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John Pettitt holding the “Ryder Cup” 1985

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East Coast

I Went to Cape Girardeau on Friday morning and took the car test. The State Troopers Dept conducted this test. I was back in Sikeston by mid-day and spent the whole afternoon taking the three elements to the CDL practical test. The first one was to carry out a Pre-Trip examination of the vehicle. There are 105 items, which have to be pointed out to the examiner and the test takes at least 45 minutes to complete. Then there was the driving test itself. This lasted about 45 minutes, and covered a variety of roads, from Interstate, in town and narrow country roads. I enjoyed the drive very much, and on returning to the test centre completed the skills test by doing a variety of reversing manoeuvres around a series of cones. Finally, I was given the PASS slip, which I can now change for a proper CDL on Monday, as it is now too late to get to the Licence Dept.

Monday 3rd June went to collect my driving licence, and then I went back to the yard to sort out the truck. It needed a bed, a Qualcomm and an emergency set. At 1700 hrs went to load Ice Cream at the Breyers Good Humor Factory in Sikeston. I fuelled up at Keller’s Truck Stop and then set out for Virginia, stopping for the night at Clarkesville TN.

Tuesday 4th June started brightly enough, but pleasant feeling was not to last. I developed a bulge on one of my trailer rears and when it finally blew I had to call out the tyre fitter from a local company in Straw Plains who fixed it for me, but also charged me $130. Even by UK standards, I felt this was a bit steep. Tyre fixed it was time to push on, this I did and covered the remaining 500 miles to Sandston VA. I arrived about 2330 hrs, so low on fuel, that I had to put in $40 worth to get me to the destination.

Wednesday 5th June saw me booking in the load at 0600 hrs. I was told to park and wait to find out whether I would be loading there. Finally I parked on the dock and was unloaded and reloaded by two o’clock in the afternoon. I had Ice Cream again for Kroger in Columbus OH. Weighed and fuelled at the Flying J in Carmel and then made way to Columbus OH, stopping for the night at St. Albans WV.

Thursday 6th June I left St. Albans and after a three-hour drive pulled into Kroger’s. They put me on the dock immediately. Then I had to negotiate with the lumper, finally settling on a fee of $65 for unloading the trailer. One hour later, I was empty. Called into Dispatch saying that I was empty, but the reply on the Qualcomm said for me to stay put, as no load at present.

I requested that both the truck and I needed fuelling, so I sent a request to move to a truck stop. I cannot believe the reply, deadheaded 217 miles to Warren IN. I arrived at Crazy D’s Truck stop in Warren IN. after a four-hour drive on mainly state roads. It was a very pleasant drive for a change. I had a good meal of Vegetable Soup, Liver and onions, baked jacket potato, peas, roll and butter and coffee all for $7.25. I thought this to be amazing value.

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