Dec 11, 2008

'Tis the Season

I have been somewhat lacking in my enthusiasm for the holiday season this year. I have so much going on and so many changes taking place that I have not relished all that is to behold during the holidays.

Until Tuesday Night. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks, if only for a moment.

During the course of this weeks deliveries, I was bestowed with several Christmas presents from some of my regular customers. I begin to feel an inclination to head home and start making gift bags to hand out myself next week. Typically I love the holidays, the best part being finding that perfect gift for everyone on my list. Sadly, this year, cash will have to be the perfect gift.

sigh.....Who knows, I might get it in gear.....

But back to my Christmas Tale.

On my way home, I stopped in a rest area for the night. This particular one was maintained by a gentleman whom lived in a camper a few miles down the road. He was very quiet and kept to himself to stay out of the patrons way. While I was searching the snack machines for a treat, I noticed him humbly waiting in the corner to continue with his duties as the restrooms emptied. No one would look his way, much less greet him or even acknowledge him for that matter.

No one, except myself. He seemed pleasantly surprised as I engaged him in cheerful, witty banter. He shared a portion of his life story with me, including his dream to reach ALASKA for the adventure of a lifetime. I cheered him on with words of encourage and awe as his told his tale.

His eyes were sparkling as I made my way back to the truck for some rest.

Then it dawned on me....(I am a little slow, sometimes) This man was not used to having people treat him with respect and friendship...My heart began to fill emotion. I then proceeded to rummage through my bounty, and selected one of the gifts that had been given to me.

Feeling a little bit awkward, because I did not want to offend him by assuming anything about his lifestyle, as so many others were seeming to do, I made my way back inside the building. I immediately was discouraged because he was no where to be found. But as I left, I noticed him collecting the trash along the sidewalk. Beaming from ear to ear, I quietly approached him. I asked him if he had family in the area, and how he would spend his Christmas. I then offered him a Christmas present. His eyes welled with tears as he smiled. He let out a jolly laugh and expressed his gratitude. He told me that he could sense what a wonderful person I was from our previous conversation, and that had been enough of a gift to him already. I insisted he take the present, anyways.....To which he did not hesitate.

In return, he asked for one thing.... To give me a Hug! He said it was all he had to offer me, and I gladly accepted it. I made my way back to the truck with a bounce in my step, a smile on my face and all the joy that the holidays contain abounding in my heart.

I do not need for any of you to tell me what impression this story might make on you. I am not looking for your approval. I got what I needed from the smile in his eyes, as I walked away.

I would just like to remind each and every one of you, that there are people less fortunate who could use an extra smile, a moment of conversation, or even a hug!! My wish this Christmas , is that we all take a moment to spread the Christmas Cheer to those who are less fortunate!!

Happy Holidays!!

South Carolina

One of my friends requested I make a video showing all the wonderful qualities of South Carolina.

Because I have passed through twice a week for the past 7 years, I should have been able to accommodate her request.

Alas, I could not!

No Surprise Here

Oh joy of joys!!!!!

The only reason I am continuing to write about my eternal dilemmas concerning my trucking woes is, because.......

I could not make this crap up! I mean, Yeah Sure, a truck driver is known to be very creative with his/her storytelling. But lets face it, this has long since past the definition of outrageous.

I encountered yet another such event this week....

A few weeks ago, when my alternator quit working, I had noticed that my power inverter had given up the ghost as well. Upon returning to the shop, I gracefully ( with absolutely no animosity whatsoever I SWEAR) asked the head mechanic to check my battery posts to make sure that everything was hooked up properly. I have four batteries and umpteen dozen cables.

After a few minutes of inspecting the inverter and glancing at the battery box, he assures me the problem is with the inverter itself and will order me a new one. I use the inverter to charge my phone, power my laptop, run the microwave, so it is an item I would be fond of continuing to use.

This week, while cruising around New England, I noticed that my headlights would mysteriously darken themselves. I did not notice any ritual to this occurrence, just that they would occasionally all but vanish. I had cleaned the lenses the day before, because dirty headlights will also lead to a lack of illumination. After an evening of wondering "WTH", trouble finally ensued in the form of......

Every single warning light and buzzer would come to life, instructing me to immediately pull over and shut off the truck.

At first, this scared me!! Scared the daylights out of me!!! The first warnings indicated that I had just released my fifth wheel...meaning that my trailer was no longer attached to my tractor. You better believe this scared the snot out of me. I warned the fellow behind me to duck and roll, because I was sure that my trailer was about to go careening into the unknown and my truck was going to self destruct in T minus 30.

I also received warnings that I had locked in my "four wheel drive", not something you should ever do while traveling at high way speed. In fact , you should only use this function when stopped and ER stuck!! Or to prevent getting stuck in a boggy situation, just like four wheeling.

Next...I supposedly had discharged my air tanks, had a major loss of coolant, low battery power and the list goes on and on....

Then just as abruptly, the truck decided all was good and the bells and whistles went silent.


After going through this routine several more times with even longer intervals of blaring buzzers, I came to the conclusion that the truck was indeed panicking unnecessarily..Yes, I did pull over and check it out.

So, after relating my symptoms over the CB airwaves and quieting my own anxiety, a friendly voice told me that he had experienced the same problems and I should check my battery cable ends to make sure all was connected and not grounding itself out. Otherwise the truck might freak out and refuse to move.

Do you think I was surprised to find that one very large positive cable was not attached to anything, but rather gently nestled up to the battery post and during the course of my journey would obviously lose contact causing the truck computer to react. At first glance, the cable appeared to be in the proper location, but remember I have a dozen cables connected to those posts. So, after a quick tug test and corrosion check, I found the problem.

Funny thing is, after it was reconnected and the truck no longer had issues, I also noticed that my power inverter was working like a dream!!!

Thanks Boys, for continuing to remind me that you are a bunch of freaking idiots!!

I would have been totally embarrassed had I gone to a large commercial shop and been charged several hundred buck s just to have a cable attached to the battery. But, like the boss said, at least then the Head Mechanic would have to face the music.

I preferred to keep this to myself, because the less those guys touch my truck... the safer I feel. So, I never even mentioned it. I am sure it will get back to them at some point... People just love to gossip!!

Dec 5, 2008

That's What She Said

Earlier in the week, I received a phone call form my New England com padre AA. He asked if I had possibly swapped trucks with him at some point during the course of the weekend. He was teasing of course.

It seems he is now being affected by the same circumstances that have manifested in my Big Rig. Feels like he is riding on 18 square tires. Suspension gauge is fluctuating.

I hate to be so happy about his misfortune, but if he can get his predicament diagnosed and repaired, then there is hope for my truck, too! Seems no one has ever heard of my problem, but with him being a male, maybe they will pay more attention to him.

Hmmmm....Now that I think about it, could the New England pot holes possible be playing a role in our malfunctioning suspensions? We are the only drivers who frequent the rough terrain of New Jersey.... Could Be...

Anyways, keep your fingers crossed!


The most horrible part of having a head cold?

You can't taste your food!! I am full..... but I want to eat because I have not tasted anything in three days.... I need some flavor!!!!!!

Day Three..........

Normally, I do not get sick. At all!! I may have one cold per year, and it does not normally last very long. Well, I almost sneaked through this year with no ailments......

Nov 28, 2008

To Err is Human.....

Tuesday November 25th

After awaking to a rainy morning in Long Island, I faced a brutal 3 hour commute back into Queens. You might ask yourself, 'Is this normal?'

While long delays are prevalent on this stretch of blacktop, this particular delay was the residual effect of a weekend derailment on the LIRR, which plays host to over 100, 000 rush hour commuters each weekday morning. Put those folks back in a car, and naturally you get very extensive delays.

After a quick drop in Flushing, NY, I headed off to Wood-Ridge, NJ for my next delivery. Then it was on to Carbondale, Pennsylvania. AA was just hours ahead of me, and he informed me of weather advisories. Ground is WHITE, roads are CLEAN.

But this post is not about my typical truck problems or the mundane details of my day. No, this post is dedicated to the little adventure I endured while trying to make my final delivery for the day.

Now every driver has at some point made a wrong turn, or missed a road while trying to make their destination. I have done this on a few occasions, but not often does it make me feel inadequate. But today was my lucky day.

The first turn I missed was the exit ramp for Route 6 East, a nice four-lane highway. I knew the road well, and because it went due north, I didn't even hesitate to pass the ramp which offered an east bound path. The direction, I had just come from. No problems though, except finding a place to turn around before I hit the serious snow and congestion in the mountains.

