Sep 26, 2010

Final Test ( of the day )

Hmmm, maybe if I have text between the pictures ??

Perhaps, then it will align correctly ??

Final test !! Picture Placement
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TEST ~ picture placement

Just a quick test to see if I can center the picture... Had to edit the html, a language I know nothing about !!

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Gravy Run .... Take 3

TEST ~ embedding

Phew, I think I need a nap. Lets hope it worked!!
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Gravy Run ~ the video

As promised in the previous post !!

TEST ~ embedding

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Gravy Run

Just another test...

Lately I seem to be working less.. Lately I seem to be working harder. I have been spending more time "off duty" while in the truck and less time at home. It is all that bedbugger's fault!

While I am still doing the same route, I am finding myself lucky enough to locate the Big White Volvo parked somewhere en route to my home. After spending quality time with my handsome bedbugger, I race home to grab another short load and finish my week.

This week is was the Gravy Run...

I start out by hauling a load of logs !!

I swap it for a load of scrap 100 miles away.

The scrap load can be complicated. Flat tires or poorly adjusted brakes are usually the issue, but this week the load was slightly over size. Standing at about 14'6", I had to try and shake it down to make it legal. No problem if you can find a parking lot full of nice sized potholes.

It is an easy run. After swapping for the load of scrap, I head to Tennessee to dump it and drag the empty wagon back to the yard.

In all it takes about 12 hours to complete the circuit, but at $300, it is worth it !!

For those of you new to the blog, I finish with a video I made... "Gravy Run"

Hmmmm, can't figure out how to add the embed the video, so it looks like I have more testing to do !!

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Shiney !!

Finally took the time to get Ol Seabiscuit professionally polished up.

He looks good, now all I have to do is keep him clean and shiney. I was disappointed with the polisher because I have some new scarring in the tanks that can't be removed, but it is only a company truck...
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Sep 13, 2010

A Little Vaseline, Please

Today just happens to be one of those days where I unknowingly will be able to test out my driving skillz.

My second drop of the morning was in Washington, North Carolina. This customer has a bad habit of filling the parking lot with lots of random pallets of stuff, making it difficult to turn around. The more they scatter, the harder I work. This is the normal routine. But today, they caught me off guard. There would be NO turning around inside the gate today.

Parked right in the middle was this lovely dumpster.

So, I had to back out of the gate

And back out of the parking lot. Could not make the swing to the right because of the grade and angle of the street. I did not want to rip my exhaust pipes off the truck.

I had to continue backing until I reached the county road about a quarter of a mile behind me. And then a nice blindside back into traffic to get front and center once again. But these are the simple challenges that I love, and not so challenging with barely anyone to blow their horns at me. Makes me miss New York City !!

But this was not so difficult. After I made a few more deliveries, I ended up in Richmond, Virginia. Getting into the customer is a tad bit challenging dodging the cars, chain link fences and telephone poles, but getting out is even better. There is only one way out, and holding ones breath to squeeze through is a requirement !!

First, I have to place my fender against the fence, because I am turning into this alleyway


With literally only a couple of inches to spare, I squeeze through and make a hasty exit back into the streets of Richmond. Dodging more telephone poles just to get back to a nice 4 lane. Who designed this city, anyways ??

I am currently sitting in Ruther Glen, Virginia because I know better than to attempt to make good time riding around the streets of DC in afternoon rush hour. Been there, done that ! After another 3 deliveries tomorrow, I will be heading home. And rumor has it that a handsome bedbugger will be in the area !!

Sep 11, 2010

Modern Technology

This is a test...

This is only a test!!

I have recently decided to step out of my cave and embrace the world of modern technology. Scary, huh? Having purchased my first smart phone, I am like a little kid at Christmas. This test is just to see how simple it might be to blog from my phone in order to keep you fine folks posted on the daily happenings of my existence.

Testing 1 2 3

Looks like I may still need to figure out picture placement... Wish me luck!
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Sep 5, 2010

Texas Two Step

Don't you just love it when life throws you a nice little curve ball. You swing, you swing, you swing...but inevitably you strike out !!

Last weeks load started in Lynchburg, Virginia. After saying my "goodbyes" to a very handsome Bedbugger, I headed to the shop to put on my Little Trucker cape.

I am the only driver I know that actually uses a tire pressure gauge to check actual tire pressure. I got in this habit years ago and it has probably saved me a lot of time by avoiding unnecessary blow outs. At least that is my logic. But not today. I checked every tire before I left but, I barely made it through Atlanta when I sent traffic into a frenzy by chunking large pieces of rubber at those who were tailgating me... Bet they wont do that again !!

