Tuesday, December 08, 2009

How to Plan Ahead

One of the worries of an oversize load hauler is the weather. More law enforcement agencies are paying far closer attention to the fine print on our permits. Most states have a statement about no movement being allowed in inclement weather, but that is a judgment call and different states enforce the same thing inconsistently.

At any rate, it pays to keep up with the road conditions where we are traveling. One of the reasons I got a Blackberry was to be able to get online to see the latest from different states. Colorado has a pretty decent website with good updates during daylight hours. If we see that Loveland Pass has the chain law up, and I70 is pretty trashed all the way to Limon, well, we've got a pretty decent clue that the state LEOs are not gonna want to see us at all.

I had to take some tanks to the McAlester OK area yesterday, then swing through Ft. Worth to pick up some "heads." Heads are rounded ends of pressure tanks. A large propane tank will have one on each end with rolled sheetmetal for the rest of the construction. These puppies are made with the time honored hammer mill. My company doesn't have the equipment to make them, so when someone orders a pressure tank, we have to get them from a specialty manufacturer.

But, I digress - just so y'all know why I was in Ft. Worth instead of going home from McAlester. The heads I picked up were under 102", so it was a "legal" load. We had a major winter storm move in while I was gone - and I had no idea what the roads would be like. I wasn't going to be in violation of an oversize permit, but I was darn sure concerned what sort of mess I was gonna find. Texas had a pretty decent site with a search function that found whatever road you'd wanna know about. It's info was laid out by county - black ice, travel not recommended - all in text. Useful to say the least.

Oklahoma had a pretty picture of the state carved into districts, and a color code that indicated the level of nastiness. Nothing on a particular road, but at least I had an idea.

Then, I got to the Kansas website.

You are using an unsupported browser. Please use one of the browsers from the list below.

I was then informed that the site was optimized for the Microsoft or Macintosh operating system.


So, let's see if I have this right. A site set up for travelers to check the road conditions isn't capable of displaying on mobile browsers - which would be what any traveling traveler would use? So, what am I gonna do - fire up my laptop and hope for a wireless connection somewhere? I don't have an air card. Maybe after I've slid into a ditch somewhere that happens to have an unsecured wireless access point I can go online and see where I screwed up.

Well, anyways, the whole thing had me pretty peeved. The geeks at the state DOT need to have a mobile site up - it defies comprehension why they don't have it now. What is the point otherwise?


drjim said...

Yep, things like that are REALLY annoying!

Frank W. James said...

Hope you don't have any deliveries to Sioux Falls today? Might be a stretch to get there.

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Jeffro said...

Heh - I imagine so!

The boss didn't let any of us out of the yard today - we're just not into fines or having our annual oversize permit jerked. The KHP has gone from laissez faire to intense scrutiny in less than a year.