John Pettitt holding the “Ryder Cup” 1985


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Salinas CA - Kingman AZ

Saturday 15th June. I telephoned the pick-up point this morning for a booking for the trailer and was given 2100 hrs tonight. This means all day with nothing to do but wait. As any truck driver will tell you, it is the hanging around that makes one tired, not the driving. Still, I can only go with flow, but this means of course that I will have to do some miles tonight or I will put myself under pressure for the delivery.

I have just started the fridge, to pre-cool it down to 35 degrees Fahrenheit and I am also enjoying a nice cup of lemon tea, which I have just made. The temperature here today has only been in the early seventies, so it has been a nice pleasant day and I have not had to run the truck for the air conditioning.

Apparently, if we are able to keep the idle time down to below 40% the computer gives an increase in speed as a bonus. It is supposed to push the speed up to seventy-five miles an hour, but I have found that this truck does that already. I am actually parked in the “Pilot” Truck stop in Salinas CA and it is a constant procession of trucks coming in and out for weighing and fuel.

I pulled out of the truck stop at 10 o’clock at night and went round to the loading point. Everything there was superb. There were instruction boards telling the driver to park in the lanes and then to telephone the office from the telephones provided at the parking area. I gave them my truck number, trailer number and the Pick Up numbers that I had come for. I was instructed to switch the CB to channel 22 and he would call me when he was ready with a loading dock. I only had to wait about ten minutes and the CB sparked into life. I was told to back on to dock 24, chock wheels and switch off.

I checked the load on, which was a mixture of all kinds of produce. E.g. Celery hearts, broccoli, asparagus, potatoes, lettuce, beetroot, onions, cauliflowers, cabbage etc. 25 pallets in all. I secured with one load lock and did a gross weigh on their scales. It was only 70,000 lbs, but I still went to the Pilot Truck stop and weighed on the CAT scales as they give accurate axle weights, and that is what is important. Scaled out fine and then made my way down to King City CA where I purchased fuel for the tractor and also stayed for the night, or what was left of it, because by this time it was almost three o’clock in the morning. My log showed that I had stopped in Salinas CA at a quarter to midnight.

Sunday 16th June (Fathers Day).The Beacon Truck stop was not a pretty place, and it only had one shower – the less said about that the better. I left there at 1030 hrs and as I had some miles to do, I drove non-stop to Kingman AZ. Arriving at seven o’clock in the evening, where I fuelled up again ready for another hard day tomorrow. It seems that once you are behind it is terribly difficult to catch up. 540 miles covered today, but I shall have to do better tomorrow.

The problem today was the low Californian speed limit for trucks which is 55 miles per hour and you have to keep a wary eye out for the police and highway patrol, as well as having your ears on listening to the CB, which lets you know where all the bears are. Still I survived unscathed and all in all it was a pleasant day’s drive through some outstanding countryside, up and down some very long steep hills, which took its toll on the truck.

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