Bad Communication Means Lots of Waiting

Here’s one of those typical stories that needs to be told about trucking and the industry I work in.

I delivered my latest load on the evening of April 25th. It was a typical delivery and things went very well. I checked-in on time at the security gate, parked my truck and checked-in at the office with my paperwork. They asked me to wait in my truck and they would call me when they have a door ready for me to back into. It did not take long! They unloaded the trailer and I had my signed manifest in a matter of about an hour. It was great!

The delivery was in the evening, so I knew that my dispatcher would not be able to find my next load until the next morning. So, I drove to a place I knew I could stay at for a while and parked over night.

The next morning, my dispatcher found a load for me about 2 hours north of me, near Albany, NY. The only problem with the load is that it would not load until 9:30pm that night. I really didn’t mind too much because sometimes you don’t get enough of a break to get some decent rest. I thought I would take advantage of the extra time and rest.

Later that same afternoon, I was told that the shipper was having problems getting the loads out and would have to push the pickup to the next day. Again, more “sitting” time. Well, it was getting close to my 34 hours, so, again, I took advantage of the situation and got my full 34 hour reset in and that gave me a new 70 hours to work.

Here comes the problem with the industry. After arriving at the shipper’s destination, I checked-in and they said to park and they’d call me when they were ready. I counted 8 trucks already waiting. I was told by the broker who setup this load that the shipper wanted to get the loads out by noon. Well, I sat another 8 hours before getting my load and heading out. Over a 48 hour period, I worked only 2 hours. Why, because nobody would tell the appropriate people how many trucks would be waiting or how long the preparing of the product would actually take. They just guessed at how long things might take. With all of that said, this industry compounds the problem by not having good communications procedures. Too many people to communicate with and so it takes too long for the information to get down to the drivers level or back up the chain to the people who need to know, so we (the drivers) wait!

I think the worst part of this problem is that there is no way for the truck driver to correct or improve the situation. We just have to live with it.

The Life of a Truck Driver — Hurry Up and Wait

A long time ago, I spent 10 years in the US Air Force. One of the things I was taught was “hurry up and wait”. No kidding. You would rush to get somewhere and not be late, then have to wait for your turn. An impatient person would find this a horrible way of life. Fortunately, I learned how to have some patience (though I really hope my patience is not tested again anytime soon).

On Monday of this week (March 25th), I had a tanker to deliver in upstate New York. It’s a place that I’ve been to several times over the past 12 years driving for Cima Transportation. I like going there. The people there are great and the drive there is not difficult. Plus, when you have to wait, you can stay in their parking lot. The parking lot is quiet and easy to maneuver the big rig.

This particular tanker delivery was one of the deliveries that requires the lab of the company to test the product before they can unload it. The tests take eight hours to complete. This means that I deliver it on Monday and they unload it on Tuesday morning. Unloading takes about 4 hours.

The training of “hurry up and wait” came into play today (March 26th). This particular delivery was a little different because the lab was busy with another problem on site and they were not able to test my load on Monday. The lab was able to start and complete the testing on Tuesday, which meant that I was able to pickup the empty tanker this morning (March 27th, Wednesday). I spent 2 full days (50 hours) there waiting for them to unload my tanker.

With Cima Transportation, I am paid to wait. I am very thankful for that. I was fortunate enough to have food and drinks with me and had restroom facilities near me. I have my iPad and a subscription to Hulu Live for entertainment and a good truck to live in. However with all the “hurry up and wait”, life as a truck driver can be a little more difficult than what most people would think.

Just food for thought.

Video Entertainment on the Road

There are so many choices for entertainment on the road now a days that I really won’t go into them. I will say that I have been a subscriber of Hulu Live for a little while and found it to be very, very good! So good that we got rid of our satellite TV and are just streaming via Hulu Live at home.

On Monday, I am expecting Apple to announce a program that will be similar in nature to Hulu and Netflix and some others and I will be listening intently on what Apple has to say about it. I am fully in the Apple Ecosystem, so this will matter to me.

