After the adventure in Olney my dispatcher offered me a 3-stop load picking up in Ottawa, Illinois at 0200 and delivering between then and 1100 and ending Green Bay, Wisconsin. After that was a load heading to Arkansas that would kinda sorta get me near the house, at which point I would head home on my own dime. Ah hell no, in other words.
Since time was drawing nigh for me to get sent home for some much needed R&R I offered to rest until the following day (Wednesday) then pick up something headed towards home. The plan this time was for a Budweiser load from nearby St Louis, Missouri to Omaha, Nebraska that I would t-call at our yard in Kansas City.
I took the opportunity to depart Olney for nearby Effingham, Illinois where I got my truck washed and trailer washed out. The rest of my driving day was consumed with the 75-minute drive to Troy, Illinois where I would be staging for the load, and completely by coincidence I would be spending the night at the Pilot there that happens to be next door to a Dairy Queen. And they say truck drivers can’t plan…
Wednesday afternoon I crossed the mighty Mississippi river and dropped my trailer in the large Budweiser yard, then waited with the rest of the other
suckers drivers. After a few hours the load was ready and I was sent back into the yard to fetch my trailer. This is what it looked like when I backed under it:
Note the angle of the floor of the trailer compared to the one next to it:
When I get out from under a trailer I leave 1/2″ to 3/4″ or so below the gear and set it down on the ground with my air suspension as I’m pulling out. This makes getting back under the trailer easier and avoids situations where the kingpin might be up high enough so it misses your fifth wheel and the front of the trailer rams the back of your truck cab as you back into it.
One of the yard drivers was being a complete jackass (they have specialized vehicles with hydraulic lifts for their fifth wheels, so they don’t ordinarily touch the landing gear) and ratcheted my gear up a foot or so above my fifth wheel.
Worse, there was 44,400 pounds of beer inside the trailer now and as any truck driver can tell you, when a trailer is fully loaded it is a bear trying to lower the gear.
I could have waited for one of the
sockcuckers yard jockeys to come by and shanghai him into lifting the trailer so I could crank the gear up a bit without the pressure, but wouldn’t you know it there isn’t ever one around when you need one. Fifteen minutes of cranking in low gear, huffing, puffing, cursing, spitting and such followed and I eventually got it lowered far enough to get under it normally and latch on. Bastards.
My complaint at the guard shack was rebuffed with the revelation that the spotters here were from a separate company and to “have your folks contact the Bud folks and…” yada yada yada. Fine, I did all that too.
Anyway, grabbed the load, got scaled out and ran it to Kansas City where I arrived just before midnight. Dropped the trailer in the yard with a note asking the driver picking up the load to please take my load locks (sealed in back) to dispatch in Omaha so I get them back then headed off to bed.
Only, there was a reefer across the parking lot with an orange indicator light (green means good, orange means there is a problem) and a flashing screen. I went over to see what the issue was and got it running again. It seemed to be a problem starting, so I took it off of cycle mode and had it run continuous. Sent a message in to dispatch advising them and hit the sack, having done my good deed for the day. Or night, whatever.