Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Weighty Issues

Question: A truck driver handles two loads in the same day. One load is 37,000 pounds, the other is 42,000 pounds. Which one is heavier?

If you were a logical thinker you might think that the 42,000 pound load was the heavier but you would be wrong in this case.

This morning I grabbed the paperwork and trailer from the ConAgra facility in Macon, Missouri. The load weight was right there, a tad over 37,000 pounds. No problemo, I hooked up and split.

About a hundred miles down the road I stopped at a truck stop in Cameron, Missouri I stayed at before and scaled my truck. I was at almost 79,000 lbs with my tanks less than a quarter full. Hmm.

The load itself was distributed very strangely. I was over on my trailer tandems by 2,600 pounds or so which wasn't unexpected since I had the tandems slid all the way forward. I moved them back nine notches which at that weight would ordinarily give me a shift of about 3,500 pounds but it only moved about 2,000. Having more holes to go before the wheels were all the way at the rear of the trailer, I put in another four or five holes and the weight was distributed legally. Thirteen holes for about 2,700 pounds shift on a load that must have weighed 44,000 or so. Very odd.

Anyway, I motor over to Omaha, Nebraska to drop off the load and I'm allowed to drop the trailer there and bobtail back to the yard. Very nice.

While I'm there I had a chat with my temporary dispatcher and the head of operations and they helped me track down some outstanding payments for trips I had completed since leasing on. I also learned that the detention pay for the molassas-like warehouse folks in Fountain, Colorado had come in to the tune of $260. All told, this week should finish with a hefty paycheck even though I haven't run that many miles for a change.

Back to the question I posed above. While I'm chatting with the operations folks my new orders come in and I'm heading out to Chicago for a delivery tomorrow afternoon. It is a load of meat weighing in at 42,000 lbs and change and I also filled my fuel tanks before I left, so I'm sweating how much my truck will weigh.

No problemo, as it turns out: I'm at just under 78,000.

I'm assuming the ConAgra folks don't realize they sent tons (literally) of extra meat to their customer on that load. You'd be surprised how frequently shippers have no clue how much product they are sending out in a load.

View Larger Map