Wednesday, October 26, 2011

More breakdowns

This has been a trying last couple of days, oh my!  I had the door to truck #24 break.  The guys at our scrap yard in Sweetwater broke it.  Not sure how & I'm not all that concerned about it.  I spent about 5 hours at the repair shop in Abilene, TX getting it fixed.  I wasn't really thrilled about that.  It was interesting seeing my door tore all apart at the shop.  They found a plastic fork, part of a magazine and some coins in there.  I guess after 8 years, some interesting things can fall into our doors!

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The inside of the door on truck 24
I've been running solid going on 9 days now, no days off.  So, I've been a little tired lately.  It's important for me to get at least 6 hours of sleep.  You guys should be getting at least 8 hours of sleep.  Your bodies are growing like crazy so it's important to get lots of quality sleep.  Running at night and dealing with breakdowns that keep me out later than usual really cuts into my sleeping or home time.  It's been hard to get on here & blog lately! 
On Monday morning at about 5:45 AM I had a small fire in truck #24.  My air conditioner has been out for about 2 weeks.  I have left it alone since it's been cool at night.  I had my guess that the compressor was no good and I was right.  It caught on fire!!  I pulled the hood open and put it out with my fire extinguisher.  All 18-wheelers going down the road are required to carry fire extinguishers.  I'm sure happy I had mine!! 

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Engine view of the Air Conditioner compressor.  We cut the belt on it to bypass and tied a tension pulley up to get it going again.

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Front of the Air Conditioning Compressor.  The 3 bolts on the front.  That's what caught on fire.  It's black & crispy!
The repair man came out and we did some field repairs to get it to the shop.  The repair man went rapid-fire on my starter and burned it up.  So the starter had to be replaced as well.  I've been driving truck #9 in the meantime.  It's a day-cab.  The trailer is like mine, but it has a flat bottom instead of a round bottom.  That means I can only haul scrap iron in it and not shredder material.  I've been delivering to the mill in Midlothian, TX and it takes a LOT longer to get unloaded some nights.  As you can see, things have been very hectic for me lately!!
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Slag pot of hot molten steel lighting up the night!  These guys really brighten up the night at the steel mill.
 So, outside of trucking - How about them Rangers!!!!  3-2 lead in the World Series!!  Now, that's one television program I wouldn't be upset if you guys stayed up late to watch!!  I know those games are played late which is a bummer.  But how exciting!! 

Also, a very large piece of history has played out since the last blog.  On October 20, Muammar Gaddafi was captured and eventually passed away over the weekend.  He siezed power in Lybia - a arabic country in Africa, back in 1969.  He was a dictator tied to several terrorist activities.  This will be something you guys will be able to look back on when you are older. 

So, I have an assignment and I'm very late on it.  I PROMISE I will get it to you.  Free time hasn't been something that I have had a lot of lately but I WILL get it to you. 

Halloween is coming up!  Are you guys doing anything for it?  I'm not really big on halloween but there are some pretty funny pumpkin carvings out there!!  I hope you guys are having a great week!  --Mr. Walker

Funny pumpkins

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Catching up...

1st off - sorry I haven't been posting much lately.  I've been having to change my schedule up and it's hard to get sleep let alone do much of anything else when you go from working nights, then days, then nights again. 

 Have you ever been this tired?
So, I've been going to the steel mill in Midlothian.  It's been very hectic.  They are super busy and some nights they take a long time to get me empty.  One night, I was there for FOUR HOURS!!!  Lately, it's been going much better but it's still very busy. 

I did go visit my parents last weekend in Sierra Blanca, TX.  We went to El Paso and watched my mom run in a 10k. The K stands for Kilometers.  That's the metric system measurement for distance.  Most of the world is on the metric system, in the United States - we still use some of it.  10k = 6 miles 376 yards 4 and 25/32 inches.  Can you guys run over 6 miles?  She finished in 1 hour, 4 minutes.  She came in 1st in her age group (50-59) and won a metal!!  I'm very proud of my mom.,+el+paso&fb=1&gl=us&hq=marwood+park,&hnear=0x86e73f8bc5fe3b69:0xe39184e3ab9d0222,El+Paso,+TX&cid=0,0,8373575647336361708&ei=ZOOgTuzvMofKsQKD6-C0BQ&sa=X&oi=local_result&ct=image&ved=0CAUQ_BI

That's a map of where the race was.  Part of the route was in New Mexico!!  El Paso is right on the border with Mexico and New Mexico.  Very interesting part of the country. 

