RHYMES WITH TRUCK

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Big Texan : 17 Days - 12585 kilometres.

Load 1 and Load 2.
Load 3 and Load 4.
____ A bitterly cold Super-Bowl Sunday with snow flurries and blowing snow making things difficult on the cross country haul to Saskatoon. Arriving at the Husky Truckstop with just enough time to catch the final quarter and overtime on the flat-screen in the drivers lounge before running the Detroit Diesel all night. Saskatchewan at it's coldest as I deliver the stuff from the last trip and head to North Battleford for the red lentil reload. I once lived with a health food/vegetarian woman and lentils made an all too often appearance on the dinner table. It wasn't the main reason that we split-up; but it was in the top ten. I like these lentils, they come with good miles; delivery is in the warmth of Texas.

____ Heavy snow came to southern Saskatchewan forcing an early finish for a Moose Jaw Monday night. Followed by a full day that got no further than Fargo. Things did improve from there-on and the load for Hutchins, south-east of Dallas, was delivered on time. Onto Load 3; a trailer exchange at Waller with two drops, Edmonton and Burnaby in that order. The trip was going to be a long one; time to decide if was going to take a log-hours reset on the road or if I could keep the driving down to 8 hours a day and roll-over the 70 hours in eight days. Complicated mathamatics when appointment times, the weather conditions and driver preferences are all factored into the equation. I settle a plan that keeps me moving every day at the magic average of eight and three-quarter hours. [ 8 x 8 3/4 = 70 ] Boring.

____ There is no need to ask; you know you are on your way to Amarillo when you come across a never-ending succession of billboards advertising "Free 72 ounce steak." All along US Highway 287, from Dallas and across North-west Texas to the Big Texan Steak Ranch on the north side of Interstate 40, opposite the TA Truckstop. It seems like a Route 66 tourist-trap; eat a 72 oz steak with baked potato, salad and shrimp cocktail plus buttered roll in less than an hour and it is free. Otherwise it costs $72. It is the sort of thing that my brother could do; but I think I'd struggle. But I was put right-off the challenge once I had watched the Youtube video of a young woman eating three 72 oz steaks in less than twenty minutes. What a disgusting waste of good meat; eating with her hands and not chewing a single bite. I settled for Popeyes chicken tenders at the truckstop.

____ I did go over to the Big Texan for the Sunday morning breakfast buffet and the food and service was very good; the fluffiest and lightest biscuits I have had in a long time. Then it was a series of over-night stays based on culinary offerings, all the way to Edmonton, Alberta, on Wednesday morning. Johnson's Corner, just north of Denver. The Town Pump at Billings and Blackjacks at Nisku. The ginger beef at Blackjacks was tough; lets hope it was just a one-off fail, I like place.

____ First drop done in Edmonton with just 8000 lbs left for the second at Burnaby, near Vancouver, and a Friday morning appointment. An easy run across the Rockies with rain most of the way, including another wet and trouble free crossing of the Coquihalla. My only worry was what was going to be the late Friday reload out of southern British Columbia? Answer: Nothing. Run seven hundred kilometres, empty, to Lewiston in Idaho for a load of paper going to Winnipeg. It wasn't ready until Sunday morning so I had most of Saturday at leisure in the twin towns of Lewiston and Clarkston on the border of Idaho and Washington states.

____ At the confluence of the Clearwater and Snake Rivers. Towns named after the leaders of the Lewis and Clark Expedition which camped in the area when they searched for the best overland route that linked the east-flowing Missouri River with the Pacific-bound waters of the Columbia River. A trip of over two years in length; and I was thinking that I was on a long one, at two weeks and counting. When loaded, I elect to run back through the States and get in some good miles; instead of waiting at the nearby border for customs clearance on Monday. A wise move as I'm still waiting for customs to clear the load at Pembina, North Dakota, at Noon on Tuesday when I am only an hour from home.

____ Eventually, I roll through, back into Canada. Noticing a lot of camera crews from television news at the crossing station. Asylum seekers are fleeing the USA and coming into Canada to escape the new directives of the Trump regime. Not again! One of my reasons for coming to Canada was to get away from the nightmare scenario that every cross channel truck-driver has when he comes back through northern France, heading for the ferry or tunnel to England. Now the same situation of illegal immigrants climbing into trailers seems a big threat here in North America.
Big Texan Steak Ranch, good breakfast buffet.
Pump Jacks in North Dakota oil-boom area.
Lookout Pass at the state line between Idaho and Montana on Interstate90
The Clearwater Paper Mill in the valley of the Clearwater River in Idaho.
 
