Super-sweet spot hauling chocolate for Roger and Rita Wilson's two-truck operation

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In this week's edition of Overdrive Radio, hear the clarion voices of a spectacular pair of owner-operators: Roger and Rita Wilson with their Chicago-area-based, two-truck Rita’s Absolute Trucking. The pair married in 1998 after separate histories trucking, Rita toting butter up and down the Eastern seaboard, Roger with a story that stretches way back to hauling swinging meat in 1970 his first time out over-the-road.

Through the 1980s, he worked with a friend in LTL consolidation out of the Chicago area, growing to 50 trucks there before venturing out on his own with five. Then Rita brought two of her own to the operation, becoming Rita's Absolute early this century and growing to 15 units. They’ve had big ups and downs managing fleets, but after a slow period of downsizing over more than decade, they are now settled squarely into a super-sweet niche moving reefer trailers full of finished chocolate mostly between Chicago and Pennsylvania, for a single customer.

The pair were our Truckers of the Month for September.  

[Related: Beating the odds in a 1989 Marmon: Chicago construction dump to OTR]

When our first story about the Wilsons published two weeks back, it featured a Ryder System rep talking directly about the Wilsons’ work with their warehousing customer in Blommer Chocolate Company, who've been the Wilson's customer for two decades now. Ryder had nothing but praise for Rita’s Absolute Trucking, for sure. Yet after the story published, we also heard back finally from a direct rep from Blommer. Transportation manager Janie Moore called Rita and Roger Wilson’s Absolute Trucking the “Absolute best. If I could have more carriers like them it would be a joy!”

Moore has worked with the pair for eight years, she said, and they’ve “helped simplify managing" and now totally dominate "the Illinois to Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania to Illinois lanes," the Wilsons' specialty hauling Blommer chocolate in separate KWs both ways.

Locally, too, on moves between the Blommer downtown Chicago plant and Ryder-managed suburban warehouse, Rita has been a godsend, Moore added. “There were times we had more loads to move than they could manage legally in a day. Rita would go out of her way and rent a trailer for preloading purposes. This was not a Blommer request, but instead a decision she made to assist. And for that we are forever grateful.”

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In eight years, Moore said, “I can count on one hand the times where they were late or delayed. While we know things happen beyond the carrier’s control, they have been more than proactive and giving us advance notification on mishaps, transportation delays, breakdowns, and etc.”

A worthy pair to honor, no doubt. And, clearly, they’ve found a sweet spot hauling chocolate. Take a listen: 

Transcript

Todd Dills: Hey, everybody. It's Todd Dills, your host for this edition of the Overdrive Radio podcast, dropping to the feed October 6th, live at the world-famous overdriveonline.com then Monday, October 9th, and picking up with the voices of these spectacular pair of owner/operators behind Chicago area-based Rita's Absolute Trucking. That'd be Roger and Rita Wilson. Made a match with marriage in 1998 after separate histories trucking. Rita pulling Land O'Lakes butter up and down the eastern seaboard. Roger then with an OTR history that stretches back to hauling swinging meat in 1970, his first time out of the road. They've had big ups and downs, managing fleets, consolidating loads, and now settled squarely into a super sweet spot moving reefer trailers full of finished chocolate, mostly between Chicago and Pennsylvania for a single customer.

Rita Wilson: Right. We take finished both ways, but each plant makes different products, so that's why we are pretty fortunate to have loads both ways most of the time.

Todd Dills: The pair were our Truckers of the Month for September, and regular Overdrive readers may recall their story recently published at overdriveonline.com. Today on the podcast, we dig into their history and present in their own words. We'll start at the end of my long conversation with them when I asked, given their considerable experience, what advice they might have for a truck owner early in his or her career, or anyone really considering beginning a journey in Class eight ownership" Difficult question in the market like the present, Rita said, no doubt.

Rita Wilson:That's a toughie.

I mean in this day and age, anybody that would tell me they wanted to buy a truck, I'd say no and drive for somebody else.

Roger Wilson: I wouldn't buy a truck in today's environment. It's hard to establish yourself with these companies. Back in the day, there was a lot of smaller companies that you could get involved with.

Todd Dills: Shippers, Roger means.

Roger Wilson: Now so many smaller companies have been bought out by big companies and, of course, they've got their own transportation department and they only want to deal with somebody that's got a hundred trucks and... It'd be almost impossible to start out with one truck and get your own operating authority. You have to have a relationship with somebody first. So the first thing you need to do is get yourself involved, drive for somebody else for a while to learn the system, and if you're lucky, maybe get acquainted with a few shippers. Because if you go into these places and you visit with people and talk to people and get to know people, if you go to some of the same places all the time, maybe you can get your foot in the door and get something done.

