05 August 2015

LA to Bakersfield

I was in Los Angeles in heavy traffic on the 605 when I realized my truck navigation had frozen. For how long it was frozen I didn't know. I had no idea how to get north to Bakersfield. I reached for the atlas behind the seat and turned to California and glanced at the map of LA as I moved slowly down the freeway. I thought that by taking the 210 West I could get to the 5, which I knew went to Bakersfield, but I wasn't certain. I called my father and he confirmed it. The 210 West was what I needed. When the 605 broke into the 210 East and West and I made the turn for Pasadena.

On I-5 an hour later the truck computer shut down entirely. A warning flashed on the screen that I must now begin paper logs to record my driving and off duty hours and that I must immediately call technical support in Green Bay. I pulled off at the Flying J at Frazier Park, CA and called tech support and explained the problem. The woman had me unplug and replug the power to the black box underneath my bed. The computer remained frozen. I was told to remain on paper logs until I could come to an operating center and have the computer fixed.

The paper atlas had no city map for Bakersfield. I needed navigation. I went into the truck stop and bought the Rand McNally Truckers GPS, that marvelous instrument that all truck drivers swear by and that I had been planning to purchase. I had been told it was superior to the truck computer navigation and that it also had alerts for coming weigh stations, for construction, for sharp turns and where the road descended steeply in grade. 

I plugged the Rand McNally into the 12 volt socket and entered the destination in Bakersfield. The device spoke to me with a woman's voice, slightly more human sounding than Judith--the woman who speaks from inside my truck computer. The woman inside the Rand McNally announced my first turn with distance and arrival time to my destination in Bakersfield. The screen was small but very specific and there was an ETA given along with many other options. It was an excellent device. I knew where I was and where I was going again. I dug out a paper log book and wrote August 2015 on it and used the ruler to draw in my hours of sleeper berth and on/off duty and driving time.

paper logs as they did it in the old days

With all the delays I did not make Bakersfield until after dark. The woman in receiving said I must sweep out the trailer or face a disciplinary response. I borrowed a broom and with my flashlight swept the trailer clean. Then I dropped the empty in the dark yard and found the full trailer with the number on my bill of lading and coupled to it. I was nearly out of driving time for the day and parked on the street in front of a warehouse near the shipping yard.


Dustin Bradford said...

Every moment accounted for. There is a certain beauty in the uninterrupted line detailing 24 hours of activities at a time, with only four possibilities.

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