I took over driving in Van Horn, TX and mad e the 442 mile trek to San Antonio in 7 1/2 hrs. For those keeping track that is a 58.9 mph average speed. Which isn't to shabby considering I stopped once to water the tires and there were a few 7% grades on I-10, so I was doing a good amount of down shifting. The highlight of the trip was passing another Swift driver. He was a van driver, and he didn't look to happy to see a loaded flat bed passing him. Either he was loaded down pretty good, or just doesn't drive with it mashed to the floor like I do. Either way, it was priceless to see the look on his face.
Bright shiny thing…. See, there are like 15,000 van drivers and only 700 flat bed drivers. Well the flat bedders are a rare breed. Probably why I like it so much. We actually work, where the van drivers just pull a box around and slam the doors on the back. Needless to say flat bed drivers and van drivers don't get along all the time. Ok, back to the damn story…
Leave it to me to be a rookie driver and hit San Antonio at 8am traffic too. Yeah, didn't plan that out too well. It really wouldn't have been that bad but there was NO east bound traffic to keep me entertained, and only one radio station would come in. So it was just me, an ass load of deer, and a few rabbits.
I was so damn tired when we pulled into the Pilot off exit 583, that I took the easy way out and pulled into a parking spot instead of backing in. I really wasn't in the mood, plus a few trucks were leaving and they would have just got frustrated with me. Lol
When we got inside, Greg knew one of the guys in the bathroom. Come to find out he is an Owner/Operator and was a mentor as well. However, Swift cancelled the mileage incentive for mentors so he said he was done because it is costing him 5 cents a mile to have a student on the truck. See O/O are basically company drivers like I will be except they lease their truck from Swift and pay ALL of their own expenses. That includes maintenance and repairs. Anyway Greg is telling him about his suspension and how he hates to lose me because I am the best student he has ever had. I looked at him and reminded him that he didn't have to say that just because I was standing there.
Now, I tell you that because if your paying attention it will come into play later on in this reading.
Anyway, I digress… We hung out at the Pilot for about an hour and than Greg started getting anxious to get home and serve his suspension. So he called the customer and asked if we could deliver a day early. They said sure, and off we headed for Huston.
Once we unloaded and got back to the terminal, we still hadn't heard anything about a new load. Greg said if he didn't hear anything soon, he was just going to take a bus home. WTF would I do?? I called Grace, my driver manager for training, back in Gary and she said they were looking for a load for us.
The plan is to find a driver coming through Lancaster tomorrow that is headed to Gary and me catching a ride with them. I asked about a new mentor and she said she found one. His name is Donald and he's a flat bed driver. Than she said, as a matter of fact you guys talked to him today. WTF???…. OK, for the slow ones, remember the guy we talked to at the Pilot in San Antonio?? Has the light clicked yet??
At this point, I said well why didn't you just let us know that this morning when you called to check in? She said at the time it wasn't finalized. So, I am not sure what happened to have him change his mind about having students. Or, he may not even be who Grace is talking about. However, that is the only Swift driver we talked to today.
Sensing the frustration in my voice, Grace told me they had the terminal manager involved trying to find us a load and she would work on getting me a ride from Lancaster. I said well if you don't I will just sit at the nearest truck stop holding a sign that says Gary, IN or Bust. I really think she thought I was serious at first as there was this long pause and she said you will do no such thing. We will get you a ride.
About 10 min after that phone call guess what happens? Oh c'mon humor me and play along…. If you said we got a pre trip you would be correct. I will also accept; we got our next load assignment. Who would have knew these would be so darn entertaining to read?
Where was I? Oh yeah, our next load. We are headed to Silsbee, TX at 5 in the morning to pick up a load of lumber and take it to Saginaw, TX. For those that are geographically challenge, can't read a map, or otherwise just don't give a shit; Silsbee, TX is 100 miles NNE of Houston (I-10 N out of Houston, than take US-96 N). See, now you have directions in case ya ever need to go there. There is not only an entertainment value to this blog, but an educational one as well. :). Saginaw, TX is NNW of Ft. Worth (I-820, than BR-287).
The weird thing about this load is we were told we cannot tell the shipper where it is going and we can't tell the customer where it came from. Must be some secret squirrel lumber or something.
With that another day comes to a close. Just chillin at the Pilot in Houston for the night. BTW if you ever get a chance, stop at a Pilot sometime. They have tons of bright shiny things that can keep you distracted for hours. I think I could make 10 years worth of Christmas lists in there. Lol.
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