I get beeped with one load, and I accept... and I'm immediately taken off it. A few seconds later, a similar load from a different shipper is sent and I accept it. I'm to run about 150 miles across Kansas to the small town of Frontenac to pick up a load of dog food heading to a distributor in Omaha, Nebraska. I've praised the trip planners before and I'll continue along that vein: I needed to get back through Omaha to get my APU
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When I arrived on the outskirts of Frontenac I was presented with a problem. My directions said turn left on McKay avenue then the shipper will be on the right. I looked that way as I came up the freeway and it looked like a solid housing development to me, and heading right on McKay instead looked more promising. So, am I a trusting driver who follows directions or am I suspicious and take-charge driver that follows his well-honed gut instinct for avoiding bad places?
I chose the directions I was given over my gut feel and knew it was the wrong choice as soon as I made the turn. A sign told me that no thru trucks were allowed, which didn't really mean much since there are plenty of places we go where the shipper is on such a street and you aren't a "thru" truck, since you get loaded then head back out the same way you entered.
The line of houses went on and on and before long, and before I had any option to turn, I was in a cozy downtown area with a 20 MPH speed limit and various turns saying "No Trucks" or "Low Overheads" and the like. After fifteen minutes of using my driving instincts, I made it back to the freeway and began again, but this time ignoring the directions and going with my gut. A minute or two later I was at the shipper.
Since this place is, to put it mildly, off the beaten track, there was no place nearby to scale my truck after I was loaded. I watched them load in the pallets of dog chow (about 1,300 30 pound bags worth) and adjusted my tandems to suit the load, so I was fairly confident I was legal.
My fuel stop for the day was the Flying J on I-435 in Kansas City, Missouri. Now, I like Flying J stops, as a whole but this one just sucks. It is hard to get to, hard to park at and fairly crowded at all times of the day and night. Today it also happened be sweltering hot, though I got to a pump quickly -- a first. I pumped almost 200 gallons into my tanks, or roughly half the weight of whatever kind of car you happen to drive.
This is where being a bit tired and in a bit of a rush can hurt a driver. What I should have done was fuel then scale my truck there, adjusting my tandems and 5th wheel to reflect the 3/4 ton of extra weight up front. Instead, I quickly updated my log and hit the road, trying to get through the 4:30 traffic to head out of the city.
The first weigh station that I came to today is just north of Kansas City in Platte City, Missouri, along I-29. It was open and my PrePass transponder didn't beep, so I headed in to scale. While my overall weight was legal, I was too heavy on my steer tires and got called to task for it.
The officer was polite and patient and suffered a bit as he did a level 2 inspection of my truck and paperwork in the heat and humidity. Nothing else was found to be amiss and I got a ticket for $130 for the improper balancing. Then, I moved my 5th wheel back to the stops which shifted 1,400 pounds to my drive tires, rescaled, then headed down the road.
A bit poorer and a bit wiser.