Shows I Watch

I have a few shows that I really enjoy watching and those are…

  • NCIS
  • Last Man Standing, and
  • Survivor

I also enjoy watching the Texas Rangers play baseball, but that is harder to get streaming due to the high costs of video for MLB At Bat and since I am on the road so much, there are many, many times when the games are blacked out. So I don’t get to see them as much as I’d like to.

I also watch several movies that are available on Hulu and Netflix. I’ve purchased just over 100 movies from Apple iTunes, so that about covers my video entertainment on the road.

Just a Thought – Survivor

I have been watching Survivor since I accidentally caught the last episode of Season 1. For a while it was the same old show, just with different players. But, about two or three seasons ago, the show started taking some really drastic twists to the norm. It really started to get better. It was no longer the same old Survivor with different players. This season is no different, in that there are some new twists, however, the twists are nothing like the previous seasons.

I am finding the watching and observing of the players in this new game a lot more entertaining. The twists that are being taken have never before been dreamt of by the players and they absolutely excite me! Players are finding themselves among the people who stabbed them in the back and are now having to work with them against all others. It is one very exciting and entertaining show.

Thank you Mark Burnett and Jeff Probst! You and all that work with you have created one heck of a game that really digs down into the depths of humankind in a small group and it is very enlightening!

New iPads from Apple

iPad Air

Apple closed the Apple store web site and when it reopened Apple had added two new iPads. A 10.5” iPad Air with bumped up specs. It is what used to be called an iPad Pro 10.5”.

iPad Mini

The other iPad is an iPad Mini with bumped up specs, and, like the new iPad Air, it has Apple Pencil support. So, I guess that means that an iPad Pro is no longer the only iPad with Apple Pencil support. That is fantastic! I have always loved the Apple Pencil support and bought the first iPad Pro in 2017 just for the Pencil support!

I’d love to get my wife the new iPad Mini. She has an iPad Mini 4 now and it just takes too long to do things (IMHO).

Trucking

As for truck drivers, the new iPad Mini would be a great GPS/Entertainment device.

I have used CoPilot GPS software since 2008 and it has done me very well with driving my 18 wheeler all over the country. I have always had a 9.7” or 10.5” iPad as my GPS in my truck and I would love to see just how well the 7.9” iPad Mini would work for me in the truck.

Home Time

I know that there are several posts about “home time”, but when you are gone most of the time, home time is special.

I don’t have the luxury of going home every day after work. Nor do I have the extreme luxury of having a weekend off each week (at home). My “home time” is something that is very special to me and I don’t think that I’ll ever see it as “the norm”.

I got home around 9:00am yesterday morning. My boss (dispatcher) was coming to Sherman and I asked if I could get a ride from him. He said that he knew we would be heading to Sherman close to the same time, but he didn’t offer because he couldn’t wait on me. Absolutely understandable. When I asked him for the ride, he did not hesitate to say “yes”. He’s a good man and I really do appreciate him, but that is another story.

After I got home, my wife, Kathy, had said that my boys were wanting to see Captain Marvel (the movie). I told her that I’d like to see it also. We decided to see it and the best time for all of us to go was at 1:00pm yesterday.

Captain Marvel

Mike and Matt (my two sons), Kaiden and Charlie (my two grandsons) and I went to the Cinemark Theaters and watched the movie. It was hard to follow for a while. It had some exciting parts in it. It was humorous and I enjoyed that. Plus, it answered a few questions about a few of the Marvel characters. For instance, how did Nick Fury lose his left eye? That was answered in the movie.

It was a movie that was sponsored by the US Air Force! I loved that part of it. Go Air Force! Aim High! Fly – Fight – Win!

We enjoyed popcorn and a drink. It was not cheap, but it was worth the time and the money. I enjoyed hanging out with all of my boys. Kathy enjoyed a nice quiet time at the house.

Home Time. It’s a very special thing for me. I hope it is for everyone.

The Stupidity of Some People’s Driving Habits

I was driving west on I-40 near Wheatley, AR and a driver was driving in the passing lane. A lot of drivers believe (falsely) that it is also a travel lane (it is NOT). So, I’m doing about 72 MPH in the travel lane (right lane) and I’m approaching this car on the right. I see a vehicle in my left mirror coming up fast, so I slow down a little to allow the moron driver to move over into the travel lane and allow the fast car in the passing lane to pass.

