By: Steve Irick
Brain waited for his turn at the scale house. It was not a surprise when he was singled out and pulled off to the side. A CSP officer approached and informed him that he would be undergoing an inspection. Even though he knew he’d clear without an issue, it was the cut into his valuable time that frustrated him.
Electronic logs were a blessing at times like this and his vigilant pre-trip inspections coupled with a good mechanical aptitude gave Brian confidence there wouldn’t be any problems. Even so, any more delays could prevent him from getting to Albuquerque on time. The inspection concluded without a single flaw, and Brian was quick to get rolling.
Only a few days had remained before Christmas and Brian wanted to finish this run, get back to Phoenix and drive home to Flagstaff before “Santa and his reindeer” arrived. The delivery to Albuquerque would conclude his extended run and all that would remain between Brian and home was eight hours and a deadhead back to his terminal. That would give him one day until Christmas – and that worked just right for Brian.
Brian made it to the warehouse on schedule. The guard at the gate directed him to drop his trailer at a designated space and hook to an empty nearby. He smiled and gave the guard his paperwork. Make it easy for them, and you’re out fast, make it difficult and you’re going nowhere.
Get in and get out was exactly what Brian needed to do. He inspected the trailer, pulled out of the yard and sent a message to dispatch. He was ready to come home.
Brian drove to a nearby truck stop and parked his rig. He called his wife and happily told her everything was on schedule. After a quick meal, he crawled into the sleeper berth. He was looking forward to getting back home.
At almost exactly eight hours, Brian woke up. Even though he was still a day out, he decided that a shower and shave would make him much more presentable to the family than he was feeling at the time. He grabbed his shower supplies and went into the truck stop.
All clean and ready, Brian climbed into his truck, logged on duty and fired up the engine for the last leg of a very long journey. As he looked over the gauges, he noticed that a message had just appeared on the computer; probably just a confirmation of his message last night or maybe dispatch was sending him a holiday greeting. He laughed.
Brian opened the message and his light hearted attitude instantly changed to a tire-smoking stop.
The details that followed didn’t matter as much as the note that dispatch had added at the beginning. “We’ve got a big problem; that empty needs to be in Grand Junction for a hot load to Salt Lake. Push it, and you should still be able to make it home in time for Christmas.”