The Ride of My Life: Day 2

In today’s entry, Con-way Truckload’s Vice President of Human Resources, Bert Johnson, gets to see firsthand how dangerous distracted driving can be, particularly when you’re riding in an 18-wheeler with a full load.

June 10, 2013

Up with the sound of the rooster (Frank has a rooster wake up alarm on his phone) at 7:30 a.m. Frank makes coffee and gets out to do pre-trip. I change clothes ... straighten up my area (upstairs luxury bunk condo) ... go to the restroom and brush my teeth. We have coffee and wait for our 10-hour break to be up. Frank does some housekeeping and we talk for awhile. Back on the road at 8:13 a.m. ... hopefully no rain today, but the radar indicates the storm is north of Indianapolis. We are now on Interstate 465 and getting to see four-wheelers talking on the phone, making bad decisions, even trucks not using blinkers. Got our blinker on and the tanker truck makes no attempt to slow down to allow us in ... he passes on the right. Now merging on to Interstate 69. City kitty coming up.

Just saw a four-wheeler almost merge into another car ... didn't even look. Staying out of congestion ... easing into the flow. Car just cut over in front of us by two lanes. Slowed down ... going through construction zone. Going to get fuel at Exit 236 ... fastest location to get turned around. Frank tells students to look at fuel guide to determine where to start ... how long will they take ... fuel, shower, etc., gets them thinking about time management and pre-planning. Had a discussion about health insurance. Frank and I talked about his military service and how he was wounded ... IED ... has his bronze star and Purple Heart. We also talked about his flight training and getting kicked out of the plane. Love the road ... can't always type ... bouncing around ... using the backspace key a lot. Full grown bear coming up on the left. Just stopped for fuel ... EOB status, engine off. Just filled up with 100-plus gallons of fuel ... $400. Went to the restroom and back on the road 15 minutes later. Learned about alligator ... rubber tires. Learned about rewards for drivers at truck stops. Just saw a woman driving with children in the vehicle texting away. Listening to comedy radio. Frank says ... look in the side mirror, can you see a little car ... I couldn't ... we change lanes and there he was ... just 50 feet off the bumper. Incredible.

Frank is taking online courses working toward his bachelor’s degree. Frank feels that the newer drivers push through bad weather because they don't want a service failure. (We need to communicate to drivers that if weather is not good, pull over ... don't put pressure on new drivers) . Coming up on a work zone with flashing lights ... active work site ... slowed down ... just saw the end work zone sign ... back up to speed. State highway department trucks cutting across from one side to the other ... incredible. Trying to time the red light to slow down so that we get a fresh green light. Anything over 25 PSI is a hard brake. 15 to 20 PSI is the optimal braking pressure that saves the brakes and allows for a safe start. In Kendallville, Ind., on the way to the consignee. Form 8 or you are late.

Arriving at consignee, it is now 12:02 p.m. ... call to notify ... see another Con-way Truckload truck backing in. Frank gets out and looks ... bit of a precarious area to get into.
Frank completes delivery paperwork. One hour and 10 minutes, and we are ready to head to our next pickup. Have to be there by 3 p.m. so no food until after we get there. Frank is shutting the trailer doors so we can get moving. Going through small towns and back roads, the time needed was not sufficient to get to our next pickup. After rain, construction and traffic, two hours later we arrived ... hour after our initial appointment. Frank did an amazing job of getting into and out of some tight squeezes ... incredible where some of these loading docks are and how to get into them. I was just tired watching Frank work so hard backing in and securing the cargo.

Just saw women pushing a baby stroller on a major highway ... not intersection ... Frank was paying attention and stopped ... crazy lady ... what are people thinking? Just had dinner at Petro. Now back on the road for max of two and a half hours ... this has been a long day. We have 1,043 miles to go and deliver by 1 p.m. on June 12 ... not sure if we can make it. And to add to the fun, a four-wheeler passed us drinking a tall boy Bud Light. Nice! We stopped at the TA in Seymour, Ind., with just 30 minutes left on our driving clock. Frank surprised me by pulling in next to a jersey wall ... thought he was going to hit it, but of course he didn't. Post-trip competed and another day comes to an end ... can't wait to get to bed ... he's killing me.

We ran 498 miles in nine hours and 22 minutes ... delivered at one customer and picked up at another. We finally shut it all down at 9:31 p.m. A day of just one meal and two stops and no exercise again.

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