Feb 13, 2012

CAUTION: Detour Ahead

Auctions..... What can I say?

Last week after making the rounds on Long Island, I was sent to Adesa Auto Auction to grab a load. First off, I must say this is my favorite auction so far. Why, you ask? Because it is small! But, then I seem to have very good luck when it comes to the auctions, but that is another post. My directions were to grab 8 out of 12 and return to Mt. Juliet, TN. Being so new to this, I am finding myself looking to be challenged. So with the list of cars, I decide that I am going to load 9 if at all possible. After spending a little extra time jumping off batteries and airing up tires, I manage to get my chosen 9 cars pulled.

It was a big load... It was my first BIG LOAD!! And you better believe I was proud. I had several fellow car-haulers tell it me was a good looking load too!  Oh yeah, I am beaming! I manage to make it back to central PA before calling it a night.

The next morning, the boss calls and changes my destination. I have been told nothing is ever an absolute until the cars are back on the ground. So I am rerouted to Manheim in Grove City, OH. At this point I have only added a few extra miles, good thing I am no longer eager to jump out of bed and go to work. This job is going to make me lazy.... So I head west with the intention of getting unloaded that evening. My next load is waiting for me, and while I may not be up at the crack of dawn everyday, I still do some serious trucking (when I see fit)!

I make it nearly to Ohio when the CB comes alive with warnings of impending delays. There is an accident which has the Interstate closed near Washington, PA. After listening to several alternate routes around the melee, I opted to take my chances. After all, I have my handy dandy Rand McNally that likes to route me to 4 ton ferries, so how bad could it be?

I gingerly make my way to the surface roads and get a little nervous when I see the first overpass ahead. I still suck at gauging height with the naked eye, but at 13'11", I had plenty of room for clearance. I was beginning to enjoy my little scenic route of Washington. I had the CB on just in case any one had any vital information to offer, but I honestly don't really expect it anymore. I passed several other trucks en route and not a single peep was heard... But, the area around Pittsburgh is notorious for low clearance, and Washington is not that far away, so I was cautiously apprehensive. I make my final turn onto the road that should lead me back to the Interstate. I can almost smell the acceleration. That is until......

No where along this route was a low clearance ever indicated. Especially 2 miles back where I made the fatal turn. I pulled over to the edge of the road and pondered my next move. I could back into a gravel lot on the left, but this would require a little precision on  my part,  as well as a few irritated local residents. This little four lane was bustling with traffic between the traffic lights. There was also a road that eased upwards to the left, but I really had no desire to get become trapped in this area. I then noticed a fellow on the sidewalk just about to get in his car, so I jumped out of the truck to ask about the road on my right.

Oh what a nice man!! Introducing Mr Ed. Ed was kind enough to confirm that several trucks actually get wedged under that overpass every year. After determining that it was indeed 13'4", if not lower, Ed volunteered to help me find a more appropriate exit route. We jumped in his car and took a little trip around town. Every time we thought we found a route, it was culled due to one reason or another. We spent about 30 minutes driving around before determining my best option. Oh, Mr Ed, I think I love you!! I finally was able to make my escape and arrived at the auction just 15 minutes before the gate closed. I could have unloaded, but hey, the motel was right around the corner.. And it had been a very eventful day already.

Below is the route I took, if you care to watch it! And, it is set to a nice country song. Who doesn't love a good trucking video set to a nice country song? Well, at least the title is Country Song.

Feb 1, 2012

Dragging Ass

It was bound to happen...

Saturday evening I was delivering the last of my cars in Chattanooga. Everything just seemed to fall into place for me that day, and I do mean everything. I left the dealership and headed south on I-75. After a few miles, a car flashed his lights at me, but then quickly changed lanes behind me and exited the freeway. Not thinking much about it because a lot of motorists flash their lights for different reasons, I continued onward. Being empty, I was able to climb the hills pretty quickly and was passing the slower heavy trucks with ease. About 5 miles later, another car eases up my left side flashing his high beams. He catches up to me and is blowing the horn too. He then merges into the lane in front of me and engages the four way flashers as he begins to slow. Of course, by now, I realize something is amiss. He slows me to about 40mph and we ease off onto the shoulder. There was a guard rail immediately to my right and with very little room for comfort, I was hoping he would pull forward to the end of the guardrail. He didn't. He jumps out of his car and runs back to my truck. He is an older Korean man who does not speak a word of English, but his gestures were frantic. He is standing in the right lane ( due to the guard rail, I am sitting on the white line) trying to communicate with me when I noticed the truck blazing a trail directly at him. I throw open the door and grab him by the shirt and pull him to the truck just as the truck roars by within inches of us...

This absolutely pissed me off beyond all means of reason. There were no other vehicles to the left of this truck. I had my four ways on, so I was not invisible. That idiot should have at least made an attempt to give my truck some room. There was no reason for him to be that close. There was no other vehicles anywhere near him at all. He could have easily moved left!!! And to add fuel to the fire, the CB comes to life with "fuck, there are people standing in the road" I am sure the flashing car-hauler on the shoulder gave no indication that there might be human life form close by. I would never have taken that chance, standing in the road like that, but the man was doing a good deed and getting squished was probably not even on his mind. The look on his face when I grabbed him...

Oh sure, it was nice for someone to finally speak up and alert the crowd, but where was all the chatter for the last 15 miles when I was dragging my ramp down the highway throwing sparks, I am sure.

Why did it take 2 motorists in cars to alert me to the fact that I was dragging a ramp. I passed over a dozen trucks and not a single word. It was not until after the fact, that someone mentioned the car-hauler who was throwing sparks. By this time, I had been parked for a minute or two, so obviously that comment came from someone I had previously passed.

I am very grateful that this gentlemen took it upon himself to get my attention. He had no idea who he was getting involved with. But it almost cost him his life. I am not sure how I would have reacted, had he been killed and thankfully I don't have to deal with that nightmare. But, I am just about fed up with the new school of truckers. In my opinion, the industry is full of £&@¥^#€ morons!!!! Don't get me wrong, there are some great people in trucks, but they are fewer and further between.