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The Ride of My Life: Day 4

On day four of their trip, Con-way Truckload Vice President Bert Johnson and Professional Driver Frank Merrill overcome bad traffic, extensive road construction and questionable directions to make an on time delivery in Dale City, Fla. With the drop-off made, it’s off to the next pickup … in the 100-degree Florida heat.

June 12, 2013

Frank woke me up this morning at 5 a.m. ... no rooster. Got up and went into the Pilot ... brushed teeth, morning stuff, and coffee. Frank finally remembered to scan his paperwork also. We had to idle all night ... temperature was over 80 all night. Used 3.3 gallons for 9.5 hours or 1/3 gallon per hour. We are looking good ... when he hit eight days, we should have good hours to run ... we have 42 hours left on our 70. Started rolling at 5:20 a.m. Central Daylight Time ... mighty early ... one of the first trucks out. Frank and I were discussing that we picked up this load nine hours after the initial pick up, yet expected to deliver it at the original time.

When asked whether the delivery time could be extended the answer returned was it has an appointment time and no. I wonder what our final dispatch speed will be. We really didn't have time to do much else ... eat, shower, etc. Here we are in a construction zone riding in the left lane as required. Trucks speeding by us on the right. Frank and I had quite the conversation relative to maintenance ... will share that directly with the maintenance folks. Frank spends about $8,000/year on food if he has a refrigerator working and it would be higher ... say $15,000 if he doesn't ... and this is out of their take home pay which is more than the average family. That's a lot of money when you think that his family is spending money on food at the same time. I hadn't thought about that previously. 8:40 a.m. and we have arrived in Florida ... 188 miles to go ... sitting pretty.

Another weigh station ... this time, we have to wait to scale out. Window open, CB off so you can hear the speaker. We finally got a pass on the next agricultural inspection ... green light. Traveling down the road, just witnessed a straight truck cut in front of an RV to get into the weight station ... accident waiting to happen. Exited Interstate 75 ... now the back road adventure begins. Ok, now we have road construction the last nine miles ... barely enough room to stay in lane without hitting the ditch. Baby Schneiders everywhere. Just when we think we have figured it out, we get curve ball. The road to the customer is closed ... now on a dirt road. So we go down this road and turn and turn and turn, still on a dirt road only to come to the customer and we can't make the turn safely. We continue down the road and six miles later are able to turn around ... Then we backtrack back to the customer and finally arrive two minutes before our appointment. We delivered to a chicken farm ... good thing they were remodeling. Kudos to Frank once again ... because a less skilled driver would have called for help. Several of our drivers have been here previously who should have updated the directions to make it considerably easier than what we had to experience. Finally unloaded after an hour and a half and ready for the next adventure (because it is a real adventure out here).

Frank made me sweep out the trailer for not using my three points of contact on the way out of the truck. Following our GPS to our next pick up by 5 p.m. ... we don't talk about the last 10 miles ... you never know. It's just nice to be on asphalt. So it took us two and a half hours to go 78 miles ... great traffic ... you should try it some time. We made it to Sonoco and Frank got to test his backing skills once again ... squeezed it in between two trailers ... and now we sit waiting to get loaded. Two and a half hours later we are finally loaded ... 100 degrees outside ... had to idle, nowhere to go and wait it out. Idling the entire time. One hour 16 minutes left on our 14 to drive ... who knows where we will end up tonight. Well, we went around the corner to a Truck Stop because we would not have made it to another area to safely park and will need to get up once again at O Dark 30 ... somewhere around 4:30 a.m. This was not your typical truck stop ... a parking lot that was half paved and the rest looked like craters on the moon ... yet there were lots of trucks there. In addition, we had to pay to park. Again, we hadn't eaten all day and this place had a restaurant ... we both got double cheeseburgers ... they were great ... and we had fries ... again, not your ideal dinner, but the protein was great ... that would hold us until the next evening.

We ran 423 miles. Our least productive day, burned our entire 14 hours and spent a great portion of the day at our customers. Total drive time was eight hours and 27 minutes.

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