All the way to Amarillo.




Saturday, February 4, 2017

Eighteen-Wheelers Can't Stop On A Dime.

Six Days.
____ "Eighteen-wheelers can't stop on a dime" is an often heard phrase that is perfectly illustrated in a scene at the start of the film "Convoy." The Duck comes over the brow of a hill and straight into the sheriff's speed-trap. He pulls onto the shoulder and anchors-up; the expression on Dirty Lyle's face says it all. "Well. Is that thing going to stop or not?" Many a British lorry-driver, that now drives in North America, remembers the first time he hit the brakes and was surprised by the poor retardation of US built trucks. A disc-braked European six-axle rig an stop on a six-pence. My driving technique changed dramatically when it became clear that the old-fashioned drum brakes needed more time and space to do their job.

____ I rarely get into emergency braking situations and rely a lot on engine-braking. I could have two out of the ten brakes completely inoperable  and not know about it. This is just what happened on the latest trip and it was left up to a couple of Texas State troopers to point it out at a roadside inspection just south of the Texas/Oklahoma state line. Luckily, everything else was in order and I didn't get a fine but I did get an Out Of Service order. It was the fault of the ABS valve operating on the left-side drive axles. A local truck-service company came out and fitted a new valve but only after a five hour delay.

____ This was after another five hour delay at the border on Sunday morning; the load was entered as "paper" when it should have read "peat-moss." All this meant that Tuesday's delivery at Huntsville, Texas, didn't arrive until Wednesday morning. After that, it was over to Waller for a trailer exchange and back North. A load destined for Saskatoon on Monday; but with enough time for me to go home for a log-hours reset. A cold night in Sioux Falls, but I bet it will be colder in Saskatoon.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Badly Misled.

Underwater shot from the glass tunnel under the Polar Bear pool.
Four Days.

____The US has always had a thing about vehicle weights. Scales are everywhere and  every driver watches his weight; mainly with the help of in-cab guages and the CAT scales at truckstops. I have a rule: if the cargo weighs more than 30,000 lbs; check the axle weights on a scale. But when I picked up a load of wood-shavings from the Steinbach yard, the bill of lading said 30,000 lbs and the  weight gauge in the cab seemed to confirm it. However the scale house at Moorhead in Minnesota indicated the gross weight was 78,650 lbs and the tandem axles of the trailer were registering 35,500 lbs. The shavings weighed at least 43,000 lbs.; badly misleading the driver. I was called into the office with all my paperwork and given an a thorough inspection. No violations were found and I was able to move the trailer axles and make the weights legal at less than 34,000 lbs per drives and trailer. Luckily escaping a $185 fine but fuming at the inaccuracy of the BoL

____ A bad interlude in an otherwise good day as I reached the Abbyland Truckstop for the night; just five miles from the farm at Colby, Wisconsin. The pallet-jack at the farm was the most bent and buckled that I have ever worked with but did the job in under an hour before I head to Webster City in a snow storm. The last twenty miles were treacherous as strong side-winds threatened to jack-knife the empty trailer across the ice covered carriageway. A full load of herbicide settles the chance of sliding but it is slow-going for the rest of the day. At Albert Lea; the Petro Truckstop is full to bursting as every trucker sees all the machinery in among the scenery beside Interstate 35 and decides to see what the morning brings.

____ A long day from Albert Lea to Brandon but the weather is better, customs clearance is done without a hitch, two snowy owls put in an appearance on the road to Winkler and there is plenty of room at the Husky Truckstop. It is an empty run back to Steinbach in the morning. Paperwork is already in my pigeon-hole for the next run; Texas leaving Sunday. Leaving Saturday free for a visit to Winnipeg Zoo; polar bears, wolves, musk-ox and caribou. Oh,and an albino buffalo.








Sunday, January 22, 2017

San Antonio Triangle.

11 day - 12 State - 4 Province.
____ Forty degrees below is the magic number when Centigrade equals Fahrenheit and  for two bitterly cold nights; number 94 has stood out in the open. Both my former employers, Flying Eagle and JTI, kept the trucks inside on Winter nights. The freezing temperatures have caused gelling in the fuel filter; so a quick trip into the workshop is called for. A new filter, two bottles of fuel treatment and I'm off to Texas. Just two and a half days to get the peat-moss delivered before Friday lunchtime; so down to Percival, encountering slippery sections of Interstate on the high ground of South Dakota.

