Sunday, July 29, 2007

After I left Jacksonville...

"
I mosey-ied on up to Savanah.

Wednsday morning and I was trying to find the entrance to the Port.

Liberty Port.

Couldn't find it. Missed it completely. This Port is Totally different than the one in Jacksonville.

So I turned around.....not so easy being 86 foot long....and made another "fly-by". I KNEW where the street was supposed to be according to my GPS and written directions....supposed to be a sign too. Guess I'll look closer.

On the second pass from the other direction I saw it.

"IT" was a little tiny dirty road....beside a water treatment plant going back into the trees.

And it was a sharp corner.....so sharp that I had to get over in the left hand turn lane in order to make a right hand turn. Otherwise I'd run over "stuff" with my trailer.

Traffic was heavy. No one seemed to understand what a turn signal ment. I had no pilot car to teach em. So it took a while.

Finally I made it....and headed on down that dirt road.....with much trepidation. Couldn't see the end....trees overhead. The good thing,though, was that I was meeting big trucks coming out. Cement trucks.

Way on down the dirt road I had to make a dogleg turn....hard left then hard right (and I mean HARD....no one but ME was going thru that corner...or the ditches.... at a time...and then thru a gate.

Barely made it.

Security guy there.....yup...I was in the right place.

"here's-you're-badge-do-you-know-where-you're-going?-No?-
well-here's how-you-get-there" and I head on in. Check in with Shipping first and then on to the dock to load.

Had to wait for the crane.

Eventually the Crane showed up and we got all set up ready to load.



See what I mean by "dropside" and all the lumber?



We got it done.

I was very worried.

I knew I would be OK in regards to gross weight. ...probably. We'd ordered the max. for the permit two weeks ago. This turned out to be a mistake.

Did I mention that this was a super-load? Yup...this ain't Texas. Buncha wooses out here...sissies.... Anything over a hundred and twenty thousand pounds and they get their panties all in a wad about it...... in many of the eastern states.

They call it a super load when it's that heavy. The permits cost more. There's more rules. It TAKES longer. ....and the fines if you screw up are HUGE.

When "stuff" comes in on a boat there's no telling how close the reality is going to match the paperwork. I've seen it be off......way off. (hmmmmmm..by "ton" do they mean US ton or metric ton?...no way to tell from this.) So, as a precaution we normally order "max" to give us wiggleroom.

But max gross weight doesn't help with axle weight.

The "worst" state I had to go thru would be South Carolina which (for some reason) would only allow me 58,500 on the drives.

14,000 on the steers though.. , 60,000 on the trailer and 20,000 on the stinger....go figger.

The problem was where to put the crate on the trailer. The crate was 16 foot long....the trailer deck is 26 foot. If I had em put it too far forward I'd be over on my drives. COULD I have em put it too far backward? ...and be over on the trailer and stinger? I didn't know but I didn't think so.

For the last two weeks....since I'd accepted the load.....even before I got the trailer....I'd been struggling with :

A=L - ((D x L)/B) and D = B(L-A)/L

where A = Axle load in pounds added to empty axle weight
L = Net weight of load
D = Distance to the C/G of the Load from a bridge poing.
C/G = Center of gravity of the load.d
B = Bridge of the trailer

And...was 84,560 lbs (the paperwork weight of the crate) a real number? Like....correct?

I'd been measuring and figgering and weighing the trailer.

I weighed the Rig three different times.

The problem is that most CAT scales aren't 86 foot long. None of em actually. So I had to do something called "split-weigh".

The problem is that most CAT scale operators don't know HOW to do a split weight. None of em actually. At least none of em that I've run across .....yet.

So...armed with incomplete information...and the threat of an umpty-thousand dollar fine if I did it wrong....I told them to put the crate......(shiver...close my eyes and point) ...THERE.

One shot is all i got...the crane boss said. If they "unrigged" and had to "rig-up" again to move it...I'd get charged a rig up fee. Bunches of bucks. No pressure of course but:

"Are you sure that's where you want it?" The Crane Boss said

"yup" I said.

"Are you really ,really sure?" He said

"(gulp) yup" I said.

"Ok-sign-here-see-ya-bye-good-luck-and-we're-
outa-here" and they de-rigged and left.

"O-my-god-what-have-i-done?" and "O-my-god-I-hope-I-got-it-right." I thought.
I shivered....Again. (it was at least ninety degrees and I'm covered with sweat)

And I tied down and headed to Virginia.


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And it was a Raiiiiiny day in Georgia. And the traffic was crazy. And the onliest CATScale before I got to the state-line and the first DOT scale...(potential fine spot) ...was in a crowded Pilot, so-called, truck-stop.

Did I mention it was raining? Buckets.

And they couldn't do a split-weigh either.

