Sunday, October 3, 2010

Life and the Universe

I've begun to discover links with real life situations and the Bible. I listened to Joel Osteen's book "It's Your Time" and I made a few connections. I'll need to go back and listen to it again to be sure. Since listening to it, I've felt like there's more to life than just getting by and have a more positive outlook on life when I begin to think about what I would do in my trucking career. It's a good feeling. One that I haven't had for a while.

The Universe
I also listened to Dr. Michio Kaku's book, "Parallel Worlds: A Journey Through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos". He's a very good speaker and though he was reading his book, I felt I was able to understand much of what he presented. So many physicists talk their language so well, we can't possibly understand what they are trying to tell us. Dr. Kaku is understandable, most of the time. He does get into some really far out stuff using terms I don't know thus don't understand what he's trying to tell me. But, he does go through and present an example that makes sense and then makes it understandable. I'll have to go back and listen to his book again but I think I'll start a another of his books first. Now which one should I get...


I need two of me. One to blog and the other to drive.

Had a $3200 break down and the transmission still isn't right. I think the shifter is having an electrical problem but nobody can find it. It still has some hesitation going in to 5th gear and has slipped out of 8th a few times only to go to 9th instead. If this thing doesn't stop breaking down, I'll be broke and homeless. Switch to any other company now would be ludicrous. I'd be only one break down from forced retirement and probably be too far from home to get home. The company I'm with now is the only reason why the truck gets fixed. They loan me the money on a fair interest loan and I pay it back over time. I doubt the local banks where I break down would even consider it before laughing.

On my next home-time, I'll pursue getting my background check completed and renew my license. Hopefully, I'll get my HazMat endorsement when I get home for Christmas and have new doors-of-opportunity begin to open. Have to be positive about it and look up. The only thing you won't run into when looking down and out is the hole you're about to step into.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Truck Woes

Well the truck is certainly acting up in an expensive way. Just got it back from the shop for APU service, three new batteries, a three axle alignment and tire rotation only to have it break down within 1000' of leaving Trans Am's yard.
Yep, you read right. 1000' from Trans Am's yard and another 800' to the Freightliner dealer in the direction I was already heading to go pick up a load. The tow bill for an 800' tow? $300 smackers. And that's only the beginning.
After pulling out the driveway of the yard I pulled up to the stop light and just as the truck stopped I felt a particularly harsh shift into second gear (out of 10). Nothing particularly wrong with this as it has done it on occasion on rough roads at slow speeds during approach to a stop. Always has. Even the other two trucks before this one did it. It's an apparent glitch in the speed sensors and the gear speed sensors in the transmission computer algorithms. When various shaft speeds can't quite mesh the shifting mechanism very well, it falls back on a "best case" scenario. Ultimately it feels like it jams in to gear. But I digress.

When the light went green, I started out as I normally would in automatic shift mode. When it was supposed to shift, it didn't. I switch it to manual mode and an alarm sounded and bright red "F" was displayed on the gear selector display stating the transmission computer faild. When that happened, it wouldn't switch gears. "ECM 130" was now displayed on the main LCD panel where the mileage should be. And letting my foot off the accelerator to keep form over-revving the engine did nothing. The computer locked up and I was running flat out at about 4 miles an hour at 2200 RPM and it wouldn't come down. Once I got clear of the intersection, I pulled into the center lane to keep from blocking through lane traffic and switched off the ignition. No way around it. Once the engine speed died down, I switch the iginition on again and again the engine ran flat out to its RPM governor. Switching off the ignition again, I coasted to a stop. It's possible I could have gotten to Freightliner but with traffic, turning left into their driveway was unsafe. Road Assist was contacted and the company sent out a "Big Hook" to tow me 800' into Freightliner.

So we are not yet heading home and I'm losing money horribly. It would take a miracle to pay all the bills this month in time to say nothing of September's bills. This is getting very frustrating and I'm more and more thinking about getting out of the truck and back into an office.