I manged to get back on track, and located the customer in a reasonable amount of time. I have delivered here a half dozen times or so, and knew that in order to unload, I would be required to make a U-turn somewhere up the road to be able position myself in their tiny little parking lot.

Here is where the fun begins!!

There is a road, a few hundred yards ahead that leads to the only industrial area in town. The entrance to this area resembles a small parking lot with an inadequate amount of asphalt barely covering the dirt beneath. Now, I had forgotten which road led me into the industrial area, as it had been over a year since my last delivery. And I forgot one vitally important instruction.

Do Not Cross The RailRoad Tracks !!

I didn't realize I had made a mistake until after I had made the turn onto the first street (my memory's only clue to where the turn around was located). I began to feel disheartened as I made the climb into the mountains, and watched Carbondale below in the mirror. I must mention that all the streets in Carbondale are very narrow and a Truck could not make these turns even if they were not restricted.

So, climb I did! Onto a snowy little trail that lead into the middle of nowhere. Up into the mountains and into the frozen tundra.

At this point, I was feeling quite apprehensive, as I had yet to find a location even remotely capable of allowing me to turn around. Eventually I stumbled upon a Y intersection and decided it was now or never. Traffic was almost non-existent, so I gingerly began to back into the merging roadway. A few vehicles popped up behind me rather quickly, and stared in wide-eyed amazement of the task I was attempting. I sat still in the roadway awaiting their departure as I did not want to risk a collision. The first spectator offered his assistance and assured me that it was indeed Now Or Never, as this roadway came to an abrupt dead-end several miles away. I instructed him, that while I was very grateful for this knowledge and his assistance, I could not allow him to block the road way for me. I would be liable if anyone rear-ended him if they popped over the top of the hill. He gave me a very concerned smile, a few words of comfort and drove off into the skyline.

Next, a school bus being piloted by a very friendly and understanding lady, drove onto the scene. Because of her vehicle's priority, she then proceeded to block the road for me. It is required to stop for any bus flashing red lights with its little stop sign protruding, so she used this to my advantage. I was then able to make the turn and head back into civilization.

Moments later, almost blizzard like conditions erupted from the sky, visibility nearing just a few hundred feet. Talk about timing!!

It has been a long time since I have felt the helplessness I faced while fearing the unknown. In fact, I believe the last time I was in a comparable predicament, it involved logging trails, cows and a missing hammer.

Nov 26, 2008

Peaceful Easy Feeling

Monday November 24th

So I made Rhode Island with plenty of time to spare. I eased into the state and made a beeline for the first available parking spot I could find, at the Welcome Center. Being that this was a load out of our Tennessee plant, I am unfamiliar with the customer line-up. But knowing New England as I do, I was undaunted. The only problem with that is I did not have directions to my first delivery, which is in Pawtucket. Not to be confused with Pawcatuck, which is just across the state line in Connecticut.

Pawtucket is very close to Providence and both are beautiful little cities with roads designed more for horse and buggy rather than 60+ foot of big truck. So, I opted to set my alarm and get up in time to begin calling customers for directions. After the Pawtucket drop, I was to move into Boston Proper....With the city ordinance of No Trucks on certain streets before 10am, I decided to play good little trucker and obey the suggestion. Therefore, I was in no rush to get to Pawtucket..

These were the only two deliveries I would make today, because my Long Island drop would close before I could reach them. So, with this in mind, I set about the day in a relaxed state of mind.

I really enjoyed the Pawtucket delivery. It was located in an old factory district. The men were shocked to see me, rather than their regular delivery man and OF COURSE, slathered me with adoration. I love those New England men!!

But the best part of the day, was the load!!!

Is that not the prettiest load structure you have ever seen me post. Talk about symmetry. Ohhh la la.

But just to refresh your memory, here are a few of the brilliant load structures I have dealt with pulling Georgia loads.

I heart Tennessee!!

Need I Say More?

Saturday November 22rd

I got extremely lucky this week, with it being a holiday. Our sister plant in Tennessee had a New England route that was not covered, so it was offered to me! But in order to make a Rhode Island delivery first thing Monday morning, I had to leave the homestead early on Saturday.

Now, this morning, I did indeed deliver a load of trees to the local Boy Scouts, but I did not do a pretrip inspection on my Truck/Trailer because I was only traveling 6 miles round trip.

Serves me right!!

When I attempted to begin this weeks journey around 1pm, I did my formal inspection and noted that I had a flat tire on my tractor.

The same tire that had been leaking air 3 months ago when the truck was assigned to me.
The same tire that was written up numerous times for leaking air.
The same tire that when inspected last week for having insufficient air pressure, and was then mercifully aired up instead of exchanged...

Come on folks, you just gotta laugh! Because of the amount of turmoil I am bombarded with when it comes to these trucks.... You really just have to laugh it off, otherwise I would go crazy.

So, I made the appropriate calls and decided to head up to Tennessee with the low tire. I was pulling an empty trailer and there was some air left in the tire, so the boss agreed that it would be easier to get a new tire at our sister plant. Our local mechanics were unreachable as they were busy chasing Bambi through the woods. The Tennessee mechanic waited for me, and managed to repair several more items... Like the bracket that holds the exhaust pipe in place. It was broken! He also gave me a new tire pressure gauge, because I flung mine into the netherworld when I noticed the low tire back in Georgia.

I heart Tennessee

Well, even with the rough start, I did manage to get a New England load!!! Yippee!!

Nov 22, 2008

Whats Wrong With This Picture?

I am getting ready to go deliver my Christmas Trees ( yay!!!) and before I venture out into the frigid morning, I notice the temperature here in Georgia is 15 degrees.

15 degrees!!!!!!!

Last night I checked the forecasts for my route next week and noticed that while I am cruising around New England (woooooo hoooooooo) the low temps in Massachusetts are only projected to dip down to about 36 degrees. I might possible run into a bit of snowfall in Pennsylvania, but still...

15 in the Heart of the South.......

36 in New England.......

Is is just me or does Mother Nature seem to be a bit confused. I hope the old girl is not showing signs of Alzheimer's....

Nov 21, 2008

Holiday Cheer

It is that time again, boys and girls....

Tomorrow morning I will arise at the crack of dawn to go and deliver Christmas Trees to the local BoyScout Troop for their annual fundraiser. This is something the Aluminum Company does for the BoyScouts every year. We pick up their load of Christmas Trees in North Carolina and haul it back home. I have been fortunate enough each year to be the delivery girl. It just makes me feel so warm and fuzzy to take part in this community oriented good deed!

See, I can post something uplifting........

Just What Makes That Little Old Ant........

Think he can move that rubber tree plant.....

High Hopes, Baby!! That's what...

But, alas, it is not meant to be. When I ventured out Sunday evening for a quick 2 hour trip into Bama, my hopes and dreams of smooth sailing were quickly diminished. Merely minutes after setting sail, I noticed a rattling noise. After unsuccessfully trying to locate it while driving, I eventually pulled into a truck stop for better perception. That is when I, and everyone else in a 10 mile radius, noticed it was coming from under the hood. So, I pulled it back and took a gander. After checking all of my belts and pulleys, I decided there was nothing I could do about it at midnight, so I headed to my first delivery. The next morning, upon firing up the old girl, the noise was perceivably much worse.....At this point, I am getting a little bit upset. I just cannot seem to catch a break!!

Fifteen minutes after leaving my morning delivery, while sitting on a two lane road that was shut down to one lane for construction, with me staring down the orange vested man controlling traffic, it finally happened. Whiz! POP! zing...... "Come on dude, turn the stupid sign around!!!!"

I gingerly ease into the throttle and the noise is gone. My next instinct is to check for any signs of smoke. Nothing there...So, I opted to head on down to Montgomery and let the shop take a look under her hood. I knew what had happened. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, my voltage meter was reading around 12.5 volts.... Not good. I fully charged set of batteries should be holding around 13.7 volts. I don't have enough juice left to crank the damn thing if it did die!

The mechanic confirmed my assumption. Belt was shredded, and the pulley on the alternator was spinning like a top. He spent the next 2 hours trying to locate parts before loading me down with four new batteries and sending me to another shop, which was located 30 minutes from my second delivery point.

I made my way into the second shop. They could not find new parts either, but lucky for me, there was a truck being rebuilt with used parts on it. So, after getting the pulley replaced and the new belt in position, we decided to tackle a few more repairs, because at this point I was already too late to make my second delivery. So, I got an air leak fixed along with a few other minor repairs. Next, I mentioned the suspension issues.

