OK, so Ed is doing very well. Now lets talk about replacing our truck. After all the waiting on the insurance company we finally got the check and I could get serious about buying a damn truck. I had found a really nice 2013 Volvo 780 in Memphis that I had actually driven and loved but the dealer had crazy financing that I would not accept. I had a salesperson from a Kenworth Dealer in Gainesville Georgia calling me and emailing me about a number of trucks and although we had not met, I really liked the guy. They had a 2011 Volvo 780 That had everything I was looking for except the APU (Auxiliary Power Unit, or generator) that was within my mileage target of 400,000 to 550,000 miles and the price was right. So Anne and I drove down to test drive it. It was gorgeous and Anne loved it right away. Our must haves on a new truck were the mileage, price, APU, built in 12 volt refrigerator and an I-Shift (Automatic) transmission. The reason I really wanted an APU was it drastically reduces idling since it powers sleeper heaters and air conditioning. I firmly believe that idling in the newer trucks causes a ton of problems with the emission systems. Although this Volvo did not have an APU on it, everything else about it was right and Hector, the salesman, talked me into the three hour drive. While inspecting the truck I discovered that the truck used to have an APU and the previous owner had removed it before trading it in. This pretty much assuaged all of my fears about this truck and the test drive was awesome. We filled out the financing paperwork and drove home. All of this pretty much happened in the middle of Anne’s last blog post about Ed so the timing is a little off here. Early in the week we came to terms on the financing and price and we drove back down and bought the truck. I got it home and took it to our mechanic for a couple of small things, then it was time to get to Fort Collins.
I flew back to Colorado for CJ’s Graduation from Colorado State University. It really sucked that Anne had to stay home with Ed but t was so cool to spend time with my boy and his amazing fiance, Elizabeth. So excited to see these two get married on June 4th. They have actually been together a month longer than Anne and I and I really love their relationship, who they are together and who they are apart. It is a great privileged to witness a relationship like this with your own kids.
After a great weekend I flew home and after doing all the work to get the title transfered and the paperwork completed with Farm2Fleet I was ready to head off on the maiden voyage with our new truck on Thursday morning all I was waiting for was the cab card (tax authority for interstate trucking) which I was told I would have this morning. So I jumped on the computer to book some solo loads since Ed still could not travel. I had a great couple of hours and booked a load to Pittsburgh PA for that day and that delivered Friday morning, next load from Pittsburgh to Kansas City MO that would run me over the weekend and a load from the caves in Independence MO back to Knoxville TN that delivered on Wednesday. A good solid week long loop for pretty good money. Got all of my refer and frozen food packed up and was literally walking out the door when I got an email saying that my title was screwed up and I could not get my cab card. There was no way to fix this in time as I had 2 1/2 hours to make my first pickup 60 miles away. Fortunately for everyone involved, we had one of our newer partners at the office here in Chattanooga picking up a new trailer. He had just gotten back into his truck and was starting to look for a load. I called him and said “Bob, how would you like a weeks worth of loads?” The first broker was VERY thankful as he had no time to find another truck for his biggest customer.
So……..it seems Anne and I had another weekend off while the paperwork got fixed. The Seattle Mariners were playing in Cincinnati and although not really excited about the 5 1/2 hour drive, I was able to convince Anne it was a great idea when she found out is was Ken Griffey Jr dual bobblehead day. Great America Ballpark was one of the 8 MLB ballparks I had not been to so that number is now down to 7. We had a wonderful lunch on the waterfront with one of Anne’s best friends from college and her adorable little daughter. We then walked across the street and watched an awesome Mariners win. LOOOOOONG drive back home. We have decided the Mercedes is a wonderful car for up to three hours but you cannot recline the seats. For this reason, we have decided to take our Sebring convertible to Florida for the wedding next week.
We got home and got a call Tuesday morning that we had a temporary cab card. I quickly booked a load to Rhode Island that we could deliver on Wednesday which would allow us to work our way back home before the holiday weekend. Ed was good to go so this was the first time we had all been in the truck since the accident. It felt really good to be making money again until…………
Well, it would not be a new Team Leonard Truck if it did not break down on the first run. It was early morning, we were about 700 miles into our trip and I was driving in the hills of Pennsylvania. All of a sudden the engine started to sputter and lose power. I pulled over and turned on the flashers. I shut off the engine and started to try to figure out what was wrong. I SHOULD have known. I had been assuming our fuel gauge was broken since it still said full. I should have stopped and checked. I got out and checked the 120 gallon tank on the drivers side. Full to the top. Knowing what I would find, I checked the tank on the passenger side and it was bone dry. The crossover line was either clogged or the valve was not working. We had run out of fuel. I pulled out my air hose and cut off a fifteen foot section and used it as a siphon hose. I was pretty proud of my MacGyver skills. A small diameter hose so after about 90 minutes I had transferred about 12 gallons.
Tried starting the truck and no luck, I think we had lost prime in the fuel system. I took off the fuel filter and filled it with diesel and that did not work either. I finally had to call for road service. It took them over two hours to get there, he put in another 15 gallons of fuel, then he turned a little cap on the fuel line under the hood and a spring popped out about 4 inches. It was a priming pump. I had no idea. He pumped it about a minute and the truck started right up. Education is expensive, almost as expensive as ignorance. $341 to discover I had a priming pump on the engine. What really sucked is we could no longer make it to the delivery today. Delivered Thursday morning and all of the loads that got us out of the Northeast delivered the following Tuesday due to Memorial Day. We HAD to be home for the weekend as we were heading to Florida for the wedding on Tuesday. So we drove home empty 1000 miles. Another weekend at home, we are getting way too used to this. Packing now for Florida and looking forward to an amazing wedding and lots of time with the entire family.