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The other week, I had a dilemna. I had a live load in Green Bay for 10:00. As has been happenning a lot lately, I got loaded in a timely manner. Shortly before 11:00, I had my bills in hand and was headed down the road. My deliver was about 550 miles away about 50 miles southwest of St. Louis. The delivery appointment was not until 11:00 the following morning. Now, I have always been a keep the left door shut kind of driver. Killing time along the way is not natural for me. I figured that I wold could arrive there somewhere around 21:00.

The closest truck stop in route was the Pilot in Pacific, MO. On Sunday night it probably would have a parking place open. The running isn't bad there. Cross under the bridge and they have sidewalks running back into town. It was an inviting option I could ger my run in and follow that up with a nice hot shower and a to go cup of coffee. The problem was that I may burn up to 4 hours on my 14 before I get unloaded. 

I had spent the night at this customer before. There is a 24 hour Wal Mart within easy walking distance. I tend to be up by 05:00 or so. My customer would not be open until 07:00 and we don't have access  to the building before they open.. The good news is that the lot would be a nice quiet place to sleep. I did arrive there shortly after 21:00. As I was doing my post trip another driver showed up who had an 07:00 appointment. I set my alarm for 07:00.

Sure enough I was awake by 05:00. After a while I decided to take the short trip to Wal Mart and pick up some supplies. When I got back the dock workers were arriving and we chatted. They told me that they would probably get to me around 08:30 but could not guarantee anything. I was polite and appreciative. It does not always pay to be polite, but it never hurts. Being impolite may not damage your position, but it never helps.

So, I took off on a 3 mile run and was back before 08:00. I keep "quick" clean up supplies of baby wipes, baby powder, and deodorant in my truck. I had just finished cleaning up and getting into my truckin' clothes when they came an got me. My load was 13 rolls and they had me empty shortly before 09:00. That turned out to be a good thing. My drop and hook reload turned into a 2 hour live load. 

You never know when delays are going to put you behind schedule. My philosophy is simple. Do everything that I can to prevent that from happening. The vast majority of my customers appreciate the fact that I am "laid back" early. That way if another truck is late, they can slide me in and help themselves to keep from falling behind. 

 

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Jeff Clark

Jeff Clark of Kewaunee, WI has been driving a truck for 24 years. He has been an owner operator for 11 years.

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