Sunday, October 29, 2017

I'm trying to get a grasp on a more positive outlook of what has been going on with this company, or if nothing else, my state of mind, but geeze.  The dispatcher said they'd get me unloaded by 11am.

Look, I was in Batesville, MS last night. That's as far as I could get from Columbus, Ohio in one day's driving.  It rained for half the trip and people don't drive very well in the rain.  I was pushing it, tho.  I stopped once to take mandatory 30 minute break and fuel, that was it.  I drove the rest of the time until my hours were up.

Truckers don't have mileage limits, they have a clock.  Start the clock on electronic logging and there is no shutting it off. You are burning up that clock regardless of what you are doing.  Of course, 14 hours is plenty of working hours in a day, but it forces truckers to keep going.  Instead of being able to take a sleeper berth and extend that 14 hours, the ELD doesn't care.  It's an electroni contraption that just says well, you turned me on, if ya want to get the miles in, you're going to have push your self for your 11 hours driving time.  This is why owner operators are staging protests.  The FMCSA is a group of people that think they know what's best for truckers, when in reality, they don't know anything.  At all.  A bunch of "minds" coming together saying, well, one thing happened here, so we are going to enact new rules against everyone - instead of targeting the one driver that did something stupid.

It's ridiculous. I've pretty much come to hate the trucking industry for the Fed rules.  I haven't looked up to see yet if they did away with this unbelievable idea to implement a rule that you can't even talk on a phone, with a headset, hands free.  How did all of us truckers survive before all of this regulation?  Oh, yeah, we can rub our bellies and heads at the same time.

Whatever, I'm ranting, but I've been in the industry for a long, long time, so I figure I have 25 cents worth of input.  I put in 660 miles yesterday, the only thing I'm complaining about is not getting home on Friday.  In fact, I didn't get home until 2 hours ago - at 7 pm. That's on a Saturday. I've been living in that truck for 6 full days. Do you know what it feels like to come home? I already knew this about myself when I applied for this job,  I don't do OTR.

Anyway, I got up 15 minutes before I could get on that clock again this morning. Got a coffee, got in the truck and drove - straight through - to Hattiesburg, MS.  I got there at 9 am, they said I missed my appointment so I'll have to wait.  Yes, that appointment was originally set at 5:00 am. It was abandoned when the dock worker decided to spend 3 hours unloading 2 trucks. This guy has personal issues, 2cd time I've encountered him, grow up.  He's probably in his 50's, he acts like a 5 year that didn't sleep well last night.

That 3 hours cost me.  I got to the pickup place for the next load and they were closed.  Which meant spending the night in an industrial park I found - the only truckstop I could find in that town was a Pilot and it was totally full- very small, and drivers going around in circles looking for a place to park.  No thanks.  I drove a mile down the road and found unlimited parking.  500 feet from a restaurant - with very good food I might add.  There are alternatives to truckstops - and much better alternatives.  In fact, I'm sure a person could get rich coming up with an app that shows truckers alternate parking areas that are close to the amenities they are looking for.

Well anyway. I spent 4 hours - 4 full hours - waiting to get unloaded at a Sam's club Distribution Denter because of all that junk in Ohio - of no fault of my own.  NONE.  I watched at least 30 trucks come in, go into the same office I did, get their dock, get unloaded and leave.  I went in to the office after a while of sitting in that truck and found they had a 44 inch flat screen turned on with college football playing.  Better than that truck, I can guarantee ya that. It was 3 plus solid hours before they got me onto a dock.  And then, I had to unhitch the tractor and go wait somewhere else for them to unload.

That was a shocking thing that took me by surprise once I got into this stuff - back into this stuff I should say.  You don't just open the doors and back up to a loading dock any more.  There are varying degrees of security in place now.  Red and green blinking lights. Red - don't move your truck, please.  Chalk your wheels. Pull the red air hose off your trailer? Wow.  That was a new one.  I finally asked at a place: you must have had some truck drivers pulling out before the unloading or loading was complete?  Oh yes.