Did I tell you, both trucks had the exact same problems, both got new valves, and both still had issues. The mechanics decided I should head across the street to let the professionals have a look at it.

I get into Volvo explain the situation. They look at it and remark it is out of adjustment. So they adjust. But my dilemma of over inflation and under inflation during the course of my journey is too confusing for them to comprehend. I should only have a variation of 2-3 pounds at any given time, but NO!! my truck likes to fluctuate up to as much as 15 pounds.... After scratching their noses and picking their....... no wait..... after scratching their heads and picking their noses, they decide that my problem just does not exist because they have never heard of a truck doing that. This is at a dealership!! They were also astonished to find out that I even had a suspension gauge on my dash! Well......golly gee, lookee there!!!

So, I have come to the conclusion that I will indeed put it to rest and just grin and bear it. After all, I am not the owner of the truck, just the driver.

Next up, after finishing what should have been a 10 hour run, a mere two days later, I lucked up on a trip down into Miami to help out on the paycheck this week. As of Tuesday morning, I had only 500 miles in my pocket. Normally at this point, I should have had 1500. So I ease into the Sunshine State with the intention of bedding down on the Turnpike somewhere near Orlando. No dice!! Every time I pulled into a service plaza I had the pleasure of watching the last fellow who had passed me two miles back, pull into the last remaining parking spot. This continued to happen at each subsequent plaza. By the time I found a spot to camp out, I was nearing maximum overload. I believe I actually screamed into my windshield at one guy who passed me only a few hundred feet before the ramp to claim the last parking spot. I was furious.

Along with my anger, I was also beginning to experience the first telltale signs of the exhaust leak that was never repaired. Okay, I am assuming it is exhaust by the symptoms that were tormenting me, but I could be wrong. Excruciating headache, lips drying out, eyes burning and turning red. I could alleviate the symptoms rather quickly by rolling down my window and airing out the truck, but it was 40 degrees, so it was a battle for warmth or sanity.

The return trip was not too bad, and I was determined not to let this situation get the best of me. I actually remained in fairly good spirits throughout most of it, because I did request the swap AND my legs were no longer hurting. But I also found there were fresh rips in the interior walls where someone had drilled holes to mount something. I detest having a truck that is all ripped apart, even superficially, so this annoyed me. AND, the inverter no longer works which means I cannot use my microwave. I have a smaller power supply that I can use to charge my phone and laptop, but it is just so frustrating that I can never seem to find the light at the end of the tunnel.

Did I mention that I have not seen New England in weeks....Oh well, I refuse to give in to this completely....I am notorious for being in high spirits most of the time, and dammit, they are not gonna drag me down.....any further!!

Nov 14, 2008

The Never Ending Story

This is a tragic tale, but one that I have been telling for quite sometime. I am hoping that there is an end in sight. I have made arrangements for an alternative tale to be told!!

So this one really starts about three months ago, when I was forced to swap Trucks, due to unresolved repairs. I tentatively made the exchange.

In the course of the previous few months, I have numerous requests for repairs and maintenance. I have replaced items damaged prior to my obtaining this jewel. I have dealt with leaks and exhaust and some pretty major suspension issues. This biggest personal dilemma was the fact that I could never get comfortable in the drivers seat. In fact, the seat had multiple seams and protruding lumps which dug into my posterior. For the past 3 months, my legs have ached. They have felt numb and swollen and finally my hips started to hurt. At the end of each day, it was all I could do to walk!! The pain would actually take 2-3 days to subside, just in time for me to jump back in for another haul. This also aggravated me because I was unable to get any decent mileage from my running shoes.

So, last Wednesday, I dropped my truck off for some recall repair work. When I returned to the plant on Sunday, I noticed my truck had not been touched. I was set up to drive the spare, but when I attempted to leave town, I quickly turned back because the spare truck had major engine troubles! I then waited for maintenance to bring me a key to yet another spare....but it too had issues, so I was told to take MY truck.

The work week was not so bad in itself. I did manage to find some time to have a few repair jobs performed, but alas, my suspension issues are yet to be resolved.. Now I may not have a lot of excess baggage, but after bouncing around for the past three months, eventually even my fat began to hurt!

An air leak was repaired. The leak would allow my air tanks to drain in about four hours after shutting down the engine. After the repair, it only took 30 minutes to drain the tanks!! This is not the desired result. I should hold air for days!!!!!Grrrrrrrrrr..... I had tires replaced, recalls performed, and even more suspension adjustments.

Finally, I decided I just could not take it anymore.... I found that I could not even sit in that seat for an hour before the discomfort started taking its toll on my body. The bouncing was also driving me insane, as I just couldn't get anyone to understand that suspension is not performing correctly.. Yes, I did get a new leveling valve, but I am encountering the same problems with the new one.... Too much/too little air.

Today, I called the Boss and pleaded my case.....I wanted back in my old truck. The one with the deadly exhaust leak!! I would gladly trade the new problems for my old ones... Not to say that I enjoy exhaust fumes, but hopefully after three months, that repair has already been made. I never wanted to get out of the old truck to begin with....So, today, I made the swap and I was never so happy to see my old truck.... No mold growing in the door frames, no putrid stains in the carpeting, no half inch thick crud petrifying on the floor.....

My legs are just now starting to feel normal after this weeks ride, so hopefully next week, I will not encounter any more issues with that! As for the exhaust leak, if it still exists, I have found my new favorite repair shop and my new favorite Volvo shop!!!! So, I will be making a beeline for one of those two places for any future repair work.....

Sorry Maggie, but this time it is over for good!!!!

Nov 9, 2008

Just Two Minutes......

I just wanted to take the next few minutes of your time, and give my gratitude to you!

I want to Thank you for making a decision, and being willing to sacrifice everything you know and love for my safety.

I want to Thank you for standing in the heat of battle and protecting my Freedom!

I want to Thank you for the commitment and dedication you have shown to me by serving as my defender.

I want to Thank you for not backing down, no matter how hard the fight!

I want to Thank you for the courage you have shown, as I am not so brave.

I want to Thank you for your tenacity, as I would have never been able to even face the enemy.

I want to Thank you for your fortitude, you are truly the backbone of America.

I know sometimes it might feel that You have been forgotten, or even unappreciated. I just want you to know, that you are my Hero. You are my America and I love you for that! I do think about you often, and am continually showing my appreciation to those who are serving presently.

I am often among the first to approach a Serviceman and offer my gratitude, You might even see me driving down the highway with a sign in my window that merely reads " Thank You"... I do this for the fellows in the Military Convoys... And if you look close enough, you will most certainly see a tear running down my cheek.

I know I will never be able to show you exactly what you mean to me, so I just wanted to say Thank You!!

This post is dedicated to ALL of the men and women who have ever put on that uniform and made the commitment to defend our Freedoms. For the rest of my readers, I sincerely hope that you have taken the time to show your gratitude as well, and not just on Veteran's Day, but throughout the year. They gave up a lot for you, surely they deserve a little portion of your heart!!!

Nov 8, 2008

Scenic Byways

Well Folks, the mighty recession has finally hit home...

We received some disturbing news a week ago about the projections for the next few months. At work, that is! Originally, this did not concern me too much... The New England routes pay the most and most of our drivers refuse to head in that direction... But with our freight slowing, the potential for these drivers to suddenly feel the need to spread their wings greatly increases. Now, I honestly don't believe any of them would take MY route. They will however take the PA, NJ load, which means AA takes my route...I do not begrudge him of this... Only those drivers who force him into that situation.

It happened this week! Mr T. !! Hopefully he will be unable to curb his nasty attitude while in the area, but once again, money is a powerful motivator. We shall see.

So, this week, I am heading into Tennessee... From there, who knows! Having low miles, ensures I will be first in line for any additional runs, so that is a positive aspect... Most of our customers have opted to order on a "need" basis rather than warehousing additional stock. Our scrap pick-ups have just about dried up, as many in this industry have slowed as well. The next few months will be tight.

So what, life goes on...By the way, I just finished a 5 mile run, so I am on cloud nine with my endorphins kicking in!! Wooooooo hooooooo!! Nothing can get to me for at least 3 more hours! HA!!

Back to Tennessee..... A month ago, I rambled on about moving trailers from point A to point B. I might have even bragged about the incredible landscape that I had the pleasure of meandering through. In fact, I know I promised you a video! So here it is!

