Saturday, January 6, 2018

Well here's the current deal.  I added up my hours for the last 7 days including today, trying to calculate what I would have left for tomorrow and came up with 6 hours available. Not unusual considering it will have been 7 days working.  Tho tomorrow will only be about 3 or 4 hours worth to deliver at the plant 15 minutes from where I'm parked.  Dive truck stop, great diner.  Don't quite get that, but it is what it is.  Only place anywhere near where I"m delivering to park. Well actually, I can park outside the gate where I'm delivering, but no food there!

Anyway, after figuring out available hours, I told the manager up here - I currently have 2 managers now. 1 is Ann my regular manager and then this guy up here giving me info what to do next.  Ann still has to do my paperwork tho, even tho it's a different division of the company she is doing it for.  Which is cool, she is very thorough and will make sure I get all the money I can make.  Oh, well I told the manager that and I now have a 34 hours reset coming after delivery tomorrow.

That means that I have a day and a half off, basically, to lounge around and do nothing.  I don't get paid for it, but I've had enough of this for one week and that's the norm for the industry: work your ass off all week and then take a break. 34 hour resets are something the feds came up with. You can do them, but they are voluntary.  Usually, it's better to take the reset than the try to keep driving, you run out of hours and have to shut down long before you get ot where you're supposed to be.  Most companies just make drivers take the reset, doesn't other me a bit.  I don't want to work 7 days a week and more so, it's freezing freaking cold up here.  It's zero degrees right now and the wind chill going down as much as 35 below. My truck wouldn't even start this morning.

I got up this morning - and my goodness staying at that hotel was so nice - got out there and the thing wouldn't start.  I tried plugging in the engine heater for 45 minutes and still wouldn't start.  Finally gave up on it, went to the Freightliner shop next door, asked them to come over and jump start it.  Company couldn't pay for it, so I shelled out the bucks - though I will definitely get reimbursed.

Anyway, while I tried heating up the engine, I walked up the hill to the restaurant to get a bite to eat.  I mean, it was 7 degrees out but the wind was fierce and blowing right into my face. It felt like my face was burning.  I found out later the wind chill was 20 below.  I'm not used to this kind of weather, but excepting for my face, I've been keeping warm.  I brought extra heavy duty winter clothing with me, I have stuff in my closed for just such occasions.  I was so glad I went to the trouble of bringing that heavy coat.

Okay that was last night, Friday night to be exactly. It was frigid, bitter cold this morning when I got up.  The APU heater was struggling to keep up with it, even with the curtain closed separating the sleeper from the cab. I was at the dive truckstop but with the nice diner.  I decided to get up early and get some breakfast and drink several cups of nice, hot coffee.  That really helped.  Because when I was offloading the methane, their bottom fill valve froze and we sat there - a long, long time.  Out in the cold, out in the blowing wind, it was miserable.  I endured it, but I was longing to get it over with and get into this hotel. 

Well, the hotel was another story.  I mean, they didn't offer me anything.  I just decided that whether they offer or not - my company that is - I"m getting a room. If I don't get reimbursed, oh well. I mean, this company is great in some ways - really not that great on information sharing in others.  I don't know what they will do or not do.  Anyway, I went through all the usual hotel sites for a cheaper rate, but I eventually came in to the hotel itself after pulling the truck into this rather small parking lot and asked them.  A king sized bed for $93.  The internet price on all of those sites was at least $110!

So that's where I am.  I got a very nice room, with a king sized bed, 44 inch flat screen tv - though I have yet to turn that on, tv doesn't do that much for me anymore - a nice computer table, microwave, fridge, coffee pot.  I'm set.  Laundry room is just down the hall, intend on doing 2 loads of it before I leave here. I was going to do it today, but I"m so worn out from all of this ordeal here. I just ordered delivery.  It's far too cold to walk the mile it is to Texas Roadhouse.  I could call an Uber, but I simply don't feel like it. I just want to relax and kick back.  Maybe tomorrow I'll Uber it, it's 6 bucks each way.  After a 4 thousand dollar paycheck, I don't see a problem with spending a bit for comfort purposes. 

I was told that the weather was going to get better and then get bad again. Well I'm looking at a 10 day forecast for Amherst.  Cold today and tomorrow, Monday it warms up.  60% chance of snow on Monday, but that doesn't bother me. It's the temps and the wind chill that has been sending me to an early grave.  I'm looking at the rest of the week and I see nothing that warrants this idea that it's going to get cold again after Sunday.. If it's in the 30's, that is much more bearable than the unbelievable ice cold temps that have been going on ever since I got here in all 3 states that I have been travelling in.

So, to me, it's all good.  I won't be back on the road again until early Monday morning - that will suck but I'll deal with it.  I have the APU unit running on the truck - it uses minimal amount of fuel and I filled up 67 miles away from getting here. Figured better safe than sorry.  The APU runs the heat (or cooling) and it also recharges the battery  I left it at 65 degrees. Not toasty but not freezing either.  It doesn't need monitoring. However, the trailer? I"m going to have to get on my winter gear here in a little while, trudge out there and see what the pressure is at.  I have a feeling I'm going to have to blow off some Methane before this is over.  I parked that truck well away from any and everything just in case that happens.

If the pressure gets too high - 70 pounds - there are safety valves that open up and blow it off automatically Uhh, they don't want that to happen.  It forces the trailer off the road and into a shop to service the safety valves and more importantly, those valves apparently - more often than not - won't shut down after they open up.  It's really an emergency thing, you should be dealing with it long before that happens.

I'm learning is all I can say.  At least they do have safety valves. The alternative is the tank blows up and people probably die, including me.  I never assumed hauling hazmat was without risks.  I just knew it pays a lot more money and that assumption - but backed with a lot of research - turned out to be true.  Honestly, I'm more fearful of rolling the thing over than some sort of fire or explosion. 

Okay, after I got this room, I did text my manager.  I thought it lame this "temporary" manager up here didn't offer anything. But perhaps I'm supposed to go through my own manager, I really don't know.  I just said hey! I got a room, I dunno if the company pays for it but if they do, great! If not, I'll just tack it up as to the cost of coming up here. 

About an hour later, she replied a lengthy text: we do NOT expect you to do a 34 hour reset in a truck.  We always get rooms.  Especially in those circumstances. If you want to, next time, call me and I will prearrange a room, prepaid for you.  Now that sounds like a plan to me.  Well, heck, I only paid for one night, I"m going to ask her to have the second night paid for in advance and then I am only out a hundred bucks or so.  Now that I have that settled.....I haven't had to do a reset away from home working for my manager.  She makes it happen I"m home long enough to get it. 

Now then, Rene - lady roommate - is sending me videos of Addler.  I haven't been gone this long from him - ever.  Not 8 days.  And yet 7 at least to go.  This particular experience will ride with me a long time.  First being away form home - already knew I hated that - but also memories of frigid cold temps.  I can only say I'm very glad I brought all my heavy winter gear, I would be over at Walmart right now or somewhere, buying stuff if I didn't have it.  Okay.  Well, that's it.  For now.  I've got more, but I"m putting all this junk on and going out and checking the pressure on the trailer.

Interesting day. Up early - 4:00, jolted out of deep sleep by the ridiculous phone alarm - annoying as all get out but that's the inten...