Thursday, August 5, 2010

5 AUGUST 2008

At the Pete dealership we met an old driver named Glenn, from Houston, who has been driving for over 27 yrs. Glenn had trucking in his blood, his father drove and all his uncles on both sides drove. 47 yrs old, he just bought himself a brand new Peterbilt! 150k! Was having check engine light issues, which is why he was at the dealership. Been there going on 10 days and stressed as all hell. When your not rolling, you're losing money. Everyday you sit still, you lose money. Glenn hauls and specializes in moving over-sized heavyweight equipment (cranes, windmills, etc). When you specialize in a particular part of trucking, there's room to make loads of money. Driving a regular old dry box (trailer), you make the least. Reefers (refrigerated trailers) make a little more, then there are tankers, livestock haulers, hazmat haulers, loggers... On a good week, Glenn can make up to 11k/wk, but generally averages 7-8k/wk. We probably made that in 6 months. We worked for a major trucking company, and were paid per mile. We averaged 19 cents/mi and on longer loads around 32 cents/mi. Not very much, but we were also rookies. Glenn's truck was still on warranty, so of course they took their time getting it fixed. When company trucks come in they usually work on those first because they're guaranteed payment.

Hurricane Edouard had us all worried. Glenn headed back home, but called us later that night to be sure we were ok as the storm approached. He told us in situations like this to make sure we were between two trucks at a truck stop and not at the end. You're safer that way in case it gets too windy. Truck was fixed yesterday, so we headed to a Love's (another chain truck stop) and slept for a few hours. Another knocking on our truck as we were parked in an emergency fire zone. Truck stop was packed!! We ended up driving back to our yard in Dallas and slept there. Woke up to Hurricane Edouard full on! Luckily got a load right in the yard headed for Tallahassee, FL. We basically drove right through the eye of the storm in Louisiana, those couple of seconds of no rain where you can almost see the whirlwind above you! Super windy and kind of freaked out. We stopped in Rayne, LA (the frog capital of the world) at a local truck stop called Frog City. Had some jambalaya! Made it safely to Mississippi, couldn't find a truck stop, so parked in a Walmart lot to spend the night. The one thing we like about Walmart is that they are truck-driver friendly. Usually 24 hrs, they don't complain when there are random eighteen-wheelers parked in the lot for a night's rest. You go in, use the restroom, brush your teeth, walk around, maybe grab a dvd to watch for the night, then head back to your truck. Also, unfortunately, it's the only place you can park and get groceries. A lot of newbie drivers park in Walmart lots. They get 'stage fright' when backing into a spot at a truck stop. All eyes are really on you as there's nothing much for a lot of drivers to do when they're parked for the night than to stare out their cab. Plus, it's always fun watching someone back in, especially if they're really good.

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