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Saving Miami, Florida
Saving Miami, Florida
Okay, it is 2017, Hurricane Irma hit Miami, Fl. It was a mess. People were scattered, power coming on and off, and traffic was in a jam. Miami, folks, was in need of supplies. They scrambled to find trucks that would deliver. That is when my dispatch called asking if my team would be interested in volunteering to go to miami. They clearly stated they weren’t sure what it looked like there, or if we were even able to deliver. After mowing it over with my partner…. Of course, we said yes.
I have never been to Miami, I thought. This trip could be a challenge, but deliveries were slow; this would give us the miles, and most importantly…it would help the People of Miami.
I was working for U.S. Xpress at the time. I was dedicated to Target, there grocery division. We had just lost the bid to go north towards Colorado. Instead, we were in charge of all of Texas and Louisiana deliveries. However, on September 2017, we had just found out the DC in Georgia, just got hit by remnants of the hurricane…shutting it down. It was up to two teams, mine and another to make this happen.
The drive was pleasant going to Florida. Like a typical day, it was sunny, a little cloudy, and had a strong breeze gusting around the truck. Our GPS suggested to go a long way around the turnpike, but I was there for a special mission…a mission that might get me in a jam if we go….so we called dispatch and got permission to use the turnpike. I believe it was called Sunshine turnpike? It took us all the way to miami…I, however, was in the sleeper most of the drive.
My partner wakes me up…. “It is your turn to take over,” he replied. I thought, “Shit, that means if there is any problems…it is my problem.” I woke up without hesitation, sprung to action, and started my day. I made a water bottle with water flavoring and caffeine. This way, I can have my “A” game on be alert.
We pulled over 3 exits before Miami, Florida, and that is where we switched. The whole time I was thinking to myself, “what in the hell did I get myself into?” As I looked around, trees are broken, signs are in the road, and I got a chill up my back. Many thoughts were running through my head with many scenarios of what mighta’…coulda’…or shoulda’…be done if I were presented with one…or multiple of them.
I finally made it to our turn. Target wasn’t terribly far either. I was just a few blocks away. I proceed down every road the GPS suggested, and we made it through fairly easily. However, when it was time to pull into target, I saw the GPS suggesting it was down an alley. It didn’t look like a big truck was supposed to go down…so I didn’t. Instead, I circled around a few times thinking that maybe I just missed the dock…before getting to the alley.
It took roughly 15 minutes to go around….just to find I saw nothing. Now, both my GPS’s…seam to tell me to go down that same alley as before. With fear, I slowly drove by the alley…looking down it to see if I can see anything that suggests Target. There wasn’t, so I continued to circle around…once again.
With a scramble, I quickly pulled up Target’s number. I kept thinking to myself, “why didn’t I have it preprogrammed before I got here?” There was no shoulder to pull over, anywhere around the square I kept cutting in this downtown…like…area.
I called twice, and there were no answer. With a panic, I called a third time….third is a charm. Someone answered. I asked for their location, then they provide me with the same address I already have. Mind you, I am still circling. There were nowhere I could pull over. So, I asked for a description of what the back looked like. I quickly chattered about the alley, and they weren’t sure what Alley I was talking about. After a few minutes, however, one person in target, talking to the person on the phone with me, said, “Yeah, I think it is an alley.
I was hesitant to take that as the answer. Then I asked about where the dock was? They continued with, “we have to roll up the door first.” “Roll up the door?”…I thought. “Yes, once you go down the alley, we will roll up the door,” they exclaimed. I’m not buying it…as I started to drive past….I saw a door. open.
“Is that you guys rolling up a door?”…I continued. “Yes, that should be us,” they replied. So, with hesitation…I slowly begin to go down the alley. All I could think about is, “how in the world am I going to get out of here if this isn’t them?” I continued…and as I got closer I began to see it was….actually them. I was so excited, I drove passionately to the door.
They said, “just go around this 90 degree turn, then you have to do another 90, before backing up.” That doesn’t sound that bad, I thought. Then I realized, this narrow drive is going below ground. “Is your dock below ground,” I asked? They finally said yes…so I proceeded down the drive….slowly.
Just like they said, I made it to the first 90 degrees. It was a little tight, I needed to use all the drive to make it…but I made it without difficulty. That is when I see what is in front of me. The dock was on the right, there were 4 pillars I had to drive through, then I had to back in-between two dumpsters…only to finally hit the dock…or so I thought.
I drove up to the pillars…but it wouldn’t let me make a 90 degree turn. It was too, tight. “Are you sure making a 90 is what trucks do,” I asked? They continued to tell me that the 90 is what other trucks do. However, I couldn’t make the turn…so I thought, “what if I do a blind side, pull up, then back up?”
A gentleman rushes down and tells me, “your truck is bigger than the one we usually get down here, “the guy tells.” I’m driving a 58’…nothing unusual. Then I thought, I guess I am doing a blind side….and that is what I did. I pulled forward, then slowly began to proceed with the backup. After getting out many times, I finally made it. I had enough room, but those trash cans kept bothering me. I didn’t think I could go in-between the dumpsters. After all, it looked tight, my 90 blind was more with a jack-knife look to it, and I wasn’t going to inbetween the dumpsters. I need to pull up.
After I pulled up a few times, I realized there weren’t enough room to straighten up the trailer. “What do I do now,” I thought again? Then it hit me…again. What if I hit a 45 degree?…I could probably make the turn to go back towards the door, then do a 90…hard 45 into the whole. and again, that is what I did,.
I had plenty of room to drive towards the door, once I gently and slowly cleared the turn around process. I set up the backing….and I got near the dumpsters.. I got out many-a-times, but I made it.
I was in-between the dumpsters, and I did it within 10 minutes or so. I found out later that many drivers couldn’t make the turn…so they left. Or, it would take them an hour.
The picture below makes the turn look easy. From that standpoint, it does look like you have plenty of room…but trust me, it was hard.
I wound up leaving unharmed. The truck was in good standing, and we went home.
After talking to dispatch later, I found they didn’t sell a darn thing. Instead, they reported the whole load was a waste of time. They wound up closing. I didn’t actually save Miami, but I had fun trying.
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