Thursday, April 10, 2008

Free and Clear

Last night after Tom and I went and picked up the abandoned truck and spent nearly two hours moving my junk into it (can't believe how much I'd accumulated on the road, buying stuff in preparation for getting my own rig), he took me out for a steak dinner for a send off.

He said he'd miss having me around, and that I was the best student he'd ever had, and the one he had been the most comfortable with. As indicated by the fact that we started running teams on the fourth day out ... LOL.

So after dinner he went and checked back into his hotel because they said they would not be getting him out till the next morning, and my load was going to be ready sometime between midnight and 6:00am so I went back to my truck and parked at the Valero truck stop near the Wal-Mart.

Just to digress a bit, as I had an email asking about it; Here are the statistics for my time in training with Raider Express.

Total Days Training: 24 (Including Orientation)
Miles Driving: 5950
Time Off Duty: 241.25
Time In Sleeper: 168.25
Time Driving: 122.75 (Average MPH: 48.47) [Our trucks are governed at 62mph]
Time On-Duty (Non-Driving): 19.75
Total Hours: 552

Pretty pitiful really, students are supposed to do 12,000 miles before being released. But considering we spent five of my training days sitting, it isn't really too bad.

Ok, now for the rest of the story :)

Swift called my cellphone at 2:30am to tell me the load was ready, so I got up and drove up there from Dumas, Texas (about 13 miles south of Cactus) and checked in and hooked up the trailer.

After getting cleared out of there about 3:30am I headed towards Amarillo, Texas. I needed fuel bad, as the truck only had about 400 gallons left in it (our trucks hold 400 gallons).

Once I got to the Love's in Amarillo, Texas and fueled up I had to hang out for an hour because my EFS card wasn't working and dispatch couldn't get the thing straightened out and I ended up having to use my ComData card. Thank god we have them, or otherwise I'd been screwed and would have waited for a ComCheck transfer for over $1000.00. Ugh.

I got headed out after the fuel mess was taken care of and was ready to just push on towards Ft. Worth but it was not to be. Once I got near Hadley, Texas I stopped at one of the new Texas Safe Haven rest areas for a nap.

After three hours I woke up to the truck swinging back and forth and loud bangs outside. It appeared that the front had passed and the winds had kicked in. According to the XM radio weather service winds in open areas of Texas were going to be in the 30-50 mph range and from the south east, lovely a huge headwind. There goes my fuel mileage.

The banging was trucks being pulled into the rest area by Texas DPS DOT inspectors. They were hauling everyone in for level one inspections. Great, and they were doing it right in front of my truck.

Luckily for me, once I got up and sat in the seat a DPS officer saw me and walked over to my truck. I rolled down the window and said morning to him and he said, "no worries son, I know you were asleep so I'm not going to inspect you today. But I would like to see your logs if you don't mind". What do you think I did, yep! Handed him my logs. He spent about 10 minutes looking at the last ten days of my logs including today and said, "Perfect, good job. Have a good one." Then handed me my logs and walked away.

I didn't have to be told twice, I hauled ass out of there ... lol. And was happy about it, because that trailer would not have passed inspection, I won't go into why but it would not have.

After my near disaster with DOT and hauled ass for Ft. Worth and got in about 3:30pm and checked in with dispatch.

My replacement truck wasn't available, the one I recovered had to go to Freightliner, it needed some serious body work as it had been damaged in several places.

So I packed out all my things in to my car and am taking two days off, my new truck is supposed to be back from PM at Freightliner on Saturday morning.

Cya later!

Miles Driven since last post: 415

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