Summer 2001

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Wow did I get seriously behind on the journal.  I am not sure why -- or what happened -- just life, I guess.


Since I am so behind, I will try to sum up what the summer has been like rather than try to remember all the trips. 


It has not been a high mileage summer... I've been pulling a lot of trips with multiple drops, which are very time consuming.  I've also pulled more meat than usual -- and if you are a regular reader of this journal, you already know how I feel about that.


It also seems like I've been lost a lot this summer.  I've had a lot of bad directions, tough places to get to and have spaced off more than usual.  I hate getting lost but it is a job hazard and everyone does it.  Sometimes it is a bad set of directions but quite often streets don't have signs or you just plain miss the turn.  It's hard to always go to different places.  I rarely see the same place twice and unfortunately, the places I see twice are usually ones that I wished I hadn't seen the first time! :)


Even if the miles haven't been so good, that doesn't mean I haven't been slaving away.... There have been a few easy weeks, but all those drops and waiting around is actually very hard on a person.  For instance, one recent run was as follows:


Deliver Drop #1 at 10 PM.

Deliver Drop #2 at 6 AM the next morning, 200 miles away.

Deliver Drop #3 at 10 PM that same evening, about 150 miles away.


Yes, there's a big time gap between Drops 2 & 3 but I had to kill myself between Drops 1 & 2.


Naturally I was delivering to a grocery store warehouse and I also had to unload.   In fact the place was so strict that if you wanted a lumper you had to bring one in from outside the gates.  If you were in the dock and didn't know you had to do this, you would have to drop the trailer, bobtail back to the gates, pick up the lumper and sign him in and then bring him inside the warehouse.  On top of that, at most of the warehouses you had to stand and watch the lumper do the work -- no waiting in the truck as most places allow.  I was hauling frozen onion rings and I found it better to do the work myself because then I could keep moving and wouldn't freeze just standing there watching someone else work.  It is highly doubtful that I will eat onion rings again anytime soon after unloading several entire loads of them.


To add insult to injury, Drop #1 didn't even put me in a dock until almost midnight, (Even though I was on time for my appointment) and then I wasn't out of there until around 2:00 - 3:00 AM.  Needless to say, I was late getting to Drop #2.  Upon getting there, I had to practically offer my firstborn, while on my knees, to convince them to take their 6 pallets of onion rings.  (Okay, so I didn't go that far, but close enough.)  The receiving person was trying to decide if he should have mercy on yet one more late driver, and I was just about to the point that I didn't care.  He either wanted his stupid onion rings or he didn't.  I'd been up all night long throwing boxes of onion rings and I had rings under my eyes a raccoon would've been jealous of.  I was nearly to the point of not being able to care -- though if he made me wait I would have to wait for nearly 24 hours.  To make this story short, he took the rings and I found the nearest truckstop and Good Night, Irene, it was over.


I've run almost only in the Midwest and East this summer.  Construction has, of course, been heavy but it didn't seem as bad as the summer of 2000.


Various Pictures Taken Over the Summer....

dead.jpg (302913 bytes)


Sorry for this bit of unpleasantness... and I suppose maybe I could be sued for posting such a picture.  All the meat plants post signs that say, "No Cameras Allowed".  Now I guess you know why...


The meat companies have about the same amount of respect for animals as for the drivers.... okay, so that may be a little harsh but unfortunately, not too much so.


Shower_Room.jpg (145235 bytes)

The Typical Truckstop Shower Room

A typical truckstop shower room.  Some are bigger, some smaller, some cleaner, some dirtier but this is, by most accounts, just plain average.


Triples.jpg (57313 bytes)


Triples are found mostly on turnpikes and in a few western states.


dock_lock_locked.jpg (121870 bytes)

A "Dock Lock"


A Dock Lock does as it's name implies -- it locks the bumper of the trailer to the dock.  These locks are tough -- if a driver tries to pull away when the dock lock is on, he/she will most likely leave the bumper behind.  (I've seen this done and it is not pretty :) .. and no, thank goodness, it wasn't my bumper.) 


Look carefully for the yellow hook wrapped up and over the bumper.


dock_lock_unlocked.jpg (146545 bytes)

The Dock Lock is not on in this photo.  Docks that use these locks will almost always also have a stop light up on the wall of the building.  If it is red, the lock is on and green, it is off.  No matter what you do, you don't want to pull out of a dock if you still have a red light.  A forklift could still be doing something in the trailer and/or your lock might still be on.


It is kind of confusing, looking at this picture, but the set of lights for your dock is almost always on the driver's side.  (Please note I said almost always, though.)


Visor.jpg (84105 bytes)

A toy I bought this summer... This is a Handspring Visor, aka "A Personal Digital Assistant".  It is very helpful for keeping my trip info, phone numbers, directions, expenses, etc, etc...   I strongly recommend it.  There's a ton of software out there for them and you can even buy a wireless modem.  (I haven't gone this far...yet.)






On my way back to the Midwest after loading 'taters in Rupert, ID.


Beautiful Tennessee

An enjoyable day's drive along I-40 in Tennessee.



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