Friday, March 2, 2018

Finally got this trip over with this morning. Got up, made a cup of coffee in the hotel room's coffee pot, took a long, hot shower, got out of there and got on down the road.  Didn't stop until I got into Texas and at a Love's maybe 30 miles after getting into the state. I am slowly figuring out how to deal with this job. That includes simply having full - or near full - fuel tanks when I get to the plant. 

They ask you if you need fuel.  Yes. How much? 100 gallons (or whatever at the time).  When I tell them I need fuel, they always cut the gross weight of the truck to within a few hundred pounds of 80k. When I don't tell them that, they cut off up to 10k pounds.  I don't get it.  But I'd rather be lighter and not get pulled into weigh stations so much.  These trucks have PrePasses in them, I get the okay to bypass a lot of stations but not all of them.

Anyway, Ann was at the office so I talked to her for a while. When I pulled into the yard, there were 8 trucks sitting in there. I never see that many trucks.  Turns out, one of them was for me.  Mark the 6th truck I will have been in since joining this company. However, this one wasn't forced. She just presented it to me and said, if you don't want it, I'll let Joe have it.  I looked at it. Beautiful truck.  2016 Peterbilt. Got inside, very nicely taken care of.  I mean, really, nice interior, that I could see anyway. 

Ann said you can have it if you want it.  Well, let me take it out on a run or two first?  The truck I'm in would be used as a backup truck for those that  have trucks that break down.  Nobody wants in that thing, so not putting anyone out.  So, there it is.  There is a serious drawback to this one though. When I fired it up, the odometer came on.  957,000 miles on it. In two years, someone put almost a million miles on this truck? No way. Has to be a team.  Teams do way more driving. They make more money too, but at a cost.  Not worth it to me.  I mean, even if I had a honey driving with me and we had a relationship, that's still a lot of time in a small box.  Nerves can wear thin.

Now, the problem with a truck with that many miles.  Parts wear out.  Inevitable.  But, can it be any worse than the thing I'm in that has broken down 3 times in less than a month and a half?  I suppose it could be, but the thing is soooo nice inside. Just plain beautiful.  A standard transmission.  Certainly worth trying.  That's a lot of miles, but everything is still "new" as far as age goes.  It's hard to tell.  I'm giving her a whirl tomorrow and see what happens.

I have a late load time.  Noon.  The plant I'm going to is the one in El Dorado that takes 6 hours (minimum) to unload.  But, that's 5 hours of detention pay. A short run and I'll be home the next morning, which is Sunday. Then out again Monday morning to Barnsdall, Oklahoma, a place I've been to many times now, also elongated delivery times, but, those are the best.  I'm hoping for a Brownsville run after that and hopefully at least a day's worth of waiting for a trailer.  That is ideal for huge paychecks. 1,200 miles of driving plus X amount of hours times 22.  Plus stop pay, which every trip has at least 4 stops to record. 

I figure, if I stay at this job long enough, I'm going to find the hotels that are cheap but good along the way.  Brownsville, I found one but haven't tried it yet. The company has paid for the hotel stays. But, I figured it out.  I can sit in the truck 24 hours a day and get paid - 24 hours a days. But if i take a company paid hotel, I get 10 hours deducted off that pay. Well, if I take I pay for my own hotel, at around $60, I get a hotel, get paid for the 24 hours and make much more than taking 10 off. There aren't any rules against doing this, it's the best way to go. I mean, if she got me another stay at the Marriot, I'd take the loss just for the fun of staying in a fancy hotel lol.

As it stands. I doubt I will have enough available hours to make it back on Monday's trip.  Meaning a 34 hour layover at a hotel somewhere. Which is fine by me, I don't pay for those layover. They aren't paid an hourly wage, so might as well get whatever the company is willing to get for me. The first trip is to El Dorado. It's 3 hours up and back - at most.  We no longer have to log hours sitting at either the loading plant or unloading plant, so that really takes a lot of hours off the weekly total, leaving more available to do more runs.  But that will bring up me up near 60 hours, then I have Barnsdall, Ok on Monday.  Almost 7 hour drive plus at least 2 hours loading.  It will be cutting it close.  I'll have enough time to get into the plant, shut off the timer and get it unloaded. After that, it's the luck of the draw. There is a town about 20 miles away that has several hotels.  I'm just guessing here, making home is better but I always try to plan for the worst case scenario. 

But then again, making money is not a bad scenario.  I actually don't want to do a 34 hour reset. I would rather get a good long trip after these two short ones and beef up my next paycheck. But, that's not going to be possible. This job makes huge money if you're willing to work basically all the time. Still have some home time here and there, always have a 34 hour reset. But, if you take 3 days off like I did last weekend, it affects the next paycheck.  I needed that time off tho.  I'm not going to feel bad about it, just put the nose to the wheel and get it cranking.  I pushed myself so that I could get back without too much time on the clock for today.  It's not complicated but kind of hard to explain.

You have a 60 hour/6 day clock or a 70 hour/7 day clock. We are on the 70 hour one. It basically allows you to drive up to 70 hours in the last 7 days.  So let's say i drove yesterday and I ended up with 70 hours on the clock. That means I have nothing for today, because I drove all 70 hours out. But let's say that I drove yesterday and ended up with 64 hours. That leaves me 6 hours drive time today.

Now, what factors in are short days like today.  Tomorrow, today takes effect and 7 days ago drops off. Well, 7 days ago i was on the clock almost 14 hours. Today, I was on the clock 3 hours.  So, that 14 drops off and now, I will have and extra 11 hours showing up.  Does that make sense?  There is no requirement to take a 34 hour reset, but most companies do it because it's the best way to just get your clock reset, start at a full 70 or 60 and get down the highway. 

Well anyway, I'd like to say I'm excited about getting into a newer truck tomorrow, but the million miles is rather disconcerting. But who knows? Maybe I'll drive it 100k miles without any troubles. Roll of the dice.

Meanwhile, their hunt for a house to rent goes on.  I found one tonight that I think will fit the bill.  It's a cozy 3 bedroom, 1-1/2 bathroom place that looks decent.  Smaller bedrooms but the monthly price tag on it is much smaller, too.  I"m hoping they can nail something down soon, April 1st isn't getting and further away.

I don't have to be up early tomorrow, don't have to be at the plant until 11 am. meaning leave out of here around 9:30 am.  A later time for these shorter runs is preferrable. I can get up there around 4 or 5 pm, drop the trailer, park the tractor outside their fence, go off duty for 10 hours and then drive back early in the morning. Have yet another half day to be at home. 

But, I'm tired, it's getting my version of late.


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...