Now THAT is what I call efficient!

Saturday morning I woke up late and was given a series of instructions. Pick up a trailer that was being unloaded at one consignee. Take it over to another place, drop it and pick up and sign for a load, then park that trailer out on the street and go back into the same shipper and sign for another trailer and load that I would be taking. Very confusing.

Fortunately, the issues resolved themselves and I grabbed a preloaded trailer with 35,000 pounds of pet chow heading to Ottawa, Illinois. The load didn’t deliver for another week so HQ told me to t-call it in Omaha.

The route out to Nebraska from Utah along I-80 has a lot of hills, and some rather steep and long grades up out of the Salt Lake City area. Before I left I weighed my truck:

73,240 pounds total weight

MPG in Omaha, 920 miles later:

That is no lie, after almost 1,000 miles I had 9.3 MPG off of my trip computer!

Something you don’t see very often:

How would you like a 3,500 mile range in your truck?

Now it is true that I had a nice 10-30 MPH wind behind me most of the way but other than that, just clean living as I puttered down the road.

I arrived in Omaha Sunday evening and was nice enough to hold on to the trailer until the shop opened Monday morning so they could fix a broken spring hanger that I had to zip tie out on the road.

We’ve got more drug use than Major League Baseball!

Yes, his brain was addled by some potent substance and I was dispatched first to Cheyenne, Wyoming to meet up with a truck bringing me the load to SLC:

Our folks were up in arms about it arriving no later than 0200 the following morning so it was a long drive with little time to stop and rest.

I arrived in SLC at 0155 and was checked in by the guard. Since there weren’t any FedEx employees there (and wouldn’t be until around 0600 I was told) that whole 0200 time thing was bogus. I dropped the trailer then bobtailed away for some snooze time.

Hazmat to Henderson

After dropping my load off in Omaha I had to wait around until early afternoon for a truck with an inbound load to make it to town. It is FedEx heading to Henderson, Colorado, coming from the Chicago area.

The load includes some Hazmat but not enough to trigger placards, so after another hour of trailer air line repairs I hook up and head out. I had plenty of cushion if I had left on time and even with the repairs I had enough time to stop in and have a steak at the Sam Bass Saloon in Big Springs, Nebraska along the way.

This morning comes a preplan to take a load of spuds from southern Colorado back to the Walmart DC in New Caney, Texas I was at last week. The miles are good (1,221 from where I’m at) but it has an 0345 appointment on Sunday morning which would require me to run 250ish miles to get loaded, then another 350 or so, shut down, run all day tomorrow and finish at New Caney, then be up at 0345 for the unload. I politely declined.

New plan comes in and it is another Fedex load, this time going from Chicago to Salt Lake City. The other driver will have it in Cheyenne, Wyoming at 1800 hours and I would need to take it to SLC by 0200 tomorrow morning. The dispatcher indicated that was the best of what remained in the area and we were short trucks, so I volunteered to sit until tomorrow unless he was on crack and they actually have more loads than trucks. Check back tomorrow to find out the results of his drug test.

The latest settlement came in and I’m $2,205.96 ahead of the game for now. I rarely run at the end of my log book but I covered 3,800 miles last week and hours have been a bit thin of late.

Can you help with this, can you help with that

The trip out to Kentucky was ordinary, though the triple homicide just before I arrived did make me wonder what kind of hell hole I was heading towards.

The Save A Lot warehouse people have their own way of doing things, like many other outfits. It would be great if someone could come along and organize all of these shippers and consignees to do things similarly; would save truck drivers a lot of time. On the plus side, there was adequate parking alongside the roads in the industrial park in which they were located which served as my overnight spot.

Yesterday my dispatcher sends me a load heading back to Kansas City, Kansas from Louisville, Kentucky. I have to wait at the GE shipping location for a long time before I can leave with the goods. It seems they needed to get a few last microwaves onboard for the Nebraska Furniture Mart folks.

