New day, new swap

My body decided I needed to be awake earlier than I set my alarm for. This required a quick dressing session and speed walking to the Flying J building, then a consultation with the porcelain goddess. Is she ever a relief.

Since the other driver I met last night had a load himself, I had to deliver it today about 270 miles northwest in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Everything went smoothly until I actually arrived in Fort Dodge then all hell broke loose.

They are doing some major road destruction in the downtown area and it was directly in the path I needed to take to get to the beer distributor waiting patiently for the 22 tons of suds I had in back. I had to make several tight corners and work my way back out of some narrow streets before I got back to the main road and found another way in to my target.

This is one of the things I don’t understand about those (few) drivers who do not care for GPS units. If I didn’t have one today I would have been completely borked and it would have taken a long time to get to the distributor. Instead, I zoomed in the map a bit and played around with routes until I made one that went around the blockage and in about five minutes I was chatting with the beer folks in person.

Unloading was the typical slow, we’re-in-no-hurry affair I discuss so often. After all the pallets had been removed and only some plastic bulkheads remained the guy doing the unloading went off to an office for a 15-20 minute break. He may have been handling some sort of paperwork but why is any of that my concern? He took the bills with him and when he came back one was signed and he handed it to me after taking care of the bulkheads. Perhaps I aggravate easily, I don’t know.

My new orders were in place and I had to deadhead about 105 miles to Marshalltown, Iowa to yet another Swift meatpacking plant that does everything different, yet again. This place has you go past the trailer lot first to the next entrance where you find the washout company, but you back into the dock then keep your trailer once they are done. But you close the doors and seal them with a white seal, which of course you don’t do at the Swift plant I was at yesterday. Then you take the paperwork back to the trailer lot and check in at their guard shack and, if you’re lucky, your load is ready and all you have to do is drop your empty trailer in a very muddy and pothole-ridden lot. If you are unlucky, you still get to drop but then you get to wait in said lot. Such is your lot in life.

Turns out, we have two loads going to Elkhart, Indiana for 0600 tomorrow morning. The one I was waiting for was MIA, the other load was ready to go. Perfect.

I inform dispatch what the deal is and sit down for dinner. *BEEP* goes the satellite unit.

Eh!? My masters say they’ve switched loads and I can leave now with the one that is ready. Be still my heart!

I race to get everything taken care of (get paper with trailer number on it; find trailer, hook up, pretrip; scale out; park; walk back to guard shack with paperwork) and leave before someone changes their mind. Biff, bam, boom soon I’m rolling.

Today’s trip is, again, a bit too much for a solo driver to legally log. This entails another switch, this time in Atalissa, Iowa. The new driver is ready to go so we swap trailers and paperwork and he boogies, as much as you can boogie with 44,000 pounds of pig in back that is. I hook up to his relatively light (35,000 lb) load heading to Omaha and am calling it a night.

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