Sunday 11th August. The truck behaved itself again today, even though I did not use any additives when I filled up either at Gulfport MS or Quincy FL. I have stopped for the night at the T/A Travel Centre some 25 miles short of Jacksonville FL. I will go in early in the morning as opposed to going in tonight because I may not be able to park at the customer’s premises overnight.
Monday 12th August. I am writing this sitting in my truck in a small truck stop on State Road 27 in Haines City FL with the rain absolutely tipping down. It seems that every time I end up in Florida, it is raining. I have had a miserable day, what with having to do three drops today with one bad one at Wal-Mart in Winter Haven. The routine there is awful. First there is the usual queuing to get past the Security Gate, then after a dock is allocated, the trailer has to be dropped, wheels chocked and then book in at Receiving. As you can imagine, this is not a quick process and then, after all that, they want to charge you for unloading. $30 is what they wanted for unloading six pallets. I opted to unload myself, not realising that of course there would be no co-operation with regard to checking or signing of documents, but I was adamant that I was not going to pay such an outrageous sum for so little Eventually all was done and I made my way to the truck stop, because I have one more drop in the morning in Kissimmee, which is not very far away. Whilst I was in the Lakeland depot, I spoke to Curtis about what loads were available and he came up with the usual stock answer of only loads to the East. This of course is a load of crap as he saves all the good loads for his drivers and his favourites.
Tuesday 13th August. I might have known that being the thirteenth that nothing would go right today, and I was right. The San Antonio load that I was given was cancelled at the last moment, so I have to wait until tomorrow to load for Houston TX. I went to the T/A travel centre in Plant City to try and have my lights fixed, but as is usually the case, they could not find anything wrong with them. I have no doubt they will go out when I need them. I decided that as I was going to be stuck in Lakeland that I would spoil myself and go to the Lone Star Restaurant on 98 where we used to go when we came out for our holidays in Florida. It was fantastic and very nice to be able to get a glass of wine for a change.
Wednesday 14th August. I went down to Minute Maid ready to load at 0915 hrs, but as is usually the case, it was almost two o’clock in the afternoon before I got away on my journey to Houston TX. I ran with another Pullen driver who knew a better route and a different scale to the one that I normally use. There was also an owner-driver called Richard (Alley cat) with one of the new VN 770 Volvo’s. We covered about 490 miles to Robertsdale AL and the time passed so quickly with all the chatting on the CB.