We have a guy that parks in the yard where we park and his trailer is all painted up with Haribo candy. This is the only truck they have that's like that. And he's an owner/operator, so obviously this guy got in with him well enough, but he's strictly hauling for them and they painted his trailer for him. But it takes a long time to get through that. You can't just start out to say, "Well, I'm a new driver, I just got my CDL and I'm going to buy a truck and get my operating authority." You just can't do that because you have to have a relationship with customers on a consistent basis or you're not going to make it.

Rita Wilson: Right. And to haul for a broker and think you're going to make it, I would find it very difficult. You would literally have to live in the truck. And I don't even know if that would make it. These rates are so depressed from brokers and I don't know-

Todd Dills: Right now, yeah. I mean, at this moment it's-

Rita Wilson: But any other time, I would say that you would have to be super-duper hungry. You'd have to eat, drink, and sleep trucking. Our daughter, when she was little... We have a 24-year-old. And Roger has three older children from his first marriage that are in their fifties. So our daughter, the 24-year-old, when we would be sitting at the table, we would be talking about trucks and she would go, "Ugh. Can we talk about something else but trucks?" And I'd say, "Well, honey, that's what keeps the roof over your head." And she's like, "Oh, mommy, just all the time you and daddy talk about trucks. All the time."

Roger Wilson: Nowadays, most of the bigger companies, the benefits and the pay is a lot better than it was when I started. When I started in 1970, I was making 11 and a half cents a mile. Most of these guys now are getting paid 50, 60, 70 cents a mile now and have plenty of benefits. We didn't really have much of a benefits. We had a retirement investment plan, but that was about it. So it's improved a lot because you can see... There's not exactly a shortage of drivers. There's a shortage of good drivers. And all these trainees that they're training and putting in a truck before they know what they're doing is just making matters worse for everybody else. But the only way to start out now would be to get yourself involved with a reputable company and learn the system and learn the business, and then maybe sometime, five, 10 years down the road, maybe you could think about going on your own.

Todd Dills: It's considered advice, and no doubt with plenty of examples that prove the rule. Plenty exceptions to it too, for that matter. On the other side of a break for word from Overdrive Radio sponsor, the Howes company, we'll pick up with more from the 50 plus year trucking history of Roger Wilson. With Rita's own experience added, well more than 80 years between them. Our September Truckers of the Month. Counting down to the new year when we'll name the 2023 Trucker of the Year. Keep tuned.

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Todd Dills: You can find the company at H-O-W-E-S, howesproducts.com, where you can stock up for the coming winter with Diesel Treat. Now here's Rita Wilson, one half of Rita's Absolute Trucking with her husband Roger, starting us off.

Rita Wilson: I'm at 35 years, well, driving, but we've had this customer for 23 years.

Roger Wilson: Well, the two trucks that we have, Rita drives a 2021 W900 Kenworth, and I'm driving the old truck, the 2007 T600 that has a pre-emission Cat engine that I like to keep. That's my favorite truck, pretty much. It's got a 2005 engine. It's 2007 model year, but with a 2005 Cat engine, what it came from the factory with. But we bought it new in 2006, so we've had it for 17 years. Got one and three-quarter million miles on it. We just hit the second overhaul, so it's good to go for another million miles.

Todd Dills: You guys are a team, for sure, but hauling in separate trucks and leaving out often at separate times, so it's a rare occasion that I've caught you both at home there in the Chicago area, correct?

Roger Wilson: Yeah. Well, yeah, we are home every weekend usually and one day during the week. But right now, my truck is in the shop out in Pennsylvania. We get most of our work done on the trucks in Pennsylvania. We get the better work done out there. We've got a good relationship with the shop out there that we've bought the last two new trucks from. Now mine's been in the shop for a week, getting some new wheel bearings, an axle put in it. So we left it there and I've been driving Rita's truck for the last week and a half. She's been staying at home.

Todd Dills: Oh, I see, I see. What's that shop in Pennsylvania?

Roger Wilson: It's a Kenworth shop at Clintonville, Pennsylvania. That's when we do most of our business with them, bought the last couple of new trucks from, and it's just... We've got such a good relationship with them that when we... Around here in Chicago, there's so many trucks and so many dealers, it's just... It's hard to get in a shop. Most shops, if you contact them here in Chicago area, you have to wait a week to get in the shop. And that's pretty hard to deal with when you're trying to keep the trucks rolling and keep the revenue coming in and so forth.