An hour or so down the road and I get a cryptic message: “Do not pass the junction of I-57 and I-64.” Eventually a phone call follows and my dispatcher tries to see if I can relay a PetSmart load that a driver is bringing down from Ottawa, Illinois. After some calming talk and chamomile tea he sees it my way and I take a pass.

My energy petered out around Warrenton, Missouri last night so I grabbed a spot at the rest area. On the way in to KC to finish this load I’m preplanned on a load from Independence, Missouri to Russellville, Arkansas which gets switched over to a “Please help us by getting this load then t-calling it for a driver that needs to get home.” This is annoying for several reasons, including the difficulty of reaching this particular underground facility and the fact the run would have been a good use of my remaining hours. Not to be.

I do as instructed and after I’m given a trip from our yard in KC up to Omaha for delivery tomorrow morning. Not as nice as the Arkansas load but it is what it is.

In and out of KC

I finished the rest of the trip out to Lenexa, Kansas to drop off the trailer I got in Chicago. I had a load waiting at our yard on the other side of Kansas City so I ran over there and grabbed it, after getting a bite to eat at the nearby Denny’s.

I’m not a big fan of Denny’s but I will admit their food quality has improved over the years. I had a fairly tasty smoked chicken melt and a peppermint vanilla shake and the quality was actually quite good. I saw one of their new burgers and I think I’ll be giving it a try the next time I decide to stop for a restaurant meal.

My fuel stop for this run is Booneville, Missouri and I elected to park here overnight, exactly 500 miles from my destination for tomorrow in Winchester, Kentucky.

A trucker’s lament

When I accepted this load I was told it delivered any time today (Saturday), first-come first-served. Including the deadhead it was around 1,150 miles so I drove about 525 on Thursday and the rest Friday, ending up at a small truck stop across the street from Del Monte in Kankakee, Illinois.

This morning I got up and went across the street, arriving at the dilapidated guard shack right at 0700. I remember I was happy at the time to note that I was the only truck out on the street or on their lot, so I was at the head of the line, first to get started and first to get done.

My load details, bona fides and (I noted with some private amusement) the seal number was checked and noted. I was issued an 8 1/2″ by 11″ white piece of paper with the number one emblazoned upon it and told to put that on my dash. The guard pointed out where at the back of the lot to park until they were ready for me and when I asked what time they got started on the weekends he indicated he didn’t know, he normally works weekdays. No problemo.

I park my truck and the minutes tick by. Soon I’m on a laptop browsing some of my regular haunts and I notice an hour has gone by. Then two, and then three. No other trucks have arrived in the back lot where I am but there have been a few Del Monte trucks that have come and gone from another set of doors on the front side of the building. The broker, who was keen to call me several times each of the previous days with status updates, hasn’t called. So I called them.

“Oh yeah, we’re on it, just talked with the guy he should be out there shortly to get you in,” I’m told. Another hour passes.

I call again. “We hadn’t heard anything and thought they were getting you unloaded, let me try them again.”

Another hour passes. “We’re just getting voice mail, would you mind walking over to the guard shack and asking for a direct number to call?”

I do as they ask. Various numbers fly back and forth. Most people aren’t answering on Saturday, naturally.

After six hours of yammering back and forth the broker is nowhere to be found and doesn’t call me back. Instead, I get a call from our HQ telling me to take the trailer north about 75 miles to our dropyard near O’Hare airport to leave for another driver to deliver on Monday… when they will take delivery.

Six hours of my life down the drain because Bubba the Broker can’t keep his days of the week straight.

I put in for detention pay, which is normally a waste of time. This time, however, I’m going to follow up with a detailed phone call on Monday to the lady that handles such matters and I’m going to pester her each subsequent Monday until I get my satisfaction.

