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Rolling Bombs; Summertime Blues; Uncompensated Downtime; Drug Test Fiasco

Rolling Bombs; Summertime Blues; Uncompensated Downtime; Drug Test Fiasco

Old Jul 28, 16, 12:59 am
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Rolling Bombs; Summertime Blues; Uncompensated Downtime; Drug Test Fiasco

Tour of Duty 27th June 2016 to 16th July 2016
Part I: 27th June to 29th June



After being home longer than intended I got word of a trip from Gretna, VA to Gardiner, NY. LYH is the closest airport but an air ticket there usually costs a small fortune so it is usually more economical to fly into CLT or RDU and take a rental car to Virginia. In this case it was cheaper to fly to RDU. An air ticket was booked and there was not enough notice to get Super Shuttle so I hired a taxi to go to LAX and was glad the fare was under 100$.

I checked in and checked my bags which weighed 38.5 and 42lbs. Afterward I cleared security after a queue and did not opt out due to time constraints. Time from arrival to clear of security was 45 minutes.

Southwest #2025 LAX-MDW B-737-700 Boarding Pass B2 A-List
Seat 22F Cruising altitude 39,000 feet Estimated flying time 3:25, actual 3:26
Depart: Gate 11B Scheduled 12h15, actual 12h38 Taxi: 6 minutes
Arrive: Gate B25 Scheduled 18h10, actual 18h15 Taxi: 3 minutes


We boarded via jetway. The plane was full with all 143 seats taken. It was announced it was 88F at MDW. There was an issue with an overhead bin that would not close properly so departure was delayed until the bin was emptied and taped shut.

Pushback was 23 minutes late and takeoff was to the west. We went into and over the edge of the Marine Layer in a matter of seconds. I saw the Santa Monica Mountains over the clouds then we turned left at 0:03 and circled around. We made landfall over El Segundo at 0:05. I saw the end of the Marine Layer just offshore and I saw Manhattan Beach.

I saw part of the LA Basin but not downtown Los Angeles. I saw Montebello at 0:08 then Rose Hills and Whittier Narrows then Irwindale and San Dimas. Then we went over the San Gabriel Mountains and I saw part of the Inland Empire to the distance. I saw the Cajon Pass, Hesperia, Apple Valley then clouds blocked the view below at 0:18.

The clouds broke some and I saw Interstate 40 at 0:24 and seatbelt sign went off at 0:25 upon reaching cruise and I saw Baker, CA at the same time. I saw Mountain Pass, CA at 0:28 then Primm, NV and the solar panels that are on the California side at 0:30.

I got Cheese Nips and Wheat Thins at 0:36. I saw part of the Grand Canyon or Virgin River Gorge (not sure which) at 0:41. I saw the Grand Canyon for sure at 0:43. At 0:51 I got cup of soda and I saw the Little Colorado River. I saw Page, AZ, Glen Canyon Dam and part of Lake Powell at 0:56.

At 1:10 I got second cup of soda and at 1:24 I got 2 more bags of Cheese Nips. I saw the Rocky Mountains then I used the washroom. At 1:38 I saw Colorado Springs, CO and COS. At 1:44 we crossed Interstate 70 and I saw Limon, CO.

I dozed off for awhile. At 2:31 we crossed the Missouri River and I saw Interstate 29 unsure of location. Then I felt bumps from nearby storms. Seatbelt sign went on at 2:31. I got water at 2:45 and the clouds blocked the view below. I thought I felt descent at 2:52. At 2:55 I thought we crossed Interstate 74 and saw what looked like Peoria, IL to the distance.

We crossed the Mississippi River at 2:56 and descent was announced at the same time. It was announced it was 90F with low humidity and winds out of the north northwest at MDW. At 3:08 we crossed the Illinois River and at 3:10 we crossed Interstate 39. At 3:11 I saw what may have been Streator, IL and at 3:16 I saw Interstate 80 and Morris, IL.

I saw junction of Interstate 55 and 80 at 3:18 then Joilet, IL at 3:19. We crossed Interstate 355 at 3:20 and I saw Interstate 294 Tri-State Tollway at 3:24. We landed to the northeast and arrived at gate 5 minutes late and deplaned via jetway.

As there was plenty of time before the next flight I went to Potbellys to get evening rations before heading to the gate.

