Friday, April 18, 2008

On the Road Again

About an hour after I left my last post they pulled my truck into the shop to figure out what was wrong with it, other than the fact I knew it was overheating, it could be anything.

Sure enough, there was a heating problem ... I blew out both thermostats and the radiator seals. Something that the shop should have checked on a PM, but I'm not sure when the last time PM was done on the truck so ...

After about five hours in the shop, I was ready to go. Now one thing I failed to mention was that in the night another driver came and dropped off his trailer and took my load in to AWG for me since it would have been seriously late if I had sat on it. So I gave dispatch a call, told them I was ready and asked if they had another load out of Plainview I could go down and get so I could get back on the AWG circle.

Unfortunately they didn't, however they did have a driver who was on his way into Amarillo who needed to get back to DFW for some personal business, and his load was going to Loveland, Colorado with a 8:30am Thursday delivery time. I told them I would take it but I didn't want to be sitting in the Denver area for two days because there were no loads. I was told they had a lot coming out of all the meat plants so getting me out in a timely fashion wasn't going to be an issue.

I said ok, met the driver at the Love's on I-40 and started heading to Denver. And now is where the fun began. I knew that they were forcasting rain and light snow in Colorado for Wednesday night, but I personally think that they knew they were lying and didn't want folks to know driving at night was gonna be hell.

I left Amarillo around 7:30pm and scaled the truck in Cactus, Texas. Man was I in for a lot of work. I knew just on the hour long drive to Cactus that the truck was heavy, but was I in for a shock.

I scaled out at 81,000. The road limit in Texas and Oklahoma is 80,000, but the "Winter" limit in Colorado is 86,000 because of snow and ice accumulation on trucks. I was just hoping that the scales would be closed as they sometimes are.

So after sliding the tandems on the trailer more forward to get the weight even I started up the Raider Highway (US287) for a long slow drive, as since it was all up hill, it was going to be work.

Sure enough though, as I hit Springfield, Colorado the rain turned to snow. And man did it ever snow. Combined with a hellacious headwind in the 40-60mph range, I was driving like a 100 year old granny driving to church on Sunday. Needless to day it took a LONG time, 11 hours approximately, to get to Denver from Amarillo. If you've ever driven it yourself you know it takes about 6-7 hours tops.

[Photos from a rest area outside Hugo, Colorado. These photos do not do the driving winds and snow justice as it is a completely different perspective while driving down the road in it]

And my fuel milage suffered horribly as well on the trip, about 4.5mpg which is just over half of what I'm used to getting. You figure the math ... 81,000 pounds, up hill, in driving snow with 40-60 mph head winds; that means crawling I averaged about 40mph from Springfield to Limon, Colorado.

Luckily for me the Lamar, Colorado scales were closed ... however the Limon, Colorado scales were open.

I rolled across those scales and winced as I saw the numbers climb up, and stared at the stop light waiting for the "come inside" message on the display board. I was looking at the trooper through the window in the shack and he just looked at me, shook his head and waved me on ... YEA! No overweight ticket for me today!

Once I got on I-70 things did get better and I was able to make 50-55 mph on average. I made it to Loveland at 8:00am, an hour and a half early (their time) for the appointment.

After I got unloaded, I told dispatch I needed sleep so they asked me to drop my trailer at Swift in Greeley, Colorado so I drove over there and checked it in then crashed in the truck at the Stampeed Truck Stop in Evans, Colorado just down the road.

[The Rocky Mountains as seen from the Sam's DC in Loveland, Colorado]

That evening after I got up they asked me to pickup a load at Swift going to Maine, however it had six stops and I told them I had no desire to sit under a load for five days and that many stops. So they asked me to take the load to Fort Morgan, Colorado and swap it with another driver and pickup out of Cargil there in Fort Morgan on Friday morning.

Being the nice guy I am I decided to do it, and so that's where I am right now. Sitting in the bullpin parking lot across from the gate waiting for my load. Hopefully I'm getting the load going to Lufkin, Texas that is due for a Sunday delivery. If so, I'll spend the night at the house tomorrow, but I haven't been promised anything yet.

[Miles Driven Since Last Post: 570]

1 comment:

spiritwalker said...

The picture of the Rocky Mountains is awesome. Doesn't it just take your breathe away.