HQ had set me up on a Nabisco load up in Chicago headed to Lenexa, Kansas. It isn’t due to arrive until Tuesday but they said I could pick it up at any time and drop it off as soon as I got there. This is a bit unusual since I’ve been to this particular food distributor before and they don’t have a fenced lot or security of any sort that I could see and we don’t ordinarily leave trailers at such places.

Now, if I had actually been unloaded this morning I would have been in and out of Chicago before noon and in the KC area this evening. As it happens, getting delayed six hours then requiring me to first drop off the trailer before going to my next load caused me to depart Chicago at 1700 and run out of endurance a few hours later in Bloomington, Illinois.

I had plenty of hours to run (26) in my logbook this weekend and this screwed up load is going to cost me at least 500 easy miles I could have had Sunday, assuming I was in KC tonight. Yes, I could have played logbook games or tried messing up my sleep schedule but you know what? I just don’t feel like it.

That is my trucker’s lament.

TWIC debacle and Del Monte should be ashamed

The folks at HQ couldn’t get a preplan in place for me yesterday so I slept in. Around 0930 I got up to check messages and there were none. This isn’t unusual since my satellite unit tends to miss messages sent while it is in sleep mode, so I waited a while longer.

Finally, a call in to my dispatcher revealed no plans but a message in to the planners asking “WTF?” A few minutes later, I am given a number to call for a broker for my next load.

This time I’m traveling to the harbor area in Galveston, Texas to pick up a load of fruit for Del Monte foods. The broker asked if I had a TWIC card, which I don’t, then advised me it would mean a $75 fee to go in without on. Whateva.

TWIC, for the uninitiated, is the Transportation Workers Identification Card, sort of like a passport-level security document that truck drivers and others that work in ports can purchase. I only rarely pick up in ports so I haven’t bothered, as there is a workaround: when you go to pick up a load you can “hire” someone with a TWIC card to ride around with you to make sure you don’t do something evil.

So, when I checked in at the gate of Pier 18 in Galveston I was expecting some rigorous security checking going on. I was disappointed.

Oh, there was a gate guard on the inbound side who scrutinized my (regular class A CDL) driver’s license and wrote down some details. He pointed to a orange cone a few hundred feet ahead and told me to park there and wait for the TWIC guy to come and take me in. No problemo.

I’m behind a couple other trucks so I watch as a white pickup truck comes, briefly chats with the driver, then leads the trucks into the yard one-by-one. Each non-TWIC driver gets a neat-o blue vest and this escort… and that’s it. Seventy-five bucks for the temporary use of a blue vest and a guy you follow for, I kid you not, about 300 feet. You then park your truck, get out and go to a dispatch window and do the document shuffle for the load.

In an hour or so I’m loaded with 41,000 pounds of sliced Guatemalan cantaloupe, given my paperwork and seal then told to head out. No one watched me seal my trailer. No one verified that there was a seal of any kind in place. No one checked my paperwork. I did have to drive my truck through a scanning machine sniffing for (I assume) radioactive material but that was it.

They (Del Monte) couldn’t even get the exit routine down right. I was given two green lights and slowly rolled through with no one there to stop me from leaving while a lady from the US Customs & Border Patrol chatted on a cell phone. A guard should have stopped me there to get a copy of my bills to match my truck and trailer number with them, but get this: nowhere on the bills was the seal noted. I could have easily substituted a fake one of my own design, taken this “secured” container out of the port to some undisclosed location then swiped the contents and replaced them with 41,000 pounds of whoopie cushions or anything else then sealed it with the legitimate seal!

If this is representative of the security at our ports we’ve been swindled. Del Monte should be ashamed and held accountable for their own security, and the state and federal government should be all over them like bees on honey to make it happen, with stiff penalties for being lazy AND stupid simultaneously.

NOTE: I, of course, sealed it at the port with the proper seal and will ensure the contents arrive at their destination intact with the proper temperature maintained. But imagine if I had nefarious intent instead.

Wash hand before leaving

Or: What is the sound of one hand clapping?