Southwest #1884 MDW-RDU B-737-700 Boarding Pass B57 A-List
Seat 22A Cruising altitude 39,000 feet Estimated flying time 1:25, actual 1:23
Depart: Gate B24 Scheduled 20h20, actual 20h21 Taxi: 10 minutes
Arrive: Gate A7 Scheduled 23h10, actual 22h59 Taxi: 4 minutes
Reclaim checked bags 20 minutes after arrival


We boarded via jetway. The plane was mostly but not totally full. It was announced it was cloudy and 82F with winds out of the south at RDU. Pushback was 1 minute late. Takeoff was to the west followed by a right turn and we circled right to head south. I saw an Illinois sunset then as we circled saw downtown Chicago to the distance followed by the bottom of Lake Michigan and Hammond and Gary, Indiana. I saw the South Holland Oasis on the Tri-State Tollway. We followed Interstate 65 for awhile.

At 0:12 I saw the lights of Lafayette, IN and at 0:20 I saw the lights of the Indianapolis area but not downtown. Seatbelt sign came off at 0:24 and I got pretzels at the same time. I saw the lights of Cincinnati at 0:30. I got cup of soda at 0:53 and felt descent begin at the same time. At 0:57 seatbelt sign went on and descent was announced. We landed north to south and arrived at gate 11 minutes early. We deplaned via jetway.

After I got my bags I got shuttle to Rental Car place. Unfortunately there were no luggage carts available at Enterprise Rent A Car RDU. After I got the rental car I went to Sheetz then found a hotel and spent night in Morrisville, NC.

Tuesday morning it was raining when I woke up and heavy rain at times hindered my progress. In addition, I had to phone the company to resolve a problem with my fuel card. It seems that someone blocked my fuel card probably by accident. The rain was heavy enough at one point I exited the Interstate and had midday rations and by the time I was finished the rain let up and I proceeded. I made it to the shipper where I loaded my gear into the truck and did the Safety Inspection. The shipper was upset that I did not arrive earlier as the truck was behind schedule. Afterward I stopped at a filling station in Altavista, VA and filled the tank for 1.999$ per gallon. Then I turned in the rental car and got a ride back to the shipper.

Trip: Gretna, VA to Gardiner, NY 540 miles
Make: 2016 Freightliner
Model: Tank Truck Placarded UN1075 Liquified Petroleum Gas/Propane
Transmission: Automatic
Route: US29 (including Jerry Falwell Parkway) to Virginia 6 to Virginia 151 to US250 to Interstate 64 to Interstate 81 to Interstate 84 to New York 17K to New York 300 to US44
Highest elevation: 1,850 feet at Rockfish Gap US250 near Waynesboro, VA
Highest diesel price USA: 2.799$ per gallon at Pilot Newburgh, NY
Lowest diesel price USA: 2.199$ per gallon at Goldys Rustburg, VA


Before I left the shipper I detected some damage on a mirror so I notated that and had an employee at the shipper sign to acknowledge. I got rolling and stopped to take on fuel. Parts of US29 got crooked farther north as well as Virginia 6 and 151 so I did not make good time. I had late evening rations at Sheetz in Mt. Jackson, VA. There was construction and a traffic jam north of Toms Brook, VA on Interstate 81. I ended up spending the night in Martinsburg, WV.

Wednesday was a nice day. I stopped in Hagerstown, MD to take on fuel. I talked to the receiver and made arrangements for an after hours drop. I crossed the Mason-Dixon Line into Pennsylvania. There was construction on Interstate 81 around Pine Grove, PA as well as Pittston/Scranton, PA. I stopped in Montgomery, NY to get hotel room and dropped off as much of my gear as possible then stopped in Newburgh, NY to take on a few gallons of fuel to ensure the level was at least a quarter tank. I made midnight drop and phoned up a taxi which took me back to hotel then I spent the night in Montgomery, NY.
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Old Jul 28, 16, 4:04 am
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Tour of Duty 27th June 2016 to 16th July 2016
Part II: 30th June to 7th July


Thursday 30th of June I awoke in Montgomery, New York. The company rented me a car from SWF Stewart International Airport near Newburgh, NY to CAK Akron/Canton Airport in Ohio. It would have cost 175$ extra to rent me a car to New Philadelphia. I got in the car and got midday rations then headed west on Interstate 84. Then I caught the 81 south in Scranton and the 80 west near Hazleton. There were traffic jams in the Scranton area due at least in part to construction then more delays near Strattanville, PA. I almost ran into a raccoon near Grove City, PA on the 80. I saw signs for upcoming construction in Mercer County so I opted to take US19 south. I stopped briefly to take nighttime pictures of the Iron Bridge Inn in Mercer then continued and headed west on Pennsylvania 208 to Pennsylvania 18 to Interstate 376 to Pennsylvania 760 back to Pennsylvania 18 and made it to hotel and spent night in Hermitage, PA.

