Thursday, March 22, 2007

Dallas to California to Arkansas in 15 minutes

Yesterday we got a lesson (if we needed one) in how quickly things can change in the world of truck driving.  I finished up my orientation, and Terry and I were on track to get our truck in Dallas sometime this weekend.

However, at the end of my last class when truck assignments were being given out, I learned that Terry and I are getting a new truck with an automatic transmission.  We were supposed to go to Houston to receive some training for that and then we were going to drive a rental car out to French Camp, California, to pick up our truck.  

We won the grand prize!   Not only were we getting a new truck, but it had an automatic transmission (which most drivers love, and which Schneider has few of) and they were giving us a road trip to California to boot!  

Terry wasn't there, and since this new development put a wrinkle in our original plans (we were both going to be somewhere else on Friday), I asked my instructor if it would be possible to do the training on the weekend or on Monday, and he said he'd work it out.  Then it was time for our lunch break.

I had just enough time to call Terry and leave a voicemail about our good fortune when I saw Mike (the wonderful instructor for my orientation) and he told me everything had changed.  Our good fortune had been unwound because of the fact that we could not be in Houston on Friday.  I told Mike that if I had known that, we would have changed our plans to be in Houston.

By that time Terry had gotten to the OC, and we called our new dispatcher (called an STL at Schneider), told him what was going on, and in the end, worked it out to still get a new truck, but we are picking it up in West Memphis, Arkansas, which is where our STL is based also.

So instead of having 3 or 4 days to get things ready, we had 3 or 4 hours.  Talk about stress -- I just had to almost-randomly choose things to take with us and put the rest in storage until we can get back through Dallas to go through things more formally.  And by then, we'll have an idea of just how much room we've got and what we really need in the truck.

We put everything we are initially taking in the truck into the back of Terry's pickup, and we left late yesterday afternoon.   We stopped last night in Blossom, Texas, where we saw a mutual friend we've known for over 20 years.  (Billy and Corey:  thanks for your hospitality; we really enjoyed our short visit!)

Later this morning (it's 3:30 am on Thursday as I type this), we'll go up to Siloam Springs, Arkansas, visit with Terry's daughter and her family, and then go down to West Memphis, Arkansas, where we will pick up our truck on Friday afternoon.

So, in theory at least, we could be rolling on our first load tomorrow afternoon.

Where do you think we'll go first?  Will we get our California road trip after all?  

Wherever we go, we should make good time.  After all, we went from Dallas to California and then to Arkansas in 15 minutes yesterday.  

Until next time . . . keep the wheels rollin' . . .

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