Oct 26, 2010

Mohawk Indian Trail

This week has gotten off to a rather lazy start. But after last week, I need to relax a little.

Sunday found me sitting in a Driver's Meeting, the first I have attended in over 2.5 years. I find them to typically be repetitive and full of useless information so I generally opt to be out of town each time one is being held. This one was absolutely mandatory, so much in fact, they scheduled my deliveries for Tuesday rather than Monday. Grrrr!

After the meeting, I retired to the house as I was feeling very little motivation to do any Trailer Truckin. I did manage to make it to Virginia that evening but only because I have bills to pay. Monday was pretty much the same. Still no desire, but I made good time getting to North Adams, Massachusetts. As soon as I left the Mass Pike, I lost all phone services for 14 hours. It was bliss. Too bad it couldn't have happened earlier.

So Tuesday is the new Monday and I was anxious to get my first stop delivered. As soon as I emptied out, I was to ride the Mohawk Indian Trail towards Haverhill, Ma for my second delivery. This is by far one of my absolute favorite stretches of asphalt.

Upon reemerging into civilization and cell phone service, I was tempted to toss the phone out the window and find another two lane. My job is typically high pressure, with numerous deliveries and primarily staying along the eastern seaboard. I seem to have forgotten the pleasurable indulgences that Mother Nature provides. I don't get to do too much scenic viewing. Today's trip thru the Berkshires has once again stirred up the old longing to head west... To lighten my schedule and relax the pace a little... To get lost...

Oct 13, 2010


I have seen a lot during the course of my driving career. But just when you think you have seen it all, someone will surprise you.

Yesterday it was a fella in a Jeep. He seemed impatient to get through the hordes of slower traffic. He came around me and was blocked by 7 vehicles spread out in 2 lanes. Rather than flash his lights, blow his horn, or tailgate...he did not even hesitate as he straddled both lanes and passed all 7 vehicles while riding down the zipper.

I have seen this done with motorcycles, but never in a car. White knuckle moment for sure because I just knew he was gonna hit one of them, but he never flinched. Of course, all the other cars slowed down, putting me even further behind...lol

Ugh, My urge to head west is getting stronger !!

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Oct 11, 2010

What Is, And What Should Never Be

Shaping up to be one of those weeks!!

I left out early enough on Sunday to allow myself time for a few extra breaks. The main goal was to be able to stop and watch a wedding that was being streamed online. Goal accomplished, and Congratulations to Paul and Jennifer !!

But after all the I Do's were said, I was left with a billion miles to fly and darkness encroaching rapidly. I made it to Charlotte just in time to sit with all the patrons of the Panthers game... the clock was ticking.

Upon arriving in Virginia, I was faced with even more delays. Nothing like construction in rural areas with hefty back ups...at midnight.
Throughout all the lane closures and over populated pathways, one thing was consistent. It seemed everyone had forgotten how to drive. I can't tell you how many times I had to zig to someone's zag. Several times I was riding on the rumble strip just to avoid collision. At one point I had to blow the horn to wake another driver up. It was just so frustrating, and I almost made the executive decision to just go ahead and let the next bozo hit me. But my tanks are all shiney now, and I don't have time for the paperwork.

I finally reached my destination just after 2am. Thankful for the reprieve, I greeted Baltimore with renewed enthusiasm today. At least until they started darting around me again. It seems it has been that way all day. Still tempted to just let em hit me, but for now I am safely tucked away amongst the docile diesels, waiting for the sunrise and the challenge of a new day.

Sweeeeet Dreams from Pine Grove, PA
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Deja Vu

This morning I had just pulled out of my first customer when the phone rings.

BOSS : Did the customer tell you they needed you to pick up returns?

ME : No

BOSS : Okay

So I make my way to the next delivery. Later in the afternoon, the boss calls again.

BOSS: I need you to go back to first customer and pick up returns.

