Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Day 16-17, Raider Highway

Well, we got up and arrived early at the shipper with the hopes that we would be able to get loaded and get out early and sure enough they were kind to us and we got out about an hour ahead of schedule.

Since the load needed to be in La Porte, Texas at 8:00am Thursday we were anxious to get going so we could be on time. 1087 miles is do able in two days, but with pretty constant driving and little time for breaks. The 14 hour work rule really screws up driving schedules, every driver hope they get rid of it or modify it at the hearings this summer.

We finally got underway at noon central time and floored it for Texas, well as much as we can floor it since we are restricted to 61 mph. US287 is a good highway to drive and is a straight shot from Denver, Colorado to Ft. Worth, Texas. The only thing bad about it is about every 10-20 miles you have to slow down to 30 mph because of some podunk town, otherwise the highway is 65/70 all the way.

One thing I have noticed is we move a lot of freight on US287. On average you see a Raider truck going the other way about every hour, and it doesn't matter if you are going North or South on it. Seems like half the fleet (about 100 trucks) is on US287 going one way or the other every day. So it seems pretty natural for it to be called Raider Highway, at least that is the nickname we've given it.

Well, I decided to do a hard push and shoot for getting to Amarillo, Texas before calling it quits for the day. It took nearly eleven hours of solid driving, with only pit stops every two hours for about five to ten minutes to use the restroom and check the reefer status.

After arriving at 11pm central time I stopped at the Loves Truck Stop to fuel up and take a shower. While I was inside Tom finally woke up and stated he wanted to drive for a few hours, so I was game. We had talked earlier about pushing to try and get to Ft. Worth by noon on Wednesday so we could see if we could either pawn off the La Porte load on someone else or at least take a short evening break at the house and drive all night to get to Houston for the delivery at 8am on Thursday.

He drove till about 4:30am and stopped in Vernon, Texas to camp out till my rest time was over. I really didn't notice other than to move from the bottom bunk to the top bunk once we parked.

I got up at 9am, pre-triped the truck and took off, getting us into the Ft. Worth yard just before 1pm which was pretty good time.

While we were in the yard they took the load off our hands and gave it to another driver because they wanted us to do an Odessa, Texas multi-stop run for AWG (Alberton's) so I could get experience doing that before they hopefully cut me loose in my own truck next week.

Another reason being is we were both randomly selected for drug testing, figure the odds on that one will ya :)

Since we had to do that, it was a good time to put the truck in the shop and have the engine looked at while we were gone. Frankly, there has been something wrong with the truck since I started driving it after it went through it's quarterly PM before I joined Tom.

The truck has just about no power in it when climbing hills, we have had to literally triple down-shift just to make it up 2% grade hills at 30 mph, and the fuel economy has been in the toilet. We've barely been getting 6.1 mpg where we should be getting 7.5 or more.

After our drug screens we checked on the truck when we got back and found that two of the fuel pumps were going bad and they were going to replace them, we've been assured that the repairs should fix the problems we've been having, we'll see ...

So now I sit at the AWG distribution center waiting for our load, which won't even be available till close to midnight, then it's an all night drive to Odessa, Texas to start our deliveries by 8am.

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