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.

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