14 January 2011

The Road Scholar - Day 14

Marion, AR to Corydon, IN to Haubstadt, IN, 500 some odd miles - another long day. Haubstadt is located on I-64, just 25 miles from the Illinois state line and just north of Evansville. I'm loading in Henderson, KY which is just south of Evansville. There are quite a number of trucks parked in the truck stops here (there are three), yet there are still quite a few spots available, which is unusual at this hour. Most truck stops are, generally, full by about 2100, sometimes earlier, depending on where you're at. The night is fairly quiet... 35° ("feels like" 28° - again, The Weather Channel), light truck traffic, etc., etc., etc.
Earlier today, I made my delivery in Corydon, getting there 30 before my appointment time. The customer (a.k.a. the shipper AND receiver - a "plant-to-plant" transfer) stressed earlier today this was a "hot load" - meaning it HAD to be there on time, without delay. Trouble is, when I arrived there, it was another couple hours before they even unloaded the trailer (yeah, really urgent). Situations like that, in my humble opinion, are absolutely unnecessary. If you, the customer, need me, the driver, to get your product there on time, then at least show me the courtesy of providing the same haste in the unloading process that I have just given you in the transportation process to get the product there on time - is that too much to ask? I guess that's one reason why I enjoy the holidays... most shippers will get you loaded in a timely fashion, most receivers will do the same... and in many cases, either end may fulfill their services earlier than prescribed (i.e. you get there early, they will get loaded/unloaded early).
Tomorrow's load, from what I gather, is fairly light and destined for Tulsa, OK on Monday. If all works well, which I expect it will, I may be meeting, for the first time, somebody whom I have interacted with, via Twitter, for coffee (what else). I'm looking forward to it, as we have been interacting for over 1 (or is it 2) year now. It may have been longer but I can't be certain, I've slept since then. Now where was I... parking, mild traffic... ah, yes...
I do wish I was heading out west. I long for those trips: open road, little to no congested traffic, mountains... oh, the mountains! Many places offer the most incredible views, the most breathtaking photo opportunities (and, by the way, I would REALLY like a Canon Rebel - but if somebody happens to feel VERY charitable, methinks a Leica M9 would be welcomed - either of which would take some amazing photographs!). Picture if you will (WHOA!! I just sounded like Rod Serling for a moment)... you're traveling east on I-40 in New Mexico, at night, about 20 miles west of Albuquerque. Climbing the hill, you are surrounded by the blackness of night; the only illumination around are traffic (what little there may be) headlights, and possibly the glow of the moon. You keep climbing... upward, upward... and you can barely make out the mountain's apex in the moonlight, just ahead. As you reach the climb's peak, the all but complete darkness has been broken. Before you are the lights of the city below... lights which are still bordered by darkness. Not just an overwhelming brightness, but lights that reveal details, definition. Instead of blurring together, the lights make out the shapes of buildings, flowing traffic, and the lining of streets. Even the changing of traffic signals can be identified: green... amber... red... cross traffic appears to crawl, almost like a concertina, adorned with red, amber, and white lights, and being stretched by unseen hands. As you make your descent, it's like you're looking at a motorized miniature town, set on auto. Yet the darkness begins to melt away from around you, and you become encompassed within the city itself... it welcomes you, surrounds you... consumes you...

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