load off to another driver to finish up and go from there.

So what’s with the title of the post you ask?  Well… with Charles at home, the truck to myself… it’s off to bunk-land for a few hours of shut-eye!  I’m too old to party anyways!

EDIT:  Update:  When we first pulled in here tonight, we thought they were closed.  Turns out, we were wrong, they ARE 24/7 and I just talked to a real decent mechanic “Jeff” here who looked at the driveshaft…

“No problem man.  That’s just a grease cap that’s rusting… those drive-trains are life-time sealed with grease and where your lease is up in December, I wouldn’t worry about it at all”

Um..OKAY!!  WHOO HOOOO!  Shot off a text to Charles to let him and know…

10-29-2008 128 10-29-2008 126 10-29-2008 125

 
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We’ve taken the high road, now we’re taking the low road – 0406hrs

Posted by admin on Oct 27, 2008 in Where Am I?

Well, we delivered our load into Florida on time (of course!)  We almost immediately got assigned another load…going to Los Angeles, California for Wednesday.  The GOOD thing is that they’ll take the load early, so we’re hauling ass to get there Monday so it’ll go on this week’s pay-period!  So…adding up the week we’ve done about 6300 miles total… whew!  Dat’s a lotta driving!

Anyways…Joe’s a tired boy…

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