So this particular shop out in Pennsylvania that we do business with, it's 35 miles east of Youngstown on I-80, so we go by it both ways. They're open two shifts. We're having a good enough relationship with them, we call them ahead of time, we're able to get in immediately when we get there instead of sitting waiting around a lot. So that's why we get most of our work done there.

Todd Dills: Have you guys always been based there out of Chicago area?

Roger Wilson: Well, I moved here in Chicago in 1985. I'm from Nebraska. And I started driving when I was 20 years old, local in Omaha. I drove local in Omaha for a common carrier for two years. And then when I was 22 years old, I started driving over the road, hauling meat from Midwest to all over the East Coast. It was in 1970, so I was 22 years old. 1970, that's when I started hauling meat from the Midwest to the East Coast.

Rita Wilson: Swinging.

Todd Dills: Swinging meat.

Roger Wilson: Going from a local job at Omaha, being a common carrier to this meat, you got 40,000 pounds of quartered beef hanging from the ceiling of a 40 foot, 13'6" high trailer. It's almost like pulling a tanker. It's pretty touchy. You learn it that way, it's a good way to start out. You don't start out with something easy. You start out with a challenge and you learned a lot from it. I moved to Illinois in 1985. I moved here to the Chicago area and I went to work for a company, a friend of mine, and we doing local... We were doing LTL Consolidation to the West Coast. At the time we had... I think he had 12 trucks, and when I left him, he had 50. We grew the trucking company quite a bit in that period of time. When I went on my own in '96, then I had five trucks. And then shortly after that I got together with Rita. She had five trucks, and we got together and started a new company doing LTL Consolidation here in Wood Dale, Illinois, suburb of Chicago.

Rita Wilson: We actually met [inaudible 00:11:28]- ... by a mutual friend of both of ours that was a broker. I used to haul for her and she didn't have a load for me. And Roger also hauled for her, his company, so she put me in touch with Roger and I just thought he had the neatest voice in the whole wide world. And then I started to calling him all the time, so I was the pursuer. And then we went out and then we got married. We got married in-

Roger Wilson: '98.

Rita Wilson: '98.

Todd Dills: And you joined companies around that time or what was the deal, Rita? How did you get into this trucking thing?

Rita Wilson: Well, prior to meeting Roger, I had a partner in New Jersey, and he was actually from Illinois. We had seven trucks, right? I think we had seven when I left. We didn't get along very well. We had been together for several years and we didn't get along very well. He had different ideas. I had different ideas. But he is actually the one who taught me how to drive, and he was a very good driver as well. He was a Vietnam vet. He grew up on a farm. And in my travels in life, I find that people that had grown up on a farm were actually the best drivers you'd ever come across. They were always courteous, they were always kind people. The majority of them were never anything but just a fellow driver. Just because I was a woman, they didn't say, "Ooh, you're a woman."

I had a lot of that in my younger years. But like I said, most of the guys that had grown up on a farm and became truck drivers were just super nice human beings. I think I started driving in '87, I think it was. The company that I had then, we used to haul Land O'Lakes butter up and down the eastern seaboard. I'm from Jersey. Oh, I was still in Jersey and he was in Chicago. Roger was in Chicago already. So then we started... We actually started with Rita's Express Incorporated when we had the two together. And then, I'm going to say what, three, four years later, three years later maybe, we were brokering freight, we were brokering loads, and our insurance company said they didn't want us to have one corporation for the trucking company and the brokerage reliability purposes, so we had to split them up. So then Rita's Absolute Trucking was born and we moved all our trucks to Rita's Absolute Trucking, and we left Rita's Express as a brokerage, but then we dissolved it probably, I don't know, several years later.

Todd Dills: Stopped brokering around that time, I guess.

Rita Wilson: Yeah. It was probably in the middle 2000s. Drivers were few and far between.

Roger Wilson: The recession, like 2007, [inaudible 00:14:46]-

Rita Wilson: Yeah, during the recession, and things just kind of went south real fast.

Roger Wilson: It wasn't quite the abundance of freight during the recession as there was before that. So we wanted to maintain the business of the trucking part, so we discontinued the brokerage and concentrate on the trucking.

Todd Dills: Rita's Absolute Trucking would grow throughout the Wilson's multi-unit tenure to 15 trucks, before the pair slowly began to downsize on up through the last decade.

