Since buying my new step deck trailer in January, I've been primarily transporting lumber as there's so much of it in Virginia. Forests cover 65% of Virginia's land area and the timber industry is one of my state's top natural resources. The log trucks roll pretty much non-stop around here and bring their fresh cut trees into these mills and flatbeds/step decks haul the finished product out.
There are different grades of lumber; some require tarping while others don't. This week, I was transporting a higher quality lumber that was dried and being shipped to a chemical treatment facility. I needed to be close to home this week due to family commitments and contracted to move quite a few of these short haul loads. They paid very well as they were "keep dry" loads that required tarping if rain was expected. I crossed my fingers that I could move all of them without having to tarp which costs me nearly 2 hours of extra time to put on and secure and take it off and stow away properly.
If the load gets wet, the customer will refuse it and I will have to transport it back to the shipper. I will not get paid for either trip and my company (me) will be responsible for the charges to dry the lumber again. On one occasion this week I left the lumber mill with coordinates set for my destination only about 70 miles away. I left with no tarp and checked my weather app and knew it was a 50/50 chance. I also knew the route very well and had a pull off spot in mind if I needed to pull over and "throw a rag on it" if rain was inevitable. Sure enough, the rain clouds formed as I was nearly halfway to my destination. I thought about the cost if I let this load get wet and dutifully pulled over to a safe location and tarped up just in time before the thunderstorm hit.
In retrospect, it was definitely a bad gamble. I was only able to cover the load before the storm hit. Then, I had to wait inside my truck for it to pass over before I could properly secure it. If I had tarped up before I left the plant, I would've made it to my destination much quicker. But I guess, you win some and you lose some!