SNAFU

As any trucker can tell you, some days are better spent not getting out of the bunk in the first place. Today was such a day.

I stopped for the night just north of Fort Worth, Texas and I didn’t have a dispatch this morning so I asked my dispatcher if I should go get my trailer washed out or see if the location I was going to be dispatched to takes care of that for us. He advised me to get it washed out so I would be ready for anything and gave me a location about 10 miles away.

Traffic was horrendous and it took me about thirty minutes to arrive in the vicinity and another fifteen or so to actually find the place. Kind of a mom and pop truck / trailer wash place run by some Hispanic folks. The parking lot was rough and bumpy but they were quick and the trailer ended up clean.

One of the places I had been to along the way was a nearby truck stop so I went back there to wait for my dispatch. After about three hours I get sent a message to exchange my refrigerated trailer for a standard van trailer at our drop yard in preparation for a load. Must be awfully heavy to need that last ton or so, I thought.

Turns out, our drop yard is on the far side of Dallas about 45 miles away. I motor over there dodging the moderate to heavy traffic and the bad street address the system gave me. There is quite a bit of difference between XYZ street and XYZ avenue. The location they gave me was nearly at the intersection of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, which I’m just guessing isn’t in the best part of town.

Finally, I arrive at our drop yard only to find two tired, rusty, beat-down van trailers to choose from. One isn’t going to go to market because the tandem pulling arm is broken off, and the other has a lighting problem.

It turns out our dropyard is also the lot for a truck repair company we do business with, so I was told to tow the trailer over to their building and have them figure out what was wrong. It turns out the problem isn’t the trailer, it is the electrical connector coming from my tractor. It is a wire we call a Pigtail. Seems they are all out of those items so they have to phone a different company to deliver one. Two hours later and everything is legal and I hit the road.

During my wait I was given details on the load I am to be carrying. It is a brokered load, meaning one we booked to keep a truck moving when we don’t have any freight in a particular area. These loads typically suck, in my experience, because most of the details for the load aren’t in our system and it takes some puzzling out to figure where the pickup and deliveries are, who has to be called when and that sort of thing.

I’m getting beeped and phone calls from my company asking me to call so-and-so at some other company to verify this-and-that. Here I thought I was a driver, not customer service, or a load booker, or whoever should be in charge of this stuff.

Before I get to my shipper I have to fuel which takes some more time, and more phone calls and existential angst. Not on my part, as by now I’ve stopped caring, but I’m sure someone was quietly weeping in a corner as this soap opera unfolded.

Eventually I arrive to pick up the load in Grand Prairie, Texas only to find out we didn’t have to have a van since the load is light — literally in this case, as I’m hauling light fixtures. All boxed up in cardboard, no threat to the insulated sides of a reefer. More thanks go out to the person in the rear with the gear who blew that call.

After I get loaded and send in what information I have from the Bill of Lading, I get beeped back telling me it is due near Kansas City, Kansas tomorrow morning by 0900. As I had been running around town hither and yon for the past eight-and-a-half hours, this isn’t happening. More angst on someone else’s part as I message in that I’ll be there around 1200-1300 tomorrow.

The traffic leaving Dallas around 5 PM on a weekday is fairly brutal and the roads have surprisingly few lanes for the amount of traffic the Metroplex can throw at them. By the time I reach Ardmore, Oklahoma I’m beat and call it a night. I spent more than ten hours of my time for around 220 miles, or about 22 MPH. Brokered loads suck.

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