Roger Wilson: About 15 trucks, we were doing LTL Consolidation. We had a warehouse in Wood Dale, Illinois, and I had one full-time local and dock driver, and besides myself, doing some of the dock work. Everything we picked up, the LTL part, the consolidation, what you do is you go out and make pickups, you and your drivers and the city driver, you go out and make pickups, everything comes back to the dock. You unload everything on the dock. And then when you get the trucks all ready to go, you load the trucks in order so that the freight could be delivered.

They went out with three or four stops as the average, and they would leave the dock one day and then the next day they're starting to deliver as they're going east. Oh, we did some to Texas and some to New England, but mostly Pennsylvania and New Jersey. But when we did the LTL Consolidation, it was a lot of work because everything went on the dock and then everything got loaded back on the trucks in order. It was quite intense.

Rita Wilson: Yeah, Roger did it all. He booked it all. He loaded the trailers in the order that they needed to be loaded. He made the appointment, he did it all. And then sometimes when a driver probably stayed out too late and would call in the morning and say, "I don't feel good," Roger would get in the truck and go deliver that load.

Roger Wilson: But back then with LTL Consolidation, we were doing visits with a lot of different customers and shippers. We were doing just not that much business with Blommer. We were doing a lot of back haul for them at the time. They were loading our trucks back from Pennsylvania a lot. [Inaudible 00:16:57] not so much because what we're doing, we were doing LTL out, and then when the truck gets empty with LTL, you want to give them a straight load to get them back as quick as you can, so you get the next LTL load on because that's where your money was, with the LTL.

After the recession, during and after the recession, the rates went way down. There's a huge influx of foreign labor and companies here in the Chicago area that were... They kept the rates fairly depressed during the recession and afterwards. But we slowly downsized. But since there wasn't much availability... There was some availability freight, but the rates were down so low, it was hard to... When the business is good, and before the recession business was good, the rates were good and we're making money with the LTL, and then all of a sudden the recession happens and the rates go down and there's... What happens, especially around here where there's so many trucks available, there's too many people that will haul freight and loads for less of what's really profitable for your business. So we started downsizing and plus the availability of good drivers. Rita and I are both kind of old school drivers, and a lot of these drivers that were available were just not quite up to your standard, and it was just hard to deal with that.

Like she was saying, sometimes when you had an issue with the driver, it was almost easier to jump in the truck and go do it yourself. But the driver complained about the load or didn't want to leave or something like that. It's like you didn't want to put up with the aggravation of the drivers not being reliable and anxious to go out there and make money. They just wanted a job and not really do the right amount of work for it. When you get that kind of people that it's hard to find good quality drivers that wanted to do the work, especially with the LTL. A lot of guys, they don't want to do that kind of work. They don't want to make multiple stops. They just want to take a load, somebody load a truck for them. They want to leave, not do any work, picking up the load, and then go deliver a load, unload, come back and get out of the truck again.

They don't want to be involved with a lot of the work, and we just couldn't do it all ourselves. So as the rates went down, it was just not as profitable to do all that work, to work that hard. So we were just... got to the point where it was almost easier just to take these easier loads and do it ourselves. And we slowly started selling the trucks up when the availability in drivers wasn't there.

Todd Dills: The last two outside of Roger and Rita's own rigs, they sold five or six years ago now. And ever since, the pair have run the two truck operation with a focus on service to their principal customer in Blommer and the company's warehouse operations managed with Ryder System today.

Rita Wilson: Blommer uses Ryder for warehousing. So Roy-

Todd Dills: That'd be Roy Rhyan, with Ryder.

Rita Wilson: He lets Roger and I do things that other carriers aren't allowed to do, because he knows that we sometimes run overnight and he'll let us come in. Usually their receiving hours' until four. He'll let us come in at eight o'clock at night to unload and reload because he knows we cut it close. And he's like, "No problem, don't worry about it." He's super good to us.

Todd Dills: Another perk of the Chicago to Pennsylvania lane the Wilson's run, well, we got to it with this question. You mentioned your record and everything. I looked up your DOT and you guys haven't had an inspection in two years.

Much less a violation. How do you manage that?

Roger Wilson: Now you sound like a broker.

Todd Dills: Yeah, exactly. Right, right.

Roger Wilson: We haven't had inspection in probably five years, four or five years.

Rita Wilson: Oh, it's been several years.

I mean, we've rolled over scales. They're not open usually. There are only two scales that we would go over.

