Packard Sonic’s Blog
From the mind of Packard Sonic. Buckle up for this ride!

On a lonesome highway just east of Davenport.

This post is from Tuesday July 4, 2006 – 11:29am (CDT)

Well here I am again, traveling our nations highways and with nothing to do except write my blog. Well I started out my day like any other, over sleeping as I was up late the night before online. Yea, I know if you have to work get to sleep! But, this time I was able to sleep in a bit when I was called from my work, asking me to take a load to IA. Well thinking I had to get going right away I was just about to jump up and run out the door like usual when I’m told it doesn’t have to leave until 9PM at the latest. Well this is good! I can take my time and do the things that I usually have to wait till later in the day or the next to do. Well, after awhile of figuring out the and doing the stuff that I had put off all week, I head out the door, expecting to jump into a truck and get going. Well, my boss asks me some questions about the computer and how to get files off of it to a temporary computer which was a laptop. Well, fortunately the office area has an extra cable in another part of the building which I could use and after some setup on the old 98 machine, I was ready to roll. I had to walk him through some basic stuff and once he took care of some of the other employees, I finish up the computer. Well by this time about an hour had passed and I still had plenty of time to get out on the road. I was told it would take about 6 hours to get where I was going. Maybe if I had payed a bit more attention to the computer GPS program, perhaps it would have, but I went with what i knew and wasn’t thrilled at the idea of going through another state to get to IA (that’s Iowa for the state abbreviation impaired). So I took a route a little closer to what I knew and headed south! For the most part of the trip it went fairly well. Except when for no reason, the GPS program suddenly stopped responding! OH GREAT! Here I am with a locked up computer and no hard copy maps! Well, I pull off and restart the program and thank goodness it starts back up again. I then proceed back again on route after loosing about 10 mins waiting for it to restart. I get most of the way in IA, along the way there are a few gas stations listed along the road as you come up on them, but not many of them say diesel on them so I pull off the road to hopefully find some soon! Well after getting down to a small amount left, I finally find one. However as I am in cube van with an under sized fill spout i have to hold on and it takes awhile. Well I get back on the road and I am so close now to my destination. YEA!! Well I arrive and, but no one is going to be in for several hours, so I find some place to park and sleep. Well, in a previous blog I had mentioned the good and bad things about being in a truck where you have a bed to sleep in. Well here is the bad thing about it, in the summer, unless you want to expend fuel to run the air, you sweat and I do mean SWEAT! Oh well, I like saunas anyway! LOL Well after a few hours the temp outside and inside does come down some, ahh relief!
As it turns out that the cool air brought a storm with it, along with cracks of thunder and lightning. But nothing I haven’t heard outside my own home. Well I finally wake and find that I have less than 30 mins to make my delivery! I dress quickly and shoot over there where I have to deal with a guy that had all the personality of a wet blanket. With his lips packed and I DO MEAN PACKED full of chewing tobacco I have to look at it almost flowing out of his face. Ewwww! That’s just nasty! As you may or may not know, I don’t smoke or use such crap like that! Anyway then I discover I still have awhile before I can actually leave! I have to stay longer?? Oh crap! So here I sit expecting to have to leave like sometime after 2 pm when I redo my calculations and see I can leave a lot sooner than I expected! YEA!!

