“Sometimes they buy so much stuff that you look like the Beverly Hillbillies going down the road,” Chad Marsh, a driver and agent for Ace Doran, a division of Bennett Motor Express, explains.
Every month or so a familiar job comes up to haul farm equipment from one auction house in Missouri to another one in Kentucky. Our client makes the absolute most of the flatbed to a get an astounding amount of large machinery onboard. Everything from tractors, gravity wagons and silage wagons to an assortment of parts for any of the aforementioned items.
Marsh knows the ropes of these ultra-challenging loads—as well as the people and places involved—so well that nothing seems to surprise him. As Marsh describes it, “It’s like a grocery list of stuff you’re bringing back. I easily use every chain, every strap, every piece of securement that I’ve got on my truck to keep all of it on there.”
Loading the auction items is a form of art.
Marsh does this same haul 3-4 times a year—but the cargo is never the same. On this project, they were able to drive much of the equipment onto the trailer. Some had to be lifted up using loader tractors. Most were able to be hauled in-tact, but one had to have its wheels removed because it was too wide.
In all, the load-up took an hour to an hour and a half. This one was easy compared to others, according to Marsh because the load was relatively light and there was no tarping because the equipment is meant to be outside.
Providing service that feels like family.
Marsh’s customer reaps the rewards of the long-term relationship—and vice versa. Marsh goes the distance—all 580 miles of it—and then he goes one extra at the drop off. Unloading is performed with a forklift or a crane. “We know these people personally and they are good people. I always help wherever I can with unloading,” he says. “I get up there and hook everything up for them.”
Avoiding traffic is the key to success.
Marsh’s number one nightmare is traffic. He’ll go out of his way to avoid cities. On this particular run, his goal was to avoid St. Louis-style gridlock. According to Marsh, “If you can get out on the road sometime between 10 o’clock in the morning until two, usually you’re all right. But you get in there after two, usually you’re going to be sitting in traffic until about 6:30 or so—you know, just stop-and-go.” In many ways this is when the real work for Marsh begins.
With urban driving, it’s all about having a strong defense.
Driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic takes all of Marsh’s attention, patience and years of experience. “You just got to be on your defense and watch the people in front of you especially on the right side of you,” he says. “Because they’ll try and cut in front of you and of course in a truck you can’t hardly see them.” Marsh has seen motorists get rear-ended in these situations on numerous occasions. Thanks to his safe driving practices—a priority of all drivers in the Bennett family—it hasn’t happened to him.
A perfect drive nearly spoiled by ELD.
Everything was going great for Marsh until the home stretch. His Electronic Logging Device (ELD) indicated he was close to exceeding the amount of driving he was allowed for the day. To avoid situations like this, Marsh plans his day from start to finish, and maintains a schedule that includes mandated breaks. But no matter how hard he tries, it is trucking and things happen.
In the end, Marsh wound up finishing his haul with minutes to spare before his time was up for the day. After he delivered his load, he was just able to make it safely back to his nearby home before the time on the ELD ran out.
Ace Doran and Bennett consistently bring the right equipment, and the safest professional drivers to challenging flatbed shipments all over the U.S., every day. Read more information on Bennett’s trucking and logistics services for transporting big and heavy agricultural equipment.
Ace Doran and Bennett bring safety best practices and securement expertise to heavy machinery transports all over the U.S. For more information on Bennett’s Step Deck Trucking Services for general freight and heavy machinery, visit www.bennettig.com/transportation-services/general-freight-trucking/