Jul 26, 2010

The Long Road Ahead

So I took Seabiscuit out for a "getting to know you" trot up in New England last week. I know, New England, right...

Or maybe you didn't know. I have not been to the North East in over 2 months.

Seabiscuit is the spare truck I took into the mid-west a few weeks ago, the one with the leaking coolant sensor. The one that put me on the side of the Interstate last Sunday. Because I do not hardly ever trust the Stooges diagnosis, I was prepared for the worst. After "repairing" the leaking fill cap, I managed to make my round of deliveries and decided to take some extra time off in Connecticut.

Okay, I didn't just decide, it was actually planned out in advance. You see, I have spent a great deal of time casually running into my favorite bedbugger (that would be a household mover, for those not in the know). And really, it was not too casually either. Well planned, in advance, "Fancy meeting you here, giggle~giggle" kind of casual.

So back to relaxing in Connecticut... I arrived early, and he was destined to show up mid-afternoon. After enjoying dinner and spending some time playing games with his 10yr old son, I decided it was time to hit the dusty trail. I had been keeping an eye on the coolant levels, but after the cap repair, it seemed all was well. That is until I decided to leave. We noticed a large puddle under the truck and sure enough, another leak had sprung. This time it was the line flowing from the reservoir to the radiator. The clip which holds it in place had stretched and was allowing a steady stream to poor from the innards of Seabiscuit. Grrrrrr !! I had already stayed longer than I should, but my Knight in Shining Chrome grabbed some supplies, climbed under the hood and made emergency repairs to get me safely home... Swoon !! You just have to love Zip Ties.

Upon arrival back at the ranch, I promptly wrote up that the sensor was still leaking....

Errr, um, I wrote up the real issues and was pleasantly surprised to find both repairs were made, 2 other repairs were acknowledged and there was even a promise of replacing some of the surface damages.

Maybe I should cut the mechanics some slack? Not in a minute.. I think the only reason the repairs were made is because I was able to pinpoint the exact problem and request the parts on my own.

Next week, I will tackle an air leak, seal leak, and the APU.

Jul 21, 2010

The Ending Of An Era

You may or may not be aware that in the past 3 years , I have been almost at my wits end with this series of Volvo trucks provided for us by the Company.

The first truck, Maggie, had an exhaust leak that I endured for nearly two years. It was never found, and was presumed to be a result of my sensitive snout. After becoming disoriented not once, but twice, I finally convinced the shop to issue me an alternate truck...

That is where Frankentruck entered the picture. I was ecstatic to claim him, but it did not take long to realize I had just swapped one problem for many more. The first being a suspension issue. The second being a mildew issue which caused me to be sick for nearly a year and a half. And amongst other smaller concerns, the third major issue was the discomfort my body was subjected to by the driver's seat. Numb legs were the first symptoms, but it quickly escalated to sever joint pain in both my knee and hips, plus a constant inflamed sciatic nerve. Needless to say, I have not been a happy camper for much of the past 3 years, but I have persevered.

Well, it is time to say goodbye to Ol Frankentruck. I just cant deal with him anymore. After driving 3 different trucks in one week and discovering that ONLY mine rode rough, only mine caused physical discomfort, only mine created instantaneous congestion...I decided to give him up. The mechanics AND the corporate monkeys are all fairly positive that all my problems are a figment of my imagination... I suppose I am only highly imaginative in my own truck, as the other two had none of the same problems.

...but I digress. This is not a post about the inadequacies and failures of my Stooges.

This is an Announcement Post !!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you....


Looks just like Maggie or Frankentruck, doesn't he? I have named him based on the fact that he is a little truck with a big heart. He pulls fairly well, doesn't struggle too much and gallops in near perfect rhythm...Not too mention, his saddle is a good fit for me. But he is a little beat up !!

I really hate to drive a piece of equipment that has damages, but I think that physical comfort is more important, so I will embrace him for the little truck he is, scars and all !!

Jul 18, 2010

Full STEAM Ahead

I really want to blog.... I really, really do. In fact, my intentions were to get a few saved up posts published tonight for you to read. Pretty good stuff, actually.

But, after spending more than an hour and a half sitting in a back-up on 81 due to an accident, and then another hour or so on the shoulder of I-78....

Well, you get the idea. I am too pooped and with my first delivery scheduled tomorrow morning in the Bronx, I really need to de-stress and get some sleep

Oh, yeah, sitting on the shoulder of Interstate 78, you ask.

The truck I am driving this week has been written up for the past 5 weeks for a coolant leak. This is not my beloved Frankentruck. This is a spare. The write-ups were addressed by simply topping off the fluid. I drove this truck last week and also requested the repair. I was informed that the only thing wrong with this truck was the coolant sensor..

Oh yeah? Then why do I actually have to add coolant?

So, after about 600 miles into my trip, the sensor begins to indicate that my fluid levels are low. By 850 miles, the levels have dropped to critical and the engine shut down. I was able to coast to a stop on the shoulder where I let the old boy cool off as I searched for his malfunction. I checked clamps, fittings and hoses. Could not find the source of the leak as everything was wet, everything was stained, EVERYTHING !! I topped him off and proceeded to my destination, but the sensor was triggered again. This time I was able to get into a rest area and do a more thorough search.

