Still rolling

2009 March 13
by Hedon

Back in Pennsylvania. Headed east this time. Trip mileage is at 4,100 or so.

Last night during my driving shift the truck started harassing me again. It kept whispering, “All work and no play make Hedon a something something” over and over. I told it that lots of teams run 1,200 to 1,300 miles a day back to back to back to back… so it really wasn’t that big a deal. The truck seemed to get a little pissed off and started screeching “REDRUM!  REDRUM!” at the top of its voice. By god I told that truck if it didn’t shut up that instant there would be hell to pay. And if it woke Stace up with all its carrying on I would forget that it required Ultra Low Sulfur fuel the next two or three times I fueled. That worked cause the truck shut up then, but I could tell she was seething with anger.

Nothing going on here

Nothing going on here

When my shift was over and I laid down to try to get some sleep there were suddenly mysterious rattlings and knockings coming from various points all over the bunk. Just when I would find one and get it to stop making noise a new one would pop up. I know she was doing it on purpose. The truck hates me now. I hate her. Course I always did hate her so that’s not really a dramatic development.

Tonight in the midst of a fitful sleep, I heard Stace yell back into the bunk, “Twenty minutes to driver swap” so I started trying to get around and wake up. I found my clothes, brushed my teeth, and poked my head out of the bunk curtain. Stace looked around at me all startled and asked, “What are you doing up? You’ve still got about an hour and a half to try to sleep.”

My first thought was that I was now dreaming the god-awful moment when you have to start getting ready to drive for the next eleven hours… then I realized it wasn’t a dream… it was the truck. The truck woke me up. Oh my god now the truck can imitate Stace’s voice! And it woke me up way early knowing that I wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep. Damn the truck. Damn the truck to hell!

I should write a post about all this but I’m too tired and brain-dead… but I’m still not as grumpy as Stace.

13 Responses
  1. 2009 March 13
    Belledog permalink

    I know you two are pros, and that Maggie is a safe little passenger. If window control usurper.

    But hearing of the grueling schedule and compromised sleep patterns — and you 3 in a rolling crematorium, yet.

    Sounds like pushing the limits too much. Not you — the industry.

  2. 2009 March 13

    Redrum! Redrum! Ferggedabout the ULS fuel. She’s gone rogue on the both of you.

  3. 2009 March 13

    At least she doesn’t hit the the little road reflectors or rumble strip things on the side of the road to wake you up like Ed’s dad used to do to his mom. lol

    I’m glad that amidst all this turning and burning, you still have time to write!

  4. 2009 March 14

    Belledog,

    We’re doing good. And it really isn’t that much of a stretch for a good team to run this hard every week. It probably just seems odd cause you are used to me and Stace and we are really lazy. :) We like to get about 4,000 to 4,500 miles a week and really don’t want much more than that, but many teams want in the neighborhood of 6,000 to 6,500 miles a week.

    There was a time when I ran every single mile that I could get my hands on and often averaged around 4,000 miles per week as a solo — now that was sleep depervation. But that was back when the young one was still at home, Stace was still working at the newspaper and we still had some significant debt to deal with. So we really needed the money.

    Now it’s just the two of us, our debts are paid off and we just don’t need that much which is why we’re always whining for a day off. It’s one of the benefits of still living in the same shit-hole trailer down by the river in the Ozarks. :)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Decorina,

    I know! Who the hell does she think she is, huh?!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Salena,

    OMG! That wouldn’t go ever well… not well at all. I do wake up every time she hits the rumble strip but that’s rare. Except in Missouri now that they have decided to put the rumble strip on the white line instead of outside it. What’s up with that?

  5. 2009 March 14

    Maybe you should smudge your truck. lol :)

  6. 2009 March 14

    Stupid truck!

  7. 2009 March 14
    Belledog permalink

    Reassuring. Thanks Hedon.

    And I don’t think you two are lazy. By any means. Rather, you have a very personal set of priorities.

  8. 2009 March 14

    That’s kind of you to say, Belle. Really, in addition to being pretty-lazy/differently-prioritized, we’re crazy out of practice. Miles have been so light in the last five-six months that I can’t remember the last time we drove 5,000 miles in a week. There was a time when we could do that many miles no problem. But you get out of practice, dealing with the different sleep schedule and the jostling of the truck …

    To say nothing of the sore ass! Man, 10-11 hours of driving a day, day after day after day, really takes its toll on the old keester. I wonder if there’s such a thing as an ass callous? If so, mine’s long gone.

  9. 2009 March 16

    What with my big giant super-ass, I have a lot less trouble in the sore butt department.

  10. 2009 March 16

    Oh god, I’m having horrible flashbacks to when I drove team with James. We always tried to arrange it where we could shut down 4 hours a night so that we could at least get a little restful sleep. Then there was 3 horrible months with Emerson………

    We always get asked why we don’t drive team and I get these strange looks when I tell them I don’t want to work that hard (usually new drivers). But until you actually experience it most people don’t realize how difficult it is.

  11. 2009 March 18

    Hi Gabby,

    Welcome! I hear you on the team thing and shutting down every night. That’s exactly what Stace and I always did when we could do split sleeper berth logging and if the load had time on it.

    We would wake up in the morning and Stace would drive five hours, then I would drive five hours. Then Stace would drive her second five hour shift and I might try to nap for a short while depending on how I felt. Then I would drive the last five hour shift while Stace would go to sleep.

    At that point we had both been awake 15 or 16 hours so she was usually able to sleep even if the road wasn’t great. After driving my second five hour shift, I would park us somewhere and we would be shut down for about four hours. It wasn’t a long time but it did insure that we got four hours of high quality sleep every day. Then Stace would get up with the alarm and I would keep sleeping for a while as she drove her first five hour shift.

    We found that once we adjusted to that schedule we could keep it up for many days in a row. Can’t really do it now though. It’s too bad cause that rotation insured you always got at least a couple of hours of good quality sleep every night.

    My brother and his wife were both solo drivers when they met. After they got married they started running team, but they only did team for about a year and a half. In the end they decided to go back to each running their own truck because it was just too damn hard to run team.

    I know in some ways it would be easier to run solo again, but nothing could be worth being without Stace every day. We did that for two years and it was hell. Honestly… it was hell on earth to be without her. I’d rather quit driving, go home, get an office job and wear panty hose every day than go solo. :)

  12. 2009 March 21

    Hedon,

    James and I were married little over a year before he started driving then it took me approx. 11 years before I started. The first few years I rode with him 99% of the time so there was no major culture shock like there is with most people starting out :-) . We’re extremely fortunate in that we run dedicated routes and most of the time we’re only a few truck lengths apart, lol. Our hometime is at the same time and on the weeks that we pick up on separate days we still see each every 36-48 hours.

    If I had to go over the road again, yeah, we’d probably team it again.

  13. 2009 March 23

    Gabby,

    Sounds like you guys have found the perfect set-up. That wouldn’t be too bad at all. It’s almost like you’re together all the time but in seperate trucks.

    If we did that Stace wouldn’t have to put up with all the socks on the floor. Course that could also be solved if I could just remember to pick them up. :)

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