You might think this sign was posted at a hospital that does a lot of hand amputations, but no, this is the honest-to-goodness sign inside a large food conglomerate’s driver restroom. One wag had written “Which one?” at some point, though I notice that was removed.

I ran south yesterday, ending up in Oklahoma City where I fueled this morning. The balance of the day’s drive south to New Caney, Texas was boring and I won’t mention any details.

I had asked HQ for a preplan or at least a direction to go after I got unloaded, as I had a few hours left to run that could have got me into position for my next load. No go, nothing planned for me, so I’m spending the night at a nearby Flying J.

North, then south

I phoned dispatch on Saturday to see if I had a load planned for Monday. There wasn’t, but while I was on the line I was given one from nearby Carthage, Missouri to Council Bluffs that picked up Monday at 1100. No problemo, I’m on it like flies on brown stinky stuff.

The pickup was a bit slow but I still had enough time to get to and through Kansas City before the rush hour got into full swing. A steak meal at the Black Iron Grill in Rock Port, Missouri followed, and I finished up the load in Council Bluffs around 2000.

On the way up north I was given a preplan to take from the same facility to a WalMart DC near Houston, Texas for Wednesday. It was supposed to be ready by 2000 tonight but it wasn’t even being loaded when I got there. No big deal, I have time so I’ll take my 10-hour break and get at it in the morning.

Updated Financials, Version 3

I have, yet again, updated the spreadsheets used to display my financial data.

Version 3 adds a new Fiscal YTD row on the Settlements page to show the current numbers for this fiscal year (June to June) as opposed to the calendar YTD present before (which is still there, but now labeled “2010 YTD”).

There is a new Overview page as well that shows a small number of data points for each quarter thus far. There will be more added shortly.

The Trip list present in past versions of my financials will reappear as well when I find the time to get them up to date and rearranged a bit.

Enjoy.

Own your own truck

The following was posted in the most recent company newsletter:

ATTN: USED 2006 KENWORTH T-600’S AVAILABLE FOR LEASE PURCHASE—NO BALLOON PAYMENT—OWN THE TRUCK AT LEASE COMPLETION
Submitted by Abbie Reed
For those of you who are interested or might be interested in becoming an O/Operator, we have
an opportunity for you to get into a truck with low weekly payments and no balloon payment. We
are offering our red Kenworth T-600’s (yes, our company trucks) with no balloon payment!!!
Complete the lease term and you own the truck!!!

MILES, PURCHASE PRICE, PAYMENT AND LEASE TERM LISTED BELOW:
* Trucks with 250,000 to 300,000 miles- purchase price is $39,500, lease term= 24 months/2
years, weekly payment= $412.15
* Trucks with 301,000 to 350,000 miles- purchase price is $37,500, lease term= 24 months/2
years, weekly payment= $391.38
* Trucks with 351,000 to 400,000 miles- purchase price is $35,000, lease term= 24 months/2
years, weekly payment= $365.31.
* Trucks with 401,000 to 450,000 miles- purchase price is $32,500, lease term= 24 months/2
years, weekly payments= $339.23
* Trucks with 451,000 to 500,000 miles- purchase price is $30,000, lease term= 18 months/1
½ years, weekly payments= $409.38
* Trucks with 501,000 or more miles- purchase price is $30,000, lease term= 18 months/1 ½
years, weekly payments= $375.23

For more details please stop in the Omaha office and see Abbie or call 800-258-4455 x233.

These trucks are ’06 KW T600’s with CAT engines (I believe) and 13 speed transmissions. I drove one for the first few months at HB and they are a basic spec fleet truck, no frills. The one I had didn’t have an inverter, though that is an easy thing to add to a truck, and I can’t recall if it had a bunk heater or not — it did not have a built-in fridge or APU.

