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Trucker's Journal

I've been a trucker since November, 2004. Before that I was an accountant for many years. I'm having fun and actually making more than I did before. Go figure....

Location: Midwest, United States

Sunday, September 11, 2005

First real entry for new job

First real entry for new job

Yes, I'm now working for a small local company, but basically doing the same thing as before. I pick up freight at one spot and deliver it to another. Most of what I'm hauling now is the output of a local aluminum recycler and consists either of ingots or "sows" (large ingots each about one ton) going to foundries, die cast facilities, or some such end user. All the backhauls (picking up freight at the other end for return to or near the origin) have consisted mainly of aluminum scrap of one sort or another destined to be melted into the aforesaid ingots or sows. I've been on only two overnight trips; all the rest of the time I've returned for at least the minimum required 10 hours off duty before going back to work again.

The first of those overnight trips involved stopping overnight at a truck stop in a truck without functioning air conditioning. That meant that until the outside air cooled off (it was above 90F when I stopped) the oven-like interior of the sleeper was unbearable. Well, about 11pm it finally got cool enough that I could get to sleep, where I stayed until about dawn, at which time I continued my journey. The freight involved over 40,000 pounds of chili beans going to a food distribution warehouse. Upon arrival and the ceremonial "breaking of the seal" unloading commenced. Uh oh, one of the large pallets of shrink-wrapped cans had toppled to one side, resembling a silver Leaning Tower of Pisa. Why, oh, why, couldn't I have been carrying a tomato-based sauce so I could have called it the "leaning tower of pizza (sauce)"? Fortunately, the fork-lift driver was fairly good and he was able to nudge it sideways into the trailer and thus make the bottom once again line up with the top so that it could be unloaded.

The second of my overnight trips was better...in a way. The air conditioning DID work on this truck, and it's later in the season so that the day (and subsequent night) was ever so slightly cooler. I figured I'd sleep easily. Uh oh, think again, Mr. Trucker Dude. The A/C works well in the cab, but the auxilliary unit in the sleeper didn't; it was hot as the proverbial place of abode of the bad dead. Oh well, I'll just prop open the curtain between the sleeper and the cab and direct a couple of the vents directly that way. Mission accomplished, I can lie on the bunk and feel the cool breeze waft over me. Uh oh, once more, this truck has an idle protection circuit in its computer. Very simply, that means that since the truck idles about 600rpm and doesn't have very high oil pressure at that speed, it automagically shuts off after 15 minutes. But, I've encountered this before, and know that you can set the cruise control so that it idles up and stays running. Uh oh for yet another time. The cruise works very well on the road, but fails to function while sitting still and idling. A quick call to the garage (over 300 miles away, so they can't come fix it for me) yields a makeshift solution: sit something relatively heavy on the accelerator pedal and move it so that it idles at the required speed. Yep, I can do that, and did. It seems to work well, so I get back into the sleeper berth again, feeling that lovely cool air coming from the front. I'm noticing the sound of the engine start to change subtly, but don't pay much attention since I'm close to being asleep. BAM! Like a switch had been thrown by an unseen hand (which indeed it had), the engine stops. It seems that as it idles, the overnight bag propped on the pedal had slowly, ever so slowly, been vibrated rearward changing the weight balance and causing the pedal to rise to the point where the automagic shutoff kicked it off.

Well, being a cooler day, about 8:30 or 9 pm it finally got cool enough outside that I could sleep. I awoke naturally (without an alarm, which I failed to pack) about 5 am, went inside the truck stop to get my oh-so-necessary cup of coffee and moved on down the road. I will try to remember tomorrow to turn in a repair slip on that A/C and/or cruise control, but I may indeed forget it. Someone remind me later....


Blogger LilBambi said...

Great to see you blogging again ... and back working again as well. Hard to make ends meet otherwise. Hope you get that AC and/or Cruise Control working again. :)

10:22 PM  

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