Monday morning brought orders to pick up a load of spuds from nearby Minden, Nebraska and take it down to Frito Lay in Jonesboro, Arkansas. One catch on this 700-mile trip: it can't deliver until Wednesday morning, two full days hence.
"Ah hell no," I snorted.
A while later my new dispatcher asked if I would be willing to at least pick up the load, take it to Kansas City then t-call it and he'd get me a good load from there. Now, I've only been here 18 months or so but the odds of getting a good load out of KC are pretty close to the birthers closing their case but being a good team player I agreed to the deal.
About 45 minutes later I'm at this spud processing plant out in the middle of nowhere with dump trucks filled with spuds straight from the fields coming in and unloading on a conveyor belt that leads into a large warehouse structure. There is a single dock with a movable conveyor belt arm thing poking out so when you dock it is about fifteen feet or so inside your trailer (think proctology exam). The conveyor is then turned on and twenty tons of fresh-from-the-field spuds are dumped inside on the floor.
My turn comes and I back the truck up (coughing, for some reason) and set the brakes. They have it set up with a scale under the truck while you're being loaded so they can put on as many pounds of spuds as they need to. I even shot some video but haven't had chance to process or upload it yet.
I'm loaded and have the paperwork so I head out. It has been a few hours by now so I message my dispatcher and ask for an update on the t-call and the new load out of KC. After a short delay he tells me that the t-call is no problem but they have squat coming out of KC so I'll kind of be stuck. The under-the-radar message is, of course, "Hey, why don't you take that neat-o load down to Jonesboro for us!"
"Ah hell no," I snorted.
I messaged back that I'd be up in Omaha in an hour and we can t-call it there. He responds that Omaha is out of route and they'll try to move the delivery appointment up. Later, he sends a message stating that they can't but I can try to sweet talk the broker.
I roll into our Omaha yard and t-call the load.
My truck needs some TLC anyhow, and I figure the odds of getting a decent load are about 53.8 times better from Omaha than Kansas City.
So, truck gets greased, oil change, new filters, patched a few holes in Rosie (don't ask) and I even had the tire shop rotate my super singles since the ones in the rear are wearing down faster than the ones up front.
A few hours after all that is taken care of on Tuesday morning the QualComm beeps and I'm heading to Aurora, Nebraska (about ten miles from Grand Island, where I was yesterday before I was sent on the Great Spud Adventure) to take a load of pet chow down to Phoenix. Only, it is noonish and the load won't be ready until 2100.
2100 rolls around and, indeed, the load is ready. Pick it up, adjust tandems, scale out, take care of paperwork and roll down the road. Just under three hours later I'm in Salina, Kansas and done for the night.
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