By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 10/22/2018
Topics/Keywords: #18-Wheeler #TruckDriving #BigRigs #Schneider #TruckDriver Page Views: 905
An entry from Alternate Roads: Paul S. Cilwa's Truck Drivin' Journal

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

After my talk with Yancy, I was looking forward to a nice, long, haul.

What I got was another trip to Phoenix.

What's more, it was a load that ended with an appointment at 9 am. It took so long to make the pick up at Kimberly Clark that I wound up spending the night at the Whitewater Rest Area, and making most of the drive in the very early morning hours. I got going at 4:30 am and, at least, didn't have to deal with much traffic.

This was done so that I would be home in time for a doctor's appointment tomorrow. So I couldn't really blame Yancy for the short miles, though that was my first impulse. No, I chided myself. You were going to give him a chance.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

The doctor, looking me over after being on the job for a few days, decided I was all right except for the space between two lumbar vertebrae. He promptly made an appointment with a surgeon, which I will have to decide whether to keep. I've never met a person who had spinal surgery and ended up happy about it. The appointment was hard to get and is set for early next month, so, meanwhile, I get to drive and, hopefully, get a lot of miles!

Thursday, August 21, 2003

I got to my truck before 7 am, as instructed, and found there was not yet an assignment waiting for me. I did a pre-trip inspection, hoping a trip would follow. Finally, at 11:30, one came in. A long trip? No. I had to drive about fifty miles to Casa Grande to pick up a load of potato chips, and deliver it to Rancho Cucamonga, around the corner from Fontana. At least, it was a no-touch load—pick up loaded and drop off the still-loaded trailer—so it wasn't a real time waster. I made it to the consignee well before midnight, and pulled into the Fontana Operating Center to spend the night. Total for the day: 446 miles.

Friday, August 22, 2003

And today I was asked to bring my truck in for a PM (Planned Maintenance). The appointment was for 4 am, so it had been agreed that I could spend the night at a motel. It was supposed to ready at 10:00 am, and I already had an assignment—but the repairs ran late. The completion time was advanced to noon, then one, then two. By then, the load I had been assigned was in danger of arriving late, even though it was a mere 16-mile run, completing a relay in which I took a trailer from Fontana to the neighboring town, Ontario. By now it was so late in the day, that I had to fight L.A. city traffic on my way to the next pick up, a load going to the Sacramento area. I had been up all day, waiting, and was already tired even though I hadn't driven very much. So I took a nap at the Los Angeles Maintenance Facility. Miles for the day: 53.

Saturday, August 23, 2003

At quarter-past midnight, knowing the traffic would now have eased, I ended my nap and drove as far as I could to get out of the city. That got me over the steep Grapevine grade and to Arvin before I shut down for the night.

In the morning, I continued on to Lathrop to drop my load. I then bobtailed all the way to Stockton to pick up a loaded trailer from the rail yard there. The load was going to Reno, and I got to the consignee just before midnight.

Oh, sure,, the directions to the consignee were wrong. I sent in a correction to the directions department and, as he had requested, a copy to Yancy. He wouldn't be in until Monday, of course; but I prefixed his name to the message and, hopefully, he would get it then.

And, my work assignment said this was a live unload. That means, I would have to back up to a dock and wait while the trailer was unloaded. My next assignment, in fact, required me to have the empty with me. But the consignee wasn't, in fact, open. There was a security guard there, no more. She allowed me to drop the load, which was really the only possibility since the facility would also not be open until Monday. I spent the night at Alamo Joe's truck stop. A 550-mile day! See, it is possible!

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Today's run was another short one, from Reno to Fresno. The assignment ended in a Monday morning appointment in Fresno. I called customer service, attempting to arrange for a relay so I could do more than 5 1/2 hours of driving today, but was told there was no freight. So I drove to the Pilot truck stop in Madera for the night. That placed the consignee less than an hour away.

At the Pilot, I spotted five Schneider trucks bobtailed. That meant they, too, had no loads. But there were several Schneider trailers that came and went through the fuel islands. Every one was pulled by a Schneider owner-operator truck, identifiable because they were colors other than orange. I spoke to one of the owners as he fueled.

"Looks like you've got a load," I said, nodding at the trailer. "Most of the Schneider trucks here are bobtailed."

He followed my gaze into the parking lot and nodded. "Yeah," he agreed. "Schneider always gives the owner operators first pick of the loads. We have to be able to make our truck payments, ya know!"

And what about my rent payment? I thought. I had driven just 302 miles this day. In the week, I'd had two good days, two mediocre days, and three miserable days of less than 100 miles. On the Cilwa scale of driving accomplishment, this averaged out to a mediocre week. If this was Yancy's idea of making me more money, I was less than impressed.

Still, he'd had to work around a doctor appointment and a PM, neither of which he scheduled. (The PM occurs automatically when the truck reaches a specified mileage.) So I decided to withhold judgment and give him another week.