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Author Topic: I-80  (Read 2030 times)


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« on: October 26, 2013, 12:20:53 AM »
Been doing a little more reefer work lately. Itís not my favorite work, but, it isnít hard.

Recently been doing weekend runs out to Grand Island, Nebraska to pick up loads of meat destined for Las Vegas, Nevada. I shuttle them back to Denver where theyíre picked up and taken on from there. Itís been in the milk-wagon, but, weíve been pulling a 48-foot spread-axle reefer doing it.

Leave on Sunday about 1pm and get cruising for Grand Island. Running out empty, itís fairly easy driving. The only real concern is wind. Empty reefers (or dry-vans) and wind donít typically get along. Luckily, 80 in Nebraska has been relatively quiet the last couple times, and Iíve hit more wind on 76 generally. Cruising northbound of 76 out of Denver is a long, desolate stretch of highway once you get past Fort Morgan (outbound port is closed, woo!).

Once youíve hit Sterling youíve hit the long, open country of Northeastern Colorado. Itís a very empty 60-mile stretch, passing small towns like Ovid and Crook. Once youíve hit Julesburg youíre a stoneís throw from Nebraska. As 76 ends and you jump on 80, 12-miles from Julesburg you pass through Big Springs, and later Ogallala.

If thereís any stretch outside of Colorado that Iíve travelled numerous times it is, unsurprisingly, I-80 in Nebraska. Thereís good in that. By now, I can tell you where the rest-stops are, the truck-stops, etc. Itís nice knowing where things are at. It also makes knowing how much further youíve got to go a lot easier.

About the Sutherland exit I pulled off to take my mandatory 30-minute break. I have to say, this is somewhat a silly rule if you ask me. For starters, most drivers are going to pull off for minor breaks here and there before you hit 8-hours. Whether it be washing the tires, putting on fuel, check chains or straps, whatever it may be, typically there will be a stop somewhere along the line.

And, in my book, 30-minutes is a little too long to be stopping. It disrupts your cruising. You go from that great, relaxed cruising attitude of making miles and sit there on your thumbs. Get out, check this that and the other, check the weather, have a snack, even so, 30-minutes is a bit long in my book. Such is life when folks who have never been in a truck make your regulations.

You see, my typical way of running is, once the truck gets rolling, I donít stop unless I need to. If I need to fuel, Iíll stop. If I need to use the head, Iíll stop. Even so, I try to time them together. I rarely stop at a truck-stop to eat lunch or something like that. Stopping like that takes a lot of time and is only done when I have leisurely schedules to make a delivery. Breakfast and dinner at the truck stop may be different if Iím stopping for the night or getting ready to go, but, not for lunch. Thatís what road-food is for. Iíll sit there with my crackers, beef jerky, and what have you and just cruise down the road.

After all, making miles is about keeping that left door shut, eh?

Speaking of stops. I stopped in Odessa to fuel the reefer tank. Needs to be above 3/4s a tank to drop. After splashing some fuel in the tank it was back on the highway to truck the last 50 odd miles into Grand Island.

I-80 in Nebraska at night is an interesting stretch of highway. Come nightfall and you start a lot bullhaulers rolling headed to the same place I was to pick up the load of meat. Rest assured, you watch 80 at night and the bullhaulers aren't letting that hammer lane go unused. Even ran into an acquaintance of mine on the first trip headed out there. The following trip I also ran into another, Tri-H Farms. Peterbilttrucker can tell you more about them.

If youíre ever cruising along 80 and need to get up towards Columbus or Norfolk and want to bypass downtown Grand Island (which has plenty of construction right now), rather than exiting at Bosselmanís (Exit 312), get off at Exit 314, follow it north until you hit the Walmart and grab U.S.-34 East for about a mile until you come to the first intersection, and follow that north up to 30 and youíre past the mess. Anyone who tows a reefer and just heard that route also knows where Iím headed to pick up the load, too.
Cool thing is, itís a drop to load. Roll in, have the pleasantries with the guard, PO number, weight slip, etc.


Written in all capital letters, those were my only instructions.

Drop the trailer and bounce over to Bosslemanís and crash for the night. Bosselmanís has a nice enough restaurant, Grandma Maxís, if a tad overpriced. Itís good food, but, a little steeper than most truck-stops.
Jump in the bunk and sleep for the night.

Up the next morning, open the hood, check the fluids and whack the tires, and then get my trusty crayon out and work on the logbook. Eventually the trailer was loaded and I rolled over to the yard. There had been rain, and it was starting to get stiff. Standing water in the trailer yard.