Ohio's is westbound only, and they're only open until five o'clock, and we're almost never going through there before five o'clock. And then, Pennsylvania is westbound because their eastbound scale has a sinkhole. Once in a while they'll open it and you can run on the bypass lane and they'll just run you through, but they don't weigh you because you can't go on the scale because the sinkhole is there. So we've rolled over Pennsylvania westbound, I don't know, probably three or four times in the last several months, but it's never an issue.

And we've had brokers tell us, "Well, ask them to inspect you," and I said, "Are you out of your freaking mind? I would never ask somebody to inspect me. No way. Your freight couldn't pay enough." We only use brokers. We would haul for CH Robinson, we would haul for TQL. Well-

Roger Wilson: Coyote.

Rita Wilson: Coyote. But that's about it. Any Joe Blow company, not going to happen because they're here today, gone tomorrow.

Todd Dills: I mean, do you find yourself working with brokers somewhat regularly these days, or is it mostly just-

Rita Wilson: No.

Todd Dills: Just like an off chance that you don't have a run back home or something like that?

Roger Wilson: We haven't hauled a load for a broker for about at least six to eight months.

Rita Wilson: Once in a while we come home empty, only because the rates are so depressed. Right now, we're spending about $1,500 a round for fuel, fuel alone. So you divide that in half, so like 750 each way. And broker loads out of Pennsylvania, a reefer load out of Pennsylvania, and they want to pay you 800 bucks. I'm not a fan of hauling a load and paying somebody to do it, so we've deadheaded home probably four or five times this year.

Todd Dills: How is it on your, excuse me, on your direct rates? Things holding up kind of steady or have they been trying to come down on you as well?

Rita Wilson: No. When COVID was going on, the rates went through the roof. They were ridiculous. And we did not gouge them. We did go up more than we normally ever would on any kind of rates, but we were still lower than what they were paying brokers on loans that we couldn't do. Now we give them a discount. We flat rate it. So what we do is we have rates with them, but because of the fuel surcharge being... I think it's at 68 cents a gallon right now, 68 cents a mile. If you took our current rates with them and then added the fuel surcharge, we're still charging them less than what that is.

So I'm giving them spot rates. I've been doing that for the last year. Only because they're so good to us and they give us the back hauls, so that's why. We don't gouge them and they know it. Their transportation director, we talk occasionally, and he said, "I understand that you have to make a living." And I said, "And that's all we do." He said, "I totally understand it." And we do a lot for them where other carriers charge them. If we're sitting somewhere, which occasionally it happens at the warehouse, like they forget to pick our load-

So sometimes we could be there for two or three hours. But in the same breath, we don't charge detention because in the same breath, Roy will let us come in there at eight o'clock at night where no one else is allowed to. Or he'll let us come in on a Saturday where no one else is allowed to. So we look at it this way, you help me, I help you. And Roger's moved some trailers for them when they didn't have a spotter. Before it was Ryder, it was called Midwest Warehouse. Ryder just bought them, what, last year? So sometimes they didn't have a spotter and one of the girls would need a trailer pulled out of a door, and Roger would go move it for them.

So you try to help people because they help you, and we appreciate it. He always calls me Trouble because I text him and I say, "It's your needy carrier again." He's like, "What do you want now, Trouble?"

Todd Dills: That's Roy always calls you to it?

Rita Wilson: Yes, yes.

He's a super nice man.

Todd Dills: And he worked for the warehouse prior to the Ryder buyout of it, I guess.

Rita Wilson: Yeah. Correct. Yeah. He's been there since it was Midwest Warehouse.

Todd Dills: We heard from a Ryder system rep directly about the Wilsons' work with him. They had nothing but praise for Rita's Absolute Trucking, for sure, which regular readers will recall from the story published September 26th. Yet subsequently, a rep from the Blommer Chocolate Company finally got back to us too and confirmed their appreciation for how the Wilsons approached the post-COVID experience with the company. Janie Moore with Blommer called Rita and Roger Wilson's Absolute Trucking the, "Absolute best. If I could have more carriers like them, it would be a joy." Moore has worked with the pair for eight years, she said, and they've, "Helped simplify managing and dominated the Illinois to Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania to Illinois lanes, locally too."

"Rita has been a godsend," she added, "There were times we had more loads to move than they could manage legally in a day. Rita would go out of her way and rent a trailer for preloading purposes. This was not a Blommer request, but instead a decision she made to assist. For that, we were forever grateful." "In eight years," Moore added, "I can count on one hand the times where they were late or delayed. While we know things happen beyond the carrier's control, they have been more than proactive in giving us advanced notification on mishaps, transportation delays, breakdowns, and et cetera. A worthy pair to honor, no doubt. And clearly, they found a sweet spot hauling chocolate."

