hen mxpwr and I got to Everett on Monday afternoon, we were informed by security that it would be at least 12 hours until our load was ready due to a machine failure in the plant. We were basically in his stomping grounds, so I told him that, since we were going to be stuck there until morning, if he wanted to have someone come pick him up and see some friends or whatever, that was cool with me. He began gathering things and after a while, he had all of it out. I looked at it and said, "You look like you're bailing out on me."
Unbeknownst to me, he had been reconsidering his decision to be an OTR truck driver for the past couple of days. There are some people who don't do well in this line of work for various reasons such as poor time management or they just never quite conquer the skills necessary to work efficiently enough to make a living at it. By and large, though, what sends most people packing is the lifestyle. For some, it's disingenuous claims from unethical recruiters. For some it's a denial of themselves; a blind eye turned to their domestic and social nature, by the lure of a decent income coupled with romantic notions about road life and travel. For some, despite going into it as wide-eyed as possible, the realities of the life are so far from the expectation that it's overwhelming. Regardless of the reason, this is why out of everyone who gets a CDL with the intention of being an OTR trucker, only 30% are still doing it one year later.
He conceded that he had come to the decision that maybe he was wrong about this being the life for him. So we said goodbye and he went home. I can't blame him, nor do I harbor any hard feelings. It is a very different way of living from the way most of the straight world lives: your home/social life is fragmented, there is no semblance of routine, and you eat/sleep/bathe when you can, not always when you want to.
The load was magically ready a couple of hours later. Funny how that happens.
ithout a student and prospects for one at the terminal in Portland slim, I worked with dispatch to get me out from under that load, since it was going to southern California and I have plans to be home this weekend. I swapped it with another truck operated by a team that could get it to Fullerton by 11pm the following evening on schedule, another incentive for the load planners to get me out from under it. I met them at a Safeway DC in Auburn, WA where they were due to unload at 5:30am. We swapped the trailers around 2am and I got a little rest before getting into and while sitting in the dock door. The planners had me another load lined up at the drop yard in Portland that was going to Ft. Smith, Arkansas by Friday. So I spent what hours I had left on Tuesday traversing Oregon, making it just to the Idaho border where I took the photo of the sun setting behind the motel.
On Wednesday morning I got up and hauled.ass. I'm still not sure how I did this, but I made it to Cheyenne in 10 hours and 45 minutes. Folks, that's 828 miles by my odometer which is an average of 77 mph. Pretty impressive considering the truck is governed at 75mph. Google maps lists it as a more conservative 789 miles, or an average of 73mph. Either way, that's damn good time in a 75mph truck. Sure, I took advantage of gravity going down the mountains up to as much as 85mph, but I also had to pull the opposing side as slow as 40mph sometimes. I also stopped three times, got caught in a small traffic snarl in Ogden, crossed 3 scales, and was slowed down by numerous construction zones. I definitely set a high mark in miles for an 11 hour driving period, and I still could've driven another 15 minutes and could've gotten away with an additional 15 minutes on top of that, without anyone at the Werner logs department saying boo about it. If I can repeat that phenomena tomorrow, I'll be within 100 miles of Ft. Smith when I shutdown for the day on Thursday. Unfortunately, I'm looking at a daytime crossing of Denver, which is never fun. It'd be nice if I could acquire a student at our terminal there in Denver, but I'm not holding my breath; I'm a day late on the last orientation class completing there.
or one of my three stops during my 800 mile juggernaut, I had a couple of grilled cheese sandwiches at Mollie's Cafe in Snowville, Utah.
It had a lunch counter with stools in addition to booths and tables. The waitress used an adding machine that sat on the counter beside a huge plastic tub of Red Vines, because the cash register had busted and no one has bothered to fix it. There was a game room in the back filled with 15 year old video machines and the place was crammed with Coca-Cola memorabilia ranging from ancient, unopened bottles to old reach-in coolers and completed jigsaw puzzles turned into wall tapestry. Also on the walls were clocks made from cross-sections of trees with pictures of Elvis and Jesus shellac'ed onto them. In a word, it was swank.