To go West, one must first go East

I delivered my load of boxes for Banquet TV dinners in Russellville, Arkansas Sunday night. Afterwards I bobtailed to a nearby Walmart to purchase supplies then to a nearby truck stop to sleep the night away.

Mid-morning Monday my dispatcher calls me with news of a pre-plan.

“That really isn’t a PRE-plan, is it mister dispatcher since I’m just sitting here.”

He agreed, but shot back with news that he had a plan and a pre-plan to follow. My ears perked up.

First, take a trailer of frozen food from Russellville to a Walmart DC in Terrell, Texas then deadhead about 120 miles north to Ardmore, Oklahoma and take a load of Circuit City electronics out to two stores in Colorado. Yes, apparently they still have some stock left in the pipeline even though they are going out of business.

The only snag in the ointment was this wintery weather system forming here in the midwest. The forecast had freezing rain, snow and ice over most of Oklahoma and the northern part of Texas, and snow the rest of the way into Denver. Perhaps I should have demurred, but that damn Protestant work ethic won out and I took it.

I put the details of my first trip into the GPS and at first I thought it had blown a fuse. It was telling me to get back on to I-40 and head East, towards Memphis. I brought up the full map for the trip and played around with various routes for a bit but couldn’t come up with anything better. Believe it or not, this is how you drive from point A to point B on this trip (in a big rig at least):

I arrived 40 minutes early for my 7:25 PM appointment and was soon checked in and backed in to a door. I walked the paperwork in and they gave me a cool little electronic pager gadget that would go off when the trailer was unloaded. I ate a meal, diddled around on my laptop, slept, and yet it did not go off. Realizing I was one of the last truckers still left in their compound three hours later I went inside, only to be told that it was going slow because they had over 4,000 cases to count.

Now, this is what irritates the crap out of me. It took probably 20-30 minutes for the lumpers to extract the pallets from my trailer on to their dock. At this point, MY JOB IS FREAKING DONE. I got hired (indirectly) to haul cargo from point A to point B in a certain time frame. Only because my time has absolutely no value to anyone but myself do I have to stick around for company x (Walmart, in this case) to find out if company y (ConAgra, in this case) have screwed up what was on the load. I had nothing to do with the loading and nothing to do with the unloading, and certainly nothing to do with the counting on either side. Companies x and y should yell and bitch at each other about who sent or didn’t send what, when and to whom. I don’t have a dog in that fight.


Anyway, I eventually made it out of there and headed Ole Betsy north towards Ardmore, Oklahoma. I saw a truck stop about 20 miles south of there that had some parking and stopped for the night.