Normally I'm chained to my desk moving freight and tracking down wayward drivers and their missing logs/receipts. To say it's tedious would be overstating the obnoxiously obvious. I digress...
Yesterday, my boss (in charge of the company truck division) is backed into a corner by HIS boss (General Manager) at 4:24 PM to deliver a load to Indiana this morning. His words, "I'll tell them it will be there, you figure it out." Ow. Said it with a smile. lol... least I wasn't the one in the hotseat. So at 4:50PM yesterday, it was decided that I would be the one to take this over. (CDL-7 years now-drive occasionally to keep from getting rusty.) hmm. office. driving. office. oh hell, I didn't even pretend to not want to go. :) So I grab some logs, a paysheet and the directions and head home knowing I had to be up really early. 3:15 am as opposed to my normal 5:40 am. Yea, it was gonna be a change. It hit me when I got home... I would be driving on a Tuesday. Hmm. Will have to be extra careful.
Supper with the kids and finally got myself settled down around 21:40. I'm used to going to sleep around 12-1 am (I AM a night owl - no denying, even on a dayshift job) so this was a difficult task. Woke up several times, but we were good when the alarm went off. I actually got up easier than normal (snooze only once instead of 3 times). The night before, I had my oldest stop by Shell and grab me a mixed cappucino (they have the best in town-hands down) because I knew nobody within a 15 mile radius was going to be open that early. This way I could nuke it and be good to go on the way to work. Yeeeaaaa, one learns to pre-plan their trips. Had already scoped out the route on my trip software, matched it up to my directions, filled out my paperwork, calculated my time. Dude, I was trip-planned to the max. (Which is totally different than when I take trips in my personal vehicle. Well, I route the map and usually know where I want to go, but sometimes I just drive to whereever I end up.)
Anyhow, I'm showered, smell-gooded, prettied up, hair up in a clippy (coz it's cute :P~~), had my little MI sweatshirt on and jeans, I was good to go.
Final check on the way out the door:
Driving boots with the non-skid soles-check
Peterbilt racing windbreaker-check
Duffel bag with log book, clipboard, driver's license, medical form-check
Packed lunch for later in the office-check.
Peterbilt red/black hat with offset flames (coordinates with the jacket in case it rains)-check.
Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to work I go. A little mood music in the Jeep on the way up... Skynyrd, Steppenwolf, Bad Company... uh huh, we're in "driver mode" now. Get to the yard, start the truck, put my gear in and get familiar with lights/radio/cb, pre-trip, head in to drop my stuff off and grab bills.
Final check on the way out the door:
Head on out... run into one of the full-time drivers. Gives me excellent directions, the scoop on the grumpy guy at the dock and how if I practice my grain hauler walk he might not be so grumpy with me ;) and tells me if they reload me to skip the Buckeye scale 'coz DOT is hot and heavy in there right now. Good deal, good to go.
Spend an extra minute to put the bad boy in gear. Now, I can drive a 10-,13-,15-, 18-speed, and a Super 10-no problem. So what does my boss put me in? An Automatic Day Cab. *sigh* No problem. Ready to back up, clutch foot going up and down while right hand simultaneously reaches for gearshift. hehehe. Neither are there. *shit* Press button to put in reverse, release brakes, and NOW we're good to go. 46,500 pounds in the box, poor little thing didn't want to move.
Cruisin' along, hit the highway. CB on (no music right now - just getting accustomed to the truck and want to hear what's happening on the road) and we're feelin' good. It's my favorite time to drive. Pitch black, good weather, and just the interior lights from the dash glowing. Window open a bit, just ridin' and glidin'. My best driving time is 17:30 to 05:30. I'm good in late afternoon, and can drive all night, but that sun starts peekin' and I'm done til about 07:30. 2 hour nap and I can drive all day and all night again if I have to. It's just so peaceful this time of night. No stupid four-wheelers, just the old-school drivers who aren't yakkin' about stupid stuff. It's cool.
