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John Pettitt holding the “Ryder Cup” 1985

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Richmond VA - Lakeland FL

Sunday 30th June. Because I went to bed early last night, I was awake early, so I got up about seven, had a nice shower and shave and was then ready to tackle the air cleaner. Getting it out was no problem and after the first attack with the air gun it was apparent that there was a serious amount of debris and dust to remove. I don’t suppose that I will have solved the problem, but I must make the effort. Until I get going tomorrow I will not know whether or not the problem was the air cleaner or something else.

It is now the end of my first month, I have covered 13500 miles (Not all of which will be paid) but that is the system so I have to live with it. It is obvious that the whole industry is in a mess, and the companies themselves do not help. They really are not interested in the driver at all. All the macros that are sent to the company are certainly not taken note of because although a macro is sent every day giving the hours of service for that day, nobody takes note of that in order to plan the next load etc. I have just been given three days for a 2200-mile and then three days for a 600-mile job. The dispatchers are not interested in whether you earn money or not. All they want to do is cover their backside. There is no co-operation between dispatch and the driver and of course this leads to friction, which is totally unnecessary. Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday will earn me a grand total of $150 – Not a lot of money to look after their truck for four days.

Monday 1st July. No need to rush around this morning, as I do not unload until 1300 hrs and it is only a couple of hours drive to Richmond VA. I had a nice shower, made a telephone call to Yvonne and then made my way. I was unloaded by two o’clock and was told to make my way to the Flying J at Carmel on I95. Both Robin and I were there, waiting for further instructions. They finally came at five o’clock and we both had to make our way to AltaVista VA, where we dropped our trailers and picked up loaded ones for Florida. Robins load was for Wal-Mart at Brooksville, and mine to Red Line Medical at Orlando FL. We ran as far as Kannopolis NC where we pulled in for the night.

Tuesday 2nd July. Had to Scale out this morning, and as usual I was over on the rear tandem, but managed to slide the bogie back four holes and it worked out OK. We both fuelled up at Brunswick GA and had a little bowl of Chinese to keep the wolves at bay. We then carried on together until we split at Jacksonville as I was continuing down 95 and Robin was going to take the 10 and cut across to 75. I arrived at my destination at eight o’clock this evening, and I backed on the bay ready for when they start work in the morning. I made a nice cup of lemon tea to go with the sandwich that I had bought earlier in the day. I then brought all my paperwork up to date and then it was time for bed.

Wednesday 3rd July. I was woken up by a rather loud bang on the door, it was 0400 hrs and I was greeted by a lumper, who asked me if his services were needed to unload the trailer. I asked him ‘how much?’ and he replied $250. At this I immediately woke up and got dressed. How can it be that someone can charge that obscene amount of money for about three hours work and I only get half of that to bring the load over seven hundred miles from Virginia. In actual fact, the lumper turned out to be a regular employee of the company who was on vacation and needed to earn some extra money. Nice work if you can get it Eh!

Finally unloaded and all goods checked in at 1000 hrs, so I telephoned Curtis at the Lakeland Depot and he told me to come on in. This I did, and then found out that there were no loads anywhere, because of the holiday tomorrow for ‘Independence Day’. John Dexter and his wife Lynn came in and Billy was due later tonight, and Robin and Angela went to friends in St.Cloud. Kissimmee. So we went and booked into the Econolodge Hotel for two nights.

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