Dec 16, 2011

On Your Mark. Get Set..... STOP!!

This week's breakdown officially started Tuesday night around 5pm. On Friday, around 5pm, I received the call that the truck repairs were complete. I personally think 3 full days is a bit ridiculous for a simple oil leak, a hub cap with a leaking gasket, and an exhaust leaking valve replacement. Pesky little O rings must be a pain in the ass to find, as I was told this was the hold up. A steel O ring that fits into a plug was the cause of my oil leak. I am still not sure if oil is what was coating everything under the truck because I have only added 2 gallons in a 2 month period. The shop assured me that it was not a leaking fuel line. At least they steam cleaned everything under the truck so I can keep an eye on it. I have my doubts though.

The boss had saved a load for me to pick up this weekend, so after I retrieved the truck, my intentions were to head towards New York. The first thing I noticed was a tapping noise coming from the area where the EGR shutoff valve was located. The valve that was leaking exhaust into my truck! And the odor was still seeping into the cab. This is the valve they just replaced. I also noticed that my warm dead idle oil pressure was running at about 12-15lbs. This is too low. It really shouldn't run below about 30lbs at a dead idle (sitting still). Next up was the excessive whistling coming from the turbo with a slight flapping sound. The sound of an air boot with a hole developing in it...

Because it is dark and raining, I have decided to wait until the morning to do any  further inspecting. So bright and early, I will determine if I shall return to the shop to check the valve. Because of so much down time this week, if I locate a hole in the boot, I will buy the boot and replace it myself. As for the oil pressure, I hope I make it through this delivery. I have no intention of any more shop time until after Christmas.

I find all of this to be simply ridiculous after 72 hours of downtime... But at least I no longer have to worry about the steer axle hubcap leaking oil.  YAY!!

On a side note, the last load I delivered, one of the dealerships claimed that fluids from my truck had gotten on one of the cars and dissolved the paint. The only corrosive fluids that I can think of that would have done that are brake fluid and battery acid. I don't have issues with either of those.  Pesky dealers will try to get anything over on you. This of course came after he signed off on a clean inspection of the vehicles...

Well, off to bed. I have a ton of things to do in the morning. Grrrrrrrr!!

Christmas Cheer

Sometimes it takes me a little while to get into the spirit of Christmas. This year, I decided to get a jump on it because I would not be home enough to enjoy the normal decorations at home, I decided to decorate the truck!!

Merry Christmas Everyone

Dec 15, 2011

Change of Plans

With Christmas rapidly approaching, I had the brilliant idea that I would shut my truck down during the course of the Holidays in order to get a few more pesky repairs out of my hair. Thinking that this would ensure my home time with family, I have been babysitting a few minor repairs needed on the truck. The Boss half heartedly agreed to my plan.

Guess what, I am now sitting on Day #2 of  Repairs. Not exactly what I had intended. This is probably eating into my home time for Christmas, but I will have a new hub cap, oil leak repair and exhaust leak repair. I was told to stop and check on the one leak, which I was trying to prevent until next week. Day # 2 !!  Exactly the reason that I was stalling. Still to come, a recall on a fuel line and the 60k service, which I understand takes a few days? WHAT??  I guess this is still better than being stranded in Michigan during the Holidays. But I do tend to get a little antsy while waiting around....  And I have more Christmas shopping to do. Doesn't help that I tend to "suffer" a little with seasonal depression. I cannot wait for 2012 to arrive, hopefully with my repair wish list completed and unlimited possibilities for the New Year... Yeah,I am going to own this one. Already have my resolution in mind too, and somewhat excited about it. So before I ramble too much further...

Dec 14, 2011

There's a First Time For Everything

With every first experience, there is an appropriate emotion. In car-hauling, with every "first", there is an appropriate amount of anxiety that follows.

I remember my first solo load of 9 Honda's. I felt so empowered. But I also felt the anxiety of not knowing if I had left enough room to make my turns. Did I really measure the load correctly for height. Did I strap everything tight enough. After leaving out with that first load, I was extremely nervous for the first two hours. I was scared to make a turn, knowing I would hear the crunching of the bumpers between the tractor and trailer. It never happened, and by the time I delivered the cars I was feeling pretty empowered.

With each load, I gain a little more confidence. With each load, I am still learning new techniques. Every single auction load is different and "theory" really plays a major role in how to load. There have been a few times that I was going to be challenged and a vehicle was pulled before I got the opportunity to test myself. I wish I had been given the F350 dually!! The Express Vans would have been nice!! But even the more manageable loads are able to teach me something.

This week, I was given a 8 Ford load which would have been a no brainer, but with 3 dealerships involved, I planned for efficiency. This is the first time I have placed a pick-up over the hood and the height had me nervous. Even though I used the drop pockets, I did not use the lowered chain pockets... Now, I know. This is also the first time I have placed my second unit so far back into the trailer. That had me worried too. Of course, the equipment is built to be used and guys have been doing this for decades. But, to me it is still very new and with each "anxiety" comes a certain satisfaction. "Hey, I did that and it worked!"

Now that I am beginning my own rhythm, I am actually looking forward to the harder loads. My trailer, while being quick to load, also limits my capacity. It is really kind of cool to test someone else's logic and see how it falls into place. So far, so good!! Did I mention that I love hauling cars!!

Dec 13, 2011

Scratch and Sniff

On a side note....

I rarely get personal on my blog, perhaps this is something I will attempt to conquer in the coming year. I have one resolution already in mind for 2012 and while it may be a challenging one, I am determined to implement it. But that is another personal post...

A few weeks ago, I managed to get by the apartment late one Friday evening. I quickly found that my washing machine was not working. I say quickly, but it was actually 2/3 through the cycle. I called for maintenance and was told that unless it was an emergency, no requests would be handled until Monday. It was an emergency, at least to me. I was set to leave on Sunday and really needed my work clothes to be clean. So, I loaded up and headed for the nearest laundromat. Ewwwwww!! Such a simple task, but I prefer to complete it in the comfort of my own home.

Not sure how quickly I noticed it, but..... Within days, my skin was covered in splotchy red welts. Reminiscent of mosquito bites, only twice as large and ten times more irritating. OH EM GEE!! Make it stop itching. Pretty sure I removed several layers of skin trying to alleviate the itch. Nothing seemed to help. This was weeks ago. I believe the irritation was due to the previous user of the washer or dryer having recently worked with fiber glass insulation. I was able to rewash all of my clothing and the bumps are subsiding.

Obviously, I did not get all the clothing rewashed, as they have started again. This time on my feet and butt. Week number 3 !!  Yeah, I am aware that whoever used the machines could not have cared less what residue they left behind, but needless to say I am MAD...

At least the washer at home has been replaced. And that my friends, is about as personal as this blog gets. For now, at least.

Dec 8, 2011

Car-Hauling Etiquette 101.1

I know this applies to all motorists in all situations, but as a friendly reminder.... Do Not Tailgate a Car-Hauler!!

I don't have any information regarding this accident, but it is definitely not a happy ending. I hope the ConWay driver survived!!

And in other news.....

There are only 2 reasons I did not apply the brakes in this situation. I did not want to damage the 2 cars on the back of my trailer. At this range, I can guarantee you that the Fed-Ex driver would not be able to see my brake lights anyway. Notice, there is nothing keeping him from the left lane except ignorance!!

Nov 24, 2011

Stating the Obvious

One of my biggest annoyances is trying to get through a Weigh Station. There are several that I pass by that seem to have a rhythm of their own. For instance, traveling south in Virginia, the traffic ALWAYS slows to below 55mph while approaching the Winchester Scale House. Doesn't matter what time of day it is, or what vehicle in is front of me. It always slows to 55mph.... It is a 65 mph zone!!

