Story Time----Let's hear 'em

xxiv24

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One fine afternoon in Apr of '09, I find myself sitting in a truckstop parking lot doing the usual waiting for a load. My owner, at the time, calls and tells me that dispatch from Omaha wants me to do a load picking up in Houston, Tx 350 miles away from me and going straight through to some remote location in Utah about 20 miles west of Beaver.
I ponder this natuarally and blurt out the the most ignorant response i could muster, " What's it pay?" I asked curiously.
" The load pays 2475 all in."
And there you go. Like a drunk after 10-15 drinks, I had suddenly become invincible. You see, all thoughts of straight through and 350 mile deadhead to pick-up the load went screaming out of my left ear shortly after entering the right.
"Of course, I will. Throw it on me."
So, I set the course on my trusty Tom-Tom and make for Houston, Tx.
Picking up the load went smoothly and i immediately set out for Amarillo, where i planned to nap for about 4 hours before pushing on to my destination.
Being invincible allows me to do silly things like sleeping for 4 hours on a load nearly 1900 miles in total. But hey, this is it, my chance to be heroic is at hand. (Fool) This is where I learn that heroism and expediting do not even remotely mix well together...on with the tale.
My plan thus far is going smoothly, I arrive at a truck stop in Amarillo and flop in the back for my nap...snuggling up next to the 2700 lb genny that i am hauling.
It doesn't seem like i have slept at all when the screaming meanie blows me through the side of the sprinter. <a love to hate device, i assure you>
So, i hop out of the van make for the inside of the truckstop, and grab a hasty shower. The shower was meant to wake me up for the rest of the trip, i was so clever.
With a fresh scent and a renewed me i exit the truckstop to find that i have a flat tire. Setback. Fortunately i am in front of a repair shop, and the fellas inside pull the defunct tire off the vehicle and plug the tire with a plug kit. Putting that tire in the spare rack and the spare tire on the rim, i am now on the way a little over an hour behind schedule.
The rest of the journey across Az and Nm into Utah was largely uneventful. Aside from a few early morning headbobs that is.
I would regale you with the specifics of the route i took but i no longer remember the interstates and hwys taken the Tom-Tom does all of that for me, not that i can't read a map. I am just terribly lazy.
It is nighttime now and i have crested the top of a large mountain. Stopping at a rest stop at the top, i walk around a bit to let the cold air work it's magic on me. And it did...frozen tears, leaking nose, frost bit ears...and so on. Nearly frozen solid, i continue towards Beaver.
I think, upon reflection that this was possibly the most dangerouse stretch of road i had ever traveled. About a mile down the road was a caution sign warning of falling rocks. A mile further a sign for leaping deer, and then further still icy roads and the customary downgrade. At this point there were so many hazard signs i began looking for alien landings and spiderman.
Finally i make it to the wonderful town of Beaver and the final leg of my journey. I have about 27 miles to go to the end and i pull over at a truckstop to again pull in the air to awaken me. 14 mountain dews' no longer had any effect on me. I crawl back into the driver seat and look to the Tom-Tom and discover that it has found a short-cut. It saved 7 miles off the trip. Wow....7 miles. I plot it up and it literally pulls up a road called The Pass.
Bear in mind, that at this time it is nearing 3am eastern time when i start down this road. It is pitch black out and no moonlight.
The road takes me down a service road through Beaver and onto a single lane dirt road lined with cattle gates on either side. Ahead is a sign with a pic of a truck on it and below written words of last turning point. I shrug and tell myself, ha i am in a van, no problem. I continue on. After a few short minutes, i am out of town and rolling down this path seemingly into the heart of darkness. I can see nothing save for what my headlights show me and that was very little. A few tumble weeds and scrub was all there was to see.
Then after about 20 or so minutes go by i realize that i have begun to climb a hill. Pressing on the hill continues to get steeper and steeper until it becomes clear that this was no hill but a small mountain. Looking at the road i see that i only have perhaps 2" of road on either side of the tires and come to a switchback. This turn was nearly 90deg and i had to bring the van to a stop and manuever it around the turn. Ok this is getting silly, but way too late to turn back, so i press on. The higher i climbed to more frequent the turns up and around up and around i went. Also of note is that the road wasn't even a road to speak of. It was packed sediment like sand with cracks in it where previous streams of water had run through it. It was good luck for me that the ground was still frozen from the cold or i would have certainly sunk to the axels in it.
Because of the nature of this road i was on my speed was around 5-7mph. As i neared the top i noticed things getting white...snow? No way. Yup. Now i find myself at the top of a narrow mountain in about 2 feet fo snow.
There were no other vehicle tracks here. In fact, the only tracks aside from those that i had left behind, were the tracks of a rather confused jack rabbitt hopping about in front of me looking into my headlights from time to time.
Looking at my cell phone, I was pleased to see i had no service. So here i was at the top...likely looking like the grinch, his sleigh precariously balanced by his dog over the precipace of a very steep drop. What choice did i have, but to continue down and around. Slowly but surely i managed to make my way down the other side and back onto level ground.
The time is now 6:30 am. I come into a town a couple of miles from the delivery. A local gas station has just turned on the lights and i need fuel. So pull up to the pump, fuel up and stumble into the station. By this time, my eyes are bloodshot, my hair is disheveled and nearly standing on end, boots covered in dirt and snow, one pant leg pulled up and i am sort of stumbling.
There is a woman behind the counter counting her money for t
he till to start the day. Before i could say anything to her, she says without even looking up at me, " Let me guess, you took the Pass."
Staring blankly at her i nodded in affirmation.
" My sister took it last week," she looked up and smiled. " I wouldn't advise it of anyone."
With that i payed for my fuel, thanked her and went on down the road to my delivery.
On the way back i stayed to the highway this time and as the sun came up i could see that awful thing i climbed in the night. It sits out in the middle a a vast expanse all alone and peaks as though it were a pyramid of ghiza.
Early in this narrative i stated that the most ignorant response that i could come up with was how much does it pay? Well folks this story is why it was an ignorant question.
So on your journeys, if you find yourself on a load in Utah, just west of Beaver, for the love of God (or whoever you worship) do not take The Pass.
 

