Tues, Wed.-westbound and down

Tues. –6-21-11

   Today i needed to get the A/C fixed. Motored last leg to get to the dealer in Iowa. With a midmorning appt. I figured  I would be out of there by noon. Was not to be.  they were pretty busy  but  the mechanic put on the new compressor and clutch for it, then  went to get the  shop supervisor, which was nice considering this was the third place for the same problem. They wanted to make sure that it was properly done, I hope.  All I was well around 3:30pm. It was blowing 35-40 degrees………. $760.00 please…….We were back on the super slab and the day was coming to a close so I found a truck stop around 7pm and there was an Applebees on that same exit , our favorite when out on the road.   Boneless wings, classic style and an adult brew….. good nite all.
Wed. 6-22-11-  5am
   I had my alarm set for 4am  and was out the gate by 5am.This will be a long day . I run into Mc Donald’s for some coffee for Daddy-o and we’re off. I roll thru the rest of Ia. and into Nebraska. Port of entry scale gives me a bypass sign and (I don’t think they are ready for customers yet) I’m not stopping for anything just yet.  Down the road  at Grand Island there is a truck stop that is usually good for breakfast. Yes, this would be good since there isn’t anything decent from here to Denver (180miles).  We get filled up  and come out to check everything and Daddy-o finds an alien under the trailer hanging on for dear life. I thought I heard something back there last nite!!  He chased it away and then he see the flashing light lens on top of the truck is just about to come off so he fixes that with some tie straps. Thank goodness he saw that! They are about $200 bucks. We are off again.
   Now I have to make a decision whether to stop here in Denver or start  up over the Rockies. Its  pretty early yet so I decide to go for it. Only thing is that once you start up there is not many places to park a truck , only about 3 and they are very small . I decide to take my chances and head out. Pulling these mts. are hard on everyhting so I take it as easy as possible. Coming down is very time consuming as I am pretty heavy and you must not get going to fast at the top of mountain coming down or you could loose your braking power because they will get extremly hot in a short time. A good rule of thumb is to come down one gear down from where you came up. In other words: if your pulling gear is the first one in the high box, you come down the last gear in the low box.  I actually came down the second last gear in the low box as it is a 7% grade and 7 miles down. You really don’t want to  ….. up. When your brakes get hot they glaze over and your all done then. There is about 4 runaway truck ramps at Vail mountain and also Eisenhower Mountain. In Truck’n slang that means your going to go in the sandbox if your brakes go out and hopefully you will live through it. Some jump out on the way down.  Just don’t get yourself in that situation!!! Also in the winter when you are coming down and not chained up it called coming ddown” barefoot”. When your putting on your chains you are” hanging iron”  I find one spot left on the other side and I’m beat. aquick sandwich and nite nite.
Tues—327 miles—————-Wed.—- 716 miles…