Speaking of which, the speed zone while traveling through the scale is 40 mph. Yeah, that doesn't happen either. Usually runs around 25mph, and once again, it doesn't matter what time of day or how many trucks are in line. Somebody is going to get anxious and try to creep through unnoticed. I sincerely wished DOT would pull these idiots around to the back just simply for being a dumbass.

My greatest annoyance occurs in North Carolina. On I-77 and south of Charlotte on I-85. These scale house have a platform with a light tree located at the end. The light stays a continuous green unless they want to check you more closely. If it flashes to red, then and only then is one expected to actually stop on the platform. It seems about 25% percent of the drivers will stop on the green and wait....  I have no idea what they are waiting for.

In the past month, North Carolina has taken into consideration that perhaps the red and green lights do not specifically indicate whether a driver should stop or go, so they added a sign with beneficial information for those who might be confused.

Organized Crime...

Try living in a daycab for weeks at a time...

Okay, so I do get the luxury on staying in a motel every night, which helps tremendously, since I am away from home for extended periods of time. No more of the 4 day work weeks for me!! But trying to cram your life into the floor space of the passenger side of a vehicle, and it can be trying to say the least.

At first glance, DISARRAY!!

But there is a method to my madness. Along the bottom, I have containers holding tools, gloves, truck supplies and underwear... These containers keep the heat from coming through the floorboard and ruining any food items and toiletries that I have precariously placed in another location. Boots and rain gear are crammed into the footwell area under the dash. There is one bag for clean clothes and another for the dirty garments. Laptop rests on top, along with a few edible staples in the green bag to ensure that I do not starve. Not seen in this photo is the shower bag and beverages that occupy the area surrounding the shifter...
In the next photo, you will notice my handy dandy plastic gun rack, which I purchased to hold my height stick.

This rack also holds ball caps, purses, food items, more rain gear, jumper cables.. The list gets pretty long. Other items are tucked into just about every nook and cranny. Truthfully, while driving down the road, I have on more than one occasion, glanced over and felt a little uneasy. While everything seems to fit into it's place, I would be confident in saying that IF the truck ever rolled over, I AM GOING TO GET HURT!!  (by my own personal belongings)

Oh well, at least it fits! Although,  I am still trying to figure out how to remove even more clutter...

Car-Hauling Etiquette 101

I am in no way claiming to be knowledgeable in the world of Car-Hauling, but with two months of experience under my belt, I thought I would point out a few inconsideration that I experience on a daily basis. Perhaps, with my attempt to enlighten the masses, a little more consideration might be put into action. Either that, or I will at least to get vent a few of my frustrations.

1) I drive a daycab, which means I have to find a motel that can accommodate my truck every night. A few things to consider when pondering "how hard could it be to find a motel", is the fact that my trailer not only rides very low, but also, overhanging trees can damage the cars. Therefore, I can't just whip into the first Super8 that I find and call it a night. Also, I use a direct billed company account and not all motels take the credit card. With that being said, I have run into several locations where there should have been adequate AutoHauler parking, but much to my demise, the lot is filled with idling trucks. If you have a sleeper on your rig, stay the hell out of motel parking lots. If you paid for a room, your truck should not be idling. I have been tempted on more than one occasion to deflate a few steer tires, purely out of spite. If I could sleep in my truck, I would. But clearly there is just no room, even for little ol me!

2) And while I am on the topic of parking... The average semi is approximately 70' in length. There are many rigs which measure in a lot shorter. A Car-hauler exceeds this with 75' while empty. An additional 7' is allowed for the overhang when loaded. That is 83 feet !! Don't worry, I am getting to the point. There are a lot of truck stops where the parking is designed for trucks to back up to one another creating dual rows. That is fine if you have two 70' trucks backed to each other. With the extended length of my truck, there is no way you are going to back into the spot behind me without hitting my cars. I am 13' longer, therefore, unless you want to keep your hood out in the driveway, YOU ARE NOT GOING TO FIT !!  And for the record, I would have parked in the spot with the curb and grassy area behind it, but once again, my particular trailers sits so low, there are very few curbs that I can back over to get my hood out of the driveway.... Thankfully, I don't do truck stops, except to get fuel.

3) Next I would like to address highway use. This really applies to all motorists, but I will never win that argument, so I am going to get a little bit more in depth about why you need to leave more space before cutting in front of a loaded Car-hauler. This one is not for the general motoring public. This one is for all you freight jockeys who feel the need to merge back into my lane when your trailer has 10' of clearance passed my hood. If not in the name of safety, how about you cut me a break on my paycheck? Every time a rock or any type of road debris flies out from under your tires, it has the potential to hit one of my cars. It seems that dealers get a little upset when a load of brand new cars has paint chips. Of course, some one is going to have to pay for the damages. The same thing goes for any damage I may actually inflict myself such as turning too tight and creasing a bumper. Or dropping a deck too low and crushing the hood or roof. Danging straps also create damage potential. But yes, that flying debris coming from your tires as you swerve in front of me or ride over the edge of the lane into the shoulder, that is transport damage too. And that comes out of my Damage Free Bonus. If I do everything right, and you throw one rock at me, you have cost me money if that rock makes contact with my cars. Give me some room please!!

I am sure I will have  more to add to this as time progresses, but for now.... That is the first edition of Car-Hauling Etiquette

Oct 31, 2011

Ohhhhh For The Love Of.......

Good Grief!!

Last weekend ending up a sopping wet and cold mess. I was going to blog about it, but I find the 10 hour breaks are not long enough by the time I eat, shower and relax. Not only was I looking like a drowned rat, but I also added an additional 120 miles to my trip out of habit. I habitually traveled the same roads for ten years, so I instinctively followed the same path.. Wrong destination!! No wonder my GPS was continually rerouting me.

After making the delivery, I head back to West Point, GA. My mood was lifting as I scooted through the back roads in Tennessee.

Today, I feel as if I might be back on track even though there are a few issues I am still going to be dealing with for a little while. I manage to load and am heading towards Atlanta with just enough time to skirt the perimeter before the major malfunction is scheduled to commence. You know, Rush Hour. Then it happens...


Blew a freaking drive tire.. The most frustrating thing for me because I ACTUALLY check my tire pressure on an almost OCD type schedule. I do not have time for blowouts!!!  This was going to eat up my time. Road service only took 1.5 hours to arrive and repair, but that was just the tire. The damage also included the tail light box (which is tucked up underneath the rack, sitting on the tires) It doesnt fit to well in that area, and puts off an enormous amount of smoke with the rubbery friction. Also, the mudflap was obliterated, something I desperately need because the piece of aluminum on the bottom left of the picture was my batwing. ( A triangle suspended along the frame at the fifthwheel which butts up to the mudflap preventing road debris from flying up and hitting the car inside the trailer)  Notice, I say WAS. Ughhhhh!!

Of course, I had to work around this little delay. I have my motel room reserved and barely enough time to get there. I still have to get the lights replaced and find a new mudflap... So, what is a girl to do? I start peeling wrappers off of roofs and plastering the now unprotected bumper. Three layers should do it right?? I hope so. I am still damage free at this point and I intend to remain that way as long as I can, or don't get called on it. Either way.

Sadly enough, I am starting to almost want to believe what so many of you have claimed for years. Is it possible that I have horrible luck??  Not ready to give in to that theory just yet. But you have me almost convinced. However, I WILL PERSEVERE!!

...and yeah, I made the motel with 3 minutes to spare.

Oct 30, 2011

You Ain't Gonna Believe This....

A Trucker Tale

Today, I traveled through the Gorge.

I was surprised to find that several cars actually moved left to let me pass, as the left lane is restricted No Trucks. The speed limit is also restricted to 50mph. I made the entire trek without ever running up behind that long freight train of white knuckled steering wheel holders. That almost NEVER happens on this 20+ mile journey of twists and turns. In fact, this is the first time I have made it all the way through without having to slow down. Well, there was that one fourwheeler.

