The Ride of My Life: Day 7

It’s day seven and Bert Johnson, Con-way Truckload’s vice president of human resources returns to Truckload headquarters in Joplin, Mo., having driven over 3,300 miles in seven days with driver Frank Merrill. Bert is glad to return home and grateful to Frank and all of Con-way’s truck drivers for what they do. His trip has also given Bert a list of issues that he plans to escalate to management.

June 15, 2013

Got up at the sound of the rooster for the last time around 7 a.m. Grabbed my toothbrush, etc., and off to the restroom ... usual activities. Back to the truck. Frank had made coffee this morning ... I needed it. Frank finished getting ready and now we are off to look for our trailer that we are taking to Joplin, Mo., on a relay. Found it. Backed in to the fifth wheel. Raised the legs of the trailer. Frank checked the air in all tires and two tires on the trailer were 80 psi vs 100 psi. Frank carries an air hose that he can hook up to the airline, glad he handles airing up those tires. Maybe something we should consider as equipment for the drivers. May want to take a look at number of calls for low tire pressure.

Put the padlock on the back of the trailer. Aaron came over to talk a little more as he was getting ready to go also. Pulled up to the fuel island and put 100 gallons in the tanks, enough to get to Joplin, and headed out. Frank talked about a delivery receipt and completing it, indicating that customers don't want to sign it as it is on the BOL. Why do we continue to require it? New route to Joplin ... we exited U.S. Highway 63 in Jonesboro, Ark., and caught Interstate 49 North, to Arkansas. Highway 135 to U.S. Highway 62 ... have seen rice patties ... didn't know we grew rice in the States. Now on U.S. Highway 63 ... more of the same. West on Arkansas U.S. Highway 60 now.

We need to stop for a rest and food at Sinclair in Cabool, Mo. Five people in the place all smoking cigarettes ... nice. We had breakfast/lunch. Back on the road. Now we get to deal with a major rainstorm. We are doing 40 - 45 going down the highway with our flashers on and many cars and trucks are passing us. Just pulled into the inspection bay. Everything passes. Water is 2 - 3" deep in the parking lot ... looks like a river. Frank pulls into Row 1 to drop our trailer and gets out and unhooks the fifth wheel and dollies down the legs and gets the padlock off. Gets back into the truck soaking wet.

We drove 398 miles today in seven hours, 17 minutes. We drove 3,359 miles over seven days with 3.8 percent Out-of-Route (“OOR”) miles for the entire week. Our mpg for the week was 6.76, but our truck showed 7.3. I have an entirely different perspective since I have taken this trip. I want to thank Frank for keeping his 'precious cargo' LOL, safe and secure. I also want to thank Frank for being a professional driver. It is definitely one of the most challenging jobs that I am aware of. Kudos to all drivers everywhere and especially to those that drive for Con-way Truckload. I have taken many suggestions back and will escalate those to our management team to review and possible implementation.

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