____ Winter storm warnings are being broadcast for the lower Mid-West; in Kansas, anti-icing fluid is being spread on the turnpikes. As I approach Fort Worth; convoys of electricity company repair vehicles are making their way north into Oklahoma. Good to see pro-active thinking from the utilities as the Wichita Lineman's prophecy seems about to come true. "...and if it snows, that stretch down South won't ever take the strain."


Car museum at Russell's Truckstop.


____ From Hillsboro, it is five hours down to the plant nursery on the south-west outskirts of San Antonio. A place I had been before and the first time to relax in three days, warm, sunny, as i waited for the reload instructions. East to Waller for a trailer change; then to British Columbia for two drops around Vancouver. Just a winter storm, the Rocky Mountains and 2376 miles to tackle before the Canadian border and 40 hours of driving time to do it before I will need a log-hours reset. On the positive side is the fact that the load only weighs 16000 lbs and cutting across into New Mexico helps avoid worst of the freezing rain in the Ice Storm.

____ Saturday night is spent at Russell's Truckstop on the Texas- New Mexico stateline. Interstate 40 that is also Route 66 from Amarillo to Albuquerque. The west bound trucks are coming-in with an inch-thick layer of cling-film plastered on their front-ends. I spend an hour in Russell's in-house car museum; a welcome break from thoughts of the weather conditions and my new obsession of "Weather App" checking. A variety of cars from the Fifties surrounded by displays of automobile memorabilia together with loads of stuff about Marilyn, Elvis, the Coca Cola Company and the Mother Road.

Bare and dry roads but snow-covered hills.


____ Heavy snowfall on the high ground between Tucumcari and Alberquerque looks like it would slow progress but the New Mexico snow plough drivers don't often get a chance of a long double-time Sunday shift and are out in force. Lashings of course red sandstone every where. Spreading more grit in a morning than a Saskatchewan snow-plough pilot would spread in a month. The constant worry of more bad weather is big in my thoughts as I start to tackle the rising ground towards the Four Corners of New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Arizona; but I reach Greeen River, Utah, with little trouble.

____ Another day, another thousand kay. Utah, Idaho and Oregon before day-light fades at La Grande's Flying J. The parking lot is a sheet of thick rutted ice with no visible snow-clearing; strong winds blow in more snow overnight and I wake up with a three foot drift across the front of the truck. But the roads are passable; the long drag down Interstate 90 to the coast is tricky. Some chain-up, some slide down lightly feathering brakes, like me, and some park-up; like those over-flowing out of the TA Truckstop at North Bend. I had promised myself some Popeyes chicken tenders, my last chance of the trip. I have them too; even though it is a long walk to the restaurant from the on-ramp shoulder in the falling sleet

Rocky outcrop in Utah; destined to be carved into a bust of Donald Trump.
.

____ The 70 hour weekly working limit is getting very close as I run up to the border from Donna's truckstop in Washington State. A quick tip in Abbotsford, followed by more of the same in Burnaby. The next leg of the journey is a load from nearby Richmond, back to Winnipeg; but not ready until the next day. The Greater Vancouver district has a distinct lack of truckstops; running out to Chilliwack is an option but I settle for one of the six spots at the Delta Petro-Pass Cardlock. Virtually non-stop rain since coming down to the lowlands. Loaded and away, east on the Trans-Canada Highway, to Hope and when it is raining in Hope in January; then it is probably snowing on the Coquihalla.

____ But I'm in luck; just more rain, and more of same to the night-halt at Sicamous. The first time with Number 94 in the mountains with a heavy load, but the Detroit Diesel pulls well if you keep it revving. Dirty roads of slush and sand, the perfect conditions that screen-wash manufacturers pray for. Then after the Great Divide; Alberta is clear skies with bare and dry roads. Cruise control for the first time in several days and relaxation for the right foot. The last day is a run from Swift Current to Winnipeg; drop trailer and bob-tail to Steinbach. Temperatures are hovering around zero but still the weather influences the driving, as on nearly every day this trip. This time it is thick fog but enough day-light hours to get home.
Rain on the Coquihalla in January gives Jamie enough to send out to Subway for lunch.
   

