How the mighty have fallen

2009 January 21
by Hedon

Those of you who read around here very much probably know quite a few things about me. I would imagine you know:

  1. I love pizza… oh and pie — almost any kind of pie
  2. I sometimes often have stinky feet
  3. I love love love puzzles and quizzes
  4. I really love playing video and computer games
  5. I think Stace is pretty damned awesome
  6. I consider myself a really excellent trucker

I mean I’ve driven a big truck for seven years now and never had a ticket. Never delivered late unless it was weather or break-down related. Never had a wreck. Until now. Sigh.

We were supposed to pick up a load down in Georgia. But we didn’t have an empty trailer so we ended up driving over 300 miles on two-lane Georgia back-roads in the middle of the night to find an empty. Then we headed out to no-man’s land Georgia to this tiny little town and tried to find the shipper. We had no directions on file so we were just forced to follow the GPS and keep our fingers crossed. Actually managed to find the shipper about 3:00am and picked up the load the next morning. It was a load of raw cotton on its way to a cotton gin which was kinda cool.

Scary street we slept on in Memphis. Looks a lot better this next day.

Scary street we slept on in Memphis. Looks a lot better this next day.

The receiver was a cotton gin in Memphis. Drove to Memphis and started trying to find the receiver. Again no directions. So we followed the GPS. Found the area where the shipper was supposed to be. Nothing there but an abandoned business on one side of the road and an empty lot on the other. Drove right on still looking for the receiver. Had to turn around and try again. The third time we drove down that street I saw a tiny little weather-beaten sign with the name of the gin on it. It had fallen off the building and was leaned up against the bushes. Good lord it was that abandoned building. Nothing to be done but park on the street and wait until our 10:00 am appointment the next morning. So at about 2:00 am we parked on the street and went to bed. This was one of the worst areas we have been shut down in for a long time. I will admit that — while I generally never worry about it — I took the giant maglite to bed with me for easy access in the night.

Shit-hole cotton gin facility

Shit-hole cotton gin facility

The next morning we crawled out of the sleeper and looked around. The street wasn’t nearly as scary in the daytime. Just as filthy and nasty, but not really scary anymore. And besides, we had already survived the night. Also, I had no idea that the shit-hole should-have-been-condemned-100-years ago facility had such awesome security in place. You’ll notice from the green arrows that they have razor-wire and chain-link gates and state-of-the-art security cameras. What the hell they are guarding I’m not sure. Also, you’ll probably enjoy all the loose cotton laying around up and down the street. It’s a seriously high-class facility we’re talking about here.

So we checked in with the shipping office just before our appointment. Found out we had to squeeze through this little gate and follow the dock guy back to the dock. No problem. It was very tight quarters. But not the worst I’ve ever dealt with and we made it into the dock. They got us unloaded fairly quickly and it was time to go. Now when you pulled out of this dock you had to spin around and basically do an almost sitting u-turn to get pointed in the right direction to head out through the gate. So I started the turn. They had trailers parked right there in front of the dock, so I had to really keep an eye on the tail of the trailer as I turned to be sure it wasn’t going to swing around and hit the nose of their trailers. Every thing was going fine. I had done this a million times. Then I heard the crunch. Yeah… the crunch.

I had turned too tightly and crunched the driver’s-side cab-extender. Sigh. Just like a damned noob. I tried to figure out a way to make this all go away, but there was nothing to be done. I ended up calling TWMNBN and reported it. They acted like it was no big deal, but I was so disgusted that I could barely talk in a civil manner — even to Stace – for two days. Seven years of perfect record down the tubes in about 30 seconds. Still hard to believe almost a week later. But at least I’m done moping now so I’m back here bigger and better.

And besides… there are advantages to having my perfect record ruined. Now I don’t have to drive all slow and careful-like through the truck-stops and such. Now I can drive 40 mph through the truck stops like all the other losers who have nothing to protect. And I can just slam it home when hitting docks now that it doesn’t matter if I bump a trailer or two. Oh… and I can speed like hell through construction zones cause once you have a preventable accident what’s a ticket or two?

14 Responses
  1. 2009 January 22

    Wow, that sucks for your perfect record. I can’t imagine all the twists and turns you’d have to navigate in one of those big monsters. To drive all these years with no accidents? AMAZING!

    So now you start a new record! And….go!

    Nice to hear from you. Sorry it was bad news.

  2. 2009 January 22
    Belledog permalink

    Awwrright! The Hags are back. With a tale of driving woe, but back and safe.

    All that cotton littering the street, and no cushioning for your truck in what sounds like an impossible situation.

    Hedon: your 7 year accident-free driving record is excellence, and you were maneuvering carefully. Maybe the passage was not sufficient for your truck, but looked so.

    Sheila’s right: you start your new record today, and the old one is still way better than most drivers’.

    PS: you scared some of us by not posting! You have addicted Hags readers, you know! 8 days between posts was too long, especially while you are traversing icy roads.

    (And then the problem comes off a Southern street littered with cotton; go figure.)

  3. 2009 January 22

    ohhh I understand the feeling. I am sure if this happened to me, that I would have needed to work out the fury for a few days – in silence. And I’m not really THAT quiet. I agree with the other comments …still an excellent record despite an “impossible situation” etc.

    I think its amazing that both of you are sailing across the land, good places and not so good places, doing business. Martin Luther King Day makes me remember that women had it rough too, back in the days. So go conquer the Trucking Islands brave sailors, remember that you are Vikings!

    :P

  4. 2009 January 22

    Whoo hooo! Was starting to worry about you two. And Maggie.

    Oh, hey, so you got your crunch out of the way. As you pointed out – nothing to worry about anymore, you’re past it. I crunched a number of things when I drove OTR. Nothing major, but makes ya feel really stooopid. My condolences, but your record is still exemplary!