Well, as the other car catches up to the slower car (still in the passing lane), I see that it’s an AR State Trooper and he was in a bit of a hurry. He didn’t have his lights on, but as he got closer to the moron slow poke, he flashed his high beams. The moron just stayed there in the passing lane not moving over or anything else. The officer flashed his lights again and nothing. He turned on his red and blues and the moron stepped on the brakes a little, but did NOT move over! At that point, the officer just changed lanes and went around the moron!

I can not believe the stupidity of some people. This moron was as lucky as you can get! I truly hope that this moron gets what is due him (or her).

For those of you who think the left lane is for cars, it is for PASSING other cars. Move over to the travel lane and stay there until you have to pass someone. Pass them and move back over. Sorry to be so blunt, but it is dangerous and it puts your life in danger and those of the other cars. If it’s an 18 wheeler, that vehicle could cause even more problems.

Why I Hate Holidays

Paul Turner, 3 July 2018

Years ago, I loved the holidays. Now, I hate them.

I love spending time with my family. Holidays allow all of us to have that extra time with them. I’m not sure my family really knows how much I love spending time with them during the holidays, but I really do. I always enjoy hanging out with my wife of 40 plus years. She is an angel on Earth! She takes care of me and allows me to rest and recuperate when I am home and gets me ready to head back out on the road. I don’t get enough time with her. We get to talk on the phone, but that’s not the same.

Holidays are when families get to spend their time together. I don’t. I am only “guaranteed” Christmas at home. When I say that, I want you to know that my company means exactly that. Two years in a row, I was in Buffalo, NY for a regular run we had and when Christmas came up, the company put me on an airplane and flew me home for Christmas. No charge to me. After Christmas, they flew me back to Buffalo to continue the run. That’s awesome for a company to do that!

The other holidays however, well, they are not guaranteed and I am normally working. On the road to or from somewhere and never at home. I see so many people traveling on the holidays and that makes for hard driving for me (with all the traffic and the problems associated with more people on the road). I don’t get the rest that others get because of the hard driving and I don’t get the free time to do things with friends and family.

Tomorrow is Independence Day (July the 4th). People will be home, cooking outside and enjoying some leisure time. They’ll take their family to see fireworks shows around the area and have a great time. I will be on the road.

If you are wondering if I am jealous of these people, I have to say that I am. I don’t like admitting that, but it is the truth. Obviously, you would say, well just get another job that allows you the time off. That is a major life decision and can not be taken as lightly as it is suggested. I am not only jealous of people, but I’m envious of them. That is hard for me to deal with. It brings my life’s happiness level down drastically! When I was growing up, envy was not a trait that I wanted. It felt bad to envy anyone or anything. Envy is a brick wall that keeps me from the good of life. Yet, holidays make me feel envious of everyone who gets to enjoy them.

I hear about the plans of my family and love that they have plans to spend time with each other on the holidays, but it hurts that I can’t be there. So I just hate the holidays!

My feelings aside and I truly mean this… I hope that each of you, who get the time off to spend with friends and family, will have a wonderful holiday! Enjoy the day and make the most of it.

Switching Back to Apple

Switching to Back to Apple

In November of 1984, I purchased one of the first Apple Macintosh’s. It was a great computer! I was serving in the US Air Force at the time and we were just getting the Zenith Z–150 (IBM compatible) PC’s in the office at work. These computers were “good” for what we did with them, though I could have done a lot more with a Mac at the time. The software we used with the Z–150’s were WordStar, dBase II and Lotus 123. That’s when I fell in love with the “office suite of apps”. Anyway, I had a Mac! I was a fanboy!

The original Macintosh computer

John Scully and My Hatred for Apple

About the time John Scully forced Steve Jobs out of Apple, I started having problems with my Mac over-heating. At my local users group (of which, I was the President), I asked how many people were having this problem. Sixty percent said they were experiencing the same problem. I contacted Apple and they said there was ‘no problem with over-heating’. John Scully’s people obviously was not concerned about the Macintosh users and just wanted to make his Apple IIe and IIc users happy. Steve Jobs’ main concern was the Mac and John Scully did not want Steve or the Mac to be a success! That’s my personal opinion.

