Backcountry Arkansas

Yesterday’s drive down to Batesville, Arkansas included about 250 miles along various windy state highways. About twenty miles from my objective I had to cross a rickety old bridge, one narrow lane each way, over a river that obviously wasn’t designed in the day of modern semis. Nothing scraped, though opposing traffic gave plenty of deference to my truck on the way across.

Among the things that a truck driver does not wish to hear when you pull up to a consignee is “Oh, that doesn’t look good.” The security guard was looking over my paperwork and had to call several places around the large ConAgra plant to find someone who knew what my shipment was and where it was supposed to go. Satisfied, he had me sign in for a badge and gave me directions around the side and back of the plant where I made contact with the receiving folks.

Turns out, the load is about 20 tons of frozen peas. This particular plant makes frozen dinners, mostly of the Banquet variety. I didn’t mention to them that I don’t care for that particular brand personally.

The workers worked at their standard lugubrious pace, as many warehouse workers do, and the pallets came off one by one. I went inside to wait near the shipping office for the paperwork but this didn’t seem to speed up anything. Finally, the paperwork was signed off on and I made myself scarce.

There is a load heading out from this plant up to Rochelle, Illinois that is going on a Hill Bros truck at 0830 this morning (I was unloaded around 0600). I told the workers I very much doubted that would be me, since my original delivery time was between 0400 and 2200 today.

Fuel could be a concern today as well. There was no fuel solution for this trip, as the first half was in Illinois where we avoid fueling and the remainder was along back roads with none of our fueling stops. I picked up 50 gallons in Troy, Illinois anyway to make sure I had enough to get me here with some reserve. I did it that way because I believed I would be sent over to Russellville, Arkansas for my next load. If I have to run back north again I’ll have to go significantly out of route to get back on I-55 to fuel.

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