If you look closely, you will notice South Carolina tags!! I swear those people are out to get me. And off in the distance, Ivan the Car-hauler!!

Once again, I document this because is NEVER happens !!

Oct 27, 2011

Now.... Yes, now I'm getting MAD

Saturday I loaded in West Point, GA and proceeded to the house for 2 days off. Monday I head to South Carolina, with the intention to get my Annual Inspection done on the truck.

FAIL!! I was sent to another shop 20 miles away for mandatory repairs.

Wednesday evening, my truck is ready but I have to take it 20 miles to be re-inspected. Three miles into the trip, I am pulled over by South Carolina's Finest and inspected. Log Book not current...

I has been sitting at the motel for 2 days and was essentially going right back to the motel after relocating the truck. $100 for me and CSA points for everyone. All because of a little tiny mark not placed in the logbook. Truthfully, since it was a local move from one shop to another, I thought
it wouldn't really matter and YES, I was excited just to be moving after being stranded in a poorly located motel.

Officially, I was shut down for 10 hrs.The Officer did tell me, after the citation was issued that (off the record) I could keep on trucking. REALLY DUDE?? I told you it was a local move to begin with !!!

Now, on Thursday morning, I return to shop Number 2 to complete my inspection only to find that shop Number 1 did not complete the list of repairs.

So, here I sit. Another half day wasted..... and I am officially just a little bit mad! Load has been on the truck for 5 days and I have made it a mere 250 miles.....

-posted from my iPhone

Oct 26, 2011

Not What You Think....

Here I am again, blogging so soon.   I know!!!!

So the reason for my sudden appearance on my own blog is that, well.....  I am sitting in a motel room while my truck is being repaired. I hate to even mention it because with all the complaining I did about my issues with the Volvo and the Stooges, people are naturally inclined to think I am bitching again.

That is not the case...

Initially, I was given a truck that had been sitting for a few months and with nearly a half million miles, I was expecting a few problems. I was slowly getting the laundry list of repairs resolved when the air compressor went out. I had just finished loading!! That was on a Wednesday. Thursday, I offloaded the cars and the truck was towed. Friday, the diagnosis began. Shop was closed during the weekend. Monday.... the truck had still not been diagnosed. Yes, this was a major frustration and yes, there are still crappy shops out there, but with it being a new to me truck, I was expecting certain issues to pop up. However, I was ready to get rolling. So Monday evening, the boss runs me down to Georgia to pick up another truck.

Let the swapping begin. I assumed it was a temporary trade, so I did not gather all my belongings. Trust me, you can actually cram quite a few items in a daycab if you are persistent enough. The second truck seemed to operate just fine and I made a decent wage. However, I was looking through the permit book and found that the Annual Dot Inspection was expired. Severely expired. Yesterday morning, I run the truck through a TA Service Shop to get the inspection and was not surprised to find it did not pass. Yes, I am mentioning this, but I am not complaining. It would be unrealistic to expect an old worn old company truck to be completely road ready after sitting a spell. Besides, not everyone treats their equipment the same, so basically I am content to go through the vehicle and make sure it is up to par. IF, after 2-3 months, I continue to have little issues pop up, then I may actually become disgruntled with the situation.

So, for now, I wait....

So far the list includes:

4 tires
2 U-joints
Carrier Bearing
Steer axle brakes and brake chambers
wiring harness
2 lights
2 cracks in the framework need welding
and a major oil leak

As of right now, all have been repaired except the oil leak. I should be rolling in a few hours after running it through the inspection again. I guess with all the negative maintenance experiences, I was kind of expecting to be down longer. So far the truck has been in the shop about 12 hours. I was honestly expecting 2 days. And this shop is not a 24 hour service shop, so that makes this even better...  And yes, I did manage to retrieve all of my personal items from the first truck which was still sitting at that shop after 2 weeks. Now, I need to figure out how to organize all of my clothing, tools and food for easy accessibility while living in a day cab! Not looking forward to that!!

Oct 25, 2011

Small Surprises

I keep promising myself that I will sit down and blog. I have had several good stories to tell, or perhaps just something a little interesting that I thought you might enjoy. Alas, it has not happened. The problem is, if I don't blog immediately, well, it probably wont get published...

I have been having a blast learning my new trade. I love the challenges of figuring out how to solve the puzzle. And yes, it can be a bit challenging at times. Take 9 random vehicles and squeeze them into limited space allowing for proper length and height clearances. I am getting more comfortable with it!!

One such load I picked up was in Bordentown, New Jersey. Another driver had been instructed to babysit me on this load, which I found to be irritating. He was a nice enough fellow, but I have never been very social when it comes to driving my truck. I have my own habits which do not include a lot of stopping. So trucking with someone else tends to get under my skin. Loading at the auction, I was a little overwhelmed with the size of the place, and I easily walked miles trying to find all of my cars. Two of which were no where near the designated spot they should have been in. I hear, this is fairly normal. I also had dead batteries and flat tires, also another common factor when loading at auctions. I hit the jackpot when another random car-hauler parked next to me, and after a few pleasantries, he proceeded to show me the lay out of the facility and helped me pull all of my cars. Easily this saved me hours of my time. I would have been so lost. Random stranger... How cool is that.

After loading, the babysitter and I proceeded to head down to a Car Max location in Virginia Beach. And while I don't particularly care to travel with companions, he also turned out to be a very informative type of guy.Good number to have in my phone as he is familiar with a lot of the New York dealerships I am certain to hit while delivering BMWs.

We arrive, unload, and I have NO TIME left. My logbook is done for the day. Something I have never been too concerned about in the past. But with GPS tracking and no sleeper on the truck, I have to be at the motel!! The first motel we located had rooms and parking... until we showed up and got parked. Then she was suddenly booked !! I was told she pulled a fast one on us because she didn't want to give out the rooms at our discounted rate. She did however send us to another location, but that one definitely did NOT have truck parking. Starting to scramble a little bit. We managed to locate a less than desirable Super 8 in a less than desirable neighborhood, with no stores or restaurants. But it was a room.... However, the next morning I was pleasantly surprised. It seems the less than desirable neighborhood was actually just a little weather beaten, as are a lot of beach front properties. This was my view as the sun made its appearance. I think I may actually mark this down in my list of Yes Locations. But next time I will bring my own food.

Oct 7, 2011

Not So Much...

When I first received the little Sterling, I was very well aware that there would be a few trips to the shop for some repairs. I am happy to say that both of those experiences have been uplifting so far.

The first shop visit, I turned in a list of half a dozen minor items and while I was busy watching television at the motel, the list was checked off. The entire list, no questions asked..... I even got new wiper blades without having to throatpunch a mechanic. I am encouraged!! The second shop visit, ended the same as the first. Knocked out another half dozen items on a repair list in a the same amount of time it took me to lounge about at the motel. Why so many repairs?? Well, it is a "new to me" truck and I want to make sure everything is up to par. Most of the repairs were pesky little items that would impede my rhythm of loading, but not serious offenses to disable the truck. I expect a month or so of finding these little nuisances, after all, it is a very used truck!

There is one issue that affects performance. I believe there is algae in the fuel tanks, but once again. I have permission to purchase the necessary additives and have fuel filters replaced as needed. No questions asked.

Week Two finds me delivering in West Virginia. I received word to head into BMW for my next load. That is actually another huge pat on the back. The boss usually waits a while before bringing a new hire into BMW to load. I was brought in on my second week. I proceed to load the Ultimate Driving Machines and was pleased with how easy the 9 units fit on the trailer. I was pleased until I crawled into the cab to make my departure and found only 30 lbs of air in my tanks. The air compressor had failed! That was Wednesday...  Thursday, I unloaded the truck and had it towed in. Friday morning, well, I am sitting here blogging about it.

Yup, this week is a bust.

Oct 6, 2011

One Month...

