I should know better.
The air conditioning went out less than two hours down the road. And let me just tell you, there’s nothing better than driving a big rig without air in Arizona in July. It’s like sitting under the hood of your car after it’s been running for hours. The motor puts an incredible amount of heat inside the cab.
To make things worse, the driver side window is missing the handle, so we’re currently rolling it up and down with the aid of my vice grips. And the passenger side window, while it’s automatic, can’t be rolled down FROM the driver’s side because the button’s not working!
I don’t suppose I mentioned that it’s an older truck that just got sent over from California, so we’re still in “discovery” mode to figure out what’s wrong with it? Two weeks ago, it was a sensor issue that kept telling the truck it was overheating (which in turn makes the truck go to auto-shutdown mode… not a good thing at 65mph).
So, my solution? I rolled down the driver side window and opened the wing window till I could get to the truck stop.
When I got stopped, I rolled the passenger side window down about a third of the way (there’s really no sense in risking everything blowing out the window once I got rolling again, especially with no way to roll it back up if that actually started!).
Then when I got out to wash the windows, I hear hissing. It sounds like it’s coming from the other side of the truck, so I figured it was the tire air hose (most of them leak air at the truck stops because they get abused and run over). When I went to the other side to finish the windows, it STILL sounded like it was coming from the OTHER side of the truck.
Aw hell! That means it’s coming from under my hood!
Sure enough, there’s a fitting on one of the lines that’s leaking air… NOT a good thing when I have to cross the DOT scale on the way back. I don’t have a tool to fix it and, even if I did, I’m NOT a mechanic (although sometimes this job makes me feel like one), and I’m NOT gonna risk busting the damn line and stranding myself on the road.
So I let it keep hissing and went inside to use the restroom and get ice for my drink.
When I got back to the truck, it dawned on me that we’re still running temporary tags on the truck so we don’t have a permanent IFTA sticker on the door yet. Crap! If the same guy is at the Cali border, he’s gonna ask again, and the one I printed last week expired on the 3rd. Lovely.
I sent a text to the boss to see if he could email me an updated form (they’ll still pull me over, but they’re willing to match things up between my email and the temp tags… a pain, but workable).
Twenty minutes later, still no word from the boss. Of course it’s nearly 11:30pm and he works “normal people” hours. He’s probably sleeping.
So I decide I’m just gonna take my chances and see if I can get across the border. If not, I’ll just sit there and ring the bosses phone till he wakes up, or call my LAX driver and tell him to come an hour further than usual so we can swap trailers at the border (I’m sure he’ll be thrilled!).
As I reach the border, I stick my hand out the window with the ole thumbs down (lets them know we’re empty so they can just wave us thru). Yes! It’s the same guy who stopped me last week and he’s letting me go. So either he’s busy watching my thumbs down and didn’t notice the sticker still isn’t there, or he recognized me from last week and knows we paid for the damn thing and we’re just waiting for California to send it (Nothing new… Cali’s is THE WORST state in regards to trucks… but that’s another rant for another day).
Either way, who cares? I got past the border. No more worries till I’m back on the Arizona side.
We decided last week that we’d meet across the road from where we’ve been meeting, because someone had placed cones up last week for some sort of training.
Not a good idea.
It’s desert. It’s sand. And across the road… it’s LOOSE sand. And it’s dark. And that’s all fine and dandy until you’re trying to lift 25,000 pounds onto the back of the truck and the trailer’s already sitting too low (my 5th wheel sits MUCH higher than the LAX drivers 5th wheel does).
Yes. I got stuck. I couldn’t get under the trailer. And I couldn’t pull forward to take another run at it. I locked the differential (it turns the rig into a 4-wheel drive monster). Still no luck.
So, after hunting down a few good size pieces of busted up concrete to put under the drive tires, I managed to get out of the hole I’d dug for myself so I could take another run at it.
Stuck again… but closer! So we raised the trailer some more (NEVER fun when they’re loaded), lowered the air bags on the tractor, and took another run at it. This time it worked.
He stuck around to make sure I could get enough traction to pull the trailer out of the mess and we decided that we would be meeting back on the other side of the road for now on!
The drive back was hot, but uneventful. I had to cross the DOT scale, but they didn’t pull me in (they rarely do right now, but they appear to be building inspection garages that they’ll eventually be looking to fill… I can hardly wait!).
The final straw for the night was when I got back to the dock. There’s a gate we drive thru to get to the dock. Normally, it’s not an issue. This morning (of course!) there was a box truck getting loaded at the first dock… which puts barely enough room between his truck and the brick wall for me to pull a trailer past.
SO glad I’ve had a lot of practice!!
Long night. We’ll see what the rest of the week brings…. I’m sure this will eventually be funny.
Have you had this kind of day at your job before? Please, DO share. I’d like to know that it’s not just me! 🙂
Debi aka @GenXBrat
p.s. If you’re interested in learning more about what it’s like “on the road”, be sure to subscribe below because I’ll definitely be sharing more stories!