A trip to remember

It's been a while since my last posting so I'll try to fill in the many blanks of time since then.
My last home-time was good. My Mom came out to visit, we celebrated my sister's birthday and I brought my daughter out with me in the truck for about 5 weeks. My daughter and I spent a couple of days running around in a rental car through the mountains of Colorful Colorado and showed her a few of the places I visited whilst growing up in the Boulder area.
The first day we had the car we spent a good deal of time in East Portal, CO watching, or rather waiting for trains to enter or exit the famous Moffat Tunnel. Upon returning to the truck, we discovered the APU failed and provided no A/C or was charging the batteries. Consequently, the batteries were pretty drained and the battery protector cut them out. But to no avail, the truck wouldn't start. Being tired and nearly 11 PM MDT, we got a room at a nearby motel.
After a good night's rest, we headed out, this time to Winter Park, CO and the west portal of the tunnel. To our surprise, an Amtrak train running 3hrs, 15min late was due so we waited for it. It did eventually come through. Interestingly, where I was standing was looking straight through the bore and I saw the head light far in advance of the train's exit. Pretty cool. I have some video I'll post later when I get it off the camcorder.
We ate lunch at the Cheeky Monk tavern and then headed toward Fall River Pass to the Trail Ridge Store near the top. My daughter was astounded at the views and marveled at the fact there is a distinct line where trees can't grow above on the mountains.
From there we continued on toward Estes Park, CO and took Bear Lake Rd. to where else? Bear Lake. This is one of my favorite places. We took the 2/3 mile walk around it and were just thrilled and awed with the views. The trail has been formerly made a prepared path. Too bad. I liked the rudimentary trail it once was. It felt as if you were further into the wilderness than you were. What a difference 25 years make.
After our visit, we headed down the mountain through Estes Park and found a motel on I-25 in Loveland, CO. After breakfast at Johnson's Corner we headed back to the truck and used the rental to charge the batteries until it could be started. That done, we went to a free tour the Denver Union Station Project had sponsored and got to learn about the history of the station, it's importance in transportation and commerce and what they are doing to revitalize that role today. Very interesting stuff. You can visit their website for information about the project at
As I close, I'm now in a truck with a working APU, new batteries, brakes and a load to go pick up as my daughter and I enjoy a final few days together before school starts on the 23rd.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Heading Home

It's been a while since my last post. The truck seems to be running well after removing the VORAD control box. The APU has started stumbling at times as if the fuel filter or fuel pick up is getting clogged. I suspect the latter due in part to the trash that can get into the tanks. I believe there are aluminum chips and waste from when the hole was drilled for the fuel pick up during the APU's installation. If a tailing from that got caught in the end of the pick up tube, it could reduce the flow of fuel to the engine enough to starve it under a load. I'll get a PM done on it after I get home as it is in need of one anyway.

I'm heading to Holcomb, KS for my last load this time out. It'll be a relief to finally get home.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Truckin - Electrical Issue

I did get the truck repaired. Got an advance from the carrier to fix two problems. The first that caused the power issue was with the Eaton VORAD system. It had a problem and caused a link error between it and the other two computers onboard the truck.
The second problem was with a control valve that sets the pitch of the vanes in the variable-vane turbo called a V-Pod. That little gem cost me $650 to replace. So between the two issues, I racked up $1300 owed to the carrier. If I don't get recertified, I'll owe them.


What can I say today? Pretty bummed out about my first attempt at getting recertified for my CDL. Everything but my glucose levels were ok. So now I'm on meds for Type II Diabetes. A real shocker and wake up call. I may get a chance to get cleared before I go home on the 7th of July. If not then, then I get one last chance while at home. Failing that, I don't drive and will be looking for a job near home.
What happens to the truck? Either I am employed and can continue to make payments until I sell it or call the bank and tell them where to pick it up.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Truckin' - Just when you thought...

things would be ok, another problem come along uninvited. On the way to the shipper today, the weather was getting more wet. Around Cedar Rapids the sky opened up a deluge of rain. It was hard to see anything in front of the truck and lasted several minutes. Then the truck's turbo just stopped making boost pressure and my speed simply dropped to about 50 on the flat.
Without any boost the engine is functioning in "normal aspiration" mode and doesn't make much horsepower. I had to pull into a closed weigh station to get off the highway with all the rain and waited for it to let up. I then topped off the coolant level and checked the fuel filter through the sight-glass and found no problems there. I then sent a break-down message to the carrier telling them of the problem. After speaking with one of the guys in Road Assist I limped into Waterloo, IA about 25 miles away and dropped the trailer off at the shipper.

An interesting thing happened when I turned left at an intersection on the way to the shipper. The turbo spooled up and provided boost pressure and the truck accelerated through the turn as if nothing was wrong. When the truck and trailer straightened out, the turbo spun down again and during an up-shift, the Eaton VORAD failed and the speedometer reading dropped rapidly. I am convinced the problem is electrical.

So now I sit, again. The dealer isn't open so I have to wait to get checked into the service department in the morning. This truck seems to becoming a very expensive liability. With just enough miles to pay the bills at home, there isn't enough to keep the truck and APU running. It's quite frustrating and maddening.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Hurry Up! and wait.

Ok. So I get to my destination and deliver the load. That was day before yesterday. So again I'm sitting. I shouldn't complain too much though. The DOT 72 hours inspection blitz is going on. I feel good about my equipment being up to snuff. But the delays and multiple times you can get pulled in for one is a pain. I should be grateful that I'm sitting this time.

I have my DOT physical coming due and will be back in Olathe, KS to get it done.

