RHYMES WITH TRUCK

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Deliver: Nazareth. Reload: Northumberland.

____Day 1: It could have been any one of the Canadian women that I have dated; when the office told me that my next load was "Crackers." Luckily; it was 60 pallets of square savory biscuits from a bakery in Winnipeg, going down into the US. After a customs examination at Pembina, I make my way to Wilson in Wisconsin on a busy Sunday afternoon.
____Day 2: The crackers are for two RDCs; the first in the Chicago suburb of Bolingbrook which does have a truckstop at my Interstate 55 exit. With an early morning appointment, on Tuesday, it's convenient but not the sort of place to stop if you don't have to. Another short mileage day, which will be the pattern for the whole trip.
A Peterbilt and a Kenworth, in the long and low style that is so popular.
____Day 3: I hate Regional Distribution Centres and judging from the large number that have banned me from premises; they don't like me too. But Bolingbrook is brand new and with plenty of eager staff, pleased to be out of the unemployment line. In and out, inside an hour, how it should be. I wonder if it will stay that way? Onto the next drop; east along Highway 30 for a night at TA Lodi in Ohio.
____Day 4: The next delivery is not booked in until Thursday morning; so another low mileage day. Interstate 80 through Pennsylvania with only 13,000 lbs of biscuits on the rolling hills; cloaked in orange and brown  autumnal colour. I continue the experiment; to see if modern man can survive on coffee and Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen chicken tenders, with plenty of visits to the Travelcenters of America along the way.
An alloy-wheeled eleven-axle steel-hauling B-train.
____Day 5: The RDC at Nazareth is typical of the Regional Distribution Centres that I loathed so much in the UK: long wait to get unloaded, long wait for paperwork, unhelpful staff and its pouring with rain. This one also has the added annoyance of the "Lumpers" system; where a driver is expected to pay for his trailer to be unloaded. I take the option of unloading the crackers by myself; which would have been easy if the pallets hadn't been loaded the "wrong" way round. The notches cut out of the solid pallet side do not align with the pallet truck that I have been given to work with. It takes a lot if lifting and wedging; then ramming and dragging to get the 15 pallets off. After all the messing about, there is still time to get reloaded at Northumberland, two hours west. Fifteen hot-tubs and covers; loaded in 15 minutes.
Well maintained old Mack tipper had to be heard to be believed: awesome exhaust note!
____Day 6: From the TA at Lodi, with the first chance of the trip to put in some decent mileage. The average for the five days is only 700 km. Now I need two days of over a thousand, to get home. Crossing Chicago at the wrong time doesn't help, especially when the truck in front has a bump. A car cuts in on a truck, going into some roadworks, and the truck can't stop. Normally the driver of truck would be at fault; but this guy gets out and gives this woman such a piece of his mind that she jumps in her car and drives off in tears.
____Day 7: Flying Eagles #28 and #31 pull out of Black River Falls in the Saturday morning darkness; heading for home. The popcorn on #28 has yet to be popped; so Darrin's load is much heavier than the hot-tubs, which are empty. We chat on the CB for a while, before the undulating terrain of Wisconsin causes the distance between us to increase and the signal to deteriorate. A full days drive back to the yard with coffee stops at Hasty and Fargo.
____Overall Distance: 5454 km.
One of many Allied Orange Big-Sleepers doing light-weight removal work.

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