Friday, March 1, 2019

I'm very happy right now. 
They did not finish the truck today. They are replacing an entire wiring harness. I knew when they told me that it would take hours upon hours to finish that.  At around 5:00 pm, I asked the supervisor - do you think y'all think you'll finish this today?  Uhh, no.  Lol, I smiled, thanks! I'm paid by the hour, I actually don't care how long this takes.  

I'm curious as to whether they will finish tomorrow. They may get the wiring harness done, but they still have another problem they haven't even looked at yet.  Further, there is no guarantee that when they get all this wiring back together, that the problem won't still be there.  Remember, this is the 5th shop this truck has been at for the same problem.

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Day 4.  Had an excellent meal at a local Mexican food restaurant last night.  I had Fajitas without the fajitas, lol. No beans, rice or tortillas.  Spiced it up with having them bring me a couple of sliced up jalapenos, seeds intact.  It was quite tasty and keto friendly. 

This morning? I'm at the 3rd hotel since coming here.  This one is a keeper.  6 story affair, has it's own breakfast restaurant, rooms are clean, nothing fancy but great service.  I'm expecting this to be my last day here.  Unless the clunking noise is some huge problematic fix issue, I should be out of here today.  Well, that's also dependent on when they get the wiring harness back together, install it and the electrical problem goes away - or doesn't.  I'm curious as to whether they would want to continue on with the truck if their fix doesn't work? 

Remember, this is the 5th repair shop and the 4th Peterbilt shop it's been to. But, none of the other shops took out the wiring harness to figure out the problem.  This shop has gone to great lengths to try and figure out what's wrong with it and get it back on the road issue free. 

After much consultation yesterday, I determined that I finally got the pay for the Amarillo run. It was confused by the fact I got a $450 safety bonus.  Not really sure what that was for but I won't turn it down.  It was a rather large check - for once.  After weeks of small checks, this one was really needed.  And, the one I'm working on now.  I'll have 72 hours of breakdown pay as of an hour and 45 minutes from now.  Give me one good run after this and 2 paychecks from now will also be nice and hefty.

Right now, tho, I'm trying to make up my mind about owning my own truck.  The lady from that company - it's not our company at all, it's a separate finance company that our company uses - is supposed to call me today.  I have lots of questions for her, she didn't want to do it email which is fine.  A few questions - what's the oldest truck allowable?  How much of a down payment?  How much are the monthly payments?  How frequently are the payments made? Auto-deduct or bill pay? 

And a question for my company, since we're hauling hazmat, how much insurance do I need? Probably a lot more than any regular trucking operation.  I have other company drivers that I can ask about who they get their insurance through, unless our company offers that as well.  I was also talking to an OO at the shop yesterday. He's only been trucking for 6 years, but jumped into owning his own truck after only a couple. The point is - there is a lot more money to be made doing the exact same thing I've been doing for decades.  I've always been hesitant about it, just seems like you're "married" to your truck.

But I'm "married" to a company truck and there doesn't seem to be much difference besides the amount of paperwork you have to fill out to keep track of your expenses for tax-time. There is no breakdown pay for OO's and you have to save up some serious money in case something goes wrong.  Engine overhauls can be as much as 30 grand.  In-frame 15 grand.  Transmission problems can go into the ten's of thousands as well.  That's the other question, who can I buy a truck from? Does it have to be a dealer or can it be private?  I'm thinking a dealer, tho, with a warranty.  Even a purchased warranty.  I've seen it happen too much a driver buys a truck and something major goes wrong with it and they are zapped with a huge expense right off the bat. 

But, the end game here is retirement. There are plenty of OO's taking home 125k, 150, some even more per year after all expenses and taxes paid out.  The driver I was talking to yesterday says he spends 60k on fuel per year - but even with that he still takes home around 130k. I'm saving somewhere around 10k per hear. With that kind of money I could put away 50k per year and be done in 10.  This is something that I am thinking is worth the risk. The worst that could happen is I lose the truck, go bankrupt and oh well.  Neither of those are in any part of my "plans", I just tend to look at every possible ending. The realistic end game is that I might not make as much per year as some of these truckers that are on the road 24 hours a day, but I know i can make a good chunk of change from the reports of other OO's in our division. 

I honestly hate driving trucks. But it's the only thing I know that can make any kind of money. Forklift operator? Sure, I've operated forklifts since 1985 - you'd be lucky to find a place paying $20 per hour.  More like $16 or $17.  That's Ferguson, 35k wages - in my view that's poverty.  It doesn't even sustain a decent standard of living.  When I say decent, I don't mean brand new vehicles and big, lavish houses, I just mean a normal, American lifestyle.  Of course, normal for us? Is filthy rich to most people in this world. 

Anyway, I expect that the phone call today will help me make up my mind one way or the other, but if I'm going to do this, I want to jump into the pool and get completely immersed in it right away.  Even if it means going out "on-call" sometimes and being away for a few weeks here and there, the end goal is worth the sacrifice - if  - it gets me there. I don't want to be working when I'm 70, if I make it that old.  65 at the most.  In order to do that, I have to have a rather radical plan to achieve that, get half a million saved up at least and finally retire. 

Well, whatever. My checkout time approaching.  Enjoyed this hotel tho. Wifi works good, quiet, clean and nice, undented furniture and chairs without stains on them.  I'm kind of ready to go home tho.  If they don't get this truck done today, another driver I was talking to says this particular shop is closed on the weekends.  Worse comes to worse? I'll take Taylor up on the idea of coming up and getting me, for the weekend at least. 

















Made it home last night at 1:05 am.  Amazingly, many drivers take 4 days to do this trip which almost always only takes 2.  I'm not sur...