Sunday, October 31, 2010

Which Is Correct?

We're taking a poll, Mr. Trucker and I. This is the signage we see in Indiana when there are three lanes of traffic

Use Right 2 Lanes
and here's the same sign, more or less, in Illinois

Use 2 Right Lanes
Which do you think is correct? Mr. Trucker and I are voting for the Illinois version. This is the type of thing we spend hours debating and conversing about. Fascinating, isn't it? Don't you wish you could ride along and witness this stimulating conversation?  Yeah, that's what I thought...

It's a been a frustrating couple of days. Friday we delivered to a WalMart distribution center in Pennsylvania. I think I've mentioned before that WalMart thinks their poop doesn't stink and they have really stupid shipping and receiving rules. You had better not be even one minute late arriving for your "scheduled appointment time" (I use this phrase in the loosest possible sense) but even if you arrive on time or early, the "scheduled appointment time", really has no meaning. They'll get you to a door when they feel like it, and then after you're at the door, they'll unload you when they're good and ready. We can usually plan on spending several hours at a WalMart DC, none of which of course are paid, because it's time when your wheels aren't moving, and CAN'T move, because WalMart is busy not respecting your time. 

Another stupid policy WalMart has is that truckers are NOT allowed to take breaks on their property. Our appointments to deliver there are often at 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning, so it would certainly be convenient to arrive there the night before and spend the night on the property so as to be on time for our "scheduled appointment time", but WalMart is having none of it. 

Also, in the trucking industry, there are restrictions surrounding your hours of operating. One day soon I'm going to have Mr. Trucker guest post on this blog to explain these complicated "hours", as I simply cannot wrap my head around them. Suffice it to say at this point that you can drive a certain number of hours in a day and when your hours are up, Federal regulations say that you cannot move the wheels another inch, so you need to plan your day so that you when that time comes, you are parked somewhere where you can take  a "sleeper berth break" of 10 hours (or in some cases 8 hours, but I'll let Mr. T explain that later).

Anyway, while we were being ignored at the WalMart in PA on Friday, Mr. Trucker ran out of hours, because THEY detained us for four and a half hours! Even though Mr. Trucker knew that they don't allow trucks to camp out, he decided to push the issue because he legally couldn't move and because we figured it was only for another three and a half hours, till about 12:30 in the morning. So we moved the truck out of the dock into a parking spot and went to sleep. Three times in the space of that three and a half hours WalMart sent someone out to SLAM on the cab of the truck and wake us up and tell us we had to leave, even threatening to call the State Police. Mr. Trucker argued with these individuals to no avail, trying to explain that legally we couldn't move and that it was THEIR fault for running us out of hours. They didn't care, they kept telling us we had to leave. We stalled until we had hours to drive again, but neither of us got any sleep to speak of, and then Mr. Trucker had to drive another four hours to his next pickup location. Poor guy! He went through an entire pack of Mad Croc gum (gum with caffeine in it that he chews to help him stay alert.) 

Then today we got badly misdirected by some night dispatcher from last night and we got up at 3:00 a.m. to drive to a delivery at a warehouse in Illinois that ISN'T OPEN ON SUNDAYS!!!! Isn't that lovely? The sad part is that there are four trucks here from Mr. Trucker's company, all of them apparently misguided into thinking that they could drop off today. Sometimes I get so frustrated at the stupidity in the trucking industry that I just want to knock some heads together. Mr. Trucker sent a Quallcom message to someone in dispatch asking if this was some twisted Psychological experiment to see how each driver would respond...He got a one word answer: "no". 

Sometime after 9:00 a.m. when we realized that no one was coming to work at this warehouse today, I had a hissy fit and insisted Mr. Trucker take me somewhere with a restroom and a shower. In order to get enough credits for a free shower, he knew he would need to buy 50 gallons of fuel and isn't allowed to purchase fuel in Illinois (some tax thing), so we drove an hour to Indiana for the day. Because we really technically weren't supposed to be driving so far out of route, we took a detour around the tolls and ended up in some areas you don't want to be in...

By the tracks

This place had its Grand Opening May 1st and is already
"Going Out For Business"

Harvey, IL
This next sign was at the truck stop where we spent most of today. 

It's a relief to know that the Masseuses double as Notaries

Today's Silly Sounding Place Name:  McAdoo, PA.

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