Saturday, February 23, 2013

Big Fat Proof Of Your Weight

Last week we took a load of concrete furnace parts from North Carolina to New York.  The weight of the load was posted as 45,000 pounds.  What's posted and what it actually is, are often two different things.  45,000 pounds is the maximum amount of weight we can take before we go hit gross at 80,000 pounds. 

We're always leary of a load posted as exactly 45,000.  It's just too iffy - it's very common for the load to weigh more.  We've gotten to places that post it as 45, but then try to sneak on more.  The customer wants to save money by shipping as much freight on one trailer as they can, so they cram it on.

We took a load of fat bees once.  Since most shippers don't have a scale on their property, you have to risk getting caught being overweight, as drive you to a truckstop to weigh and get an official scale ticket.  There's no way to know otherwise.  If you weigh and you're overweight, you have to drive back and have them take something off.  That's what happened with the bees - they loaded too many hives, putting us over gross.  We wasted an hour on that one, since it was thirty minutes each way to the nearest scale.  It happens more often than it should.

So this load of concrete was a concern.  The customer "estimates" the weight of the pieces, and if you're lucky, they know how to add.  The goal is to get as close to 45,000 pounds without going over.   

In this photo, you'll see Ed (on the left, in the blue jumpsuit and white hardhat) conferring with the other guys on weights and placement for the ten pieces we were picking up.
The first thing we did after leaving the shipper, was drive to the CAT Scale.  Luckily, this scale was very close to where we loaded.  My bet was that we were over.  It was concrete, people.  What are the chances that the yahoos at the shipper actually know the exact weight of formed concrete?  

This is our first scale ticket - 80,080 pounds.  We were over.

Sure, it was only 80 pounds, but 80 pounds is enough to get you busted at a weigh station.  I, of course, was annoyed, because I hate being taken advantage of and in this case, they overloaded us.  If they weren't sure of the weight, they should have left off the smallest piece, ensuring a lighter load.  If the decision were mine, we'd have been right back at that shipper and they'd be taking a piece off.  But it wasn't my call, it was Ed's.  And he wasn't going back.

So what we did instead was dump water.  We have 10 gallons of fresh drinking water in the truck, and 40 gallons of water in the tank for showers, dishwashing, etc.  And the toilet tank has a 7 gallon capacity. 

The drinking water would be the last to go, since we pay for that, so we'd have to dump regular water and empty the toilet.  A gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds.  That meant we had to dump approximately 10 gallons.

Ed dumped the toilet while I did the last of the dishes.  When I was done with the dishes, I left the tap on to drain the tank a little bit.  There was no way to tell how much I was dumping, but I kept my eye on the lines on the water tank and tried to guess if it were enough.  When all of that was done, we weighed again.

This is our second scale ticket - 80,000 pounds.  Right on the money.
Ed said in his 17 years of driving, he's never seen a printed scale ticket that was exactly 80,000 pounds.  I'm a little shocked myself.  That's like guessing exactly how many jelly beans are in a jar. 

At the first scale we had to cross, I was a little nervous.  I don't really know what would happen if we were a smidge over, as we've never been that close to gross before, but I joked to Ed that I hoped there wasn't a pebble on the scale.  All you need is one scale master in a crappy mood to ruin your day.

We cleared all the scales just fine, but I was happy when we delivered because it meant we could fill up again and not have to conserve every last drop of water.  Not having a full tank meant I had to watch what I was using, and I dislike the inconvenience of that.

Our next challenge would be finding a truck stop in the cold and snowy Northeast that had a hose or spigot with running water - they're usually all turned off at the pumps in cold weather and we have to hunt for water like pioneers.

And I am no pioneer. 

Which is why I stick with Eddie.  He's pretty darn good at the water fetchin'.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: This Could Be Very Confusing For Men
2011: The King Of Thrift
2010: Dances With Sheepskin
2009: The Seat You Offer Your Arch Enemy
2008: The Man With The Silver Handbag
2007: Silver Snowscape
2006: Let Go Let Flow
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!


Pat said...

Does this mean that neither of you can gain weight during the drive? I'd rather dump water than have to skip meals.

The Daily Rant said...

Pat: Yep. Our weight counts too, as we have to be in the truck on the state scales. Those damn skinny drivers have it made! And yeah, you'd better believe I'd dump the whole tank of water before I gave up a morsel of food! :)

Gil said...

Funny thing is that a body can go longer without food than water. I think if you get caught overweight in CT they don't let you move until you offload the extra weight. I've seen guys shoveling off stone, dirt, etc at the weigh stations more than once. Enjoy what snow we have left up here!

all things bradbury said...

i don't think we've ever had one that scaled at exactly 80,000 either....that's pretty cool...i know it's just part of the deal, but it's frustrating that you had to "make do" so that they could get that last few pounds on there....

Al & Jo said...

I LOVE YOUR BLOG! I know your mom and she turned me on to your blog and I have been an avid follower for a couple of months. I envy you being able to travel as you do and get paid for it. You are an amazing person, and you have a wonderful mom. I met her through the bereavement group and now we are "The Widow Group". Not particularly what I wanted, but its what it is. Keep truckin' girl and keep writing.

Unknown said...

So interesting! I love all the trucking tidbits of information!

The Daily Rant said...

GIL: Ed says he’s heard that – guys getting rid of whatever weight they can. I wish I could shovel off some of the weight on my ass as easily!

ATB: I think that’d be hard to do on purpose. And I wasn’t really thrilled to have to make the adjustment for them. The driver always gets screwed, don’t they? LOL

JO: Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment! Thank you so much for the compliments! Yes, I heard about “The Widow Group” – I’m working on coming up with a different name!! My friend recommended “The Last Wives Club”, kind of like the movie “The First Wives Club” but in reverse. How does that one sit with you? LOL We’ll keep trying until we get something that fits perfectly. Please come back and read more and comment whenever you feel the urge!

BAN: The tidbits are sometimes the most interesting part! :)

Dave Sanderson said...

A LONG TIME ago when I had my large car(1995 379 Pete/108" sleeper) and end dump trailer over weight was just part of the business. It is hard to gauge how many scoops/partial scoops from an end loader it will take to just be under gross. You can get it right more than you think. Rule of thumb is 1 gallon of fuel equals 7 pounds coming off driving down the highway and 8 pounds going in the tank. Quick math puts that at 1 pound per driven mile coming off as you drive. So how far is the nearest weigh station?
Not that I was ever overweight......thanks for the way back machine trip.

Unknown said...

Oh that's great.. I having looking for Weighing Scale Suppliers, I needed it badly. I want to get customized or off the shelf weighing scales for scientific, industrial or agricultural applications.Thanks