Sunday, August 10, 2014

Ten Days On The Road

Unlike the subject of a song by that name, at least I’m home every night. My work day has been starting at 6:15 every morning for the last couple weeks (and always will there) and ending about 4:30. I’ve discovered that I need to get up about 4 a.m. to get everything done at home, make the 15 minute drive to work and have my pre-trip inspection done by 6:30. I’m just slow, I guess. This past week, I’ve not made it back to the shop, after my first dispatch, until quitting time. Keeping those wheels turning is what makes the company money, and provides me with a job, so I’m not about to complain. Sometimes, a load isn’t even sold when I’m dispatched, but by the time that I’m there and loaded, an order has come in and off I go.

I’ve delivered to four counties in West Virginia and one in Ohio so far. One delivery is in the third county east of here. I’m surprised that it’s a paying proposition to haul that far. Those loads are going to a site where the soil around the area homes is being replaced, since the city found out that it was contaminated by a chemical plant that used to be there. Some of the eighty and ninety-year old residents opted out of the offer and told them that if those chemicals were so dangerous, that they should have been dead years ago. Makes sense to me! The work is being done by a company from Maryland, while the young people of OUR state have to go to places like Maryland to find work. Why in the world don’t people just hire folks from their own area, so everyone could work where they were raised if they choose?

Something that I’ve noticed on a construction site where I deliver, is that no-one really cares how you get to the dumping site, just as long as you get there. They leave tools and equipment worth hundreds to hundreds of THOUSANDS of dollars parked and strewn all along the path through the site. Some places, you have only eight inches on each side to get a dump-truck through. Generally, if the mirrors go through, the rest of the truck will follow, UNLESS there’s “ground clutter.” The stuff doesn’t belong to any of the workers personally, so I guess no one cares if it gets damaged. The workers seem friendly enough, though they’re from out-of-state, IF you acknowledge them first. You can tell who the engineers and “big men” are, though; they’re the ones who sneer at you when they have to move from their position in the middle of the alley, so you can deliver the stone that their plans call for. A tan hound has called that site home and the workers his new family. He follows them around and they give him attention when they can. I suspect he gets a few bites of their lunches, too. He has a collar, but it has no name on it. They don’t know if it’s a stray, or just a neighbor’s dog who likes the attention. I hope the latter, as he’ll be lonely and unfed when the workers finish up some week and go home.

I went to another well site this week. First, the other driver and I went up a hollow so far that I was half expecting to see a sign that said “Welcome to New Hampshire.” Then we went a similar distance up a big hill. The last few hundred yards were on a ridge so steep and narrow that a goat would have been nervous. Once there, though it was in Doddridge County, West Virginia, you would have almost thought that you were in the Smokies, and not a house in sight. Going down, we had to wait on a semi that was being pulled up the hill by a dozer. The grade on the gravel road was so steep that he would have just dug a hole with his wheels, otherwise.

It’s been thirty one years since I was on the road every day in a truck. My previous observations from driving my personal vehicle have proven correct, though; people really ARE crazier and more idiotic than ever. It never ceases to amaze me the dangerous things people will do with a 75,000 pound truck bearing down on them—like cut him off, or pull out in front of him! Some people just have death wishes, I suppose.

Still, I enjoy the job. Except for the seven years that I worked full-time for myself, this is the first time in thirty-one years that I can honestly make that statement. Whine as I may, life isn’t ALL bad! © 2014


deborah harvey said...

remember the winter and the ice. give yourself lots of time in the morning as the weather changes. i know that you know this but i am an interfering old busybody!

buddeshepherd said...

So what is a "Georgia overdrive" and I don't think you can use those little white pills to keep your eyes open wide.
Happy to hear you are enjoying yourself.

Mamahen said...

Your experiences remind me of when we use to haul conveyor belts into the coal mines. Thankful you are enjoying the job :))

Chickenmom said...

Good story, Gorges - thanks for taking us along for the ride! Just be careful out there!

Sixbears said...

Glad you are enjoying the job. Being able to drive, and spend every night back home is a rare thing in your field. Being away from home too much is the biggest reason people quit driving.

People are crazy on the road. I would get cut off when driving a fire truck, lights and sirens on, going to a fire. One guy thought it was funny to cut in front of me, slow down and not let me pass. I radioed the plate number to the police. They pulled in right behind him as he drove into his driveway and ruined his day.

Sunnybrook Farm said...

I thought that you might like being out and doing stuff like that. We have lots of dump truck and logging truck drivers around here, they always wave back when I throw up my hand. Always in a hurry but seem to be having fun driving the truck. The trucks are so much larger than they were when I was a kid and yet so much was done with the smaller equipment. What kind of mileage do those big trucks get, it doesn't seem like it would be worth hauling very far and drive all the way back empty.

Gorges Smythe said...

Yeah dh, I'm already slowing down on the bridges that have signs saying, "Danger - bridge freezes before roadway." lol They used to have folding signs that they opened up only in the winter, but I guess they didn't want to pay someone twice a year to tend the signs.

I've never learned that term, either, Budd; guess I've still got a few things to learn. As for pills, mine are over-the-counter pain-relievers and allergy types.

Sounds similar, Mh.

Guys like that should get a little jail time, Sixbears. Someone could die because of their "fun."

SF, back when I drove a box, I felt that truck drivers were a cut above the average driver, but that dump-truck drivers were the less considerate of the group. Now that I am one, I notice that some are jerks even to other dump-truck drivers, but most are pretty good joes.

JaneofVirginia said...

Thank you for sharing this, Gorges. I agree that people do strange things when driving in the presence of big trucks ! I guess they have a lot of faith in the control the driver may have over the rig.

Lady Locust said...

So glad to hear you like your job. And yes, folks really are crazy at times. Lately, here anyways, it's been people texting and driving, coming over into our lane when there's a cliff on the otherside or a semi etc.
C'est la vie.

Gorges Smythe said...

I'm not sure faith is the word, Jane! lol

LL, I noticed the rental truck I had came complete with a place to lay your cell-phone on the center console!

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

I am glad you are enjoying your new job. Are you comfortable driving when the weather gets bad or will they not drive then?

Gorges Smythe said...

Thanks, Kathy. Yes, they haul salt then, so I probably won't be laid-off in the winter, though the hours may be shorter.