#4 Sunday April 13th
Hi Everyone, sorry its been a week and a lot has happened to much to get it all in, so what we thought what we would do is send you a daily page from Lori’s journal, and I am adding an email that I sent to Lori one night last week.
Pre warning this one got kind of long, so make sure you have a couple of minutes to read.
First a quick update, Lori is in Ohio at one of our terminals, getting a brand new truck, its a 2015 Freightliner, with 8 miles on it. They have been there for a day or 2 getting everything swapped out and ready for the road. She is about 1/2 way through her training. and made it to a very southern Babtist Palm Sunday service this morning.
I shouldn’t tell you guys this, but I am at home……… I was in Portland Oregon, and we got a load that was going to Mpls. Interesting load, it is 2 pallets on this huge semi. It only weighs 4,ooo pounds, and we are used to carrying over 40,000. It is what is called a “high Value load” because although it is only 2 pallets the value of the load is over $2,000,000. It is some sort of super computer.
Fun to be in Portland, drove the Columbia Gorge, wow was that beautiful, then up through Idaho and over “look out pass” which is about as hairy of a pass or mountain road as I have ever been on. The interesting part is it was at night. I would come up to a corner that said 35 mph with a picture of a truck rolling over, and my instructor would say that’s if your fully loaded, you can go faster………….. Really…. I think I will stick to the suggested speed limit here just because we are in the dark, on a super steep downgrade, on a curvy road, that I have never seen before, I have been driving semi’s, what about 2 weeks now and I have a $2 million dollar computer behind me, Yea I think I will stick with the speed limit!!
Anyway by luck our load was going to Roseville, MN and not due to deliver until Monday morning, and we got here Sunday morning, so I am at home for the day, and having dinner with my family, kids and grand kids tonight… added bonus, I just wish Lori was here.
At any rate here is a page out of Lori’s journal from Wednesday of last week. She had stopped at a wayside rest and camped there for the night, and the journal picks up from there.
We got up from the rest area / welcome center and Mark said he would drive to the truck stop which was just a few miles away. What a great guy. How nice to stay in my cozy bed. It really has been comfortable and I have been sleeping well.
We got to the truck stop, got fuel, I added oil and then i got my egg mcmuffin and coffee. my favorite breakfast. we then had some down time because we don’t need to be to our destination until 7:00 a.m. tomorrow morning but only have 3-4 hours of driving today. How nice to have a relaxing morning. I took a super long shower which was so nice. I really was feeling grubby. We then practiced some backing because he knows I am worried about that. He has been very patient with me but I just have a hard time with it. I actually got a little frustrated and had a few tears. He wanted to make sure that i was not upset with him and I assured him it is just the way i am. I am just hard on myself and get frustrated when I can’t do something. I did get it in a few times.
Then went to the truck stop to send a post card to the grand kiddos. When I got back we decided to take off. It is a glorious day in Virginia. Beautiful sunny day about 70 degrees. Just love this weather. We took off and I was driving. Our final destination is West Virginia. We were heading up I-77 up the mountain and I was really giving it gas as it was struggling getting up the mountains. We are carrying 34,000 lbs of nyquil/dayquil and I think some lotion, pepto bismal, we will do a lot of hauling for Proctor and Gamble. Well we were only about 10 minutes on the road when a red light came on the dash and I asked Mark what it was, he came to look and all of a sudden the truck shut down. There was a little narrow shoulder thank goodness that I was able to pull over on. We have been waiting hoping the temperature will go down. It is overheated because it was just working too hard climbing the hill. Hopefully we don’t have to call roadside assistance.
After waiting 20 minutes it finally had cooled down so we took off. This time Mark behind the wheel. We decided to turn off at a Flying J (big truck stop). Mark knew I had laundry to do so that was a good place to do it. Thought it would give us a chance to check out the truck. Everything seemed fine although Mark thought the fan was not running quite the way it should. We were there probably close to 2 hours. I got to make some phone calls and talk to Lindsay and the kids, I got my laundry done – got a frosty from Wendy’s. Life was good.