Sorry about the video's poor quality... My camera was just about to give up the ghost!

Oct 31, 2008

Old Man Winter Takes The Stage

On my journey home this week, I ran into several road blocks...Accidents with 15 mile back-ups, NYC traffic was stalled in the Bronx, Pennsylvania Interstates were closed due to snowfall....But after making several personal detours to try and make up for lost time, I finally stumbled upon my reward.

This is a little video I made in New Jersey that day. Hope you enjoy!!

It seems just maybe that Old Man Winter was just a little bit jealous of my praising Mother Nature for her graceful beauty.

Oct 30, 2008

Freedom of Speech

This is one of the reasons that I love the United States..... Our many freedoms!!

So excuse me while I express an opinion, one that is very near and dear to my heart.

I have worked since the age of 16. I have experienced many pitfalls through my own decisions which were the result of poor judgement. I have provided for myself during the past 20 years with no help from any government programs... I have never tasted government cheese, or received hand-outs because I was "unable" to work. I don't get free food or decreased housing costs. And for those of you who don't know, I dropped out of high school my junior year (I returned a year later to receive my diploma). I also ran away from home at an early age and lived in some very undesirable neighborhoods. But I had the freedom to turn my life around, and not become a statistic.

Basically what I am getting at, it this. If I wanted it or needed it, I went out and earned it. This is a freedom that we Americans sometimes take for granted. We have assistance programs for our Veterans, our children, our disabled, our elderly, hell, we even have programs for our lazy citizens who refuse to get out and provide for themselves!

It makes me very angry that there should even be any consideration given whatsoever to providing everyone with equal health care. That is just the start! Spread the Wealth!! Bullshit!!

It makes me very angry to think that I could possibly go to work every week, only to end up supporting those less fortunate even more than I already do. If I can no longer "Get Ahead", then why should I even be motivated to try at all. If all my efforts will only result in equality for everyone, then maybe I should just quit my job and let you take care of me!

This is just my opinion!!

If we are all treated equally, then there is no purpose in trying to succeed. It seems that this would eventually eliminate the middle class and place us all on a level playing field. A more dependant, less motivated playing field. And where does that leave us. Standing in line waiting on government hand-outs? And if you think about it, we would have given up certain freedoms and liberties that our great nation was founded upon.

Please do not do this to me!! I have struggled over the past twenty years to get where I am, and I am not willing to let you take this from me. It is my freedom to go out and achieve that which I desire.

Call me ignorant or uninformed, but at least I am motivated and have the freedom to chose my level of success, at least for now! So get off your ass, and go take care of yourself. Think about the decisions you make, and please do not take my freedoms from me!!

Pre-Trip Inspection

I often fuss about tire pressure, or the lack thereof.

I often fuss about the fact that our air hose only produces 92-93 psi, so our tires cannot be properly inflated after hours.

I often fuss that trailers are not road ready when I go to pick them up on Saturday night.

I can't tell you how many times I have been assured that someone is doing a pre-trip on the trailers before they are loaded. Not to mention, the drivers are suppose to be writing up any repairs needed from the week before.

But if I mentioned all of that again, I would just be complaining.....

So, instead.......

Lucky for me, this was not my trailer.... This was found on my partners trailer, and the mechanic on call lives over an hour away. My trailer had 8 under inflated tires. But at least they were still attached to the rim!!

So much for those pre-trip inspections. And for any of you reading this who might be a Truck Driver, we have less than 20 drivers and 3 mechanics on site, so it is not too hard to recognize the slackers!!

Oct 23, 2008

Quick Updates

First things, first.....

As you know, I get the pleasure of delivering in New England almost every week. There are certain benefits that come with the territory. For instance, oh, about this time every year Mother Nature puts on her finest dress and struts her stuff. She is quite a show-off.I haven't noticed her looking quite this lovely in awhile. I missed capturing the peak of her fall foliage display this year. But, trust me, she was absolutely breath-taking. I still managed to capture some of her lingering charms and put together a little video for your viewing pleasure.

and now for the updates


  • 2.34 miles in Bristol, Pa. Is it possible to get freezer burn on your ears? Time to buy winter gear.
  • 2.13 miles in Glastonbury, Ct. Never could get warmed up. Legs were screaming in resentment.

Truck Repairs~

Would you be surprised if I told you that my Truck was not repaired? No big deal. I was told to swing back by my new favorite shop and let the day shift mechanic have a look at it to confirm the first diagnosis. When I got there, he had left for the day. It was only lunchtime, so I was surprised. But these things happen! Maybe next week!


I had the time and opportunity to spend a weekend with my SIL and the kids a few weeks ago. My Brother was only present for a moment as he had other obligations to attend to. The highlight of the weekend was Karaoke Night! SIL's Mother came over and we all had such a wonderful time letting our hair hang down.

This weekend, I am attending a little gathering at the other Brother's house. I don't think I have been over there at all this year ?! So, it is long overdue.

The Big Move~

This weekends trip is also a great excuse to load up some of my unused items laying around the homestead, and put them into storage over in Bama. Storage being in my Father's attic. I find that I need a little incentive to get on the ball about transplanting myself back over that way. With the economy, the election, and the uncertain future that lies ahead, I have been a bit fearful of making any big decisions or drastic changes. So, I figure that if all my of belongings meandered over into Bama, I would begin to miss them and eventually follow them into a new life. Kind of silly, I know. But I do love my job! I just want more out of life, and it is not happening in my present location. I know everything will work out once I do make the big move, but I am very fearful of leaving my beloved New England route. I suppose it is just the fear of the unknown holding me back and Yes, there are trucking jobs all over the place. But my dedicated route has been very kind to me, and I don't want to get caught up in something less enjoyable. But it is like my Brother said to me, " You will ALWAYS be able to find a reason to NOT leave." Hmmmmm, you know, he has a point there!

So, I guess that should cover it. Hey, did you notice anything? It seems like perhaps, just maybe, my anger has subsided a little bit. Yay!! for me.

Oct 16, 2008

Running Rampant

Ha.... I decided to do a light hearted and carefree post after all this fussing I have been doing lately. I know I said I was going to try and reel that in, but honestly..... I don't fuss live and in person, so here is where I dump all of it..... Sorry folks, just kind of goes with the title.... ROADRAGE......

Anywho, if any of you ever look at my side bar, you might notice some running totals per each month along with a map. The map was to illustrate just exactly how far I would have it, should I attempt a virtual cross country run. What a joke!!

I have been such a slacker this year!

But, recently I had purchased a Garmin pedometer that uses GPS to record your mileage stats.

I love this thing, and because I also love numbers, I have been more motivated to get out and run. And because it uses GPS, I can run anywhere and get fairly accurate totals. No more recalibrating the old fashion pedometer that was based on stride more cheating on distance totals either :)

So, in the past few weeks, I have run in Bridgeport, New Jersey; Hauppage, NewYork; Edison, New Jersey; and Glastonbury, Connecticut. I figure if Gabsatrucker can get out and run all over the place, well, then so can I...

You will also notice that I am almost back into the swing of things as my total for this month, already exceeds the previous months and this month is only halfway over..... Pathetic!!

Guilty By Association

I wanted to post this before I forgot about it, even though it happened a few weeks ago. This particular incident left me with my jaw sitting on the floor as I could not believe what I had just witnessed..... You may not be amazed or even interested, but if left me feeling ashamed and bewildered, so I have to share.

A few weeks ago, my normal routine was slightly disrupted when a third driver took a NorthEast route and decided to tag along with the myself and my regular NE Trucking Buddy.
May be disrupted is not the appropriate word. It did not change anything other than having an additional person to converse with while heading towards New England. But it was different, because there was a third party involved, one who tells tales and spreads rumors.

There was only one eventful moment on the whole trip, one moment that made me want to pull over and hang my head in shame. One moment that left me with questions.

I work with a small group of drivers. Same trucks, same trailers, same uniforms. I like to think I am a good driver, a good representative of the company I work with. You all know how much I love my customers and tend to go out of my way to make sure their needs are met. I would only hope the other drivers would do the same. But let's face it. They don't. Some of them couldn't care less. My regular NE running partner is another one of the good guys. When he services my route, no one ever complains about him. They think he is just fine and dandy, too. We have the same type ethics relating to this job. It is not just about driving. We are both friendly, efficient and take extra measures to meet their needs.

Well, on this little excursion with the third party involved, I learned something that I did not ever want to know, at least not so close to "home" so to speak.

