Tuesday, December 10, 2019

As luck would have it, last night, upon arriving at the plant and asking if they would go ahead and let me swap out trailers or would I have to wait until the morning? The plant operator on the phone said, oh,nooo, we'll do it right now.  Note that the load is a day and a half late.  It was supposed to have been there the day before - early after noon.  None of that was any of my doings, of course, between the plant having issues and the other driver's truck breaking down, just the way things go sometimes in the trucking industry. 

So I got that done and then headed out of there.  Limited time on left on the drive clock, I started looking at the app for any available places down the road to park.  It's the way it is now.  If you aren't parked before 6:00 pm or even 5:00 pm - I was at a Love's today that was totally full at 4:30 pm - you are screwed.  Good luck finding any places but those that aren't on the app to park. And those that aren't on the app are usually sh**holes with giant potholes and in the dark, seedy places that you wonder if you are risking your life even going into them.

Anyway, the only place that said there was parking was at the Flying J in Ashgrove, so I went in there and found a couple of spots.  None of them were easy parking - backing in, at an angle.  I freely admit in those situations I get out of the truck once I get the back end of the trailer partially in and see if I'm going to clear the truck on my blindside.  And that I did and saw that I was too close for comfort, so did a couple of pull ups before finally getting it straight in there.  I was actually happy to find that truckstop, Flying J's have Denny's and Denny's has the kind of breakfast I am looking for.

Not long after getting parked  - and it was late, after midnight - a truck straight across from me pulled out to leave.  His trailer smashed the tractor next to him as he was pulling out, doing extensive damage to the passenger side of that truck.  But, this guy not realizing he had hit the truck was moving on.  All kinds of truck horns started sounding.  I was more amazed at how many drivers were not only awake, but obviously sitting in their driver's seat at that time of night.  I mean, I'd be sleeping, thanks.  I do have to admit it is often entertaining watching other drivers attempting to back into those tight holes - it's not easy by any stretch. 

In fact, half hour later - I was sitting there doing paperwork and watching the Sheriff that pulled in do his report on the accident - a driver came in and attempted to back into the hold 2 spots over from me.  He got out a couple of times - obviously having trouble getting the right angle.  I was about to get out and help guide him in - tho the rain certainly wasn't anything to be fond of - but 2 drivers walked up before I even opened my door. Yes, I sighed relief because it was a medium rain, enough to get you wet pretty quick. 

Anyway, getting up this morning and after my meal at Denny's, I just figured to get at least 600 miles driven today, 650 optimal if possible. The weather report showed snow and rain, then clear, then more snow and rain for a large portion of the route.  It was odd that when I was driving through the areas that showed it was snowing, there was no snow at all. And the large swath of area - hundreds of miles - showing rain - there was none of that, either. I had downgraded my ambitions to at least 500 miles because of the weather that was allegedly occurring. 

Truth be told, I hit all the high traffic volume areas at perfect times.  Lexington - mid afternoon. Nashville - around 3:00 pm - lots of traffic, yes, but no slow downs.  Memphis - after rush hour - it's like 200 miles between Nashville and Memphis.  After Memphis, I started searching well in advance - like 2 hours - for a place to park on the app.  I was not let down in knowing before looking that all of them for a 100 mile swath were already filled up.  The only  places that were up in the air were smaller truck stops where no one had updated the app.  I mean, I got off he highway enough times that I was starting to get irritated with it.  Not even a s***hole place had parking? Unbelievable. 

I drove long after the time I wanted to quit driving. In one of the final tries, there were 3 small truck stops at one exit.  All of them filled up, none of them had been updated on the app in days, so it was just guessing. I was almost out of time at that point with 23 minutes left on the drive clock. There was one place left in Little Rock I could think of. It is not  on the app, you would only know it's there if you happen to be looking over at it while driving by on I-30.  Trust me, I'm always on the lookout for places to stop - you never know where you're going to end up on any of these routes having to find to place to park for 10 hours. 

And let me say this: You really  have to be looking to see the place. I only started looking because there is an interesting country store/restaurant right next to it.  I remember the first time I saw the restaurant, hmmm, I wonder if I'll ever have to stop in Little Rock?  But the abandoned truck stop next to it? I didn't see.  In fact, there were many drive by instances where I was looking this interesting looking place and didn't even bother to look right next to it. 

So, that truck stop was my last hope. If I arrived and there was nothing there - note I have never been to that place before so I had no idea what to expect excepting what I could see on the satellite image as far as the lot itself is concerned, but no knowledge of how full the place would be - I would stop, do my 10 minute post trip inspection on the  ELD and then put the ELD in "Personal Conveyance" mode.  Legal? No idea.  Don't care.  Ever since ELD's were mandated, parking has been a HUGE issue for everyone.  If you're driving "late" - past 6 pm - you're going to have trouble. 

Anyway, I got there, which is now here/home for the night - and found ample parking space available.  It's a closed business, up for sale.  Lots of trucks here, yes. Nothing I ever want to see on the app.  I know lots of places that aren't on that app and I'm quite content that they never show up on there. 

I had 2 minutes left on the drive clock when I got here.  I drove 699.3 miles today - that from the ELD that isn't just and ELD, it is an electronic piece of monitoring s*** that tells the company virtually everything I'm doing with the truck.  I'm not going into all of that now.  It's 11 pm and I'm about ready to go to sleep. Get up at 7, get a bite to eat at that restaurant, get back to the truck in time to get out of here as soon as the 10 hour reset is up and 10 minute pretrip is over with. 

There is a lot to do tomorrow besides just driving back to the yard. Go to the other house, get my dogs, go home, get a load of laundry done, spend a few hours with doggies, pack my bag, get back out of there, drop the doggies back off - I wouldn't normally do that but I'm going to be gone for 5 days - head off to Dallas.  That is, presuming I get back to the yard tomorrow with this truck when I expect it. A lot of stuff can happen on the road, we all hope for a "normal" outcome, but we know stuff can happen.  I remain optimistic : )

More? Not tonight.  Lol. I'm going to sleep! Long day tomorrow as has been the last 3. 

G'nite.

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...