mile long mill

mile long mill

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

There was one thing about trucking that kept it all interesting-you never knew where you were going to end up. Every thing was new.
Granted,this was not as much the case in general frieght-a box trailer that loads at a loading dock…just the same stuff in different boxes.
I did haul general freight when I started out-actually,I pulled containers which end up on a ocean going journey on a ship.

It was with the water tank company that I learned about flat bed trucking-chains and binders and tractor hauling….plus objects of various sizes.
I soon learned that being able to haul oversize loads meant you were specialized and worth a little more pay…and less stress then general loads. Most everything we haul can’t rot-and won’t die (like cattle and other livestock) and usually the heavy haul driver does’nt have to wait in a crowded parking lot somewhere until a load comes up…we got to go to places where they had one huge piece to crane onto your rig and all you had to do was chain it down and be gone.

So many times my loads were a serial number of a machine of some such construction use-and a mile marker on the interstate,and a state to find it in. You could count on it there would be a big yellow machine of some kind-just where they said it would be. Many times the hardest part was trying to figure out how to run the thing to get ot aboard the trailer.
Most heavy haul drivers collect keys-various keys from various machines will fit other like machines and even most semi trucks will operate off of anothers key…go figure that out.
So it was a job of pure isolation because no one was waiting for you to show up and the same on the other end…drop the machine to such a such mile marker in such a such state out on the highway.
I could never do a job in a mill like in this photograph. You can’t see it in this shot-but there is a crane that runs on a track which is on each side of this building. Theres some guy up in a small cab which is at one side of the building-up against theose tracks. His job all day is to drive that crane along back and forth from one end of the building to another.
It’s hard to see-but in the foreground is what we hauled out of there. One heavy ingot of turned steel-used as a roll form to flatten out sheets of steel. Only one could be safely hauled on a semi-they were that heavy.
The building these ingots are made and machined stretches out just about a mile. There are men that work in this place during the same shift and never even meet each other. It is almost like working in a high rise which is laid flat on its side.
There was always a thrill in the commotion of activity going on in a place like this. You drive your semi right inside the building-and no matter what the weather was out doors,you always had a dry place to chain your load…and there were showers where you could scrub up afterward. There was always a ‘ham and egg’ wagon out side…and if you did’nt like that one-there was always another just up the way a piece. I think this mill kept over a dozen busy…fried egg sandwiches melting with mustard and mayo and grease from the sausage. It’s how truckers build that gut…pure fat.

Then there was the other end-where these ingots were shipped to. These we hauled to Savannah from Pittsburg-there they went on a ship. Again-all I had to do to unload was undo my chains and put them away. Some places the union made me sit it out…and thier guys would have to do it.

I finger printed what must have been a million boxes of produce before I figured out the life of a heavy haul driver was not so bad.
Most stuffs so huge they make you stop over night-and most citys wont let you through during rush hour. Week-ends are out,you can’t pull a oversize load on a weekend-or holiday.
So while most drivers are hustleing to keep the the starwberrys from waking up…a true truckers nightmare-berrys with whiskers are frowned upon,if not down right refused. The heavy haul driver is set for the evening in a parking space!

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