The Enemy

Veteran Expediter
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Scott, great story. You're a talented writer, you should be writing children's books or articles for Playboy or something. Or you could continue to entertain us with your stories from the road. Thanks for sharing. My story will come later after i get some sleep while bouncing up I75.
 

jujubeans

OVM Project Manager
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I agree..Scott, you should write professionally. I hope that you're making copies of these tales..It was most entertaining with my first cup of coffee! I'd read more!
 

jelliott

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Motor Carrier Executive
US Army
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It was that or.....

I never believed the letters in this magazine until one summer on college break........
 

guido4475

Not a Member
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It was that or.....

I never believed the letters in this magazine until one summer on college break........

I was driving along, and came upon a bus broke down on the side of the road, which happened to be filled with the bikini-clad models for Hawaiian Tropic suntan lotion.....
 

Wolfeman68

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US Marines
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Nice story Scott. I noticed two things. First, pay no attention to short cuts suggested by GPS units named Tom Tom. They were invented by a guy named Frederick D. Frederick or Fred Fred. He figured that if he named his unit Fred Fred, no one would buy it. He had a friend named Thomas D. Thomas, so he asked permission to use his name and call the unit Tom Tom. Tom, being flattered, said sure and the rest is history. I should mention both had the same middle name making them Dumb Dumb like the shortcut.

Second, you seem to have issues with tires.:rolleyes: Maybe you should use your talent with prose and explain the $1000 tire. I would be interested to see if you could make me laugh over that.:D
 

