Posted by: Greg Vass | November 17, 2009

Watch Out! Low Clearance Ahead – Traveling in the SolidLine Truck

“Watch out! Low Clearance Ahead – Traveling in the SolidLine Truck”
By Edward Boe, Production Coordinator
SolidLine Media

Throughout the course of a year here at SolidLine, we are traveling consistently from city to city.  Sometimes we fly, but usually we drive…a 50 foot semi…into cities…crowded cities…crowded with cars, people and height restrictions (New Jersey, I’m looking at you!).  Tight quarters or not, we have to get there, and as a result, a lot of planning goes into the travel in order to quickly and safely get us from point A to point B, on time and in one piece.

A few things stand in our way when it comes to traveling anywhere with the SolidLine rig, not the least of which is city size.  By size I am referring to a number of different things, population (the more crowded the more difficult), expanse of the city (the more we have to take side-roads or worse rural roads, the more challenging it becomes), and of course infrastructure size (height clearances, weight restrictions, truck routes, and street width all fall into this category).

Population becomes a factor when the location has a highly concentrated population, or population centers.  For instance, Boston, New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and even our homebase of Chicago are all places that SolidLine has driven to in our rig, and each has posed unique challenges regarding the number of people we have to dodge while driving. 

The SolidLine rig contends with traffic as it is parked along a narrow street just outside of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The number of people can also present a problem when it comes to security for our truck. Aside from our own safety, we have hundreds of thousands of dollars of the top-of-the-line high definition camera gear that we’d like to keep safe and in hand.  Sometimes it’s worth the piece of mind to find secure parking lots that offer 24-hour surveillance.

Our truck had to hold in it's gut in order to get into this secured parking lot along the Mississippi river in New Orleans, Louisiana.

When traveling anywhere in the Solidline rig, inter-state highways are the best route.  Anytime we have to get off the main artery roads, we run the risk of getting stuck in series of narrow streets, turned around, or simply stuck in stop and go traffic.  Large cities are usually have interstates running right up to them, but often times it’s the out-of-the-way locations (or even big cities that require going through a lot of out-of-the-way rural country) that can cause us trouble.  States like Wyoming, the Dakotas, and New Mexico have a lot of one lane roads with no where for a 50-foot semi to turn around.

This is one of the many ridiculous bridges we have to cross in our gianormous truck.

And then there’s the issue of proper infrastructure.  A lot of cities on the east coast were built early on in the life of the country, and as such, weren’t able to take into consideration the expanding size of commercial sized vehicles.  Our truck is nearly 14 feet high (13’6” to be exact), and when driving anywhere the driver has to be constantly aware of bridges, railroad trestles, and overpasses that are too low (these are prevalent in and around the east coast especially…cough, cough, New Jersey, cough…).  Weight restrictions prove to be a similar problem, at 30-some tons, our truck isn’t made to go across something like a tiny, rural, one-lane county road bridge.  Rural locations like backwoods Pennsylvania or middle of nowhere New Mexico have a lot of these conditions to look out for. 

One final consideration of travel, is Mother Nature.  Mountains, rain, snow, ice, and cold are all conditions that must be taken into consideration when traveling in a semi.  More than once we have altered our route, or made a detour to avoid a dangerous incline, or inclement weather for the sake of safety.

Our GPS diverted us off the interstate in Wyoming in the dead of winter all in the interest of saving 5 minutes. That GPS was fired!

Getting anywhere means a good amount of research into not only the end destination, but also the conditions on the way there.  Each of our licensed drivers is constantly glued to the weather channel, and many have gotten advanced degrees in meteorology and traffic physio-psychology in an effort to be hyper-vigilant and aware of each stage of SolidLine’s travel needs.  Of course these degrees probably weren’t from an ‘accredited’ school…

You can contact Ed Boe at ed@solidlinemedia.com
For more information about SolidLine Media, visit us online at www.solidlinemedia.com.  Or call 312-939-8600.
Copyright 2009 SolidLine Media, a division of KV Media Group, Inc.

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