Tuesday, July 22, 2008
St. Louis Bound
Rest area about fifty odd miles east of KC on I70. That is a 12'x35' fiberglass tank destined to hold liquid fertilizer at a coop. That trailer is a "double drop," which means there is a drop behind the front deck and the rear deck. The "well" is the area that holds the tank. The whole rig is every bit as long as a "large car" with a 53' trailer. See how the rear axle is at the very rear? Going around corners with these trailers really can be an adventure.
But, the height of the load is usually 14' or so. Since the normal legal height is 13'6", this is a great advantage as far as routing goes. We either get temporary permits or buy annual oversize permits for certain states. The state issuing the temporary permit uses the load data we give them - height, width and length to determine how we can get where we want to go. With these trailers, we can get under just about any underpass that a "normal" semi can. Our other trailers - not always. Higher loads mean longer trips away from the interstates.
Another interesting thing about this trailer - it was originally made to haul boats. The frame has been lengthened and rails to set the tank supports set in very low, so the tanks will ride very low. We have several trailers just like this one, and similar trailers as well. We have a couple that are tandem axle and extendable.
The other problem with these trailers is ground clearance. High railroad crossings are out of the question, as is rough or uneven ground. So, there are tradeoffs no matter what.
Tomorrow morning is our appointment for a crane to unload us. My crane can handle the weight ok, but it cannot set one of these babies. They are just too tall - the boom would hit the top corner and not center, possibly severely damaging the tank. I may have to "tail" the tanks. It just depends on the crane and the operator. The tanks have to be picked off the trailer using two cables on the crane, or have it hook to the top of the tank and me to the bottom, both picking it up. The crane would gradually take the tank vertical, while I would move the bottom underneath the crane's cable. The tank wouldn't touch the trailer after it was lifted. We've had some crane operators damage tanks trying to stand them up on the trailers.
Just another day in trucking paradise!