Monday, 05 September 2011 – By Bernie
Well, here we are at Sharkey in Quincy, IL. Troy, dispatcher and guitarist extraordinaire, pictured below, is the best dispatcher they have, and I was very fortunate to get the best. God must have had a hand in that again, as I normally get the good ones when I go from one company to another. I have had to deal with a couple of others for one reason or another, and I can tell ya, I am glad I have Brother Troy taking care of me out on the road. He takes great pride in what he does, and he does it very well. I do appreciate you taking great care of me out there on the road. Keep up the great work Bro!
Now, these pictures are from a few weeks ago when my truck was in Quincy, IL getting an oil change and all, so I went out toward Mark Twain Lake to see what was going on. I run across this huge dam, and here is a welcome center. Just as well walk around the place, take a few pictures and cool off inside in the A/C. Nice building eh!
From the back deck, this is the nice scenes from the right back to the left.
Hey, it’s a bit warm, so lets go inside to see what they have there to look at. Hey, is that Moby Dick? Nope, but this is a whopper of a catfish. Thought I would put my hand up there to give you an idea of the size.
I think this is a large mouth bass. This critter sure looks hungry.
Hey, I did not know we had Piranha over here in these lakes! Oh, sorry about the scare, I guess this cute little guy is a Blue Gill. Wonder if that is any relation to Black Lung?
OK, better get back to work. I did not take to many pics on that day, but I did have some fun driving around looking at the lake, found a water park, property for sale, and even went to a carnival. Small one, and it turned out to be a disappointment in the long run. Stayed for about 30 minutes if that and I was gone. I love fairs and carnivals, but this one was truly just a teaser.
OK, since I have been stressed with this over the road trucking job, I have been trying to get a job in Hannibal, MO with Sharkey as a yard spotter. They don’t have any job openings, and not sure when they will. They have offered Beardstown, IL to me several times, but that just is not where I wanted to be. Any way, I finally gave in and said I would go over there, with the agreement that I am still at the top of the list for Hannibal.
They have no idea when an opening is going to take place and he said that this would give me some experience and a foot in the door as they say, and that they were absolutely desperate for some help. I was not sure I wanted to go, since they keep begging for help. So, I thought I would give it a try and see what happens.
Well, I can see why they just can’t keep people here. The working conditions are so dusty and dirty, not to mention hot. The record high here was last week, and I think they said it was 106. Hum, don’t know about you, but that is a bit warm. The trucks have no A/C, and neither does my condo. Yes, I for sure thought that I had died and was living a nightmare in Hell.
Anyway, here we are in Beardstown, IL. The Taste of Beardstown was a lot of fun, so please check it out as well. This is the building where the offices and wash bay are located. This is the first driveway, which the trucks do not come in this one. They head on down to the second one on the opposite end of the building.
Once we get in the driveway, and look to the left a bit, you can see my home! This is terrible in the morning when the sun is coming up, but in the afternoon, it is shaded and not so bad when I come home at about 3 in the morning. There is not way I can leave the windows open for air, as I would have a dust pit in there.
Looking just a bit further to the left is the other end of the building, which we can go all the way around with those big trucks. The fuel pump is just on the other side of that container on the ground. We use it to fuel up the refer trailers when they get low, or our little dusty yard dog trucks.
The wall just behind my condo is the wash bay, and this is where they put all the trucks when there is no one around, like on Labor Day Weekend. Today, I get to drive the tandem, that they have nick named “The Beast”. Pretty little fella, eh? Yeah, not really.
Not much room in the cock pit either. There is another one that I really prefer, as it has a taller cab and more leg room. However, there is a guy here that has been here for like 12 years, and he is tall and prefers it as well. Since he gets to work first, guess who has it? Hey, I can’t blame him. He has the seniority, so that is all fine and dandy. When he leaves, I do make a run for it.
I did make a video of what it is like driving around the dusty dirty yard. I did not put any voice remarks to it, as I was not sure if it would pick up my voice with all that noise. However, the CB conversations were understandable, so I will have to make another one soon. The battery died on my camera, so this one did not finish where I wanted, but it will give you an idea of the dirt, filth and rough terrible conditions we have to put up with here at the Cargill Hog Processing Plant in Beardstown, IL.