We ate some incredible mexican food after the race and then came back home.  I LOVE mexican food, in case I haven't mentioned it before.  I got to do some roping with my dad, and that was fun! 

Back to trucking!  My truck has been running well.  It just has some issues.  I have a cab air bag leak.  I also have shocks that aren't working.  My air conditioning isn't working either.  The air conditioning one isn't that big of a deal since it's cooled off so much.  But when I have to roll the windows down to get some air inside, it bothers my allergies and it has made me sick!!  I really hate being sick. 

Do any of you suffer from allergies?
A lot of us suffer from allergies.  Mine is seasonal.  Usually just once in the Fall and once in the Spring.  I have a friend that has allergies year-round and has to take shots.  When I was a little one, I was allergic to carbon monoxide.  I had to limit how much time I spent in big cities like Phoenix or Los Angeles before they cleaned up their smog problems.  That used to be very bad in the 1980s. 

Phoenix smog.  Blech!!
I'm going to try to get better about updating my blog.  I did get my assignment from Mrs. Hnizdo!!  I have Brazos county!!  I can't wait to turn it in!  Be looking for it!!  I hope you guys are doing great.  Oh yeah, GO RANGERS!!!!

Have a great day!  --Mr. Walker

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Forgot the link!!

I hope it works!!,+tx&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x86560fd8aabf370f:0xd9e18e9d92f7b75b,Sweetwater,+TX&gl=us&ei=jOaVTrCZG-SNsQKvlNHvAQ&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&ct=image&resnum=2&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAQ

Fast week

This week really seems to be going by fast.  It's Wednesday already!  Soooo..... did you know that October 5 was World Teachers Day???  So, Mrs. Hnizdo - HAPPY WORLD TEACHERS DAY!!!!! 

Today, October 12 is Arthritis Awareness Day.  What's Arthritis?  It's swelling and muscle or tendon/ligament tenderness or tear in your joints.  It's usually from over-use of that joint or some trauma or injury to that joint.  There are many different forms.  Older folks suffer from it more often from over-use and aging/fatigue in that joint.  I have arthritis in my knee. I have had 4 knee surgeries on my right knee and I have metal in there!!  Wild, huh?  From over use and trauma to the knee, I know have soreness and swelling in that knee.  For the elderly, it can be very frustrating to put up with.  So, if you can help somebody out that has arthritis or is moving slowly, today would be a good day for that!

It's been pretty overcast and cloudy the last few days after all that rain we got!  As far as road-trips go:  I really like driving when it's overcast.  It's usually nice and cool.  And you're not always squinting to see everything because of the sun.  It drives my dad nuts because he LOVES seeing the sunshine.  I think he used to live somewhere that was cloudy ALL THE TIME & it bugs him a little bit.  If it were cloudy all time, I'm sure it would bug me too.  But I like it every now & then. 

Sooo.... Mrs. Hnizdo told me about an upcoming assignment that I'm involved in.  I'm excitied!  I also heard that you guys have some sway in my part in the assignment!  It should be fun!  She will be sending me the assignment and I'll let you know when I get it and how I'm progressing. 

I'm going a different route to Midlothian, TX now.  I have an overweight permit and I have to take different roads.  I'm going to leave you a link at the bottom of the page.  It should show you the new way I'm going.  I hope it works!!  There are some new really cool towns to tell you about that I go through. 

I have plans to go out to see my parents this weekend and watch my mom run in a 10k in El Paso, TX.  Also, my grandmother from Fallon, Nevada (can you find that on the atlas??) flew into El Paso to visit and I will get to see her.  It's always a treat to see her since she lives so far away.  We call her Grandma Margaret or Grammit or Gigi (that's what the great grand kids call her - short for great grandma).  I'll definatly try to get pictures and tell you about the trip. 

How about you guys?  Any plans for the weekend?  Anybody watching the Dallas Cowboys game?  They are playing at New England on Sunday.  New England was a term given to the new area that was settled by the pilgrims in what is today Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine.  They actually play in Foxboro, Massachusetts (can you find that on the atlas??).  It's a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts.  Do you guys think the Cowboys will win?  I hope so!

