Saturday, April 4, 2009

Easy Run, yeah right...

So after playing musical loads yesterday we were deadheading out of the area (we hate the dreaded triangle NJ/NY/Long Island area) when we got offered a short 100 mile hop going to within 5 miles of where we were already heading.  Cool.  So we just pulled off at the next rest area to spend the night.  
We got up at 0415 turned on the reefer (this load was running at 0F) and set the recorder.  Then we had to fight rush hour traffic thru several construction zones and detours to get the pickup.  Did I mention it was pouring down rain?
We get to the pickup 1/2 hour early get our dock assignment and are told to back in to the dock, but don't open the doors yet.  They still had to pull the frieght from the freezer and put the barrels on pallets.  They said they would come get us when they were ready to load us.
So an hour later we finally get loaded.  It only takes 15 minutes to open the doors, load the trailer and then pull out and shut the doors.  The bad news is that the guys on the loading dock have told Randy they can't believe we were sent after this load.  Usually a straight truck does this run, because the delivery dock is so tight.  OH BOY!  We have heard this many times and been able to get in the docks.  Yeah a little bit of hassle, but we always fit.  The only dock we haven't gotten into was an underground one and it was because we were too tall to fit down the tunnel leading to the dock.  But it does give us something to think on while driving to the delivery.
We get to the delivery and sure enough we have to back in from the street to get into the dock but it doesn't look to bad.  The building was in a culdesac and there was a convienetly located driveway right accross from the one we needed to get into.  So we hooked a sharp right into this other driveway and then backed accross the culdesac and into the driveway we need to be in.  Mind it is still pouring down rain and this industrial park had little to no drainage.  So the water was just backing up all over the place in little ponds about 2-6 inches deep.  (We didn't get any pictures because it was raining so hard, we both were getting soaked and didn't want to ruin the camera)  After getting into the parking lot Randy jumped out to go check in.  The person he found told us they wanted us to open one door on the trailer and back into the dock.  Keeping the reefing running meanwhile, so he could get into the trailer and check the lot numbers on the barrels.  Then we would be leaving and going to another location to unload.  This was supposed to be a one drop load!  Well anywho, I got on my rain gear (again) and grabbed the handheld CB. This was going to be a tight dock and to make it even more challenging some idiot had decided to put in three foot high cement walls on either side of the dock extending out about 20' from the side of the building!  Of course these walls just held all of that water in so I got my feet wet.  The CB battery was dead (someone forgot to turn it off at the pickup) so we had to go get the spare battery pack out of the sleeper.  Finally we got backed in.   This guy was in and out of the trailer so fast I don't think it took him 30 seconds.  Then we pulled out and shut the doors.  Randy went inside to get the next stop's address and take care of paperwork.  I didn't want to go in, becuase I wasn't sure I wouldn't be lippy with this idiot.  I mean come on, we have a ladder on the back of the trailer, along with a nice handle, that makes it easy and safe to climb  in and out of the trailer.  But no this guy had to have us back into his small, flooded dock so he could spend 30 seconds inside the trailer!!!!  Some hoops I can jump through, others just get under my skin, especially when I am standing in a huge puddle with wet feet and getting rained on!  Not a good hair day ;-)
About 10 minutes later Randy comes back out with the paperwork.  He tells me that they just told him that the next dock is even tighter and we will have to back in from the street again.  OK.  So we head over to the next location, which is only about 4 miles away.  We get there only to find it is at the end of a dead end street and there are 3 VERY LARGE dumpsters right where we need to pull up to back into this parking lot.  So out I go into the rain again.  Third times supposed to be the charm, right?
Randy did manage to pull far enough forward that he could get back into the parking lot with a little jockying of the tractor and trailer.  Once the truck was in the parking lot I went back to try and find someone at the dock.  There was a nice "big" sign (a piece of 8x11" laminated paper) saying "Shipping and Receiving" I finally found, with an arrow pointing to a door.  Of course the door is locked and there is no ringer button or call box.  I knock on the door several times with no answer.  So at this point Randy comes back to see if he can help me find someone.  The customer at the first stop said he was going to call ahead and have someone meet us outside at the dock.  Good thing we didn't hold our breath...  Finally Randy found a door in a corner behind an enclosed pipe/value house with a door bell.  This was not where the sign had pointed.
We were just about to give up, when a guy answered the door.  Of course he had no idea who we were or why we were there.    Even once we explained he had to go find his boss.  His boss in turn had to go find someone else.  Well we did eventually get the right person who said to go ahead and back into the dock.
The dock.  This one would have been a challenge for a straight truck without all of the dumpsters, cars, pickups and 2 straight trucks in the way.  Oh yeah, and there was an 8" high curb on the driver's side of the dock extending out about 20 feet.  We figured we would at least give it a try.  Big mistake!  I don't know what that curb was made of, but when our rear axle tires rubbed it, it cut into the sidewall of the tire!  End of that exercise.  We pulled out and they unloaded it off the back of the trailer in the middle of their parking lot.
This was when we found out what we had in the trailer and why the guy at the other location didn't dwadle when in our trailer.  It was a form of frozen cyanide they used as a binder in some of their plastic mixes.  It was frozen for storage and transport to make it safe.  They said that it takes days to thaw out enough to use.  So they put the barrels on a rotiseree style turner in a room heated to 135F for 24 hours to thaw it.  Apparently this is why the guy at the shipping and receiving department didn't want to be near it for any longer than he had to and why he wouldn't transport it to this other building.
What I don't understand is this.  They do this load every 2 to 2 1/2 weeks.  You would think that the kinks would be worked out by now.  I guess this is a prime example of too many cooks in the kitchen.

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