April 2001

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I was bummed and disappointed when I was offered and under a southern California load but got switched out.  A driver needed to be home for an emergency, so instead of Southern Cal, I went to New Jersey.  

 

The load was heavy and I could barely scale it out legally... but after a bit of sliding, I got it as close as it was going to get.

 

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Yes, I have to admit, I was rather proud of this scale ticket....

It doesn't happen like this all that often.

 

Do you know what they mean by this???

 

 

MM56, I80, IL

 

 

 

THANK YOU, Indiana!!!!

I-80/90

 

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A driver's pigsty truck in Youngstown, OH Pilot.  How do people live like this?

 

If you want special and extra attention from the DOT, keeping your truck like this is one way.  If a driver keeps his truck in this condition, what do you suppose his logbook looks like???

 

The driver was a sight to behold as well.  I found it amusing that the driver had time and put forth the effort to fool with a satellite, yet no time to clean the truck.

 

My first drop was in Patterson, NJ and the second (and final) was in Trenton, NJ.  New Jersey limits out of state trucks with 102 wide trailers to the national network ONLY unless they are making local deliveries / pickups.  (The National Network comprises I-78, I-80, I-287, I-295 and most of I-95)    Getting caught on the banned highways - for a first offense will cost you $400, second $700 and a third, $1000.00.   Yikes.  From the latest information that I have, only state police can enforce this ban.  There is impending legislation to overturn this ban, but as far as I know, nothing has changed.  Since I have no desire to pay the state of New Jersey $400.00, I called the NJ State Police to ask them more specifically about a route I was considering taking to my second drop.  No one knew diddly about the law.  They transferred me to the city cops in Patterson, which did no good and they knew nothing either.  They then transferred me to the city cops in New Brunswick, which was about the same as calling Mars.  Not one officer knew squat about this law.  I sighed and decided I'd just take the New Jersey Turnpike to the second drop and avoid the noid.  According to an article in Roadstar Online from August of 2000, at that time New Jersey had written 78 tickets for this, but not one person could tell me any details about the law.  Go figure.

 

Anytime I deliver into the area around Patterson, NJ I always stay the night on the Pennsylvania side.  There is a rest area just inside New Jersey and a T/A truckstop, but finding a parking spot at T/A is impossible and the rest area only a bit better.   This means driving with rush hour into Jersey, but I still prefer it.  In New Jersey, you cannot park anywhere.  It's crazy but if you park on an on-ramp, chances are the police will be all over you in no time.  They'll make you move.  You'll have nowhere to go.

 

Go right to go left!

The New Jersey way of turning left.  First you must turn to the right and go around a left curve.  You then proceed straight across.  This is an attempt to avoid the left turn across traffic -- which many say is the most dangerous turn to make. 

 

You had better watch carefully for the signs like that to the above left because you'll find yourself in the wrong lane at your turn and unable to do anything about it.  Getting turned around can be a nightmare.  In the east, quite often, once you exit an interstate or highway, you cannot just jump right back on and go back the way you came.

 

Trenton, NJ

 

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I unloaded in Trenton, NJ right here in the street. I was paranoid that at any minute a cop would come yell at me for sitting here but I had nowhere else to go.  The receivers were out for lunch so I just sat here.  I got a lot of weird stares but what's new.

 

After unloading in Trenton, NJ I sent in my empty call but nothing came back immediately.  I had to find a place to just sit until I knew where I was going.  Since I definitely could not do that here, I took off and went back the way I came in. 

 

I figured I could steal 5 minutes sitting on a ramp before a cop asked me what I thought I was doing.  Well, I got about 4 minutes. unload_nj.jpg (197221 bytes)

The cop came up to my truck and did what seemingly all law enforcement does when they approach a truck.  He reached out to open my truck's door.  CLACK!  went the handle as it bounced back under his hand.  The door, as always, was locked.  This truck is my home when I am on the road and I don't allow anyone to just walk into my home.  He said he wanted to see my hands so I held them up and then opened the door.  I don't mind opening the door, don't get me wrong, but ask me -- don't just open it.  He was a city cop and I doubt that he can do that without reasonable suspicion. 

 

Anyway, he really was a nice enough guy and he didn't read me the riot act -- he just told me to move it.  I went on down to Bordentown, NJ.

 

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Bordentown, NJ Petro Truckstop

 

Okay, just what kind of parking job is THIS supposed to be?