    Yes, cotton gin in the middle of nowhere. Great. Sometimes I wonder where these loads come from – and I’m sure that some of them are for 27′ pup trailers or at least a 48′ trailer…

    So happy to see you back. We have a new president – the whole day was so moving, I’m so happy. And to my neighbor who dug out her McSame/Pain signs after I put up my big US flag on inauguration day a big raspberry! Sore loser she is.

    XXOO,

    Decorina

  5. 2009 January 22

    Oh yes, and PIE! Yes to pie!

  6. 2009 January 22

    Glad to hear from you!

    That must have been so frustrating, especially after all that careful maneuvering.

    My husband’s truck (a little toyota, not a rig) got backed into recently. Up until then, his little truck was in pretty good shape. The body shop did such a good job of fixing it that the rest of the car seems a bit shabby now. Part of me wants to say go ahead and repaint the whole thing, but hubby doesn’t care. He’s gotten his ding and that’s it. The only reason he fixed it was because it was one that might rust. Since he drives his cars into the ground, he didn’t want it to experience a premature death due to rust.

    Is your ding fixable? And would it be worth it?

  7. 2009 January 23

    Oh dear Lord, I’m so glad you’re back!! And I’m so glad you’re OK.

    Sorry to hear about your “crunch” – I hear from Ed all the time about having a good driving record. I’ve only been driving a few years, so I have many more to go to reach your crunch-free status. I hope to make it that far!!

    I’m glad you’re all okay and I’m glad you’ve posted. Ed said, “it’s just part of driving and you’ll remember this and it’ll make you even more careful then you already are. It’s an accident…it happens to everybody at some point.”

    He also said, “It’s better than rolling a truck over.” which he did in the first three months of driving. Looks to me like you STILL have an exemplary record!! lol

    Talk to y’all soon!!

    Salena (and Eddie!)

  8. 2009 January 23

    Reminds me of losing my virginity: I was actually a little relieved to get it out of the way, there was a weird crunching sound, and I didn’t want to talk to anybody for two days, either.

  9. 2009 January 24
    Belledog permalink

    LOL re Ginny.
    ====

    Harley Davidson cutting 1,100 jobs over 2 years; cuts fall hard on its long-haul company truckers, per AP story:

    “…Harley also is closing its domestic transportation operation — its fleet of long-haul truckers who transport parts between manufacturing facilities — and outsourcing duties to a third party. The cuts make up slightly more than 10% of the company’s total workforce.

    Harley has been stung by the rapid downturn in motorcycle demand. The recession has prompted many consumers to put off purchases of its high-end bikes, while the credit crunch has kept some would-be customers from obtaining financing.”

    Harley’s 4th quarter 2008 profit was down almost 60%; its 4Q sales were down 20%.

    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-harley24-2009jan24,0,1832593.story

  10. 2009 January 24

    sorry about the accident :-/ but please please please still drive carefully!!!

  11. 2009 January 26
    Michele permalink

    Damn, that just sucks…. those crappy shippers that expect you to get 70 feet to bend in the middle. HA!

    Hang in there, and don’t be too hard on yourself.

    Right before I quit I had a small accident and got a speeding ticket. Yes me who wouldn’t go more than 4mph over the posted speed limit. I fumed and pouted for a couple of weeks until Paul yanked my chain.

    I am glad you are back I was getting a bit worried.

    Take care, Michele

  12. 2009 January 26

    Sorry I haven’t been here in a while…I need to catch up on all your posts.

    LOL @ Ginny’s comment.

    Pizza is definitely my favorite food, I could eat it everyday; and unfortunately I also have stinky feet.

  13. 2009 January 26
    Belledog permalink

    Ice storm headed your way, I believe. At least you are safe at home, but for incursions by Fernando and any poison-resistant mouse intent on revenging its family.

    Please keep in touch, in between enjoying home visit in a boobery free zone.

    On the topic of rodents: the mice in our house expanded from the basement (aggravating but acceptable, once mouseproofed) to the kitchen. Mouse turds in the silverware drawer? That’s it.

    Put down some poison before leaving on recent trip; hated to do it, but traps seem crueler (maybe they aren’t…guess it’s dealing with the used trap that is so unsettling…)

    Visited local upstate NY library. There’s a poster sized illustration of valiant mouse Desperaux, from Tales of … (presumably tale did not include despoiling animal-lover people’s silverware drawer) … felt like a murderer of mice.

    But what can you do? And what can they do? They are trying to survive too.

    May Hags and Maggie survive the ice storm, and keep their hag addicts supplied with fresh if frosty posts.

  14. 2009 January 27

    Everybody,

    Thanks for letting me bitch and pout for a while and for all the kind words. I’m feeling better now. It just took a while to get over how pissed off I was at Fernando — I mean what with that being his job and all. I’ll survive and like several of you said it’s not like it was a serious accident or anything.

    Right after I reported it we were sent over to a TWMNBN shop to get it fixed and while we were waiting to get in the shop we counted up and determined that approximately 66% of TWMNBN trucks have crunched driver’s-side cab extenders. So it’s not like I’m alone. The shop guys decided to just take it off the truck and replace it at some later date so we have to drive a brand new truck around that is missing a cab-extender. Sigh. On the bright side, I think other drivers give you a little more room in parking lots when they notice that you’re missing parts of your truck. Excellent.

    The real problem is that this incident should — in any world you can think of — make me less arrogant. And it did for a few days… but I doubt that it will long-term. Whew – that’s a relief. :)

    Oh, and L, I like the idea of us being Vikings as I think I would look excellent in one of those horned-hats and I love eating with my fingers and saying “Yar” but now that I think about it pirates may be the ones who say “yar” not Vikings.

    And LOL Ginny!

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