Friday 1st of July there was some rain when I first started and I took on fuel for the rental car then headed back south on Pennsylvania 18, 760 and Interstate 376 then west on Pennsylvania 208 which ran into US422 at the Ohio state line. I continued west on US422 to Ohio 193 to Interstate 680 back to Interstate 80 and avoided some construction on Interstate 80 in the Youngstown area. I continued onto Interstate 76 and south on the 77 to a filling station then I proceeded to CAK where I turned the car in. I was in a rush to get a taxi as I heard the shipper wanted to close early for the long weekend. The taxi driver exceeded the speed limit much of the time and I arrived at the shipper in time to get the truck.

Trip: New Philadelphia, OH to Troy, IL 521 miles
Make: Western Star
Model: Cement Mixer
Transmission: Standard 9-speed
Route: Ohio 259 to US250 to Ohio 800 to Ohio 416 to Ohio 39 to Interstate 77 to Interstate 70 to Interstate 465 to Interstate 70 to Interstate 270 to Interstate 70 to Interstate 55, with some detours off Interstate 70 onto US40
Highest elevation: unknown
Highest diesel price USA: 2.499$ per gallon at Pilot Cambridge, OH
Lowest diesel price USA: 2.359$ per gallon at Eagle New Philadelphia, OH


I got the truck and it started to rain. I had to take a detour because of a road closure. I stopped at Sheetz to eat and there was a brief downpour. I saw some fireflies near Zanesville, OH around dusk. I spent the night in Reynoldsburg, OH.

Saturday I continued west. It was dry most of the day. I stopped to eat in London, OH then made pit stops in New Paris, OH and Greenfield, IN. I took on fuel in Indianapolis then continued west and spent the night in Brazil, IN.

Sunday it was raining when I woke up. I drove to church and was able to park the truck at Calvary Baptist Church Brazil, IN and I attended the morning service there. It rained almost all day, mostly light to moderate but some heavy showers between Brazil and Terre Haute, IN. I used US40 to detour around some construction on Interstate 70. I did the same thing later on in Illinois. I stopped to eat in Effingham, IL then spent the night in Pontoon Beach, IL.

Monday was the 4th of July, the Independence Day holiday in the USA. This trip lasted longer than usual because I contacted the receiver and was told that I could drop the truck on the weekend but it would not be checked in until Tuesday, after the holiday and the receiver would not be responsible if anything happened until the truck was checked in. I opted to keep custody of the truck because if I dropped it off and the receiver made allegations that there was damage I would have no meaningful way to refute it and would be considered culpable. As a result I had some uncompensated downtime. There was some rain in the afternoon but not near as much as on Sunday. I stopped at the Flying J Truckstop and did laundry then I proceeded to motel in Troy where I checked in. I had evening rations at Cracker Barrel. I spent the night in Troy, IL.

Tuesday I dropped off the truck and it was checked in with no damage. Then I waited for Enterprise to pick me up and I got into a rental car headed for MCI. I was told I would be staying at the company I was contracting with to do hazmat trucks but transfer to a sister company for non-hazmat trucks. I stopped in St-Charles, MO to take some pictures then made a detour to Jefferson City to take more pictures before proceeding back to the 70. In St-Charles it was 95F and the humidity was such it felt absolutely oppressive. I took on fuel for the rental car in Boonville, MO and unleaded was 1.899$ per gallon. I spent the night in North Kansas City, MO.

