So yes, Anne did have to do a drug test. We had to wait until Thursday morning for her to go in to do it. She is a worrier and I had to spend all of Wednesday night assuring her that it was only a drug test (she was just told to report to Safety at 8 AM) It turns out that there is one thing about Anne that is shy….her bladder. Just like last time, she could not pee enough to do the test. She had to sit and drink tons of water. Kind of scary because they only give you three tries. If you do not provide a large enough sample, it is an automatic fail and she would be out of a job (and I would be very lonely) She passed and we got a load assignment from our terminal in Tunnel Hill to Saint Louis, we got to our St Louis facility just after midnight and thought we could drop the trailer. Nope, we had to babysit it until 6:00 AM when they opened, then we got another 400 mile load from Central Missouri to Chicago. That was two loads that any solo driver could do. I called our fleet manager when he got in and asked for a real team run. He apologized for the two the night guys had given us. So our next load was a FedEx load from East Moline Illinois to West Sacramento. A very nice run, we pulled in on Sunday evening and got a stupid little 100 mile run to Stockton and back to Sacramento with a live unload at 7:00 AM. I was kind of pissed about it until I realized that the odds were, we would have sat all night until Monday morning anyway without a load so at least we made a little money. We then got a load from Sacramento to Houston.
Middle of the night in Arizona, I get pulled over by a State Trooper. I asked what I had done wrong and he said “Nothing” He then proceeded to do a Level Two inspection on the truck and trailer. We had a torn mudflap and their was an ABS fault on the trailer brakes (I had been told by a couple of other drivers that the ABS warning light on a trailer was no big deal….not true and I should have known better) Anyway, no ticket but it was written up for repair.
The cool part of this run is we were going through El Paso TX with time to stop and see one of my best friends from High School. Mark picked us up at the truck stop just outside of town and we went and hung out for a couple of hours at his beautiful home. It was a short visit but so awesome to see him AND he fed us dinner. Love that guy.
So we got to Houston and stopped at a Flying J to fuel before we made the delivery. Went to start the truck and it would not turn over. I had noticed the batteries getting weak but I thought we would be able to have them checked next time at a terminal. Nope. 105 degrees and there we sat in the fuel isle sweating. It turns out they are having the batteries fail an a ton of the new trucks. Breakdown sent a tow truck to pull start us. He hooked up a chain and pulled me forward in third gear until the motor started. A bit nerve wracking in a crowded truck stop parking lot. This is when I am thankful we are company drivers, the bill to USX for this five-minute service was just over $300. We kept the truck running and made our delivery. I called our Irving (Dallas) terminal and talked to someone in the shop. He said they were not backed up and could get us right in and had the batteries. Our Fleet Manager had a load for us from Dallas to Atlanta and we could get the batteries replaced at either terminal. We get to Irving and I walk into the shop office and they say “We are all backed up, who told you that?” I did not have a name but the guy who had said it took the fall for me and told the truth. All smiles now they get the truck right in while we did a couple of loads of laundry. I also have the trailer pulled in to get the ABS fault fixed and we are off again to Atlanta.
We dropped that load in Atlanta and could not find an empty trailer, we run over to our terminal to look for one there and there are none. We have a load assignment to run empty to Memphis and get a FedEx load going to Denver for our home time. After waiting for hours, they have us bobtail to our Olive Branch Mississippi terminal and get a trailer to take to Memphis (only about 15 miles apart) We got to FedEx three hours late, got the load and out the gate. ………..
Which leads me to now, I am sitting on the side of the freeway 25 miles outside on Memphis. I had the left steer tire explode at 65 miles an hour. Without a doubt the scariest thing that has happened to us driving so far. The truck really wanted to hang a hard left into the ditch and I had to fight it over to the right median. Anne, lying in bed in back, had no idea what was happening, just heard the bang and the rumble, felt the truck shaking and veer hard left, she thought we were off the road and starting to roll over. Very scary for her. The tire is shredded and I am waiting for the repair truck now.
REALLY looking forward to four days off at home.