When real life requires following the rules, even if it sucks

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Updated Nov 30, 2015

We spent the night 67 miles from the house in a sketchy rest area off of I-75 Friday night, and I acted like a jerk about it. That’s probably not a shocker to anyone who reads regularly, but I’d like to take a moment of your time to publicly apologize, and once again thank those who are out there, doing it right, even when it sucks.

e-log and drive time memeGeorge is on ELDs. He has been for a long time and actually doesn’t mind it, because he’s always run legal. He’s very serious about following the rules. He learned a lot about following rules in the military, and he’s the first person to tell you that if he commits to something, he’s going to do it right, because his word is really all he has on this earth. That doesn’t make him perfect — it makes him conscientious, and if he has control over a situation, he’ll probably choose to follow the rules. (The ELDs aren’t the problem — the lack of flexibility in the hours of service are the issue, and until someone who has actually driven a truck in a professional capacity has something to do with an hours rulemaking, that issue will be ignored.)

Anyway, we got hung up several times on the Friday run – ended up sitting at the staging yard for two hours over the appointment time, and then sitting in an accident scene for two hours on 71. These are regular things that happen in trucking every day. Hauling things from factory to factory has about a gabillion variables. Just at the factory ends, it’s not unusual to sit for several hours. If you’re super-serious about time “frames” (haha — see what I did there?), do yourself a favor and run something else, because you’ll make yourself crazy on this one.

Again, I applaud the good-natured people we run the chassis with, getting it done. The Landstar folks have a tight-knit group out there in E-town – they look out for each other, it’s really cool to be able to check into Facebook and find someone has taken the time to post fuel prices along the routes to KC and Dearborn, or parking information. And it’s not just Landstar people, the guy who got the CB was in the staging yard, and he’s an independent running chassis. If someone opens their hood, it’s likely there will be a couple guys wander over to see if they can help, no matter the name on the side of the truck. We really appreciate being able to run with these folks.

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So long story short, or maybe just medium-long, after four hours of sitting and Friday traffic in every major city we went through, with ninety-seven construction zones sprinkled on top, George realized we weren’t going to make it to the house legally and pulled into a sketchy rest area to park. This caused much alarm from the lump in the bunk (which was me).

“What are you doing?”

“I’m parking.”


“Because we’re an hour from the house and I only have 25 minutes left on the clock. We’re not going to make it.”


“We’re not going to make it. I’m not going to push it. It’s raining, there’s another construction zone, and I know there’s parking here. We’re stopping for a 10-hour break.”

This caused me to do the thing four-year-olds do where they make themselves perfectly stiff and they slide off of whatever surface they happen to be on, into a puddle on the floor, where they cry and pitch a fit.

Not really, I just rolled over and refused to acknowledge him, which was probably a better choice, although much less emotionally satisfying.

“Do you need to get out? I’ll walk you to the bathroom.”

“I’m not leaving this truck until I’m at my house.”

“It’s going to be a while.”

“I’d rather peel my eyelids off like onion skins.”

“I know, baby. That’s how it is sometimes. I can’t screw up my logs. I’ve never had a violation, I need to keep it like that.”

“I hate your logs. And your BOLs.”

And we laughed, because when his Qualcomm used to talk to him, the lady would say, “George, you have missing BOLs,” and you know what that sounded like, and I would call him Lance Armstrong, so at least we went to sleep laughing about something. (Sorry, Lance, that was probably mean, but it was pretty funny at the time.)

Sometimes, following the rules is hard.