Today marks the end of the first month of my new life as a Car-Hauler. I have only one regret to speak of...
I wish I had made the transition years ago!!

After only 8 days of training, I was voted off the Island. The Head of training wanted to keep me longer, but the other three men involved with the course agreed I was ready to succeed. After a minor shop visit, I was given my first load.

With plenty of confidence and enthusiasm, I made my way to the Honda Manufacturing plant near Columbus, OH. That is when the first kick to the teeth occurred. The terminal manager was apprehensive about letting me load my first load of NEW cars in the afternoon drizzle. He also assumed that it would take me hours to finish, therefore placing me alone, in the dark with no experience. So, he reserved a room for me, at 3pm, at a local motel and sent me packing. From there I watched a beautiful blue sky unfold as I stewed a little over the set back. I was eager to get started. The next morning, I found my way back and proceeded to load. Even with the enthusiasm and confidence I was feeling, there was an enormous amount of anxiety. So many things to watch for. Weight, height, length, clearance between vehicles, turning radius..... I didn't have a problem getting the cars loaded, but I had very little faith in my positioning of the cars for turning radius of the truck. THINK, THINK, THINK... It took me a little while to figure out one adjustment that somewhat set my mind at ease, and after measuring the load about a dozen times, I made my way out of the gate. This load was taking me to Chattanooga so that I would be able to drop my car off at the house.

The first 2 hours were extremely nerve racking for me. I was terrified that every turn I made would have the cars rubbing bumpers between the tractor and the trailer, even though I was told I had plenty of room by an experienced car-hauler. The assurance was great for an ego boost, but I have to find my own confidence. It started seeping in slowly.

 I was able to make the delivery on Sunday with no hassle and set out for home. I had already decided that I was not interested in taking a few days off, knowing that if I did not set my rhythm early, I would face the same anxieties again after being out of the truck a few days. Monday placed me in West Point, GA loading at KIA. After a few stops in Ohio, I was able to stop in and visit the crew in Romulus. A few more guys had graduated and I had a lovely evening of sharing my new experiences and wishing them well on their travels.The first week was awesome. I am really enjoying my new job and anticipate loving it far more than I ever did with the flatbed. I don't miss home near as much as I thought I would, but with all the excitement and new challenges that I face everyday, that will probably fade in time. Of course, the hotel room every night does not hurt at all. After one week of working, I am gaining my foothold, but the clearance issue with the turning radius still intimidates the heck out of me. I am sure it will come with time and experience...

Sep 19, 2011

Tooting My Own Horn

What a fabulous experience this has been. From the very beginning with the personalized pre-training, to stealing the show last week in training!!

It has been confirmed that I will "graduate" this week. In fact, the instructor told me that they would have set me free last Friday had it not been for the insurance. Legally, they could not let me go after 4 days of training being an inexperienced car-hauler. So this week, I am basically here to satisfy a time quota.

I do wonder what the record is for completing the training program. I feel that at 4 days, and being female, that I am A Big Deal.... At least, in my little world! I will load one more time to test out, and then.....

Cars will be delivered !!!!

-posted from my iPhone

Sep 18, 2011

Training Day

Thought I should offer a little recap of how the previous week played out in events.

After arriving late Sunday night, Monday dawned a bit too soon for me. There seems to be a little lack of communication here. Someone was supposed to meet us and instruct us for further directions. That did not happen, and only because the previous students drove past in the company van were we able to catch a ride to the office. Monday was nothing other than paperwork... Eight trainees in all, four of which are previously experienced. Or so they say !!

Tuesday finds me at the Detroit Manheim Auto Auction. We begin to take turns driving cars onto a trailer. It was a very long day. Immediately, I felt I had a major advantage with the pre-training I had received from my friend. I felt very little hesitation when it came to my turn to strut my stuff. By the end of the day, I was offering pointers to the other inexperienced guys who seemed to be struggling a bit more.

 Wednesday placed us back at the Auction. More loading and unloading, with a little strapping thrown in for good measure. We next learned how to chain cars, which I had not done before, but I found myself falling into that groove quicker than the others as well. Do I sound boastful? Well, it is my blog !! By this point, it is determined that 2 of the "experienced" trainees must have embellished a little on job history because they are struggling more than anyone. Once again, I offer pointers to these fellows and got a little reprimand for it. After lunch, they bring out the big pickup, and I was told to drive it up on the head rack over the hood. By this point, I almost have no fear and I put that big beast up on top like a pro. "Now, back it up there!"  Umm, okay! Not a problem. I am in and out of the pickup, two times on the truck, in less than 5 minutes. I began to draw a little more attention from the trainers. I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut, especially when trying to be helpful. So after offering a few more helpful hints, the main instructor comes over and pulls me to the side. I feel as if it might have been an attempt to "put up or shut up", so he gives me the keys to 9 cars and tells me to go load my trailer.

First Training Load

That evening, I sensed a little more respect from the experienced haulers, and perhaps a little jealousy from the rookies. Thursday puts us back in the office for a few tests before heading back to the Auction, and upon arrival, I am once again thrown a pile of keys and told to get to work. Within 2 hours, I had an 8 unit load on the trailer, strapped, pictures snapped and back on the ground. There are a few guys from previous classes still here, working towards "graduation". By now, I am feeling a little aware of the commotion I may or may not be causing. The other rookies from my class are still huddled together as a group, driving one car on in turns. Yeah, I  am a little self conscious at this point.

Second Load

 Friday we are back at the Auction, and immediately I am back to loading. During the week, I have heard several things being whispered. All very positive about my capabilities. I was told that ALL trainees are required to stay the entire 4 weeks. This frustrated me a little because I feel as if I am just about ready to put my training to use.. It was later revealed to be a "prank". What a relief.... This morning, instead of practicing the basic load patterns, the head honcho has me load specific vehicles to test out what kind of heights I can achieve, or rather, how low I can get them. So I played around with more SUVs which is what I  will be hauling out of South Carolina. Then he wants to see just how low my truck really is and hands me the keys
to the Lincoln Navigator. Surprisingly, I can get this monster over my hood and still be under 13'6". I think I am going to LOVE my little truck.

That afternoon, Frank ( the lead instructor) tells me to pack up and take the truck back to the the shop for any minor repairs that can be made over the weekend. While closing up shop, it was mentioned to me that this only happens when you are about to be cut loose from the class. This was told to me by both of the other instructors. Also, one of the experienced guys said he overheard that I was graduating next week as well.

I sincerely feel bad for those who are struggling after weeks of training. I also feel a little bad for leaving my class so soon, but if they think I am ready...... Woohoooo!!  You have no idea how grateful I am for all my pre-training and now it is showing off.  Hopefully the rumors are true. I may very well be on my way in the next few days...

Sep 17, 2011

Michigan Bound

After arriving in Sellersburg, IN, I had every intention to clean up the truck a little and get familiar with it. It definitely looks like a work truck, inside and out. Plus, it smells like sour cat litter and ass. However, I am so excited to begin this phase of my career, that even the 477,000 miles on the odometer did not upset me. It is MY new car carrier.

First on the agenda, is to load my car!!  Oh boy....  I was very nervous to say the least. Not only have I never played with a Quick Loader Rack, but I also have never loaded a manual transmission vehicle. I have also never loaded a sports car which typically have a lower seat and taller door frame to see out of. I am 5' tall, and yes, this could be an issue. And, realistically, I just did not want to load MY CAR !!

It turns out I had absolutely no problem getting the Pony Car loaded up. I did, however, have a problem with the fact that another driver was also headed to Michigan and his truck broke down. It was now requested of me to give this fellow a ride...  UGH!!!!  This has the potential to get very ugly, but I agree and just hope the guy is not some bitter, bitchy, smelly, whiny truck driver.  After waiting over an hour, he finally arrives, and looked to be quite disgruntled. We mutually agree to make the trip together and it turns out.. I have made a new friend!!