Roger Wilson: Well, life's a little easier right now because we don't have... Back when we had 15 trucks, you'd get a phone call in the middle of the night that the truck is broke down or it's in the ditch or something's wrong with the driver or something like that. Got a lot of calls in the middle of the night. We don't have to worry about that anymore because she and I talk all the time, even... Because quite a bit of the time during the week we're not together, we're going different directions or one's home and one's not. And a lot of times, we'll meet in Ohio or Pennsylvania and have lunch or dinner together when we're going opposite directions.

But when we're home, we're home. We don't have to worry about anybody else, any other drivers or any other loads or anything like that. And Rita plans these loads ahead of time. She does all the appointments, books the loads, makes all the appointments ahead of time. So everything is pre-planned. We know two, three days ahead of time what we're doing and when we're doing it. It makes life a lot easier than before when you had to deal with the drivers and you never knew if they were going to be reliable or not.

Rita Wilson: Yeah, I think now's a good time. I think we're pretty blessed that we have Blommer all these years. And like I said, we do a lot of things for them. They have a plant in Chicago, and it's normally a nightmare to go there. Sometimes they keep one of us here and we do transfers for them. So we go to the city, pick up a load and take it to the warehouse, which is 34 miles away. To do two of them in a day is 10 hours.

Roger Wilson: It's a combination of everything. You're loading and unloading the same trailer, so you're waiting to be loaded, and then you're waiting to be unloaded. Then if you're going to do a second round, you got to drive back to Chicago. And I don't know if you know what Chicago traffic is like, but-

Todd Dills: Oh yeah, I used live there.

Roger Wilson: There's only one way to get from Naperville to downtown Chicago, and that's 88 and 290. I mean, there's no other good way to go. And if you're going to do two trips, there's going to be at least one time in the morning and one time in the afternoon where you're going to be caught in what they call rush hour traffic. But in Chicago here, the traffic is bad from seven in the morning till 10, and then again from two o'clock till seven o'clock. And when you get caught in that, it takes twice as long to get where you're going as it would when there's no traffic. Sometimes three times as much. I mean today, I was listening... I listen to the traffic reports on the radio, and it was an hour just to get from downtown. It takes 10 minutes to get from the plant to get on 290. Then it was an hour to get just out from the start of 290 to where we get off on 88. And then it's another close to a half hour to get from there out to Naperville.

So what you can do with no traffic, you could do that in about just under an hour. And then when there's a traffic situation, sometimes it takes two hours. And then when you get to the warehouse, you have to check in back in, wait for them to unload you, go get your bills. That's usually about an hour and a half process. Then you do the drive back again. And then there's always times in Chicago where all it takes is some little fender bender to tie the traffic, and it takes an extra half hour just because everybody's slowing down to look and see what happened. It's just amazing how the traffic piles up on 290. It's just a-

Rita Wilson: Oh, yeah. And the plant is a nightmare. They have enclosed docks, and there's two lanes going and two lanes coming, and a turn lane across from the docks, and you need all of those lanes to back in. So when you think about it, you're backing in. You have to wait for the traffic light. You have to time it just right. You have to wait. There's an overpass. So if they're backed up to the overpass, you're going to sit for two lights. You learn all this. There's been times I've sat out there for nine traffic lights before I can get a moment just to block all four lanes and hope that my rear end is where it needs to be.

And then if not, you got to start all over again because it's nerve-racking. And then if there's three feet in front of you, somebody's going to try and squeeze their car in front of you and you're like, "Are you kidding me?" And then they beep their horn at you. So you have to be very focused when you're backing in there, and you have to be patient. Sometimes it's really... It could be a half hour just to back in the dock, once they give you a door.

Todd Dills: That's at Kinzie and Des Plaines downtown, for those of you who know the Chicago grid pretty well. Well worth the trouble for them though. And the Wilsons' dedication has clearly reaped the rewards with the customer. Again, Janie Moore on their Trucker of the Month honor for September, "They actually have a great rapport with our internal plants and warehouse, and go out of their way to make sure the customer's happy. If anyone deserves this, Rita and Roger do." And that's a wrap for this special Trucker of the Month edition of Overdrive Radio podcast featuring Rita's Absolute Trucking two truck business, Rita and Roger Wilson, headquartered outside Chicago.