Thursday, December 10, 2009

Truck and Trailer sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g

In the three years I have been driving, the most 18-wheelers I have seen wrecked or in a ditch in a single day was four: on my very first day of driving on December 1, 2006 between Joplin, Missouri and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. This was the day after a horrendous ice storm blew through, causing a lot of misery along the I-44 corridor.

This morning I saw four wrecked semis in the first fifteen minutes of driving from Walcott, Iowa where I was forced to stop yesterday. I snapped pictures using my hand held so I could concentrate on the road so some of the shots are blurry and I missed at least half a dozen. I didn't even bother attempting to snap pics of the wrecked 4-wheelers; there were at least 150 between Walcott and Des Moines.

Speaking of Des Moines, the rest areas just to the east had no fewer than four separate semis off the road, two on each side. Remind me to avoid that place in the future.

Here's the truck and trailer in a tree (kinda):

(That isn't a UFO to the left of the scene, by the way: it is a chip in my windshield)

Here's not one but two bedbugger vans in the median, next to each other:

A Hill Bros driver even got into the spirit of things, parking his truck in the middle where there was lots of room:

Will His Airness ever forgive the driver for parking a load of His cologne in the median?

The full album can be viewed here.

I had two scares of my own today. The first was an idiot 4-wheeler who lunged in front of my truck, then slowed down not once, not twice but three times before I left him behind. How he managed to be one of the lucky few not in a ditch is beyond me.

The second scare I got was in the western half of Iowa. This morning I checked the reefer tank and it was about half full, down a bit more than a quarter over night. They are notoriously inaccurate so I try to check on it each time I pull over and when I got into a rest area west of Des Moines I saw it was under a quarter tank. Worse, a few minutes later the repeater light on the left front of the trailer went from a white "T", indicating normal function, to an amber "K", meaning something is wrong. Fortunately, this trailer was equipped with a low fuel sensor and it didn't simply stop when it was out, it gave me a warning.

I had enough time to pull into a nearby truck stop and fill up the tank; keeping fishies alive at 76 degrees when its 5 degrees outside uses up quite a bit of fuel, it seems.

Oh, I also got to use my truck as an impromptu snow plow for the first time. The very first rest area west of Des Moines had the truck side blocked with several trucks and a repair vehicle so I carefully drove to the car side. There were no cars there since it hadn't been plowed and I must have (gingerly) pushed my way through a football field length of 18-24 inch snow. I didn't even dare stop to take care of business, as I was concerned about getting stuck.

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This load was originally set to deliver this morning at 0300. At one point they rescheduled it for tomorrow morning at 0300, but as the day wore on they saw the logic of dropping the load off at 1600 instead and a few hours after that I was empty and headed over to a local truck stop where I sit this evening.

For once I am letting my truck idle overnight instead of using my TriPac. The forecast has it down to -5 or so overnight and even though it shares the same coolant system as my truck does to keep the engine slightly warm, this is a bit much.