Nothing much else going on. Just finished the club newsletter and sent that out and decided to read up some more on the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad. A book I received titled Narrow Gauge In The Rockies by Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg details the history of the narrow gauge empire. Very interesting reading on how it was built and how well it thrived. Even more amazing it stayed in revenue operation into the 1960's. Two parts of this vast system remain in operation as tourist lines. The Durango and Silverton Railroad is the shortest of the two. The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad operate far more track than you'd think. The states of Colorado and New Mexico own the latter while the former is self sustaining.

Time to head in and get a bite to eat.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Every wonder why someone tells you to go get something and are surprised when it isn't there? Seems odd to me that a company that spent tens of thousands of dollars for satellite tracking devices for their trailers wouldn't know where the empty ones are! Hmmmm.

After spending a few hours running through and around Kansas City, KS and MO, I did finally get to a place where there was one. And Wonder Of Wonders, they didn't know what number it was. Must have fell through the cracks. Mighty big cracks that is.

After getting better from being sick for two days and losing an 1100 mile trip, Things have gotten a tad tougher this week. Fuel prices have dropped and so have fuel surcharges. I wish the customer would understand that when I'm hauling their stuff, they pay for the fuel. Fuel Surcharges are a pain in rear. Looking forward to getting my HazMat endorsement in the near future and have a few more doors opened for it.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Life and Truckin'

Been driving pretty hard at night. I think with my trouble sleeping during daylight hours when everyone else is up and working, making noise and such, my immune system has weakened. I wasn't feeling very well yesterday or the day before and today I'm feverish. Could be that what my daughter had on my last day home finally tagged me. I had to give up a load with two stops in Chicago and one in Indy. Standing was an effort with my legs shuddering as if under great strain just standing. I tried to refuse the load but was denied. My contract states I can refuse loads so the carrier I'm with is in violation of its contract. I'm not going to press it. Need the job still.
I intended to visit the main yard in Olathe, KS to see if there were any drivers waiting on a load since it was on the way to Chicago anyway. I told them what was up and the guy made a call to somebody and as usual, presented it in a way that made me look like the bad guy. Sweating with fever and leaning on the counter to stand up, he finally looked at me and asked if I was alright. I said to him that if I was alright I wouldn't be asking to have someone else take this load. i also told him that my refusal was denied and I needed rest to recover. He terminated the load to the yard and freed me up for the rest of Sunday. I hope I feel better in the morning. I hate being sick out on the road.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Truck: My APU I use to keep me warm/cool and the batteries charged has stopped working. Stopped at a service shop in Greenwood, LA but discovered a part was bad
the they didn't have in stock. So now I'm in Dallas, TX to get the thing finished and operational again.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Truckin' Today

Rain, rain, rain all day yesterday. Today, no cell phone service once off the Interstate. I don't know who's service is between Mobile, AL and Jackson, MS but it ain't Sprint.

Can't wait to get the new HTC EVO! I'm gladly paying the $10 charge to use all of the phone's capabilities regardless if there's 4G or not. The $10 isn't for 4G service like everyone thinks. It's for the high-data usage the phone was designed to handle regardless whether it's in 3G or 4G territory. Erks me there are whiners complaining about the charge when they don't have 4G service. It's about the data usage and over-all demand the phone will put on Sprint's network. It's not about the speed!!!! Get a clue people!

Sunday, May 30, 2010


Honest to God, it's times like this that give me cause to hate ThermoKing's TriPac APU. Air conditioner runs great for less than a year and it craps out in Florida on Memorial Day Weekend. No repair services are available until Tuesday so I will be running the prime mover to stay comfortable. I hope I wake up in the morning...

So now I'm sitting inside the truck stop in a very noisy area of the building (next to the game room) where distractions are countless and concentration unattainable in an uncomfortable seat.

Recently I've been shifting my focus and use of the Google mobile environment. I loaded GoogleSearch onto my Windows Mobile PDA/Phone, the infamous Touch Diamond. So far I can blog ( doing that now ) and check gmail. Whence my new phone is in hand (HTC EVO w/4G) I should have more mobile focused abilities as it will configured with Android 2.1.

With some of the comparisons I've made between WM and Android, Android appears to be hands down built as a mobile platform where WM seems a crippled version of Windows to fit the limited hardware available in most any mobile device. Android's open app market is busting out with new stuff all the time. Many useful and some not useful bordering on humorously stupid stuff you wouldn't think anyone would have compiled but did. Like a Light Sabre app which uses the G-Meter in many phones. Swing your phone around and you guessed it! You get the swooshing hum of a Light Sabre. Kinda reminds me of the sound effects key chains where you could calm your road rage by "killing" or "zapping" the driver that pissed you off. Only now you can do it all on a single device. Your phone.

Memorial Day Weekend

Never forget why we have the freedom that other countries do not have. We paid for it with the blood of our soldiers who fought on the behalf of Americans and those of other free nations. Never take for granted your rights and privileges of what your freedom cost others. Never forget that freedom never has nor will ever be free.