The Trucker Zone – Getting to the Church on Time

By Timothy D. Brady

There’s nothing wrong with your computer… We are controlling transmission. For the next few minutes, sit quietly and we will control all that you read. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery accompanying every truck which traverses the American Highway – as you enter The Trucker Zone …

The Challenge

Every trucker faces the challenge of getting home for a major family event. Here’s the account of one such event which occurred in the summer of 2000. The event – the nuptials of one trucker to the love of his life. Sounds simple enough, right? Now add the normal challenge of a trucker being in a specific place at a specific time and having the necessary accouterments like a suit, tie, proper shoes (along with the other responsibilities any groom has) and to be on time for the rehearsal and wedding. Now add to this mix of complexities the choice of the bride and groom to marry on a major national holiday (the Fourth of July), in the midst of the busiest part of the year for the moving segment of the trucking industry. (What were they thinking?!)

600 Miles in the Wrong Direction

We catch up with our trucker eight days before the wedding, sitting in Southern California looking for loads going near Albuquerque, New Mexico (the location of the wedding). As one of Murphy’s Laws of Trucking states, “If you need to be in a specific location at a specific time which has nothing to do with trucking, all available loads will head in the opposite direction.”

After searching through the available loads, our trucker/groom came across a load, not going to Albuquerque, but to Dallas, Texas, 600 miles further east, This at least gave him the time to deliver to Dallas on Friday afternoon, June 30th, and arrive in Albuquerque the following morning in time to pick up wedding guests at the airport, meet with the priest performing the marriage ceremony, have the wedding rehearsal, pick up the suit and shoes at the clothier and sit down long enough to enjoy the rehearsal dinner.

The Plans of Mice and Men, Truckers and their Brides

Needless to say, like any good business trucker, while the load to Dallas was OK, the revenue was not enough to cover the costs of deadheading back to Albuquerque. So he continued looking for another load to fill the available space in his trailer. Lo and behold, a shipment that the van line was having difficulty finding a driver to cover became available. The shipment went to Albuquerque – great! The problem was it loaded on Wednesday, June 28, 2000, and delivered on Thursday, July 6th at exactly 8:00 am. This meant it was on the truck going 1,000 miles from Southern California to Albuquerque, New Mexico for 9 days – which is why it was difficult to get covered, being 1,000 miles is a day and a half’s drive for a trucker.

This would be a major disadvantage for most truckers, to have a load sit on the truck for 9 days going 1,000 miles. But for our trucker/groom, this had some real benefits – and one major negative. Benefits – One, it went exactly where he needed to go, breaking that particular Murphy’s Law. Two, it paid for each of the 7 other days it sat on the truck waiting for delivery on the 6th, which means the trucker was being paid a nice sum while he was getting married and on his honeymoon.

Where’s the negative? Remember their wedding day was on the 4th of July, meaning the date the load delivered, July 6th was right smack in the middle of their honeymoon. So if he took this shipment, he had to get the bride to agree to interrupt their honeymoon early on the second morning to deliver said shipment to the consignee, a highly-secured defense contractor’s facility.

Selling it to the Bride

Here’s how the trucker sold his bride:
1. The shipment paid nearly $10 per mile when all the waiting time was adding into the revenue; more than covering the cost of the honeymoon.

2. It delivered a mere 3 miles from where the truck was parked while they were on their honeymoon.
3. Where they were honeymooning was only 15 miles from where the truck was parked.

4. So delivery could be made with very little interruption to the honeymoon by getting up at 6:30 am on Thursday morning, eating breakfast at the B&B, driving 20 minutes to the truck. and driving the truck to the facility, arriving at 7:55 am where the one piece, (a mainframe computer) would be offloaded. They’d be back to park the truck by 8:45 am and could return to their honeymoon with less than 2 hours’ interruption.

It Sounded Good at the Time

With all the challenges of being a trucker on the road while at the same time getting married, there were some interesting twists and turns involving the rehearsal, the dinner, and the wedding. (The bride’s stated multiple times over the course of the marriage that if given the choice again, she’d never try and pull off a wedding on the Fourth of July, whether she was marrying a trucker or not.)

The Delivery

The delivery of the shipment to the defense contractor went off like clockwork. The trucker and his bride got to the truck, started it and arrived at the consignee’s at exactly 7:55 am, off-loaded in 15 minutes and were back at the parking space at 8:30. They returned to the B&B before 9 am to continue their honeymoon. There was only one glitch.

Never Trust the Family of the Groom

When they arrived at the truck at 7:45, the truck and trailer had been well decorated by the wedding party and family members. From the “Just Married” painted on the tractor windows to the crepe-paper streamers tied to the antennas and stretching the length of the trailer, to the poster taped to the trailer with various slogans about newlyweds, to the pair of very large shoes and #10 tin cans tied to the ICC bar on the trailer, the decorators hadn’t missed a trick. And no time to remove any of it.

So picture a 76-foot semi tractor-trailer decorated like a “Just Married ” vehicle leaving a wedding being driven into a high-security facility with all its cameras, armed security guards, etc. Needless to say, the truck and its newlywed occupants were the center of the facility’s attention for the 20 or so minutes they were there.

The Bride’s Baptism by Fire

Shall we say the bride received her baptism by fire in becoming a ‘trucker’s wife’? Her reaction? She went and sat on the sleeper bunk to hide from the wide grins on every face she saw, wondering just what she’d gotten herself into. Nearly 20 years later, she’s still wondering.

We now return to you control of your computer.

Timothy D. Brady ©2020 All rights reserved