Thursday, August 25, 2016

Seven Drops in Iowa.

Freightliner Flat-deck
Nine day trip.
____ A Tuesday afternoon departure with a load of the big cardboard tubes; a load I had not done for several years. A multi-drop run starting at Des Moines, running down to Ottumwa and finishing-up just outside Cedar Rapids on Thursday afternoon. The reload was less than 20 miles away and I made it through to  Iowa 80, the World's Biggest Truckstop, for an evening of browsing chrome. Onto Mississauga for a trailer switch; then back to Iowa with four drops of agricultural machinery parts. All delivered on Monday morning before hacking through to the centre of Chicago for a load of plastic. Back to Winnipeg whilst rolling over the driving hours and getting home on Wednesday lunchtime.

Sunset at Pelican Lake.

Full-size Float-Plane in Cabela's at Rogers, Minnesota.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Plenty of Empty Miles in a 6000 Kilometre Week.

____ A Monday morning departure; west to Portage La Prairie for a load of oats that was destined for a Tuesday evening delivery appointment at Manawa in Wisconsin. Then a nine hour haul up to Dryden in Ontario with the empty trailer. A quick swap for a loaded trailer of pulp and I was off down the narrow Highway 502 again. Across into the States at International Falls before due South to Jackson, Missouri. Friday afternoon before I got unloaded but the office had a Saturday lunchtime trailer switch for me at De Kalb, back to Illinois and homeward bound. Back into Canada with just a couple of hours left of my weekly 70 allowance. Just enough time to drop the trailer in Winnipeg and bobtail home.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Good Week : Bad Week.

5070 kilometres in 7 days.
____ When I heard it was a trailer from Dryden, going to Wisconsin, I thought I was in for another poor paying, low mileage week. But things looked better after I had delivered to Rhinelander and got a reload of glass from Spring Green heading East. The familiar busy route around the bottom of Lake Michigan and across to the Ambassador Bridge that joins Detroit to Windsor in Ontario. An early delivery appointment at Vaughan where I was able to park on the unloading dock overnight. From there, I had all day Thursday to get to Drummondville in Quebec; not that there was an hurry. The load wasn't ready until 3 o'clock on Friday afternoon. The trip had been beset by traffic hold-ups from the start; road works and catching the rush-hours and it didn't let-up. A road closure due to a fatal accident had me sitting for three hours just east of Sault Ste Marie as I made my way back into the States. Crossing the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and onto Roseau in Minnesota for a Monday morning tip before heading,empty, back to Steinbach.

____ It wasn't Wisconsin again, but I can't say I was happy to hear I was going to South Dakota. Vermillion is south-South Dakota but not even a full days drive from Steinbach. Something East into Ontario was the preferred reload direction but I only went as far as Sheffield; to load agricultural parts for Winnipeg. Back home inside three days. Not really my sort of work. I need more miles!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Five Day Week To Kalamazoo.

____ A heavy load from the Steinbach yard at Monday lunchtime with the first night's destination of Osseo, ten hours away. A late finish, but with the heat gone from the day, a comfortable night's sleep. Day two is a long slog, around the bottom of Lake Michigan and up to Grand Rapids for an early evening unloading appointment. Reload is at Kalamazoo and nearly 5 o'clock before I get going; the waiting does let me avoid the evening rush hour around Chicago. A leaking brake chamber on the trailer delays my departure from the Petro Stopping Centre at Portage. The onsite repair workshop has the part in stock and after an hour's labour, I'm on my way up to Fargo and another night-out at another Petro. I'm finished by noon on Friday, after dropping the trailer in Winnipeg and dragging a load back to Steinbach.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Bikes At The Pony Corral Sunday Cruise.Vincent


Harley Davidson

Harley Davidson with skulls.



New Indian Scout

Original Indian Scout

Harley Davidson

Fully Dressed Indian

Norton Commando

Harley Davidson

Harley Davidson




Saturday, July 16, 2016

Wisconsin And Back Again.

____ A trip of less than four days and less than 3000 kiometres. Not a good earner for me or for Penners. There was the empty running from Steinbach to Dryden; before I picked up the pulp that was destined for Rothschild. More empty miles, over to Chilton, where the load to Mississauga was cancelled at the last minute. That meant a dead-head to Manchester in Iowa, before I got re-loaded but only to Steinbach. Nights-out on the way round at Minong, Belmont, Wisconsin, and the Petro at Fargo; before getting home on Saturday morning. Only left on Wednesday; not a lot of miles at Penners this Summer.

