Sunday, December 12, 2010

Shuttin' Down The Operation

Today is the first day in the six years that I've been on the road where we've had to shut down the truck due to bad weather. The sun had only been down for about an hour when we came upon a galaxy of glowing red lights; traffic ahead was at a standstill. While waiting in the backup, inching along, Ed couldn't help but notice the glossy appearance of the asphalt. Black ice. It was everywhere. So less than an hour into our wait, as we were slowly climbing a very gradual incline and saw several cars sliding backwards, we knew it was time to call it a night.

Since Ed always keeps a ridiculously long following distance, we were already truck lengths behind the skaters, but next to us was another semi who just couldn't make it up the hill. Every time he tried to move, he spun his tires. He couldn't get any traction. Maybe he didn't have good tires, maybe he didn't have enough weight on him, or maybe it was a combination of the two. Whatever his trouble was, he couldn't seem to conquer the ice. He wound up sitting in one place for so long, his truck trying to get the gumption to move, that traffic started to go around him.

That's when Ed decided he wasn't going any farther. At that point, our GPS readout said we were traveling at one mile per hour. Other drivers on the CB said the road got worse the more north we went. Although we still had eleven hours to gom why should we sit in traffic, moving at under ten miles an hour, on icy roads with snow still coming down? We called it a night right around six o'clock, took the next exit and hoped to find a parking spot.

We were lucky enough to find a spot in a surprisingly empty lot, considering all the rigs lined up out there on the highway. We called the customer service department to let them know their load would not be arriving on Monday and weather permitting, would be there Tuesday. They documented our call (CYA) and thanked us for checking in. They were very understanding and seeing as how they take safety so seriously (any little diversion from safe operating procedures affects the carrier's safety rating), they didn't try to persuade us to keep going, they just bid us goodnight.

It was still snowing when we settled into bed, steadily coming down and coating the truck from head to toe. Guess we'll just see what morning brings.

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Rolling Out The Holiday Films
No Rig Too Big
Go Dasher, Go Dancer, Go Prancer, Go Vixen


Pat said...

Be safe.

Ray said...

I am tourghly enjoying reading your blog. I have trucked for over 40 years and now drive locally. The roads we travel are steep mountain roads in the bush. We often need to be towed up some of the hills we travel with a tow tractor. We drag a 53 ft walking floor trailer behind us full of sawdust to the oilrigs. The sawdust is used to mix of the invert which is like an oil that they use to directional drill. After its mixed it then can be hauled to a landfill.