Wednesday morning I headed to the sister company in North Kansas City. I was told I would need to do a pre-employment drug test. I was given the name and address of the clinic and thought it would not be a big deal, I'd be in and out then head to MCI to turn in the rental car. However I was unable to provide a big enough specimen the first attempt as I needed to provide 45ml and fell a little shy of that. So I was given a cup of water and told to wait a half hour then another cup of water and waited more and tried again and provided a smaller sample. I could not just leave the facility as to do so before the test was complete would constitute a refusal to test. So I was going to be late in turning in the car. If I was unable to provide a big enough sample no later than three hours after my first attempt the test would stop and I would be told to get medically examined and if there was no medical cause for "shy bladder" then failure to provide a large enough sample would be considered a refusal to test which is the legal equivalent of a positive drug test with all the consequences. So it is possible to be clean and drug-free and still fail a drug test. Finally I tried again and third time was the charm. Not only did I provide more than enough for the sample, I had to go frequently for sometime thereafter. I turned in the rental car late and got transport back to the company for more orientation. My application was updated then I started on paperwork before being taken to hotel and I spent another night in North Kansas City, MO.

Thursday morning I was awakened by a thunderstorm, this time more intense. The storm was over by the time I was ready to check out. I went back to headquarters and saw some safety films and did quizzes and filled out more paperwork. I got midday rations at Smokin Guns BBQ then was issued a binder with another transporter licence plate and other items I needed to operate. Then I got transport back to MCI where I got in a rental car bound for Alexandria, MN. I stopped in Council Bluffs, IA to take pictures then ate in Sioux City, IA and finally after a taste of a higher speed limit, spent the night in Sioux Falls, SD.

Last edited by Loose Cannon; Jul 29, 16 at 2:44 am
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Old Jul 29, 16, 2:26 am
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Tour of Duty 27th June 2016 to 16th July 2016
Part III: 8th July to 16th July


Friday the 8th of July I awoke to a clear but warm day in Sioux Falls, SD. I got on Interstate 29 north and it was not long before the speed limit changed to 80mph. I maintained 80mph much of the way on Interstate 29 except for a construction zone where the limit was 65mph. I stopped in Milbank, SD and took some pictures of that town then it was not long before I crossed into Minnesota. I made it to Alexandria and after visiting a filling station I made it to turn in the rental car with six minutes before the place was to close for the weekend. I phoned up a taxi and soon the taxi came and about an hour and 100$ later I arrived at the shipper for an after hours pickup. I loaded my gear into the truck and did the usual Safety Inspection.

Trip: Morris, MN to Kearney, NE 475 miles
Make: 2017 Kenworth
Model: Tank Truck Placarded UN1075 Propane/LPG
Transmission: Automatic
Route: Minnesota 9 to US59 to US12 to Interstate 29 to South Dakota 50 to US81 to Nebraska 22 to Nebraska 39 to US30 to US281 to Interstate 80 to Nebraska 44 to US30
Highest elevation: unknown but Kearney, NE is at least 2,000 feet
Highest diesel price USA: 2.539$ per gallon at Flying J Sioux Falls, SD
Lowest diesel price USA: 2.329$ per gallon at BP Morris, MN
Permits required: MN, SD and NE Trip Permits


Because of the residual amount of propane in the tank this truck had to be placarded as propane is considered to be hazardous materials or hazmat. Because of the residual amount there is also a lot of fumes and vapours in the tank so this could be considered to be a rolling bomb. This was the second of three rolling bombs I transported this tour of duty.

I got started and took two-lane roads much of the trip. The sun did not set until about 21h15 Central Time. I stopped in Milbank, SD for evening rations then headed toward Summit where I caught southbound Interstate 29. I made it to hotel and spent night in Watertown, SD.

Saturday I waited to get through on the phone to order South Dakota Trip Permit as the weigh scale on US12 outside Milbank was closed. Finally I got the permit faxed to the truckstop I was at then I had midday rations before proceeding. I stopped in Sioux Falls to take on fuel then proceeded and exited at South Dakota Highway 50 and headed west and took the bypass around Vermillion then made it to hotel where I checked in. I had evening rations at the neighbouring hotel restaurant. I saw some fireflies around dusk while I was shutting down. I spent the night in Yankton, SD.

Sunday I was picked up and taken to Antioch Baptist Church for Sunday School and Sunday Morning service. The topic for Sunday School was First John 2:15-17 and Sunday Morning service was First John 3:1-3. Afterward I was able to take some pictures of downtown before being taken back to the truck. I proceeded and crossed the bridge over the Missouri River into Nebraska. It was windy and hot with temperatures in the mid to high 90'sF or about 35C give or take. I continued on mostly two-lane road with some four lane until I hit Interstate 80 near Grand Island. I continued west on the 80 to hotel around sunset. I had evening rations and spent the night in Kearney, NE.

