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John Pettitt holding the “Ryder Cup” 1985

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Houston  TX - Dinuba, California

Thursday 15th August. I pushed on by myself this morning as Richard was only going to Louisiana and did not need to leave early. I stopped for an hours rest as I did not feel well, but the sleep made me feel a little better, so I pushed on to the Flying J at Orange TX. I decided to stay the night here, and get up at 0400 hrs to get to the drop in time. I will book the time to Thursday’s log, as I just did not feel like driving any further today. It was a lousy day with constant heavy rain and the level of concentration required makes one tired.

Friday 16th August. I had no trouble finding the customer, the directions were spot on, and I was quickly put on a dock and the lumpers had me finished by 0900 hrs. I was instructed to go to the nearest Truck Stop and they would move me after lunch. After lunch turned out to be four o’clock in the afternoon and I was instructed to dead head to Ruiz Foods in Dinuba California by noon on Monday. 1800 miles empty is a very long way, but they know what they are doing. Or do they? I immediately set off and covered 640 miles by just after midnight and pulled into a rest area just before Van Horn TX and went to bed.

Saturday 17th August. I started at 0800 hrs this morning, fueled and had a shower at the Flying J in El Paso and then pushed on. Unfortunately I did not get very far because I suddenly felt very faint and dizzy, so had to pull off the road, take one of my Stemetil suppositories and then had a lie down for an hour. I carried on, but still did not feel quite right. It was a long hard day for me today, but I managed to cover 570 miles and stopped for the night just past Phoenix AZ. I should make Dinuba CA without any problems easily by tomorrow night.

Sunday 18th August. I was still suffering from the labrynthitis and needed to take another Stemetil suppository. This seemed to do the trick, and after a fuel stop at Ehrenburg AZ, which is on the State Line with California, I pressed on to Bakersfield CA where I decided to stop for the night. The problem with California is that one can only log at 54 mph so it is not possible to do great mileage in a day. Still, I only have about 80 miles to go, so it will not take long in the morning. I still do not know where I am loading for, but it will probably be for Florida, as there is a very strong Hispanic community there and they eat lots of Mexican food.

Monday 19th August. This was to be my last day driving for Pullen Bros, because after only one hours driving I was forced to park the truck on the side of the 99N, get into another one of Pullen’s trucks driven by Tom (A Florida based driver) and he took me to a hospital in Tulare CA. There I was correctly diagnosed with suffering from an arrhythmia know as ventricular tachycardia. I was very lucky that I had not collapsed, or I would have died.

I was kept in hospital until Thursday, having had the full treatment. I had an echocardiograph, an X-ray at the bedside and then I was taken to another hospital in Visalia CA to have an Angiogram. No angioplasty was required.

Thankfully I have survived, even though Pullen’s left me to my own devices to get home. I think that was pretty disgraceful, as I felt the least they should have done was get me back to Sikeston. I had to get a taxi to my truck, which had been taken to Dinuba CA, pack my suitcase and then carry on to Fresno CA, where I took a flight to Phoenix AZ and then on to St. Louis MO. I had to pay 100 for the taxi, 465 for the flight to St.Louis, and then another 100 to change my ticket to London.

Brian has since telephoned me to let me know that all what I left in the truck has gone missing. This did not surprise me at all and really I am not bothered, because I had written all my stuff off when I had to leave it in Dinuba. Perhaps someone will enjoy using my refrigerator, my CB, my quality bedding and my cooking gear.

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