It took me a couple of hours at that truck-stop............for nuthin.

Onward and upward.....heading north.



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The South Carolina scale (potential fine spot) was closed. (huge sigh of relief)...

..........so I found another CatScale and tried to do a split-weigh. Nope...they couldn't do it...either.

I had a pretty good idea what everything weighed. ...though. Pretty good.

I thought I probably weighed less than 13,000 on the steers, about 55,000 on the drives and maybe 56,000 on the trailer.

That's from the CatScale tickets....both of em showed about that weight. Neither of em had a stinger weight for me.

So I did some adding....some subtracting.....and some sweating....and decided I was good-to-go.

Tomorrow. I had a short way to go and a long time to get there....so I staid put.




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The next day...Thursday...the other South Carolina DOT scale(potential fine spot) was also closed.....and the first North Carolina scale(potential fine spot) was too. One more scale(potential fine spot) to go and I'm in Virgina.


The last one(potential fine spot) was open.


I rolled across the scale (potential fine spot) and he weighed me and said "pull-around-back-and-bring-in-your-paperwork-we're-gonna-
do-an-inspection"

Gulp.

So I did.

"Where's your Escort" he said. (PROBABLE fine)



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Doom.


I cleared my throat a few times. A few more times.....and asked.

"Could you show me where, on the permit, it says I gotta have an escort? I looked, my wife looked, AND my dispatcher looked....and we didn't see it....and we looked HARD"


"Sure" he said ....and showed me.

Escorts = 1


It said....in the upper right hand corner.

Upper. right. hand. corner. At the top. On the right.

NOT in the "special provisions" section down at the bottom.....where every other state has that requirement, if needed, listed.


"Oh" I squeaked.

"How bad is this gonna hurt"? I gasped.

"Not too bad" he said...."Between one and five hundred dollars. "

I about fainted ...again...from relief....this time.

Hundreds would hurt....but I could handle it....thousands would kill me.

*****************************************************************************

It turns out....(and why no one ...and I mean NO ONE...could tell me I don't know...) it's like this.

The nice young bloodsucker....er....DOT official explained it to me.

If...in North Carolina...a permit is issued for over 149,999 pounds then the computer automagically inserts Escorts=1 (or more,depending upon other factors).

Not knowing what the crate would actually weigh, two weeks ago, we'd order "max weight" which was over 149,999. The crate, in fact, turned out to weigh only 84,000 and change so I turned out to weigh about 135,000 lbs.

In the special provisions section of the permit ...where I, my wife, and dispatcher had all intensely scrutinized...was a section saying "any load over 149,999 lbs requires a front escort.

Well I didn't weigh that. So...no escort....right?

Wrong. "It-says-so-right-there-on-the-permit-you-gotta-have-it"

$500 worth of wrong.

Doesn't matter if it applies or not. (in my case...NOT)....it's on the permit.

I paid it...if not with a smile at least with relief. If I'd ACTUALLY been over 149,999 and didn't have that escort....the fine would have been thousands....many, many thousands...

I ordered an "amended" permit. I didn't know they'd do that. My permit guy didn't know either....but then he's only been doing this for maybe 20 years....he's still new at it.

Only cost 145$ (more). The fact that I already had a permit that cost MORE than that didn't matter.


It cost me 145$ to get a permit that didn't say

Escorts =1

It also did say... steer = 12,540, drive = 56,450, trailer = 55,780, and stinger = 16,500...or words to that effect.

But I had the permit...so I was good to go.

The Rig,meanwhile, or the load, hadn't changed a bit. So....I got a ticket for .........what? I'm still trying to get my mind around that.

645$ for not understanding what the hell they were talking about maybe? No one else did either...the first time.

He said they write tickets like that pretty regular. Imagine that.



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I spent the night at a truck stop in Emporia Virgina.

First thing in the morning my Escorts ( two...one front...one rear) showed up and we're gone.

We got to the port and I cut the front escort loose. I needed the other one to stay 'cause I also needed to have an "unladen" permit to get outa town ...and outa state...and it required that I have an escort.

First glitch was that the clerk was all confused. I didn't have enough info.

So I got more info.

Turns out I didn't need more info....she just needed to pay closer attention.

So that took a couple of hours. Then we go on out to the dock.


And meet the Unload Crew Boss and he says:
"Oooops. How-we-gonna-unload-that?"

So I wait...and wait. (while paying for my escort to wait).

Finally the boss unloader guy tells me it's gonna be one oclock before they can get to me because of yaddayaddamumbleyadda.

Yeah...whatever...I tell the escort he can go get some grub....he leaves for a while.

Then about 1:30 or so this shows up


Then they add straps to it..








Are we having fun yet?

I stepped ..."away from the truck."


Quiet a ways away.
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