In our trucking careers we have had two really bad loads and we just finished the second one. Who do we yell at, who pays us for the hassle, and how do we as professionals handle a load that cannot go right?
We accepted a load going from Fort Worth, TX to Salt Lake City, UT. We had been watching the weather and knew a storm was heading for Fort Worth and we wanting to slip in get our load, and head north where the weather was better.
As we got closer to our destination the weather deteriorated with rain and as usual once the rains started so did the accidents. The interstate was closed in several places and we were routed around the accidents off of the interstate and onto the side roads. As we got closer to our pickup the rain started turning to ice.
We finally arrived at the customer to find they had decided to send their employees home and had forgot to cancel the truck though they still wanted the load picked up at their convenience. Luckily a safe parking area was within four miles and we hunkered down to wait out the storm. There appeared to be over 3" of ice on the ground when we woke up in the morning, which made driving and walking treacherous. We spent the weekend catching up on odd jobs, visiting with friends, playing games, and generally getting caught up on several projects.
Finally on Monday we picked up our load and merrily started for Salt Lake City with the roads clear and the sun in the sky... Well all was good till we got to Cheyenne, WY and found out the roads were closed due to strong wind gusts. We waiting with many other trucks most of the morning before heading towards Laramie and we quickly figured out we needed our pusher axle lowered for stability. We stopped in Laramie as the wind gusts were 70+ mph and the intestate was shut down. In the evening the interstate was once again open and we joined a long line of trucks once again heading west.
The night was very dark and when the clouds parted the moon was bright on the snow. The wind gusts shook the truck, the snow from the fields blew across the road and made it not only difficult to drive but difficult to see. Along side of the interstate were the blown over carcasses of trucks with trailers still attached lying beside the road. They would be picked up later when the wind abated. It felt as if we had entered another world.
With Rawlins, WY in our sites we stopped to get fuel and this was another adventure. A set of doubles was stuck trying to get into the driveway and we had to get around that obstacle and finally we were at the fuel pumps. After pumping fuel we could not move on the ice. We had to deploy our chains to not only leave the fuel island but to leave the truck stop and once again proceed west.
The wind had abated and we safely made it to our delivery, to pick up another load, and head back over the same roads just traveled.
Through each of these frustrating days (it took five days to go 1500 miles) we stayed calm, we proceeded when we felt it was safe to do so, and while we were stopped we made the most out of our time. This is all part of trucking and sometimes we have to step back and take one hour at a time.