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Thu Oct 11, 2018, 05:27 AM

Just got home after driving across the Florida Panhandle on I-10

Returning from a trip to Meridian, MS where we swapped trailers with a driver and headed back to Jacksonville yesterday around 3 PM. We headed straight south to Mobile and then East on ten.

Everything was fine till about the 90 mile marker (I-10 is 362 miles across Florida) where I started to see debris on the shoulders - pine needles mostly.

Around the 120 or so I started seeing downed trees being blown from the north to the south, so the westbound lanes were most affected. The stretch where the eye crossed over the interstate was, as one might expect, fairly clean, but around the 130 or so, near Marianna, FL. it started to get real bad.

Now, this drive across the panhandle took place from about 8 PM eastern last night, when I crossed the line near Pensacola, till about 4 AM when we got to Jax, so the winds had pretty much ended. What we (I say "we" cause I had a co-driver) had to deal with was the incredible amount of trees and branches fallen across the interstate.

From about the 120 to the 165 it was like driving on a windy, country road, constantly weaving around entire trees fallen over one lane or the other. At the 165 we came to a standstill. After about 90 minutes, and watching several pieces of heavy equipment pass on the shoulder (Skid-steers, backhoes, etc.) we started crawling forward. What had held up traffic was a car hauler that had tried to go around a tree covering the right lane and he dipped his left wheel set off into the mud on drivers left. This is the kind of car hauler that has about 5 inches of ground clearance and once he sunk to the point that the bottom of his rig was scraping the edge of the pavement, that was all she wrote. He's probably still there!

After we got past him it was another 35 miles of back and forth, weaving from lane to lane around trees till we reached Tallahassee (which was dark, BTW) where we swapped drivers. From then on it was smooth sailing.

Remarkably, I only saw 4 tractor trailers on their sides, two in rapid succession that were covering the right lane (they'll probably wait till daylight to remove them and when they do, they're going to have to shut down the road in order to get the wreckers in the right spot) and one blown over and resting precariously on a bridge at an exit lane where a truck stop was located! Looked like the driver was trying to make it to safety and at the last moment, a wind gust had other plans for his rig.

It got pretty hairy at times, as the trees were incredibly difficult to see in the dark, even with high beams on. A ride that takes 5 hours or so normally, took us 8 to complete. The cleanup is going to take a couple days, as the number of trees that need to be removed from both sides of the freeway number in the hundreds.

But I'm home, safe and sound and just a couple minor scratches on the tractor where we had to squeeze by the tips of branches!

Ahhhhh...the joys of OTR Truckin'! It's what I signed up for 30 something years ago!

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Reply Just got home after driving across the Florida Panhandle on I-10 (Original post)
A HERETIC I AM Oct 11 OP
DUgosh Oct 11 #1
genxlib Oct 11 #9
malaise Oct 11 #2
badhair77 Oct 11 #3
livetohike Oct 11 #4
Hermit-The-Prog Oct 11 #13
patricia92243 Oct 11 #5
TexasTowelie Oct 11 #6
Dennis Donovan Oct 11 #7
countryken Oct 12 #26
Achilleaze Oct 11 #8
Uncle Joe Oct 11 #10
Hortensis Oct 11 #11
lunatica Oct 11 #12
gratuitous Oct 11 #14
dixiegrrrrl Oct 11 #15
A HERETIC I AM Oct 11 #17
ariesgem Oct 11 #16
A HERETIC I AM Oct 11 #18
ariesgem Oct 11 #23
A HERETIC I AM Oct 11 #19
Blue_true Oct 11 #20
ROB-ROX Oct 11 #21
A HERETIC I AM Oct 11 #22
trof Oct 11 #24
littlemissmartypants Oct 12 #25

Response to A HERETIC I AM (Original post)

Thu Oct 11, 2018, 05:34 AM

1. My Dad was born in Marianna

Mom in Graceville near Chipley. Glad your safe

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Response to DUgosh (Reply #1)

Thu Oct 11, 2018, 06:53 AM

9. We could be related

My mom was born in Malone. I still have family all over the area.

The hurricane eyewall went right over the old family farm. I am not sure how it would hold up to that.

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Original post)

Thu Oct 11, 2018, 05:35 AM

2. Glad you made it home safe

Last edited Thu Oct 11, 2018, 06:54 AM - Edit history (1)

That must have been an experience

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Original post)

Thu Oct 11, 2018, 05:35 AM

3. Your trip sounds hairy.

Iím glad your back home safe and sound, without incident. OTR trucking is a stressful job and we appreciate your service to it. Thanks for the report.

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Original post)

Thu Oct 11, 2018, 05:38 AM

4. Glad you're safe! Thanks for the report. n/t

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Response to livetohike (Reply #4)

Thu Oct 11, 2018, 02:29 PM

13. ditto!

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Original post)

Thu Oct 11, 2018, 05:50 AM

5. "Only" 4 tractor trailors blown over - lol. Thanks for the post.

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Original post)

Thu Oct 11, 2018, 05:52 AM

6. Thanks for the traffic report.

From a logistical standpoint it sounds like they will get I-10 open within a couple of days which is a positive sign. It's good that you were able to make it home safely.