KW’s aren’t my particular cup o’ tea but if you area looking for a cheap way to owning your own truck in two years or less you might want to consider this route. I think there are a couple dozen of these trucks to choose from, but call the number above for availability (and tell Abbie where you heard about it, too! No, I don’t get a percentage 😦 )

I was also told last time I was at HQ that they have filled the team runs I mentioned a month or two back, but they are still adding more teams for general OTR work. Solos are being hired as well.

UPDATE: According to the folks at HQ, a few of the T-600’s have the TriPac APU installed on them already (heating, cooling, battery management and it is integrated with the engine coolant to keep the engine warm when it is below freezing). These will have 1,800 watt inverters as well. The rest of the units don’t have APUs, bunk heaters or inverters to the best of my knowledge.

If you were interested in this deal already and could back into a TriPac on top of everything else (a $7,500 option) I would say it would make a good deal even better.

The scary Gainey cat lady

In the past few days I finished my load out to Phoenix, Arizona then picked up a new one heading to Dallas. Apparently, it is economical to send a trailer full of empty pallets about 1,050 miles to someplace that needs them.

Getting them in the trailer was a bit of a bitch. The shipper wants you to park your truck on the street in front of their property then back in from the street after you have the paperwork signed off on, then they will load you up with pallets. This is a smashing idea, especially when you’re told about it after you’ve already pulled on to their property.

Anyway, yesterday I got loaded and drove to the New Mexico / Texas border where I stopped at a Pilot to take on 50 gallons of fuel. I noticed a Gainey truck on my driver’s side had a lady sitting in the passenger seat but didn’t pay any mind as I puttered around the pump. Finally, she pointed at my cat and asked “Can I have her?”

Uh, no.

“I have four cats here with me.”

Oh lordy. I was done with my fueling so I excused myself and drove off to the parking area.

Traffic in El Paso is fairly bad, considering it isn’t that big of a city, so I got up as early as I could this morning to avoid the rush. This worked and I was cruising towards the range of hills to the east as the sun rose.

By the time I reached my cheap fuel stop in Midland, Texas the tanks were pretty low so I filled up. I grudgingly decided today was my annual “I’ll eat at Mickey Dees” day and tried one of their new Third Pounder burgers. The burger itself was unremarkable and not up to the standard set by the Hardee’s / Carl’s Junior Six Dollar burger, except the pickles and onions were very nicely done. The fries that came along with the combo meal were the typical crappy, stringy and wayyyyy too greasy McDonald’s fries that five year-old’s the world over seem to love.

Tomorrow I get these pallets off the truck and either a load to the house, or a load somewhere else with a second load to the house. Hopefully.

Year Two, Third Quarter Results (December 2009 to March 2010)

As in previous quarters this year, the numbers for this quarter are in bold and followed by the corresponding figure from the same quarter a year ago in parentheses as a reference.

In this quarter I racked up 29,677 (31,402) paid miles, drove 31,820 (34,280) total miles, resulting in 7.22% (9.17%) OOR miles. This is my second best showing for OOR percentage thus far and the lowest number of paid miles by a slim margin. I spent long periods at home after the new year and before the Superbowl and I was stuck in the shop for five days with the engine problem so all-in-all I did okay.

My fuel purchases amounted to 12,133.43 (9,928) and my FSC reimbursement 7,831.86 (5,549), leaving an Adjusted Fuel Expense of 4,301.57 (4,379). Divided by miles run shows 13.51 CPM (12.77) for fuel, a horrid result.

My average weekly miles dropped to 2,282 (2,416), due mostly to the downtime I remarked on above.

With the relatively bad showing above you might be expecting a poor result in the Net Pay department for this quarter, and you would be wrong. Total Net Pay was 16,590.68 (12,296), the best this year by a whisker, and average weekly net was 1,276.20 (946). Note that in this quarter last year I was also setting aside an average of 500 dollars per week towards my savings escrow.

My net CPM this quarter was 55.90, the second-best I’ve recorded… beaten only by this quarter last year at 59.88 CPM.

