19 June 2008

first week back to work

.........was tiring. The plan was for me to ride/drive with James to Columbia, TN to pick up and then head to Austin, TX to grab the abandoned truck. The plant at Columbia was even slower than normal so we didn't get out of there until almost 1 p.m. Monday, the appointment is for 9 a.m. and they usually will get you out at 1100. I hate driving team, I hate driving team, I hate driving team. We always get asked why we don't drive team and my reply is that you don't have to work as hard as a solo driver. Don't get me wrong, it can be nice having somebody right there in the truck to help with things like paperwork, fueling, etc but neither of us can get proper rest if that truck is moving. You have rough roads, stop and go traffic, background noise (or in my case some idiot getting alongside of me and blowing his air horn because he wants a woman to wave at him). There is also the issue of having your own space, we both set our trucks up slightly different so we were constantly tripping over each other's things. Good thing it was only from Sunday evening to Tues. morning.

Speaking of things, I took the bare minimum because I thought we would get to Austin, recover the tractor and then I would bobtail to Laredo to get my racks for the next week. Nothing doing, turned out the dispatcher wanted me to go to Houston for the next day, scrounge around for an empty, live-load for Laredo, then get my return trailer. I had almost nothing with me because I thought James and I would be right there together and I could use his tools and sleep in his truck until we got back home. Thankfully James volunteered to cover the Houston mess and I took his load on down to Laredo after making a stop at Wal-Mart for cleaning supplies, gloves, and a flashlight.

Now for the truck, I really, really lucked out. Overall it's in great shape, the only damage I've found so far is that the wing on the driver's side is bent with 3 broke brackets and a tiny bit of graffiti on it but I stopped at our N. Little Rock shop this morning to see about getting it repaired
weekend after next. I'll just have a week of everybody making fun of me. Did a quick clean-up job in Texas and will do another more thorough one this weekend. It only had 65,000 miles on it and thankfully hadn't been totally trashed on the inside and I don't think the driver was a heavy smoker. Oh and it's not a freightliner, no optimized idle, YAY!!!!!!!!!

There is a learning curve for this truck though. It's an International ProStar that requires the ultra-low sulfur diesel and there's no getting in the truck, turning the key, and going. You have to wait for it to cycle through for several seconds and wait for the air dryer hiss before cranking the engine otherwise you get all these nasty little messages and icons on the dash flashing error, shutdown immediately. Oh and if you forget and leave it in gear when you shut the engine down it won't restart and/or go back into gear for anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes. Found that out the hard way on the fuel island at Encinal, TX Tuesday afternoon. Poor James got an angry phone call with me yelling at him asking what in the world is wrong with this truck. Yeah, I know, it wasn't his fault and it's kind of hard to troubleshoot from 200 miles away but evidently him and another friend had done the same thing so he knew what was going on. I think they made the 2007+ engines way too complicated but I guess we have the EPA to blame for that.

I sound like I had a crappy week but I really didn't. Once I got a decent night's sleep, I couldn't stop grinning, I was that happy to be back to work. I will try to take pictures of the truck sometime this weekend after I clean it again.

Workouts for this week: nothing for Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday was a walk/run of 3.31 miles in 43:39 with Elsie at Pearsall, TX, followed by a 2.12 mile run in 20:02. This morning was a 1.54 mile run/walk with Elsie then a 2.6 mile run in just over 24 minutes. I had planned on 3 miles but stopped to talk with a neighbor that just returned from vacation and when I tried to start running again I ended up with stitches. First was the normal too fast stitch on the left followed by the very painful "need fluids now" stitch on the right side.

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