Seems like I just experienced this same conversation about a month ago. This time I was only 5 miles away and he didn't inform me then that I needed to make the pickup. No, he waits until I am hours away, meaning I will have to back track and play in DC Traffic again.


Oct 4, 2010

For Safety's Sake

It's Monday night and I am on my way home already. I got lucky this week with a 2 stop New England route. By tomorrow evening, I will have already accumulated 2300 miles. But with long days behind the wheel, comes the potential for too much time to think.

Today found me in an unusually quiet and pensive mood. After watching the industry changes that have taken place over the past 13 years, I feel as though my livelihood is crumbling into chaotic ruins.

There are still many wonderful men and women out on these highways that represent the Concrete Cowboys and Highway Heroes of yesteryear, but more common these days are the folks looking for an easy buck. They bitch and complain about everything. From traffic delays to waiting on loads. And the most common thread that binds these newcomers is the singlemindedness of their actions. They are so intent on themselves, that they forget to take time to look around, to be courteous, to be cautious!!

One common complaint you will hear out on the road, concerns the slower company drivers clustered into the center lane, impeding the flow of traffic. This is one of my big pet peeves. Slower traffic keep right!! By hovering in the middle, they have now caused a rolling road block. The faster trucks are forced to either violate lane restrictions, or pass on the right where merging traffic becomes an issue. Once you are able to get around them, you will most often notice them staring straight ahead. I suppose if they don't acknowledge you, they feel less remorse for such actions.

I seem to be way off on a tangent here, but just bear with me.

They blow through truck stop parking lots and/or fuel islands at ridiculous speeds. They won't accommodate any other motorist, with their "me first" attitude. No concern for safety! Or maybe, just maybe, it is a lack of training?

Now back to the original intent of my post. I think I have solved the safety issues concerning the trucking industry, or at least one of them... How about, instead of the restrictions and regulations that are being heaped upon drivers, in the name of safety, we should make demands that Training Companies actually train the new drivers. Instead of weeks, let's put the potential drivers through months or years of training. Instead of the promise of "free"
training (if you work for the company for a stated amount of time, you owe nothing), let's put a hefty price tag on a long term education. Other certifications take many class credits or years to complete. Why not trucking? Let's actually require the skills to be demonstrated and challenged when taking a skills test. Let's stop making the truck so user friendly that any bozo can drive it. Automatic transmissions?? Please...if you take away all the challenges there once were, you are left with bumbling idiots steering their trailers over other trucks, cars, equipment, poles...blah blah blah!!

I can't tell you how many women I have heard recently admit that they can not back up their trailer. What the hell are you doing in a truck, sister? I do not believe women should be given any advantages based on gender!! It was a man's worlds at one time, but many women have succeeded by jumping in with both feet and learning the skills to be successful. No bitching, no crying...just doing!!

So, it is just my opinion, but if you make it harder to become a truck driver, you will be left with only those who truly have the desire to become a competent operator. And if one works harder to succeed, I believe there is more potential for that person to be cautious, courteous and willing to help a fellow driver. If the highways were full of those types of drivers, these ridiculous restrictions and regulations would not be so necessary!!

Think about it!

You have 2 such incompetent baffoons to thank for this post.

Okay, bitch session over

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Oct 2, 2010

My Favorite Loads...

I have been doing a little computer clean up recently and stumbled upon these pictures. I got a great big laugh out of all the creative ways that my load has been arranged. I know in the past that several of you think I should be able to get better load structure, but that is just not possible. I am out on the road delivering when the next trailer is being loaded, so the only thing that is in my control is how tightly the load is secured. Sometimes, there is just no hope! Since I have been working here for nearly a decade, I am accustomed to the misadventures and they rarely get me down, but sometimes they do absolutely blow my mind.

Therefore I present to you....

My Favorite Loads

It is not as bad as it looks...Okay, may be it is. But it is all part of the job and with some blood sweat and tears, I am usually able to get all material unloaded safely. For more load entertainment be sure to watch my video... Its All Down Hill