He is experienced with 7 years of hauling cars. He will also load out of the same terminal as me and he had a great attitude about Little Ol Me wanting to haul cars. The 7 hour trip ended up being quite pleasant, and despite the anxiety of what is to be expected over the next few weeks, I now have a training buddy...  Which will make things sooooooo much more bearable

Orientation: Complete

As quickly as it started, Orientation has ended. After 3 days of watching, strapping, and finally loading a few cars, Friday rolls around and with only 1 load scheduled for the day. I was given the option of hanging around for the day hoping the truck showed up before 5pm, or returning to my home. Of course, I chose home.

My new boss tells me to head to Louisville, KY on Sunday and pick up my truck. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you.....

Sep 8, 2011

Orientation: Day Three

The moment we have all been waiting for. Well, at least I have been waiting for it. This morning I finally began to load cars. I worked along with Rob and Larry, both of whom were very nice. Neither of them seemed to express any doubt in my abilities, especially after putting the first car on the truck.They let me load everything and strap half of everything. While loading Larry's rack, he handed me his phone. He said I had a very important phone call. It was his sister. Of course, I have never met Larry or his sister, but I soon learned that she has been hauling cars for 15 years. She seemed to be as excited about my transition into car-hauling, as I am. After a pleasant conversation, we exchanged numbers and I look forward to learning anything I can from her.

This is my first official car. A 2012 BMW X5. I finally feel like I am making progress. Although I do not have the complete instructions, it looks like I am heading to Louisville, KY this weekend to pick up my truck. Then it is off to Romulus, MI, where the official training program begins !!

Sep 7, 2011

Orientation: Day Two

Today was somewhat better, I suppose. Still have not loaded a car on a trailer yet. At least not in orientation. I have loaded numerous cars on other occasions.

The activities started immediately with watching cars being loaded. I am not here to watch,damn it. But the driver was not willing to risk my rookie status and feared damages, and because he is not actually a trainer, I don't blame him. However, that did not stop me from strapping cars, which I did of my own initiative. He watched for a few minutes, tempted to stop me, but obviously was impressed enough to let me continue.


So at this point, I have watched two drivers load trailers. One with 4 months experience, one with seven months. Upon returning from lunch, I struck gold and was tagging along with a 17 year veteran car-hauler.

The thing that amazes me and I am ever so grateful for is this. I know a few longterm car-haulers and they all give me respect for my endeavors. They are willing to give advice and tell me how to NOT screw up. The two rookies were more focused on showing me how badass they were. I have now met the guy who NEVER damages anything. This was told to me on numerous occasions. This was told to me while he was telling me wild stories of miraculous saves. This was told to me just before he loaded a car in a "pocket", raised the deck and marred the wheel. NEVER happened, I am sure (wink,wink).

Oh, I should probably mention that the other trainee... he never returned after lunch.

So, the boss promised he would talk to the drivers and make sure that I would get to load tomorrow. He also spent some time trying to convince me not to give up. Of course, I assure him that I was not leaving. It seems that there is a high turnover rate of new car-haulers. It is not for everyone....

Still convinced that I am going to absolutely love it !!!!

Sep 6, 2011

Orientation: Day One


What a day!

Okay, so my first day in orientation went a little something like this...

SITTING, sitting, SITTING, sitting, LUNCH, watch a guy load his trailer, and back to the motel!

Not really sure what I expected of today, but I was very disappointed. There is one other guy who is going through orientation with me, and I have to say that I don't think he is going to be successful. The first thing I noticed, he had no heart. Yeah, it is still trucking, but I have to love what I do or I will be miserable. I think I will love hauling cars even more than I did with the aluminum. On several occasions he mentioned to me that he was not even sure he wanted to do this, but was just looking for something different. In fact, I believe he said he had not even quit his current employer yet.

But enough about him...

After sitting the entire morning, a truck finally arrived and we were sent to soak up the primary aspects of loading cars by WATCHING this fella go to work. He was a very personable kind of guy and offered me his number if I had future questions. I was shocked to learn he only had 1 year OTR experience with an additional 7 months of hauling cars. I caught several "mistakes" he was making, but I kept my mouth shut. In essence, I learned nothing today.

In all, the day was very disappointing. I was eager to show off my aptitude, but that will have to wait until tomorrow. We load cars tomorrow!!

Oh yeah, I fly into Louisville, Ky this weekend to pick up my truck....

That is all.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sep 5, 2011

My Sentiments Exactly

Monday, September 5th, 2011

I am currently sitting in a motel room in Duncan, South Carolina. Tomorrow I begin my epic journey in the transition of becoming a Car-Hauler.

I felt this was a pretty good time to give thanks.

One person has been solely responsible for my progress thus far. Considering that I am not too comfortable with making major changes in my life, I needed a good shove.

Not only did I get the shove I needed, but tons of support, advice and encouragement as well. I feel really good about the career move and feel so much gratitude towards this person.

I hope I make you proud!!! Thank you sooooooo much BCH

Sep 4, 2011

Unidentified Flying Object

I get a little behind in these posts....

So a few weeks ago, not really sure when, I was on my way to Atlanta to take the pre-employment drug screen and physical for my soon to be new employer. As a truck driver, my eyes are constantly scanning the road for hazards, whether it be motorists or debris. As a Mustang GT owner, my eyes are constantly scanning the road for hazards, whether it be motorists or debris...

I noticed some objects laying in the road a pretty good ways ahead, but since they were actually laying on the dotted line, I was not too worried about having to dodge them. I wont make that mistake again. Just as I was approaching said objects (metal) , the car beside me accelerates and proceeds to cut over in front of me. I saw his blinker come on and just knew he would wait until he passed the metal lying in the road. WRONG!! He barely made it passed me before intruding in my lane.

He crossed the lane making direct contact with the metal object. His rear tire collected the item and sent it flying into the air and directly into my bumper.  SMACK, crunch, bounce, scrap...... SIGH!!!!

My first thought was to check and see if the tires had been cut but the car continued to handle just fine. I made it to the clinic and decided to check out the damage...  Not what I wanted to see.

 The bumper has a hole through it, and the impact knocked out the turn signal light assembly. The front wheel was scarred and the back tire flattened.

The bright side of this little incident, is that I actually keep my cool throughout. I made my appointment for the pre-employment screening. I made the trip back from Atlanta and did not yell, cuss scream, or threaten to kill anybody.. Maybe, I am finally starting to get over all of that pent up rage and frustration accumulated during the past few years of my trucking career. Maybe??

Aug 27, 2011

It Is Finished

My days as a flatbedder are over. I finished my final run on Wednesday night, after taking a final tour of New England. Quite possibly the best route to finish with, as I was able to visit with numerous customers who have become more like friends throughout the past decade. I actually had no desire to even make the final journey because I have become so emotionally removed. Throughout my journey, I have actually been employed by several trucking companies supplying the power unit, but my loyalties always remained with Bonnell.

There was no love lost with all the changes that have taken place within management of this dedicated account. There is definitely no love felt towards the maintenance department. But there is also no need to rehash any of the issues that plagued my career in aluminum.

I am a little surprised at the reactions I have received concerning my departure.

Most responded in a way I would have expected. On several occasions I have become quite misty eyed, while saying my goodbyes. I have listened to others complaints and desire to move on. I have received much support and encouragement over my decision. But the most surprising reaction came from inside the office. My dispatcher said nothing... My Boss, on the other hand, wanted to sit down with me this week in an attempt to make me reconsider. After 3 failed attempts to meet with him, I received a voicemail, telling me to just drop off my keys with security and "Thanks for all the hard work"...

That was it.... A single 5 second impersonal message! I can't say that I really expected much more than that, but it was still insulting. Oh well, in the past 3 years, we have had a higher turn over rate in management than with drivers. So it is not like they really knew me, anyway.