Westbound and down


   7:30am—-I thought about checking the computer early, just to see if I was already past where I needed to turn in my directions.  The truck stop where we stayed happened to be more than a block or so from the freeway and I was just mostly interested in getting a place to park and not what street I was passing. As I checked the directions to where I had to deliver on mapquest, I was relieved to see I still needed to go further and then turn left.  Upon getting to the consignee (receiver) on the job site, all were busy loading a base unit for one of the windmills going else where. They said it would be alittle time before we could unload. I was not to concerned because I was already committed to the next load and it is only about 70 miles from here. It will go to California and I won’t unload this next load until Monday of next week. It’s to a military base and there will be no unloading on Sat or Sun. Might as well take my time and not have to hurry on this next trip.  Nice! Forklift operator came shortly after and by that time there was another truck waiting so he unloaded me in short time. On my way to my next load. I phone in to the office and haave them mark me empty so that I can be dispatched  for the next load when I load at the shipper.
   10:30am— Procedure has changed from the last time I loaded there and we must call now from a truck stop in town (about 4 miles away) and let them know we are here and ask if  we can come out to load. Evidently , since there is so much equipment to ship there is not much room for extra trucks which is understandable. they tell me to come ahead and when I get there , there is only two trucks loading. I like this place as it is easy to back into loading dock and they drive the vehicle on and drivers responsibilites to chain down and strap the box as an extra precaution. Doesn’t take long at all. Get my paperwork and we’re off. Now I must check my load and log everything including a load check 30 minutes from when I put it on. Make sure all chains and binders are tight ., check my tires every time I check my load and look at everything as I walk around truck. Things can come loose at the worse of times and I don’t want anything coming off on the road. Make sure mirrors are folded in or it would be an oversize load. Not this time. It’s legal–12′ 9″ high. 13′ 6″ is legal in the Eastern states and 14′ in the Western states.  We grab a ham sandwich that  I made in the sleeper.  Fresh ham and fresh whole wheat bread that I bought last nite after going to Applebee’s and Cheetos. Good lunch!
   3pm— I get alittle lost going around Madison ,Wi. That’s the second time I’ve done that but just wasn’t watching good enough for the exit that I needed. We were gabbing.  I find where I need to get off and we are back on track. It’s getting steamy and a slight fog is rising above the crops in the field. Corn looks fantastic and the beans are perfectly in their rows. The rolling hills are green with trees and crops. All different colors of green that stands out against the rich black dirt that I;m used to seeing around here. Since I was raised in the Midwest, it all feels very familiar. All the houses are picture perfect even if some are not the most expensive. All are mowed and of course, no weeds standing next to the out buildings–neat as a pin. As a child, our lawn was mostly dandelions, clover, with a bunch of grass with some pig weed here and there. My dad ran over it with the mower and that was it. But these lawns are just  checkered and green and edged. It must  be a priority  and probably  feels like a huge job when not having time to enjoy doing it.
   5:30pm—I call to make sure the dealer that I ordered the parts for the air conditioner , are in and  they are so I make sure that I have an appointment for Tues, morning sometime to get it fixed. hopefully  they will get it fixed and stay  fixed this time. I don’t want to stick more money  into it but I need it  to be cool for driving. It’s very fatiguing to be hot and running for many miles upon end. We’ll see tomorrow. I’ll keep my fingers crossed. I spent $300.00 in Co. and they found the problems but they didn’t have the parts to fix it so they had to take out the refrigerant and let me go on my way. Got  my money back from Portland , Or dealer as they did not find the problem just a band aid on it. Tomorrow will be more money but it should be ok.  Luckily the weather has been pretty cool.
   Today:  unload, reload, drive 265 miles————–Yesterday,408 miles——-Happy Trails!!

Sunday, Fathers Day


   I  peaked out of the sleeper this morning at 5:30am to see fog that was thick and couldn’t even see up to the fuel island. We landed outside of the Big O ( Omaha) last nite and  quickly had some supper and I fell fast asleep. I wanted to get a good start this morning as when I get up to northern Wisconsin there is a little truck stop not too far from where I will be unloading and  it has a small parking lot. That means if you get there too late , you will be SOL so  I  made some coffee and we ran into the c-store to get our water jugs filled for the day.  I have a pet peeve that drives me crazy and that is men that kick their tires with tennis shoes on or just hit them with their fists. Of course, the first thing that I see this morning  is a guy in front of me, kick his front tire with a flip flop on and think that everything is fine and drives away……….Let me tell you that you can hardly tell with a ball peen hammer half the time if your tires are flat or inflated, let alone know if they are at the right pressure.  LOL
   10:00am—As I roll into Illinois, the weather is balmy and not too hot as of yet, thank goodness. No air conditioning– and as I come up to the cash box (toll booth) it reads $1.60.  (for cars) so I figure about $6.50 for trucks but the toll lady says $9.50 please, that is for 34 miles. The first sign of money extraction is here!  The next toll is $ 5.00 for just a short distance. I have no more tolls for this trip which is good. Just a short distance from there I decide to get another 100 gals. of fuel because most of the roads that I’ll be on on Mon. and Tues. will be on 2 laners and I prefer fueling at the bigger  truck stops on Interstates. Easier and cheaper.  $409.00 and I get a free shower that is good for about 5 days to use.
   3:00pm— I arrive at the small truck stop and there is still a couple holes left so I dive into one headfirst because I am very heavy and I don’t want to jockey my spread axel tires around in a tight turn to back in. I can always back out easley in the morning when all the rest are gone beside me. I do my paperwork and it starts to downpour rain. Daddy-o has been threatening me with naked pictures of Dr. Laura on the computer , if we don’t get to an Applebees pretty soon. he’s getting really thirsty!  When we came off the interstate, he saw an Applebees down the street so we’re going there  for Fathers Day!! (fun)
   Since it’s Fathers Day, i would like to wish all a happy Fathers Day!!! My father was a great guy. Just before I got married years ago, after many arrangements were  being made, he said ” Hey, I think you and me should go fishing one more time before you move.”  So we went to a small lake in Minnesota and took 2   5 gal pails along, tipped them upsidedown for chairs and talked about everything from old times to new times to life and all the mysteries of it. What we always wanted and what we thought would happen in the future. It was a great afternoon. I always remember that day. It was special!!  Happy Fathers Day Dad!
Happy Trails!!

