Very long run with little notice and The Cat Who Walks Through Walls

I had parked in the back lot of the Farley’s & Sathers plant in Chattanooga Sunday night, next to the shipping docks. The receiving docks were on the other side of the building and a bit of a hassle to pull in to, but I dutifully moved my truck around on time for delivery then brought the paperwork in to the receiving office. At which point they said they had way too many shipments coming in that day and I should just drop it in the back lot… right where I had been parked. Ah well, at least I didn’t have to wait for it to be unloaded.

There was another HB trailer on the lot but it too was full, and this plant was only getting part of the load. I was told to wait for an empty but my trailer was sitting where I had dropped it and the other trailer was being shuttled to a different F&S facility on the east side of town.

Late in the morning the planners finally decide what to do with me and I’m dispatched up to Smyrna, Tennessee to take a load to Kansas City, Kansas for the following morning. I’m not complaining about the miles (700ish) but I sure wish they had given me the heads up five hours earlier when I delivered.

Some drivers listen to music all day long but I’ve kind of gotten tired of the radio myself. I’ve never been able to listen to the rantings on the various talk shows (and my lord, the commercials every two minutes!) and listening to sports doesn’t do it either. This leaves mostly audio books to keep me company as the miles drone by, and I’m currently listening to the Robert Heinlein book The Cat Who Walks Through Walls. Not one of his best, but he was a master of the form and even his mediocre work is better than most in my book (pun intended). If you want what I consider to be some of his better work try The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Glory Road and Starship Troopers (the book NOT the movie!).

I got a dressing-down when I was in the process of leaving the Estes terminal in Smyrna. Some safety or managerial type was driving around the lot in a dark SUV and I passed him before stopping near the office and getting the paperwork. He growled at me to obey the 5 MPH speed limit they post at the gate, and I said I would. I didn’t mention the suggestion to post more than one sign and not just at the front gate if he wanted compliance, as many times drivers that are entering parking lots are having to juggle paperwork, the satellite unit, unfamiliar directions and signage and any one sign can be missed. Not to mention, the yard dogs were moving trailers around like Mario Andretti, but I let that go as well.

The book made the next twelve hours go by tolerably and just after midnight I delivered in Kansas City then immediately hit the sack. Even though the lot is smaller than most of their competitors, they didn’t have any problem letting me snooze off on the side — FedEx and ConWay, you could learn a lesson here.

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