Monday, May 14, 2012

Explosion & upcoming visit

It's been pretty routine lately.  3210 miles each week doing 6 runs to Midlothian from Snyder each day.  The big difference has been the rain!!  I have to admit, I had to think about how to drive in it for a little bit since I haven't seen it in quite a while!  You have to give yourself more room to stop, make slow lane changes, and make decisions further in advance.  It's a challenge but it's not bad to be forced to think about things. 
One of my favorite scenes
I did get a new critter on the farm!!  He doesn't really have a name.  We tried to get Lindsey to name him but she's too young & I don't think she understands the concept.  My wife gave me the idea to let you guys name him!! So, here's a picture.  What do you think? 

So, last night I was very close to a pretty big explosion!!  I was dumping at the shredder last night.  I was the only truck at the whole plant!!  Sunday nights are very quiet there.  That's why I enjoy going on Sunday night or Friday night.  There's usually nobody else there!  All of the sudden, a rushing wave of air came over me and into my cab and less than a second later I heard a huge BOOM!!  I looked over the shredder to my back left and there was a huge fire ball and smoke!!  The smoke stayed around for several minutes but it stopped.  Everything stopped for a while but they started back up. 
It was about this size.  Not HUGE but not small!!
That kind of thing actually happens all the time.  It's usually caused by a car's fuel tank being crushed that still has some fuel in it or a propane bottle that is still full.  When it' crushed and a spark from crushed metal is exposed to that fuel source it blows up!  Not a good thing. 
Old propane bottles.  We don't take these in, but sometimes they make their way in to the steel mill!
I'm trying my hardest to visit you guys this week!  It's looking like either Wednesday or Thursday.  I'm getting my truck washed on Tuesday morning before I get loaded.  If it's still raining, I might have to wait until the rain clears and wash Wednesday morning.  After I wash, I'll have a clean truck for you guys!  I cleaned the inside really well, so hopefully it's presentable!  I'm really looking forward to it.  I wish I could bring an animal or something but I think that would be frowned upon.  Either way, I'm looking forward to it.  I hope you guys are having a great week!!
--Mr. Walker

Monday, April 30, 2012

1 year with the company

So, I've been with my company for 1 year now.  This is the 2nd time I've worked for them, though.  So, I've actually been with them longer.  But 1 year the 2nd time around!  I took a look at my mileage log and thought I would add up how many miles I've gone in the past year.  Are you ready for this? 
Happy 1 year!
126,000 + miles.  So, how far can you go with that?  That's about 5 trips around the planet earth if you could drive it.  1 trip is 24,860 miles.  That's halfway to the moon.  A trip to the moon 1-way is 238,857 miles.  My pickup truck has almost enough miles to have driven to the moon.  It has ~185,000 miles.  (~ means about or around or approximately)  It's about 40 round-trips to New York City, NY. 
Typical car odometer.  It counts how many miles your car has gone!  Next time you're in the car with your parents, see how many miles are on their car?  Think it's more than 700,000??
So, the next question I get when it comes to mileage & trucking is how many miles are on those trucks?  My truck has about 700,000 miles on it.  That's enough for a round-trip to the moon & back.  Most trucks start having major mechanical issues after about a million miles.  Yes, many trucks out on the road have over a million miles on them.  The most I've seen on a truck is over 2 million miles.  That truck had to have major engine work on it at a little over a million but it was going strong. 
This one is very close to 1 million!
Our trucks average about 60,000 miles per year at our company.  I'm at the top of that curve since I go out more than any of our other drivers.  We have other trucks that sit a lot more than mine do.  It's also why I experience more problems with my truck.  I use it more & put more miles on it! 
Trucks getting engine work done.
My pickup truck has about 185,000 miles on it.  My wife's car has 160,000 miles.  We put a lot of miles on our car because we live in the country & we travel a lot.  High miles are okay as long as you take care of the powertrain (that's the auto industry's fancy term for the engine & transmission).  My truck is a diesel, so it can go much higher.  My last diesel pickup had 280,000 miles on it.  So, mine has a ways to go.  The highest mileage pickup my dad ever owned had 600,000 miles on it.  But it as on it's 3rd engine & had it's transmission rebuilt at least twice.  That's a lot for a gas engine!
I hope you guys are having a great week so far!! 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The heat is back...

