Yesterday morning I drove to Eau Claire, Wisconsin to pick up one of our reefers then east about four hours to Milwaukee for a load of beer from the Miller people. This is the first Miller plant I've been to before and if it is representative of the lot they have a lot of catching up to do with the Budweiser folks.
The check-in procedure was a bit weird. Go to one guard shack, pick up some paperwork, park truck and go to a "driver's lounge" where you use one of two phones to speak with the shipping people. Then, monitor the CB until they tell you what door to head to.
On the back of the paperwork the guard handed to me was a map and he told me to follow the clearly-marked path from the staging lot to where the shipping doors would be. I do so, but the doors there are numbered (roughly) 1-30 and my door is 70. On the back side of the building, perhaps? Nope, but I did get a football field length straight backing opportunity out of the exercise.
So I walk into the shipping office (which is at that building) and ask where the heck they are hiding my door and it turns out there are ten or so docks at some other building a quarter mile away. Back out to the street, make some tight turns, eventually pass through a gate then back into a diagonal slot dock.
Several hundred kegs of Miller Lite beer are forklifted into the trailer and I'm eventually turned loose with the paperwork. Just in time to head out of town in rush hour with 79,600 pounds of truck under me.
I stopped at one of the crappiest Pilot truck stops in the network, that being Beloit, Wisconsin for the night. Crappiest because of the way too tight parking lot and traffic that comes in from two directions on the same u-shaped piece of pavement. Backups galore.
The alarm goes off at 0345 this morning and I'm off. I didn't want to get up at that hour but my load had to deliver by 1400 and it was at least eight hours and a fill up to get to Kansas City. Roughly eight hours and a fill up later, I was there and got the beer off of the trailer speedily enough.
My dispatcher is well aware I need to be home tomorrow and I ask if I should stay where I am at the southern edge of Kansas City or head over to our yard. "Not much moving there, you'd better head to the yard." I do so.
Naturally, a few hours later the nothing much turns into a load sitting at our yard that needs to deliver across town in Lenexa, Kansas at the propitious hour of 0300 tomorrow. All of 15 miles of work on my part, plus wait for it to be unloaded and of course all of the paperwork. In exchange, I exact the promise they will assign me my dreaded Buske load and deadhead me there to pick it up on Monday.
We'll see how well that works out.
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