Thanks to a quick phone call, it was suggested to me that perhaps the fill cap itself was stripped out because the moisture seemed to be coming from the top.... Ah ha!! So after donning a roll of electricians tape and wrapping the mouth of the reservoir, I was able to continue forward on my journey. I managed to use the tape just as a plumber would by insulating the threads of the cap... You would have thought that after 5 weeks, the mechanics would have figured that one out, but they insist that it must be coming from the overflow tube (where there are no signs of leakage). That is after trying to convince me that it is only a sensor problem.

This saved the day and hopefully my week, but I will be sure to let the Stooges know that the sensor is leaking again.... as if....LOL

You know, today was not so bad. Minor roadside repairs are and will always be a part of my job. But the level of frustration I feel when something like this happens is another story. This truck was written up for the leak five weeks in a row.. I should never have had to made the repair on the side of the Interstate !! But, then I would have not been able to make my deliveries either...

I am committed....or maybe I should be committed...

Jul 11, 2010

Crane, Crane... Take Me On Out Of This Town

So, what have you missed?

The past month, I have given up on flatbedding...

GASP !! No, I did not quit my job or get fired. I have in fact been pulling the Crane Trailer.

It is a pleasant change for me and as with everything else, I find a certain satisfaction in operating the crane, almost like playing with a new toy. There are however a few downsides to running the Crane. Number One being that during the summer, I am enclosed in an unventilated trailer for hours and it feels like a sauna. Within minutes, I am drenched in sweat...

Lucky for me, most of my customers are quick to make sure I have everything I need, such as plenty of water and Gatorade. I have had a few close calls where the crane would come off the tracks, rendering the task at hand to become stalled. Some quick work with the forklift and I am set to proceed with the unloading process.

There are plenty of opportunities for this trailer to cause mayhem for my work schedule. Any malfunction could send me home with a half loaded trailer... One such instance occurred last week.

You see, the Crane is controlled with a single battery powered remote control. There use to be a controller that plugged into the crane itself, but that has long since been removed from the trailer. Not sure why that was done, but I don't feel it was a very educated decision. So, with the single remote, not only do I have to worry about the actual crane, but a remote malfunction can send me packing as well.

Last week, at my first stop, the inevitable happened. While un-securing the crane, the remote was knocked down in amongst my load. Having fallen behind 5000 lbs of metal, against a wall, 4 ft below me, I begin to feel the first frustrations of the week. With much determination and struggling, I was able to retrieve the ONLY means by which I could offload my freight. But not before suffering a few minor injuries. Trust me, it is very hard to scurry into tight spaces with razor sharp edges at every corner and not come out with some blood loss.

It was not the struggle to retrieve the remote control that caused my angst. In fact, it is the decision of the Boss' to have only one remote available to me. There are a total of SIX remote controls for this trailer, but the Boss' have decided that a cabinet drawer in Georgia, is the best place to store the remaining FIVE. I had asked for a spare remote the previous week, but was denied. So after this little incidence occurred, I immediately called and ask for a reprieve. I explained how unfortunate it would be if I had to return to the plant with a loaded trailer because of a slight remote malfunction. The Boss, not sensing the true nature of my predicament, remarked that they could always send me one via Fed-Ex if that happened again. HAR DE HAR HAR..... Seriously folks, they would rather store the extra remotes in a locked drawer and ship one out to me, than just allow an extra one to ride along in the trailer.. Funny Stuff, but then nothing surprises me when it comes to the new bosses.

It has been a good month, and even with the blood, sweat and tears, I have really enjoyed pulling the crane. I do tend to get a little bruised up, so I try not to make it a habit to pull it too often.

after a typical unload....

And as an added bonus, I think I will throw in a little public service announcement at this point.


This is what my load looked like after another semi pulled off the shoulder of the highway directly in front of me. He was moving at about 10mph when he lurched into traffic. I was rolling along above 65mph. Thankfully, the fella beside was paying attention and let me have the left lane. But because of the sudden swerve to the left, my load fell over... Had I not swerved, I would not be here to tell you about it. Had the fella beside me not been paying attention, there could have been a major catastrophe. I did publicly chastise the driver of the other truck for making such an asinine decision. To this, he only remarked about silly women drivers, and a few other choice lewd remarks. Geeez, I love steering wheel holders...

All is well, that turns out well. It is a great big world, with lots of exciting stuff going on. Pay attention people, it could be my life you are saving. And on that note, I think I will take the convertible out for a ride....

Jul 8, 2010

Please Enjoy The Music While Your Party is Being Reached...

Hey Kids, just wanted to stop in and let you know I will be back.

In fact, tomorrow I am actually having the Interwebs piped directly into my new home. I have been living on insufficient signal for far too long, and well, I have missed blogging!

Lots of things have happened in the past few months and hopefully I will be able to get everyone caught up on the going's on in the life of this here Little Trucker, that is...if you are still interested!

Thanks so much for stopping by...