It's THAT hot!
So, it's gotten hot again.  I'm not ready for this.  It was a very mild winter and the heat is back a lot sooner than I would like!  Speaking of mild winter, have you noticed all the moths?  Well, the winter usually freezes a good portion of moth eggs and we don't have as many moths.  Since it was such a weak and warm winter, a lot of the eggs were left and we have a major surplus of moths. 
Moths, they live to annoy.
Truck 24 has had an oil leak now for quite a while.  My hydrolic tank was leaking pretty bad but they took it off, welded it, put some new fittings on it & now it's good.  I've told my bosses about the oil leak I've had but they blew it off thinking the mess was all the hydrolic fluid.  With that all fixed the oil is still blowing all over underneath the truck and all over the trailer.  I loose about a gallon every 2,000 to 3,000 miles.  In car terms, that's like a quart between oil changes.  Not that big of a deal, but sure makes a mess of things.  It is coming out of the blow-by tube area.  So, hopefully it's an easy fix!  They will take a look at it tomorrow when I get my oil changed.  I change my oil every 10,000 miles (about every month).  Cars are every 3,000 miles or 3 months. 
This car may have been following me with my oil leak!!
School is nearly out & I know you guys are in the middle of your state tests.  Make sure you are being good to your teacher!!  I'm sure everyone at school is a little edgy.  Summer is right around the corner.  Make sure you're working hard to finish the year out strong & summer will be here before you know it!

Have a great weekend.  --Mr. Walker

Thursday, April 19, 2012

What bugs me

So, I thought I would post a blog about a few things that bug or irritate me. 
This guy looks irritated.

Since I drive at night, I get a lot of this:  drivers that leave their bright lights on when they are coming at me.  Sometimes if I see it I quickly flash my brights to remind them to dim them.  Anymore, that doesn't even work anymore, so I don't even do it.  It's VERY hard to see and dangerous since I've got 40 tons of truck barrelling down the road and blinded by someone's bright lights.  Other big trucks are doing it a lot too.  Its usually the newer drivers that don't know any better.  At any rate, you shouldn't ever drive with your brights/high beams on while going down the Interstate!
Tough to see!
People that cut in front of me.  It's hard to stop already.  It's even harder to think about what's on both side of me and find an escape route if I can't stop in time.  It's very dangerous & I don't think people realize just what kind of trouble they're putting themselves into when they cut in front of me. 
Not a good idea.
Bad attitudes really irritate me.  When people lose their cool over something they have no control of, that just shows a total lack of maturity.  There is no need to get upset over something you have no control over.  Second, most of the people I come across every day are adults.  They need to act like it, not like some goof ball character on TV!
Grow up, you two!
So, what makes me happy?  On a nightly routine, there are some good parts to it.  Every now & then, I stop off at Whataburger in Aledo & get a meal.  The people there are VERY nice.  Anthony, Kasey (not my wife), and the gang are very fast, courteous, and friendly.  It's always a treat getting to stop there.  They have this one little spot where you can park a truck & that's where I land.  I usually stop around 1am to 4am.  I'm usually the only person in there!  I know it might sound silly, but Whataburger is my favorite little splurge.  Taquitos are my favorite.  The Green Chili Double is a close 2nd. 
Oh yeah!
XM Radio makes me happy.  I have so many channels, I never get bored!  I listen to Bluegrass, Old Country, 80s music, some rock, comedy, classical, movie soundtracks & sports. 
A sample satellite radio receiver.
So, what irritates you?  What makes you happy?  Do you guys have favorite fast food places?  I like Taco Bell & Carl's Jr too.  I don't like the chain restaurants except for maybe Rosa's cafe.  Probably my favorite restaurant is Tres Portrillos in Guymon.  It's very authentic mexican food.  But I found out that they closed down, so now that bugs me!!!

I hope you're having a great week!  --Mr. Walker

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Back to Midlothian

Well, Waco was short-lived.  It was nice seeing you for a little while, Waco!  I can't wait for the next time I get to see you.  I'm back to going to Midlothian.  The mill just installed a new software system for taking trucks in and it's having big problems and making things really slow.  Last night, I had to wait 4 hours just to get scaled in.  On Tuesday, it took 5 hours.  It's been really bad.  I've been doing my sudoku puzzles just to kill some time.  What do you guys do to kill time? 
Do you guys ever play sudoku? 
It's good getting back into the routine of work after being off for so long.  I'm still feeling very weak, but I'm so much better with my breathing.  I've put on a lot of weight and I've got to work on getting rid of some extra pounds!! 
What my scale is telling me!
I had a fun Easter with my family in Sierra Blanca, TX.  My sister, her husband and kids were there.  My brother, his wife & kids were there.  My grandmother from Fallon, Nevada was there as well.  My sister's family (from Nashville, Tennessee) & my grandmother flew in to El Paso, TX.  That would be a VERY long drive for them.  We roped, ate some ham and went to church.  It was a lot of fun having all that family around. 
Happy Easter!
What did you guys do for Easter?  Anything special?  I hope you are having a great week!  --Mr. Walker

Monday, April 2, 2012

Ahhh.... Waco again. I missed you.

