Three Days In A Truck

by Rhonda

I get to leave my desk job this beautiful Friday in September and help out on a delivery to Texas.When I have the truck ready, I leave for the next town to the shipper. I get over 42,000 pounds of spices.

Next stop is the Pilot to weigh the load. When you pull onto the scale, you can see that it is in sections. Each axle gets one of them. The sections are big enough to handle most loads and different type of trailers.I get this done and all axles arewhere they should be so I shut off the truck so I can hearthe speaker.I also have to get out and stand on the top step and reach for the speaker button.

I press it and soon a voice asks "first weigh?" and I tell them yes. They need to know this as you may have just weighed and found out you needed to slide your tandems and weigh it again for $1. I also give them my truck and trailer number. Then the voice says I can pull off the scale and come inside. I pull thru the fuel island and park. At the fuelcounter I ask for my scale ticket and I pay $8.50 for it. I turn this expense in on my taxes even tho my employer will pay for it. I want the extra deductions. 127.jpg

The Cat scale collector card is one that I already have 3 of, but I'll still keep it. I can still useit. The scale ticket shows my steers are 11,920, the drives are 31,480 and the trailer is 31,480. 74,880 total weight. All legal, and best of all, no sliding of tandems. I hate having to slide the tandems because I always get a trailer that came over on the Mayflower and it takes 2 people to help slide those wheels. Now I know how much fuel to buy, but this is not one of our fuel stops. The nearest one is Webbers Falls, Oklahome at the Love's Travel Plaza, so I head there with my Bee Gee's keeping me happy. When they're done, I'll put in some Johnny Cash. When I arrive at the Love's, I park for the night. I'll get my fuel in the morning.

Day 2. I find a good buy on trucking t-shirts - 2 for $10. One says HAULIN 24/7 with a huge truck on it and the other one says AMERICAN TRUCKER and has a flag, eagle and a blue semi. Can't let a good deal like this pass me up! Gee, this trip was worth going on now!! I paythe clerk for the t-shirts and ask if the drivers still get free coffee when they fuel, which I'm about to. She said not normally,but if I have a Loves card I can. I told her I don't drive much anymore and all my cards for the truck stops are at home collecting dust! (they do come in handy as you get 1 cent put on them for every gallon of fuel you purchase and then you can get your free food and drinks and some other purchases once you have enough on the card.)

I go to the truck and head for the fuel island. I enter my fuel card and the machine asks:

Do you have a Loves card--yes or no. I press NO

Enter truck number. I do and press enter

Enter mileage. I do and press enter

Fuel for tractor, reefer or both. I press tractor

Do you need cash advance, yes or no. I press NO

Do you wish to purchase oil, yes or no. I press NO

Thank you. You may begin fueling now.

When I'm done, I pull ahead and go back inside. I didn't fill it up because I don't know what my next load will be. I wanted the fuel level to be near 1/2 full for my comfort when I reach Texas. I get a cup of coffee and head to the fuel counter. The same clerk is still there and she does indeed let me have the coffee for free. That's a nice thing to do and I thank her for it. Now its time to roll.

I drive insome ground fog in places for about an hour till thesun rises. The highway I'm on is very pretty and I sure enjoy the view.

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When I came to Mount Pleasant I wasn't thinking and I took the business route into town instead of the bypass. What a mistake that was! What a boo-boo! I know better than that and now I am pissed at myself.With this longer wheelbase Kenworth and those tight turns downtown and one way streets, "cruising" the town square was not fun! I needed every inch of road to make the turns. OK, I made it thru one turn with no vehicles parked near the turnon either side but the next turn I could see was going to be a problem. I've got one block to decidewhat to do.

This turn has 2 left turn lanes and now I'm faced with traffic on my left which will be in my way. While the light is red, I look ahead to the next block and debate turning there instead, but it looked like a worse situation than this one.Do I sit here and call the police for assistance? Will I get a ticket?OK, now my light is green and glory be!!!! No one is on my left!!!! One problem is gone and I pull ahead as far as I could and my next issue is the pickup parked next to the curb. I am just barely moving as I roll forward and then crank it hard left. I still have no one on my left so that's a blessing. I missedthe pickup by inches and the left trailer wheels are about 6 inches from the curb. Good thing these are one way streets! I cussed myself all day for allowing this to happen.

I made it to the reciever on the south side of town.I wasn't there very long and I soon I was headed to Dallas. I'm going to pass by the reciever I went to for a year when I was doing the Dallas runs. I Even thought about stopping in just to say HELLO, but I droveon by instead to my destination.Atmy shipper/reciever, I drop this trailer and get my loaded one going to Chicago, but I won't be taking it there myself. Traffic is awful in Dallas/Ft Worth. My oldies staion is saying it's due to accidents. My nerves are not used to this. The 40 miles to Anna was bumper to bumper traffic and with lots of stupidity. I forced myselfinto the left lanes where it's safer and faster. I stopped at Anna. I couldn't take this anymore. I was stressed out. It's time to take a break so I can relax and be safer when I head back out. I weighed the load and had a sit down meal. When I got back on the road, there was some traffic problems but now I was ready for it. I went about 1 hour into Oklahoma and shut it down for the night.

I left at 5 am and stopped for fuel. The gauge was getting near the warning area. I asked the clerk about a fellow clerk who I saw weekly when I did all those Dallas runs.I'm told she is working at another station and will be given my message. I take the turnpike home where the speed is 75 and as I enter the highway on a slight upgrade it took me 2 1/2 miles to reach 75mph with this heavy load. I cruise along listening to my Bee Gee's and Johnny Cash. I arrive to our lot at 10:00 and drove 829 miles.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

CAT Scale:

A network of over 1,500 certified truck scales across the U.S. and Canada found primarily at truck stops. CAT scales are by far the most trustworthy scales out there.

In fact, CAT Scale offers an unconditional Guarantee:

“If you get an overweight fine from the state after our scale showed your legal, we will immediately check our scale. If our scale is wrong, we will reimburse you for the fine. If our scale is correct, a representative of CAT Scale Company will appear in court with the driver as a witness”

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

by Brett Aquila

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