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John Pettitt holding the “Ryder Cup” 1985

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Pittsburgh PA - Dinuba CA

Friday 2nd August. I checked the fridge this morning and it appeared to be working OK although the temperature was above zero. Indiana, Illinois both operate 55 mph speed limits, so it is hard work making progress. Even though I was driving faster than the posted speed limit I can only book at an average of about 53/54 miles per hour, so it will be a longer day than need be. I made the flying J. at Joplin MO and was surprised to meet Ian, Avril and Philip who were on there way to Louisville, having loaded in California. There was plenty to natter about, especially the lack of performance from the trucks, and about Pullen’s.

Saturday 3rd August. Just a straightforward driving day with the cruise set at 70 mph and relatively flat country, I covered 560 miles in eight and quarter hours, stopping for the night at a little Truck Stop just inside the New Mexico state line. As I had already eaten when I fuelled at Amarillo, I just had a cup of coffee (Dishwater), got up to date with the computer and then retired for the night. Tomorrow I am hoping to make Kingman, but if I don’t, then so be it. The terrain will be tough going for the old girl and I am not expecting too much from her. I still have 1100 miles to go, but I am on schedule. The fridge is still playing up, so I have lowered the setting to –5 hoping that might do the trick. The problem is that the ambient temperature around the fridge motor is about 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Thin wall trailers and these temperatures do not go together very well.

Sunday 4th August. Another relatively easy day, as the speed limit was 75 mph. Unfortunately mine was limited to 72 mph, but apart from a short spell after fuelling at Winslow AZ, the truck ran pretty well. It seemed to cope with the grades much better than normal, so perhaps the fuel system is pretty well near alright at last. Booked off at Ash Fork AZ, but had to push on to the Flying J at Kingman AZ as there were no truck stops in between. I had a meal across the road at the Pizza Hut, and once again it was very nice, especially as they did a carafe of wine for me. I should be able to sleep well after that.

Monday 5th August. I really enjoyed today’s drive through western Arizona and California. The scenery is stunning. I stopped for lunch at a little café in Ludlow CA, filled up in Bakersfield and then went to Ruiz Foods in Dinuba, hoping that I might get unloaded tonight. Not only was this not the case, but also I was told that there was not a booking for me for tomorrow even. This does not say much for the wonderful Pullen organisation. I was told to try the morning shift at 0600 hrs, as their first one was not booked until 0815 hrs. My toothache is getting worse and I will have to see a dentist as soon as possible.

Tuesday 6th August. I was up and about at 0600 hrs and went to the Receiving Dept to see whether I was going to be unloaded. There was no positive response whatsoever, and when I asked them when they might unload me, the usual shrug of the shoulders was the negative response. I asked if it were possible to book a time, even tomorrow, but this again fell on deaf ears. By this time, I was getting more than frustrated as my toothache was becoming so unbearable that I told them I was dropping the trailer and going to find a dentist and that if they wanted the load they would have to put it on the dock themselves with their shunt unit. This they said they would do, but on my return from having my tooth extracted my trailer was still where I left it parked and the load was still on it. I was finally put on the dock at 1400 hrs Californian time and I cannot believe that they did not start unloading until 1600 hrs. They then had the cheek to want to probe the load with the thermometer after it had been opened for this length of time. I told them categorically that I was not accepting any detrimental reading because of their delay in offloading. Even when it was off the truck, they still did not put the goods away in a Cold Store. Of course now it would be too late to load anywhere and here I am stuck outside the factory in Dinuba CA waiting on the whims and fancies of whoever is going to load me. I don’t think it will be my dispatcher Bill King because he does not cover California. Once again, what started out as a promising trip has turned, once again, into the usual disaster?

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