Working Hard at Hardly Working

OK, not really.  We have actually been running as hard as we can but we keep getting unexpected breaks.

After we finished the UPS job, we got home on New Years Eve and we took the first three weeks of 2015 off.  We were not really planning on taking a bunch of time off but there were a number of maintenance issues with the truck.  We NEEDED to finally figure out what was causing the cab to shift, we needed to fix a hydraulic leak and a power steering leak and we needed to get the side fairing installed.  It turns out the cab shifting was being caused by the bushings on the front springs being totally worn out.  So we stood back and just started throwing money at the truck until it was magically fixed.  The last week of January we headed out to Seattle to watch the Super Bowl with family.  We ran some shorter runs out of Seattle to Denver and back and then after the game we ran to Twin Falls ID and back.  On the way to Idaho, we blew a hose in the cooling system in Hermiston Oregon.  We limped into the Freightliner dealer and they had to order a pre-formed hose so we were stuck for 24 hours and a few hundred dollars.

We also got some bad news.  There was oil in the coolant.  Not a huge surprise since we have suspected the oil cooler had been failing for a long time.  Going up steep inclines we have had to manage our oil temp by adjusting the RPM’s.  The part itself in not too expensive but the whole right side of the engine needs to be stripped off, the exhaust, turbo, air cleaner and a bunch of brackets and the cooling system also needed to be drained.  So, labor for the job is just stupid.  Well, the time has run out.  We got back home then booked a load to Jacksonville FL.  Two of the guys we worked with at UPS in Louisville were Big Mike and Little Mike, an awesome father and son.  Little Mike, (who is much bigger than Big Mike) also fixes all of his dad’s trucks and we could just tell we could trust him.  We dropped the truck off at Mikes and rented a car to hang out with our friends in Vero Beach (remember the Space Shuttle launch).  We had a very nice time with Mike and Brandi and then tooled on up the coast taking our time and sightseeing.  We fell in love with St Augustine.  The oldest city in America, we are going to plan a long getaway weekend there.  In St Augustine, I had the most amazing fried shrimp of my life at O’Steen’s.   Definitely getting back for this place and the great bar next door, The British Pub.   Our first day in Florida was awesome, in Vero Beach at 83 degrees., very nice.  After that it got cold and windy.  Not your typical Florida getaway.  Anyway……the repair job ended up taking four days until late Friday, so instead of being stuck in Jacksonville for the weekend where freight rates are generally sub-par, we decided to bite the bullet and just drive home empty. I drove over night and we got home about 8:30 am Saturday morning. Pretty much just settled in and got comfortable when at 10:30 my cell rings. It is a broker who is desperate to cover a load picking up today at 22:00 heading to Laredo TX. Must be a team. Well, the pickup is 300 miles away. I explain this to him and he tells me he will pay for the empty miles. We have a relationship with this guy so I did not want to burn any bridges. So I gave him a fair rate for a team, Saturday pickup and also explained that freight out of Laredo does not pay great so I would need him to add $500 to the total to help us get out of Laredo. He agreed so now our weekend home just became about 6 hours home. We did laundry, reloaded the food pantry on the truck, had a late lunch and headed to North Carolina.

At least it would be warm in Laredo. Hahahaha. 40 degrees and windy so let’s get out of here. We found a good load to Salt Lake City, hit a snow storm in New Mexico. When we got to SLC, it was 65 degrees and sunny. FINALLY.

We found a great team load to North Carolina, delivered and booked a team load out of South Hill VA going to Hurricane UT.  We got there but because of a huge storm the day before they could not load us.  They had us drop our trailer and they would call us the next day when loaded.  There was an awesome bar and grill a block from the Love’s Truck Stop. Great dinner and very fun locals. We like to sit at the bar for dinner so we meet people.  We got to St George on Monday morning and the Walmart Distribution Center informed us our appointment was for 6 am tomorrow. The broker agreed to pay us layover. So we went to the truck stop and called enterprise to come pick me up. We had a great Thai lunch, did laundry, some shopping and then another great, fun dinner at Georges Corner Restaurant & Pub. This is getting to be a good habit. Anyway, we made our delivery the next morning. We drove empty to Las Vegas and picked up a short load to Rancho Cucamonga CA.

Next up was an auto parts team load to Illinois. Love these loads, always light weight with great pay and expedited so we can deliver straight through.  Then one of our favorite brokers had a team load 55 miles away headed back to Tacoma WA delivering on Sunday afternoon.  We have been to this receiver before, they are on the waterfront and right across the street is a good seafood restaurant Johnny’s Dock.  Johnny’s has been there forever and can be kind of hit or miss on service but it was a gorgeous sunny day and my parents joined us on the deck for cocktails and lunch.  What a great time.

With Mom and Dad

With Mom and Dad

We thought we were parked for the night but a broker called asking if we could please take a load tonight from Tacoma to Reno.  I told him Reno sucked for freight so we would probably pass since there is good team freight out of Seattle/Tacoma right now.  He offered us over $4 a mile so we agreed since we could deliver straight through and then drive to Los Angeles to pick up a great load.  That all worked out and we headed from Carson CA to West Virginia (just over the bridge from Ohio) and then drove empty back to Indianapolis to get a team load going back to Tacoma.  We will never run that load again.  We picked up at midnight but did not get loaded and out until 3 am.  Saturday Morning, we than had to deliver by 4 pm on Sunday.  We HATE being stressed for time.  We made the delivery at 2:30 pm with a big sigh and ready to take a break tonight, head back to Johnnys Dock for dinner, see my parents and look for a load out in the morning.

You can see my previous post for what ACTUALLY happened.  🙂

The good news is we are doing great, the truck is running great and we are heading home next weekend after a full month on the road.  This is starting to look like real work.  Heading to the Mid-America Truck Show in Louisville KY in10 days. Redneck heaven but it should be fun.

I have a bottle of Gentleman Jack at home that is really missing me.

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