Friday loading

Friday 17th 2011

   6:30—– I awoke as the alarm goes off and decide I need to get going as shipper wants to load at 7am and I am about a half hour from him so I make coffee for Daddy-o and get dressed. There is a nice breeze coming in the window and as of yesterday I discover that my air conditioning isn’t blowing cold. I will call a few dealers to see if they have a new air conditioning compressor along the way as the dealer near here did not have the one I need. I figure that somewhere along the way I will get everything fixed and not have to go through  the desert to California without it.  

7am— I  arrive at the plant where I will load and the security person at the guard shack tells me that my loading will not be ready until 8am and that I can not stay on site and will have to turn around and come back at 8. Bunk!!!

8am—- I arrive back and  wait until 10:30. Two other trucks load first and then I am cleared to load. Fork lift driver comes to get us and we are loaded within the hour. pretty good load with chains and binders and a low load that will not have anything sticking up to catch the air. Should be  fairly easy going through the air. Things are clouding up and it looks quite rainy. The load weighs about what it should, 43,500#. I don’t have to pay for a scale ticket ($10.00) this time as I have onboard scales and can calculate pretty well how much  is on each axel. I am legal. When it get s close , I get a scale ticket just to make sure!! If it’s heavy on one or another axel ,I must go back and have it adjusted. No fun!!  I am usually quite a ways away from where I have loaded. Costly!!  Daddy-o looks hungry!!!

11am—–As we head North back into the Denver area to catch another freeway going East it really lets out a free wash with a little hail connected to it. All traffic stops up ahead and its 6 miles of bumper to bumper for an accident up ahead. hopefully no one was hurt. I just take my time…..The jake brake picks em off as I roll down a pretty good hill and churps  as I mash back onto the petal and proceed ahead.  The foothills are green and beautiful around  the Springs again as I pass by. I roll past Pikes Peak International Speedway and can see they are getting ready for their season. Up through Denver,  the usual traffic jams takes place and again just wait it out.

 2:30pm—- I call for directions in Wisconsin and get an automated direction line and jot down everything I hopefully need to get there on Monday morning successfully. I did not get to speak to anyone so i left a message  telling them I would be there at 8am.   If I wait till  Monday to do it, I may not be able to unload because of appointments not being made. So is best to let them know ahead.( I usually don’t need appt.)

5:30pm—-I arrive at a truck stop that I know has good food and good parking for the nite. I am in Nebraska now and will travel across into Iowa  tomorrow.   By Sunday, I should be all the way up to the Northern part of Wisconsin and ready for a Monday morning unload, bright and early.

