The people at Coors were wonderful but the process stinks.

As in all businesses there are a wide range of competencies. The larger companies generally being better than the smaller ones. A Hobby Lobby, Target or Walmart distribution center is pretty much a machine. Target not only told us exactly what slot to put the loaded trailer in but what slot our empty was in and the trailer number. Coors, or MillerCoors to be precise, in Golden does not fall in this category.

Before we got there we were warned that the trailer needed to be perfect or it would be rejected so we took it by the terminal in Denver to have it checked. It passed but did need sweeping out. Of course the shop had no broom and ours is in Smithville. I didn’t think this would be too big a deal as anytime I have had to sweep before the shipper had a broom. Oops.

We arrived at Coors, in the dark and missed the first turn we had to make. This was caused by a combination of confusing directions we were given and crappy signage at Coors. Please if you ever have a business with a shipping and receiving department put up large, well lighted signs with short instructions on them. We got turned around and stopped at the first place to open the rear doors and slide the tandems before entering the lot. This is a big deal because manuvering a trailer with the wheels all the way back is harder than all the way forward. Normally we slide the tandems just before we finish docking. Now we have to go to the inspection station which involves backing in to a dock. I pull up and swing back in to the space in one glorious move causing drivers to gaze at me in awe. Well maybe not the last bit but but it really was a pretty move. Of course the trailer needs sweeping out but I can’t do it in the dock and I have to borrow a broom from the guys at the gate. The hand me a normal sweeping broom, not a nice big push broom, and tell me I have to leave the property to sweep. So now I am pulled over on the side of a city street sweeping crap out of the truck on to the ground. If you live in Golden, CO you might want to complain about this but please don’t get the drivers in trouble aim you anger at Coors. Now I have to figure out how to turn around. It looks like other trucks have made U turns here but that is against company policy and it is dark so I can’t really tell how easy it would be. I got lucky and up at the end of the street is a church on the corner with a parking lot that has access on both streets so I use that to turn around and go back for inspection. My approach to the dock is not quite so elegant this time and I even have to abort and start all over. At least we pass this time.

Now it is time to go drop this trailer and pick up our load. Yes all of this was just to drop the empty. We get what seem like straight forward directions, turn left, turn right, go to lot D, find the guard shack. We see lot A and lot B and then Z lot and then lot C. We pass the brewery and nothing about lot D. Finally a yard dog comes buy and sees my confused look and points to a road. We follow it and find lot D. We also find a classmate of Liz who helps us negotiate the lot. No guard shack but an office inside a warehouse. There they tell me lot D is full and I’ll be parking my empty at a loading dock. One right next to the building with curbs around it and it sticks out three feet from the building. Easy if you have the little contraption they use to move trailers around the yard. A little more challenging with a sleeper cab. I finally get it parked and we get our trailer full of “cans and can ends,” Keystone Light cans actually to take to Virginia.

The run was rough because we had barely enough hours to get it there and neither of us sleeps well in this truck when it is moving. The suspension is really bad. We made it with about 30 minutes to spare on a 40 hour run.

The facility in Elkton, VA was much more organized and much prettier in the Shenandoah Valley. For those of you who don’t know Golden is a suburb of Denver and is not nestled in snow capped mountains. The brewery is surrounded by warehouses and parked trailers. Not a pretty place.