October 9, 2008

One of THOSE Days

Its been one of THOSE days...you know...the kind where it seems like everything keeps going wrong.
Well that was yesterday...and it started early.
Here's the deal.
We were on a load of cattle coming out of Nevada and going to Nebraska. Malcolm was driving, and it was like around 11:00pm or so. We were trying to hurry because as soon as we delivered the cows in Nebraska, we had to high tail it over to Wyoming to get another load, and as it was we were going to be there after everyone else anyway.
After crossing into Nebraska, maybe just 10 miles in or so, BAM! Blew a trailer tire. The big discouragment wasn't so much that it was the third trailer tire we've blown in as many weeks, but that we had to limp along at 60 mph to Ogallala to get it fixed, and that took two hours, so we were way behind.
Got the cows dumped off in Farnum, and hit the road for the Wyoming load. We were supposed to be there by noon, and miraculously pulled in at 12:15. The other trucks were gone already, and our cows were standing there in the corrals waiting, but the cowhands had gone to lunch and we couldn't leave without brand papers, etc. So we sat around for about 45 min. and then they showed up and we loaded.
At this point I went to bed to rest until Malcolm got out of the hills. I should have been asleep sooner, but it was so pretty to run down in there. It was back in the Medicine Bow National Forest southwest of Laramie, and it was mountainous, and the Aspen's are golden and it was a bright blue sky day....just beautiful. So I took in scenery on the way in, and slept on the way out.
I woke up about an hour later, thinking it was kind of stuffy in there, so I turned down the air...but it wouldn't get cooler. Then I heard it....an alarm going off up front. With a sense of dread I unzipped the curtain and asked what was going on.
As it turned out, our fan clutch and bearings (sp?) had gone out. For those of you who, like me, are unmechanically minded, what this means it that the fan isn't working, so the engine isn't able to cool itself. This is NOT the optimal situation when your trying to climb mountains! We found a pullout and stopped to look at it. The fan had completly fallen off its...well whatever it sits on. Malcolm put it back on and did some things....and we ended up breaking the belt trying to get it going. So we decided to see how far we could go. A few miles down the road we were overheating again badly, so we pulled off to let it cool. A few more stops like this and Malcolm had decided it wasn't working. Added to the overheating issue was that without the fan, the truck wasn't keeping the batteries charged, and so everytime we stopped and shut the truck off to cool, it a little more sluggish in starting again. If the batteries went dead, we'd be dead, and we were putting to much of a strain on the engine from overheating.
After calling Kenworth in Cheyenne and being told they could fix it if we got there before 9:00pm, he called the wrecker service they recommended, only to be told it would cost...ready for this....$1150.00 to tow us to Cheyenne. That was just the tow bill. Then he called a service truck to see if we could be fixed on the road, but the mechanic was going to charge $700.00 just to drive out there too, without parts and labor added in.
Steve, the guy who gets us the loads, was calling around in Laramie trying to find someone to fix the truck there. If there had been corrals somewhere where we could have dumped off the cows, we could have gotten out easily. It was their weight that was causing us to have such trouble. Anyway, Malcolm decided to try to run with our APU (generator for AC/Heat when we're parked) turned on, because it cycles the water through the engine too to keep itself cool. As it turned out we were able to limp our way out of there, stopping every few miles to shut it off and let it cool. I'm sure by this point the cows were thinking this was the strangest tourbus they'd ever been on, as their guides were stopping every mile or so, but the scenery didn't appear to be changing.
FINALLY....hours later....we crested the last hill and coasted down into Laramie, where there was NO ONE to fix the truck. We still had to go to Cheyenne, 50 miles away, and over the biggest hill yet.
And it just wouldn't do it! We tryed, oh how we tryed, but it was just too much and we were getting WAY too hot for safety. So, the tow truck got some business after all. Let me tell you, that is a strange feeling, to sit in the truck and going down the road (or rather up) and not being the one driving the vehicle. We just had the guy tow us to the top of the hill....three miles exactly, and it cost $345.00.
Ah, but the sweet feeling of having power to drive (because a safety feature of the truck is that when it overheats it cuts the power to the truck), and just moving forward at a decent rate of speed, something you can't do going up hill, kept the temperature down towards normal. We rolled into Cheyenne at 9:15pm, and the shop pulled us right in. I went to sleep and Malcolm went to get something to eat, and two hours later (and another $1727.00) we were on the road and all fixed up.
So....delivered this morning at 4:00am in central Nebraska, and surprisingly Steve still wanted us in Lysite, WY to load this morning, which is 10 miles away. Moral is a little low this morning as we comtimplate the moola that was disposed of last night, but feeling good too, because its fixed and we figure we're the foruntate ones.
A guy we know with the same truck as ours, same year, and a little less miles, is sitting in Rapid City with his engine pulled out of the truck and in pieces, and a bill for more than $9000.00.
We were lucky!


Meagan said...

What a day! I hate days when one thing after another goes wrong and you just don't feel like you can catch a break!

Hope the weekend's better!!!

Sarah said...

Yeah, no kidding. Yesterday I had breakfast, and about three hours of sleep. Today I've had breakfast and just had some soup, and about two hours of sleep. I'm having an aweful time sleeping for some reason lately, not for lack of opportunity. I just lay down, and then nothing happens, even though I'm tired.

jenni said...

yuk, a really bad day. hope everything has been much better since.