August 16, 2016
The 25 hour lay-over completed, I drove to the final delivery, checked in for a door and backed in to be unloaded. This was a well-laid-out docking area that had widely spaced doors and a long run-out in front of mine. That did not stop a fellow trucker from parking across my long run-out to make it another high-angle parking situation. So, again the ordeal of maneuvering the trailer backwards into a gap. This time the gap was a bit bigger, though. And, I seem to be getting better at this.
I thought of how to explain this and came up with the following analogy:
Line up two dominoes with a gap between them that will fit a third domino with a small gap on either side. See the diagram below.
Once you have the “Start” laid out, put one hand in your pocket, then push on the center of the end of the third domino where you see the red diamond shape. No fair pushing on the corners! Now push that third domino until you have the “End” configuration. If the moving domino touches the others, you lose. It would, of course be much easier if your moving domino were lined up straight in front of the gap. That is what I mean by “long run-out”. Imagine doing this exercise with three multi-hundred thousand dollar vehicles, looking back at the trailer through the driver’s window and in mirrors.
I have to do that about once every two or three days.
Anyway, I got to the receiver, sent that status to the company and backed in to be unloaded. They unload the trailer by driving a heavy forklift into it and picking up a multi-ton stack of cargo and exiting. They do this hundreds of times a day and have gotten very fast at it. The result is an earthquake-like shaking in the cab for an hour or two. But, in the meantime the long-awaited message will come that will tell me to pick up a load and take it to Texas and home.
Only, the message says go pick up a load and take it to Illinois – delivering on the second day of my pre-planned and approved home time (only Illinois ain’t my home). I put in for this break over a month ago and while I was in Purgatory (not the ski resort) they asked again and I requested the same and they approved it again. Must be a mistake, right?
“Well,” they say,. “It will be easy to get you a load out of Illinois to Texas”.
If you read my previous post, you know that I have just come from Chicago.
That’s in Illinois.
I went there from Maryland because they said it would be easy to route me home from there. Then they said, they had nothing from there and I could get a load home from Maryland. So, I went to Maryland.
Somebody is being less than honest with me.
The load assignment has an acceptance auto-reply where I answer “yes” to the assignment and have an option to comment. I answered “NO” and commented the story I just told you. Some severe editing was needed to get that into the two line comment field. Then I went looking for a place to park. But, this too shall pass and what else could go wrong?
Parking for big trucks is a critical problem in this part of the country, as my previous post mentioned. There was a truck stop, nearby and it was one of those where you pay to park, but “any port in a storm”, as they say. There was not one space left open. I left. The first two hours in this place are free (and darned well worth every penny, as it turns out) so, I didn’t have to pay to be turned away. I drove toward the nearest stop I could find on the “apps” which is fifty miles away. There is no real hope that they will have space, but what else can I do?
Along the route (North on Interstate 95), there is a rest stop with truck parking, fuel and a big food court called Maryland House. I’ve been there before. It is hidden from the road and requires a left exit where the left lane is forbidden to trucks. Truckers often take their 30 minute breaks at places like this, so there was a chance I could find a recently-vacated space. I did and I am there now.
It is four AM and there is still no word on my load home. I will probably be denied my home break. But, it will be denied by a human being on the phone – not by anonymous satellite message. There are certain levels of decency that I expect out of life and this is one of them.
Then, I’ll go back to Illinois. But I will remember this shabby treatment for a good long while.