Friday, October 10, 2014

21 Days - 15947 Kilometres - 5 Loads - 4 Time Zones.

Load 1

____ Nine drops spread across a route spanning 2000 miles might be a daunting task if it wasn't for cell-phones, Gps and good old Google maps. But I had done seven of the 9 before and could picture the whole trip in my head. It went very much as planned with the tactic of parking overnight at the next day's first delivery paying good dividends. Sunday night at Milwaukee, Monday at Nashville, Tuesday at Charlotte's place. Empty, Wednesday mid-afternoon at Savannah with only one mishap. Charlotte was one piece short and it didn't turn up until the last drop was off.

Load 2

____ There was not enough time to get across from Savannah to Augusta, so I loaded in the morning before swinging by to see Charlotte and deliver their missing item. Also not enough time to get back into Canada and do some deliveries by Friday night. But it's harvest-time in Quebec and all the farm machinery dealers are open for business on Saturdays. Sherbrooke and Victoriaville get unloaded but not enough time to get to Halifax. I make it to the Blue Canoe Truckstop in Fredericton before the driving hours run out; not a bad place to spend a 36 hour reset. The last pieces get delivered on Monday but when the reload arrives there is not enough time to get it. How many "Not Enoughs" can one trip have?

Load 3

____ Peat-moss out of Inkerman in New Brunswick makes me shudder with the thought of the last load that I hauled out of this place for Big Freight. A freezing cold February night when they loaded icy pallets onto an ice-covered flat-deck. By the time I got to Fredericton; the whole load had slid across the trailer and was hanging 12 inches over the side. I still remember the frantic two hours when I threaded straps through the bottom of the pallets and winched them back into place. I'm grateful to going back with a box-van trailer.

____ When the job came through, I thought I would be able to move the Saturday delivery time to Friday. But its not peat-moss for a plant nursery; its for Lowes, the home improvement chain, and I'm stuck with the appointment at a RDC. This trip has too much time on it but gives me the chance to go into New York City and spend too much money. Then; at 06.30 Saturday morning I arrive at the brand new Regional Distribution Centre at Adairsville, Georgia. Here, I put my Bills of Lading in a plastic container and send it up a plastic pipe. The container comes back with a set of instructions: drop trailer in Bay 4001, park in the bob-tail parking area, wait for phone call to say empty trailer is ready for collection, leave premises. Three hours later, the phone rings and I leave. Obviously the idiots who thought up this system have no regard for the amount of truck-drivers time that they are wasting. I hate RDCs and at this one there isn't even an opportunity to grab some lazy twat by the throat and pull them through a small hole in a re-enforced glass screen.

Load 4 and Load 5.

____ When the reload instructions came, they told of a waiting, loaded trailer at Janesville, Wisconsin, 750 miles north. It may seem strange to load a truck from New Brunswick to Georgia and then run it empty back north. But Payne has a big contract, direct with the manufacturer, to shift a lot of farm machinery to Canada. Empty trucks are always needed to cover whatever loads there are; however sometimes they get it wrong. I'm paid the same, empty and loaded, so after a Sunday morning trailer switch; I'm en route to Edmonton, Alberta. Straight past Winnipeg for a Wednesday morning unloading appointment.

____ With the trip running into its third week, I was looking forward to a quick turn-round, back to Manitoba. But Payne's Fort Saskatchewan depot had other ideas. I spent the rest of the day shunting trailers across Edmonton; making six complete crossings before getting back my original trailer which was now loaded for Peoria, Illinois. Finishing back at the Sherwood Park Flying'J for a second night. Finally getting back to base on Friday.

Kenworth Wrecker.

Inkerman Peat-Moss Packing Plant.

New York Traffic.

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