Monday, November 20, 2017

Up & Down I-5, Then On I-10

Life has been relatively simple lately. Our loads have taken us up to Oregon; down to California; back up to Oregon; and now to Arizona. We have become regular customers at a variety of truckstops.   

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Unwarranted Critical Event Reports

Although I am labeled a “independent contractor“ and a “business owner“, the company I am leased to holds me to rigorous standards & intervention. Whenever my truck records a “hard-braking event“ or a “stability control event“, they require me to call my business advisor to discuss what happened and how to procure safer driving. Sometimes, a driver is directed to go to an OC to receive remedial instruction and a driving test. Nobody wants that experience.
  On two occasions, recently, my truck has sent those dreaded reports to Schneider. Neither of the reports reflected a smidgen of reality. Apparently, there are faulty components in the new Kenworth trucks. Another contractor notified me of this, and my business advisor is also aware of it. My “critical events“ were accurately labeled “non-preventable”. 
  My fellow new-Kenworth-driving contractor told me that he was criticized for other data points that were collected surrounding the time of his faulty critical event report, so he says that he is sharpening his company policy abiding practices in an exaggerated manner - such as a full seven seconds of following distance. 

Chores We Do On a 34-Hour Break

Whenever we take 34 hours off, we aren’t completely goofing off. It is usually imperative that we get laundry done. This time around, it was even more urgent to get our fabrics into the sudsy water - The puppies had at least two accidents on our bedding.
  Load searching is another major activity that we perform on our extended breaks. Stephanie is a specially diligent with that. Eastbound freight is proving to be hard to find. 
  We got the puppies thoroughly showered this evening. They smell and feel a lot nicer. Their last major cleaning was this past Wednesday, at the motel.
  I got the inside of our trailer cleaned out. It has to be “food grade” clean for our upcoming customer. When we get back home, I’m going to bring the leaf blower back aboard. The broom isn’t much fun.

Spending the Night in Fontana at Cousin Jennifer’s House

We started our 34 hour break yesterday afternoon (Monday). Stephanie invited Jennifer to come over to the truck stop for a visit. Jennifer had a better idea: to invite us over for dinner and to spend the night. We accepted the invitation. Jennifer’s husband, Bilal, came to pick us up - as he was already on his way home from work. 
  Jennifer made a simple crockpot dinner that tasted good. Their two-year-old son, Kaysan, really loved our puppies. We had to maintain a buffer zone between him and our furry mammals. The girls can be a little rough.
  Their bed was comfortable, but we did not sleep as deeply as we were hoping to. How are puppies were more hyperactive than usual. I had to take them out at least twice during the night. And, they consumed a lot more water than usual.
  After breakfast, we loaded up Jennifer‘s car and she drove us to the truck stop. I was hoping she had her son would have been able to explore our new Kenworth, but she was feeling very poorly from pregnancy. 
  It was a good visit. I hope we can see them again soon. And I hope we can visit other relatives during our next working tour of Southern California.

First Loads In The New Truck

Last Wednesday afternoon, we felt satisfied that our new truck was ready for action. There wasn’t much coming out of the immediate Phoenix area, so we deadheaded at least 315 miles to Colton California to pick up a load. From there, we embarked on a trip that took us to Lebanon Oregon. Along the way, we stopped to visit with family.
   It was a little weird being in a truck with a stick shift again. I drove the auto shifting truck for 18 months. Now, I am learning how to shift a 13 speed transmission. My prior experiences had only been in 10 speeds, so I am having to rewire my muscle memory paradigm.
  After delivering our load to a home-improvement store distribution center, we picked up a load of paper from a mill in Toledo Oregon. That was about 130 miles away. The facility was complex and a little confusing, so I am glad we got it done late at night. There wasn’t the pressure to move faster than my comfort level.
  From Toledo Oregon, we spent a couple of days getting down to San Diego California. Along the way, we had to request repair service for the trailer, as the lights were progressively failing. The repair technician never did figure out why things were going bad, so he improvised some wiring to get us to our destination safely and legally.
  Arriving at the really yard in San Diego, the guard removed all of my tail lights – as their policy requires. Most drivers & trucking companies know that Mexican drivers are notorious for stealing anything they can off of the trailer. 
  From San Diego, we deadheaded through the night up to the Los Angeles area and parked the truck on the side of the street in an industrial neighborhood. Lots of other truck drivers had the same idea, as truck stop parking is virtually nonexistent . Several motorhomes made the Compton neighborhood their home also. Nobody bothered us in that crime infested area, but Stephanie didn’t get much sleep because of her worry.
  Monday morning, we moved the truck about half a mile to our customer. We were right on time. They had us back into a dock that required me to traverse a significant portion of a busy intersection while backing. It was one of the most intense maneuvers I have ever performed. Stephanie stood outside, wearing a safety vest, to direct me and to alert traffic.
  We took that load across the mountains and into the desert. The load was relatively short, but it got our revenue up to a decent level for the week. Monday night is our“Friday“.
  With recap hours dwindling, we drove back south on I-15 and made a home for our truck at one of the big truck stops in Ontario. I have several family members in the area. Cousin Jennifer invited us to spend the night at her family’s house. Her husband, Bilal, came to pick us up. Their two-year-old son, Kaysan, was delighted with our energetic puppies. We are trying to teach the girls to be gentle with little kids. So, that is an abbreviated summary of our first several days in the new Kenworth.  


Monday, November 13, 2017

Friday (Nov 10)evening with Farless family in Oregon

Goodness gracious. I am late on my blogs again. It’s worth mentioning that we spent about 90 minutes with family members in Oregon Friday evening. Jerry and Becky brought their eight-year-old great grandson, Logan. He was a lot of fun to visit with. Just before we departed, we gave them a quick tour of the inside of the truck.   

Thursday, November 9, 2017

New Truck

  It’s 35 minutes past midnight. We are under a load & spending the night in Lebec California. It’s been a productive day. 
  We spent a portion of the day signing papers & transferring belongings from one truck to the next. We were really glad that we left a significant portion of our belongings in Nixa Missouri, as our new truck has much less storage space.