Sunday, February 27, 2011

Thoughts From The Road, Part 2

Nov. 23, 2008

Sorry about the randomness.  This post is manly thoughts that have gone through my head while out driving.  Please enjoy.
Some people say, "Money can't buy happiness."  However, money can buy slurpees.  Have you ever seen anyone with a slurpee look sad?  I don't think so. 

A lot of semi trailer parking is spaced only inches apart.  If you wouldn't even think of parking cars that close together, why would you park 53 foot trailers that close together?

In driving school I was told that a lot of trucking shipyards are in the bad sections of town.  Well, recently I was sent into Los Angeles to pick a load up.  I'm following my GPS, and it tells me to turn down
S. Central Ave.
  I start to think, "Hey wait a minute?  Is this South Central L.A., as in, the most violent place in the U.S.?  I don't want to be the only white boy in this place at three in the morning." 
As I'm driving, I 'm thinking, "This is a residential neighborhood.  This place can't be here."  Suddenly, in the middle of South Central L.A. is the place I'm looking for.  I can tell due to the huge lit sign and the 15 foot fence with razor wire on the top.  I swear, I never want to go back there again.  Ever.

Most truckers are a very angry bunch.  I try to avoid talking to most of them due to the sheer negativity they produce.  I always thought they were a bunch of whiners until I started doing this job.  If you've ever heard AC/DC's song, "It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n' roll," it's a lot like that.  It seems like there are so many people out to screw you out of your money.  First and foremost is the company you work for.  I will only say the things I have personally experienced at Covenant. 

There are so many "programs" that they want you to sign up for its ridiculous.  Each one takes a bit of money from you.  They also seem to forget to pay you for things besides mileage like layover pay.  They also want to charge you for busted up tires.  If you don't bring them that broken tire, they charge you full price for the cost of a new semi-truck tire.  When you call into the hotline, every department is rude to you.  Every time you take time off you have to call into payroll when you get back.  Why?  Because they take you off the school reimbursement list.  I love how they say at every meeting, "This is our covenant with you, our drivers."  I can't believe that this is supposed to be a Christian company.

Then there are the companies that you pick up and deliver for.  They absolutely hate truck drivers.  I swear I will never shop at Best Buy ever again due to the way I was treated.  I'm not sure I should be saying this, but I was carrying a load from Sony.  Yes, that Sony.  The load was going to the Best Buy distribution center.  I busted my hump to get there early.  I get there 16 hours early, and the guard refuses me.  She says delivery is by appointment only.  I ask her, "Do you know what I'm carrying?  Do you know how many millions of dollars worth of stuff I'm carrying, and you're refusing the load?"  So I came back the next day, and they then started bitching that I was late.  The guy in charge said that since we were late, they would unload us when they felt like it.  He was real though behind that bullet proof glass.  I just had to walk away. 

Another way drivers get screwed is by going into the state of California.  That state hates truck drivers.  They pull over as many trucks as they can, and try to issue as many fines as possible.  The fines in California are three times as much as any other state.  Also, semi-trucks can only run 55 within the entire state.  Regular cars are allowed to go 65 in places.

Again, I have never run into a lot lizard (truck stop prostitute,) but the sheer number of people who want to sell me stuff, or want money is never-ending.  As I was writing letters in truck bunk, a guy came up to my co-driver Wilberto asking if he could wash the truck for a few dollars.  Wilberto told him it was a company truck, and no thanks.  The guy started talking about how Houston (we were at the Pilot Truck Center in Houston, Texas) didn't feed the homeless from Friday to Sunday, and that he and his friend hadn't eaten in two days.  I got to thinking and told him that I couldn't give him money, but I could give him food.  He was more than happy to have some.  I had a lot of dried food that I brought back from hunting.  I gave him granola, trail mix, peanuts, dried fruit, fruit cups, Gatorade, and water.  I gave him enough for him and his friend to be ok for the next two days.  Then they could get food at the homeless shelter.
He started telling us how he had been a truck driver nine years ago.  However, his wife left him, then he started hitting the bottle hard, and he lost his CDL because of it.  He then lost everything he had, and had been homeless for a while.  He was proud of the fact that he hadn't drunk alcohol in four years.  It may or may not have been the truth, but I will say he wasn't drunk when he talked to us.  He went on to say that he had been at the day labor place at four in the morning everyday for the last two weeks, but there had been no work.  He and his friend were most likely going to catch a ride out of Houston soon. 

I was on Interstate 40 going through Texas.  I started counting the dead deer on my way down the road.  In one 10 hour shift I saw 7 dead deer (2 bucks, 1 spotted fawn, and 4 does.)  I also saw 3 remains of what used to be deer about a month ago.  I go hunting in Florida, and I can't even spot a deer in the woods.  I drive down the interstate in Texas, and deer are all over the road.  All I can think is that, the deer in Texas aren't very smart. 

A lot of my time is spent on Interstate 40.  It goes from Texas to California.  It's basically the new Route 66.  As you go through Arizona and New Mexico there are a lot of American Indian souvenir shops.  Well, I have yet to stop into one, namely because I am on a deadline, and you can't exactly park a semi truck and trailer in their parking lot.  However, all the Indian stuff did make me think of a few jokes.

What do you call an Indian prostitute?

A Nava-Ho.

What tribe does an Indian rabbit belong to?


What tribe does an Indian without a paddle for his canoe belong to?

An Upshits Creek.

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