What An Ordeal
Posted by John Hitchcock on 2014/08/15
I am at this moment in a hotel room, getting ready to head off to the airport for my three week overseas trip. But just getting here was an ordeal and a half. The company I am contracted to has known I needed to be in Salt Lake City by the 13th or 14th so I can catch my flight on the 15th for 2 months. And I kept training students right up to the end (a break in training of 45 days or more means I would have to go through the 4-day training class all over again). My last student found my truck in the shop 5 times in 5 weeks, one of those times being his fault. I had nox sensor issues more than once, a clutch replaced, a fuel pump replaced, a cylinder liner replaced, and a brand new 1200 dollar super-single drive tire replaced with another brand new 1200 dollar tire (his fault).
On August 6, I was in California. I delivered a load to Carson, then went over to Colton to pick up my next load, headed to Shelbyville, Tennessee. The load was to pick up between 10am and 11pm on the 6th, so I arrived at 5am and waited. And waited. And waited some more. It wasn’t ready at 10am like it was supposed to be, then at 1pm I was informed a stop in Ochelaka, Oklahoma was added. It was finally ready to go at 7pm.
The delivery times of 3am on the 8th for OK and 3am on the 9th for TN got changed. New delivery times were 630am on the 9th and 3am on the 10th. And I got time to go into the shop at the Petro to get my drive tire replaced. My student had dropped a trailer and pulled out from under it, like is done 120 times a year. Only he didn’t lower the landing gear far enough, and he pulled out real fast without stopping midway to assure things were good. The trailer dropped down onto the drive tire, and since he was pulling out too fast, the truck came right out, shredding the tread on one 1200 dollar super-single drive tire. All the way around the tire.
I got load assignments to pick up a load on the morning of the 10th to deliver to Haverhill, Massachusetts the morning of the 11th and pick up a load in the Boston area 3pm on the 11th to be delivered to Ogden, UT on the 13th.
After delivering in OK, my Shelbyville delivery time for the 10th got changed to 720am, meaning I would be late to pick up in Murfreesboro, late to deliver to Haverhill, late to pick up in the Boston area. So I go pick up my load in Murfreesboro. And lo and behold, the yard jockey had backed the trailer up too far. He pushed the trailer tires against a large concrete back-stop, pinning the mudflap between the back-stop and the tire. And when he dropped the trailer, he tore off the mudflap and bent the bracket. I was going to have to go out-of-route to Nashville to get the damage repaired. But first, it being a heavy load, I had to get the truck scaled out. And there was a long line inside the truckstop waiting for the scale ticket. And then the scale ticket. 30,000 on the drives and 36,600 on the trailer. 34,000 maximum. So back out, stretch the trailer tandems as long as legally possible. Rescale. 32,000 on the drives, 34,600 on the trailer. Overweight. Back to the shipper to rework the load. Over an hour lost at the truckstop. Two hours lost at the shipper. Then back to the truckstop to scale it out, and it’s legal this time.
So next we go to the TA to get the mudflap hanger straightened and a new mudflap installed. 40 miles out of route, and 3 hours wait time. And we’re finally ready to roll on to Haverhill, MA. Shortly after leaving Nashville on I-40, a man with white hair and a short-cropped white beard walked toward the highway so my student moved into the left lane and slowed down. The man continued walking out onto the 70 mph highway, and then he really did it. He threw something that looked like a brick at my windshield! He missed, hitting my mirror mount and barely hitting the lower seal around the passenger mirror.
Instead of delivering in Haverhill at 4am on the 11th, it looked like a 5pm delivery. My load out of Boston to Ogden got pulled off me. Now, I had a delivery in Northeast Massachusetts for the evening of the 11th with nothing getting to Utah. And a flight and hotel room I already paid for on the line. But my Dispatch Manager pulled through. I had an 11pm pick up in Middletown, Connecticut to be delivered to Salt Lake City 11pm on the 13th.
So, we get stuck behind a crash on I-78 on the Pennsylvania/New Jersey border. Then we get stuck behind a crash on I-287 in New York. Then we get stuck in a 7 mile back-up behind a crash on I-95 in Connecticut. Then we get stuck in a back-up on I-290 in Massachusetts. We finally get delivered in Haverhill at 930pm, when it was supposed to be delivered at 4am. Now, off to the Connecticut pick-up. And… we get stuck in an hour-long back-up on I-90 in Massachusetts. And a midnight pick-up. Other than unseasonable cold and unusual rain where it doesn’t normally in the summer, the trip to Salt Lake City was uneventful. Finally, I could relax.
There’s still time for something else to be screwed up since I am not on the plane yet…
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