Saturday 27th July. The day started peaceful enough with a relatively quiet drive to my designated fuel stop at the Flying J. in Sullivan MO. This was all to change once I arrived in the city of St. Louis. I was pulled over by an unmarked black pick-up with all its blue lights flashing. At first I thought it was the police in an unmarked vehicle, but unfortunately it was the DOT (Dept of Transport). The officer in question was very polite, but he was also very thorough in everything he checked. After thirty minutes he gave me all my paperwork back and said that I was free to go with no violations to be recorded against the Company or me. I then pushed on to the Flying J. at Evansville IN. where I made my overnight stop. This only leaves me about 100 miles to do tomorrow morning, in order to make my 1200 hrs booking at Kroger’s Distribution Centre in Louisville KY.
Sunday 28th July. Just a two-hour drive and I was in Kroger’s Louisville depot. I was unloaded by 1215 hrs and was back at the Sikeston Terminal at 1730 hrs after dropping the trailer at Al’s Reefer Service. I picked up my mail at the yard. It looks as though they are penny pinching again, as they have stopped me $38 for the motel on the 30th May. I will have to query that in the morning because the Ramada only charged me £33, and I was told that Pullen’s have special rates for their drivers.
Monday 29th July. Why is it that when I get to Sikeston everything seems to make me depressed? No joy with Linda with regard to the motel bill or the per diem days, which I feel I have been ripped off with. Then Bill did not let me down, just what I expected, and another trip to the northeast. This time, the load was to Hatfield PA. Loading at 1300 hrs this afternoon, which means I have to do another eight hours straight off, or I will not make the delivery time of 0800 hrs on Wednesday 31st July.
Tuesday 30th July. Today’s mileage was only 543 but it took a full 10 hours because the terrain in West Virginia and Maryland was very hilly and the truck spent a lot of time in very low gear, not only going up them, but also going down. I stopped for fuel at Carlisle PA and went straight on to the customer in Hatfield PA ready for the morning. The fridge is playing up, looks like it needs some more Freon gas. I cannot seem to be able to get the temperature down to –15. Hope the ice cream is OK.
Wednesday 31st July. I managed to get the ice cream off-loaded without any hitches, even though the pulp temperature was only –10. Bill gave me a good load which loads tomorrow at Arnold PA which is near Pittsburgh PA for delivery to Ruiz Foods at Dinuba CA which is one of our regular customers and I will most probably load at the same place, hopefully for Florida. I only did 278 miles today to the Flying J at Brookville PA that has only been open a week. They appear to be having teething problems with the fuel computers and in the end I had to go to the fuel desk and give all the relevant information verbally. I went across the road from the Truck Stop to the Pizza Hut and had a very nice pizza and some salad. I only have about eighty miles to the loading point and I am going to cut across country on the 28.
Thursday 1st August. I had a very nice one-hour drive down 28 south to Arnold. The countryside was very pleasant if a bit up and down. The instructions to the factory were wrong and I was soon in trouble in narrow streets in Arnold PA. I should have turned right, but the qualcomm said left. I managed to turn round and after a few stops to check that I was going the right way, I eventually found the factory. I chatted to the security guard named Marshall and also another English driver working for a Florida Company who has been here years and has a green card. His nickname was Tally-Ho, and I promised that I would keep in touch, as he would look into the prospects of a green card for me. I stopped for the night at Spiceland IN at the Flying J, and noticed that the fridge was playing up again. This meant lengthy phone calls to Al’s reefer Service, and after a manual-defrost it seemed to start working again. If it is still a problem in the morning, I will have to divert to Sikeston for repairs. This I do not want to do, because it will mean that I will then have to carry on via state road 60, which is not very good for making progress.