Wednesday, April 15, 2009

THE UGLY SIDE OF TRUCKING

Lest you all think we always have good karma while out on the road, sit back and let me tell you a tale. This trip had three strikes against it from the beginning. First, Craig didn't have a slew of driving hours available, but certainly enough, when we saw the initial dispatch, to get us where we needed to go. Secondly, we had to wait over two hours for the loaded trailer to show up at the drop yard, which of course, put us that much behind. And lastly, when given the dispatch, none of the drops had any appointment times yet, they were still to be determined.

Doing the math, we knew there would be night driving involved. I'll go on the record here as not being such a fan of driving at night. Sure, an argument can be made for there being less traffic, but it messes way too much with my body clock these days. The fact that the laws for truck drivers, and regulating their driving time to 11 hours, and having to stop when your not tired, and driving when you are tired, because of those laws, doesn't help either. Let's just say, sleep has been at a premium that last couple of days.So with that said, imagine if you will, Craig has crunched the numbers, and even with the limited driving hours he had left on his 70 hour clock, knew we could make the delivery dates listed on the dispatch, and even went as far as to advise dispatch to make the first drop in the late afternoon. Around 1pm on Monday we start receiving the appointment times.......Excellent! First drop is in Needles, CA at 10am on Tuesday. Not a problem, we can make that, and then comes San Bernardino, CA at 7pm that same day. What the what?!?! The original dispatch had that delivering on Wednesday along with Los Angeles, which now had an appointment of 7am.

We immediately send a message letting dispatch know we would not make the last two drops with the appointment times given, and we got back, "We will try and repower load". Okay, on we go with our plans to drive all night to get to Needles, and we make it there an hour early, and while unloading send in another reminder. "We will not be able to make 2nd/3rd appointment, out of hours until midnight tonight" We get back, "Will call them and figure something out".

By 2pm, we were tired and still hadn't heard anything. We ask again and are told when we know something we will send you a message. My Type A personality is going berserk. How long does it take to pick up a phone and call these businesses and change appointments? In the mean time, we sit and wait until almost close of business and send in one more question. "Do you want us to drive to company yard (which is very near our 2nd drop ) or sit here in Needles until new appointment times are made? We get back this rather ominous reply....."Present yourself at your 2nd drop when you can legally do so" Wow...... almost sounds like we are being sent to the principals office doesn't it?With that tidbit of information, we try and grab a few hours a sleep before hitting the road again at 11pm to drive into San Bernardino. We had positive thoughts, that when we arrived at 3am, we would be unloaded and still be able to make the last drop. But sadly, it is 8am and we are still sitting on the street looking at a closed gate, leading to the dock area, that we had hoped to have already occupied. Upon arriving, the night guard said to check back in at 9am. We once again let dispatch know the circumstances and and got the "Will try and repower the load" message again. I amused myself while watching the birds pick at the gummy worms that someone had thrown onto the ground. It didn't take long for them to figure out those worms weren't meant for eating!So there you have my sad little tale, but I wanted to be fair, and let those who are thinking about going into the business know that life out in the truck can be a bit frustrating at times. Things will go amiss, appointment times will be missed, equipment does fail, but our experience is that it doesn't happen very often, and when it does...........we just roll with the punches........'cause that's what we do!

PS- After reading this entry to Craig, he says I nit pick too much. He further says that trucking is adapt and overcome. We only know our side, and we don't always know what the other side of the story is. It always works out in the end..........and as he always tells me and my Type A personality......." JUST RELAX".........and with that, I think I'll go back to bed!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of the time I believe in Baltimore when you were at the docks waiting for the papers to be signed.

CRAIG and DIANE said...

Oh My.....the nightmare you just brought back to mind. Somehow now, in retrospect and time long past, that doesn't seem so bad. I'm sure this one will fade too in time!

Anonymous said...

Hurry up and wait. Sounds like the Army! But it is just real life, isn't it. My dad used to say, "If that's the worst thing that ever happens to me in life, it's been pretty good!" Thanks again for all the good reads. I enjoy riding the roads with you two.
jack
charleston, sc

Bonnie said...

Diane, thank you for commenting on my blog. Susan is amazing~what a gift!

I just read your entry and found it fascinating. I have never known anyone that actually drives a big rig although there certainly are lots of them on the road when we travel between UT and CA. I can see that it might be tough on an A-type. Such a neat thing to do as a couple though.

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