Archive for September, 2009

Highway Design

Who the hell is in charge of highway design? What moron decided that not once, not twice, but at least three times I-70 east in Kansas City, Kansas (KCK) has to narrow to a single lane and slow to 35 MPH? Pretty sure this happens to IH-35 north as well.

Then there is getting from I-55 south to I-44 west in St. Louis. Two lanes form the ramp but nothing suggests you need to slow as you make the transition, that is until you are half way through and suddenly a 20 MPH sign shows up. Fortunately I had slowed from 65 to 50 and only had to bring 70,000 lbs. of vehicle down an additional 30 MPH without locking up the tires or flipping over.

The Rest of the Story

So the powers that be decided we should indeed take the paper products to Missouri instead of Oklahoma. As it was a very heavy load we went to a scale to make sure we were legal. Not even close. We did the maximum adjustment of the trailer tandems we could and were still 1,500 lbs. to heavy on the back. Back to the shipper we go. Naturally they were not happy to see us. Once we opened the trailer the problem was obvious. Eighteen pallets of copier paper were loaded at the back while all the napkins and paper towels were at the front. I am sure someone got a stern talking to.

Finally about 12:00 noon we got out of there and by 12:30 were done re-scaling. At this point it was good there were two drivers or the load would not have been delivered on time because of the rules about how many hours you can drive at a time. (The Hours of Service or HOS rules)

We got it delivered to Sam’s and now have a load of goods from Keebler that are ultimately destined for New Jersey but we only have to take them to Ohio.

Paperwork

We got to Georgia-Pacific on time and found our load. After we hooked up I was preparing the message to let HQ know we were heading out when I realized the address on the documents didn’t match were we had been told to take it. I seriously think my mentor was willing to say “screw it” and head out but finally decided it was a good idea to call and check. We are currently waiting instructions. Pretty sure we will be told to take the load to the new destination. I think the root cause of the problem was a typo. Two numbers in the store number were transposed probably pulling the wrong address from a database.

When we did send in the message that we were loaded the computer through up a warning as well telling us to call in so there is definitely a problem.

Sitting Again

So it is the weekend and here we sit. We went from Texas to Chicago, back to Texas and back to Chicago in three days but when they wanted to send us to Maryland the mentor said no and that was it. Tomorrow morning we pick up something from Georgia-Pacific and take it to a Sam’s Club in Oklahoma. After that I bet we go back to Texas.

He and I have very different views on driving as a team. He believes we should both be ready to go all the time but I think we should split the day in half and each be ready for our shift. Of course since we seem to get random loads it us harder to use my plan. Hopeflully when Liz and I are driving it will work out better.

Almost done. On the fifth I should be back in Dallas for my road test and then get a truck.

Ran Out Of Energy

Headed from Dallas to Chicago for the second time in three days. I was supposed to drive 625 miles but ran out of energy way before that. I got us just over half way (464 miles) and my mentor is legal to start driving now. Hopefully he got some sleep. I MUST sleep for several hours.

Weigh Station

Well I had to pull in to my first weigh station and of course it happened at 2:15AM while my mentor is trying to sleep. Fortunately he woke up enough to hear what was going on. They said the weight was fine but I needed to pull around back and bring my paperwork in. Apparently I didn’t move fast enough as before I could get the truck in gear I was told two more times. From the sleeper berth a voice says “Take all the paperwork, your logbook and the permit book.” I did so and went inside. The looked everything over and decided I was OK.

The reason this is the first time is that there is a system called “Pre-pass” that all the big companies use that gets you around the station most of the time. Not sure of the details but basically you promise to keep your trucks legal and a receiver is put in the truck. When you get near a station it sends a signal telling if you need to pull in. Most of the time it says no.

Here We Go Again

The load we had wasn’t scheduled for delivery in Colorado until Thursday so he arranged to drop it in Dallas so we could get something rolling sooner. The problem is there is no freight here and a lot of drivers so we are stuck here instead of rolling to Colorado.

Tried to back up this morning and made a mess of it. Little in the way of advice from the mentor.

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