So, to give a little perspective into what you will encounter as a driver for those of you thinking about becoming a truck driver.....let me tell you what a bad day is like in the world of trucking. Mamma said there would be days like this...... :'(
Things were going great. I was on my way to Boston for a drop, way ahead of schedule. Got to my drop, then got my new load assignment. I had to pick up a load in Boston and bring it to Elizabeth, NJ for a live unload in the morning. Great. Plenty of time. I looked at my route, saw a Pilot where I would fuel and spend the night in Milford, CT, then I'd be on my way to my unload.
I get to the Pilot about 4pm and I have one hour left on my clock. I fuel, and when I go to leave the fuel island...BAM! My brakes are stuck!! I can't move. I check my airlines, do a pump down, and nothing works. After a bit, the guy behind me comes up to see what the problem is. We look over the truck and see that my left front brakes are soaked. They're just saturated in grease and oil, and it seems they heated up pulling into the truck stop and kinda "fused" the pads to the disks. We get out a big hammer and wale on 'em, and finally break 'em free. I call maintenance because there wasn't a shop there, and I was directed to go to a Freightliner dealership six miles away. They would be waiting for me. I get to the dealership, give 'em the truck, and I wait....and wait....and wait. 11:30 pm and my truck is finally ready. I talked the guy into letting me just crash there for the night.
I wake up the next morning, and get to my delivery. While I am being unloaded, I get my next load assignment. Drive to our drop yard eight miles away and pick up a trailer, and then drive it........twenty seven miles for a live unload in Brooklyn, NY!! What the hell? A twenty-seven mile load into New York City, which will probably take five hours! And as you would expect, Brooklyn was a joy. The people there drive like maniacs. I tried to swing wide to make a right turn and a 4 wheeler tried to pass me on the left, so I had to cut it close. I realized then that I wasn't gonna make the turn, and I blocked an intersection for 10 minutes trying to maneuver around traffic to make the corner. No one one would move!
I finally get to my unload and it's a little grocery store with five docks, four of which have trailers in them, and the docks share the same parking lot as the four- wheelers. I back into the open dock, and start to get unloaded. About that time, another truck pulled up, then another, then another....'til there were five trucks blocking the parking lot, people blowing horns, yelling and screaming, the whole deal. Wow, what a sight! Two hours later and I'm unloaded. Next message I get is to dead head back to the drop lot....which was my plan anyways. I get to the lot, and I get my next load.....I guess I am being rewarded for taking that crappy load because its a nice 600 mile run to Charlotte, NC. So off I go 10 miles down the road to pick up the load.
When I got there, I only had two hours left on my clock, so the plan was to drop my empty trailer, grab my loaded trailer, then head about 45 miles down the road to a Pilot truck stop and park for the night. I was ready for some food and a much needed shower. I was told to drop my trailer anywhere I could find a spot, but there were no spots. None. The place was packed full. Every time a yard jockey would pull out a trailer, another was behind him to put another one there. It took me 30 minutes to find a place to drop my trailer.
I head over to the shipping department to get my trailer, but the shipper looks at me and says "I don't have a load for your company." I give him the trailer and pickup number, and he still claims he has nothing. I call dispatch, and after 15 minutes I'm told they have a load and they are just waiting on the paperwork. So I go back inside and the guy says he is indeed waiting for the paperwork. He calls to see where it is. After a five minute phone conversation and some texting, he starts ruffling thru some files. Then another guy shows up and they are both looking thru them. The second guy pulls out an envelope and starts laughing...."Here it is. It was with a different company's paperwork." Then I wait while the two of them have a conversation about why it was there.
I finally get my trailer and I look down to see that I am down to one hour on my clock. Hmmm. Fortunately I can make it to the Pilot because there are no other safe places to park between here and there. So off I go, and then I realized it was 5 PM on the Jersey Turnpike. I finally get to the Pilot, only to discover there was no parking. So I grab my guide and see there is a Pilot and T/A truck stop seven miles down the road. I hit the highway and I see a rest stop and figure if there is a spot, I'm taking it. I'm not chancing it. Well, no spots. So I drive right on through and back onto the Turnpike.
I get to the Pilot (I have shower credits there) and discover there are once again no parking places, so I cross the street and hit the T/A. No parking places there either! So I'm circling the lot, looking for anywhere to shut down. My Qualcomm is calling me a cheater by name, and I am tired, irritated, and to top it all off, I smell bad! I come around the fuel island and see a truck turn on its lights and start to pull out - I gunned it and grabbed the spot. I do my post trip and find that my left front wheel hub is now leaking on the outside - the same one that was just fixed! That wheel hub was just replaced 3 weeks ago, and obviously the mechanic at the Freightliner did not put in back on properly.
After I parked, I realized you had to pay $15 to park if you don't buy fuel or $20 worth of merchandise. To top it off, I had no shower credits......so they got their $20 worth of merchandise in the form of a shower and some food.
This has by far been my worse day as a trucker, but I still won't give it up! The good far outweighs the bad, and these days don't happen very often. But when they do....oh boy, watch out!!