Monday was another hot and windy day. I was unable to get a hold of the receiver by phone to clarify directions until it dawned on me that there was a possible typographical error on the area code. That was indeed the case as when I used the local area code instead of what I thought might be a new area code, the call went through and I was in contact with the receiver who gave me directions. I proceeded the short distance to the receiver and made delivery. I waited for the rental car company to pick me up then got into a rental car bound for Kansas City, MO. I took some pictures of Kearney, Grand Island and Lincoln, NE and the wind diminished as I headed east. I took Nebraska 2 and there was some construction on that highway and crossed the Missouri River into Iowa. I made a pit stop to eat in Percival, IA and another stop to take on some fuel in St-Joseph, MO. I spent the night in North Kansas City, MO.

Very early Tuesday morning during the small hours I was awakened by a thunderstorm that was quite intense. I thought there might be hail but that was not the case though I heard some areas had flash flood warnings. I headed to the shipper which is now on the Kansas side and after some confusion I checked in and loaded my gear into the truck and did the Safety Inspection but the person who was to sign was not available at the time so I turned in the rental car on the Missouri side and got a ride back to the truck.

Trip: Kansas City, KS to Cypress, TX 790 miles
Make: 2017 Kenworth
Model: Tank Truck Placarded UN1203 Diesel Fuel
Transmission: Standard 13-speed
Route: Kansas 32 to Turner Diagonal to Interstate 70 to Interstate 435 to Interstate 35 (including Kansas Turnpike) to Interstate 35W to Interstate 820 to Interstate 20 to Interstate 35W to Interstate 35 to US77 Business to Texas 6 to US290
Highest elevation: unknown but Wichita, KS is listed at 1,300 feet
Highest diesel price USA: 2.299$ per gallon at Flying J Ardmore, OK
Lowest diesel price USA: 2.159$ per gallon at Flying J Edmond, OK


When I got back to the truck I was able to get it signed off then I proceeded to the Pilot to take on fuel. I continued and stopped in Ottawa, KS for evening rations. I continued after that and after I was on the Turnpike there were issues with the windows fogging up due to extremely high humidity outside. I spent the night in Andover, KS.

Wednesday I was fighting off a bug much of the day and that slowed my progress some. It was hot with temperatures well into the 90'sF. I went through the rest of Kansas, Oklahoma and spent the night in Gainesville, TX.

Thursday I got word the customer was looking for the truck. After I was ready to roll I contacted the customer, told him where I was and made arrangements for delivery. The customer talked me out of taking Interstate 45 into the Houston area. I had to go around Fort Worth on the 820 and 20 rather than stay on the 35W as the truck was placarded. I made a pit stop and got a quick bite in Hillsboro, TX then discovered a BBQ place a little south of Hillsboro that I will have to keep in mind for next time I am in the area. I stopped in Hearne, TX for a pit stop and got a BBQ sandwich from a stand across the street. The speed limit on Texas 6 was 75mph in some areas but dropped to 65mph when I entered Waller County. I phoned up my ride when I stopped in Waller to cut down on the wait time. My smartphone navigated me through a nice residential area and arrived at the receiver. I made a twilight delivery and my ride came to take me to hotel by HOU Hobby Airport. I spent the night in Houston, TX.

Friday I was in contact with dispatch and there was the possibility of a trip from Oklahoma City, OK to Bloomfield, NM (near Farmington) but that fell through and during that time the cheap flight to LAX disappeared leaving me with flights departing that day costing almost 600$. It was more economical to stay another night at hotel and fly out the next afternoon as that flight was 239$. I checked back in then at dusk took the shuttle to HOU where I caught the Route 73 Bus to the Light Rail Station and caught the Light Rail to downtown where I walked around some, took a few nighttime pictures of downtown Houston and had evening rations at Pappas BBQ. Then I used the same public transit in reverse to get back to HOU where I caught shuttle back to the hotel. I spent the night in Houston, TX.