And for those of you who have followed my rants about maintenance, I did find it in my heart to bid the mechanics farewell. The Stooges have been a royal pain in my ass over the past few years, and like most of the bosses have stated in defense of their antics... They really are nice guys.

And with that, this Chapter concludes...

No turning back...

Aug 10, 2011

When all else fails... ABANDON SHIP

I have been meaning to sit down and post about the latest events and occurrences in my life. But to be honest, there is not much to report. I have been dealing with the same maintenance and repair issues that have been prominent in my work life for the past three years. In truth, there is just no need to keep beating a dead horse. I have tired of trying to work thru the weekly dilemmas. I have found myself to be completely frustrated on a daily basis. I have morphed into that grumpy old truck driver who bitches about everything. While not actually verbalizing it, my emotional state for the past 6 months has been nothing short of irate.

The previous 6 consecutive weeks, I have been in 4 trucks. Ask any driver, swapping trucks on a weekly basis is unacceptable. It is my home on the road. I should not have to clean a truck per week just to feel comfortable enough to sleep in it. FIX MY TRUCK !!! Air leaks, coolant leaks, dead batteries, alternator problems, AC malfunctions, regen malfunctions, front end problems... And the list goes on. Most of these repair requests have been submitted numerous times over the past 6 months. How is it that I can detect these problems, but the mechanics cannot?

I could write a small novel on all the complaints and resolutions that I have been through in the past few weeks. And I use "resolution" very loosely! For example, the shop had my truck the first week because the APU did not work. After it was repaired, the floor was flooded with condensation and misdirected drainage tubes. That same week, the air conditioner failed, leaving me in a sweltering and rancid piece of equipment. Two weeks to fix the minor issues and replace the mildewed flooring. During those 2 weeks, I spent several hours in truck stop repair shops to have MAJOR issues repaired on the spare trucks that I was driving. The following week, I manage to relocate back into my truck and it took me 7 hours to make a round trip of 56 miles, before moving into yet another spare truck in need of repairs. The next week, back in my truck, only to find dead batteries and an alternator problem. I think perhaps my favorite recent "repair" is when the mechanics deflated my steer tires by 15lbs to eliminate the front end issues that have been plaguing my truck since they rebuilt the front end last year. Wow, if the proper inflation was the culprit, seems like such a waste to have given me 2 different sets of steer tires because of irregular wear patterns. The Boss suggested that I permanently swap into another truck. That is when I suggested he try sleeping in random strangers beds in the low rent district.

I am not exactly sure which straw broke the camels back. But I am over it!! Emotionally drained, I have given up hope on ever finding the light at the end of the tunnel. The Volvos will not be replaced for another 6plus years and the mechanics have found a niche in which they are excused from being incompetent and allowed to neglect their obligations. I just don't get it..

Ten years, I have loved my job!! Ten years, I have worked through numerous issues without too much complaint. Ten years of service! Ten years of doing everything I needed to do to keep the customer happy without a second thought. Ten years....

It is time to move on !!

I have begun the process of getting hired with a new company in a completely different division of the transportation industry. My final interview is scheduled for Monday and then off to training. I am soooooo excited about the next phase of my trucking career. I think it is a perfect fit for me. And yes, after 13 years of driving a commercial vehicle, the new company will require training... Another special commodities adventure !!

After ten years...

-posted from my iPhone

Aug 8, 2011


Testing a new blogger application....

-posted from my iPhone

Aug 7, 2011

A Little Entertainment...

There has been so much going these past few months and I promise to return to the blog soon. Perhaps with some exciting changes. Exciting for me, that is. But first...

Here is my latest video creation. ENJOY!!

In continuation of the Gravy Run, this is how a car-hauler does it!

I was recently approached by a car-hauler to help him with a video project. He had just finished watching Gravy Run and was determined to have his own standout video representing what he does. I agreed to the challenge. Armed with over 100gb of raw video and a systematically chaotic song, I attempted the impossible. This is the result....

Jul 10, 2011

Enough With The Idiots Already

As a rule, I typically expect automobile drivers to make erratic and dangerous decisions while traveling the Interstates. I credit them for not being as skilled when it comes to traversing miles from home, as most people drive in a significantly smaller radius of asphalt. By this, I just mean I try to always expect the unexpected and not get disgruntled when it happens right in front of me. I anticipate!!

As a rule, I expect truck drivers to be more skilled, more conscientious and more considerate of their surroundings. They are suppose to be Trained Professionals..."suppose" being the operative word!

Earlier this month, I witnessed the aftermath of an accident which involved 2 Big Trucks. The particular circumstances of this incident actually enrage me to the point of wanting to kick, scream, and slap all the idiots that are driving 18 Wheelers. And believe me, there are plenty of those to go around.

The first driver was parked on the shoulder of the road for whatever reason and decided it was time to merge back into traffic. The second driver was moseying down the right lane minding his own business when the first driver pulled into the right lane directly in front of him. Whether or not the second driver had room to merge to the left and allow the first driver access to the right lane is really of no consequence. Some people would argue that, but the rule of thumb is to merge into the flow of traffic, safely. Not to slow the rate of travel to match that of motorists on the ramp. That is why the YIELD sign is on the ramp and not on the shoulder of the Interstate!!

So, the first driver pulls out into traffic and the second driver either has too little reaction time or cannot move over safely and ends up in the ditch. The impact indicated the first driver was no where near up to road speed as the last 10 feet of his trailer were obliterated by the collision with the governed tractor trailer who rear-ended him. I sincerely hope the second driver survived the collision. As I passed the accident, I noticed the first driver sitting in his cab. His blank expression said it all!!

I myself have had to dodge 3 Big Trucks who decided to reenter the flow of traffic at less then 20 miles per hour. The first time it was a JB Hunt. He pulled off the shoulder in a low gear directly in front of a pack of 10 tractor trailers motivating at 65plus mph. I was lucky that everyone was paying attention that day. As the truck in front of me made a left lane change, I saw the offending truck and dived into a 70 ft hole to my left, missing the corner of his trailer by mere inches. The second time was an owner operator pulling a flatbed. He also entered the travel lanes on the low side of his transmission and once again I dodged a bullet because a fourwheeler hit the left shoulder to allow me room in the left lane. I proceeded to get verbal with the driver and he felt the need to berate and belittle me for the next 20 miles. He seemed a little defensive to me and felt he could only exonerate himself by calling me a stupid bitch. The third incident involved a KNIGHT truck. This time, a car was pushed into the median as another truck began sliding into the left lane while trying to brake hard to avoid impact. I ended up jumping to the right shoulder to avoid a collision. Afterwards, the Knight driver hid behind his curtain as traffic passed him, obviously not wanting to acknowledge his bad judgement.

I am sick and tired of having to overcompensate for the lack of training and common sense that some of these drivers possess. In a perfect world, this would not be the case. I already allow for the cars to make mistakes, as I said, I expect it. But to continually have to watch for fellow truckdrivers is really testing my patience. But this is an old rant for me.... And one I am sure to repeat.

May 24, 2011

Couldn't Happen To A Nicer Guy...

Seems like it has been forever since I have posted a few rambling thoughts as to the goings on and what have you's of my day to day routine. I can assure you everything is fine and life is splendidly divine as always.

Todays Post... or perhaps, this months post... is stimulated by a little snafu that occurred earlier in the day.

I had delivered in Sterling, Virginia first thing this morning and was making my way around the top side of the Capitol Beltway towards Jessup, Maryland. Cruising in the far left truck lane, I had just cleared another truck when he gave me the ole blink, blink... flash, flash... indication that I had indeed made enough progress to merge back into the middle lane if I so should choose. Knowing that a major split was just a few miles ahead, I so choose to do so. I turn on the right blinker and slowly drift into the middle lane. CRAP.... CRAP, CRAP, CRAAAAAAPPPPPPPPPPPPP!!!

