Saturday, September 15, 2018

Not the greatest trip on earth.
The trip to Portland, Texas which is right on the other side of a bay from Corpus Christi.

Geeze. Interrupted by people doing things.  Intent for bad things.  Things that you think you want
to do when you're drunk.  Not going into that here tho...and not me, thanks.

Uhh, wow.  That is an unfolding event, I'm not involved with it, but it's happening "near me". 

Anyway, I got to the yard yesterday around 5:30 am, fired the truck up - and didn't fire the truck up.
The batteries were dead.  Not completely dead, just not enough to fire up the truck.  Went into the shop and got the portable jump starter only to find out the battery packs in it had been removed.  Okay.  That's when I dump it on my manager's lap.  I called her - she was obviously sleeping at the time - batteries dead, truck won't start, can't get it going, what now. 

Call the mechanic.  Please give me his number and away we go. He shows up 40 minutes later, decides it needs new batteries and installs them.  I get in the truck, fire it up, back under the designated trailer, go to start my 14 hour day on the electronic log - and it wouldn't allow m to log in.  I'm sitting there 10 tries anyway. What is going on with this thing?  Safety dude shows up, gives me a number to call. Not the right person to call in the company.  She gives me a number to call, but it's for a mechanic?  Mechanics don't deal with electronic logs, so I go to the mechanic that was there because of my situation, he tells me while I was gone they switched the name of the company over to the new name and and that people were having trouble logging in.

Back to my manager, I can't log into my elog. This goes on for hours, actually, between the batteries and the elogs. I wasted almost 4 hours of the day and the elogs were never figured out.  Back to paper logs.  I leave for the plant.  About an hour into filling the tank up, the dude comes in and says we have a problem. I go out, the air is leaking out of the main bag that holds up a valve that allows the product to either flow in or out, depending on what you're doing.  Air leak, it's held up by air pressure.  After 45 minutes of fooling with that, the dude declares the truck full enough and sends me off. I'm directed back to the yard, where the mechanic "fixes" it and I leave.

That whole ordeal wasted a lot of my on duty hours, so I ended up driving down there but staying at a truck stop for the night. Slept pretty well actually.  Anyway, I get up this morning, drive over there, this that and the other thing - ordeals you run into in going into plants you haven't been to before.  Weird tho. They didn't take down my name or ask for my license or anything.  That's not really standard protocol for a plant that produces liquid LNG. But whatever. It's raining.  It's been raining.

I got in the plant and directed to wait for a propane tank to finish loading ahead of me, about an hour.  It starts raining heavy, I know at this point I'm going to get wet regardless of a good rain coat.  I thought the suit came with pants, but it didn't hence I knew my jump suit was going to be soaked and probably my pants underneath it, I wasn't wrong.  So, standing out in the rain, trying to get this all going, that main valve bag setup was leaking profusely.  To the point it leaked out all the air within 60 seconds. That's bringing down 150 pounds of air pressure!  I finally see what the problem is, the mechanic didn't fix anything.  2 nuts that hold the stud on the top of the bag assembly were missing, turning on the air pressure to it was simply letting out all the air out the top.

An hour later, we fixed it, at least temp fixed it.  Then, getting the pressure up to 90 pounds in the tank - turn on the valve to the coils, the product goes through it, bubbles up because of the heat and produces vapor which produces pressure - they turned on their intake valve and away we go! And away we went to the pressure on my tank dropping rapidly.  I had no clue.  Weather? Rain? what? 

I tried several different settings to no avail. It was building pressure, just not enough to keep up with it. We discussed it. Do you have a water hose?  I asked.  Well, somewhere, yes.  Well if you can spray the coils down with water the pressure will come up.  They looked at me funny. Really? Well yes, otherwise, we're going to have to shut this all down and I'll have to build up pressure again.  They got out their hose, they obviously didn't believe me. Trust me, I wouldn't have known about it either except having had gone through this already once somewhere else and the people at the plant told me about it.

They start spraying water on it, the supervisor comes out and stares at the pressure gauge.  At first, very slow. But after a few minutes, baam. Pressure starts building rapidly.  I'm no expert, I watch and learn.  People take an action and there is a consequence.  We had to do that twice. Near the end of the delivery, I let the air out of the airbags in the back. What are you doing? A whole crew of them standing out there in this pouring rain with me. At least I wasn't suffering alone - it was raining but it was also warm and muggy, very uncomfortable. I'm letting the air out of the air bags.  Why? To angle the trailer back so all the product comes out.  Ohhhhh. The last driver here didn't do that  - this is a new plant and the "last" driver was the only driver they had had any experience with. 

Well they should be letting out the air so they can get all the product out.  I didn't learn that from the company, btw, I had to figure out why they had a dump valve on the trailer.  I knew what it did after the first experience with it, I didn't know what it's purpose was.  It just dawned on me:  angle the trailer down at the back, product all comes out.  Actually I had seen a picture of a truck on the internet with it angled down and showing the air bags dumped, it just didn't say why.  I had to really think about it. It seems obvious but when you don't know, you just sit there wondering endlessly. 

You sit there thinking. Here is a valve, it lets the air out of the airbags.  WHY does it do that?  I just couldn't connect it with the product delivery because I thought it was for some mechanical reason, new technology I might have never heard of.  Anyway, I didn't suggest they tell truck drivers what to do with their trucks, I just said they should be letting the air out to angle the trailer back down. As with the water trick, that's up to them to inform other drivers that are having difficulties but don't know what to do.  If they so choose. My guess? They will so choose.  And as an aside, I got this trailer yesterday morning with 2 inches of product still in it.  The vapor pressure was up to 72 pounds.  Yeah, no.  You shouldn't be returning to the yard with any measurable level of product in there.

So, we finally get done with this ordeal 4 hours later.  I was soaking wet.  "I'm getting in my truck and putting on dry clothing before I even leave this rack". There were no trucks waiting, I didn't to trash the interior any worse than possible with mud and water everywhere, so that's what I did.

After that, the trip was a piece of cake.  Well, no cake trip tho.

Anyway, it's super late, time for bed. 
















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