We got back on the road about 20 miles and same thing happened. We called breakdown and over 30 minute wait to talk to someone. So we were on hold …. then thought we would try it again. After it cooled down we were on the road again – both Mark and my eyes were on the thermostats – looking at the numbers. As soon as it would reach 230 is when it would shut down. So it was climbing – silence in the truck as we entered a tunnel with no shoulder on either side. It was climbing 210 – 220 – then Mark said 230. We both knew big trouble. We saw the end of the tunnel and as we exited the tunnel the truck shut down. Wow was that close. He moved to the side of the road. Lost phone connection with breakdown through the tunnel. We both took a deep breath. Ahead we saw the “Welcome to West Virginia” sign. The next exit was ahead and we could see it had a walmart. After it cooled down we got to the Walmart and parked. Finally got through to breakdown. They said someone would be there in an hour. 3 hours later someone finally showed up from Glens Towing. It was probably around 10:00 pm. He right away looked and said it was the fan clutch. It would have to get to the shop. We also had a load that was to be delivered by 7:00 am. “Repower” is what they call it when someone else will come and pick up your load to get it delivered if you aren’t able to. So we were able to limp our way to the shop and that is where we are spending the night. Someone should come in the early am to get our load and the load we had scheduled for today is cancelled until we know what time we are up and running.
The logistics of the trucking business amazes me. When I would see semis on the road prior to getting into this, I had no idea what all was involved with getting goods to where they need to be. I also have a different outlook on Truck Drivers. They need to not only drive, but in a sense be a mechanic or able to fix what you can, you need patience more than anything, you need to be flexible because things are constantly changing and you need to understand the electronic logging. I am still a little confused on the whole “hours of service” . In training we are to complete paper logs every day just in case something happens to your computer and you are not able to do electronic logs and let me tell you, my math skills are definitely not up to par. You need to write down your Off Duty, Sleeping Berth, Driving and On Duty time. Only 11 hours of driving in a 14 hour stretch, 30 minute break for every 8 hours, Not to exceed 70 hours in 8 days or you have a 34 hour shutdown and that shutdown has to include two 1-5 am mornings. Too many rules and my mind just cant comprehend it for some reason. Hopefully my log book will pass inspection when we go for the final “test”.
Tom is in Oregon somewhere and I am so excited when we can be experiencing all this together. We always have been a good Team and I cant wait to be with my team mate.
All in all, my thoughts at this point in the game is I Love It!! I know there are challenges like today but I feel like I am on a never ending camping trip and I’m getting paid for it. You never know what tomorrow holds. Tonight I am sleeping in the shop and who knows where I will be tomorrow. I feel blessed that I have been given this great opportunity!!
Sent from my iPad
Ok so here is the set up on my email to her, I was coming into Nashville, and going to Fed Ex to pick up a load. This is another trainer story. I should preface it by saying that my trainer has been on the road for over 30 years, he is an excellent trainer, but very old fashion. He basically knows every road, every mile marker, every delivery point, every truck stop and every restaurant in the country. He uses an atlas when he needs direction and is trying to train me on using an atlas, and memorizing the trip or pre trip before we leave every stop.
As I said I was in Memphis, I had driven almost 10 hours and was exhausted, I did not get a chance to talk to Lori that night, so after my little fall out with my trainer I sent her this email. Please take this as a funny story because looking back on it, the whole situation was pretty ridiculous.
Side note…. a Garmin to me is a GPS system that tells you were to go, like a lot of us have in our cars we do have a system on board that is called driver teck, but it is not very accurate and only gets you from city to city, not to your drop off point,
Sorry I missed you tonite, we pushed until 1am or so again, I kind of snapped tonite, Kirk was pushing me pretty hard and saying I was not to good at trip planning which in his mind is memorizing a route by studying a map before you leave, I told him its not 1976 anymore and atlases are just stupid, (he doesn’t believe in garmins)
He insisted I needed to memorize routes b4 we leave, I told him it was stupid because I will get a garmin once me and you are together After his next comment I asked him if he wanted to be Fred and I could be Barney, insinuating that he was living in the stone age, then we were going to Fed Ex in Memphis to do a pick up and the driver tech said turn and he insisted we keep going straight, we got all turned around and the driver tech directions were right, I just wanted to get done and call you and Kirk just wanted to keep pounding on trip planning. I was really frustrated and basically let him know, so the air is a little thick right now in the truck..
Anyway picking up on Memphis, he says we don’t have time to go to Graceland which also pisses me off, and we are off for Oregon.. Wow huh??
I will not be driving in the AM so give me a call, when you can.. Love ya sweety,
Talk to you soon, I hope and pray everything is well with you!!
Well sorry for the length of the note, We hope everything is great with all of you.
Happy Palm Sunday to you all
All our Love
Tom and Lori
PS to Dsnis and Kathy Fawver a coupld of years ago you 2 recomended some books by Vince Flynn so I have been spending some time with Mitch Rapp on the road…. Thanxs