GIVE TIL IT HURTS

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Trucker of the year

Badass (adjective)

bad·​ass ˈbad-ˌas 

1 chiefly US, informal + sometimes offensive: ready to cause or get into trouble : MEAN

pretending to be a badass gunslinger
—L. L. King

2 chiefly US, informal + sometimes offensive: of formidable strength or skill

such a badass guitar player
—N’Gai Croal

It’s number two we’re concerned with this evening. To wit:

 

@absolutegeniux #viralvideo #trending #tiktokviralvideos #viral #tiktokviral #trendingvideo #tiktokviralvideo ♬ Big Truck Driver – Mystikal

Trucker of the year? To say the very least, yeah. I’ll have much more to say about this vid later; right now, consider it just an experiment to see whether or how well embedding vids will work with this new theme. I have worries about that. Back in a bit…

Update! Cool, the embed works great for me, dunno about you folks. Now to put y’all squarejohn cage-jockeys some serious big-rig knowledge about just what it is you’re seeing up there.

First off, that’s a 53-foot reefer trailer being pulled and/or pushed by what appears to be a conventional sleeper-cab, probably an older Peterbilt. The refrigerator unit can be identified by those black rectangles on the top-front of the trailer all too near the back of the tractor’s cab.

I say all too near because my old boss Donald had a reefer I had to pull fairly regularly, and I bashed the shit out of the thing in ATL one fine morn trying to back into a dock space not nearly as tight as the one in the video. Pinched the side of the reefer unit but good with the rear-cab of the old International Pro Sleeper I usually drove, one of two trucks Donald was running back then, necessitating a pricey repair job.

In fact, if I remember right, Donald just ended up ditching the one I smushed after getting a cpl-three outrageous quotes for the repair job; he bought a used reefer unit from some other small-trucking-company dude he knew, then had his mechanic install that one instead of shelling out for a brand-new one. He’d never warned me about watching the angle carefully when backing a reefer, an oversight he came to regret toot sweet. They stick out a fairish bit, after all.

Now, on the back-ins: those of you who have worked in or near a warehouse with truck-loading docks might have noticed how truck drivers always, always, ALWAYS pull up just past the slot they intend to park in with the dock on the left side of the rig. Then, when the tail of your trailer is almost but not quite even with the truck you’ll end up tucked in next to, you flare the cab and position the trailer by cranking the wheel first right for a few feet, then hard left before you start your back.

As sci-fi legend John Ringo said of farming in his book The Last Centurion: trucking is planning.

See, you always set yourself up to back to your left so’s you can easily look down the side of your trailer as you ease in, thereby enabling yourself to avoid climbing into the lap of the poor slob next to you. The only way you can see to your right is in the mirrors, which won’t tell you anywhere near as much as leaning out the driver’s side window and looking with your own Mark-1 Mod-0 eyeballs will.

Gotta constantly be checking the right-side mirrors too, natch. But the real issues are more likely to arise on the other side, the inside of your pivoting arc. Better to put that arc where you have the best view of it. Which is on the left. Just once in a blue moon, you might find yourself out in the boondocks at a one-hole dock where you HAVE to back to the right side—probably some cotton-mill warehouse that was built in the 30s, when 53’ trailers and sleeper cabs weren’t a thing yet. When that’s the case, one of the dock apes will usually come out to watch your right side and guide you on in without bending anything expensive.

Whenever I was being sent to one of those old tumbledown places, Donald would put me in the yellow Freightshaker cab-over he usually drove himself. I purely hated driving that thing, but the fact is you can stuff a flat-front into places a conventional can only dream about maneuvering into.

Dang it, I hit “post” prematurely by mistake, before I’d finished. I’ll tuck the grand finale into another update after I go grab myself something to drink here.

Bringing it all home update! So yeah, anyhoo…

One of the first things I noticed when in Europe is how you just don’t ever see any sleeper cabs and 53’ trailer rigs like you do here, where they’re ubiquitous on any and every highway you care to name. I asked a Euro-trucker about that once, and he explained that it was mainly because truck drivers there aren’t expected to cover anything like the area they do here in the States; as he pointed out, Europe is small enough that your average trucker can pick up in one country, drive across another, drop the load in a third, and still sleep in his own bed that same night. Kinda obvious, really, but I had just never thought about it before.

