Monday, October 01, 2007

We're all ready to go.

I got to talking to the other driver at the gravel pit.

He was hooked up to an empty trailer. I was wondering about that. When I left there Thursday all the trailers had been loaded. He told me that they had him back the then loaded trailer under the crane and UNload it. Didn't say why. He then said that when he tried to close it up that it had no brakes.

Lemme 'splain. It's a stretch trailer. Stretching and UnStretching it requires use of the "JohnnyBar" (dunno why it's called that...but it's that lever under the steering wheel which operates the trailer brakes independently from the tractor brakes.. ONLY the trailer brakes that is.) When he "set" the trailer brakes to unstretch he said that only two wheels were holding...and them poorly. Upon further inspection it turns out that the breaks were.......er....really bad.

So....we called Fleet Net.....and waited.

Finally I decided to leave. Might as well get on over to the bridge and wait there. No one from PA was gonna show I thought....they said they'd be there by noon...and it was three....second time they pulled that stunt. A pattern is emerging here.... So I left..

I pulled in about five or so. ....and sit.....and sit. About seven the other guys started to show up. Finally the guy...just another truck driver...NOT a dispatch rep as I had been told....showed up...about eight....after dark. He had paperwork. And "stuff". He also had the trailer that I'd last seen at the gravel pit. The one with no brakes. hmmmmmmm? Later on in the night he said that fleet net sent someone out and the worked on it for quiet some time. Might be why he was so late getting there. Good. Brakes are kind of useful.

I eventually go under my assigned trailer. I started cranking on the landing gear ....and the landing gear handle broke off in my hand. For an old fat boy I sure am strong huh? Twisted it in two like macaroni. About that time the lights on the trailer started flickering. Turns out there was a short in the trailer wiring. ergo...no trailer lights. I finally got the landing gear up using a pipe wrench. I called fleet net.

I didn't really expect any assistance. But hey. ...certain forms must be followed.

We hooked up with our respective escorts. And then waited. (fleet net NEVER showed. I doubt they could have done anything if they did....but the NEVER showed.)

And waited. The cops showed up and took two trucks. Two hours later they showed up and took two more. I was in the second batch. It was midnight before we got "on the bridge" The way it worked we had to go over the Bridge (the Tappan Zee) thru the toll gate (barely room...did you know they CHARGED us to go over the brige? Here we are taking bridge panels to fix their flippin bridge and they still charge us toll. $40.50. One reason I don't LIKE it out here....or chicago. Every time you sneeze there's another toll. )



After we got thru the toll gates we took the first exit and made a right...a right....another right....Kept on making rights until we were on the bridge again going the other way.....we crossed over it again....(thankfully no toll) and then proceeded to sit for several hours.

Oh....we were limited to 5mph on the bridge. It's several MILES across the hudson. Took a while.

About four in the AM we were all done. Hooked up to other trailers , loaded down with junk bridge panels. (theyre pulling old bridge panels and installing new ones. Four a nite.) ...headed to the demolition yard.

Had problems there. It turns out that the crane guys had used some kind of not so very hard wood to set the bridge panels on. 90 to 115 thousand pound panels. Smushed the wood. Damaged one trailer...hole right thru the bed. Almost turned one of us over. (super driver....he saved the day....all is well .. no fault no foul)

Now me and two of the four are back at the drop yard where we picked up trailers last night. One guy's gone back to the OTHER drop yard fifty miles away to get a loaded trailer. He'll haul it here today and then help us tonight.

I guess I'm happy to be out here. I think of it as similar to a tour in a war zone. Make the most of what I got. (dozens of my rowdy friends are sitting at home....going broke...so I'm happy to be working.)

Better be.

I'm gonna take a nap then do it again tonight.

nite all.
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