Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Barnsdall, Oklahoma

Well, a somewhat eventful trip. It's only like 350 miles or so from origin to destination point.  But, a while after driving down the road, the orange engine light came back on and a notice about some sort of thing associated with cruise control - which did stop working.  I sent a pic of it to my manager, said the truck was working fine, I'm just going to keep driving it. She said fine.

Further up on up the line, about 120 miles, is a weigh station that you come to shortly after entering Oklahoma.  It seems like it's always open and they don't use easy pass system. If you're in a truck, they're pulling you in there to weigh you.  It doesn't appear to be a high truck traffic route such as most Interstates are, so trucks really don't get backed up much. 

Well, there was a State Trooper in there, not something you normally see. I could see they were having a conversation among themselves and this trooper kept looking up at me through the window.  He apparently had decided that he was going to do a full inspection of my truck. I really don't like these things. They usually find something wrong, write you up for it and take up a lot of time doing it.  If everything isn't perfect, you're screwed.

But, it's part of the business, nothing I can do about it, it's implied consent.  If you have a commercial driver's license, you basically give up the right to "probable cause" when it comes to truck inspections. They can pull you over at any time, anywhere just for the purpose alone with no violation having had been observed or committed.  I was ready for him though.  I always check all my documentation before I leave - they have a lot more regulation they dump on hazmat drivers than regular drivers.

You have to have this little book that tells first responders what to do in case of an emergency with the material you're hauling.  It has to be within easy reach of where you're sitting.  You have to have the bill of lading, pressure test sheet, weight ticket, etc also right there.  If it's not within easy reach, they write you up a $200 plus fine.  Of course you have this huge binder full of HaZmat authorties and exemptions and this and that.  Page after page of it. 

I was getting out of the truck, he said to get back in it. Of course, he wanted to see all of that, within reach and that I know exactly where to get it right off the bat.  Then a truck inspection - which wasn't a level I thank God or I would have been there at least an hour if not longer.  He checks the lights, the frame, tires, etc.  Then, it's "get all your paperwork together and then come over to the Tahoe".  I get in the passenger side, hand him a ream of paper and sit there and listen - to rock and roll, lol.  Imagine that, an older cop listening to AC/DC and such.  It took him 30 minutes to input all of that into the computer system. It goes into a personal record on me and for or against the company I am driving for, a system they initiated in 2010 that gives X amount of points against you for the various infractions - lots of them, pages of them in fact - that you can be caught involved with.  Minor to major.

Actually, that whole ordeal took 45 minutes, a level I would have taken at least an hour and a half. I was lucky that this run isn't that long.  I wanted to get to where I wanted to be, park the truck and get with my plan.  Anyway, he prints out a paper, hands it to me to sign, says no infractions, sends me along my merry way. Now, this is really good for me.  Companies absolutely hate when a driver gets pulled over and then gets written up for malfunctioning lights or such.  It goes against the company. If enough of it occurs, they are assessed with a higher score and that company's trucks get pulled over more.  So, this particular inspection was a win-win for me. Cost me time, but the results were worth it.

After that, I drove up to Bartlesville, undecided whether I was going to get a room or not. Definitely decided to park next to the bowling alley where I had parked to spend the night at the hotel next to it twice now, once at my expense the other time at company expense.  There is a fabulous Mexican food restaurant there, which is why I went there to begin with.  I went in there and ate a wonderful meal of Carne Asada with all the fixings and then, got back to the truck and decided not to waste money on a room. The rooms last night were much higher than the last time I was there.  I checked all the hotel deal sites, just no good deals to be had. Why, I have no clue.

Anyway, I just got done eating breakfast at the only restaurant in town in Barnsdall - it's directly across the street from the plant, they have excellent coffee. Decided to spend the rest of the time here in the sleeper. This is one of few plants you go to where they actually allow you to run your truck's engine while you're getting unloaded. That's because they don't have a room for drivers to lounge in here. It's in the 40's, no way am I sitting in a cold truck for endless hours. 

I just realized that today is election day in Texas.  If I get out of here in the next hour or so, I can still make it back in time to vote.  I'm a firm believer in voting, this just caught me by surprise. I follow politics, yes, but the voting day I didn't see until today and it just eluded me. 

In other news, the house has been selected and deposit money made on the house to rent. For my friends that is.  They will be able to afford this place without another renter. Which is a very good deal. They could still get a renter if they want to, that's up to them.  Anyway, I'm just glad we got a place for them out of the way. That was a big one, considering this little town really doesn't have that much rentals going on all the time.  The next thing is to get the utilities and such turned on and then, get them moved in there. 

The unfortunate part of all of this is that tensions have been running high, especially for the lady and she kind of blew up on us a couple days ago.  I started receiving a lot of very negative texts from her- when I wasn't even speaking to her. She also blew up on the other roommate, who was egging it on because he was fed up with it.  They have that kind of relationship where it goes well for a while but then they go head to head with other and it gets ugly.  I didn't respond to any of her texts that night, I wanted no part of it.

And that's it for now.  I'm currently just trying to save up money. I'd like to get 10 grand saved up for emergency expense use and then start saving for other things.  At the rate I'm going, maybe 4 more months and I'll have that ten grand saved in spite of having 10% taken out for retirement, medical insurance, huge taxes now that I'm in a higher tax bracket and of course normal monthly expenditures.  It's been a long time since I've been in this economic situation where I can live my life and still save a lot of money. 

Now that I'm in a decent truck that isn't trashed out on the inside and especially the sleeper, plus has a built in refrigerator, I'm really good with this. 

Whoops, the dude is banging on the connections. That means the truck is unloaded.

I'll have to finish this later in a different post. 

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...