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.

 

Comments (10)

Linda Caffee

Bob and Linda started their driver careers after their children left home for college in 2000. Bob started as a driver for a large motor carrier with Linda as a rider. They decided to enter the Expedite industry as team drivers in 2005 and purchased their first Freightliner. Both, Bob and Linda have had their Class A licenses since the early 80's starting out driving in the oil field and hauling grain as fill in drivers where Bob worked as a diesel mechanic. Linda worked at the local country courthouse in data processing.

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Thank You Shelby it is a lot less stress when we can say it is what it is .... The worst part is when we have a a pre dispatch that is really nice. Still though when we see the tractor trailers laying on their sides we were very glad we had waited. Smart move to stop and stay safe. We all know what we are capable of.

January 06, 2014 15:07:37 PM

Good article on patience! I was on I-80 in early December too, leaving the Bay Area on the 5th, and also fueling in Rawlins, same thing, trucks stuck waiting in line at the fuel pumps (couldn't pull forward on the ice), I shut down early on the 8th after only 178 miles, wasn't worth the risk of continuing on, next morning on the 9th, smooth sailing all the way into Kansas City. About same as you, 1770 miles in five days solo, not that it would of mattered if I was a team in that weather.

January 06, 2014 13:32:13 PM

We all have the same goal get the load delivered ASAP! While we are sitting we do not get paid, and while moving we wanted to make sure our greatest asset was not going to get damaged. Patience is the key and helps is having something to do that will keep us calm.

January 04, 2014 6:26:30 AM

When the load was finished and we were getting the information for our next the dispatched thanked us for our patience. I found that odd as it was through no fault of hers that all of this happened. Personally I was glad we were not hassled by our company to keep going or constant questions about when are you going to be there. They let us work out when it was safe to move and as the result the load arrived safe and sound.

January 04, 2014 6:24:25 AM

I had one of these loads from the dark side . My worst load was a air conditioning cooling tower to be delivered in a snow storm turned blizzard . No one was there for three days and i was stuck . There where others stuck there as well in three foot of snow. We made the best of it and left that Monday.

January 03, 2014 21:28:39 PM

Thanks for another lesson on Driver patience, Much Appreciated!

January 03, 2014 17:17:56 PM

Yes Craig that is where I used my YakTrak and the scenery was breathtaking. Wyoming is fantastic when there is a full moon.

January 02, 2014 13:52:25 PM

Is this the same load you were referring to when you had to use the Yak Trax to get through the parking lot that was a sheet of ice? 5 days for 1500 miles is really slow going, but I bet the scenery was nice.

January 02, 2014 13:46:23 PM

Wow, I know it was a rough trip, but it makes for great reading! I thought it was interesting that you had to go north from TX to find good weather. That's the way it is sometimes.

January 02, 2014 8:33:35 AM

I think that we have all had those loads. We used to do a lot of floor loads. One time I drove from Green Bay, WI to Cleveland, OH. When I arrived there the consignee told me that "I" had a problem. They did not have any pallets. AARRGGHH!

January 02, 2014 5:32:13 AM