Before leaving for Dallas again, I got a new debit card to use for fueling the semi. I am to use this card first, and if there are any problems, then I use the fuel card in the semi. I put my overnight bag in the truck and start a new mileage sheet before leaving for the shipper. It is very humid today and there are storm watches and warnings out for the area that I will be traveling in.
At the shipper, I see crime scene tape around an employee's vehicle. It was burnt and some of the vehicles around it were touched by the fire. Guard told me an electrical short caused this. I have never had that happen to me with any vehicle of mine, or the other vehicles that I drive. New or old, it does not matter. You just don't know when this may happen to you.
I back into the dock and my load is put on single file in the center of the trailer. Near the end of loading, we were going to run out of room, so the product was put on of a row of 3 across, then a row of 2, and another row of 2; then 2 singles again. Could have also done 2 rows from nose to door.
Now, to someone not in trucking, you may be wondering - why load it this way? I get 25 to 35 containers of product with some weighing 800 pounds to 1800 pounds and higher. The trailer can be loaded 3 across in the nose, then the next row is 2 across or 2 singles, and then 3 across; and keep repeating till you get to the doors. This balances the weight in the trailer and on the axles. Putting all these containers in the first 1/4 of the trailer will make me overweight on one axle, so you might as well use all of the 53 foot trailer.
Soon I am on my way to Dallas. I cannot get my country station that I really like when I get closer to Fort Smith. Bummer!!! Not sure what is going on. I kept trying for the 1.5 hours that I can get this station. Next option is my CDs. So I did that to get some music. Got to have music while I drive. It is rare for me to have the radio off on anything that I drive, but it does happen. Due to the weather, I also used the weather radio in the semi to get updates/keep posted on the changes going on and what I may be heading into.
I cross the Texas line at 8:55 pm, and this is just perfect. This is the time I try to achieve, as it just works well with delivery time and heading back north before shutting it down for some sleep. Anything later than this time just delays everything. I have done enough trips now to know that I must get northbound to a certain point in order to have enough time for my break and time to do a return trip to Dallas, which comes up often, and still make it to Dallas before my legal hours of driving are up.
I arrive at the receiver at 10. Another goal achieved!!! I have learned to stay about two feet to the right of the expansion crack in the concrete as this will line up the trailer door with the dock plate. Just enough light from the dock and the trailer lights to make it possible for me to see this to get into the dock quickly. Many places we go to do not have lines to guide us, so you learn to watch for these expansion cracks or anything to help you guide that trailer to the dock plate. I bump the dock and have also learned at docks that do not lock you in, to pull up about two inches, so the dock ramp will lift and fold out and not get caught on the trailer. Can you just picture parking at places where you shop without lines!!! What a mess that would be!
While the product is being taken out of the trailer, I use this time to walk and stretch. When my papers are signed, it is time to leave. I go through the gate but do not shut it as their local truck will be arriving shortly. Done this for so long that if I open the gate to get in, I shut it. If it is open upon arrival, I leave it open when leaving.
I head for Calera, OK for the night. Was thinking about going to the next stop, which is another 15 miles, but when I am nearing Calera I am seeing some ground fog. I turn on the weather radio and get a report of fog the farther north I go. Now I am tired and decide not to go the other 15 miles. This is also how accidents can happen. So I shut down for the night. On this Wednesday night, the roads were not as crowded with vehicles like other Wednesdays. Also plenty of parking at the truck stop, and this is not normal. Not sure what is going on with all this parking and lack of vehicles on the road. I will get fuel here in the morning as it is $2.67, and at Eufaula and the others I checked coming to Dallas, it was $2.72. It's 1 am so I shut off the lights as I do some quick reading to unwind - and naturally, when I laid down to sleep I became wide awake!!! 436 miles.
I could not sleep right away, as trucks were pulling in and setting those air brakes makes noise (like anything, when it's quiet, it seems much louder). And the air pressure was dropping from my air lines and air bags, which rocks the truck and trailer some. Kinda feels like someone climbing up on the steps. Drivers are always alert for sudden movements of your vehicle as it could be someone trying to get into the truck or trailer. In time, you get used to this and are able to sleep.
I wake up about 7 to overcast skies. It is also very humid and there are more storm watches and warnings for today. My legal break is up at 9. I do get fuel when ready to leave, and then start northbound. I stop at Eufaula to get some food and quickly visit with the workers, as this is where I stop most of the time for food and fuel. The two new fuel pumps put in for semis are just about ready for use. That will be a great help to us.
When I get back to my office, I get to go to Tulsa in another semi to take it back to our office there. I will bring a straight truck back. I also find out that I get to take my DOT physical on Friday! I am just thrilled. My medical card expires the 17th. Plenty of time for me to do Tulsa and back and still be legal. 467 miles for today.