While heading through Virginia, I noticed traffic was slowing and shifting to the left. There was a service truck, tow truck and disabled vehicle on the right shoulder about a half mile up the road. Because the the guard rails, they were almost in the right lane. I commented to my companions about the scene in front of me. I slowed and merged into the left lane. My regular com padre does the same. Traffic is now down to about 30 mph as everyone is adjusting to let all vehicles merge to the left. The people are actually walking in the right lane to get around the vehicles, so I was proud that everyone, even the four wheelers were being so tolerant of this sudden traffic situation.

At this point, the third party in attendance of our personal parade remarks over the airwaves, " What are you doing, there is no blue lights so we don't have to get over!" At this point, he goes flying by in the right lane. The last thing I had noticed was the tow trucker driver standing in the travel lane trying to load the disabled vehicle. My co-worker was very close to the white line when he passed me doing at least 60mph. I just knew he was going to hit them. Then he hollers out, " come on, what are you waiting for" He was the ONLY vehicle who made the pass in the right lane, not even the cars would follow him.

We are still behind the disabled vehicles and in the left lane, but I was not about to jump back in to the right lane. I was speechless. How could someone I work with be so stupid and careless. He could have killed that guy. And whatever happened to safety and courtesy. I was absolutely amazed when his final remark over the airwaves was how he finally got around me and my regular companion....

I sat in the left lane until traffic regained momentum, and remained speechless for quite some time.

The worst part for myself personally, is that while there were three of us that day. Only two of us had the same style trailer, the second fellow (my buddy) had a van. So, my tractor and trailer were identical to that of the driver who had made the bad decision. You would not believe how many people gave me dirty looks and the comments that were made over the CB radio.

I work so hard to do a good job, and there I sat, guilty by association, hanging my head in shame.

And this guy has over 30 years experience.........*sigh*

Where was that guy with the video camera when a REAL unsafe manuever was being made.Probably editing more footage of me! Yes, I am still mad about that!!

A Tear

Throughout my driving career, I have had my fair share of incidences that have made me laugh. Things that have angered me or left me feeling frustrated. Even a few that have made me cry.

I don't cry often. I can't even remember the last time I cried, but that was probably over a lost love anyway.

Yesterday, I shed a tear! Not boo hooing in the essence of snot dripping down my face. Not sobbing and gasping for air. Just a single tear!

The most difficult and challenging part of my job is to convince a mechanic that I just might possibly know a little something about my Truck. I may not know how to fix it, or what part needs to be replaced, but I can definitely tell when something is wrong. And when it comes to diagnosing a problem, who better to turn to than the driver who is experiencing the symptoms.

I have written up repairs in the past, that go unresolved for weeks and or months at a time. Just recently, I turned in a write up and after 3 weeks, it was still untouched. I took the time to drive to the shop during work hours and approached the mechanic.

"We never saw the request"

They are placed in one location (after hours) and the shop had all my other pre-trip inspections, but did not see the repair request? " So, will you fix it today, seeing as how you have my truck in the bay doing a service to it, or should I write it up again?"

"We will get it today, don't write it up again!"

Two days later, still no repair....So, I have come to the conclusion that all of my repairs will be done elsewhere. I will drive out of route, I will burn up my own personal time. I will never request another repair from this shop. This isn't the first time they have dismissed my needs. It is not even the tenth time. They are not a full service shop, just a small repair and minor service shop, but my needs always seem to be forgotten anyway. I mean who actually needs tires that will hold air when you can just stop every week and refill them. I would air them up at the shop, but the air hose mounted outside for after hours use only produces 90psi, which is not the standard air pressure required on a big truck. I have asked them to fix the air hose for seven years.... Still not working properly.

But this rant is not about the incompetent mechanics who are seen huddled in the shop office every time I come to the yard. I have rarely caught them at work. Okay, there is one who is regularly working on something, but the others....not so much. I think they just roll around the floor to get their uniforms dirty, to make people think they are working.

.................I am complaining, aren't I???

Yes, I am , dammit!! To give these guys an ounce of credit, they do repair the trailers....I think?

So, back to my tear......

I have suddenly developed suspension problems with my truck. I have had the exact same problem before with another truck, this year. It only took me about 3 months of consistent nagging to get the mechanics to replace the defective part, and then I think the only reason they did it was to get me to shut up, because they could not find anything wrong with the old part. But it did fix the problem.

So, after two weeks of bouncing down the highways, I decided to approach another shop about my dilemma, remembering how difficult it was to convince the first group. I pulled in the alternate location and proceeded to tell the mechanic what the symptoms were... After staring at me for 10 minutes like I had three boobs, or green slime running out of my ears, he proceeds to try to come up with a way to appease me.

" Well, honey, we could always adjust the air-ride on your sleeper and then you wouldn't bounce so much."

This is not a predicament concerning my comfort! Jackass, and I have been driving longer than you have been mechanic-ing, so spare me the pitiful looks. I am not some sweet little honey learning to drive a big rig!! The air-ride on the sleeper only affects the way my cab sits on frame, it has nothing to do with my suspension........Try Again!!

Here are my symptoms...When I pick up a loaded trailer, my suspension does not react to the weight of the load. The air bags do not fill up for at least ten minutes. When they do fill, they lose pressure as soon as I start moving. Okay, this is hard to explain to you, faithful reader, if you know nothing about air-ride truck suspension. ....

But they should hold about 50-56 psi with my loaded trailer attached, of course this varies with the weight of the load, but my loads are consistently between 35 and 40k. My air bags will fill to 50 psi, but as soon as I start moving, they drop to around 30 psi. What that means is, my suspension is now in a bind. The U-joints are now put under higher tension because of the lowered suspension. During the course of my drive, they will fluctuate as much as 15 pounds continually. They should never fluctuate more than 2-3 pounds unless weight is actually removed. YES, this makes for a very uncomfortable ride as every pot hole or dip in the road sends me swaying and bouncing with exaggerated movement. But forget my comfort, this is a safety issue. It is unnecessary wear and tear on the drive line. I do not want to be the person sitting on the side of the road because my drive shaft is dangling. It is having to be even more aware of road conditions, because one hard bounce at the wrong time could send me into a wall, or median or another vehicle. I do not feel like killing anyone, because I hit a pot hole and my 70,000 pound truck could not recover from being thrown at an odd angle. The air bags ensure that the load will ride level. Not mine!!

So after he suggests a useless resolution, I simply make the comment, "Never mind" and drive away. I had just wasted ten minutes trying to convince someone of a safety issue and he never heard a word of what I was saying. I shed a tear of frustration because this is not the first alternate shop who has treated me this way.

I shed two tears.

I then proceeded to another shop a hundred miles away, because this had to be fixed. When I approached this mechanic, I pleaded with him to listen to me as a driver, not as a female. He did! I had only uttered about 3 sentences when he diagnosed the repairs that were needed. he then asked a few questions, which I answered, and we were in business. The bad part is that the parts have to be ordered as they were not in stock. So hopefully, my truck will be fixed next week when the parts arrive, but we have still not decided which shop will do the repairs, as this one has limited resources and time.

At least someone paid attention. Now lets just hope that the person who actually fixes it doesn't know the driver is a female, because that could just lead to even more frustration for me.

Sometimes I do actually know what I am talking about, but it is damn near impossible to convince others of this.

How Did He Know?

People assume a lot of things when it comes to Truck drivers. Most of it is of a negative nature, but this is something that doesn't normally affect me.

I have also met many people who are truly grateful for what drivers do and go through with this industry. In fact, it is not only the small children in the backs of cars who want you to blow the horn. I have also encountered many others who will blow their horns and wave with glee when they see little ol me sitting up in that seat, driving my life away. People of all ages and social classes. My favorite is the the grandmotherly type who will point and wave and smile, yanking on her husbands sleeve until he notices me too. They give the biggest smiles and the friendliest waves.

Last night, on my way home, I encountered a vehicle with someone in it who made an assumption that drives me crazy.

On the final stretch of interstate on the home bound journey, there is a construction zone that places the Truckers in the two LEFT lanes. I am cruising in the middle lane with not a care in the world as I start to gain on the car in front of me. I move to the left to make the pass, assuming nothing out of the ordinary. I have 5 miles until my exit. Plenty of time to complete my task. Once I get halfway around the car, they speed up. We ride like this for about 2 miles. Thinking they will slow down, I remain in the left lane, intending to complete the pass, because this car has been unable to maintain a constant speed from the moment I first noticed it several miles back.

