Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Windy City

So much for easy going...I was on the phone talking with my mother when we got dispatched at 0030 to deadhead 200+ miles into the downtown Chicago area ASAP to rescue a load.  Sounds easy enough, we can do that.  Its a Temperature Validated run so Randy jumps out to set up the reefer and recorder, while I update my log, set up the route and get the load info off the C-Link.  This is when we discovered that we have been blocked in by no less than 7 trucks who have parked in a row in front of us!  Not one of which was in a parking spot of course.  After looking at the situation for a minute we decide that we only need one of two to move so we can squeeze out.  So Randy goes up and tries knocking on their cab doors.  Of course no one wants to answer and it takes him 10 minutes to finally roust one of the drivers.  Finally he gets one of them to move their truck out of our way.  I squeeze thru the opening, in he jumps and we're off!

Into heavy rain and high cross winds.  YEE HA!  I know that Chicago's nick name the Windy City is a reference to politics, but tonight it was easy to believe that distinction came from a different source.  It has been a while since I have seen tractor trailers with their hazards flashing traveling on the shoulder of the road at 20 mph due to high cross winds in Indiana.  Of course these were mostly high profile open air loads.  Still I had to travel most of the trip in the hammer lane as it was hitting me so hard on the drivers side I could barley keep it on the road from the right hand lane.  Even so I really hate when I look in my mirrors and I can see about 6-12" of the nose of our trailer.  Usually I can't see any of it since our sleeper is as wide as the trailer!  Of course we were empty for this fun ride too.  No weight to hold us down to the road...since we are only going after 4500 pounds I hope the return trip is calmer.

When I left Indy this morning it was 58F outside.  By the time I got to O'Hare 3 hours later it was a balmy 21 degrees.  BRRRRRR

Now we are trying to get out of town and have been sitting on a highway ramp for 45 minutes at a dead stop.  The road ahead of us was flooded last night by the rain and now is solid ice and standing water.  While we have been sitting here we have seen 4 cars spin out on the ramp in front of us and hit the cement wall in slow motion.   The cops finally closed that ramp too.  So we are all sitting on the highway waiting for the water pumps to do their job.  No bypass around this one...

Hmmmmm, a salt shaker just showed up.  Maybe things will start shaking now.....

In this photo you can see all of the water that was still on the road 
when they started letting us thru once the jackknifed tractor trailer 
had been cleared from under the bridge in the corner just ahead.
This picture taken was after pumps had been working for hours.

Yes that is alot of salt on the road in the above picture.  The salt truck went back and forth several times over this section of road dumping all of that salt and sand before the cops would let us get going.

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