In the short amount of time to hook up the lines, check the tires and lights, seal, etc. I was thoroughly soaked through. A good reason, even if you just run short runs, to keep a few changes of clothes with you. It ainít fun driving wet!

I rolled up onto the scales. I was loaded light, only grossing 75,000 and change. With the 48-foot spread you can carry 40,000-lbs on the trailer, even so, I was only pushing around 32 or 33,000 between the two. The second time around on the run though they packed it on heavy, at least for highway work. After going 100,000-lbs or more down the highway, 80,000-lbs doesnít feel too heavy flatlanding. Even so, I was grossing 79,520-lbs. coming out of the packing house the second time around. A few more boxes of meat and Iíd peg 80,000lbs. (still not the closest Iíve been, came out of a local milk tanker drop yard one night, and when I got to the receiver, I pulled across the scale at 79,920-lbs).

On down the bypass and onto 80, and the first 3 or 4 miles of driving the rain had picked up and I was driving through a waterfall. Stretches I had less than about 200-foot visibility. After a few miles backed down on the speed and keeping a careful eye ahead and behind the rain cleared up and I wound the truck back up and got to cruising for home.

The trip home on the first run was relatively uneventful with a couple sporadic showers. North Platte was closed, as was Fort Morgan inbound.

The second run saw a bit more. It was clear and sunny rolling along, but, as nightfall crept up the wind started picking up in Western Nebraska (they had taken ages to load me). Just outside of Ogallala you hit this big sweeping turn, probably a mile or two in length, and as you start this turn, the trees protecting the highway from the wind recede and disappear. As I rolled onto this stretch I started feeling a strong south-to-north wind blowing across the highway.

So strong, in fact, that I felt the trailer suspension lifting fairly hard. I kept my eye on the mirror, and the trailer never picked up, but, it certainly had it's lean going on. And that's with more than 20-tons of meat in the trailer. It went on for a few miles (nowhere to park, just gotta' keep going and keep a handle on the truck). Eventually the wind calmed and it was back to cruising, but, feeling that trailer lean that hard is certainly something that will get your attention! 30-minutes to prevent fatigue? A good stiff gust of wind will do more than a 30-minute break!

An easy enough run, it isnít bad, and is familiar territory, and if I ever needed to, well, getting to and from on the back-roads is real easy!

Hope all have been well.

« Last Edit: October 26, 2013, 12:26:17 AM by coloradogreen »
Your friendly neighborhood vegan heavy haul punk.



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Hank's Truck Forum

« on: October 26, 2013, 12:20:53 AM »


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Re: I-80
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2013, 05:46:25 AM »
Hated wind. Of all 8 recognizable directions, only one direction is helpful. And, it's my contention that in sidewind, all this now popular streamlining can do is add more drag.

Our 'old wives' tale' was, that it took 80 mph sidewind to tip a refer over. A few times a year at Mesquite, Nevada, wind that strong howls out of the nearby head-water canyons of the Colorado River system, & dumps some of the refers at the popular truckstop casino.

The question was always debated, which was better, keep moving or park. Of course if parked, typically very little damage, sadly cosmetic, not even bad where the parking lot is smooth, & usually the load is unharmed (although has to be transferred so the trailer is empty for the flip upright again.

Moving might be worth the chance, knowing the center of gravity & weight of your load (like heavy boxes only waist-high). Over the years, have seen trucks sitting calming out in a field near the big road, after successfully descending steep banks along the highway.

Those 18 wheels spinning are massive gyroscopes as the truck veers down that bank, where if parked there without that effect, she flips over. Moving at speed, those gyroscopes say, "no you won't. We ain't changing  our direction of travel!"

Besides observation, my evidence of this is based on personal experience, as a kid on my bike. Long paved 2 mile steep hill into the Republican River valley south of hometown. Hunker-down to cut drag, & you could hit 65 dropping off there. And, don't even think about steering with the handle bars! Do that only by leaning very slightly. Steer those bike tires at speed out of direction of travel, & they feel like 50 lbs. instead of less than 10. Worse, then they wanta keep oscillating instead of running straight, giving the rider a very serious project until they finally settle down.
If you don't ask, they can't say no.


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Re: I-80
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2013, 05:16:26 PM »
very nice read troy. always interesting :)

Hank's Truck Forum

Re: I-80
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2013, 05:16:26 PM »

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