Sunday, April 12, 2020

Happy Easter!
This was my day, lol.
Wake up to thunder/lightning.  Aspyn not happy, Addler ignores it.  Some dogs can't deal with it, some can, just the way it is. 
Rain - pouring rain. 
So I get up around 6:15 am, take my shower, go out to the kitchen to find - the whole family is up? This early, on Easter and a Sunday to boot? 

Taylor - lightning = don't mix. 
James - awakened by it, I don't think he's particularly disturbed by it, it just ruined his sleep.

Got my stuff, got the dogs, got out.  About 5 miles out from work, a screen pops up on my phone: Tornado warning (not watch, warning) - take shelter.  Sorry, I'm in a vehicle traveling down the road, I'll take shelter at the yard if I make it that far. If not, goodbye world!

I made it, but, the rain had messed up the keypad to open up the gate.  I'm texting my manager at that point. Uhh, that gate won't open.  Took a video of it and sent it to her, the thing was making a loud, constant buzzing noise and it was definitely not accepting any keypad inputs.  Is there a walk through gate? Nope, but there is a giant drive through gate on the side - it has a padlock on it.  We'll be changing that! she declared.  Yup, but right now, I need to get in there. So I put out a text on the group text.

Anyone at the yard? The keypad isn't working, I can't get in. Joe - another driver - texts back, yup hold on.  A few minutes later he slowly moves his tractor to the gate to open it.  If you drive over 5 mph, it automatically puts the truck in drive mode on the ELD and you are screwed.

It is a downpour.  The yard was flooding - there was a stream/river going through there.  I pulled up to my truck and got out and instantly was drenched.  Not a little wet - drenched. What a lovely Easter!

Did I say the tornado sirens were going off? Those started when I got that alert on my phone on the way to work. They were still wailing away when I got to the yard.  The wind was howling.  I got my stuff out of the SUV - clothing and lots of food, this is a 4 day trip, I'm not going to go hungry.  Got the truck running, got on the ELD and signed in - off duty mode - but signed in so it could catch up on my logs.  I drove over to the office, got out and immediately was hammered with rain.  My manager is texting me the whole time - she's looking at radar over where I"m at - she said in 5 minutes, it's going to get far worse. 

The prophecy was correct.  Things were rattling in the building and the water running through the lot looked like you could but a canoe on it and float.  A few minutes later, 2 other drivers - terrified - had come running out of their trucks into the office. "I ain't staying in that truck!!!".  Couldn't blame either one of them, it was that bad.  I haven't checked the news for Longview yet, but a town east of where I live had a tornado touch down. 

Meanwhile, a driver at the plant getting loaded said the plant was shut down.  We were all surprised they even started, the lightning was enough to shut any of those types of plants down.  Tornadoes and extra added touch of hell.  But he finally got back on there 45 minutes later - and the tornado warning gone - we started back up! And back out in the rain again, I was the next load.  And getting wet - all over again tho I had never dried off from the first 2 drenchings. 

I wondered how driving would be today.  I slept during the load - we are still being forced to stay in our trucks = in the passenger seat - while loading.  Get a pillow, lay out on the seats and snooze.  I"m not well rested these days, I wake up various times throughout the night, just the curse of getting old I guess.  I sleep, but it's a wake up, go back to sleep, wake up, go back to sleep type of thing.

That stuff caught up to me early on today. I was battling fatigue, wishing I could stop.  But to get the miles in? Nope.

Remember the trucker's clocks.

14 hour on duty clock.
11 hour driving clock
30 minute rest break clock forced on you at 8 hours.
And a 70 hour clock but I don't have to battle that one too often. 

When your 14 and 11 hour clock are battling for the time, you can't stop too early for the 30 minute break - which I almost always take a nap at.  You stop at 7-1/2 hours or later on the 14 hour clock. That way, when your 30 minute break is over, whatever is left on your driving clock, you get all of it. If you stop too early, you won't get all of it and you either have to take another 30 minute break - or most likely just stop earlier than you would like to.

I battled it out until I got just west of Little Rock, AR.  Couldn't take any more, got that sleep in - I set my alarm for 40 minutes, I knew after I left there I would be driving for 8 hours. And that I did. I'm in a little town called Farina, Ilinois. It has a huge truck stop in it.  It's never full - tho plenty of trucks pull in here. It's a nice, clean place with a large convenience store. 

I'm here until 8:30 am.  I guess it would be helpful to say where I'm going, it's the Stryker, Ohio run. I despise this run because you show up at around 2 to 3 pm the second day and then have to sit for 17 or 18 hours until the next morning when they will unload you. But, one of the drivers I was talking to today at the office said that the new interim manager called that plant up and said look, if  you don't start unloading us when we get there, we are going to start charging you detention pay. Yup, I sit there for free.  All of us do.  Well some of us don't make it there as fast as others, but you get the picture.

So, with the faint hope that maybe I can get unloaded tomorrow afternoon instead of Tuesday morning, I pushed the driving today further than I've ever made it on this particular run. 

I have to tell you that the roads are eerily vacated of car traffic. It's like the Twilight Zone, they have all but disappeared. Sure, there is some traffic out there, but nothing like normal. Not even close.  It's mostly trucks.  I'm not complaining about that, I can make more miles, such as today, because of it. There are too many people driving cars that have no business driving anything out here.  I"m not going to go into that right now, it's almost midnight and bedtime.  The point being, they drive in such erratic behavior, endless scenarios, and they slow me down. 

Oh and the truck stop? Weird. They have their soda and slushee machines shut down, the virus.  They still have coffee going? I'm not complaining, I want my coffee in the morning but so strange.  Why shut soda down and not the coffee?

I've got somewhere between 5 and 6 hours left to get to the plant in Stryker tomorrow.  I'll certainly be testing out the idea of unloading tomorrow afternoon instead of Tuesday morning.

It's been an interesting day. But I'm sleepy and I want my 8 hours of sleep.  I sleep much better in this truck than in any other sleeping arrangement.  The engine vibration - dunno how that works but it lulls me to sleep and keeps me there far more often than not and definitely more than sleeping at home. I'm not saying I would rather stay in the truck than go home, screw that, but when I'm out on the road my sleep is much better.

Hope y'all had a good day today, I watched an online service from my previous church and then watched a sermon from an evangelist I used to work with.  It's all good.  Christ has risen! 

C'yall later. 

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...