cheri1122

Veteran Expediter
Driver
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The first time I listened to an audiobook was an overnight drive [Cleveland to Somewhere in NC] in my van, for ConWay Now. I was so into the book that the miles just flew by, and by the time I remembered that I needed to get off 40 at some point, I'd overshot the exit by at least 35 miles. No big deal, I've got time. [Famous 'last words'?:eek:] Looking at the map, 40 would go north, and I need to go south, so I pick a different way.
It sure is dark in Tn in the middle of the night - I apparently turned onto a road beside the road I wanted, and it was a 'scenic loop' that I couldn't get off of, or find room to turn around, either. Now I'm beginning to worry about the time, so I was trying to hurry - not a good idea, with the curves marked at 25mph, but it seemed that da*m road would NEVER end! I had no cellphone signal, or QC either, so I just kept skidding around the turns on 2 wheels [ok, not really, at least not ALL of them] and thanking my lucky stars [haha] there was no oncoming traffic.
As the sun rose, I noticed how gorgeous it was, and thought I'd love to do it again - as a passenger, though.
Finally, I found a way out! And found myself in Gatlinburg, surrounded by signs saying "No commercial vehicles" in all directions - uh oh. I reached for the atlas to figure out which way to go, wondering why my arms felt like overcooked pasta - oh yeah, the death grip on the steering wheel for 45 minutes, that'll do it.
Before I could find a route, the phone rang, and a semi hysterical dispatcher asked "What are you doing to me?!!!" and all I could do was laugh. [I might have been crying, it's hard to tell - probably both at the same time.]
After that, I found the route, delivered the load 2 hours late, didn't get paid for it, and then, the best part: a 'random' drug screen before I got another dispatch.
[Did they think I was smoking dope for those 2 hours, I wondered?] :eek:
That was my only 'service failure' ever - but when I do a thing, I try to do it well.
 

xxiv24

Expert Expediter
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Nice story Scott. I noticed two things. First, pay no attention to short cuts suggested by GPS units named Tom Tom. They were invented by a guy named Frederick D. Frederick or Fred Fred. He figured that if he named his unit Fred Fred, no one would buy it. He had a friend named Thomas D. Thomas, so he asked permission to use his name and call the unit Tom Tom. Tom, being flattered, said sure and the rest is history. I should mention both had the same middle name making them Dumb Dumb like the shortcut.

Second, you seem to have issues with tires.:rolleyes: Maybe you should use your talent with prose and explain the $1000 tire. I would be interested to see if you could make me laugh over that.:D

I will certainly see what i can drum up for you. :)
 

xxiv24

Expert Expediter
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In Oct of last year I was recruited into the fold of Load One. It was an exciting time for me as i was coming from an ok company but not a great company.
The unit owner was Steve Wolfe and I was looking forward to taking the van out to make all that dough I had been hearing about for the past few prior weeks.
The van was in great condition and I was informed of all the recent repairs and activities that the unit had recently gone through. I was jazzed and could not wait to get rolling on my first load under a new owner and company.
My orientation was good and i got my first load during my tour of dispatch, so papers were shovelled into my hands and out the door I went. This was awesome.
Unfortunately, the load was delivered on time, however I was not yet in the system and spent the next 2 days out of service due to a slight oversight.
With my spirits still high, the next few weeks went smoothly. I did many loads and wanted even more...greed is always a factor. :) I think it was about week 5 when i began to grumble about short runs, I wanted to run long, after all that is where the money is.
So the call finally came for my first long load and it was to NC from Detroit area. Yay!
The truck was in need of an oil change so I took it upon myself to do so, no need to bother the owner with it. I found a place and did the oil change. Also of note, the rr tire was going flat. Turned out to be a leaking valve stem...not a problem fixed that too and went on to deliver the load.
The next day, got a load from NC to Toronto...oh joy and happiness...money money!
Now then, it is raining and windy making the driving a whiteknuckled affair as some of you sprinter drivers know. Coming up on the WV tollroad as some of you know is a long causeway. It comes complete with the highwind warning signs.
Once again the rr tire chooses to act up here, and what a ride it is....
Driving along I am broadsided by a healthy burst maybe 35 - 40mph. Now this was a bit on the unusual side of things for me as the van suddenly jerks the van in a fishtail like motion and i then feel it come up on 2 wheels.
You would think panic would set in, but it did not...instead it was replaced with a morbid curiosity of how long it would take to hit the bottom of the ravine after ripping through the gaurd rail. It was not to be. I managed to correct the van and it settled back on all 4's. Then i notice that i still have the fish tail effect going on...hmmm now what.
Yup, the rr tire was flattening at a very fast rate, but not before i managed to get to the first service plaza. Calling Steve was a bit of an issue for me as here I was on a high dollar load with the same tire going flat again. Nervously the call was made and a roadside tech was sent to the site. It is worth mentioning that this tech was everything i could expect of a local from WV. He came out in a beat up cargo van with a welder in the back co2 bottles and an assortment of other odds and ends completing his work truch as it were. The man himself was an unkempt fellow with long stringy hair, a beard that rivaled that of the boys from ZZ Top, and greasy overalls. His smile was pockmarked with the standard gaps and yellowed from chaw and smokes...wow...I am in the land of Deliverance.
As i was looking about for a banjo, he set about repairing the tire.
After changing the valve stem again and watching the air run out as fast he put it in he then determined that the rim had a crack in it. this was bad news. The spare tire that i had was barely that.
The spare had almost no tread on it and in spots it was flatter than Kate Blanchette and more knots then on the Elephantman. As it turned out, the rim on that tire was cracked as well. What a dilemma.
Well, the man came up with the solution, "We'll put an innertube in it."
"Will that work?" I ask.
"Why sure," he exclaims with a smile, "Just don't drive on it any farther then you have to after you deliver this load."
"Ok"
So the tube is put it and 75 is spent and he and i part company. The delivery is made but 3 hours later than they would have liked...bummer.
Well i end up dh'ng oout of canada to taylor where i get a load over to grand rapids.
I ask Steve if we should take the opportunity to change the tire. Steve felt that the tube was doing great and considered putting tubes in all of the tires, i shrugged and said cool.
The call comes later that day and i am off to Sc...delivery is on time and a load comes the following day going to Ill. I get halfway trough Ky and guess what? Yup, <Pop, flop flop flop>
Same tire...drifting into a local gas station my forehead is now perched on the steering wheel. Why oh why, I do not want to make this call...
After gearing up for the upcoming blasting and in my mind, the almost certain get out of my truck, i make the call. Well, i didn't get fired but the rest of the call was everything i imagined it would be. :)
This time the tire was a total loss, the sidewall was blown out and it was late in the evening. With no rim to put a new tire on and no locals with a tire, i was doomed.
Towing became the answer here and it was a long tow to knoxville. There a new rim was ordered, with a tire. So with tow 600, rim 150 and tire 250 the rr tire came to a pricy repair of a little over 1k...
The moral here? Never hit the open road with a flat chested elephant man on crack. :)
 
