by | Oct 8, 2008 | Knight of the Road

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Posts by: Brian

Yes, back on the road after some home sweet home time. More than I’d expected, oddly enough. Had to fly out to California to marry off my flower child of a nephew. Marry off quite literally, as I got to perform the ceremony. No, of course it wasn’t a real wedding, but it was lots of fun, outdoors in a park with a bouncy house and a live band of the nephew’s hippie friends. A whirlwind of a trip, a night, a day, and a night, and back to the airport.

Got a few days at home, too, during which Colorado did everything it could, weather-wise, to remind me that it is in fact one of the most beautiful places on earth. And how much I hate, much of the time, this job that keeps me away. Then again, I checked out the employment ads while I was home. Very sobering. So although I can feel my mountain-climbing legs turn to mush as I roll across the country, at least I have a job, some certainty that the taxes and utilities get paid back at that house I see once in a while. The cat would be annoyed if the heat got turned off.

Another certainty is that said job will do its best to aggravate me. As usual, I was sent to Kansas for beef. Dodge City, to be delivered in LA. The load was not ready. Beef loads never are. In the morning, my friendly Qualcomm told me they’d changed loads on me. So I had to work out another trip plan, this time to Pennsylvania. And this new load was already late.

I asked the Company to get me a new delivery time. They said they’d try to repower me instead. (Have I explained about repowers? That’s when two trucks meet to swap trailers.) On day two, I got one; just east of St. Louis. I pulled over to type in my acknowledgement, and just as I sent it the repower was cancelled. They would try to find me something in Columbus. Columbus, I sent back, would be a stretch. Could they find something further west? Sure enough, they found a repower in Columbus. Gritting my teeth (this would make for a long day) I soldiered on. Then the second repower was cancelled. Then they found another one, just thirty teensy little miles further east than the last.

I pulled into the TA truck stop in Hebron, PA, fifteen minutes over my DOT-mandated 11-hour maximum driving time. The Company, of course, doesn’t want to hear about things like that. Swapped trailers, and was crushed to find that my new load had to be in Pennsylvania the next morning, just a few hours after my first one. If I took a 10-hour break, I’d be late. Fortunately, I could use the split-sleeper rule: take eight hours in the sleeper and another two hours later in the day. I’d really been hoping to sleep in, but I could do it. So I worked out a trip plan, sent all my messages, got ready for bed, and got a message that they would be repowering the load I’d just hooked up to. The new truck was to be expected just before midnight.

Couldn’t they have told me this was their plan before I did all the work on the trip? A rhetorical question.

Finally managed to fall into an uneasy sleep, from which I awoke about two in the morning. Where was the other truck? If it had broken down or something, I would need to start driving in a few hours. More messages. Less sleep. At three, just as I was fading back into unconsciousness, came the pounding on my door. Unhooking, hooking up, exchanging paperwork, back to sleep again.

My new load doesn’t deliver until tomorrow morning. Instead of too little time, I have too much. Maybe I’ll get some writing done.