Sunday, April 15, 2018

Trip to Cheneire was - eventful.  After spending over 3 hours in the plant due to a mistake by the plant operator, I drove down there.  I got within 12 miles of the plant, coming up to an interchange I needed to get on. Police blocking it/  They tried to wave me on, not happening. I asked them how long? Bad accident, fatalities, road blocked for a 5 mile stretch, accident investigation team just showed up, you're looking at a minimum 2 hours, probably longer than that.  They were nice about it. I asked them how to get around?  They said well you can wait at the truck stop but yes, it's going to be hours or, you can go - such and such a route and that will take you there. 

So I started this route and then started looking at maps. Because of where Cheneire is, there is only 2 ways in there. One from the Texas side and one from the Louisiana side.  It turned out to be a 105 mile drive to get there.  Yes, you read that right: a 105 mile detour.  It was the only other way there.  Well, I got out onto I-10 and decided I would get some fuel just to be safe.  I can say you with great assurance that that was a very good decision after what happened later on.  I got a hot dog, figured it might be a while before eating again and I hadn't stocked my fridge for this run, it was only supposed to be a day run, go down, come back up, ,go back to the plant in the morning and head up to Illinois.

Yea, didn't quite work that way.  The drive along the beach was great tho.  All these beautiful houses up on stilts, the beach right there next to the road way with the waves lapping up in some places almost all the way to the road itself.  Pretty cool.  Anyway, I got there, got checked in, got into Gate A, they told me to wait at the hill. I waited at that hill for almost 2 hours for them to show up.  When I got to the rack to unload, I was told to hook everything up, but - don't start building pressure. This all turned into a nightmare.  Their plant pressure was too high, they were trying to bring it down.

I finally got word they had it "down" to 50, which is still high.  I got the truck pressure up to 90, turned off the pressure coil. It was still slowly building pressure after that, but I figured it would stop since no fluid was running through there. I was wrong.  We opened the valves and - all kinds of ethylene pouring out their faulty hookup.  Long day growing longer, we tried several times to get the hookup to not leak.  This went on forever.  I mean, I had 4-1/2 hours of on duty time left on the clock when I got there, plenty of time to get unloaded.  When I finally left, I had to drive to their parking lot and spend the night there, I was totally out of hours and couldn't drive anywhere legally.  Not to mention my company would flag me for driving over hours.  I had no food with me. My mistake.  I just figured this would be an overnight trip, or at worst, I'd find a place to stop and eat.  But, as I stated, this plant is out in the middle of nowhere. There aren't any stores out there. I think the nearest one is 8 miles away on that Gulf Beach Highway. 

I spent a fitful night's sleep, got up early this morning, drove back to the yard.  I had already given up the load to Illinois, foregone conclusion I wasn't making it back in time and there was another driver who wanted the load, I gave it up to him freely.  I visited with Donny and Rene at Applebee's, went home to find a houseful of people. I knew they were there, tho. The older kid - 3 year old - was brought home by grandma.  Grandma made dinner - pretty good stuff - and they left earlier this evening. 

So, I'm sitting here watching the final season episode of the Walking Dead when I get a text from my manager: Joe has to go to the doctor tomorrow, can you take his spot?  OK, I didn't want to work tomorrow. I didn't say that to anyone, just in my mind. Once it gets into my mind, it's hard to dismiss it.  I "should" be off until Tuesday since all load are doled out for Saturday, Sunday and Monday on Friday.  It wasn't totally shocking tho.  I've come to expect that my life can be interrupted by this job at just about any time.  I've also come to expect that the truck can break down at any time and I may have to spend time in hotels. Or, the plant will reject the load until they are able to take it. Or the plant has problems and it's going to take forever to get the product off of the truck.  Or whatever. 

There is no set schedule is the point. It has it's pros and it's cons.  I'm dealing with it for now.  Probably not a forever job, but it's doing what i needed it to do.  I've had years and years worth of getting home every day and not working weekends, those thought processes haven't left my mind.  I'm slowly getting accustomed to this job, but I can't say that I'm just fine with it yet.  If I'm out on the road too long, I start getting antsy.  My thoughts go towards home and it's hard to shake.  But as I said, it's getting easier over time. 

I told Ann sure, I'll take it, having no idea where it's going on how long I'll be out.  Turns out it's going to Barnsdall, which I actually like. It's the place where I get up there the day before - usually pretty early, sometimes get a hotel, park next to the bowling alley, eat at that fabulous Mexican food place, maybe throw a few games on the bowling alley, enjoy myself.  I haven't taken a hotel in a while, if I get up there early enough, I might just do it.  Oh, wait, let me check the price of that place. Last time I was up there it was almost $100 and I won't do that. 

Well the Candlewood Suites is at $76, but I forgot about the Days Inn on the other side. It's going at $57.  I dunno, I'll make that decision tomorrow. I can't book in advance because you never know if you're going to even make it up there.  I've had too many breakdowns.  Anyway the run isn't worth as much as some other overnight runs - unless of course they have problems at the plant and I get detention pay, but I've already had several good runs, 3 consecutive, so no biggies.  Next paycheck should be awesome, especially considering that this run should also be on that paycheck since I should be back in time to get it posted. 

There is plethora of other things I wanted to discuss, but it's getting late and I am very tired. 

Well enough of that - the previous post that is. Excepting that I found out the hard way this morning that there is ammo hoarding going on, ...