It's a Team's Life
Many years ago, we learned about DoD loads and immediately we were interested in another way to make money. Funny I can remember where, when, and with whom the conversation took place with. This couple went on to be our mentors and dear friends who have since retired from Expediting. Hauling DoD is for teams and I think it probably works best if you are a married team and you will see as you read through the blog.
Over the years we have done a lot of DoD and for a while, that was basically all we were doing unless a lift gate was needed and we were the closest truck around. Now we do a mixture of everything from wooden pallets, pipes, to hazmat and really enjoying the variety. We are back to how we originally started in Expediting each day is a new day and we never know what we might be offered by a way of a load. As long as the load pays enough and is legal we will carry it.
Having our DoD clearances has kept us moving when other have sat waiting for a load that did not require anything extra. Getting the DoD clearances was not easy as we had to dig into our history as well as our family’s history. Questions include names and addresses of family, as well as extended family, and steps. This application has to be repeated every ten years. Once we received our clearances the fun and stress began.
The explosives are not the problem as they are packaged and loaded very carefully, in reality, I would rather carry explosives then paint. Once loaded, messages sent, and government tracking messages sent, is when it gets real. We create a route plan from point A to point B which includes going around cities that do not allow hazmat in downtown and the local roads leaving the pickup and entering the delivery.
Depending on where we are going there is often not an address as we have to enter military bases through the commercial gate and sometimes it might be the explosives commercial gate. Finding the correct gate can be tricky and once we find the correct gate the location is noted on a map with any notes needed.
California is special with their own book of approved routes as well as mandatory stops. Before delivering or picking up an explosive or poison load go through the book and figure out the route as well as mandatory stops. We write this out on a piece of paper with big letters so there is no confusion on roads we need to take as well as where we need to stop and notate our logs.
Stress is also part of DoD when going to a base the first time. Where is the commercial gate, what roads can we travel on to get to correct gate, what hours of operation and so
Safe havens are not usually luxurious accommodations. Some are fenced in areas in the middle of nowhere with no humans seen until they come to unlock the gates and lead us to our destination. Some have a porta potty, trash, and even a shower. The key though is that once locked in there is not getting out till they are ready for us. We have been in a safe haven for as long as two and a half days and during this time we had to have all of our own food with us. Going to a safe haven we have to be prepared to take care of ourselves.
One of the fun things that happen every once in a while, we have a police escort and it is interesting to follow a police car with lights flashing and a police car behind us with lights flashing. As you can imagine we get some amazing looks from other motorists as we go by. A funny story was told to us by another driver going across the George Washington Bridge with a police escort. The company they were
For the past eleven years, we have been hauling DoD and we hope that we are still hauling DoD for the next eleven years!
Bob & Linda Caffee
Saint Louis MO
Expediters since January 2005
Expediting isn't just trucking, it's a lifestyle;
Expediting isn't just a lifestyle, it's an adventure;
Expediting isn't just an adventure, it's a job;
Expediting isn't just a job, it's a business.