Monday, January 9, 2017

Dirt : Both Ways.

Seven Days,
____ Another week; another Winter storm. Highways closed after overnight snow but with a forecast better weather in the afternoon. I plan to leave at mid-day and take the old scale-dodgers' back-road route to the border. This should bring me out at Highway 75; twenty truck lengths from the 49th parallel and save a repeat of last weeks delay. With a full load of peat-moss; I am confident that the W 900 will woof-through the powdered snow that has drifted across the side-roads to the village of Emerson. I am surprised to find that Highway 75 is still closed when I get there; but not as surprised as the US Customs officer at a completely deserted border post. Instead of the usual, "Where are you going?" she asks "Where did you come from?"

____ The North Dakota roads are a lot better than those in Manitoba. The ND DoT website map has "No Travel Advised" all over it but I make good headway. South and the temperature should rise but all the way to Norfolk in Nebraska it is bitterly cold with a strong North wind. The Detroit runs all night. A full days driving gets me to Thackerville at the Oklahoma/Texas state line; still freezing but warm enough to sleep with the engine switched off. Only at Encinal, at the end of the third day does the warmth of the Sun make it pleasant to be outside.

____ Unloaded in Laredo on the Friday morning; the reload is in Gonzales, four hours away. A load of clay for Winnipeg; an ingredient for chicken food that helps make strong egg-shells. Loaded by 3 o'clock; the only problem is customs clearance. It is one of those blind loads where the shipper does not know the customer; only the importer. There are no customs invoices and the importer is in Quebec. The 1 hour Time-Zone difference makes it impossible to get all the paperwork to the customs broker before Monday morning so a six day trip becomes 7 and after flying out of the starting blocks; the trip stalls at the last hurdle.

Snow covered back road into Emerson, Manitoba.


Sun dogs and blowing snow in North Dakota


Light dusting of snow on the hills of Oklahoma.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year Laredo.

Six days at an average of over 900 kilometres per day.
____ After a foot of snow on Christmas Night; Boxing Day was spent shoveling and working-off the excesses of the previous days. So when the  US border re-opened on the Tuesday, there were enormous queues of trucks and cars. All heading South when US Customs didn't think they were going to be busy and were not fully staffed. To make matters worse; I needed a new I94 visa Waiver which added another hour onto the crossing time. It was dark by the time I came to an icy stretch of the Interstate 29 between Grand Forks and Fargo. Three delays within half a day makes me think I'm wasting my time; so I gave up and put into the Petro Truckstop at Fargo for some of Popeye's chicken tenders.

Waiting in line at a snowy 49th Parallel.


____Turned out to be the best thing that I could have done as freezing rain hit the Interstate in South Dakota during the evening. Heavy ice coated everything as it glistened in the low morning sun but the road had been treated wasn't too bad for driving. By Watertown, it was all bare and dry down Salina for the second night-out, although not yet above freezing point. Plus temps came in Oklahoma on Day Three as a busy Interstate 35 rolled into Texas. Saturated traffic through Fort Worth, Waco, Temple, Austin and the over-night halt at San Antonio.

Palm trees of Southern Texas.


____ A couple of hours to do before dropping the bonded load of furniture frames at a customs broker's yard from where it would be taken into Mexico. Five miles along the road in another yard was a trailer loaded with upholstered furniture frames waiting to go back to Winnipeg. Another bonded load with the paperwork already processed; so within an hour, I was northbound, heading for for the Winstar Casino on the Texas/Oklahoma state line. I thought I might be there on New Years Eve but arrived a full day a head of schedule, such was the quick turn-round. Good fish and chips from the restaurant in the "London" section of the city-themed casino calling itself the World's Largest.

Old School-New age : Ruby #94 and Ruby #101


____ From the bottom of Oklahoma, it is two long days' driving back to Steinbach. Not always possible with the Winter weather of the Prairies but I gave myself every chance by getting up to York in Nebraska. On the way, by pure chance, I found myself fueling-up next to Ruby 101 at Tonkawa. Driven by Bob, fellow Brit and ex-Big Freight, and while we chatted, in came Ruby 113; piloted by Neil, also British and an ex-Big Freight driver. They were both headed to Hidalgo, Texas. The last day was a long one but the light load, dry roads and the W900 wound up to 109 on cruise made it easy. Mostly deserted roads and at the border before dark; back to the yard with time to spare.