Fast forward to the 469 loop - I SO forgot they raised the speed limit in IN... woo hoo! Makin' good time, still dark out, just the first start of city traffic. Past the city, break time. (big cuppa cappu-lol) Rest area, no problem, swing in, brake, reach for clutch and gear so it doesn't stall when I stop - oh YEA... forgot again. Neutral, park, head on in. Been awhile, haven't done the grain hauler walk in months, paired up with having to go, lookin' like a maimed monkey on darvocet. Alright, the trip back out is MUCH better. Like ridin' a bike! The grain hauler walk is all in the hips and shoulders... damn I look good. ;)
Within about 45 minutes from my delivery, it's starting to get light out. CB chatter is goin' and traffic is picking up. Here's where the stupidity begins. 4 wheelers in a hurry to get to work, pulling out in front of us, racing around us then slamming on their brakes. Now, let's do the basic math. Car/SUV/Truck = ~3,000 lbs. Big Truck fully loaded = 80,000 lbs. Ok, 3,000/80,000. Let me give you a hint: you WILL lose. And if you cause me to wreck my truck and you LIVE, I WILL get out of my truck and kick your ass. Don't be stupid. It takes us approximately 5 football fields to stop with the load weight pushing us forward. Longer for tankers with liquid. And if we push you into someone else with that kind of weight, you will be a goo spot in your front seat. Leave room and don't play chicken. Not that I don't mind playin', but I don't have time for the paperwork that you will cause me. Putz.
Anyhow, find the place (after passing the drive and having to turn around in a deserted lot that had posts all through it - hey, I can maneuver around JUST about anything) and roll up. Go inside to check in, grumpy guy says "Dock 4", yes sir. Here's where the fun begins.
Open the doors, make my approach (which, if I must say, was stellar and right on-even with the sun in my eyes). Said sun causing me to NOT see the humongous pothole directly in my path to straighten up so I could back in. THAT was fun. Shake it off, back it up, in in one shot. (good job driver) Unload, wait to hear about reload, flirt with grumpy dock guy ("Oh, it's just gawgeous outside"-little southern twang there and my best "only you" smile, and "oh no hon, I won't hate you if don't reload me, I could NEVER hate YEWWW." LOL... they make it too easy. Usually they look at me like I have 3 heads when I come in... we go to a lot of feed mills, don't get too many women driving big trucks in Amish towns. And then I'm headed home.
This is the worst part of the day; the time when I'm most likely to sleepdrive**. The sun's out, cab is warm and toasty, white noise from the cb, and I can lose track of 20 miles or more before I "wake up". Luckily I happened to catch a truck belonging to someone I knew from another company passing the other way.
"Hey, Miss Behavin', is that you? What're YOU doin' drivin'?"
"Hi baby! Ahh, they needed to get this new product over to a customer and wanted the best driver on the job. Unfortunately, he's in Canada so I had to go! hehe, beats bein' in the office.""I hear ya... blah blah blah, bear report, be safe."
"Bear report, blah blah blah, you too... say 'hi' to Penny and the kids."
Good deal, I was awake enough to get to the fuel stop, load up and grab a drink. On my way out, we had the Radio Rambos*** arguing at the fuel stop. One guy told another he had his tampon on with the adhesive on the wrong side.
"hehehe. Driver, I've been wearing tampons for a lot of years, and I have to say, ain't none of 'em got adhesive..." So that sparked a lot of witty conversation over female hygienic products and other silly stuff. 2 miles to the exit... Thank God.
Damn! I forgot to fill out my log book at the fuel stop. Shit. And DOT was in the scalehouse this morning when I passed it. Pull over, catch it up. Make sure seatbelt is in position to pull on quick, have space ready to unplug Valentine and hide it, should I need.
Roll over scale, 2 trucks getting inspected out back, I get the green light. Cool. Back to the yard, same driver from this morning just got back, tell him I charmed grumpy dock guy with my sparkling personality and head in.
Everyone in the office asked if I had "fun". Hell yea, its 50 degrees, sunshine, and I'm out just drivin' around. It was soooo hard to come back. Told my boss I tried to take the whole day. Stopped and fueled, was speeding but no one pulled me over, tried to get DOT to inspect me, they wouldn't. Damn. Tried to talk him into letting me go back out for tomorrow... no such luck. But the two little cutie-but-not-hotties were extra attentive today (still had the grain-hauler walk thing goin' on) lol... Bonus.
*sigh* some days I miss driving...
*Valentine Radar Detector - AKA electronic lighter plug accessory. To be used only with pre-addressed, postage stamped envelope in case of being pulled over.**Driving while half-napping, or in a state of zone-out. NOT suggested.
***Guys who fight on the radio, call names, be obnoxious and rude.