I hope you guys are having a great week!  --Mr. Walker

Monday, October 10, 2011

Let's catch up!

So, I owe you guys some pictures of my last break down.  Ready?  Here we go.....

My fuel leak.  Diesel fuel is everywhere.  See the metal canister top left?  That's my fuel filter, the leak was under it leading off to the left.  You can see the logo for my Mercedes Benz engine on the head top right!

Tow King is the tow company in Waco, TX that took me to the Freightliner shop in Waco.  Thanks guys!!  Really nice clean older truck.  These drivers have to have nerves of steel towing these huge trucks behind their rigs!
 So, I told you guys I was going to change routines & start going to Midlothian.  It's been going pretty well.  Right now we're hauling only shred over there because their melt shop is shut down & heavy iron isn't being accepted at this time.  It's pretty quiet at the mill and things are going pretty smooth there. 

I did have a hub oiler start leaking.  Check it out...

This is right in the middle of the tire/wheel.  It's just a plastic thing that keeps gear oil inside to keep the wheel bearings lubricated & the wheel going down the road smooth.  When getting loaded, the guy loading me dropped a bundle of metal on it and it developed a crack.  You can see, it's all gross & nasty & yucky with all the oil leaking out.  I am going to change that out tonight.  It's important to keep that thing full of oil & not burn up a wheel bearing! 

This weekend, everyone in the family got sick.  It was really bad, but I think we're about all over it.  It seemed to be a 24 hour bug.  We didn't get out of the house at ALL!!  It was a pretty crummy weekend for all of us.  We're all still feeling pretty weak & my symptoms finally cleared up today.  I did get to watch my Texas A&M beat Texas Tech this weekend!  Yaaay!!

We also got 2 1/4" of rain!!  I heard you guys in the DFW area got a bunch of rain, too!  So much, the Texas Rangers' game 2 of the ALCS got moved to Monday.  Are you guys cheering for the Rangers this year?  They're doing pretty good!!

All of this rain sure makes everything at work super muddy!!  I almost got #24 stuck today!  You have to be very careful about where you take it when it's muddy.  Getting an 80,000 pound truck unstuck can be very hard sometimes!

Sorry I haven't posted in quite a while.  Changing schedules is tough, going from sleeping nights to days!  I took my wife & baby in to Midlothian for them to stay with family & that's very time consuming.  I think our days of them riding in the big truck with me might be coming to an end anyways - that's very involved.  Then, getting sick - it's been rough.  I hope you guys are doing great & had a great weekend.  Until next time! 
--Mr. Walker

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Quick update...

So, I had a pretty wild weekend & start to the week!  We took a few loads to a place near I-30 and Loop 12 in Dallas on Friday and Saturday.  It's such a change from going to Waco.  MUCH more traffic!!  In fact, on Saturday - I saw a LOT of traffic around the new Cowboys stadium from all of the football fans going to the Texas A&M/Arkansas game. 

Monday, I headed off to Waco for another uneventful trip.  I got there & dumped and headed back.  I was in Valley Mills, TX and started to smell diesel fuel.  I just passed a gas station and I thought maybe that was what I was smelling.  The smell got worse.  Uh-oh.  I looked in my mirror and saw everything on my trailer seemed wet!  Then, I looked down at the road and I saw a trail of something liquid following me.  OH NO!!  I had a fuel leak!!! 

So, I pulled over and as soon as I got out, you could see it everywhere down the side of the truck and trailer.  So, for fear of starting a fire - I shut the truck off.  Diesel fuel can be very flammable.  Since my truck was running at about 185 degrees, I thought I would try to eliminate that ignition source as soon as possible!!  After looking around for about 5 minutes, I found the problem.  A fuel line going from my fuel filter assembly to my engine block was broken.  I had to get towed back to Waco. 

 I will get you guys pictures soon.  I'm acutally writing this in a big hurry. 

My routine is changing!!  I am going to Midlothian for the rest of the week!  I heard that the steel mill is paying better for shredder material, so we will be taking it there for a while.  I'm actually loading up my wife & baby girl and they are going with me!  My wife's family lives in Midlothian, so they are taking a ride to go visit family for a few days.  So, we're getting all packed & ready to go!!

I hope you guys had a great weekend!!  I'll get you more pictures up very soon!!  --Mr. Walker