Dawn : New Year's Day 2017.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Hidalgo and US Highway 281.

6908 kilometres in 8 days.
____ A Winter storm called Decima is scheduled to cross my path somewhere between the Canadian border and the Mexican border as I head south from Steinbach to Hidalgo in Texas. The Friday run down to Vermillion is under clear skies but with a bitterly cold north wind chilling temperatures down to minus 27 C. Only when I park does the snow start; drifting across the front of the idling trucks as they huddle together for warmth. Daylight hours are short as I leave at the crack of dawn; taking the Interstate 35 option where I hope the snowploughs have done their job. Blowing snow mixed with a few flurries; through Omaha, Kansas City and down to Joplin where freezing rain brings everything to a standstill. The Petro Truckstop at Junction 4 on the 44 is an hours crawl from Junction 10. The parking area fills to bursting point as drivers give up on the job and  go to work on the BBQ Buffet in the Iron Skillet restaurant.
Nice new quilted Winter front gets tested by Winter Storm Decima.

____ I wake to find Interstate 44 is moving again and Sunday is an easier day with the strong north winds helping with fuel consumption. It is still freezing but by the time I get to the Flying J at George West; it is only -3. Into the border town of Hidalgo bright and early with the peat-moss, ready for transshipment onto a Mexican trailer pulled by a fellow member of the W900 club. A Kenworth of similar age to #94 but with an overdose of tacky religious bling. I'm just a few hundred yards away from the Rio Grande in an area specializing in the transfer of cross-border goods; my fourth visit to such a town. after El Paso, Eagle Pass and Laredo.
Petro 44 Truckstop, Joplin, in the snow.

____ The reload is from Mansfield, a suburb of Fort Worth, nearly a days run from the southernmost tip of Texas, along Highway 281 and Interstate 35. Synthetic oil and grease for a distribution centre in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. A three day run that sees me on the Highway 281 again in North Dakota. Very windy from the West but an easier run. I am back in Canada by lunchtime on Thursday. A phonecall to the customer assures me that they will take delivery that afternoon. The depot manager stays on the line to talk me into the delivery point; very useful in avoiding weight restrictions and finding an old brewery tucked away behind the vast Moose Jaw goods yard. By the time I go to re-fuel, 70 hours in seven days have elapsed since I set off. An enforced early finish but that enables an early start that sees me running empty back to Steinbach and a reasonable finish on the day before Christmas Eve.

Straight from the Blue Beacon Truckwash at York, Nebraska.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Taber Sugar.

Three Days on the Snowy Prairies.
____ Six axles in Canada can be loaded to 100,000 lbs and the out-bound load to Swift Current wasn't far from max. At least the blowing snow from the North didn't have much effect on the W900 as we followed a ice-patched Trans-Canada Highway for 800 kilometres of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The first delivery was to an agricultural machinery place directly opposite the truckstop where I stayed overnight. It was good to eat a breakfast and drink from an bottomless cup of coffee as I waited for the lights to come on over the road. Twenty pallets of various oils and greases unloaded off the back and into the yard in a biting wind and a temperature of minus 25 Centigrade.

____ Six pallets left for drop number two at Maple Creek, 108 kilometres further West on the same TCH and selling the same brand of tractor. Then, empty to Taber for a reload of sugar. A time-zone crossing gives me an extra hour as I cross from Saskatchewan to Alberta. Sask don't change their clocks; in Winter they are the same as Manitoba, in Summer they're with Alberta. The sugar is heavier than the oil, good job they had a scale at the beet-factory; the Detroit Diesel needs all of it's 500 horses all the way back to Swift Current for another night-out. For a second night, the truck engine runs all night at a fast idle. The Kenworth doesn't have an "Outside Temperature" gauge but when the exhaust stacks of every truck are leaving huge vapour trails in the twilight then I know that it is below minus 20 and time to keep the motor running. The sunshine of day three fails to make a difference to the mercury; all the way back to Steinbach.

