Thursday, February 13, 2020

16 hour day.
Everything was normal this morning.  Hook up the truck, get out of the yard, get to the plant.  Get the truck/trailer weighed, get to the loading rack.  They came out right away, hooked the hoses up, filled her up.  It struck me as odd, tho, when they came in after only 40 minutes and told me they were done.

Yes, it's one of the Mexican trailers - they are wayyy heavy Empty weight for them with the truck attached is around 51,000 pounds.  That's a lot of weight for an empty truck.  But I've been doing this job for a while, even these trailers take at least 50 to 55 minutes to fill. I even said something about it: that was fast!  

Back to the scale. They have a digital read-out drivers can see.  The thing showed my gross weight was 72,000 and change.  That's not right.  Then the lady got on the intercom and asked what the trailer number is, of which I told her and said the weight doesn't look right, it's too low.  She didn't respond to that.  Well, she heard the first part all right.  I didn't know what to think.  After you give them the trailer number, the readout showed 21,000 pounds.  There's no way that Mexican plant is going to pay all that freight to have a "light load" being brought down there.  My 2 plus years going down there I have never seen anything but full loads.

Perplexing, but not my venue.  I drive the truck, if I see something wrong, I say something, if they don't care, then any consequences are on them.  But I do say something to ensure that no blame is coming back on me. I parked the truck, went inside - and waited.  For well over an hour, the scientists were taking their time getting the COA back to them. They never said anything about the weight. The lady that did the paperwork has been there over 20 years, I know she had to see those numbers. I finally got my paperwork and left. 

Around 50 miles down the road, my manager calls.  Starts asking questions about the "light load". What did I know? Why didn't I say something, blah blah blah.  I don't load the trucks, everything in that plant is on the plant, why she was assessing this shit on me I had no clue.  But I told her flat out that when I got on the scale, I noticed it didn't look right and said something to the scale master about it.  I also pointed out that the person that did the paperwork was a 20 plus year veteran, she should have definitely caught it.  My manager said something about making sure the truck is full - yes, Ann, I SAID something to them about it, they ignored it, talk to them.  

"Well I wish you knew the name of the person that loaded the truck".  I'm starting to get annoyed. There are a few constant faces at the rack I go to, but the rest of them? The plant moves them around all the time.  Cross-training, they call it. Trying to get personnel to be able to load anything.  It must take years to do that, because there must be at least 100 different chemicals coming out of that place.  I told her to call the supervisor, he was there and he would know his name. The supervisor is cool - but he should also have caught this.  I thought I overheard the guy saying something about 21,000 pounds, but I wasn't involved with that conversation and I was reading the news on my phone, not exactly paying attention to them. 

So, should I go back to the plant? No, just keep going, I'll let you know if you need to turn around.  Okay, cool. 10, 15 minutes passed, didn't hear from her, figured I'm safe.  Well, I wasn't. 98 miles down the road, she calls.  You need to find a safe place to turn around. Stop, tho, and mark it as the turnaround place.  That way you get a stop pay for it. I get a stop pay to turn around, lol, it's worth $30. I got into a truck stop, stopped the drive clock, put it in on-duty status, noted that I was turning around and drove alllllllllll the way back to the plant. It took them all of 12 minutes to finish loading the truck.  At the scale, they were right on it.  

But getting my paperwork? 3-1/2 HOURS of waiting!  When they finally got my paperwork done - headquarters in some other state was making a fuss over all of this and then, after they were done with their interference, the plant that ordered the product wanted the entire thing changed to completely different numbers - I got out of there. I had enough drive hours to get through Houston - my goal, get through that miserable town so I don't have to deal with rush hour tomorrow morning - but I didn't have enough on-duty hours.  So, I used the 16 hour exception rule that adds 2 on-duty hours to the clock, figured to make it to Hungerford and stop for the night. 

Well the Love's in Hungerford was jam-packed.  No place to park.  I got out of there fast, my clock was running out.  The next place was this truck stop that used to be a s*** hole, but then someone bought it, dumped a bunch of money into it, tried for 3 months to get it going, it failed, it shut down, then someone else bought it, opened it back up. It was 18 miles down the road. By the time I got here and in position to back into a parking hole, I had 10 minutes left on my clock!  

I've wanted to stop here several times, the place is usually empty and just wanted to check it out. If it's a decent place, I can promote it to other truckers on certain forums and a trucking app.  If it's not, I can agree with the endless - but very old - posts that state the place is garbage, a dump and don't stop here.  Several posts said the place doesn't even have diesel fuel  even tho it's listed as a truck stop and has 4 truck fueling lanes.  

In reality? The place is clean. The lot is clean, no urine filled bottles and trash laying everywhere.  The store is clean and kept up.  Decent amount of truck parking spots. I'm always for the underdog if it's something worth supporting. I talked to the dude running the place, he got a little unnerved when I said I drive by here a lot and it always seems empty.  Nice guy, decent place, good prices, worth giving a shout out!  So I got on the app after leaving there and "corrected" old posts that were no longer true - the place is shut down. Nope.  The place is a dump. Not anymore.  The place doesn't even sell diesel and it's a truck stop! Not now.  Come back, give the man a chance.  

Here's the thing: I tried to stop at the Love's 18 miles up the road, it was completely jam packed.  I wanted to take a shower in the morning.  This was the next nearest truck stop heading south, I was out of time, I literally had to stop here, lol.   

Well it's bedtime. I made it half way to Brownsville with the available hours - that after wasting 202 miles of driving and all those hours at the plant.  But I'm happy I made it this far. For those keeping track, I'm in El Campo, Texas and the name of this place I'm at is El Campo Truckstop.


Interesting day. Up early - 4:00, jolted out of deep sleep by the ridiculous phone alarm - annoying as all get out but that's the inten...