___Day 1: My first load of used truck parts to Georgia since January. Leaving on a Saturday instead of a Friday, but still expected to be in Morrow on Monday morning. Highly probable that another driver kicked the job into touch and I'm taking it on at the last moment. With benefit of hindsight; I should have done the same. An early start; getting down to Center Point, Iowa, on the first day.
____Day 2: Just a ten hour break, making for an early finish at Nashville. Enough time to go Downtown for ribs and a beer but another ten break needed if I'm to get to Morrow tomorrow before noon.
|Don't Jump Pony!|
____Day 3: The trailer is unloaded in about the same time as it takes me to write down the reload details. Five collections of furniture from the High Wycombe equivalent of North Carolina. I get to the first pick-up, ready for the morning and high hopes of getting all loaded in a day.
|Busy Ohio River.|
____Day 4: The Genola factory has printed out maps, ready to give to drivers who should be at the Lexington distribution warehouse. By the time I have driven the 26 miles to the correct address; I have missed my 07.00am. booking by thirty minutes. Not happy at 07.30; I am raging mad by the time I get away at two o'clock in the afternoon. There is only enough time to load at High Point before going to Madison and waiting overnight.
|Nectarine shaped water-tower.|
____Day 5: An office lady greets me with;
"You cannot just leave a message, saying when you are coming and what you are coming to load. It doesn't work like that."
I can't be bothered to argue; so strike back with a slight variation of an old favorite.
"My wife is good friends with the wife of this furniture store owner. He will be very interested with your attitude towards ful-filling his orders. Also the sales office will be interested in his lack of future orders. What's your name?"
Within 20 minutes I'm loaded and off to number 4; across rural North Carolina to Mount Airy. A good, quick pick-up as is number 5 at Galax, Virginia. Homeward bound, but only as far as Wytheville; where a phone call tells me that there is more to load: two hours back south at Winston-Salem. Climbing over the Fancy Gap Pass, for the second time in a day. A gang of loaders stay late to load me. Now fully loaded; I set off again only for driving time to run out before I can get out of N.C.
|Map of the Drops and Picks.|
____Day 6: Northbound on Interstate75, the trip goes from bad to worse. News of intense police activity at Junction 39 is relayed south by CB radio. All trucks come out of cruise-control and a few pull onto the shoulder to adjust their log-books. I am slowed by a truck coming back onto the highway and as we crest a ridge; there are six trucks on the shoulder, each with a police car parked behind it. I am the seventh rig to be pulled over. My offence: following to close to the truck in front. Measured by laser at 170 feet; where it should have been 250. An operation to catch tail-gating trucks has worked wonderfully well for the police by causing the bunching that they came looking for.
|The view from Fancy Gap, Interstate 77, North Carolina/Virginia Border.|
____Day 7: Bloomington, Illinois, is just too far for a days driving that would get me home. So I only reach Fargo while thinking all the time about how to maintain 250 feet from the vehicle in front and how impossible it is.
|Kenworth Aero-Dyne on Flatdeck Work.|
____Day 8: Just four and a quarter log hours left of my weekly allowance and that's what it takes to get me back to Niverville; completing the worst trip for a long time.
____Overall Distance: 6447km.
____Postscript: The ticket. It seems that Kentucky State Police make no allowance for the speed of a truck when measuring with their laser. Less than 250 feet and you get fined $20 and $144 court costs. Pleading "Not Guilty" needs a driver to make two trips to a Kentucky court room, so is not financially viable. It's just another way for them to make money from hard-working drivers.