The result? Despite high adjusted fuel costs (please oh please make the price of diesel rise!) and relatively modest miles my net pay for this quarter is the third-highest I’ve yet encountered. This despite the time off (voluntary and involuntary) and repair expense that was double that of last quarter. I did have one week with zero net pay and another with a paltry 167.54, but those were more than made up for by the other weeks in this period.

Net Pay By Week:

27: 1,327.26
28: 1,178.19
29: 0.00
30: 1,468.52
31: 1,721.86
32: 586.31
33: 1,496.86
34: 833.42
35: 1,359.53
36: 167.54
37: 1,711.20
38: 3,517.88
39: 1,222.11

Goals for the Fourth Quarter:

At the pace I’m currently on I should finish this year with approximately 63,500 in net pay, about 4,000 less than last year. This, despite the vast difference in FSC. My first goal is to finish strong and try to beat that mark.

My second goal is a continuation of my determination to remain efficient. No unnecessary idling, as little OOR as possible and cruising at 60 MPH. This is reflected dramatically in my net CPM, so I want to see if I can beat this quarter’s 55.90.

My next quarterly report will be at the halfway mark to the completion of my lease. I will have two years of solid data to use to predict the outcome and give myself benchmarks to try to beat heading town the other side of this hill I’m climbing. See you in 13 weeks.

About those academy awards

I don’t care so much about the Best Picture winner (“Hurt Locker” will be long forgotten in a year in any case, in my book) but for crying out loud, how do you not at least nominate “Avatar” for the Best Costuming award? That a few pointy ears for “Star Trek” can win over a 150-minute movie packed past the fill line with costuming boggles my mind.

My mind being a bit boggled today, I quit at Grants, New Mexico. It was only 540 miles of driving and I wanted another 80 or 100 but the siren song of some Chester Fried chicken tenders were simply too much. After blindside backing into a spot in the tiny lot of the Loves (on my first try no less) I decided I wasn’t going to budge until morning.

Weekend bliss

I’ve often complained about weekend work at Hill Bros, tis true. Since my truck maintenance wasn’t performed until this morning, I was a bit afraid that this weekend would be like many of the others I’ve had with short runs and Monday deliveries.

The first spot of good news came when I learned I was placed on a load already on a trailer in the yard heading to Phoenix. When I got the paperwork I got another shot of good news: it only weighs 27,000 pounds! I haven’t seen a load under 40,000 pounds heading to Phoenix in at least a year.

Best of all, with this kind of load I can deliver at any time until 2300 on Monday, so I can set my own schedule.

Tonight I finish up in Dodge City, Kansas, 930 miles from my destination. If I get a good night’s sleep and am feeling up to it, I intend to drive about 630-650 miles tomorrow so I will be left with sufficient time to pick up a PetSmart load Monday afternoon and head towards Denver a day early. That would really make my week.

Omaha 13

Before I could get a load heading west from Chicago I had to deliver a trailer to a customer about ten miles from the yard we share with Midwest Motor Express. I handed over a good 30 pages of bills when I arrived but apparently the master bill was nowhere to be found so that caused some grief for a time. Not really my business, though.

Afterward it was an hour-long ride to the north to tiny Richmond, Illinois for a preloaded trailer heading to the Menard’s DC in Shelby, Iowa. The people were pleasant, the paperwork needlessly complex and the trailer brakes were so-so but eventually I was on my way in one piece.

The drive west to Shelby finished off yet another Heinlein book, Farmer in the Sky. It is about a teenage boy and his family who emigrate to the Jupiter moon Ganymede to begin a new life as farmers. Part of the deal is similar to trucking in that they have to first work the land for the entity that paid for the trip, then they can start farming for themselves. This was one of Heinlein’s earlier works and it is better than the last one I listened to.

After dropping in Shelby I grabbed an empty and headed in to Omaha for a shower and some sleep.