The two trucks shown here side by side were the same company.  The two drivers switched out loads.  When the driver got under the trailer that is sideways in the parking spot, the first thing she did was to pull it up and straighten it out. 

 

 

Bordentown Township has an anti-idling law.  You are not supposed to idle your truck at all.  Of course, no one pays attention to this law and apparently no one enforces it, either.  That's a good thing.  I'd like to ask the people who come up with such laws how they would feel if I went into their home and turned off their furnace or central air conditioning.  I don't think they'd be very receptive.  Some drivers idle their trucks all day, every day, no matter what the temperature is.  This is a waste.  If it is a nice day I do not run the truck.  If it is freezing or blazing, though, the truck is most certainly running.

 

My reload wouldn't load until the next day so I settled in at Bordentown.  It is a very nice truckstop, but charges a $10.00 parking fee.  I got a good night's sleep and loaded out of Lakeview, NJ the next morning.

The load went to Crete, NE.  It came off fast and I deadheaded back to Council Bluffs, IA and called it a week.

 

This week I'm headed to Tracy, CA.  I need a trip out west to clear my thoughts and pull my attitude back together.  There's something about the clean mountain air and long, open roads that do that for me. 

 

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Beautiful country outside of Salt Lake City on I-84.

My "X" Rated Easter Experience Outside of Salt Lake on I-215.

 

I hesitate to tell this story.  Up until now, this journal has been clean enough for a kindergartner to read and I think this is a good thing.  On the other hand, the whole point of this journal has been to give a person a realistic and true look at life on the road.

 

I was minding my own business driving along on a 4-lane stretch of I-215 outside of Salt Lake City, UT when I caught the attention of a wienie wagger.  It wasn't the first time, but I can only hope it will be the last.  I looked down to my left to see a male in a car, wearing a T-shirt, a smile and nothing more.  He was ... uh ... busy.  I immediately told him, in that all-American way, that he was #1.  His smile instantly turned into a look of disappointment that I wasn't enjoying his little Easter Sunday show at 70 MPH.  I lost my professionalism for the next few moments (I'm not at all proud of that.).  He slowed dramatically and I cut him off.  He then decided to move far away from me and went to Lane #4 - the farthest lane left.  He slowed even more and I didn't see him again. 

 

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CA 99.  It sounds dumb, but one of my favorite things about California is the Palm Trees.  As a Midwesterner, I don't see them much!

I made my delivery in Tracy, CA without incident but my reload in Selma, CA wouldn't load until the next day.  I went to Ripon, CA to hang out.

 

When I woke the next morning, there were people with cameras all over the truck lot.  They were looking at the fancier trucks in awe and wonder.   They were obviously tourists from another country -- they respected and liked the trucks too much to be Americans.

 

 

Loading in Selma, CA proved to be an all day affair, but finally I was out.  When you are on CA Highway 99 going back east to I-80, depending on where you are, you have two choices of routes.  The dividing point is about Fresno, CA. (or a bit north of there actually).  If you are in Fresno, CA or points north, you should probably go on up CA99 and across I-80.  If you are in Fresno, CA or points south, you should probably go south on CA99, across Tehachapi, (CA58) to I-15 and up to I-80.  The mileage works out nearly the same.  Fresno, CA is the dividing city when it comes to mileage but of course you'd have to consider weather on Donner Pass, etc.

Tehachapi is a hard pull, but so is Donner, so regardless of which way you go to leave California, you'll pull mountains. 

 

The grade on Tehachapi is more than 20 miles total.  There are 4-6% grades spread out over 14 miles.     Camera Shots     More About Tehachapi

 

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Wind turbines on CA 58 on the way to Tehachapi, CA.

 

These turbines are HUGE and there are thousands of them on the hills and ridges.

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After Tehachapi, CA, you run across the Mojave Desert.  It is everything a desert is cracked up to be.... barren, big and actually, very beautiful.

 

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Joshua Tree

These trees are native to the Mojave Desert and look to be part tree, part cactus.

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A beautiful Mojave sunset.

 

Nothing much of consequence happened on the way back home.  My load was going to New Jersey - but my "partner" would take it from Council Bluffs, IA. 

 

On I-15 in Nevada, the DOT was busy.  I rarely see them set up things like this, but today was the day, I guess.  Not that I have anything to hide or worry about, but I was glad it was for the westbound traffic and not the eastbound.

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DOT sting in Nevada on I-15.

 

 

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