(Alternate Title: Everything you ever wanted to know about over dimensional freight permits on the interstate highway system but didn’t really give a shit about anyways because you’re just humoring the truck driving asshole! Ponderous title, dude!)
What a day today! I’m hauling an oversize and overweight load from Illinois to West Virginia and getting permits for this load are proving to be a serious pain in the ass. Illinois came in fast, as usual. Indiana, on the other hand, always takes forever. And there is so much construction going on that the standard route across I-64 I usually take was totally unavailable to me. Too much construction and too many places that I can’t drive 92,000 lbs gross over. So I had a lovely trip through the back country of Southern Indiana and the tiny, twisty roads of the Hoosier National Forest before I finally got back to the Big Road and another truck stop to await… a Kentucky permit!
Normally Kentucky O/D permits come in pretty fast but, apparently, the combination of the weight and the 11’ 6” width was too much for their crappy roads, so I was rerouted to Indianapolis to catch I-70 into Ohio. Which involved getting a brand new permit… and a two and a half hour wait at a tiny truck stop for the permits to come in and be faxed to me. By that time I had less than two hours of daylight (O/D loads in IN can run from sunup to sundown) left and I’ve ended my day at a Flying J just south of Indy. For all that work and stress, I managed less than 250 miles today and had to push back my delivery a few hours. I still don’t have my WV permit yet, so it could get worse… Joy.
Some background: Over dimensional loads (loads wider than 8’ 6”, taller that 13’ 6”, heavier than 80,000 lbs) require special permits from each state you go through. They determine if the route is OK and if not, will give you a route that avoids roads that the load won’t work on. Sometimes those routes turn into scenic drives in country and always take forever. You (the driver) must have these permits in hand before you enter the state covered by the permit. Which means someone has to order them and then fax them to someplace (usually a truck stop) where you can pick them up.
You then verify the permits has all the proper info, verify the route, and some permits require a signature on them. Some states even require the signature to be in BLUE INK, except for Alabama which requires RED INK. You are not allowed to bypass any open state weigh stations (chicken houses in CB parlance) and must submit to paperwork inspection if asked.
Like I mentioned before, most states generally let you run daylight hours, which in some states means sunrise to sunset, a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset, or a half hour after sunrise to a half-hour before sunset! Luckily the GPS program on my laptop will tell me this info for wherever I am. But not so lucky, winter is coming, the daylight hours are getting shorter and shorter and I got less time to run. I takes me longer to run the same miles and I get paid by the mile, not by the hour.
Oh well, enough of this truckers whining… Here’s Jeff Dunham and Achmed the Dead Terrorist. Enjoy!