It seems another fellow had decided that he no longer was satisfied with the conditions of the right lane and had also decided to utilize the middle lane at exactly the same moment. Needless to say, we met in the middle.

Unfortunately, as I drifted right, another vehicle in the far left lane decided to commandeer my vacated spot, so when contact was made with the little Ford Fusion, I was unable to merge back to the left without involving another vehicle, so I had to ride it out.


Thankfully traffic was forgiving and allowed us to pull over to the shoulder to investigate the accident. The driver of the Ford was the most delightful fellow and never once laid blame at my feet. He mentioned he had noticed the vast amount of open lane and was not aware that I was moving into it. Being directly side by side, we were essentially in each others blind spot. I could not see him at all and he could not see my turn signals. Virginia's Finest was on the scene within minutes and issued a No Fault Accident Report with no citations. We managed to remove the bumper and change the tire and reemerge into the flow that is DC Rush Hour.

I felt so horrible that this happened, not claiming any wrongdoing on my part, but the gentlemen was just so pleasant. It literally could not have happened to a nicer guy.

Below are pictures of the damages sustained. My damages consist of a few plastic coated lugnuts. Okay, maybe there is some silver paint on them too.

Let this serve as a gentle reminder.. My vehicle is bigger than yours and it takes a whole lot more to push me off the road. One little scratch on the rim versus 2 doors, a quarter panel, tire, rim and bumper...

Apr 24, 2011

Cranial Excavation...

or more simply, Removing Your Head From Your Arse !!

I am soooooo pissed off. I do not intend to let this post become a long drawn out diatribe bashing new truck drivers. In fact, it is not always the newer drivers who pull stupid stunts. I do have a low opinion of how the new comers are being trained and while some of that could be blamed on poor educational courses, the fact of the matter is... It boils down to common sense.

Today, I was cruising up I-65 when I noticed a company truck sitting on the shoulder of the road about a half mile ahead. The driver in front of me also noticed, and as any courteous professional would do, we both signaled to merge into the left lane to give the stranded driver as much room as possible. With the high flow of traffic, we were having quite a time getting over to the left.

I noticed the blinker begin to light up on the "disabled" truck and thought...surely, he is going to wait. But NOOOOOOO!! The bastard pulled straight out into the right lane of the interstate at about 10mph. Here is what happened next..

It scared a fourwheeler who then drove into the grassy median, luckily without having an accident. The truck in front of me was trying to get left quickly, but with the one car already in the grass, several others hit the brakes leaving him no room as he was already merging. He tried to pull back to the right to avoid hitting innocent motorists and started to slide. After quick thinking on his part, he regained traction and was able to merge left. As for me, I have some very flat spots on my tires due to coming to a rather quick stop and ended up driving on the shoulder for a little bit to avoid the slow truck in the right lane...

Meanwhile, this freaking idiot is oblivious to the near mayhem he almost created. Who I am kidding, it was mayhem!! I am just thankful everybody was able to react in a way that not one person was injured or one vehicle damaged.

And for the record... I had some very unpleasant things to say to this steering wheel holder and all of Indiana had the pleasure of hearing it. Would you be surprised that the driver never acknowledged what he had done. He even went so far as to hide his face when I passed him.

This is the second time I have had my life flash before my eyes because of some stupid freaking truck driver.. Oh, and the worst part... The shoulder he was parked on was between the ramps for an exit!! He could have easily pulled off the exit and parked on that shoulder, therefore allowing himself room to build momentum for reentry.

I just don't understand why some people are so disconnected. You are driving 80,000lbs of mobile destruction.. and yet your only concern is your missed exit, how late you are, where the next McDonalds is or checking out the babes in the cars beside you.

Your lack of common sense infuriates me!!

Apr 23, 2011


As long as I have been driving up to New England, I have often claimed that the area felt like my second home. It is by far my favorite route to run. After begging AA for weeks, I finally manage to grab this little jewel. Being a southern girl and loving New England, I am a hybrid!!

My first delivery was to be in Bloomfield, Connecticut. I arrived on Sunday night and set up camp only to oversleep the next morning. No worries, however, as I have big plans for my return trip "home". Leaving Connecticut, I take the scenic route up to North Adams, Massachusetts. Have I ever mentioned how much I love driving the two lanes. Well, the two lanes in Mass are my absolute favorite.

After delivering in N Adams, I make the executive decision to take my absolute favorite scenic route back towards Boston. Knowing full well it will cost me additional time, the journey is so worth it. The Mohawk Indian Trail !! Absolutely love this route...

At this point, I am halfway thru my journey with only 2 stops left. But, as I have mentioned before, I have big plans. So I slowly amble towards the Cape thinking I may get finished on Monday. After calling the customer, it was decided that my stay in New England was to be extended. Oh Joy!!

No seriously... Oh Joy!! I now have more time to appreciate my beloved New England. So I change my course and head up to New Hampshire. This customer only takes deliveries after 4pm. After sitting in the dock for several hours, my plan is finally set into motion. Quick text to a friend and I am on my way.

The Big Plans... Meeting up with Trucker ATK. You see, we have a little task at hand to be completed. A certain Scorching Habanero Doritos Challenge... "The Deadly Doritos Snackdown"
After a lovely visit, I make tracks south to set up camp for my final delivery in Hanson, Ma. Another treat in itself because this is possibly my favorite delivery. The owner of the company has been so good to me and Andy throughout the years, and it is always a pleasure to make an appearance here.

Trailer is empty and it dawns upon me that I am also driving past another delivery point where I have made a friend. Sooooooo, why not? I pull into Taunton, park the truck, and race inside to yell Surprise. I actually ended up spending the entire morning with my friend Pat, catching up on all the gossip. We ended the visit with a nice lunch at a local Italian restaurant, complete with a view of the lake!

Not wanting to leave just yet, I contact ATK again and schedule another visit. My pickup is set for 5am the next morning in Hartford, CT. I have plenty of time! Lucky for me, so does ATK. So he swings in to pick me up and takes me on a more scenic tour of Massachusetts. ATK is a local car hauler and a good friend of mine, so it was a pleasure to see him again before heading out.

The next day it was business as usual. Up at 5am to load a meager 280 pounds and begin the long trek home... sigh!!

What an absolutely splendid week. It was almost as if I did not work at all and that, my friends, is how it should be. Next week, the excitement continues as I head to SOUTH DAKOTA. I know, right! I have not been west of I-35 in years.. Hoping to see a few more friends next week!!

Did I ever mention how much I love my job? Yeah, I thought so...

Apr 13, 2011

The Smokey Bears Saga

It has been awhile since I have had an encounter with a Officer of the Law so I have not had any delightful tales to pass along. However, last week, there was just such an occurrence.

As any of my returning loyal readers may remember, I have very fortunate luck when it comes to encounters with The Men In Blue, and well, I just love them so for that reason. I also have great respect for them and all they do to protect and serve!

So, as I am making my way home through South Carolina, I am engaged into a conversation with one of the local Roadway drivers. After several miles, he brings to my attention that a certain marked automobile has entered the runway and is creeping up behind me. Knowing full well, he might not like my chosen speed, I proceed to slow and watch as he takes his ever loving time to catch me. I had a feeling he may have been watching for my next move. As he cruises past, I notice him looking at me, so I put on my brightest smile and wave.

We proceed to maintain the designated speed for several miles and he eventually enters my lane ahead of me. Ever so slowly he begins to increase his speed.. So, do I! Of course as is when any law enforcement is present the rest of the motorists have slowed, certain this Smokey is hungry. But we continue to motivate until we are about 10 mph above the posted speed limit. I notice in my mirror that there is a car flying up the left lane, so I grab my CB mic and tell the Smokey "You got a customer coming!"

Surprise!! Mr Smokey had his radio on and replied to me that he was feeling generous. The car slowed before reaching the Officer and we continued to roll south. A few miles later, another car was blazing a trail down the left lane and I once again grabbed my mic. "Oh come on, Mr Smokey, you know you wanna!!"

