May 11, 2012

Out of Title Ideas

Henry's Lake, ID
I want to thank everyone for your kind thoughts and encouragement. The blogging community is truly blessed with a lot of wonderful people!

Among the comments there were questions concerning the new truck, and trucking in general, and I promise to get to those. I really do enjoy the questions. It gives me ideas for what your interested in knowing about.

This week has been a blah week. We had good miles and made good money, but it just got off to a gooey start and really hasn't climbed the hill very far above the mud hole it started in.

We left home Sunday morning and arrived in Grand Forks, ND by 5:00 to deliver our potatoes. Of course there were trucks in front of us and we didn't get out of there till nearly 11:00 that evening. There have been a lot of potatoes going to Grand Forks.

The next morning, we loaded more potatoes in Cando, ND and headed back to Idaho. A short distance from our pick up we stopped to grab a Subway sandwich in Rugby, ND, which is apparently the geographical center of North America.
While we were sitting in the truck eating our lunch, another truck pulled off the road into the parking lot. Let me make note here that we were the only truck in the rather largish parking lot. In other words, I want to clarify that there was LOTS of room! This other truck proceeded to swing around behind us so that he could pull in next to us. Trucks like to park in a neat orderly line, right next to each other, even if there's lots of space. I've never fully understood this, as given the option, I'd rather have peace and quiet around me. But regardless, I conform, as this truck was doing. And as he circled around behind us, Malcolm was watching in the mirror, and said "He's going to hit us." And about that time the truck started rocking.
In the great big trucking world, that particular company is notorious for, shall we say....issues. Reports are that they turn their drivers loose on their own with minimal training and experience, and the result is not hard to guess. That first winter of my driving, when we were going through western Yellowstone on a bi-weekly basis, it seemed like there was a Swift truck in the ditch nearly every trip. But I digress....

This incident was no big surprise. We all tend to give Swift a wide berth when possible. Anyway, the driver was nice enough, even though he asked Malcolm to ignore the damage, (which Malcolm wasn't about to do). He had dragged his trailer for several feet, the whole time scraping against the corner of our trailer.
There were a couple more marks like this one further up the corner.
After a few days of not hearing from Swift, Malcolm contacted them, emailed in the pictures and repair estimate that we'd gotten, and waited. A couple hours later there was an emailed reply.

"Good day,
I am not going to consider that estimate.  Its cosmetic at best. I am willing to make an appearance allowance.
Excuse me?
Let me ask you, if Swift had backed into your car and scratched it, would you expect them to pay to have the cosmetic scratch repaired? Or would you be ok with driving around with a scratched door. I mean the car still runs, doesn't it?

My feeling is, maybe Swift, with their hundreds of trucks and trailers, and their hundreds of drivers who ding things up on a daily basis, doesn't mind having dented and scratched equipment. But Johnson Trucking works mainly with one truck and one trailer, both of which we pay for and take great pride in. We have an exceptional safety rating with the DOT because we haven't gone around backing into vehicles or running off the road. I challenge someone to look up Swift's safety rating.
And perhaps the trailer still works even though it's damaged, but it looks bad. And equipment that looks bad draws the eye of the DOT. It also devalues the trailer, the trailer that we pay for, which I already mentioned.

Sadly, as our insurance agent informed us, the huge corporate trucking companies are self-insured and can pretty much do what they want. It really is rather infuriating! He's working on it for us, and hopefully can make some progress with them. Time will tell. But really, would you stand for that?

Moving on...

We left ND in time to enjoy a beautiful evening in eastern Montana...
...complete with a spectacular sunset...
...and were in Idaho to deliver by morning.

We reloaded potatoes and headed back to Grand Forks, driving all day and all night and pulling in around 5:00am on Wednesday. We were there all day long. There were about 17 trucks in front of us and to top it off, the conveyor had broken down. We were there until 7:00 that evening.

