Sunday, December 30, 2007

Going solo -- 200,000 miles -- XM radio

Running solo. I had another relaxing day in Dallas on the 26 th .

I started running early the next day, going to pick up a JC Penney load over in Haslet, Texas, just north of Fort Worth on I-35. The load was going to Plainfield, Indiana, about 20 miles west of Indianapolis.

I delivered that load on Friday, the 28 th after stopping for the night in Stafford, Missouri.

That load was taking me right past the headquarters for Prime, Inc., in Springfield, Missouri, a company I've been strongly considering giving a try with their lease program if Schneider still doesn't have a truck for me soon, when Terry and I officially stop teaming. I called ahead to make sure it was okay, and then stopped in, talked to a recruiter, and got a tour of their driver facility known as the “Millenium Building.” I must say, it was the most impressive facility for truck drivers I've ever seen, and if they treat their drivers out on the road the way they have provided for them in the facility in Springfield, they are a good company.

I picked up a load in Plainfield right after I dropped the JC Penney load that was going to a Walmart distribution center down in Midway, Tennessee, not too far from Knoxville. It was a short run with plenty of time on it (it didn't have to be delivered until today), so I shut down at the Indianapolis OC Schneider has.

Now here's an example when driving a truck solo is nice as far as some freedom and flexibility to adjust your schedule: I had started my day very early the first two days on the load to Plainfield (between 2:30 and 3:00 am both days), but since I had plenty of time on the load to Midway, I had the luxury of sleeping as long as I wanted on Friday night. I still started at about 5:30 am, but it was nice to get all the sleep I wanted. I must have been tired, because I didn't even get out my laptop, and I slept very solidly for about 10 hours (almost unheard of for me). But it was nice to have that option.

I got to Midway early afternoon yesterday, dropped the load, and I still didn't have my next load. Walmart didn't have any empty Schneider trailers (well, there were plenty of SNI trailers, but they were all loaded with pallets. Walmart has a habit of using empty SNI trailers for their own storage. SNI knows about this, but apparently there is little they will do about it. But it's frustrating as a driver if they tell you to pick up an empty trailer at one of these places – which they do – and then you can't find one that Walmart isn't using for their own storage.), so I just bobtailed (drove my truck with no trailer attached) over to this place I could park a few miles away next to a convenience store and waited.

I didn't have to wait too long. They sent me back to Walmart to get a different kind of trailer – the kind of trailer specifically designed to travel by train. It can also be hooked to a truck, but it's just a different kind of trailer. Walmart did have some of those. I was just taking the empty trailer from Midway down to Atlanta.

That usually happens when a driver is in an area with not too much freight, and they move the driver to an area that has more freight. I shut down in Knoxville, Tennesee, at a Pilot there.

It was only 200 miles from there to Atlanta to the OC here, so I was able to take my time (which I had to do anyway since it was raining and there was quite a bit of traffic on I-75 today). I called my Mama last night and told her I might get to stop at this truck stop off the interstate in Cartersville (usually it's the TA off exit 296) if she wanted to come over and visit for a little while.

We did that this afternoon, and we had a nice visit. She was able to bring my mail also, which will give me something else to do when I get off the laptop. Ha ha

I got my next load assignment, which really isn't much of anything as far as driving is concerned. I'm picking up a loaded trailer that was dropped here earlier by another driver (I think it was originally picked up in Laredo) and taking it less than 20 miles away to Tucker, Georgia (a suburb of Atlanta), for a live unload in the morning at 7:00 am.

SNI pays more for short mileage, and for time I'll be there getting unloaded, but it's not nearly as much as if I were using that same time driving. But those types of loads happen occasionally, especially to a solo driver. It's just a fact of life, and if it doesn't happen a lot, it really doesn't impact things a whole lot.

So, right now, I'm just sitting here in the Atlanta OC catching up on stuff online, periodically watching the Cowboys-Redskins game on TV. Incidentally, Terry is at that game with his son. Right now Dallas is losing, so I hope things improve since they went to all the effort to go watch it live.

Terry is getting back to Dallas on January 3 rd . I'll call tomorrow to make sure they have me being routed through there about that time.

I miss Terry, but I'm enjoying driving solo, just like I always did before. There are advantages to driving as a team and driving solo. I like them both. The main things for me right now are that I'm sleeping better since I'm sleeping when the truck isn't moving, and I'm able to listen to some things on XM (mostly news or talk radio) that I don't normally listen to because the volume would wake Terry up.

200,000 miles! I forgot to write about it when it happened, but a couple of weeks ago, we officially passed the 200,000 mile mark for how much we've driven since March. 200,000 in 9 months! That may not seem like a lot to you, but it amazes me that we have driven so far. Very cool.

Cool programs on XM radio. Over the weekend, I've listened to a lot of political coverage on XM radio. I have stumbled across a couple of programs on C-SPAN radio (just like the cable TV channel) that were fascinating if you like history at all. Yesterday, they were playing some newly released phone conversations of LBJ from 1967. I had never heard LBJ aside from some bits of speeches and things. I was amazed how blunt and coarse he was on the phone. Definitely sounded like a man not afraid to tell things the way he saw them. Reminded me of my father-in-law, a great man, whom I loved dearly and still miss three years after he's been gone.

Today, I heard some taped interviews of Harry Truman that were recorded in 1961. Very enjoyable listening. You can listen to all that stuff online. Just go to C-SPAN.

I suppose that's it for now.

Until next time, keep the wheels rollin' . . . even if it's only to go 20 miles away . . .



Scott said...

Hey Allen r u at liberty to discuss the team break up, I mean after reading the blog about you guys. I feel like I know you both. Wierd. Just was courious. Anyway will you still do the blog if u stay with SNI or go to Prime

Have a good new year Scott

Allan Mills said...

Scott -- Yes, I can talk about the fact that Terry and I are not going to be teaming any longer. It's pretty much like I have written in the entries the past couple of months: Terry is in a relationship with someone and they are at the point when they want to invest more time and effort into it. In order to do that, Terry can't continue to drive the way we usually do. We are parting on good terms, still best friends, etc. It's all good.

I have not gone into much detail about Terry's side of things because that's his private life, and I will let him divulge any of that he wants to.

I will continue doing the blog in some form once I start driving solo.

Thanks for your feedback, Scott. I'm glad you are reading.