Monday, September 3, 2012

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly


This is my load. Rather, it WAS my load. This is an over-sized load that was transported through the heartland during a drought. This may sound easy because of the word drought, but it was a challenge. It shouldn't have been a challenge, but what happened turned out to be something I couldn't prevent at the loading point. I did try, but without significant load restructuring, it was a load that had to be reworked and monitored like a hawk. That's why it falls into the category of "The Ugly".
You might not think much of this load because it looks like a big rectangular set of boxes right? Well, you would be exactly right about that. It IS a set of rectangular boxes. What else do you see? They are wrapped in white shrink wrap plastic.
This load has no structural integrity. So here is a lightweight load, which was over-sized, and needed to be tarped. Which is exactly what I did.
This being the worst drought since the dust bowl, I shouldn't have had anything to worry about on this trip across the driest part of the country, right? Maybe you can see where I'm going with this; since this is an over-sized load, the route had to be planned in advance and strictly adhered to. At about 5 AM in Columbia, MO I was awakened by lightning and thunderclaps. The sky opened up and just like that, the drought was over. At least where I was parked anyway. This load was tarped very well, in fact, I'm in the habit of over-tarping most loads so that there are no surprises en route.

You might notice in the center of this load are several 2-inch straps - let's fast-forward. During the rain storm, this wide load (with no structural integrity), began to pool water on top of the tarps during the time I was parked for the night, and there's absolutely nothing I can do about that. As the water pooled though, it began to pull the individual tarps away from each other, eventually exposing the white plastic underneath. Fortunately, the weather started to clear so I was able to get moving. My goal was to get out of the rain and shed as much water off the top of the load as possible. And it worked. We were able to make it back to to the drought condition weather, where I was able to position the tarps in the place they should have been, had the skies not opened up and dumped an ocean of water on them.

Because I was not able to reproduce the original conditions I loaded under, I did have my ladder, some chains, and many extra 2 inch straps, which I used to pull the front tarp backward, the middle tarp forward, and the back tarp forward. Once the pooled water was removed from the top of the load, it was easy. The load was never exposed to any rain, and it was delivered on time, safely, and to a happy customer. This is how I like it. There is no way to keep this from happening in the future except to have the customer better reinforce the load, but this is often hard to accomplish as it requires the customer to spend more money on the loads, which they don't want to do.

We run into all sorts of new situations out here on the open road, which require experience and successful tactics to overcome. Many of these situations are completely out of our control and sometimes people get hurt and even lose their lives. It is imperative that every measure be taken to prevent any accidents or bad situations. A wise man once told me, "It isn't what you've done, it's what you're going to do." In other words, it doesn't matter how safe your record is. All that matters is how safe your record is going to be and how you're going to prevent accidents from happening in the here and now.

I am proud of having almost 1 million miles at my current carrier without any accidents, chargeable claims, or moving violations. But all of that is thrown out the window with one careless mistake.

It isn't what I've done, it's what I'm going do. THAT is all that matters.


june in florida said...

Ed i enjoy your blog, i don't make comments but i learn new things which help in understanding the industry and how my stuff gets to me.I appreciate that it takes a lot of know how and technology to do what you and Salena do. Thank you.

Ed said...

Thanks June, I don't have near as many posts as Salena by a LONG shot so I don't really have any commenters like she does. No worries there. And THANK YOU for reading Salena's blog and now mine. We both really appreciate that.

ELH said...

Hi Ed, have you ever considered doing the "you tube" video thing?? These posts you do are excellent,yet pictures alone don't do justice to what's involved.. a video presantation that we can subscribe to and actually see the steps taken from start to finish might be kinda cool.. I know it would be involved, but if you've seen some of the trucking vids out on the "tube" , I think yours would be educational and outstanding.. just a thought..enjoy your posts..take care, and be safe out there..

Ed said...

ELH, we have a few videos, but the filming/editing takes time. We will be adding some in the future. The camera set-up we have is a little clunky and old so maybe in the next few months we will add some video and a better picture gallery of different trucks, trailers, loads, mechanical tutorials etc.
Right now I am just trying to keep interesting posts flowing on here with good information and a little bit of news. But we will absolutely be adding video to answer your question ELH and thanks.

ELH said...

Thanks ED, these posts here are,very interesting, will look forward. To those future. Videos..