  327 miles today                        ( a couple of truck problems to work in, inbetween the other items: air conditioning and hood cables for opening and closing hood properly somewhere down the road)

Thurs, unload

Thurs.  6-16-11

   7:30am— Got to sleep in some this morning since I can not move until 9am anyway. I’m about 40 miles out from where I will be unloading and I think it is downtown in Denver which gives me butterflies just thinking about heading down the downtown ramp in a semi loaded with an oversize load!!  OK, take control now, I haven’t even gotten there yet………..
   10am—-I just called consignee (receiver) to let him know I am in vicinity of Coors Field where the Great Divide Brewery is located. He assures me that I must turn right approaching Arapahoe Street and then wait for further directions. I will be downtown and there is construction going on also……..The crane will be waiting and the riggers have been getting their supplies ready for the move. He also indicates that one of the tanks already in place will have to be lifted and an adjustment will have to be made on one of the feet of existing tank before mine will be lifted off. “Don’t worry,  it shouldn’t take too long and you will be on your way”………  OK , sounds good. As I approach the exit that I need to get off on, I double check to make sure it’s the right one and of course it says “Downtown exit”, ok , here I go….  As I get to the street that I need to turn on , I see someone waving their hands.  thank goodness! I turn and back into the spot behind me across the street , he flags traffic for me and I am in place….ahhhhhhhh. I jump out and start to take my flags off and unchain and unstrap. They have the tank lifted for adjustment to its leg. Meanwhile , I visit with one of the maintenance men that is in charge of getting my tank in place and explain that I’m a home brewer and ask what kinds and styles of beer they brew?After awhile I end up with 6 bottles of different brews that I would like to try while off duty….Yea…  Stout, IPA, belgian ale, amber ale and another stout. These were low fill bottles from the bottling line and would not be able to sell anyway. (I didn’t care!)
    1pm—-Motored down to the South of the state to load tomorrow for Wisconsin.  This load will consist of windmill apparatus that needs to go back to job site in Wisconsin. There will be 5 trucks loading and I hope to be not the last but will see. I have my directions and they do not include going downtown in a big city, YES.
Colorado is very beautiful especially around the Springs (Co. Springs) The military is very prevalent in this area and has alot todo with what goes on in this area. Air force……Academy etc.   I have a favorite place to go for the nite and suppe r(Mexican Food) but when I get close I hear on the CB that it has been closed and a Loves has been built with fast food…..damn, Subway again. I haven’t been in this area for some time , maybe a year or more and things change.
3pm—-Agent calls me from Co. and offers me a military load when I get the Wisconsin off, hopefully on Monday.   4 places to pick 6-16-2011-1 from and I choose California as its alot of miles and I will get back to West coast and maybe get back for the 4th of July in Northwest. 39,000#  for that one so that will be fine as I can haul 46,200# with the no chains and half tank of fuel to start out with.” Putting it in the wind”( going back West) is always better the lighter you are because you are going against the wind . Eastbound usually has the wind to your back….yea!  (but not always)
     Miles today: 150
   6pm— I have my paperwork to do (logbook etc. unload info,calculate load envelope, make out new envelope for 2morrow6-16-2011-2) and now am off work for the day.   Relax!



