A New Message Has Arrived

You know how the refrain of some ridiculous song will get stuck in your head and play like a broken record?  After this trucking experience I’m going to keep hearing “A New Message Has Arrived” in the sing-song robotic voice that periodically squacks from the Qualcomm device mounted on the truck dashboard.

Automated driver logs replace the paper logs truckers traditionally used to document their work.  Besides tracking everything Mike is doing, the Qualcomm is his communication connection with home base.  Often its messages are just “fleet broadcasts” that the company makes to all drivers.  In other cases, its message is one that we have been parked for hours waiting to hear with information we need before we can proceed.

We waited all day yesterday at the Celadon terminal waiting to hear that the load we were supposed to take to Atlanta was on its way.  That message never came.  Instead, at 4 in the afternoon Mike got a call offering him a new load assignment.  We were desperate to get moving again and Mike wasn’t deterred by the idea of a tight schedule on this new load and the fact that we had to drive into Chicago to get it.

Before we showed up at the customer we needed to find an empty trailer.  Supposedly, a third-party warehouse in Hammond, Indiana, had one on their lot.  It would be close to the customer and we crossed our fingers that we would find it when we got there.  Celadon seems to have problems keeping track of their trailers.

At Hammond, in the dark, with minutes ticking away, driving up and down rows of hundreds of truck trailers from multiple fleets, Mike managed to find the Celadon one that had the correct number.  We hooked up to the trailer, navigated the rest of the way into Chicago and arrived at the customer with 30 minutes to spare.

The Windy City was certainly more windy than down in Indy, but it didn’t seem quite as cold outside.  Mike trudged into the shipping/receiving office with his paperwork, only to come back with the bad news of another delay.  The paperwork he was given by Celadon didn’t have the correct pickup number.  Someone back at home base (working late on a Saturday night) would have to investigate and get back in touch with us.  Meanwhile, we would sit and wait in the truck on the customer site.

I was awakened at 3am and again at 5:30am by the squack of the “A New Message Has Arrived.”. Unfortunately, neither message was the one we were waiting for.  A live person from Celadon called at 7:00am, giving Mike a few more assurances that our predicament was being worked on.  Stay tuned to find out when we get out of here and where we truck off to next.

My Window on the World

The sun is a welcome sight this morning looking out the window of my cubby in the top berth of Mike’s truck cab.  The weather app on my phone tells me that the temperature outside is -6 degrees (that is a NEGATIVE 6).  I’m not anxious to venture out any time soon.

Last night we parked the truck in the Celadon terminal in Indianapolis after a 24 hour layover at the Flying J truck stop in Lebanon, IN.  That’s about 30 miles total of driving in the past 36 hours.  No way to make a living when you get paid by the number of miles driven to complete a delivery.

We still don’t have an estimated departure time for today.  The next delivery is a relay, meaning another Celadon driver is bringing the load here to the Celadon terminal where Mike will then hook up to it and deliver it to the customer in Atlanta.  The last word this morning was that the other driver still hadn’t picked it up on his end, which is a 5-hour drive from here.

Because it’s now the weekend it’s difficult for Mike to get any information or assistance from the M-F, 9-5, Celadon administrative personnel.  Drivers are expected to be on the job 24-7, but what a frustration when they can’t get the support that they need.

I’m a big believer in looking on the bright side.  Things don’t seem quite so bad in the bright morning sun.  I give Mike a lot of credit for hanging in there because I know it’s much more frustrating for him.