He then asked me to maintain my current speed and position as he dropped off to my right and had me run cover for him. The car blasted past and on came the blue lights!! "Thank you Little Lady" was the last thing I heard as he attended to more pressing business. This absolutely made my day and I wondered if perhaps I should give South Carolina a reprieve from my constant badgering.

Yeah, that probably won't happen!! And in other tales of wrongdoing...

On my way through Georgia, heading to the house, there was a major backup getting to the Watermelon 500 due to construction. I get so tickled at listening to all the whining and misinformation. I tried to alert anyone who would listen that it was normal construction at high traffic volume. It only lasted a few miles, blah, blah, blah. This is a stretch of road that is seven lanes wide and the construction had it reduced to the 3 extreme left lanes, which included the HOV lane. Of course the 3 extreme left lanes are all very restricted where commercial vehicles are concerned. I figured if construction puts us in violation anyways........

So, along with another flatbed and tanker, we hit the dusty trail and made our way through the congestion. Even had an Evil Knievel (officer on a motorcycle) wave as we went by. The radio came alive with folks complaining about what we were doing, but the way I see it is. If I am taking a risk, it is my business. If the only lanes open are restricted, well, all lanes are illegal right? And how often are you going to be able to get a picture like this !!

Apr 12, 2011

Funny Thing...

I wrote an entire blogpost on mudflap hangers, and it was really QUARTER FENDERS that were removed.

Shows you how mad I was...hahaha!

Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.7

Apr 11, 2011

Going Off The Deep End

Bah!!!!!! ARrrrrghhhh!! Eeeekkkkk!!!

You know, it is not often that I lose my cool. Nothing really ever seems to get to me, that I can't dismiss in a matter of minutes. I don't typically blow up at people unless it has been a very long time coming. My outbursts are kept to the confines of my truck while driving through South Carolina and usually result in my laughing hysterically at myself.. Because I am just not convincing in my anger, rage or hostility. I am comedian, not a fighter!

BUT.... Sunday solicited an extreme situation that had my blood boiling in a matter of seconds. I felt the flush in my cheeks and the hint of a tearful rage brewing just beneath the surface. Yes, I CRY when I am truly "angry".

I was walking around my truck checking over the situation when I noticed shiny new bolts attached to the area near my frame.. Awwww, they fixed something. The mechanics actually fixed something... YAY!!! It took about 10 seconds to realize that the shiny new bolts were attached to new black plastic mudflap hangers on my tractor...

That is when I lost it. I know, mudflap hangers? Really Terry? You came unglued over truck parts?

Yes, YES I DID !! and here is the reason why...

I am the only driver at the plant who takes the time to polish the tanks and keep a shiny truck. I was thrilled when I got the aluminum hangers which were issued from one of our shops. We are not allowed to customize out trucks, so the additional look of "chrome" absolutely made my day. I have worked hard and long hours rubbing the aluminum to get a nice result. I am the only driver that takes pride in my ride. Everything that I had done comes out of my pocket and it is not about money or time, it is about having pride in what you do. I claim NYC to be my baby. I take delight in being very good at my job! I am a freaking female flatbedder damn it and I run NYC like it was a small town out in the sticks. I embrace my inner "jersey" girl. I run like a local with a my East Coast Attitude and all I wanted was for my truck to represent who I am ....Countless hours polishing. I was just in the shop 2 weeks ago, all day polishing my truck in front of the mechanics because I wanted to get it done and I couldn't wait. Winter is over, bring on the shine!! They knew how much it meant to me.. They KNEW HOW MUCH IT MEANT TO ME !!

I literally stewed on it all day Sunday. I was anxious to talk to the shop foreman to get an answer... THEY KNEW HOW MUCH IT MEANT TO ME.

Monday morning, 6:58 AM. I am on the phone..

" Where are my mudflap hangers?" and in his best ( I am a dumbass voice) the shop supervisor responds, "Now that is a good question!"

Seriously dude... where the hell are my mudflap hangers ??

I was distinctly told that while servicing the APU they had to literally CUT the hangers in half to get them off of my truck... While servicing an APU that I refuse to use because it makes my lungs burn, gives me headaches and dries out my eyes. Don't think the damn thing has been serviced in over a year! I don't use the freaking APU.. I do polish my aluminum!! After his asinine explanation, I politely thanked him for answering my question and hung up on him. It would have done me no good to curse at him because the hangers were already destroyed. I did not write up the APU for service... Why is it I cannot get the things I needed repaired, but I am always unpleasantly surprised by some other form of bullshit..

Yes, I am angry over silly little mudflap hangers.... My truck stood out! My pride showed though. Now all I want to do is find a big mud hole to drive through and hang out in the middle lane with all the other non descript company trucks.... BLECH !!

But wait, there is more. I shall leave you with a touch of humor to make up for my hostility. While unloading at my first stop, the lift driver comes up to me and asks if I had a blowout on my drives. "No, why would you ask that?"

Because you have new mudflap hangers..


Another Tragedy

It is not often that I see tragedy, and after the previous experience watching the car flip out of control, I was sincerely hoping I would not see another for a long while.

Eight days later was just not long enough.

This time I am heading north on the New Jersey Turnpike when I noticed a tractor trailer parked on the shoulder. Immediately behind him was a automobile wrecker. My first thought was that the driver had been involved in an accident and perhaps a car was located in the ditch. It then hit me that there was NO traffic.

Another tenth of a mile down the road, I saw something...

I stared intently trying to figure out what I was looking at...

Just as I passed it, I realized that is was a body...

Not sure what truly happened, but my guess was suicide, and the reason I believe this is that the word on the radio was a pedestrian was trying to cross the Interstate. I have seen several instances where a pedestrian has been hit while crossing and I cannot figure out why anyone would choose to do this. But the illogical part of the equation is as follows. There was an overpass no more than a few hundred yards away. It just makes sense that the individual jumped to his death in front of the truck due to location of his final resting place. Sorry if this seems a bit morbid, but it is easier for me to deal with this type of imagery if I associate it with logic and reason. If he was truly just crossing, would he not have chosen the overpass...

You never know what each day brings! My heart goes out to that Truck Driver, because I am positive his life will be changed forever by this. And I am also positive he never knew what hit him.

Apr 9, 2011

Fiery Competition

Just a little challenge amongst friends...

Mar 30, 2011

Tragic Reminders

Not exactly the best week to be blogging about. Oh, there was nothing wrong with the work week itself, but I was reminded to take time and consider all that is important to me. We should all do this more often than we probably do, but life gets busy sometimes.

On Sunday evening while I was making my way towards the Carolina Coast, I witnessed a tragic accident.

As I was progressing eastbound, nearing an entrance ramp, I merged to the left lane to accommodate for oncoming traffic. It was then, as I looked into my mirror that I noticed a huge cloud of dust and debris. As I continued to stare at it, a car came tumbling out of the haze. It was literally doing a barrel roll about 10 foot off of the ground. I watched as it slammed onto the pavement and began to roll again. It finally came to rest in a runoff ditch full of water, sending a spray of liquid nearly 20 feet in the air. This all took place just a few hundred yards behind me in a matter of seconds, but I was still able to see "objects" ejected from the vehicle. I hope and pray those objects were not the occupants of the vehicle. I was shocked into a silence... Immediately I dialed 911 to report the scene and after speaking with the emergency operator, I continued my evening in a quiet contemplative mood.

This for me, is the hardest part about being a truck driver. Facing mortality. I did not know these people, but with the assumption that a life has literally just ended before my eyes, my heart is ripped apart. I grieve for the victims, I grieve for the families, I even grieve for any witnesses who are left with mental scars of what they have just witnessed...

Gratefully, I have not witnessed an excess of fatalities, but then again, isn't even one an excess!