Friday, June 14, 2024

Published on Thursday, September 6, 2018

Drayage is Everywhere

While it isn’t officially the end of summer in the Midwest, there is a rush to get all things “summer” done before Labor Day. Never mind that there are three more weeks of the actual season. Midwesterners have mistakenly accepted that we only deserve three months of bearable weather, not even one or two weeks more.


So that, combined with school starting up and the exodus of the college-aged work force from resort towns - leaving no one to run go-cart tracks and wait tables - means one last lap in proverbial summer pool.


Bike riding on Mackinac IslandShelley and I spent a few days in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula dipping our toes in frigid Lake Superior on one of the few days possible. The water up there was actually a bit warmer this year, so going up to your waist was not that difficult. We kayaked, hiked, rode bikes and camped, taking advantage of end-of-season rates.


We also visited Mackinac Island. The island is located where Lakes Huron and Michigan come together. Originally home to the Menominee Indians, it has been occupied by the British, the French and more recently, the state of Michigan. After two failed attempts by Americans to take the island from the British during the War of 1812, it was returned to the U.S. by the 1815 Treaty of Ghent.


'Somewhere in Time' movieIt’s now a major tourist destination, and where the Jane Seymour/Christopher Reeve classic, “Somewhere in Time”, was filmed. Part of the reason we go is because Shelley worked on the island as a bartender during filming and was cast as an extra. Who else can say they made a gin martini for Christopher Plummer?


Cars are not allowed in the island. Transportation and the movement of all goods is done by horse, bicycles or on foot. Access from the mainland is by private boat, ferry or snowmobile, when the waters of the lakes freeze over.


Drayage cart and horsesAnd yes, drayage (material handling) is everywhere. Trade shows are not the only place where you have to pay to have your properties moved from one place to another.


Our luggage was dropped off at the boat and picked up by draft horse-drawn wagons at the island lock. From there it was sent to where we were staying a few miles up the road. The word “dray” refers to a cart without sides. The horses that pulled them were referred to as dray horses. Did you ever take a close look at the Teamster logo?


Teamsters logoSo drayage aside (I didn’t complain because I felt it was a reasonable amount to pay, considering the logistics required), it was a relaxing few days without cars or schedules.


From there we traveled to the lower part of Michigan. This time of year, the sun sets farther south, creating a sparkle on the water that has a magical feel to it. I took my last bike ride of the summer around town on Sunday, to breathe in this last bit of the season. No thoughts about drayage, shipping logistics or last minute banner stand requests. Those were saved for the traffic-filled drive back to Chicago on Monday.


Summer is over. Maybe not officially, but the fall trade show and event season has already hit the fan. Phones are ringing, emails popping and the horses are getting hitched up to the dray carts.


Back to blogs about trade shows, too.


Steve Moskal


Dray horses and carts








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Steve Moskal
Steve Moskal

Steve Moskal

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Full biography

Steve’s journey in the trade show and event world started in 1983 with one of the original Nomadic Display sales organizations in North America. In 1994, he co-founded Prairie Display/Chicago.

Steve was an Allied Board Member of TSEA (Trade Show Exhibitors Association) from 2007 to 2011 and recipient of the TSEA President’s Award in 2009. He also served as Financial Chair of the Midwest Exhibit and Event Professionals (formerly the Chicago chapter of TSEA) and as a commissioner with the Elmhurst Economic Development Commission from 2011 to 2016. Currently he is Vice President of Education for the Addison/Elmhurst, IL Toastmasters Club.

When not working with customers and co-workers at Prairie, you can find him trying to spend more time biking and pursuing other creative endeavors. Steve lives in Oak Brook, IL with his beautiful and equally understanding wife of 26 years, Shelley.

Steve is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, with a B.A. in Journalism and a Fine Arts minor.


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