Nearing the sign indicating that my exit is looming just a few miles ahead, I turn my blinker on. I assumed that they would do one of two things. 1. Accelerate to give me room behind them or 2. Brake to let me in front of them.

They did neither. With only 2 miles left to go, I begin to slow down in order to fall in behind them, so I can move to the far right lane. At this point there is another Truck now in the middle lane behind the car. I tell the Trucker my intentions and he slows dramatically to allow me room to make my move. The car also slows to match my speed. I brake even harder, and with my blinker still clicking away, so does the car. The Big Truck has given me plenty of room, so I brake even harder and fall in behind the car.

At this point, he slams on his brakes. NOT ONCE, but Twice. This action quickly eliminated any comfort zone I had left for myself while merging in behind him. Thankfully, there had been no vehicles in the far right lane, as I had to quickly dive to the right to avoid hitting the car. I just narrowly missed a collision.

The car then slows down, so he is right beside my cab. Horn blaring and gesturing wildly, he tells me that I am number one, in a not so pleasant manner. I slow even more to let him move on, now running about 20 mph under the speed limit. The other Truck driver moves to the far left to avoid all of this and passes both the car and myself. He then merges back into the right lane, needing to make the exit himself. At this point, the car speeds up and passes both Trucks and gets in the right lane. He then proceeds to slow us down to a crawling 10 miles per hour down the exit ramp, which is rated at 45 and is almost a quarter mile long. He sits at the light and the rest of us turn right.

It is over.

How did this guy know, that I would do everything I could to keep from hitting him. How did he know that I would not just slam into the back of him while he was braking with such frenzy out on the interstate. Why would he assume that I would be able to avoid him. Had I been loaded, we would have needed paramedics to pull him from the wreckage or a crane to upright my truck and trailer.

I am not sure if he thought I was trying to intimidate him, by trying to pass, or signaling a lane change, but if he had been able to maintain a steady speed, I would have just rode behind him. If he had been in the Restricted Truck Lane, this would have never even been an issue. Was he just stupid? Maybe just easily intimidated by 18 wheelers? Did he has a deathwish?

I will never know, but I wish idiots in cars would leave the big trucks alone! We have the capacity (with our size, weight and momentum) to cause death and destruction in mere seconds, and we cannot always react as quickly as you think we should. This guy made an assumption and as a professional Truck Driver, it is my responsibility to make sure he was safe while in my vicinity. I did my job.

I can't wait to see the video....... *sigh*

Oct 4, 2008

I Just Don't Understand...

why some people just choose to be angry all the time. Angry about every little thing....

I personally don't let much affect me in a negative way. We all fuss at some point, and I do my share, I suppose. Ask my dispatch, they think I am always griping about something...Better check myself, because I don't feel like I am. And the things they think I am fussing about, are tiny little issues that I make snarky comments about. I am not happy about coming off this way to them. But I question how much of this is really me being whiny, because a few of the topics are seen in the reverse of what I would have said....

Take for instance, this week's routing.. It is mixed up in such a way, that I will do good to be unloaded by Wednesday. I had a frustrated look on my face and was asked what was wrong....

"This is all backwards, why would you do this?"

I was told that this is the way I had previously requested it, so they were trying to accommodate me. ??? Now I am confused. The person who regularly routes my trip has fallen into a pattern that works perfectly, unless an unusual delivery is added. Such as throwing a NJ delivery in the middle of my NYC drops.... Otherwise, it is a perfect route...It was changed this week, for my benefit. But it will add much more time and some miles to complete it this way. So it is definitely not benefiting me. The route planner (this week) swears that I requested this.

I think I would know....But, maybe I am becoming forgetful? I don't think I would deliberately request to sabotage my own load. And the Loading Supervisor agreed with me, that this route should not have been planned this way. Hopefully, I can work around it and delivery it in the manner I am accustomed too, but since the freight is loaded backwards, that could be a huge obstacle for me....

They felt like I was complaining about nothing and I would be home as always, by Wednesday night. I hope so!!

But I digress.....

My intended topic featured the antics of Mr. T. He occasionally chooses a NorthEastern run, which results in my preferred route being taken away from me. He was "banned" from running Florida a while back for causing a major scene with some of our Sunshine State Customers.

Now, he has done it again. But this time it does benefit me. He caused a scene at one of our PA customers and will not be going back. That means my run is safe, unless he decides to head into NYC, which is unlikely.

At the beginning of the week, I meet him at the plant and had noticed that the pick-ups he was supposed to make had been added to my route, instead of his. So, I casually mentioned that he might want to make sure he had long pants with him, as he might be sent into Ravenswood to pick up, because I had his pick ups on my load. This was a slight jab at him, but I meant nothing by it. A few weeks ago, he was sent into Ravenswood for a pick-up. He was wearing shorts! Strictly against policy at this customer. He was told he couldn't load until he changed his clothing. He requested that OUR company be responsible for purchasing him some jeans, since it was a customer demand.....How Stupid!! Of course he was denied the reimbursement, and he magically found some long pants in his truck...This has been policy for years and he knew it before he ever went in there.......

So, I jabbed.....He then starts ranting and raving about unfair policies and practices and just kicks up a bunch of dust about nothing at all.

BUT, he then tells dispatch that I am angry about the pick-ups. I am not sure to what degree he elevated my anger in his portrayal to them, but supposedly I was absolutely livid.

The pick-ups did not bother me at all....I gained a few miles, some stop pay, and didn't have to wait. Why would I complain about that?

I just don't understand why he is sooooo angry. But then to look at the beginning of this post, I guess I could come off that way too.

Yeah, I think I better check myself. I thought I was making suggestive comments, but could it really be perceived as anger and bitching.................. The guys in the office make me feel that way.

I think from now on, I will keep all comments to myself. ALL COMMENTS.....because the ones I thought were harmless, apparently are not.

Oct 3, 2008

At Least I Got Paid

This week, after finishing my delivery route, I was offered the opportunity to make some quick easy extra income...

The objective was to supply a new account with plenty of empty trailers. My goal was to move as many trailers as I could from Duncan, South Carolina to Greenville, Tennessee.

So, for two days, I shuttled empty trailers north, and bob tailed back south.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself, as the route carried me through the mountains, and I love the mountains, especially with no loaded trailers.

The route paid 140 miles in each direction, but the first trip took nearly 190. Remember, it is through the mountains. Lots of restricted roads!!! I had asked several people the best way to get there, resulting in the longer route. I stumbled upon a shorter route and was thrilled with the drive. I love a good skinny scenic route. I was told of yet another route, but it was restricted. Not sure what the restriction was for, I opted for the second route.

After spending 2 days moving trailers, I was wore out. When I finally dropped my last trailer, I meet up with three company drivers who were picking up the trailers I had just dropped and taking them......

back south, to a location that was only 100 miles from where I picked them up.


Oh well, at least I got paid for my endeavors.... and I great some great video footage that I will post shortly.

The drivers who picked up my trailers where headed back south on the restricted route, so I decided to follow them. I was bobtail, after all, so I was no longer apprehensive about running this road. Surely, if they are pulling trailers along this route, I am legal to drive it too.

We did find out what the restriction was.....Nothing longer then 60 foot. Glad I didn't attempt it with a trailer, but it was such a fun road...Kiss your arse curves through the mountains....


I want to live in the mountains......

Truckers Gone Wild

A few months ago, it happened. I was caught on tape.. Video Tape.

Driving my Big Rig.

My Boss calls to tell me that he has received a video of me driving down Mont Eagle at excessive speeds in an offensive manner.

What me???? Are you sure? Actually, when he told me about this, I knew exactly what incident he was referring too!. I remembered it with crystal clear perception, or so I thought.

He told me I was filmed at a rate of 70+ mph .... That is LUDICROUS....

Anyone who knows this area will tell you that if you flew down this mountain, you would most assuredly lose your driving privileges and be placed underneath the jail. It just isn't done. Law enforcement pays particularly close attention to this stretch of interstate with its lower speed limits, and high volume of accidents. It is a 6% descent. not bad. It is a 55 mph zone for autos, and a 45, 35, 25 mph zone for Trucks depending on the weight of the load. It has, I believe, 3 runaway truck ramps.

But before I get ahead of my is my recollection of the event.