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cheri1122

Veteran Expediter
Driver
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The buildup was great, but the moral was priceless, lol. :D

PS My rules for driving in WV include knowing your exact location at all times, because if you have to ask a local "What road is this?" you may not understand what he says - and the more you ask him to repeat it, the less clear it will get.....[It was Robert C Byrd, but I kept hearing Robert Seeburg, and nobody knew where THAT one was :rolleyes:]
 

Wolfeman68

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US Marines
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Well Steve...it gave me a giggle...*LOL*

Good rendition of the incident, well written, I liked reading it till I got to the $600, $150, $250......:( Some things never heal.

Don't know why he expected me to yell or get angry, he handled everything quite well. Certainly wouldn't have fired him.

Now he's on the other end. I hope he has really good luck in the venture.:D
 

xxiv24

Expert Expediter
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Good rendition of the incident, well written, I liked reading it till I got to the $600, $150, $250......:( Some things never heal.

Don't know why he expected me to yell or get angry, he handled everything quite well. Certainly wouldn't have fired him.

Now he's on the other end. I hope he has really good luck in the venture.:D

Ahhh, well i was just remebering my insecurity over the repeated bad luck and the overall frustration with the repeating incident. If you recall, I had mentioned to you that I was a wee bit nervouse when calling you, mostly because it was the same tire over and over that i may have been doing something silly to cause the incidents. I do take my rep as a good driver very seriously after all. :)
As requested, though I have tried to put an amusing spin on the tale...:D
 

Wolfeman68

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US Marines
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Ahhh, well i was just remebering my insecurity over the repeated bad luck and the overall frustration with the repeating incident. If you recall, I had mentioned to you that I was a wee bit nervouse when calling you, mostly because it was the same tire over and over that i may have been doing something silly to cause the incidents. I do take my rep as a good driver very seriously after all. :)
As requested, though I have tried to put an amusing spin on the tale...:D

I never figured you were doing anything stupid. You didn't know me that well at the time, so I can see where you'd be nervous.

You did get a good spin on it. Can't say I laughed, more a lot of head shaking wondering how I ticked off the tire god, and how to avoid same in the future.
 
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