I don't know what it is or how to explain it.  There's just something great about going somewhere new or somewhere you haven't gone in a while.  It feels so good & relaxing and it's a big joy for me.  I know it might start to get old if I had to go there every day for a year, but a trip to Waco today was just perfect for me!! 
Lipsitz in Waco.  Come in from the right.  Scale in by the big white barn.  Go straight.  Back to one of the piles on the left.  Circle around the bottom loop, exit/scale out to the right by the big white barn.  So easy, huh?
It went really well my first day back.  Again.  I took truck #7.  That's Joe's truck.  Joe is hauling roll-off boxes today in another truck and his truck had been loaded for a week, just waiting to be taken.  So, I took it.  It runs faster than my truck.  It has a lower gear ratio on the rear end than mine, so it can really scoot!  Mine is 3.73. His is 3.42.  That means:  my truck has to turn the drive shaft 3.73 times to go the same distance as his only having to go 3.42 times.  That doesn't sound like much, but that little difference (0.31) with the same size engine means much more power!!!  So, that was a nice change. 
I LOVE early mornings.  I'm not sure everyone else does.  Do you ever wonder what your animals do while you're asleep?  Ha ha!!
I left at 4:00 AM.  I had to fuel in Tye & I got to Waco just before 9:00 AM.  I was only there 13 minutes & I was gone.  Again, such a NICE change!!  They are an all concrete facility, so you don't have to worry about dumping on uneven ground and worrying about tipping over!  The ladies at the scalehouse (a very CLEAN scalehouse) are very courteous, too.  Sometimes, the guys working at the Midlothian plant scalehouse are as grumpy as an alligator snacking on a burning cactus. 
funny grumpy pictures
This kid looks like he could work at the scalehouse in Midlothian some day.  Grumpy people there, that's for sure. 
I reloaded in Sweetwater and left the truck in Snyder.  I will leave again around 3:30 AM or 4 from Snyder in my good ol' #24.  It sure is nice to be back working again.  I still feel very week from taking about 7 different medications, but I'm very happy to get back to normal a little bit at least!
After a while, they all start to taste like this.  Yuck.  I'll be happy to be off of my medication soon!
So, I missed about everything Spring Break related with you guys.  I'm sorry!!  So, what cool things did you do?  I heard a little about what Mrs. Hnizdo did.  Sounds like she had a very busy time!  Did you guys travel?  Did you stay at home & hang out & relax?  Did you go to anything different or unusual?  Let's do another poll!!  I'd like to see how many stayed or left town.  And anything else you guys did. 
Mrs. Hnizdo said she took a little plane, but this is getting out of hand!
My Spring Breaks were usually full of work.  I was okay with it, I loved working with my parents.  We usually had a cattle show that fell on the last weekend of Spring Break in Tucson, Arizona.  We would hang out with friends and go swimming at the hotel pool about every night.  It was a good way to cool off after working with our cattle all day and keeping up with them. 
Was your spring break this much fun?
I hope your week is starting off as good as mine is!!  I'm still working on trying to schedule a trip to visit.  My time is winding down, but I'm sure we can pull something off!  --Mr. Walker

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Hospital time

Well, as you can see, I haven't posted a new blog since the first part of March.  I went into the hospital with an asthma outbreak and pneumonia.  I was coughing and wheezing very bad.  I went to the doctor on a Monday, and after an hour with the doctor I was being told to go to the hospital.  I was in the hospital for 6 days.  My oxygen levels were very low and I had to be on constant oxygen the whole time I was in there. 
This is the hospital I was at for 6 days here in Snyder, TX.
I do NOT like being sick.  I really don't like being stuck somewhere like the house or a bed.  Some people really like laying around and doing nothing all the time but it drives me up the wall!!  I was sure happy to get out.  I worked for about 5 days and I got sick again.  This time, I have a viral infection an I've been off since Wednesday.  Hopefully, if I'm feeling better, I go back to work on Monday. 

My new trailer & computer with Truck 24
The steel mill is closed right now as they are performing a computer upgrade plant-wide.  So, I would be going back to Waco like when this school year started.  A few new good things about my truck:  It has a new computer!  Now all my gauges work all the time.  I got my trailer back from when I laid it over at the steel mill!  I got my AC ducts cleaned out so they don't have any old dust or dander in them anymore. 
I did get a bolt in a tire one night.  That's the tire guy's truck in the background & the bolt in my hand. 
I have been able to do a few chores around the house.  I've fixed a few things up & rode Grumpy a few times.  I've played a lot with Lindsey which is always fun.  She is sure talking a lot!!  She likes to go outside with me.  Almost every time, she goes out to the front yard and yells, "Grumpy!  Are you?".  She's wanting to know where he is.  She likes watching him graze on grass. 

I will try to get back on a better pace posting my blogs.  I'm sure happy to be out of the hospital & I'm looking forward to getting back to work!  I think Mrs. Walker & Lindsey will be happy to see me at work and not at home bugging them all the time!  I hope you guys had a great spring break.  I look forward to healthier days!  --Mr. Walker