This is me leaving my first truck at the Sacramento Truck Center.
I was just getting to like this truck, too. I know that I had a strong negative reaction to this truck because of its condition. I wasn’t expecting a sparkling new truck, but I certainly wasn’t expecting to spend several hours cleaning out someone else’s filth. I had said that the previous driver had obviously abandoned it. And that somehow stuck with me over these last few days. It wasn’t the trucks fault.
I ended up feeling like I was saving an animal from an abusive owner. Daily I would try to do a little more, just while I was waiting. And there is a lot of waiting in trucking. A few minutes to spray Simple Green to remove the splashes of coffee that had dripped down the dash, another minute to sweep out more of the cab. I had plans for this truck. I hadn’t even named it yet.
But, it broke. The short story is that the 5th wheel, that large greasy contraption located at the back of the truck that connects the truck to the trailer, malfunctioned. All I had to do was drop one trailer, pick up an empty trailer and then go about my business. That is all I needed to do. Simples. Except it wasn’t.
There is a release handle that you need to pull out to release the trailer from the truck. It wouldn’t pull. It was stuck. Well and truly stuck. I tried all the tricks in my very limited toolkit, but nothing. It wouldn’t budge.
After a half hour of me struggling against this metal monstrosity, I knew that I was wasting valuable time. I bit the bullet and called Martha. Then I called Schneider Emergency Maintenance to have someone come out and help. This is starting to become a pattern.
After help arrived, the load I was assigned was taken away from me and I was directed to go to the nearest repair shop to have them check everything out. Goodbye, income.
By then, it was 2:00 in the afternoon. The truck shop was swamped. The poor guy at the service counter had the look of a bank teller during a robbery. He filled out my paperwork and said, “We’ll try to get to it by 6:00. Or 6:30.” Even he didn’t believe that. I grabbed my computer from the truck and retreated to the well appointed drivers lounge to get some blogging done. Hello, wi-fi!
6:00 rolled around, I went outside to see that my truck had moved (a good sign), and the 5th wheel had been cleaned (very good sign). I walked back to the service desk to see if we were all finished here.
“Well, the problem is that whoever worked on your 5th wheel last installed the wrong parts. I’ve been back and forth with Schneider about whether they want to just replace the bad parts, or replace the whole 5th wheel.” My poor, abused truck.
It definitely wouldn’t be ready that day, so Schneider put me up in a hotel for the night. Hello, shower! And a real bed! It’s amazing all the small things you get excited about when you become a driver.
It wasn’t ready the next day, either. The shop and Schneider continued to bicker, so Martha made the call to put me into another truck. They rented me a car to drive from Sacramento to Fontana, California, where my new truck awaited.