Okay, there’s more trucking lore I could give ya, but I’ll just stop myself there and be done with it for now. Got some other things I wanna fool around with here, possibly including the “Submit comment” button issue. Someday I gotta tell youse guys the story of the time I had to spend several days in a low-country SC nowhere, waiting to pick up a load of watermelons. It was an experience, for sure, one I learned a few needful things from.

Another thing update! Almost forgot, but one tell is how many times the driver has to pull forward and straighten up before continuing with his back. The fewer times he has to pull forward, the more skilled the driver, and the less fun the dock apes will poke at him when he brings his paperwork inside. Our TOTY candidate up there needed to do so just once. He DOES commit another glaring, disqualifying error before he hits the rubber dock bumpers, though—a bonehead maneuver I made myself several times when I was just starting out that really spoils the whole thing, and is a real pain in the ass to rectify. I’ll let y’all try to guess what it was.

16 thoughts on “Trucker of the year

    1. Yeah, it’s supposed to, I believe. If you just roll over it, you should get a pop-up control panel with the big “play/pause” arrow in it. Seems to have an “autoplay” preset in there too, although looking at the embed code I’m damned if I can see where it is. Could be just the default with Tik Tok and can’t be changed, who knows.

      1. OK, I thought the way you stated it that it would play in the CF “window”. No problem though.

        I’m not really familiar with tiktok. It does show a “play” button when you put your mouse on it and when clicked opens the new widow to tiktok. Sounds like it does the same thing for me as you.

        Backing up that 50+ foot trailer is a skill 🙂

        1. Actually, it SHOULD play here, does for me. In fact, every time I reload the page it starts up again, forcing me to shut it down every time, stupid autoplay shite.

          1. Well…
            It’s weird. Now it sometimes plays here and sometimes goes to the tiktok website and plays. If it’s playing here and I try to stop it, it opens a new page to the tiktok site and continues to play.

              1. Might as well. From my reading, he is responsible for every ill known to man, and that’s just from people that claim to be “conservatives”. 🙂

  1. You couldn’t even drive a 53-footer, let alone with a sleeper cab, through most cities and on many hilariously-misnamed “highways” in Eurostan, with streets the width of a single mule-driven cart, and mountain switchbacks built for goats, not Peterbilts.

    And when you can cross an entire country on a single tank of benzin or petrol, no one ever thought big-rigs would be a thing, nor largely needed them to the extent we do.

    A 3000-mile-wide country crisscrossed by the Defense Interstate Highway System is another animal entirely.

    1. They have big rigs in europe. The eu trucks have a max length of about 60 ft, so the cab is shorter that the typical American truck. They haul about the same freight weight IIRC.

      1. On the highways over there, I saw lots of day-cab Mercedes trucks hauling the rough equivalent of our 25-foot trailers–nothing bigger, and definitely no sleepers. The reasons for it seem completely obvious to me now, but I’d just never given any thought to it before I’d actually been there.

        1. I just took a quick peek before I go out the door and it appears the max driving time in europe is 9 hours every 24. Given the typical short haul distances and 15 hours each day idle, a sleeper probably makes no sense. Plus, the length is total so a sleeper takes up freight space.

  2. Anybody who’s humped freight knows Mr. Genius didn’t open the trailer doors, doesn’t appear to be a roll-up.

      1. I think the video ends just short of getting to the loading dock. He may have stopped and gotten out to open the doors at that point. I agree it doesn’t appear to be a rollup door.

        1. Nope, definitely not a rollup. And those doors are way to wide to be able to swing them all the way back and latch ’em to the sides of the trailer; he woulda had to pull out all the way again, open and latch the doors, then repeat the whole back-in process. Do that a few times and you’ll always remember from then on.

          1. Ah, yea, I see that. Too close to open them I guess. I see them do it that way at one of the factories I call on, but they have plenty of room on each side.

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