Nice sunset to compliment a nice day

The trip up to Aurora, Illinois via state highways was smooth and I arrived at the shipper long before my 1400 appointment time. Since no one else carrying my particular cargo was there yet I got a door immediately and they started loading. It still took 2.5 hours but I was gone long before noon so I didn’t really care.

I took a long snooze in Davenport, Iowa and decided to bag on the seat air repair I was contemplating for Des Moines when I fueled. The vice grip seems to have things in order for the moment and I’ll probably be back through Omaha sometime next week when our shop is open.

Since this load doesn’t deliver in Omaha until 0200 on Monday I was allowed to t-call it for a local driver to deal with and I might get another load today to get me down the road.

Another 620 miles down

I misremembered the distance from Lexington, Nebraska to Ottawa, Illinois — including my deadhead it was right around 620. Which is a nice full day of driving along I-80 at a steady clip.

We’re supposed to take trailers through the Safety Lane at HQ in Omaha if we’re passing through and I did just that. It needed some minor work then I was let loose upon the unsuspecting public again. I was hoping for some free eats at the Friday safety meeting but this is the one week in the month without one, so boo.

Both my front seats developed air leaks last year and now my driver’s seat has developed a new leak at the site of the repair. The shop didn’t have anyone free that could handle it while I was in town so as a temporary measure to remain sane I clamped it off with some vice grips. Hopefully I can get it fixed when I fuel up today in Des Moines, Iowa.

Speaking of today’s trip, it is 500ish miles: head up to Aurora, Illinois then pick up a load heading back to Omaha. It isn’t set to deliver until 0200 Monday so I should be able to t-call it in the yard and get something else tomorrow.

So much for my settlement emails coming in like clockwork: yesterday I heard nada. I’ll have to ring someone’s chime on Monday to get it straightened out.

Hither and Yon

The Bud distributor in Osage City, Kansas took ages to get me unloaded, deciding instead that a load of pallets leaving on a Bud truck was more important to handle first.

The plan o’ the day was for me to head to our yard in Kansas City to trade my newly empty trailer for a loaded one that was dropped there the previous night, then take that trailer down to Carthage, Missouri. There, a third trailer was waiting that was loaded and ready to go, just needing my load locks to arrive so they could seal it up and let me have it. Then, that trailer was to go to a food warehouse in Kearney, Nebraska I was at before:

It almost went as planned. Because the Bud distributor held me up so long we had to push the unload time in Kearney until 1100 this morning instead of 0730. I pooped out last night around Nebraska City, Nebraska and parked the truck at one of the truck stops there, and this was some job as pretty much every spot was taken. Still, with a dint of perseverance I managed to get into a safe spot and snooze until this morning when I completed the trip.

I told my dispatcher my hours were running a bit low and I wasn’t feeling great and he found me a trip tomorrow from nearby Lexington, Nebraska (home of My Favorite super Walmart!) to Ottawa, Illinois. It is an easy 500ish mile trip over mostly flat terrain and the weather, while cold, doesn’t seem to be heading towards snow or ice.

Slow rolling

The third stop in the Denver area complete and my trailer empty, I sat around. I really wish I had been preplanned for a load since my 14-hour clock had been running for five hours by this time, so my available driving hours were draining away with each passing minute.

I queried my dispatcher and he was “getting together with the planner.” A while later, I eventually received a plan that would take me to nearby Aurora, Colorado to pick up a load of Budweiser products heading to Osage City, Kansas. Unfortunately, the shipper in this case is notoriously slow and I complained that my hours would run out by the time the load was aboard and sealed up. Our HQ team shifted the delivery back a day, which basically means I lost a day in the process.

Now, if I operated like most drivers this would be a serious financial hit. If they don’t maximize every available driving hour in every workweek it hits them hard in the pocketbook. Since I concentrate more on the efficient use of my time (and the efficient utilization of my truck) the hit is a bit less stinging.

In any event, the load was, indeed, six hours in coming and I was out of hours at the shipper. A night spent nearby turned into a beautiful driving day and I crossed over into Kansas and made my way to tiny Osage City without incident.

Of course, when I arrived at the Bud distributor that I had been to before, the building was vacant and they had relocated. No problem, I tracked them down via my GPS and drove to the new location. No dice, a vacant lot. This, interspersed with some very harrowing driving along narrow side streets with sharp turns and prominent stop signs to knock over.

I used my satellite to ask for better directions and the ones that came back were a joke. Finally, using my pair of Mark I eyeballs I spotted the Budweiser sign on a building and made my way there, where I’m parked tonight.

I would include a Google map of my journey but the internet connection here is about as spotty as I’ve ever seen and sites take ages to load.

Tomorrow I have not one but two preplans… and I’m going back to someplace I’ve videoed before that includes a very difficult back. Yay me.

Just barely hanging on

The trip from Grants, New Mexico to the greater Denver area took place under clear skies but very gusty winds. Snowie, as you can see here, was hanging on for dear life as I maneuvered my truck down the road.

I fueled up in Denver late in the afternoon then relocated to my first of three stops I need to make tomorrow morning.

There and back again

I-40 and I-29 were both open this morning and I headed out as soon as I could, since I already had a preplan heading back to Denver over the weekend. The roads were treacherous and I was glad to have 44,000 pounds of cargo in the trailer. Making the two big descents along I-17 in wind, fog, snow and ice does, in fact, make you pucker up.

By the time I dropped down to the Phoenix area the roads were clear and the temps in the high 50’s. The drop and hook at PetSmart took place like clockwork and I was heading back up I-17 towards Flagstaff. With a bit of trepidation, I don’t mind admitting.

But, things occasionally work out for the good side and I-17 was actually fairly nice:

By the time I turned east on I-40 the roads were clear and the traffic at full speed:

I ended the day at Grants, New Mexico with a respectable 620 miles behind me.

The craziest sumbitch EVER

Lets review. You live someplace with infrequent rain, much less snow and ice. The day you happen to pick to transport your boat from one marina to another happens to be one with blizzard conditions, heavy snowfall, ice all over the place, snow plows and who-knows-what else out on the road. But noooooo, gotta get that boat in the water!