A Ralph….I Mean Rough Week

Oh my goodness have we been sick.  We are actually working for a living right now and not sitting at home.  Got a load of astroturf for the football stadium at Wilsonville Highschool in Oregon.  We had a near disaster at the port of entry in Utah.  As we rolled over the scales, we got the message “Park, Bring Papers”  Usually no big deal.  We had 4 level 3 inspections in the last 18 months (the one where they check you logs and all of the trucks paperwork) and we have always been clean.  We have never even come close to any kind of violation with the exception of not having the right permit the first time we entered Oregon as Owner Operators.  That was a $430 ticket that Anne got reduced to $200 (and Farm2Fleet paid for us)  So as I am gathering my wallet, our permit book, our logs and the bill of lading the DOT officer comes out and looks down both sides of our truck.  We cannot figure out what she is doing but she is gone before I get out.  I walk in and she is waiting at the counter for me.  I ask her what she was looking at and she says it looks like we are too wide.  What????  Because we are hauling rolls of astroturf (just like rolls of carpet) the sides of the trailer are bulging a bit.  This always happens with carpet and we have never had an issue in the past.

Turf Delivery

Turf Delivery

Does that look like a huge issue to you?

Does that look like a huge issue to you?

Or this?

Or this?

So she comes out with a long stick with a string and plumb-bob on the end.  She holds it against one side of the trailer and marks the spot it touches the ground, she then does the same to the other side.  I ask “if we are too wide, how much does the permit cost”  The answer REALLY sucks.  “You cannot buy a permit with this equipment, I will have to shut you down and you will have to get someone out here to unload the trailer and reload it so it does not bulge”.  This will cost thousands of dollars.  We are about 70 miles from Salt Lake City and there is no loading dock here.  They will have to bring a ramp and a forklift.   We are just resigned to our fate at this point and she apologizes and tells me how much she hates this part of her job.  She asks me to hold one end of the tape measure for her.  I feel like I am sharpening the headmans axe for my execution as I hold the darn tape.  I am tempted to cheat a little but I figure that whatever happens, happens and I am brutally honest on the mark.  We are 5″ over width.  After thinking about it for a minutes she says “My boss is going to be pissed but I am going to let you go.  My husband is a trucker”  I don’t think Anne would have minded if I kissed her right then (she was kinda cute) but I restrained myself and we happily got moving before her boss found out.

Four more weigh stations were open before we got to our delivery and we had to go through them all but nobody else stopped us.  We got very good at holding our breath, however.

So we made the delivery in Oregon and got a nice paying load to Monroe WA which is 10 miles from my parents house.  We spent a couple of glorious days in the 80 degree sunshine laying by my parents pool and working on our tans.  Our load back to Tennessee was ready Thursday evening so off we went.  The next morning, Anne came down with a VERY bad case of the flu.  Horrible stomach cramps and…..well, let’s just say not fun in a truck.  Lucky for us we had a lot of extra time in the run as we could not make the forst of our three drops until Monday morning.  I was able to drive my shift, take my ten hour break and drive again so Anne could just stay in bed.  it was mostly a 24 hour bug and although weak, weare pretty sure by the next day she will live.

So we spent Monday getting unloaded at our three stops near Nashville.  I was online looking for a load and rates hve plummeted in the last week.  It is not looking good.  Not at all pleased with what I am finding online, I contact a couple of brokers we have relationships with to see what they have.  Nothing paying good unless it is heading into a black hole for outbound freight.  I post our truck as available on the load board but had just decided to head for home and wait until the rates make it worth our while to come back out.  No sense burning fuel and putting miles on the truck if we are not making money.  Eight minutes after posting the truck my phone rings.  It is a broker we have never dealt with befor and he has a load to Seattle paying $2.29 a mile (after we negotiate a bit).  SOLD. So we pick up the load and head toward Seattle.  The next morning I am not feeling well as I end my shift and I come down with the flu.  Anne is nothing if not a giver.  I am not admitting that I thought she was being kind of a baby when she was sick but OH MY LORD did I hurt.  What a miserable day.  We did not have the extra time on this run so I had to drive that night.  The stomach cramps had ended but I was exhausted.  I drove for a couple of hours, took a 90 minute nap, drove again, napped again.  Not the most productive night but I drove almost 500 miles and kept us on schedule.  We delivered 3 1/2 hours early.  The good news is this broker has this load every day and he loved our service.  A nice run.  We dropped our trailer to be loaded fro Friday evening (tomorrow) and we bobtailed to my parents for a 36 hour break.

We also found the replacement piece for our fairing skirt.  Only cost $300 plus $50 shipping.  That is about half what I expected.  It is waiting for us at home so we will look all pretty again next week.

We will be heading back to Seattle next week to celebrate our anniversary in the San Juan Islands and Victoria BC.  It is going to be awesome.

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1 Response to A Ralph….I Mean Rough Week

  1. Ogden Miller says:

    We read through your harrowing account and at the end were pleased that things seemed to work out OK. Flu is bad enough but flu in a truck must be the pits. J and O

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