Today, although not typical, was a good day for getting the bad over and done with.
Pati and Les arrived at 7 a.m. and we left the house just before 8. It was sprinkling, the roads were wet, but the skies promised to clear. HA HA HA.
We arrived at the Coldiron yard to find all of the trucks waiting in the bull pen. That’s a good sign. Things kind of went down hill then back up hill from there.
Pati and I went over the inspection form. I had her fill the top part out with the information necessary for the delivery of these trucks. The sprinkling turned to a steady drizzle. Joe told us to stay in the pickup while he and Les went out and looked the trucks over.
After Les chose the truck he would drive, Pati and I went out to begin the inspection process. Golf umbrella over our heads to protect us from the rain. I took her from the front of the truck around the passenger side, around the rear and up the left side. Explaining where to look for what and showing her the part of the truck and its corresponding name. Hood, grill, bumper, right fender, cowl, cab, sleeper, air fairing, fuel tank, side fairing, mud flap, and all the rest. By this time the rain was getting with the program. Enough that the golf umbrella was not quite adequate for the task. Especially since it was wider than the space between the trucks and at times I had to partially close the umbrella just to fit between the trucks.
We quickly moved from one truck to the next and we looked them over for damage and I made a mental note about what was wrong with each of the trucks as I did a quick inspection.
Les was in the truck that I was going to drive, checking the inside of it for me. The windshield had a cascade of water coming into the cab from a poorly sealed repair. Les and Joe agreed that I would not be driving that truck and Les would tow it. Now we were getting into the dispatch territory and we were about to mess all their computer records up. The decisions dispatch had made as to who would take what were now totally altered and there was no going back.
Pati and I were in Les’ truck checking out the inside for the inspection. Joe and Les were outside waving their arms at me to move the truck in position to get my boom put on the back of Les’ truck. This inspection thing is difficult to do by an experienced person when interrupted, let alone a newby that does not know the lingo. I let them wave about and gesture while we finished what we were doing.
Crapazoid! These trucks have automatic transmissions in them. Herky jerky and just plain jumpy this hook up was going to be. There is no speed control in automatics except by riding the brake with the left foot and give it gas with the right foot. Hoping all the time that it would be a smooth process and not a hoppy one. This time it was hoppy no matter how we did things.
Les got in his truck and backed it to the boom while Pati and I continued on with our inspections and checking the amount of fuel in the tanks. The boom is now loaded on Les’ truck, Pati and I are in the pickup out of the rain, Les begins backing his truck up to the truck he is going to tow and my hydraulic lift cylinder came crashing down to the ground. What a clatter it made. I didn’t get all excited because this has happened numerous times in the past and I know that the two men are going to have their work cut out for them lifting that heavy business back up on the boom.
Joe decides he is going to drive the boom back to the rear truck. More clatter and banging ensues as he loses the hydraulic cylinder to the ground. Pati is all but doing the head spinning from the Exorcist trying to see what all the noise is and what is going on. I just calmly sit with her and continue on explaining what we were still in the process of doing. Serves Joe and Les right for trying to get me in a hurry with Pati and the inspection process.
When Pati and I got out of the pickup, Les told me it was my turn to try to get the boom hooked up on his back truck. I told him “Sorry, can’t do that right now. I’ve got stuff to do. Besides you and Joe seem to be doing a fantastic job all by yourselves”.
Time to get the brakes of the rear trucks hooked up with air lines. I have Pati follow me and I begin showing her what we will be doing. Armed with a 7/8 inch wrench and a 3/4 inch wrench we begin the process. All the while Joe and Les are still trying to get the boom hooked up to Les’ back truck with the hydraulic cylinder still in place on the boom and not crashing to the ground.
The two guys got their work done, Pati and I finished the brake hook up on Les’ truck and we were on our way to do Joe’s. By this time the guys were working on the getting the air and electric lines run down the side of the back trucks and under the cab out of the way. I sent them off to get the lines hooked up on Les’ truck while Pati and I finished Joe’s. That done we were more than half way finished. The rain had turned from a drizzle to an all out downpour at this time.
Once the rain let up some Pati and I put the boards, clamps, and straps on the cab fairings of the back trucks to stabilize them during transport. Secure them so they don’t wave about in the wind and break apart. When we were finished I gleefully told Pati that we were done. We began loading the stuff we would be taking on the trip into the truck I would drive and we went in my truck out of the rain to watch Les and Joe continue to work.
After I got Pati in and shut the passenger door, it would not close. Slam it, wouldn’t close. Get the key from the ignition, slam the door and turn the lock. Still would not stay closed. I had to do a bit of wrangling with the door, holding it closed tight and trying to lock the door again before it finally held shut. Getting back in the truck I told Pati she would be getting out and getting back in through the driver door from now on. Once that was said, that was the end of it. The passenger door was opened several times and I had to struggle with it each time to get it to stay shut.
While Pati and I were in my truck, I was getting all the stuff set up in my cab that I would need during transport, a loud wail began going off. I was losing air to the braking system just sitting there with the engine running. That was not a good sign at all. Before I lost all my air I had to drive to the shop, about the distance of three city blocks, to have the problem fixed. No one in the shop, no one in the shop manager’s office. Seems everyone was out to lunch.
I told Joe and he decided that it was time for us to leave for lunch also, so we did just that. Rain was coming down in torrents at this time. Everyone was soaked through. Shoes squishing with each step, adjusting of outer garments to peel them from the soaked undergarments made us all look like we were picking our seats.
After lunch we headed back to Coldiron to check on the progress of my truck. It was done and fixed. I got it moved back over to the bull pen and went to work in helping Joe get the pickup loaded on the trailer while Les watched and helped on the outside.
We had been in the yard since shortly after 8 this morning. It was now nearing 3 in the afternoon. I mentioned to Pati that we might not be leaving today. We’d be going back home. Joe made the decision that we would finish hooking up his trucks then we would head for the truck stop for fuel and then head for home.
About two miles on the highway, after fueling, there was another wailing going on in the cab of my truck. Now the water temperature was nearing the Red Zone and I did not know why that was happening. The wailing stopped all on its own. The next wailing to begin was the oil temperature was heading into the Red Zone, the warning light for the Engine Shut Off came on then it went out. Within a matter of minutes the water temperature and the oil temperature began going down, the wailing was over, things were getting back to normal. Rain was still pelting down but the outside work was done. By the time we got home all temperatures were within normal operating ranges. Something is wrong with the computer and it is giving off mixed signals. There is nothing I can do about it except get this truck delivered with an intermittent wailing. Sounds like fun, huh?
Pati, although a bit skittish, did a fantastic job while I stayed with her explaining what we were doing and how we were doing it. She handled the wrenches well, even though she had limited space to work in, and she did me proud. A delightful squeal erupted with I told her “You’ve done good girl!” A huge smile split her face and she just made me smile.
Joe came to me at one point and said “It sure is nice to have someone that cares working beside me.” He was talking about Les and how he had only to be told one time what to do and getting it done properly.
An inauspicious start to today, kind of a wreck in the making with the boom being so recalcitrant, the rain was a nuisance but everything worked and we carried on. A good day was had if I must say so myself.