Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Compassionate Conservatism.

In texas we're compassionate. I know this because I'm a heavy haul trucker. Because I'm a heavy haul trucker I need permits to move oversized loads.

Lemme 'splain.

Last post I was in the trailer shop.

Well they fixed it pretty quick and I moved on over to the Shipper and loaded.

Looks real pretty doesn't it?

Got it loaded right the first time. I stretched out the trailer and the crane set it on.

The important stuff is:

Overall Length Bumper to bumper is 104 ft. 5 in
Height is just shy of 17 ft.
Width is 13 ft. 11 in.
Gross weight is 137,030.

Needless to say these dimensions and weights prevent me from stopping on a dime or turning on a nickle. I need lots and lots of room.

Also an pilot car.

He (the pilot car driver) showed up way earlier than necessary and even helped me chain it down. I figger if 40,000lbs worth of tie-down strength is required....I'll provide 60, we did. Got done about dark.

Poooped. Moved the trailer out on the road and unhooked. Went to a truck stop to eat and clean up. No need to get up early the next day.....waiting on permits.

Permits. Very important.

We got our permits earlier than expected and with some exceptions they were what we expected.

We took out.

First thing. A mountain. The transmountain drive around El Paso. 8 per cent grade.

Even with a powerful engine that's a hell of a I was going slow. About ten miles an hour to be exact.

Lots of impatient people stacked up behind me.

Going downhill was no better. The last thing I wanted was to go too fast going down hill and "loose it". I have no desire to be scooped outa my truck with a spoon.
Permits. Remember those?

Right after we gott off the first set of hills the permit said to trun south onto US 54 and go south to the Hondo Pass road and cross over 54 and return to loop375e.

The reason for that being that the bridge taking 54 over loop 375 was too low for me to get being 17 ft tall and all.

I'm an experienced trucker. I've hauled big,wide,tall,heavy stuff before. I've dealt with Texas Permits before.

I knew what to expect. So I sent an escort car ahead to "scout"....he reported back that Hondo went "under....not over....and it was too low".

Oooops. Permit office screwed up.

So we dealt with it....(you really don't want to know how)

After that things went fairly well....headed north outa El Paso ...crossed the Salt Flats.

After the Salt Flats it was climb more mountains. I bet you didnt know Texas had mountains did you? We do....Several. Among them are the Guadalupe Mts....which rise to about six thousand feet above sea level. Which I was going to have to climb....

I did that thing and continued on.

After that we cut around Kermit and it's sand dunes............and continued on toward Andrews.

I'd had my wife call ahead and have a nice chat with the Andrews cheif of police. She told him what our route was and asked him if he had any suggestions.

He about fainted. If we'd followed our permited route we'd have clogged up downtown big time. IF we could even make those turns. Disaster he said. So he gave us permission to take the truck route around town...

The truck route.....well duh.


After that we headed on toward Brownfield...whom we had ALSO called and talked to.

Route change....bypass all the city congestions that would have resulted had I follwed the permitted route. Plus I had a police escort.

We continued on.

Night caught us (me and my pilot car) just outside of Littlefield. Not being picky sorts we just pulled off the road and called it a night.

I sent the pilot car driver into town for burgers....."you fly I'll buy".

Next morning we were rolling before dawn.

Went fine at first.....pulled into Herford for fuel...and headed on up toward Vega.

Not so fine.

We'd also called about this. Didn't help.

The permit office routed me down this road.
Skinny. Very rough. Can't see em but there are ditches on both sides.

One minor problem was that the permit said "take county road 29 to county road 40"

Reasonable...except that county road 29 was in Deaf Smith runs east and west....County road 40 is in Oldham county. It runs north and south. When it goes into Deaf Smith it's name changes to County Road G.

Soooooooooo....the uninformed might turn on country road 29 and head east looking for county road 40.

Never gonna see it. It's named "g" in deaf smith. Might easily miss the turn.

Which is just what happened to a truck earlier that week. Scottie missed his turn...went on down till he HAD to turn....then couldn't MAKE his turn....and got stuck.

Every wonder how to "unstick" a big truck?

Wreckers....very LARGE wreckers.....very EXPENSIVE wreckers.....

Two of em.

Knowing that had happend was why my wife had called ahead.

Didn't Help.Here I am...ON ROUTE....trying to make the turn from Country Road 40 onto County road D.

Doesn't look good. Might be a bit tight.I wonder what would happen if those wheels go in the ditch?I wonder how far that tower section would roll if the trailer flipped?

But I don't wonder toooo much. Not enough to let it happen.

What happened was that I gave it a try. It didn't work. "duh"

I dunno why no one listens to us drivers. Generally the conversation goes something like.

Driver........"er....I don't think I can do that"

Customer (or dispatcher, or Shipper, or someone who's got a "stake")

"sure you can...we get big trucks in here all the time"

Driver......."well...i dunno...I'd rather not"

"...a REAL driver could do it....we see it all the time".


If the driver won't do it...he's the bad guy.

If he does and makes it...oh well...nother day at the office.

If he fails....oh my...

"What's the matter with you....couldn't you TELL that that was impossible?"

Then a lecture about saftey and maybe other bad things.

Been there ...done that.


Then the Sherriff's deputy showed up. He was kinda wondering what we were doing there. It seems that there was a rash of truck hauling windmill towers winding up stuck lately. He'd really like to see it stop.

Me too. I explained the situation.

Then the Sherrif showed up. He was unimpressed. He said that last week this happened and he was getting to be annoyed. He had a solution to the problem but his patience was wearing thin.

We were to follow him. "Keep close he said...and dont stop"

Holy Cow.

Down that skinny road....past the END of that skinny road. Not a road now...just a couple or ruts.

Then it got bad.

He turned left....onto a pasture. . no road at all.

I followed....and started to bog down. Visons of high dollar wrecker bills enhance my reaction speed as I grabbed about five gears....engaged the power-divider and the lockers....and "mashed the motor" all in about a second.

The cat had been purring....not any more.....more like a snarl.....a screaaaaaaaaaaaaam.

My drives started throwing sand ....and the turbo boost jumped to thirty plus.

I left ruts....deeeep ruts....across that field....didn't slow till I saw hardpack.



A noncompassionate business?....kinda needs their people to know what theyre doing and do their job right...the first time maybe?

But texas is compassionate. No need for any of that effeciency stuff. Who says they need to know anything about doing it right?

I mean....four errors on one permit? big deal....hardly anyone died did they?


.in kansas now....
no errors on kansas permit...
nor on Oklahoma one.
....or Colorado either.
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