I find it amazing how all truck drivers are forced to pay for the infractions of a few.  At several places, now, I have had to get out of the truck, stand at a door and give them the key to the truck to place in a lockbox.  And last time, it was freezing cold out there.  Y'all can come up with all the rules you want, but if your dumb @$$es are going to make EVERYONE pay for it like that,  provide us a place out of the elements, thanks.

But, it is a sign of the times. I'm watching behavior in truckstops that is unfathomable.  On the roads as well.  I'm becoming accustomed - slowly - at looking at asphalt and concrete replete with white and yellow lines all day long.  Yes, folks, the trucking industry is not an industry of professionals anymore. It's any moron that wants to take up a company on their "train and drive contract. I had a Werner truck "change lanes" on me today - he cut me off with maybe 5 feet of room.  I mean, I was approaching him in the passing lane, going much faster than him, this dude just comes over.  When I finally am passing by him? Waving at me.  I had no such gestures back at him.  This is dangerous driving, I could have and probably should have reported him, but I had a clock sitting in front of my face.

And that clock? Was counting down to zero quickly.  When I got to the truckstop in my town, the clock had 6 minutes left on it.  I had already decided long before I got there that I would go over hours to get to the truckstop and get home.  After the way I was treated this week? Yeah, don't care.  Fire me if you like.

Anyway, I'll find out quickly next week if their promise of getting me home frequently actually comes to fruition. But really.  Doesn't it make more sense to go after the money while I still can?  I'm taking that driving test tomorrow no matter how burned out I am.  Coming home was a breath of fresh air today. Finally out of that damned truck. It's a piece of junk tho, definitely.  One of those new, fancy things would be much more amenable, as I was "informed" that I would be getting within the next 3 months.  Whatever.

The guy is going to call me tomorrow.  I'm figuring on going to bed soon, actually. It's almost 10 pm and I want to be rested for a driving test.  I guess I don't need to be tho, I've driven 12,000 miles in the last month, not like I don't know what I'm doing. But it still kinda makes you nervous having someone scrutinizing your performance.

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I'ts now late Sunday morning.  I didn't get a call from that guy, I assume there is no truck available to take the road test.  Which is actually quite fine by me, I'm exhausted.  I need a day to recoup.  Driving 37 miles over to that town, getting in that truck and performing a road test isn't high on my list of things to do today.  I am going to very nicely but bluntly ask that I be home Friday night, Saturday morning at the latest next weekend.  I need the time to get stuff done around the house and the time on Sunday, especially, to rest, relax, do whatever I want and recoup.  The only consolation I got was that I don't have to get up in the wee hours of Monday morning. Tomorrow I leave at around 1 pm to get to Lufkin for a delivery, after that, I will see if they are going to hold true to their word. My idea was trips to Grenada, MS, turn around and head to Lufkin and then back up to my town for 10 hour off.  That wouldn't work every day, but it would get me back at least a couple times a week.  4 of those trips a week would be well over the 3,000 mile limit they want you to reach.

Tho there are drivers at 2,500 miles per week that they apparently are comfortable with as well.  I was also informed of another individual that wants to be home more often and they have him doiong turn arounds such as what I was thinking for the Lufkin run.  They have 8 loads a day going there, one of them can be mine every time.  But they also have other stuff going on in this area, it doesn't have to be limited to any one thing, just keep me coming and going around here so I can get home, thanks. I like sleeping in my bed, the dogs went plum crazy yesterday when I walked through the door for I had been gone so long.

Addler is giving me the looks today.  He knows I am going to leave again, he just doesn't know when.  Not today, buddy, not today.

So, that's that.  Now I have to go out and spend a couple of hours going to stores.  Also not big on my list of things I want to do.  Honestly? I just want to lay in bed and sleep today.  That's how I feel, especially after yesterday.  That was a very long day.



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