This morning it was up bright and early for some annual paperwork I have to do for the company and my semi-annual physical. Some people get anxious about such things, like the driver I accompanied over to the testing location. Seems he has an issue with high blood pressure and just thinking about getting tested spikes his pressure pretty good. I’m happy to report all is well for me in physical land, 127 over 70 on the blood pressure and I can still see properly without the need of glasses.

I’ve spent almost 3.5 years in trucking to this point and during that time my weight has slowly climbed a total of 13 pounds. As a percent that is low and I am relatively pleased. I still snack too much and make poor choices from time to time but having a big refrigerator in the truck sure helps a lot with eating right and saving money.

Parking lot armageddon

The load following my FedEx adventure wasn’t entirely crappy. Once I regained my senses in the afternoon I was dispatched to nearby Kansas City, Missouri to pick up a preloaded trailer headed to nearby Salina, Kansas, about 180 miles away. The one virtue of this dispatch was a follow-on dispatch having me turn around after delivering the trailer and come back to KC for a different load. So, about 360 miles which would let me reset my internal clock to more human hours last night.

I arrived late this morning at the shipper for my second dispatch and was told to leave their lot for an hour or so until one of the two trucks in front of me left. The lot was too crowded, I was told, though it looked to me like most every other parking lot with docks that I go to day in and day out. Ever the compliant type, I pulled back out the gate and waited for a while. Finally, the 32,000 pounds of whatever got tossed into the back and I was on my way.

As I was leaving KC I stopped for fuel at the Pilot in Kearney, Missouri. The truck entrance to the parking lot had an amazing amount of damage to the concrete — I saw a Swift driver hit a deep hole covered with water and bounce his head off of the top of his cab. Needless to say, I took my time.

Even the pump area was jacked up:

After threading my way back out of this mess I began the long part of my day’s journey out to Elwood, Illinois for what I believed to be an 0800 delivery tomorrow morning. The planners had other ideas and along the way I was told I could drop the trailer there then mosey on up to our yard near Chicago O’Hare to be ready for a couple other loads in the morning.

The lights are on, but nobody’s home

The phone calls began around 2330 from HQ. The driver who was to pick up a FedEx load at 0330 in nearby St Charles, Missouri had his clutch go out and night dispatch was scrambling to find someone, anyone, to pick up the load on time.

I went back and forth with the dispatcher as she asked me if I could deliver my refrigerated load early then go pick up at FedEx. Alas, the building I was at was closing down for the night when I arrived four or five hours earlier so while the lights were on, nobody was around. Finally, I was told to bring my loaded trailer with me and drop it at FedEx for another driver to worry about.

Our night dispatcher also has to handle drivers who physically come up to the dispatch window in HQ, or into the building via the back door. “Oh boy, they’re coming at me from the front and rear,” she muttered.

“If I had a nickle for each time I’ve heard that line,” was my laconic response.

The unspoken side effect of helping Hill Bros with this dispatch is I screw myself for tomorrow. I can use the vagaries of the Hours of Service rules to get the load picked up and taken as far as Kansas City (the load itself goes on to Denver) but that will, in effect, nullify the break I’ve already taken and require me to drive until just past dawn, then shut down for my “real” 10-hour break. This, in turn, means either I will be placed on a nighttime driving schedule starting tonight or I’ll lose the rest of the day and get going tomorrow. A shit sandwich either way.

I arrived ahead of schedule to drop off my trailer and get the loaded one and headed off towards KC. I had to take a 30-minute power nap along the way when I got woozy but just after dawn I swapped the FedEx trailer for an empty and another driver got rolling towards Denver.

Back on the truck

Today’s journey is a short one: a quick deadhead to Carthage, Missouri then swap my trailer for a loaded one heading to Troy, Illinois for delivery first thing tomorrow. Everything went as planned and tonight I’m parked at the consignee, ready for my 0630 appointment to unload.

This little industrial area that I’m parked in is fairly close to the Pilot and T/A in Troy and very quiet, I may park here more often when I’m in town.