____ Six loads now for the 1998 KW and all of them have been within a couple of ton of the legal maximum. But the old iron doesn't complain; just gulps down another gallon and roars. Fuel consumption seems to be at about 10 to the gallon; ten kilometres to an American, 3.5 litre, gallon. That would be 8 mpg in old money. Not as good as something like a 13 litre Volvo but quite acceptable for a truck that is never going to show you a check-engine light or require a parked-re-gen. I am impressed by some of the Kenworth's attributes, a comfortable driving position, a nice double-sleeper, the excellent eight air-bag rear suspension and plenty of power. But some things leave a lot to be desired; the engine noise in the cab is thunderous and the exhaust stacks block a lot of rearward vision when reversing. They don't have to run up by the cab doors and it seems they are just there to complete the "American Class 8 Iconic Truck" look. When it comes to taking the last vacant spot at a busy truckstop, in the dark, in the rain; I can see myself falling out of love with chrome as I try to reverse in a tight spot. The backing-up will get easier with practice but I do find myself thinking more about where and when I'm going to stop; just to avoid a pain-in-the-arse end to the day. But three trips done now for Ruby Truck Line and just time for one more long one before Christmas.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Beeville-Pasadena: Texas.

Another Weeks Work.
____ A fretful start to the trip as I take ice-covered Highway 12 out of Steinbach to Vassar for a load of peat-moss. I am booked in for an 8 o'clock appointment and loaded by nine-thirty. A big Winter -storm is on it's way to south-east Manitoba with a foot of snow forecast; I'm anxious to get on my way before it's afternoon arrival. But it is stock-taking day at the dirt -packing plant and orders dictate that no paperwork can be printed before mid-day. A dozen un-happy drivers are left champing at the bit. Then there is a two hour delay while I wait for customs clearance and can finally head south of the border in an attempt to outrun the snow-flakes.

Cabover Bullrack


____ The going gets tricky around about Hillsboro, between Grand Forks and Fargo, but I'm just ahead of things and south enough to get bare and dry roads by the time I reach South Dakota. After a night at Watertown, the Arctic-blast follows me down Highway 81 and Interstate 35. The destination is the small Texan town of Beeville and the Bonnie Plant Farm. Unloaded and across to Pasadena; for the same re-load as last week, plastic granules back to Winnipeg.

While I was away!


____ The Dub'ya 900 takes it all in it's stride. Two heavy loads but the truck cruises along at 65 mph although the North-South route doesn't have any big climbs. My biggest concern is the quality of the diesel. Texas and Oklahoma have cheap Summer diesel that gels-up in the filters; temperatures are down to minus 25 degrees C in Manitoba and even South Dakota is down to a troublesome minus teens. I need good Number One Diesel from as far south as possible; Stone's Truckstop at Watertown fills the tanks and gets me home without problems. A six-day trip with some bad weather but as reports come through of drivers stranded for days in their cabs, I was lucky I didn't get held-up.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Penner No More.

Drive-by picture of the Sam Houston Statue on Interstate 45, just before sunset.
A Weeks Work.
____ I finally ran out of patience with Penner International after 15 months of waiting for the job to reach it's full potential. They had some good customers, plenty of trailers and some good runs but I never got more than one decent trip a month. The miles just never amounted to what I needed to get a decent wage. I had a reliable truck and always made myself available for any job but finally gave up waiting for things to get better.

____ The new job is a couple of cents a mile less but promises to make that up by giving better runs than Wisconsin. Ruby Truck Lines main destination is Texas and I started with a load of peat-moss to Laredo. The reload was from Houston and straight back to the Steinbach yard. Orientation was just a couple of hours on a Friday morning, I loaded my stuff into the new truck and set off for a Monday morning delivery. I was given a Kenworth W900; which is still in production, but mine was manufactured in 1998. It might have done 2.4 million kilometres or it might be 3.4 million.

____ The truck has recently been rebuilt after a roll-over and appears to be in good order; I couldn't fault it. A 500 bhp Detroit Diesel, 13 speed Eaton-Fuller transmission, lots of dials, a brand new mattress and a Jake-brake that could wake the dead. Different in so many ways from the Cummins-engined Volvo; it took most of the week to get used to the forward-set steer axle, high-hood and lack of rearward vision. The reversing geometry will take a lot longer to master after being spoiled by the Volvo's wide cab and set-back steer axle.

____ It was nice to have the shorts on for two days, and to be honest, getting away from the Canadian Winter was a big attraction when it came to applying for the job. Day-time high in Laredo was 28 degrees C while Manitoba had a high of 28 degrees F. I feel a lot more enthusiastic about this job than I ever did about Penners even though I have been given an 18 year old truck to drive. Maybe I shouldn't have mentioned that I had a 27 year old hobby truck at the interview.
Ruby Truck Lines # 94.