During the past bit of time, we have been delivering relief supplies for the state of California, going to first responders, hospitals, and warehouses. These locations are not always where trucks should go for any reason.
The first few loads with this project were to a location in downtown Los Angeles, as a 53’ trailer could not get into the dock. Forty-nine skids needed to be delivered, and three straight trucks running back and forth from the warehouse to this tight location, were used to get the job done. Once we had this load completed, we reloaded and headed for Crescent City, CA. This load took us up the 101 highway along the coast, and through the Redwood forest. For anyone that hasn’t been up this highway, it is beautiful, has very tight curves, slow going, and not something to rush through on the tiny two-lane road.
We went back to Stockton, California, where we would load out of a temporary warehouse. These loads took us to several towns in central California with one or two skids for each location.
One load went to a hospital in San Francisco, and when we looked up the location on the map, we knew it was not going to be easy. The hospital was deep into San Francisco and would require us to use a lot of the city streets to get to the location. Almost immediately, when I turned north on highway 101 towards the Golden Gate bridge, the roads turned narrow. At some points, I took my half out of the middle as the cars parked alongside the curb were too far out into the lane of traffic for me to avoid their mirrors.
The Freightliner Cascadia performed flawlessly, as we climbed and twisted around headed west through the city. At times it was difficult to figure out which road we were supposed to take, as several of the streets would come into one intersection. We were stopped at a traffic light, and we could see up the road as it climbed upward towards many homes as businesses. Little did I realize, at that time, I was going to be climbing that hill and even higher towards the hospital on a hilltop.
Finally, we could see the entrance to the location, and I needed to make a very hard right-hand U-turn into the driveway; that was not going to work. Going around the block in this area would require several miles of driving. We found a place to pull over, and looked at the options, and found a place I could back into, and turn around, and go into the entrance from a different direction.
Once inside the walls, we discovered the hospital was ancient, very big with several complexes, and had beautiful grounds with lovely walkways. The road came to a fork, and we went to the left, and as usual, that was the wrong direction. It took a bit, but we finally got turned around and headed back to where we could unload. We had to drive through a parking lot, around a building, and then to the dead end. The road was narrow, and as luck would have it, a car also wanted out. The car and I did a little dance as we maneuvered around each other, and then I saw the dead-end and where we were to unload.
All I could think of was how in the world am I going to get out of here? Between our camera system, Bob guiding me, the massive windshield in the truck, and another small truck moving out of the way, I did about a twenty-point turn, and we were ready to drive out.
I was ready to put San Francisco in the rear-view mirrors. All of that climbing to get into this location meant that now I had to go back down, down, down… towards the interstate. The compression brakes on the truck are quiet, and I was able to use them, and very little brake pedal as we descended.
My shoulders were in knots by the time we were back to the interstate and headed south to our next drop-off. The Freightliner Cascadia took it all in stride and proved why we depend on our truck to take us to any location that needs our freight.