   Weather was down right cold this morning in western Wyoming.  Got out of the gate at 6am though and stopped for fuel  at Little America, Wy. and Daddy-o went over to McDonalds for some take out breakfast while i fueled the truck. The pump clicked off at 189 gal. and $749.00. I guess the station has a dollar limit and I didn’t get to fill all the way up. Only missing about 20 gals. or so. Thats  ok since I don’t want to be too full when I load my next load which I saw last nite late on the computer so I called early and it was still there so I committed to it for Friday morn.  That will take me over the weekend. It  goes up to Wisconsin area.   Since I really don’t know how much weight the next load will really be , I would rather be a little light when I get it on and can always get more then. Supposed to be around 43,500#
9am—–   Next I called the consignee ( receiver) and checked to make sure the crane appointment was in order and he said the riggers and crane would be at building at 9:30am Thurs. I told him that I would be under the curfew for city area and could not be there until about 10am. I can travel at 9am when the curfew is over, into the city with rush hour over but is quite a ways in.
1pm—    Out on the super slab, the sky was blue and I had a tail wind so everything was going well . We saw many antelope jumping and running out in the mountains on the way by. Also   scattered oil rigs pumping as coming through Cheyenne and heading south. Cheyenne is such a nice town and is just the right size to live in , I would think. The only thing I don’t like about that area is the wind and  it does blow! We stopped there  for showers and a break before coming south. I know of a good place to stop for the nite and we arrived early (3pm). I don’t have to hurry tonite.    
   One little repair to get done when unloaded tomorrow: hood cable broke when we opened the hood . There are two altogether so can still get it open without it dropping to the ground–not a good thing.  have to be really careful for now!    Happy Trails                                          401 miles today======589 miles yesterday

Eastbound and down




   5am:  Weather in Eastern Or. this morning was on the cool side (45 or so) when I awoke.  Twilight was a little way off so I made some coffee for Daddy-o and  started to get ready to go. I started the APU (Auxzillary Power Unit—Generator)  and plugged in coffee maker and crawled back in for 5  more minutes. I was so tired from yesterday,  just wasn’t enough time to get completely rested. Oh well, I’ll take a nap later.
   The first thing I ended up doing yesterday was pick a thousand rocks out of my tires before we went to load. If you don’t they will embed themselves deeper in the tires and make it worse to get them out. And they won’t all fly out as you drive faster either, like some people say.  My tires have pretty big lugs and they stick hard.
    Daddy-o checked the load out after he got up and I did some paperwork. The sun will be up now in a minute or two so it’s time to get going. I need to try to get to Salt Lake City before the curfew in the afternoon which is from 3:30 to 6pm. you can not take an oversize load through rush hour between those times every day and 6am to 9am in the morning.  I am over 350 miles from there so I need to keep on top of it.
2:30pm—-I stopped for alittle while to have some breakfast in the truck about 9:30 and that was it but just not enough time to get to SLC before the curfew so we had to stop from 3:30 to 6pm and wait………….continued on around SLC which the permit routed for us and added about 85 extra miles because of the height (14′ 7″) of the load and all is well tonite. No low bridges on that route……..Whew!     Happy Trails

oversize load


   Yesterday  an agent called me to see if i was interested in a load coming from the Northwest and going to Aurora, Co. he explained  that the load is an oversize load and will be 11′ wide and 11′ tall on the trailer.  That means it will be 14′ 6″ when sitting on the trailer and 14′ is the legal limit. Also  it will be 11′ wide and 8′ 6″ is the legal width for freight on trailers. So,  it will have to have permits in all states that I travel. Also , when you are hauling permited loads, there are certain regulations that I must follow or it could be dangerous. For example: There will be no night hauling and I must be off the road by sunset and parked. At sunrise I will be able to travel again so i must have my fuel and everything that I need for that day  purchased and ready to go the nite before. I usually just get Subway or something like that  for food as I can’t take the time to go to restaurants when hauling oversize.  We say” We’re burning daylight” and I need to keep going especially if I have a crane appointment to keep when I get near there. I also need to make sure I check all bridge heights as I approach them and  also make allowances for anything that is parked along the hiway or bridge width etc because I’m responsible for  anything that could happen (crunch!) and I will be 11 ‘ wide. This load will not be heavy so that is one good thing. I will be able to run right along. I sometimes like to haul these loads as I have to stop early and that is good because I can eat at supper time instead of later ,as can happen if I don’t get going early enough in the morning. This way I must be “out the gate” by sunrise. I try to run at least 500 to 600 miles a day and I must keep agoing to meet those numbers.

Waiting for some freight going East

Today  is feeling like summer but I want to get going eastbound and everything seems to be going no farther than Denver, which is not a good place to get out of so am looking for something that will take me to  at least Minnesota. Come on….  hope the phone will ring soon