Once you go through the next door, you are in the shop. This here is Steve. He too, has had about all he can take, and he only has about a week left here. Not sure where he is going, as it is top secret. Perhaps he is in the “Witness Protection Program”.
On through the next door, and you end up on the dock. Here we are looking out the docks. This is where we back the trailers in to be washed. Look, there is one coming in now! Once they get in the door, we have 2 wash guys on duty ready to knock out the dirt and filth out of those trailers. Some are pretty good, but when they get maggots and bugs in them, it takes a while to get that all cleaned out and ready for another load of bacon, ham, sausage, pork chops and who knows what all.
So, when I look to the right after that picture above, that door goes to the security office, and the stairs go up to our office. However, there is John just a posing away, instead of washing a trailer. Actually, he just finished what was in the dock, and it is hot, so he stays in front of the fan when he gets a chance.
I don’t blame him, as that is exactly what I would be doing as well. John is actually pretty smart for being only 20 years old. Has a car, a house, a job that he likes and a girlfriend to top it all off. What more could a man ask for? Oh, perhaps he has bad taste in food, as he does not like Chinese of Mexican food, which happens to be my 2 favorites.
The other washer that works with John is Tommy. Tommy is pretty quiet, so I don’t know much about him, other than he does a good job of knocking the dirt and stink out of those trailers faster than we can bring them into the docks. Keep up the great work guys! Millions of people are depending on you for their next shipment of bacon!
Here are the night time wash crew of Steve-O, AKA, Monkey Boy and Cat Fish, AKA, Fish Man. It is a tangled mess on how they are related, so I am not even going to go there, as I am confused myself.
Here is Steve-O. I call him Monkey Boy, because the first time I met him he had a cute little monkey on his T-Shirt that said – My Monkey Made Me Do It. He likes his tats, and other things that I can’t mention here.
Here is Catfish. His name is Jim, but there is like 5 or 6 Jim’s working here, so it gets a bit confusing. So time to break out the nick names. Jim works 2 jobs and still has time for a girlfriend. Geez, who would figure you can squeeze so much into such little time.
The night crew do a great job as well, and are a ton of fun to chat with as well. 2 cool dudes doing what they love. Hum, well, maybe there not doing what the love, but the sure make it look easy and they all have a great attitude of keeping those trailers clean to keep the hog rolling down the road.
Lets head on out to the mechanic shop a while. Here is Brian, the night shift mechanic. Another cool dude with some great stories and adventures of his own. I always enjoyed chatting with Brian, but at 3 in the morning when I am going to bed, I just did not want to hang around to long as I was ready to crash.
The 3 main mechanics during the day are right here looking around at that big mechanical thang on the front of that there trailer, trying to figure out what it is, and why does it make all that noise! Troy gets a bright idea to turn that knob to see if it will shut up.
Do we call them the 3 Stooges, or the 3 Musketeers? These guys are really cool, and they know what is going on in the shop. These are 3 hard working bro’s just keeping everything running so those hogs stay frozen while rolling down the road. They even worked on my truck several times.
Lets met these hard working guys. From left to right we have Bud, Troy and Jason. All 3 are super nice, very knowledgeable and very helpful. I got plenty of help out of these guys with my stay there. Keep up the great work guys, and keep up the fantastic, awesome attitude that you all bring to the work place. I sure miss our visiting times. Don’t worry, I will stop in every chance I get. So, count your self as pre warned!
Well, there are most of the good people from the Beardstown, IL terminal. I have made it back once to visit, and I have been asked a couple of times to go back over there and move trailers again. You know, I love most of the people there, but I sure don’t care a lot for the poor working conditions. So, I opted to pass, at this time. I may give in and go back some time in the future.
After my saying good bye, and spending the day at the Fall Fun Festival, I headed to Quincy, IL to get a truck the next day. That night, I went to the Best Buffet. That is the name of it, as it is not the best buffet around. Anyway, here is what completed my day.
Look at those beautiful shrimp, frog legs, veggies, chicken and a BBQ Rib.
Here is the Mongolian Grill Part. This is my favorite. I got lots of veggies, or course, mussels, shrimp, and some pork to top it all off. Really good stuff.