Wednesday, 28 May 2014

I'm Still Here!

Hello all, and welcome to a new day.  Well some of you have probably been up for hours, and are properly caffeinated by now.  I, for one, have been.  Though last Thursday could have been quite disastrous, and I wouldn't be here to do a bit of a rant on this here blog.  But I am, so here goes!

      For the last month I have been enjoying a new job.  I am back to doing what I love to do for money, as I've found that prostitution is not for tall skinny white guys such as myself, so I've gone back to being an OTR driver (that's over the road, if you were confused).  The company I work for now is slightly different than the last company I drove for.  For one, they offer me a lot more work than the last company did.  For two, I am not assigned one truck to drive.  Instead, the vehicles are assigned per order.  For example if it's just a few small boxes that need to be shipped, a car is used.  If it's one or two pallets, a cargo van is used.  Larger and weightier orders go into a straight truck, and so on.  As a non-CDL driver (which will change eventually to being a CDL driver) I get to drive the straight trucks and smaller vehicles.
     As one might expect the fleet vehicles have quite a few miles on the odometers.  Though for the most part they are all well maintained, as we, the drivers, have to fill out pre and post trip inspection forms.  Checking for things like tire wear, lights, brakes, oil and coolant levels, making sure that nothing is broken, or about to break, etc..  These reports happen at least twice a day, on every single vehicle.  I know somebody sees said reports, and things are generally fixed in a timely manner.
     Since I'm one of five new hires they've been trying to keep me local to make sure I'm not going to wreck any of the vehicles.  They chose to ignore the fact that I have quite a lot of OTR experience.  That's fine, I get it.  Though I think the dispatchers forgot that at the end of my first week, when I had a follow up meeting with my safety manager, at which point I supplied her my shiny new FedMed card, they were informed that I am certified for long distance travel.  That changed last Thursday.
     I was called at 9:30 a.m., and asked if I wanted to go to South Boston, Virginia.  I said yes.  I was told to show up at 10 a.m., and that I would have a team driver.  Which simply means that it'll be non-stop driving, one person sleeps while the other drives.  Kind of like cross country road trips that many of you likely went on in your late teen years, or early twenties, or still do for all I know.  What I didn't expect was the truck we were given to drive.  Mind you, from where I am, to where South Boston, VA is, is a thousand miles one way.  The truck the gave us had 970,459 miles on the odometer, and is by far the oldest truck in the fleet.  I'd been driving that thing for the last week, on local runs (less than 150 miles from the hub), and I had reported all the mechanical issues on every single trip inspection sheet I filled out.  I joked with my co-driver as I was pulling out of the lot about how ironic it was that the oldest truck in the fleet was the only one that didn't have any warning lights on the dashboard.
     We bounced through Wisconsin, through Illinois, and had made it about 90 miles into Indiana when I heard a weird metallic snap, then some scraping, and my co-driver told me that we were sparking.  I managed to maneuver the truck onto the tiny little shoulder, turned on the flashers and killed the engine.  I opted to climb out on the passenger side, as anybody who'd familiar with I-65 in Indiana will tell you is the way to go (it's a major truck route, and all trucks are required to use the right lane), and I was a little surprised by what I found.  The lower control arm had snapped off from the drivers side front wheel, swung around and slammed into the diesel tank, where it got jammed underneath it, and had been causing the sparks my co-driver had reported (right under the damn fuel tank!!!).
     I'll spare you all the details of my dispatchers failing in dealing with emergency road side incidents.  In short, it was a 6 hour delay, and we hit the road in a borrowed truck, which has 900,000 less miles on the odometer.  I'm just glad that it happened on relatively flat land, and not in the mountains in the Virginias.  That would have been truly disastrous. 
     On the plus side, in case you were wondering, I have gotten some good inspiration for my latest book, and have started to incorporate them.  I'll admit to a lengthier than anticipated down time in writing, but fear not, I'm back to it!  For anybody reading this, who hasn't read the first chapter of the new book, go back to my post listings, and check out Sneak Peek.
     Well that was my rant for the day.  I hope you are all doing well!  Don't forget to eat, laugh, spend time with friends and or family, enjoy your favorite beverage, listen to your favorite music, and smile once in a while!  Peace out, y'all!