I was angry enough with Apple to vow to “never” buy anything from them again. When I say that you have to remember that John Scully did not want to sell the Mac at the Steve Jobs price of $1,995.00, he set the price at $2,495.00. In 1984, that was a lot of money (just over $5,500.00 in todays money). Plus, with the Apple ImageWriter printer, and the software I purchased, I spent almost $5,000.00 back then. (In todays money, that’s almost $10,000.00!)

After My Mac

In 1987, I got a job as a sales consultant for ComputerLand of Sherman (Texas). We had a few Mac’s, but they didn’t sell well in that area. People wanted the less expensive IBM PC’s and clones. I got heavily into DOS and really enjoyed what I could do with it. We sold the PC’s and later starting networking them together.

For almost 20 years after loosing my Mac, I was so made at Apple, that I wouldn’t buy any of their products.

The iPod Intrigued Me

Around 2005, I was getting interested in the iPod. I had switched careers and was driving a truck. I didn’t get many radio stations and was always having to change radio stations because I was driving from place to place. To say the least, I was not happy with that and wanted a way to listen to music while driving.

I got the first video iPod (30g of storage) and fell in love with it’s simplicity and quality. I could put all of my music on it and had room for podcasts.

The iPod got my hooked into the Apple environment.

The First iPhone

In 2007, I bought the first iPhone after my Treo 650 finally died. I will tell you that I loved having the Treo 650. Having a smart phone was fantastic and I knew then, that I’d never go back to just a plain phone.

As a truck driver and having Google Maps on my iPhone was a huge help to me. I also had my music and podcasts on my iPhone and the camera was wonderful. At this point, I would never look back at putting together computer equipment not specifically made for anything other than the Apple environment.

My Second Macintosh

In 2013, I saved enough money to get my next computer. It was most certainly going to be an Apple Mac. Since I was a truck driver, it was going to be a laptop that I can take with me. Apple had just introduced the MacBook Air line. I had two choices. The 13“ MacBook Air or the 10” MacBook Air. I had purchased a 10“ HP MiniNote and really didn’t like the size of the screen, so I decided to go with the 13” Air. It’s 2017 now and it’s still my only computer at the house.

Today

Today, I carry with me the iPad Pro 12.9″ (with Apple Pencil) and an iPad Air. My phone is the iPhone 6s Plus.

As much as I would love to upgrade to a new iPhone each time they are introduced, I just can’t afford to do that. Besides, the quality of the iPhones are such that they will last for years and you really don’t have to upgrade. THE only reason to upgrade any more is for the new improvements to the phones. The cameras seem to be the thing that gets the best upgrades each time and if you’re heavy into taking a lot of photos, that might the best reason for upgrading.

You might be wondering why I would carry two iPads with me. Well, The iPad Air is my GPS and media center for my truck. It is mounted to the window and I use a truck GPS software to get me from point to point all over the United States. I’ve used it since I got my first iPhone and it has always done a very good job for me. I also use it for my media center, in that, it is my music center, my podcast player and after I shutdown at night, I watch TV shows and movies, via the Netflix app or Hulu or any one of many other cable channel apps.

My iPad Pro is my laptop replacement. I do everything else on it. My writing, my paperwork for the company I drive for and anything else I want to do. I purchased the Logitech Create keyboard and cover for it, so it gives my the feel of a laptop most of the time.

My MacBook Air will normally stay home and with Hazel, it manages my documents. It’s really wonderful to have a system setup to do a lot of things automatically.

The Future For Me

When I can afford to, I want to start getting some light bulbs and switches for the house that will work with my Apple devices. I really think home automation with be a great thing with my Apple devices. I have a blood pressure monitor that is at home waiting on me and it is one that will work with my iPhone. I can’t wait to start using it.

Headed to Salt Lake City

North Western New Mexico

I'm traveling to Salt Lake City and I decided to take a little different route. Instead of going north at Albuquerque and traveling along US-550, I decided to go to Gallup and head north on US-491.

The roads on US-491 are not in as good a shape as US-550, so I'm pretty sure that I won't be taking that route anymore, but I got a photo that I'd like to show you. This was taken half way between Gallup and Shiprock, NM.