After sitting roadside for over 4 hours, I managed to make my way into North Carolina and found a suitable camping spot. I prefer to sleep on location of my first delivery, but the delays would have kept me driving until 3am, and I was not going to get much accomplished Monday anyways with the mileage between customers exceeding a normal hop, skip, or a jump. So early to bed, early to rise!!

Once I climbed inside my load, I was deflated when I realized that the masterminds of metal mobility had been hard at work while structuring my load. I no longer question WHY things are done in a certain fashion, but I do become quite impressed with the different techniques they employ to make my week a living nightmare. Each of these bundles are EXACTLY the same length... 14 Feet. I assume they were stagger stacked in order to give the 28' items that were placed on top a better foundation. It did not work!! This picture was taken at my 4th delivery, after I rerouted myself and tried to salvage the bundles that had already fallen into the great abyss. I was determined to deliver the product with as little damage as possible, and that was going to put me behind.

I left Lynchburg, and opted for Stop # 3 next. Williamsport, Maryland. Because I had the crane, I was able to unload myself while the receiver dealt with other trucks. I then made a mad dash over to Baltimore and arrived 15 minutes before closing time. With 20k of material to offload, I was parked for the night.

During Tuesday morning's unload, I found some material that should have been shipped to Atlanta, tucked in amidst my Baltimore freight. I set it aside, and followed the protocol of reporting such mistakes. Baltimore's delivery was going to be short. Ninety minutes after leaving, I received a phone call telling me to go back and pick up some items I had left that did not belong. Grrrrr! How could this have happened, I am pretty good at checking freight. I asked what product it was and Customer Service could not tell me, they suspected it was more Atlanta freight. I want confirmation, damn it!! I did not get it.

Being half way to my next customer, I scheduled my return to Baltimore for Wednesday since it would be on my way home anyways.

Stop #4 was in Ringtown, Pennsylvania. No worries there, except afternoon was rapidly encroaching and I had to make my Scranton delivery before 3pm. I phoned Scranton is an attempt for a reprieve, but was informed that 7am to 3pm was firm. I arrived in Scranton at 3pm and headed straight for the truck stop, knowing the drive thru town would put me at the customer 15 minutes after the mandated closure time. So with another 16 hour break ahead of me, I was able to kick back and relax. This probably helped keep my frustration levels at a minimum, because even with the blown tires, missed deadlines and mis-delivered freight...I was still in a radiant mood and was able to find humor in the turmoil that was encasing my trip.

Bright and early Wednesday morning, I arrived at the Scranton customer with plenty of time to offload myself and wait for someone to come in and check freight at 7am. It was then that I was informed that the receiver had waited yesterday until 5pm for my delivery because he needed to ship the product out yesterday. Huh?? But?? So, in return, I had to wait until 8am for his arrival to check my freight in. Nice....17 hour break due to miscommunication between the office and the warehouse. I had been sitting on me arse, while he was waiting for me, only because 3 pm was confirmed by his receptionist. Oh Joy!!

Moving forward, I reached Stop # 6 and within 10 minutes I was on my way back to Baltimore. From Clifton, New Jersey (#6), I would normally head back towards Interstate 81, as I find it a much more peaceful than 95, but with the mis-deliveries..ugh!!

I made several calls to Baltimore to ensure that someone would be waiting for me at the warehouse. It is a new facility and has not officially opened, so I am at their mercy. Unsure of what I am trying to retrieve, the Baltimore Boss personally meets me and we determine that I never left anything by mistake. The items I set aside the day before were, in fact, the items that my employers sent me back to pick-up. The items that never left my trailer !!

It is 2pm and with Washington DC looming in my windshield, I leave Baltimore without any additional items. Thinking I could clear the Capitol Beltway before rush hour, I start grabbing gears only to find the Anti-Destination League is already in full effect. Traffic is creeping at about 15mph. Knowing I would not have been here, had they given me confirmation the day before on exactly what had been left behind, I begin to feel the first twinges of angst.

...but I am finally on my way home. What should have been an easy 3 day trip, turned into 5. It seemed that for every two steps forward, I was forced to take one step back. And so it is, in my trucking life. Surprisingly, I was able to keep a delightful attitude through it all. Even when I got back to the yard and learned that I will be getting reacquainted with Maggie next week.

Sep 4, 2010

Sight Seeing

So much easier to look at this way! Minnesota Sunset

Shouldn't this guy have an Oversize Load sign ?

Typical Florida Thunderstorm

Artwork at Regional Airport in Owatonna, Mn