I was pulling an empty trailer across Mont Eagle. There was a loaded flat bedder following me. As we approached the descent, there were slower moving vehicles I was trying to get around because the lanes are restricted on the downhill swing. I was speeding..I will admit that! I was trying to adhere to the 55 speed limit, because I was empty. And YES, the posted speed limit for Trucks is 45mph.... There was a SUV that kept hovering near my trailer. He was in the way, almost the whole way down the hill.


I defend my innocence.. I believe he had his speedometer re calibrated to show an increase in speed. The Boss said I was wrong, it was on tape and he invited me to view it.

So, that it was I did today.

What I saw is as follows...

At the beginning of the video, the guy shows his speedometer near 75 mph on top of the mountain... He is a quarter mile behind me, racing to catch up.... My speed was not 75......I was not racing to catch anyone.....So, it was not I who was speeding in a 55 zone.

Next we see me in the left lane, passing slower heavier trucks before the descent. He shows me to be doing about 60....I will agree with that. I was trying to get ahead of the slower vehicles because the lane restriction was looming just ahead, and I was required to be in one of the two right lanes....Yes, I was speeding, but not 75 mph......My truck is governed at 68 and could not do 75 on flat land...

We start down the hill, and you can very clearly see other Big Trucks pulling away from me...If I was doing 75, then those other Trucks were in excess of 80..... WRONG....He finally shows me running at about 57-60 mph...I will agree to that.

He also comments on how I had to slow down for the Police Officers, because I knew I was speeding.. I was actually not concerned about the Police Officers pulling me over. Because I am a shameless Daredevil, hell bent on reeking havoc on the roadways in an excessively fast and destructive manner... NO, I was not concerned about them because I was not doing 75 like some people seem to think. I was concerned about the SUV who was hovering at my trailer and constantly in the way. So, I did accelerate and brake in several attempts to get away from him.

All the while, other vehicles are continuing to descend the mountain at a quicker speed than myself.....

Finally, we reach the bottom of the decline, and as a general rule.....When you see the elevated speed limit sign, you "let it roll" Most Truckers would agree. No need to hold it back any longer, the speed limit is about to increase. The newly increased speed limit is 70............

So, he films me making the final descent and this time he does record me doing in excess of 70.....(about 73).In plain view of the increased speed limit sign, but he makes a snarky comment about how the limit has not increased just yet, and I am clearly out of my mind....Okay, I ad libbed that part, but he does point out the sign.....What he doesn't show you is the broken down big truck on the shoulder of the road, or my desire to get into the left lane to give this disabled vehicle plenty of room for safety's sake. BUT... there is an SUV hovering at my trailer who will not get out of the way to let me over...Plus there is another Big Rig behind me who is loaded and the last thing I want to do is make him slow down after heating up his brakes for the past 7 miles...Wrong time to be brake-checking a Big Truck. SO, YES..... I let it an attempt to get around the SUV, to clear up room for the disabled the bottom of the Mont..

But I am wrong....on so many levels....I am wrong....

I will defend my innocence until the grave....I was not flying down the mountain....It is clear in my mind, and ON VIDEO.....

It just infuriates me..........The asshole filming me was putting traffic at a higher elevated risk of danger by blocking the flow of traffic and hovering beside me. I was targeted and it clearly shows me that you can be incriminated for just about anything, as long as you present it in a certain way....

So forget all the obvious signs that this was overly exaggerated to show my reckless behavior....yeah, those other vehicles driving off ahead and leaving me in the dust were just a figment of my imagination, even though they were on film....And forget about me trying to give a disabled vehicle a little extra room, but could not because some guy in an SUV had to hover in order to get good video footage of me.....

In fact, the only thing you need to remember is that I am one crazy lunatic truck driver with a reckless streak a mile wide and I will run you over for the sheer entertainment value of it.

Bite Me JackAss.......

The Man of My Dreams.....

While traveling eastbound along I-40, through what is simply known as The Gorge to us Easterners, the following conversation took place.

"Watch out, there are a bunch of peanuts in the road......"

Me: Did you say Peanuts?

At this point another unfamiliar voice boomed out over the airwaves.....


Me: Jelly

and in response


Me: What do you mean, you got nothing?

The unfamiliar voice then went on to state that he believed I was indeed his soul mate. He knew from my one word response Jelly, that I was the perfect mix of trucker, female and clown all wrapped up in one nice tiny package.

But then, the fantasy was shattered, as another driver remarked, " It would never work!! You (the unfamiliar voice) are headed west and she (me) is going east. There is no place to turn around for 30 miles....It just isn't meant to be"

Sadly, we both continued our predetermined directions, and faded out of site.....

I was so close to meeting the man of my dreams........soooo close.

Peanut... PeanutButter... Jelly.... Did you get the reference? Not to be confused with Peanut Butter Jelly Time..... Just so you know.

I am still unsure as to why we were supposed to fear the peanuts laying in the road, which I never saw......

The Gorge is a stretch of Interstate 40 running through western North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee. It is nestled in the heart of the Pisgah National Forest and is part of the mountainous area known as the "eastern Grand Canyon". I have never called it the Eastern Grand Canyon, that is just what the interwebs tell me.......But I do have a video or two....

Stay Tuned.

Sep 20, 2008

Vertically Challenged

I love being short. I really do. I think it is a big part of my personality.

It has never really hindered my ability to do anything, although it has made somethings a little more difficult to accomplish. But it has never stopped me.

Yesterday I posted that my legs have been aching lately , and actually, I do know the reason why. It is because I am short!!


Yes, it is because I am built closer to the ground. This is a problem I have faced throughout my entire trucking career, but I have always managed to adjust.

When I first started driving, I had troubles reaching the fuel, brake and clutch. So, to accommodate, I strapped 4x6" wooden blocks onto the controls. By the time I got my second truck, I had learned to position myself in the seat to be able to reach the pedals. That first Truck, actually left my legs black and blue with bruises from the edge of the seat cutting into the backs of my thighs. It looked like someone was beating me on a regular basis.

I have found over the years that most trucks have seats that will adjust to fit my needs, and more and more Truck manufacturers are designing Big Rigs to be user friendly for people of all shapes and sizes. For example, the typical seat in a VOLVO will place me under the dash so I can indeed reach the pedals, the only problem with that is that the base of the seat itself is so high, that I cannot get low enough for comfort. Therefore, all though I am close enough, the seat itself presses into the backs of my thighs whilst I try to reach the floor or brake or fuel pedal, which is all the time!! And it cause my legs to be achy, cutting off my circulation.

The first time I ever drove a Volvo was quite amusing. My truck was a Peterbilt, and it was too long to get into a particular dock in OKC. So the broker I worked for, let me borrow one of their company trucks. A daycab volvo. While driving down the interstate to get back to the customer, I got some pretty strange looks from people. You see, every time I would hit a joint in the road, I would bounce inside the truck and mash on the accelerator..... Vrroooommmm Vrroooooommmmm vrrooooommmmmm... Which of course it about every 20 feet on the concrete surface. A police officer riding beside me decided he would see what I was up to. When I explained the situation, he let me go but not before laughing at my expense!! He had also tried to move the seat for me, but no adjustment would help.

For the past 9-10 months I have been driving one such Volvo, but had no problems with the seat adjustment. The air controls in the seat were broken and the little bags looked like squishy brains hanging out of the side of it. But I was comfortable!!! Then, after having exhaust leaks for 2 months, my boss decided to put me back into my original truck from a year ago. This thing had problems from day one, but seemed to have had all the kinks worked out of her. The day I got back in her, my legs went numb!! It has a perfectly good seat with all controls working, the little bags make her seat up high, which is no good for me! I have been in pain and uncomfortable ever since.

Sep 19, 2008

Week In Review

Thankfully, the chaotic behavior of motorists I have been witnessing recently has subsided. How ever, the gravitational pull of the full moon continued to invade my personal space.

After having run somewhat locally the past few weeks, I was happy to get back to New England. The drive seemed longer than it use to be, but everyone was happy to see me.

Monday night, I was resting up in the bewitching town of Salem, Massachusetts with the Full Moon gazing down upon me ever so intently. This customer is located near the harbor and the view is exceptional. That night, while tucked away safely in my sleeper, not only did my refrigerator stop working (losing about $25.00 worth of food), but my CB also decided to take a dive. And here I thought I was all safe and secure, avoiding the pull of the moon!

Not only that, but I lost my cell phone! With all my numbers in it! I do not have a single number written down anywhere, and due to the convenience of modern technology, I have not taken the time to memorize any of them either. To top it off, the battery was dead, so I couldn't call myself to pinpoint its location. Okay, lost is not such a good choice of wording. Misplaced is better, because the phone was within 5 feet of me at all times. I searched everywhere umpteen dozen times, and not until I got home and decided to wash my truck bedding, did I find that little bugger nestled up inside my pillow ??

