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Hurry Up and Wait: The Life of a Short Haul Trucker


There were many days while working for Stinson that we would end up hanging out at Terminal 5 as our containers were not released or some such problem. Often there would be multiple trucks, all stuck, waiting to go. Sometimes the problem was as simple as a number on a bill of lading was off, seal numbers, booking numbers, computer issues, or as sometimes was the case, equipment was down. There were other times when you could see the cantainers we needed but the crane was being serviced, and that took precedence over a bunch of trucks from Canada.


The fact is we are stuck here and sometimes minutes turn into hours. A long as I'm getting paid, I don't care. It was a good time to get to know your fellow drivers. There was some memorable guys and girls.

One such driver was Gord, also known as Howdy. He was a short guy with a big attitude and always wore a big cowboy hat and was the life of the party. He eventually got his own truck and started a training program where he would take a students out on the road for weeks at a time and they would come back with real world experience of life on the road, Logbooks, Scales, Borders, Cops, Truckstops,Shippers, Recievers, there is a lot to learn and is great when you can learn from other peoples mistakes.

A lot of time would be spent around a coffee machine in a lunch room with a phone nearby. Cell phones? Drivers in the 80's knew where all the payphones and free phones were. They were the only way to stay in touch with dispatch. All drivers understand that when a dispatcher says call me back, they are probably panicking about how to get all these trucks home without loosing a bunch of money. Sometimes things just go wrong.




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