Gentlemen Truckers

Dallas, Texas

We are stuck in the Dallas, Texas OC until noon tomorrow. Our first load out after our time at home was a healthy 1,549 miles, North Bergen, New Jersey to Cedar Hill, Texas about 15 miles south of Dallas. We had high hopes of hooking another 1,500 mile load west, such high hopes that we delivered at JC Penney six hours before the computer said we’d arrive.

That strategy didn’t work. Our load out isn’t even a load out, it’s a load to Laredo, Texas, 427 miles south. The trailer doesn’t arrive until noon tomorrow. Right now it’s in Westin, OH, 1,086 miles away. This means next weeks paycheque will be almost nil. We spent a lot of money at home, we were counting on keeping the doors locked and the wheels turning this week. Our goal is 5,000 miles a week. As they say around here, if the wheels aren’t turning, we aren’t earning. The dispatcher told me that they have too many drivers in Texas right now and not enough freight. La – de – dah!

We’ll pick up a Hertz rental car, book into the Comfort Inn and find Mexican food.

Yesterday’s drive was glorious. Sunshine, blue skies, 480 miles in seven hours and 45 minutes, seems almost unbelievable that a person can do that every day. We drove through some of my favorite states – 65 mph. Our truck is governed at 65 MPH, which means our cruise control runs at 66 MPH – don’t ask, I don’t know why we get an extra one MPH.

No matter what we do, we cannot get the tractor to go faster than 65 MPH, except downhill, I’ve had it up to 76 mph carrying a 40,000 pound load, it  happens in a blink of an eye. That momentum thing is interesting.

Solo trucks at Schneider were turned down to 60 MPH to save fuel. Most fleet trucks are governed somewhere between 60 MPH and 67 MPH and the trucks that go like a bat out of hell are independent truckers, you know the trucks by the mean looking grill and their box-like, UNaerodynamic shape. Square nose, all chrome, big smoke stacks, the truck feels like it could eat your little car when they come up behind.

In Texas, Nevada, Arkansas, Idaho, Lousianna, Mississippi, Wyoming, Utah to name a few the posted speed limits are 65, 70 and 75. At 65, in an eight hour driving shift that’s an extra, at least 64 miles over a 55 MPH shift. We’re restricted to 55 mph in Ohio, Illinois, California, Oregon and parts of Tennessee. Cars can go 65, but trucks go 55. We push the envelope a little at 58. At 65, we average 62 or 63 miles in the hour. Of course, in the mountain states, we’re slowed down by the weight of the load, going up hill and the zoom downhill doesn’t compensate.

My need for a daily nap persists. I don’t know what it is, the early hour, driving in the dark followed by sunrise or maybe I’m getting old, but I need a nap about two-to-three hours into the day. I can hardly keep my eyes open. I wonder if there is some yoga thing to wake up the brain.

This morning I was really rested. I slept a lot yesterday and had good non-moving sleep because Greg stopped at the West Memphis, Arkansas OC to have a shower, then we stopped at the Wal-Mart, along with three other trucks in Bryant, Arkansas about mid-way through the state to sleep for three hours. I headed out at 0600 Eastern but  at 0830 I needed my nap. All it takes is a half hour nap, I feel great. I could have driven the remaining 350 miles to get my 500, but the delivery was only 150 away.

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