Upgrading is a bitch

After I delivered my load of GE appliances at Nebraska Furniture Mart I bobtailed back to the yard and spent the rest of the night peacefully. The next morning the planners were a bit slow and I was yakking at my dispatcher when he asked me if I had time to change over my satellite-based communications gear to the newer cellular communications system Hill Bros is implementing.

Aw heck, and I wanted to get some miles behind me that day.

The install process wasn’t that difficult, though I had to take a box of electronics over to the other side of town for the installers to plug in, hook up and drop out. Our shop guys estimated 3-5 hours before I had the truck back and the installer handed me my keys in two hours flat. By the time I returned to the yard, got various placards, stickers, logbook certificates and an hour or so of training time it was getting near the end of the day and I told my dispatcher to find me a load out to Southern California for the next day.

I often joke about this (“I’m not picky, anyplace in Southern California is fine!”) because I like long runs where I don’t have to constantly interact with HQ as I get loaded, unloaded, swap trailers and the like. If you have been reading my blog for a while you know I very rarely get this request, which is why it was a surprise when I got called back after 5 PM by my dispatcher who announced he had just such a run lined up for me.

The load originates in Crete, Nebraska and delivers on Monday in City of Industry, California. At 1,500ish miles it is one of the longest I’ve had in quite some time and may well result in another long run back from the left coast to the midwest.

I asked if I could pick up the load (it was already on a trailer) in the morning and they checked and that was okay so long as it delivers on time. I needed some extra time to go over the new system we have that merges the Hours of Service functions from paper (or, in my case, the Driver’s Daily Log program) with the QualCOMM unit and includes several extra macros and things I have to handle each day — an annoyance.