A sweet load turned sour

What do I consider to be a good load to haul? I like long runs, average to light load weight, a newer trailer with air-ride suspension and drop and hook on both ends. I rarely get such loads.

Today I got a great looking load. Omaha to Phoenix, Arizona and the weight is just 28,000 pounds. The trailer is a newer one with air suspension and it was preloaded. Plus, Phoenix is always a drop for us. Sweet!

All was great in my world except for the damned wind! As I headed west, south then southwest I kept running into heavy winds blowing right against me, with gusts up to 30 and 40 MPH. My fuel economy was just 6.0, where I would have ordinarily expected close to 8.0 with this type of load.

The delivery was set for any time Saturday which gave me three days. I could push really hard and get there in two days, go kinda hard and get there in two-and-a-half days or lope along and get there in three days. Yeah, I went with the three days option.

My first stop was Dodge City, Kansas and I planned on Albuquerque, New Mexico for the next one. Then the stupid satellite unit went off.

See, I had taken a look at my hours and realized by the time I got to Phoenix I would only have 14 or so left for the next two days and only pick up 4.5 on Monday. It is rare for me to take a 34-hour restart but heck, why not let my hair down once in a while?

Only, the satellite unit wouldn’t let it be. I got a preplan to pick up Saturday and deliver at 0300 Monday morning in Colorado Springs, Colorado. At first glance this wasn’t even possible, and even if it was it would mean running 1,800 miles in three days using only 29 driving hours, or a pair of dispatches with 62 MPH average speeds required.

After a long series of back-and-forths with my dispatcher and the planner I worked out a way to make it happen, but it meant instead of stopping in Albuquerque tonight I had to get as far as Jamestown, New Mexico. Tomorrow I have to run from there down to Phoenix then back to somewhere near the New Mexico state line to position myself to get to Colorado Springs on Sunday. Long, long driving days in other words, and running up against the very end of my logbook.

So, I’m in Jamestown tonight and we shall see about the next two days.