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Original post)

Thu Oct 11, 2018, 05:58 AM

7. You do what I've always thought I'd enjoy doing...

...as a 10 yr old, I was a huge Movin' On fan (Do it like Pruitt! ), so I was drawn to that occupation at a very young age. Unfortunately, not what I do for a living now, but I've often had this "hankering" to be an OTR driver.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Reply #7)

Fri Oct 12, 2018, 08:36 AM

26. Movin' On

Will and Sonny were great. That was one of those shows I didn't miss, until I went off to Basic Training. My mom would fill me in on their adventures in her letters!

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Original post)

Thu Oct 11, 2018, 06:32 AM

8. Thanks for the first-hand report

Glad you made it home safe!

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Original post)

Thu Oct 11, 2018, 07:43 AM

10. Kicked and recommended.

Thanks for sharing A HERETIC I AM.

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Original post)

Thu Oct 11, 2018, 08:10 AM

11. Yes, thanks for the view into your interesting trip.

That poor driver on the bridge. Hope all his problems today are aggravations.

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Original post)

Thu Oct 11, 2018, 02:17 PM

12. Great story!

Albeit quite hairy!

Iím delighted you are both OK.

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Original post)

Thu Oct 11, 2018, 02:33 PM

14. Sounds like folks actually heeded the warnings

The trees and other blow-downs, of course, weren't going to get out of the way, but from your description, it sounds like most folks didn't venture out into the hurricane to become additional problems for first responders. We give Floridians enough grief as it is; let's give them some credit when it's due, too.

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Original post)

Thu Oct 11, 2018, 02:51 PM

15. I wanna read your book.



I am amazed you got any further than Mobile last night.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #15)

Thu Oct 11, 2018, 03:11 PM

17. The trip was a "special" that normally would have gone to Tallahassee and taken by another driver

This trailer was destined for Dallas, and the normal trip has 2 relays; Jax to Tallahassee, Tallahassee to the middle of Mississippi and then on to Dallas, each leg being done by a single driver in a "day cab".

Because of the storm we ran a team in a sleeper truck and cut out the Tall. relay, went north into southern GA from I-10 and then across and up to Montgomery, through Selma and met the Dallas driver near the Ms/Al state line.

So when we did the swap, the storm was just coming ashore. If we had gone back the way we came, we would have been right into the teeth of it. In fact, we stopped at a Pilot truck stop in Albany, GA in the morning that later the evening had 70 mph gusts!

So by heading down and running I-10 we made the right call as far as the storm itself was concerned, but the damage and the aftermath were substantial. We ran the risk of having to sit for a day no matter what, but we lucked out with only a 90 minute standstill, and made the distance with an average speed around 30 MPH.

LOL @ the book! I have often thought about such a project. I even have the title!

"Looking at your lap, (observations from 35 years in a big truck)" A reference to what a trucker sees when he looks down into your car

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Original post)

Thu Oct 11, 2018, 03:08 PM

16. Happy to hear you made it home safely...

I'm a now-retired female driver from Cali and drove for 3 years through mostly western states, some cross-country. Always admired the drivers with the skills to safely go through the worst of the elements to pick-up or drop a load. If I saw snow flurries or felt high winds, I would call dispatch and be ready to FOLD, lol. I wasn't cut out for it. Stay safe driver!

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Response to ariesgem (Reply #16)

Thu Oct 11, 2018, 03:17 PM

18. Thanks!

I've always looked at adverse driving conditions as a challenge. I must say I have been pretty lucky over the years, in that I have never had to sit for longer than a few hours in stopped traffic. There seems to be a situation almost every winter where a snowstorm shuts down a freeway and people are stuck for 24 or more hours.

The two longest were my first, way back in the late 80's on the NJ turnpike - sat for 6 hours because they shut down the road and the last long one was 4 years ago on I-10 in Pensacola where the highway had flooded because of an extreme rain event. We sat for about 8 hours waiting for the water to recede.

I've also never been stuck behind one of those massive, multi-vehicle pileups.

I'm closing on 2 million accident free miles. If I hadn't spent 12 years in motor racing, and had driven commercially my entire career, I would have well over 3 million by now.

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Reply #18)

Thu Oct 11, 2018, 05:57 PM

23. Wow. Congrats on your coming 2mil milestone...




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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Original post)

Thu Oct 11, 2018, 03:19 PM

19. THANK YOU ALL FOR THE KIND THOUGHTS!

Here's hoping those seriously affected by this storm, including the small town of Mexico Beach are quick to restore normalcy.

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Original post)

Thu Oct 11, 2018, 03:20 PM

20. A question.

You are the expert, so insight would be helpful. For a point to point haul where there are no dropoffs in between, wouldn't use of intermodal rail be better? Seem to me that would shorten the haul.

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Original post)

Thu Oct 11, 2018, 03:27 PM

21. GOD'S HAND WITH PUNISHING SINNERS

All this damage in a short time is GOD punishing the southern states for THEIR past deeds. Only when the sinners are flooded will good people be allowed to make their areas better. I am so happy I do not live in the land where GOD is focusing his WRATH.......

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Response to ROB-ROX (Reply #21)

Thu Oct 11, 2018, 03:28 PM

22. Please tell me you are being facetious

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Original post)

Thu Oct 11, 2018, 07:54 PM

24. Glad you're safe. Yeah, I-10 was closed east and westbound for a while today.

Probably because of what you were predicting.
I live south of I-10 in Foley, AL.

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Original post)

Fri Oct 12, 2018, 05:47 AM

25. So glad you made it back safely. eom

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