Well, after getting going and on my way I learn that I need to pick up a load coming back north to WI. Here I think that maybe it’s going to be some place near me so I can go right home. NOPE!! Boy, oh boy what an excursion this turns out to be! I point my truck east and head to Davenport IA to pick up the incoming load to WI. By the time I get pretty close to Davenport they had a shift change at the office here in WI and one of our dispatchers, I wont say his name, but he has all the personality of a wet dishrag! Ok, he’s new. I won’t fault him for that at this point, but he also need some serious personality issues to take care of. Well more on him in a bit… Well I find I have to pick up my load at one of our terminals there, and the people there were for the most part quite nice to me and for the most part not all squirrelly like the ones at the Milwaukee terminal I met. So I take these rather two heavy looking boxes and head north as my GPS directs me up through IA. Then as soon as I get up by Dubuque its still directing me further north! Well I wanted to cut across the state and head east but as I have never traveled that part of the state before I was kinda pushing what I know and what I had to trust from the GPS. Well at first it keeps directing me to turn around but I ignore that and keep heading east over back roads, and I had said that the lesser road traveled can be an interesting
one. I wish i had the time to stop and take a picture of it, but some one had made a set of dinosaurs not quite to scale out of bits of metal in a field. Well as it was a fairly barren area, I’m sure he didn’t put them up to scare the crows! But none the less if your ever just north of Dubuque and heading east, take Highway 11 and you will see them. Anyway, that was the only interesting thing I had seen on the trip but trust me this trip was ANYTHING but routine! Well after awhile the GPS (I thought got the idea of what I was doing) and I started to follow it and it lead me right back to where I didn’t want to be! ARRGGG!!!! I hit the gas and start looking for a road to go east! Well after getting by a few people I swing down a road and start heading east, and after a few hours the GPS finally locks on and I head to Beloit. This is the direction I was wanting to go from the start, and by that time I something strange starts to happen I start hearing a buzzing from my power supply that’s charging my laptop. Oh great! That’s dying and I have a long way to go and I’m loosing the thing that’s powering my computer. I see some auto stores there in Beloit, but i figure I’ll get one at a Wal-Mart some where along the way, and the charger keeps buzzing so I switch it of and on a bit, then it starts doing a quick on and off charge of some sort, which I think ok, that’s going to be it for it and as I was looking for one I get over the exit and there was one just behind me now! Oh CRAP! I missed it! Well, I didn’t want to take the time to head back, so I keep heading towards my destination and i finally just unplug it and start charging my work phone, which when it was plugged in didn’t cause the charger started to squeal, and I thought, well that’s odd? Had it finally gone out? I look at it and it says its charging. Well that was odd indeed! Well by this time it was starting to get dark and along the highway I see a car pull way over in the on coming lane almost into the ditch! I slowed way down (not that I was going “that” much faster than the speed limit but better safe than sorry and here it turned out to be a cop and the second he stopped on went his radar! But by the time he switched his device on I was already well within the limits and actually going a little slower than that. Well, as I had mentioned it started to get darker and I pull on the lights, and my charger starts squealing again! WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON!?!?! I think to myself, and I push it back in and it stops squealing the second I push it back in. A couple more times and I watch the battery indicator on the dash and see that its going down and down fast! I turn off EVERYTHING I can that I had going including the one thing that was getting me through my trip, the radio! Well I call dispatch and tell them the battery is dying on the truck and the dispatcher with no personality says and a monotone voice “Ok, keep me advised.” Keep him advised!? The truck is dying and he wants me to keep him “advised” I’m back on the phone with him 5 mins later as the battery indicator just drops even faster and almost down to nothing, and I tell him to get me a driver to stand by or meet me to take the load from there and he then says in that monotone voice again “well its Friday night, no one is around or answering their phones.” OH MY GOD!!!! Here I am about to break down and I have to get this there by 10 PM and no one is going to be able to come rescue me should I break down. Personally I think this guy sat on his hands when it came to calling anyone else at all! So I change my heading and start heading for the terminal instead, and he ask me if i knew where that was I said yea i have it my computer. Well turns out I DIDN’T have it in there so I had to get the address from him and at the moment I said I wasn’t sure where it was in relationship to where I was at the moment and twice I had to tell him that as he obviously wasn’t listening to me at all so any directions he tried to give me over the phone were meaningless as he didn’t know exactly where I was for sure either! Not that I didn’t try to tell him a couple of times! Well I get closer and he is still trying to spout off directions to get to the terminal and 3 times now I tell him my computer had routed me a shorter way and I was following that! I get there and NO ONE IS around. WHAT A SHOCK! NOT!!! I grab a smaller van and back it up to the other larger one I had been driving and push the boxes to the edge and I some how get one of them down to the other truck and the dispatcher calls on the phone and says someone will be there in 20 mins to help me more the boxes off. Well 45 mins later they show up! I call my terminal manager and tell him the situation about the truck so he knows what’s going on, and he apologizes up and down for the way the dispatcher and the people at the terminal there in Milwaukee are ignoring a fellow worker as we are all supposed to be all working together but at this point it seems that the only thing working there was me! Well, anyway I get the first one on the truck and the other has a much smaller crate and I cant control it alone. There happens to be a building or another business that is next door and at that late at night I wasn’t expecting to see anyone out there so I start walking towards him and the guy is is in shorts and when I addressed him, I think I scared this poor guy half to death as he immediately hid behind his truck! I stopped so not to scare the wits out of him any more and asked for some assistance or a forklift perchance, and I got lucky and he did ! Oh yea! He puts it on the smaller van and I thank him for the help and he goes on his way. Well I pull the van over an park it and shut it down. Just as I pull the other van over to collect my stuff some one finally showed up! Well looks like 10 mins in Milwaukee must have be out of normal time like the rest of the world! Well as I’m moving stuff over they want to talk, and I didn’t want to be rude but I still had to make the delivery, which comes to find out that load I had picked up was theirs from the start! By this time its just after 10 and I tell dispatch to call them and let them know I’m on my way! Well they apparently never got that message as they didn’t know I was even coming at all! Well I start heading home, then I find out I have to take that truck back so another 10 – 15 mins wasted to turn around and go back to switch trucks again! By this time I am just FUMING! Here it is, just before midnight and I have already been on the road 10 hours and I have to take their “special” van back to them. Well I get there and switch everything over and leave again. I start heading home and I have a long 3 hour drive ahead of me now. By this time I am starting to get very tired and i would even say cranky after moving a box that I clearly shouldn’t have done alone, I am very fatigued at this point, and just want it to be over with. Well my GPS still trying to head me a longer direction again, I ignore it and head the direction I want and as it figures out the way I wanted to go it locks on to the exit I wanted and head home.

Many times I have gone to that terminal in Milwaukee and in the last couple of months it seems to just get worse! Little or no cooperation from them and I have learned that many of the drivers from MY TERMINAL, here in NORTHERN Wisconsin has been called to cover for something that the Milwaukee drivers should have done! If I need help and I did need it that night, I got none. However, if they ever were in the same situation, oh…. I bet they would be crying up a storm from what I was told from my dispatch. Well, at least in this instance I didn’t break down in IA, and for that, I’m just happy I was able to make it back and get home in once piece. Oh one thing I should mention, you cops in IA, Naughty naughty! I seen you pull in the middle of the embankment between the roads at the bottom of the hill and go completely dark! I don’t know who is sneakier the criminals, or the cops acting like criminals and hiding in the darkness ready to strike! Don’t muggers do that too? They hide in the darkness at the chance to get your money from you! If you ever travel through IA at night, pull over and wait for day, or you may get “mugged” by the sneaky cops hiding in the darkness!

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