I haven’t updated in a few days, but rest assured everything is fine. I spent another four days out running hither and yon, eventually ending up in Omaha, Nebraska for a planned Leave of Absence so I can take a cruise.
Yes, I’ve wanted to cruise for a long while and made it one of my goals to do so this year, so I’m off for a week-long Alaskan cruise this week. I’ll be back next week with even more news, as I am about to change over from my company truck to my own leased truck so there will be lots of text and pictures to go along with that. Maybe even a video or two.
Today was an easy day in the life of this truck driver. I wasn’t in a big hurry, I knew my load was already waiting for me on another trailer — all I had to do was show up and swap then head off. Which is exactly what I did when I arrived in Ottawa, Illinois this morning.
For some reason, it being spring I suppose, I have hit an extraordinary number of birds the past few weeks. I’m talking ten or twelve that have managed to glide into the path of my truck as I head on down the road and I see them splat up against the windshield or air deflectors of my tractor. Today I didn’t hit any, though there were some close calls.
Anyway, I arrived mid-afternoon at our HQ in Omaha, Nebraska and dropped the trailer full of PetSmart goodies for someone else to take out to Colorado. I spoke briefly with one of our weekend dispatchers who said I was lined up for a load back to (my favorite) Carthage, Missouri and how I might be able to drop off the trailer there when I go home, then come back a couple days later and pick up a full trailer and thus avoid all the delays with loading and unloading. We shall see.
Or, so close, so far.
It turns out the only load getting me near home has a second, unwanted pickup heading to Illinois. So basically I get to wave as I go by and maybe later find my way home.
The load towards home took me back to the usual stop at Americold in Carthage, Missouri to drop off a load of frozen food for ConAgra from Council Bluffs, Iowa. After the five hours or so waiting for that to happen I headed a few hundred yards away to a different warehouse / cave complex to get loaded for a run to the Wal-mart facility in Sterling, Illinois. That only took another eight hours or so, for a grand total of some 13 hours to get unloaded and loaded.
Today I ran the load to its destination without incident and now I’m pre-planned yet again with a PetSmart load I pick up in Ottawa, Illinois and drop off in Omaha. Perhaps I will get home this time.
Today was an easy day, with an early-morning pickup at the PetSmart facility in Ottawa, IL and a 405-mile run in to Omaha where the load was handed off to another driver for delivery in Colorado.
I’ve been trying to return home for a few days off for a while now but the Planner Gods haven’t been able to make it happen. Soon, hopefully.
With a 0300 wakeup call I learned that the Conway load had canceled and I was instead being assigned a blown team load heading in to Chicago. A local driver brought it in from Omaha to Des Moines and I drove it in to Windy, as truckers call Chicago.
It turns out this was a UPS load and their facility is gigantic. To wit:
Just entering the facility involved some phone calls, a bright reflective vest and other goodness. The guard doing the cavity check was surprisingly gentle, though.
Afterward, I was directed a few miles away to a dropyard and had my choice between a dry van trailer with some air hose problems or an unwashed reefer unit with the remnants of a load of broccoli strewn about inside. Broccoli was the winner and I was directed to a washout facility in Ottawa to deal with the issue.
Okay, anyone who knew me before trucking knows that I used to be in the IT industry and I’ve always preferred cats over dogs. No matter what kind of pet you have you will probably get a few good chuckles from this video:
Irony, thy name is trucking.
This morning I ran the load I got earlier down to our dropyard in Kansas City then waited around for a while, until I was beeped to run back up the same highway back up to Des Moines and stage for a — wait for it — Conway load going to Dallas, Texas in the morning.
For crying out loud people, I leave there a few months ago and you still have me pulling your freight!
On the plus side, I got a nice, cleansing 200 mile deadhead back up to Des Moines and the 680-odd miles tomorrow entirely along interstates promises to be nice and relaxing. I have a new book on tape loaded up in my MP3 player and I get to leave around 0500, nice and early for me.