In other news..... I did manage to get some running in this week. My knees have been aching something terrible for the past few months, and I cannot for the life of me figure out why. Maybe, it is a lack of running, being too sedentary? I just decided to overlook it and trudge along anyway. And I am so glad that I did. I remember now, why it is that I enjoy a nice brisk jog with the wind in my face. Because it cleanses the mind!!!!

Not much else to report. Maybe something exciting while drop out of the sky....

Sep 12, 2008

More Mayhem.....

and the saga continues....

I checked the calendar and the full moon is still a few days away, but it seems that the gravitational pull has affected a few more Truckers already....

I ran a short haul last night and on my way home this morning, I witnessed a few more "could have been avoided" occurrences.

~4. A jack-knifed Big Truck....Usually this is the result of poor driving conditions or erratic maneuvers involving other motorists. But NO!! This fellow was jack-knifed because after he slide his tandems at the truck stop, he forgot to lock his pins back into place....For those who don't know, the pins lock the sliding tandems into a carriage mounted underneath the trailer. The tandems slide in order to be able to adjust the weight of the load on each axle. So, after he left, he hit the brakes and they were obviously working very well. Well enough to indeed rip the tandems from underneath the trailer and send it sliding in a wide arc, blocking the freeway ramp!!

~5. A flatbed overturned in the median!! He has a big single coil of steel, probably weighing about 20 tons or better. The ones I hauled were usually about 42, 000, so that is my guesstimate.
He had it secured to his trailer using only 4" straps......A lot of them, but still.......My obvious problem with this is that it is completely illegal to haul a 40,000 pound steel coil with canvas straps.. It has been awhile, but I think you are actually required to use one chain/binder per every 5,000 pounds of weight....Well, something like that anyways... All it took was for that coil to shift a few inches and the trailer immediately begin to flip....The coil itself was shot through the median and came to rest just inches from on-coming traffic.

and finally

~6. While getting fuel, I noticed an Big Truck's horn ringing out a warning. I looked to see what the disturbance was, when I noticed that the Trucker toot toot tooting his horn was actually trying to clear traffic so he could exit the truck stop. He was sitting at the exit trying to cross over a four lane highway. After becoming impatient he then decided to dive out into traffic while blowing his horn in hopes traffic would stop for him....and it did......With smoking tires and squalling brakes, 3 cars slide to a stop to allow the USA TRUCK to cross the highway.... I have no idea what this guy was thinking, but I bet you he would have regretted this decision had he decapitated the occupants of any one of those vehicles....

Normally, I cringe at the moves that four-wheelers make, and I really should not engage in Trucker bashing, but I cannot for the life of me understand some of the idiotic decisions being made on our roadways. In ten years as a Truck Driver, I have only been involved in ONE accident..and it could not have been avoided..Even the Smokey remarked on what an excellent job I did to maintain control and not hurt anyone including myself....

I will be in NYC when the Full Moon shows his little cheesy head! At least there, I already know what to expect!!

So do me a huge favor, and do not force me to blog about your next stupid move, cuz I will do it!!

Sep 11, 2008

Stupid Truck Drivers

Yes, you read that right!!

I am bashing truck drivers in this here rant, but if they would just behave, well, then, I wouldn't have too!!

I admit that I am not the most well behaved Truck Driver at all times, but I like to think I handle myself very well for the most part!

~ 1. There is a back road that I travel frequently while running local deliveries that has been under construction for quite a while now. They are rerouting the roadway to eliminate the use of a very skinny bridge that is probably about to collapse anyway, with all the truckers having discovered this route. But for now, the bridge is still in use. It is approximately 200 feet long and no more than 19 feet wide.
Normally when two Truckers meet on this stretch of road, one gives the other time to clear the bridge before proceeding across it. A lot of side mirrors have been destroyed on this bridge. Even the cars will give the trucks time to cross before attempting to pass!!
So, as I make my way towards the bridge, I notice an approaching Truck. I am going to make the crossing first, as I am visibly closer. Did I mention it is in a 35mph zone? So, I notice this guy is not going to give me any room and continues to accelerate towards me. I am now in the middle of the bridge when he enters from the other side with five tires in my lane.....
It is possible to make the crossing at the same time, if both drivers use caution, but this guy was not!! This is the point where if I had an older Truck, I would have reached out the window and tucked my mirror in, but the big plastic mounts won't budge!!
He continues in my lane, making the pass with a thud!! as our mirrors make slight contact. Not enough to do any damage to mine, but it did scare the crap out of me. AND, my right tires are scrapping the curbing of the 18" tall concrete guard rail, that would not have prevented me from cascading into the 10' ravine had he been any closer!
I then asked him over the airwaves if he "just got out of school yesterday?" But I will not publish his reply!! So, "Thanks a bunch JAMES R SMITH TRUCKING!! I hope your mirror falls off now!!" We had one of our trucks lose a mirror and driver side window on this same bridge 2 years ago!!

~ 2. While travelling through Indiana this week, I happened to notice one of those RED TRUCKS ( crete, knight, usxpress) wobbling and weaving back and forth in the roadway...Every time I would get close to his trailer, he would bobble into my lane....GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR....I finally saw an opportunity to get around him and I mashed on it....Continuing on my merry way, I looked in the mirrors and happen to notice him driving off into the ditch....NO! I did not cause him to run off the road......But him playing with his dash mounted laptop might have had something to do with it!

~ 3. Another wobbling Truck in Indiana caught my attention a few miles down the road. But this guy really had it bad. Instead of making nice gradual merges in and out of lanes, he was literally yanking his truck from side to side. Had he been loaded, I am sure he would have rolled it! Once again, I am pacing myself behind him! Then out of nowhere, he hits the brakes hard and jerks it onto the shoulder. There were two other trucks behind him and we all had to scatter to avoid a collision. The shoulder looked to be about 7' wide with a concrete wall. He was hanging out into the right lane a good foot or so!! When asked if he was okay or needed help, he replied "I missed my exit!"
The next thing you know, the CB comes alive with remarks being made about the stupid CELADON driver that is backing down the interstate! Sure, the next exit might have been 5 miles down the road, or even 20, but there are so many things wrong with what he was trying to do!

So, to each of you fellows, I appreciate your help in keeping the BAD Truck Driver reputation alive and well!!

Freaking idiots!! Rant Over.....

Sep 4, 2008

Tiny Trucker

Just a little video I put together with the help of my wonderful niece and a few of my YouTube Buddies!! Hope You Enjoy!!

Aug 30, 2008

Would Someone Please Shoot Me

Man oh man, what a fun filled day I have had.....

It all started on Sunday really, by taking the Ohio Route.. I did really well with it and made excellent time getting home.

I have got soooo many things going on right now and decided I could use some extra cash, so I volunteered to work Friday and Saturday.....

I was supposed to deliver a Tuscaloosa Friday morning, but the loading crew couldn't get it ready, so I ended up delivering it that afternoon....I wasn't really prepared to waste the whole day on this trip, but I did get almost two full days at the house before taking off with it.

I was then dispatched on a new account we are trying to pick up... My Boss tells me to head down to Columbus on Friday for an 8:30 am pick-up and then proceed to the coast for delivery...

Around 8pm Thursday night I receive a phone call saying my appointment had been changed to 6am... I am not so much a morning person, but with a 6am appointment....I had to get up and moving by 4am.....4 AM......

I make it on time, sitting at the dock by 6am, but then had to wait until 8am to make the run.....Grrrrrrrrr!!!

So, I head out and make it 78 miles before losing most of my braking power...Nearly blew through a red light, but I managed to get it stopped...I just couldn't get it rolling again afterwards..So, I spent the next hour making phone calls and checking for air leaks and inspecting brakes.... Could not find anything wrong..... Finally noticed my air line (pig tail) was kinked... Grrrrrrrr!! Problem solved.

Make it to the delivery, which was 350 miles north of the Coast by lunchtime....Couldn't get in the gate. Rang every buzzer to be found, waited, buzzed, waited, buzzed...No phone number on the bills and it is Saturday, so no one in the office.... Grrrrrrrr...

I did manage to have lunch with my Brother.....

You know what, I am sitting here reading this and I hate it when people fuss......So, enough said!! I think it might be time to schedule a little vacation.

Okay, another vacation!!