Shag, interrupted

So, how is your morning going? I made my drop in Chicago then was ordered to go shag a load from a nearby business to our drop yard on the south part of town. Here’s how that turned out:

View all the cool pics here.

As you can see, my experiment to convert one of our refrigerated trailers into a pop-top was only partially successful. Thanks goes out to the City of Chicago with an unmarked low underpass for the assist.

Yes, I was going slow. My tractor escaped almost entirely unscathed. The trailer… not so much. I tried very hard to break my nose on the overhead console but I wasn’t successful at that, either.

Staging for Chicago

Today was a mostly boring drive north along the length of Illinois. I did notice that the fuel in Missouri before I crossed over seemed to be a good deal less than what I paid in Little Rock yesterday. Another reason to avoid that particular stop I suppose.

Last night was chilly for Memphis, getting down to the mid 30’s. Freezing is about the point that I start using my bunk heater at night and it is looking to be right in that area where I stopped near Chicago in preparation for arrival in the morning.

Pittsburg… Texas?

The two Petsmart stops came and went with little trouble and by 0900 I was done and waiting on my next load. A few hours later, I was sent a load that I couldn’t run with the hours I had available so I sent it back for something else. The problem was, it had to deliver about 1,250 miles away near Chicago and I only had 15 hours or so over that time period to run it in.

I was told to head in towards Dallas and they would work on something else. I suspected one of our CSRs would call one of their CSRs and say, “Hey, can we deliver that the following morning?” Turns out, White Castle is receiving the load and they thought that was a great idea. So I get the same load picking up in Pittsburg, Texas at the same time as before, but delivering a day later. Nifty.

The Pilgrim’s Pride distribution center was easy enough to find and after a couple hours of waiting I got a fully loaded trailer and a passel of paperwork. They even had a scale there at the plant, though I had to do the axle weights myself. They even have high tech temperature recorders that go in with the load to make sure everything stays chilly enough.

I made the mistake of fueling at the Pilot on the east side of Little Rock, Arkansas. The pumps there are always packed — I even had to wait ten minutes or so out on the street before I was able to pull into the parking lot!

Afterwards it was a couple hours more to West Memphis, Arkansas for the night and a nice shower. Clean is good.

The Attack of the Lazies

I swear, my goal today was to travel from Joplin, Missouri all the way to the dock of the Petsmart in Midland, Texas. I steeled myself and passed up a number of truck stops, Dairy Queens and the like along the way until the sweet siren song of Popeye’s chicken at the Big Spring, Texas T/A overwhelmed my reserve of willpower. So, that’s where I am for the night; up at 0330 to finish the rest of the run into Midland tomorrow morning for an early unload, then off about 90 miles to the southeast to complete the run.

The weekend trip cometh

Around 0900 on Friday the satellite unit went off with a hot-hot-hot run from our yard in Omaha out to Minooka, Illinois. It seems a trailer we’ve been holding for at least 10 days was due to deliver that very afternoon. I told my dispatcher that I couldn’t get rolling for an hour because my clothes were in the dryer but that was fine. Meanwhile, I got the bills, found the trailer, fueled my truck and got my 5th wheel greased.

Given my late departure, I gave an ETA of 1800 and that was when I rolled up to the gates of the Kellogg’s facility in Minooka. The one poor gate guard was overwhelmed with eight or ten trucks trying to get in or out simultaneously so it took a while to get that sorted out.

Good news though: on the way to deliver I was sent a (rare) preplan. First, after I dropped the trailer I was to bobtail over to the Petsmart DC in Ottawa, Illinois then take a load from there down to west Texas for Monday morning. Better, I got to restock at the super Walmart just down the street from Petsmart and head through the house to pick up mail and such.

Pulled in by the DOT

The trailer I picked up yesterday when I dropped at Walmart had a problem with the parking brake system. The air lines were hooked up wrong or something but the trailer itself braked just fine with the service system (the brakes that come on when you tap the brake pedal). In short, note to self about parking with the tractor brakes, which I always do.

Anyhow, exchanged messages with HQ about this and was told to bring said trailer by the yard here in Omaha instead of down the street at Pepsi. Oh, I was deadheaded about an hour away to Pryor, Oklahoma this morning to pick up a load of the burpsi stuff heading up here to the Omaha plant.

I chose to drive up Kansas highway 69 to Kansas City and I was pulled into a very small inspection station near Joplin. I was sweating bullets until I realized they were doing what was called a Level 3 inspection, which is just paperwork. License, medical card, registration book, medial card, 20 dollar bill, etc. Well, no money changed hands, but I had to print off eight day’s worth of logs to show them how nice I am. The DOT officer agreed with this assessment and let me go with a clean bill of health. Hill Bros pays drivers $25 when you pass such an inspection so that should put the bank account over the top next week.

Made it into Omaha around 1600, put the trailer into the trailer shop. Then I put my tractor into the ThermoKing shop to have a small coolant leak fixed. I should have had my next load lined up already but for some reason preplans have been few and far between of late. You’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see if my dispatcher is praised or cursed for a long weekend run or some nasty dispatch no one wants.