Apparently, Sprint hates Pennsylvania

At least the area around Bedford, PA where I ended up this afternoon. My internet access is painfully slow and most pages time out before loading, so updating here has been a challenge.

I’m 270 miles away from the consignee and I will leave shortly after midnight to get there on time, weather willing.

Here is the entire route with stops:

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911 miles to go…

Hopefully just a coincidence with the numerology there!

I treated myself this Christmas morning to no alarm clock, so I didn’t get rolling until 3 AM or so instead of 1 AM, the earliest the Hours of Service rules would allow. It has been freezing every morning along this trip so far, but since there hasn’t been any precipitation it really makes no difference. Since I have broadband internet out on the road, I use weather tools like this one to stay safe and plan my trips.

I arrived in Joplin around 0830 and the inspection bays were closed for the day! I trundled over to the fuel pumps, filled up and got the heck out of town (after getting my new IFTA sticker and other registration stuff for the new year).

Christmas lunch/dinner was at a rather busy Flying J restaurant a few hours down the road, and a celebratory shower.

690 more miles behind me

I actually thought I was going to crack 700 miles today, and I drove all but 15 minutes of my allotted eleven hours. Two more days like that and I will be in good striking distance for Thursday morning.

Tomorrow, about halfway through my driving day, I will arrive at our HQ in Joplin, Missouri and my truck will be inspected. If I lose much time at all there it might put the delivery schedule in jeopardy. Especially if they find the time to turn my truck down to 65 miles per hour.

2,895 miles

That is how long the load I picked up this morning has to go. It delivers Thursday in Saddle Brook, New Jersey at 0800 local time.

I was deadheaded from San Marcos, California down to our drop lot in Otay Mesa to swap my empty trailer for a full one. All total, just under 3,000 miles.

Today I spent a lot of time climbing hills and barreling down the other side. There are a line of mountains to the east of San Diego, and a series of long climbs from the Phoenix, Arizona area up towards Flagstaff. None very pleasant in a heavily-loaded truck, as mine is (21 tons of batteries, this time). The Cummins engine in my truck is very reliable and seems to consume less fuel than the Caterpillar alternatives most of our trucks are equipped with. However, it doesn’t have anywhere near the same torque under a heavy load.

I finished in Winslow, Arizona — about 620 miles. I will need to pick up the pace the rest of the way, but I won’t have many mountains to climb and aside from Illinois and Ohio, the rest of the states have reasonable truck speed limits. According to the GPS, I have 2,275 miles remaining to run. I need to have three very good driving days in order to be set up to finish it on Thursday morning.

We’ll see.

15 minutes

I left this morning from Blythe as early as I could, figuring I would see what the early rush hour traffic was like and decide where to stop further down the road. Surprisingly, traffic headed west on the I-10 was moving well and with a few slow-ups I was able to transition to I-215 north, then the 210 freeway west. Even though I wasn’t intending to, I got to the receiver only 15 minutes after the original delivery time.

Turns out that doesn’t even matter… they are presently inside having one of their daily meetings and myself and a number of other drivers are here waiting for them to start working. Bleh.

So tired

It doesn’t look like much, but today was one of the most tiring days I’ve had in my 13 months of trucking.

I got up early this morning and drove to my consignee in Huntington Beach, California through fifty miles of the best that LA could toss at me. Of course, at 0400 that typically isn’t much.

The consignee was a real treat to get in to. At one point I had to blind-side back out on to the street then make my way inside, where I had to wind my way around through muddy paths to the area where the trailer would be unloaded. By hand. A full 53′ trailer, filled top to bottom with heavy clay pottery, protected by an incredible amount of cardboard boxes.

It took two hours just to get started because the owner didn’t have a cashier’s check for the C.O.D. as instructed, and CFI doesn’t take plastic or company checks apparently. So, he had to run over to the bank and wait until they opened up, before I opened up the trailer.

Then his crew of about 10 workers went about unloading these huge clay pots. I’m talking big enough to plant a palm tree in, some of them at least. All made in central Mexico in the state of Jalisco in a town called Tonala, that I’ve been to before.

While I was watching this go on for three hours, I get a call from my fleet manager asking if I could pretty please help out with a high priority load (Conway, naturally) that hadn’t been picked up. Just need me to take it from the Los Angeles area on I-10 just inside Arizona then swap trailers with another driver. Oh, and deliver his load back in the Los Angeles area tomorrow.

I’ve been highlighted for ten days now. I spent all of this morning thinking of what I would do on my time off today and tomorrow. Then, I sighed and told them I’ll do my part, take one for the team, yada yada.

So now I’m in Blythe, California near the Arizona border. The other driver agreed to meet me here since traffic was absurd in Los Angeles and I got very much delayed. Also delayed will be the load of his that I’m taking in, that was supposed to be there at 0630 tomorrow. Try noonish, folks.

Nite nite.