Saturday I had a late checkout then caught the shuttle to HOU. I checked in and checked my bags which weighed 43.5 and 40lbs. I had midday rations at Pappas BBQ at the airport before clearing security. I opted out and was patted down. My boot bag was examined rather thoroughly. I headed to the new gates to wait for my flight.

Southwest #5064 HOU-LAX B-737-800 Boarding Pass A55
Seat 28A Cruising altitude not announced. Estimated flying time 2:55, actual 2:52
Depart: Gate 4 Scheduled 16h40, actual 16h47 Taxi: 8 minutes
Arrive: Gate 14 Scheduled 18h00, actual 17h56 Taxi: 9 minutes
Reclaim checked bags 39-42 minutes after arrival


We boarded via jetway and the plane was nearly full with a load of 172/175 plus a crew of six. It was announced it was 72F at LAX. Pushback was 7 minutes late and takeoff was to the west. At 0:03 I saw what may have been a power plant where I delivered a truck last year in Thompsons, TX. At 0:05 I saw US59/future Interstate 69 and Rosenberg, TX. At 0:08 I saw the Brazos River and Sealy, TX and there were some clouds building in the area. I saw what looked to be US290 then at 0:20 I saw new toll roads then we crossed Interstate 35 and I saw the south side of Austin, TX at 0:21. At 0:30 I got Cheese Nips and at 0:32 I got 2 bags of pretzels. At 0:40 I saw Interstate 10 and Sonora, TX. At 0:44 I saw Ozona, TX and at 0:50 I got cup of soda. At 0:52 it appeared we crossed the Pecos River.

At 1:01 we crossed Interstate 20 somewhere west of Pecos, TX and the view below was partially blocked by clouds. The seatbelt sign finally came off at 1:08 over far west Texas. I saw the east side of El Paso, Loop 375, the Rio Grande and Juarez, Old Mexico at 1:18. I then saw downtown El Paso and the Sun Bowl. Seatbelt sign went back on at 1:25. At 1:39 I saw Interstate 10, the Arizona Port of Entry and San Simon, AZ. At 1:40 I saw Willcox, AZ and at 1:55 I saw Casa Grande, AZ. At 2:01 I got second cup of soda. Seatbelt sign went off at 2:15. At 2:17 we crossed the Colorado River into California airspace north of Blythe, CA.

I thought I felt descent at 2:20 and at 2:22 I saw California Highway 177 and Desert Center to the distance. At 2:25 I saw the Salton Sea. At 2:27 I felt bump and seatbelt sign went on. I saw PSP at 2:31 and Cabazon and the Morongo Casino at 2:33. I saw Hemet/San Jacinto and Diamond Valley Lake at 2:34 directly over Banning, CA. I saw Lake Perris at 2:36 and we crossed Interstate 215 and I saw March AFB at 2:37. I saw Lake Mathews at 2:39 and we crossed Interstate 15 over Norco at 2:40 and I saw California 91. We crossed California 57 over Diamond Bar at 2:44. We crossed Interstate 605 and I saw the interchange with the 5 at 2:47 over Downey. We crossed Interstate 710 at 2:48 and we crossed the 110 at 2:49. We crossed Interstate 405 and I saw The Proud Bird restaurant at 2:51. We landed east to west and arrived at gate 4 minutes early. We deplaned via jetway. There was a long wait for my checked baggage then I took a shuttle home to end this tour of duty.

Last edited by Loose Cannon; Jul 29, 16 at 3:37 am
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Old Aug 3, 16, 3:32 pm
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Your attention to detail is amazing!

Nice report.
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Old Aug 3, 16, 3:50 pm
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Originally Posted by SCEflyer View Post
Your attention to detail is amazing!

Nice report.
Indeed. Fascinating read.
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Old Aug 5, 16, 1:53 pm
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Next up is rental car LGB to BFL then a trip from Bakersfield, California to Alvarado, Texas 1,450 miles
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Old Aug 6, 16, 8:22 am
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Where did you stay and eat in Kearney? We could have had a meet-up if I knew you was in town and had time to spare.
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Old Aug 12, 16, 5:36 am
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I stayed at the Super 8. I ate at some sort of steakhouse within walking distance.
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Old Aug 13, 16, 6:18 pm
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You ate at Whiskey Creek. Hope you enjoyed your brief visit in my area.
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Old Aug 14, 16, 1:46 am
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It was hot and windy but I guess that is better than snow and ice.
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