Back on the Trucking Trails
Seemed pretty unlikely to me but after an 18 month absence I have returned to the gyspy life of driveaway trucking. I am back!
As portrayed here on LJ I did temp work thru Adecco principally for the ETS AP project and for Halmark - that big distribution center conveyor line job subject of a couple of articles here. After the 2nd year of ETS work at Bartle hall ended in June 2012 I had only one more Adecco request for work - a 3 night stint removing security tags at Burlington Coat Outlet on the midnight shift - lousy work. In late November 2012 my Driveaway USA dispatcher, Corrie, called and reported they had a new client and would need extra drivers for a project out of Oklahoma City moving completed trucks to points north and northeast.
Since I was "between jobs" - meaning wasn't doing anything - I agreed . My CDL was still intact - I did have to sign back on with DUSA and do all the contract stuff that I had declined to do for several years - I knew that would happen when I said "yes". I think there were 32 pages of docs to sign to re-up with them - a very 'defensive' set of docs all in favor of company and I'd say three times as many such docs as with the original enlistment back i 2001. I was out of service from May 2011 till Dec 2012 so will have driveaway contract work on both year's tax returns - even with an 18 months absence.
It's now the end of March 2013 - I've been back on the road for four months and my trips have centered on two principal clients -Asplundh -the tree service outfit with the bright orange trucks - and ETI - a company in OKC that puts service bodies on Ford F450 bodies. Both sets of jobs have been Class C or non-CDL moves . I've done only a few Class B (over 26,000 pounds and requiring a CDL) moves but the Class C stuff has worked out OK. Dispatch is giving decent help with the deadheading transportation this time around and the 40 cent rate per mile for Class C is better than it used to be - meaning the rate is the same but my own out of pocket has been less so my net is the same or better.A company has restored a fuel bonus that adds pay to some trip - mainly when the driver inherits fuel on board.
IHC Dura Max chassis - body by Hackney and Sons - Independence KS
Current job is number 18 in this second life - a 2013 IHC Dura Max chassis with body by Hackney and Sons in Independence KS. We did a lot of work for Hackney early in my first life - the it dwindled to very little work as Hackney went into bankruptcy and their production slowed to a crawl. They are back in production at a decent clip but they're principally using Mamo for their driveaway service so we don't even get a dribble from them - we get a drop. There's one client that specified DUSA to make deliveries so we get an isolated job now and then from Independence KS to Norfolk NE. This weekend that's my job.
Jefferson Lines no longer goes to Independence KS - the closest stop is Coffeyville, KS about 20 miles from Independence so it's the 4 am JL bus out of KC for Tulsa then Wichita Falls that makes a stop at 7 20 am in Coffeyville. From there the owner of the Yellow Front Resale store has a new cottage industry of shuttling drivers to Independence for $30 a ride or $25 if more than one passenger. Frankly a very fair rate - about what I would charge when i was doing shuttles here in KC. Another driver had made the bus trip down so there were two of us for the 30 minute ride to Hackney.
I hadn't been on the Hackney lot in a long time - 2 years at least but man did it feel familiar. In fact everything about this work has felt familiar here in the second session. My truck was and is in red Coca Cola livery and i was off the lot at 9 am - fueled at what used to be Bailey's Corner - now a no name but still selling diesel so i stayed with 'em out of continuity and the fact I know my way around their aisles and shelves. Thirty seven gallons in the 50 gallon tank - better than normal for a Hackeny pickup but this truck had 960 miles on it so it had been somewhere and was going back. in fact that's about right for a round triop to Norfolk so i suspect that is the story - went back to the factory for some rework.
There is one bus a day out of Norfolk - a small 16 pax shuttle fan leaves every morning at 8 am for Omaha - and there is that one bus a day to Independence. No way to make those two sked work so you can do the trip without a layover at home here in KC or a motel - or a very long time just "hanging out" in the Coke truck. I stashed the unit on my auxiliary parking lot - Lowes Boardwalk Square - it's there now . I will leave Sunday night around 10 pm and give me self lots to time to do the 300 miles to Norfolk which means time for a Rest Area nap up on I-29 probably.
Then the close call of this run. The receiver opens at 7 30 and they're particular - I know that from prior drops same place and same service manager. They want to thoroughly inspect the truck - not just have it show up on their door step that night. So 7 30 drop and white glove inspection - the promise of a ride to the bus station and wiht some luck I make the 8 am van to OMA - failing that 23 hours and 50 minutes to kill in Norfolk. Closer than i like but the other route is a motel for probably $50 so we'll do it the max sweat but less costly way.
Now the other bad news about bus service. Used to be there was a four hour layover in OMA waiting for a southbound Jefferson lines but to KC. Now it's a six hour layover and six hours is a long layover. Back to KC at 8 30 pm and that's how you kill two days and many hours on a trip that pays for 439 revenue miles. no way a good deal - I anticipate help with all the transportation - and maybe a spifff for the inconvenience factor. Everybody sees this as a bad trip - nobody wants it - but it keeps our foot in the door in minor way with Hackney and i won't lose money - just won't make much for the two day effort.
Anything else interesting in this new era? Due mom-care here in KC I am not taking long trips but may seek a dispensation to do a west coast trip sometime as I'd really like to go to LA or SFO Bay area again. Or Portland OR. I have been to Chattanooga and Cleveland - myl longest trips. Went into sub zero weather several times during our very cold winter weather spells. I've stayed out of falling snow but have seem plenty of snow once it was on the ground. Those trips include Kewanee IL and two to Sheboygan WI.
Another negative - Greyhound no longer has the Discovery Pass program so we all buy individual tickets. i make regular use of my Veteran's Advantage discount card on Greyhound and Greyhound now has Print at Home so i can ticket from home which is great - saves having to visit the always busy counter at the KC terminal.
How long will is session last? Not long - no ten years as the first oe did. Probably September will end it. I have enjoyed being back on the road - the aspect i like are still there long with the tribulations but no surprises - I'm used to all the stuff his work an throw at you and so far it's been a pretty easy run due the fact I've mainly been delivering new "glorified pickups" for Asplundh and ETI.
There, you're up to date if anyone happens across this journal.
Happy Trails - part two