Fortunately (? I think ?) our reload was a 24 hour place. So we skipped over to Devil's Lake, ND and got loaded up. Another all night drive, along the nearly same route. At Bozeman, MT just before turning south towards ID, Malcolm ran into some snow showers. But the rest of the day was glorious, weather wise.
rustic cabins near Henry's Lake, ID. I'd love to know their history and to take a closer look
Today we're in California. Stockton to be exact. We delivered this morning, and are now reloading fertilizer. We had a leisurely weekend ahead of us, roughly 600 miles to a town southwest of Boise, ID, until Malcolm thought he'd ask if we could deliver tomorrow. I've got to talk to him about not doing that. (just kidding) So looks like we'll go up there tonight, turn around and come back here, and do it all over again, At least it's nice driving through empty rugged eastern Oregon.

I'll be glad when this week is over. I'm hoping our spirits lift and things go more smoothly next week.

In happier news:
Some people have asked how Paris is doing after her incident last November. If you recall, Paris and I had an accident that resulted in a rather badly broken leg for Paris. It was a very traumatic event (more for me than her I think) and a slow healing process. After 6 weeks in a cast the bone had barely started to seal back together. When we went back in...March?...she was given a clean bill of health. There are still a couple small spots where the bone has not yet grown back around the steel pin, but the doctor felt that given time, it should. And in the mean time it won't be a problem for her.

For the most part, it's like the accident never happened. The doctor apologized that she's slightly bowlegged now, but most days I can't even tell. The only indication that anything ever happened is that our little acrobat, whether due to lack of confidence or the injury, can no longer jump to great heights like she used to. Eight out of ten attempts to jump onto the bed fail. I'm thinking this isn't exactly a bad thing. She hardly even tries, and that's that many less possible accidents waiting to happen. But aside from that, she's her same old lovin' life self, back to enjoying her usual beloved chores such as folding laundry and helping to make the bed.

I told her she needed to apologize for mooning everyone in the video, but she said that's just part of her personality and if her public loved her, they'd accept her for who she is.


Shirley said...

I hope you get Swift to pay for the repairs. Companies like that give trucking a bad name.
I loved the video- such a joyful little dog! Made me smile.
Hope your next week is better.

MTWaggin said...

Hee hee I so love your posts! Glad you are back since I'm the one going absent blogging anymore. Too much work not enough time. Hugs to you, Malcom and the girls! Hey! We need new pony photos too btw....LOL Next time you are home.

small farm girl said...

Good luck getting your truck fixed. That would be a pain.
That little dog of yours is soooo cute!

Dreaming said...

I had to giggle when I first read that you 'got loaded' in Devil's Lake. Is this a huge drinking spot?! Hahaha!

Oh, I would be spitting nails at Swift. That attitude sucks. I will forever after stick my tongue out at all Swift trucks. Such a mature attitude, huh?!

Thanks for the comment about Doc and his pancake mouse. I have been so tempted to test him out on it.... !

Muffy's Marks said...

That is so wrong that your truck was hit, and no restitution. I hope your insurance company fights them and wins. It may not be a big deal to them, but to folks like you, who take pride in their equipment it is a BIG deal. The video made me laugh. Happy Trails.

Pure Prairie Soap said...

Sorry about your truck, Sarah. I hope you can get it resolved. I totally understand the "quiet time" when you weren't blogging. Glad to see you back. We are enjoying travel through your eyes.

Michaele said...

I am still laughing at that video and the mooning. What a character she is!

Jake said...

Swift should pay that all there is to it. Glad your having safe travels.

thecrazysheeplady said...

That's infuriating. Thanks for the head's up on Swift trucks. Paris is a doll!

Kellie said...

Paris is such a good helper!

Bummer the Swift folks are being difficult. Hope you get them to pay for the repairs.

wendywoo said...

Taking potatoes TO Idaho? What's up with that? I thought potatoes CAME from Idaho!?