Columbus, Ohio via Sterling, Virginia
Sometimes there is a reward for aggravation.
Our carrier has a terminal snuggled up to Dulles Airport. This one could be a favorite, once we get a technical detail worked out – how the heck we get in and out.
We dropped a load and a trailer at the airport.
Remember how much I hated Schneider’s directions. Keeping in mind that over-the-road drivers, like us, often go places we have never been before and might never see again.
When you see a a big truck hovering at an intersection, four-ways flashing, the driver looking terrified, it’s because his directions pooped out. The contact telephone number is for someone who works from 8 to 4 and always, ALWAYS has her voice mail activated. If by some incredible fluke you reached the person, they don’t know the name of the street where their building is located, how they get there or even if big trucks stop nearby. Today, I’m nostalgic for Schneider directions.
The directions for the terminal – not some spot freight customer who has three trucks loads a year – are, how should I say this – lacking.
The directions we received read: take I-95 south to I-495 exit to Dulles Airport go several miles, at the big Exxon turn left. I’m driving a 65 foot vehicle which requires a big space to turn around. This is not good enough.
First, we were coming north from Atlanta, heading east on I-66, nowhere near I-95, thank goodness for the still imperfect GPS. The GPS sent us off at VA 28 North to Dulles Airport, followed by a right exit onto VA-267 to the airport, which are really frightening places for us because they typically have no posted street signs, no this street, no that road, only Arrivals, Departures and Rental Car Returns, all the things passengers need. Many terminals do not have clearance for a 13 foot six inch or 4.15 metre high vehicle and of course, we find this out too late.
The GPS called out road names, Rudder Road, Autopilot Drive, Air Freight Lane. We saw the Exxon station, which I would not describe as BIG and it wasn’t a turn left, it was a turn left one block away, depending on which way the truck approaches the Exxon.
This was all pretty minor compared to the horror show Greg endured at midnight when he departed with his loaded trailer. Very close to the terminal is the Dulles Greenway, a toll way, which only takes transponders no cash. (We were told later it takes our EZ pass transponder.) He said he traveled over hill and dale through residential areas, trying to find an Interstate.
“We can’t go back until someone can tell us how to get out of there,” Greg said. We still need accurate directions to go straight to the terminal because we can’t always drive to the airport and take the back road.
If my company is delivering airfreight, which means my product is time sensitive, the last thing I want is my drivers driving around wondering where they are and how they are going to find this place and getting into a situation that will damage the freight. No map provides local knowledge.
It wastes time, it wastes fuel, it’s aggravating and it happens all the time.
No one cares, driver’s gripe, dispatchers laugh. The drivers stumble through hoping and praying – that’s what I do – that we don’t end up in a weight restricted or traffic restricted area subject to thousands of dollars of fines. It’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt as the saying goes.
Thankfully there is a reward in this story.
Once we parked the bobtail at the terminal, Greg cracked open the computer to scope the area. Turns out – he’s such a genius – that 1.23 miles away from the terminal is a shopping area with a – drum roll please – Wegman’s grocery store. Not only a Wegman’s, but a Wegman’s close by, with a tractor-sized parking lot.
My favorite grocery store in all of America. Schneider had a Wegman’s close to the Carlisle, Pennsylvania terminal. I loved it and I thought I’d never see one again.
What makes Wegman’s so wonderful? It has a bakery, which produces artisan breads and pastries, brown rice sushi, and a deli to die for, giant garlic grilled prawns, home-made meat loaf and lasagna, steam-stirred and roasted vegetables, salads, meaty sandwiches on baguettes. It’s the prepared foods that makes Wegman’s different.
Yesterday was a $6 meal day. Six dollars for an entree and two side dishes and a mindboggling selection, lasagne, meatloag, garlic and parmesan crusted tilapia, parmesan chicken, there were also a few $10 meals mostly meat. I settled on the Chicken Marsala with two sides, steam-stirred squash, zucchini, red and yellow peppers and roasted brussel sprouts. Enough food for two meals, but I ate it in one sitting.
Greg took the edge off with a piece of pizza – we hadn’t eaten all that much racing to Virginia. All this fabulous, delicious, healthy food and he had a piece of pizza. He redeemed himself with a trip to the $6 meal bar for the same Chicken Marsala, the steam-stirred veggies and asparagus in garlic sauce. We topped off the meal with chocolate-covered strawberries.
Then I took a run around the store and grabbed a few of my favorite things. A couple of trays of their fabulous brown rice sushi, spicy salmon and strips of yellow fin tuna and eight giant garlic-grilled prawns. Both will be on our menu today with roasted red pepper soup.