Wichita + Coke Plant = HELL

So I dropped my load off on time in Wichita (at the Love Box paper company, no less) and by that time I had a preplan taking me a few miles away to the local Coca Cola bottler up to Lenexa, Kansas. The plan had my appointment time as 1530 and I showed up at 1526 — a squeaker, but I was there on time.

Then everything went downhill. I checked in with the Coke folks and they took down my information and gave me directions where I needed to take my truck (a nearby side street) to wait with “the other trucks”. Never a good sign.

Worse, I pull around a corner to find a long line of trucks snaking back several city blocks in a quasi-residential area. By odd circumstance, the truck driver that unloaded just before me at the paper place was here waiting in line, again just before me.

Slowly, trucks were called to the docks and the line edged forward. Sundown came and went and the trucks kept creeping forward every hour or so. The guy just in front of me gets called to the dock and now I’m ready to go get loaded, even though its 10 PM or so. But no, a truck behind me gets called up. Then another. I complain to the Coke folks and it turns out they didn’t find the order number I gave (it is a brokered load, ’nuff said for any truck driver) and I was arbitrarily dropped from the list without notice.

Now slightly pissed off I harangued night dispatch at HQ, the broker and the Coke folks until eventually we decided what load number I would actually be pulling. Jesus on a T-Rex this business is so retarded sometimes.

I get called to the dock, only to realize that I’m the only truck LEFT at the place. I didn’t need blood pressure drugs before I started, doctor, why do I need them now?

My bumper touched their dock around 11 PM and I was loaded and ready to go right around 1:30 AM the next morning. Effing brokered loads.

I had been waiting around all day, though unable to sleep because the trucks had to inch forward periodically. The load itself had to be about 180 miles away by 0600, meaning I had to head out exhausted and head down the highway with a couple 30 minute power naps to revive me.

The Coke place in Lenexa (suburb of Kansas City) got me into a door right away and unloaded pretty quickly… I was so tired I was in the bunk the minute my truck was situated and didn’t even feel them unloading the plastic bottles and only awoke with them pounding on my door to give up the paperwork.

Another preplan arrives and I’m ordered across the river to Kansas City, Missouri to pick up a load heading to Cleburne, Texas, just south of Fort Worth. The load picks up that afternoon, giving me just enough time to fit in a legal break but has to deliver 0800 the following morning.

By now my biological clock is all jacked up and despite my lack of sleep I can’t nod off for a few hours, ensuring I’m tired when I have to go grab my next load. I regularly curse few things in my life, but I make an exception for the rule makers at the DOT.

Semi-functional, I drive about thirty miles to pick up my load at a dilapidated industrial site on the east side of KC. They have a super rush-rush order for a certain type of plastic bottle used by a chemical company in Texas that just has to be there tomorrow morning. I was about to suggest using FedEx, but thought better of it.

This is one of those cases where they are literally taking the product off of the production line, boxing and shrink wrapping them, then taking the result and loading the trailer one pallet at a time. About eight minutes per pallet, eighteen pallets. Whatever the hell that comes out to.

I’m required to use one of my load locks to make sure these shrink wrapped pallets of empty plastic bottles don’t move around in the trailer and injure someone. Whatever.

I scoot before the afternoon traffic gets into full nastiness, heading south along highway 71. Stopped once for some food and a nap. Drove some more. Made it to Muskogee, Oklahoma. Fueled the truck and napped again.

Drove south long into the night, taking a break every few hours. I had to make it to the far side of Fort Worth before the morning rush hour or I would be screwed, and the DOT regs basically required me to stop droving by 0300 so the amount of rest I got was limited by regulations, as happens so often in this industry.

Drove some more, got to and through Dallas and eventually made it to Cleborne at my consignee around 0300. Parked the rig in a safe spot and crashed in my bunk, utterly exhausted.

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