Monday, February 23, 2009

Our Weekend Run

This weekend was crazy!  We were dispatched on a load Thursday evening that wasn't to pick up till Saturday morning and it was tentatively scheduled to delivery straight thru.  We were told at the time of dispatch that they expected us to babysit the load over the weekend as they didn't think that the customer really wanted it till Monday morning.  That was ok with us so once the repairs were done on the sleeper we headed down to the pickup town.  We knew we could spend the night just outside the main gate where we could get a quiet nights rest.

While we were deadheading down Friday we received several calls from the delivery location saying they really did need the delivery Sunday morning.  So we would head straight out after pickup and meet them at the main gate at 0700 Sunday.  OK, we could do that.  It was better than spending the weekend babysitting in safehaven.

Everything went as we expected Saturday morning at the pickup.  Smooth.  Then just after we left we started getting calls again about the delivery.  They had decided to keep someone available to unload us as soon as we could get there.  Just call when we were 30 minutes out and "whoever" would meet us at the gate to escort us.  OK, we could do that too.

We kept getting calls all day and into the evening.  When would we be there?  How many pieces did we pick up?  What did they each weigh?  What did the load gross?  Don't go to that gate, go to this one.  So and so will meet you, call this number.  No, this person will meet you, call this number.....and so on.  Finally around 2130 they got it all figured out.  We arived at 0015!

We dutifully called when we were 30 minutes out.  Our contact said he would be waiting for us at the gate.  When we got there we waited for 30 minutes at the gate (over an hour since we had talked to him) before we called him again.  He cheerfully informed us he was at the waterfront and oh yes, he could come to front gate.  GRRRRRR  We kept smiling the whole time.

Then we got to the truck inspection area.  We had to remain in the cab while they walked around the whole truck several times with mirrors looking for who knows what at this point.  Then get out and get this....walk ONLY clockwise around the truck!  If you were on the passenger's side you had to walk all the way around the rear of the vehicle to get to the hood latch on the driver's side!  This made the inspection of all the boxes and comparments (by no less than 2 different gaurds doing completely seperate inspections) all the more interesting.  Even the gaurds seemed on edge and were following their "book" to the letter.  As the inspection was nearing its end one of them confided to me very discreatly that their comander was just over there (he covertly pointed close to his chest while covering his actions with his body) by the main gate watching.  While all this was great fun :-P at least everyone was in good spirits and we all made the best of it.

Finally, we were let go to follow our escort.  When we got to the unloading area we were told to bypass the dock and he would just bring the forklift out to the trailer since they were going to transfer the freight to another truck that wasn't dock height.  A few minutes later out he comes in one of the largest forklifts we have ever seen.  We just stood there and looked at him.  He got off and walked over to break the seal asking what was wrong.  I asked him if he thought his lift would be big enough?  He looked at me and honestly said he hoped so.  I knew that we had had numerous phone calls that day about the size and weight of the load, because they were worried about having a truck big enough to transfer it to its final location.  We had repeatedly told them that there were 4 pieces weighing in at 3000 pounds each and 1 at 1500 pounds, grossing 15000 including shipping matterials.  All were palletized and approx 4'x4' squares.  Apparently they had told this guy that each piece weighed 15000 pounds!  Talk about to many cooks in the kitchen.  As soon as we opened the doors he got it.  He just stood there laughing and said well I guess my regular 5 ton truck and lift would have been fine after all.

We went ahead and off loaded the pallets with the big lift which worried me at first, because most people don't know how to operate them smoothly and constantly bump the back of the trailer.  Not to mention try to drop the frieght as they take it off the rear of the trailer because their movements are so jerky.  This guy followed directions well and handled his lift with smooth, sure motions.  In no time at all we were empty!

When he came back to sign our paperwork I told him how nice it was to see such a "smooth operator."  He and my husband both just looked at me for a second and then had a good laugh. 

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