Indy Pace Car. Pictured in the fast lane.

Manitoulin Four Axle Argosy Unit pictured in Ontario road works.

Nice blue paint scheme on Peterbilt.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Progress with the Mack.

____ With work being a little on the slow side ; it has given me some time to get to work on the Mack. Most of my effort has been concentrated in the back and the conversion to a motor home type of vehicle. After a lot of cutting about with a succession of easily burnt-out angle grinders; I have started on the reconstruction. Using a lot of stuff from the original equipment, the motor home is probably like no other. But it is strong and mostly stainless steel lined with aluminuim chequer plate. Here are a few interior pictures of the job so far.
The sink and bamboo block counter-top. The various wood-grains make a nice contrast to the predominant metal work.

One of many angle grinders that gave their lives along with hundreds of cutting discs in the conversion of this vehicle.

The knife and fork drawer [with enough room for spoons too] has a safe working load of 250 lbs and was moved out from the dining area. Fridge and microwave will go in the space above.

 A two seat dining booth. This required extensive cutting of the chequer plate and uses up most of one storage cabinet.

A small wardrobe, where the clothes hang trough a hole into one of the outside storage lockers. This locker will be for all clothing and has access through the hinged plywood seat back.

The sofa folds out into a double bed, the mattress and cover are from a Ikea futon [sold separately from the frame]. 

Two Trips From The Last Fortnight.

____ A seven day trip with the worst traffic that I have encountered for a long time. Probably due to the up-coming 4th of July holiday weekend. It was alright going over to Dryden to collect a loaded trailer of paper; no problem getting to Green Bay and  getting unloaded but from then on it was hard going. After reloading near Madison; I caught busy roads all the way across Chicago, through Detroit and across the Ambassador Bridge. It was slow going in and out of the Greater Toronto Area as I did two drops near Mississauga and reloaded for Carol Stream at Scarborough. It was touch and go whether I was going to get the Carol Stream delivery done before midday closing on Friday but as I had been there before it did help knowing where to go. I needed a pre-loaded trailer if I was to avoid a lon weekend of sitting about. The office came up with one; a long dead head to Fridley for some cardboard that was going to Winnipeg. So after leaving on a Monday; I was back home on Sunday morning.

____ I spent an extra day at home before heading out with a load of oatmeal to Indianapolis. Two days driving down to the TA at Zionsville before a five mile drive to get unloaded on the northern outskirts of Indianapolis. IT was then a thrash over to Lima in Ohio to get loaded at 1 o'clock on Friday afternoon. Hand-ball load of empty oil drums back to Steinbach. Another Sunday morning home time arrival on a straight forward there and back run.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Texas Triangle.

____ An 11 day trip that flew out of the blocks and then kept ticking over. Two days to get from Steinbach to Mississauga needed the extra driving time allowed by Canadian regulations and then I needed the short eight hour break to get the pizza boxes into the food services distribution depot on time. Next job loads the next morning from Corunna, just a stones throw from the US border at Port Huron. A load of resin for Victoria, Texas. 2600 kilometres to drive over the weekend. Fully loaded but not a serious hill along the way.

____ Cruise control and no problems until Texarkana; when the  drive axle suspension collapses during a set of road-works. I drag it through the cones and crawl underneath; expecting the worse. But it is only a dislocated connecting rod; the one from the ride-height sensing valve to the air-bag support beam. I wind round most of a roll of electrical tape and it holds together for the rest of the trip.

____ The delivery at Victoria is to a vast petro-chemical complex, the size of a small village. I have to watch a film show and answer questions before I am allowed in. Even then I have to wait for an escort to  the unloading bay. But during this time a reload offer arrives; resin from La Porte, Texas to Winnipeg. If Victoria is a petro-chemical village then La Porte is a oil industry capital city. On the eastern outskirts of Houston; Highway 225 is a never ending refinery and warehouse corridor. Loaded and away to a nearby Loves Truckstop to scale in the evening rush-hour.

____ Now, driving hours are becoming short and the weather is hot. The best time of the day is the cool of the early mornings, the worst is the four o'clock hour in the afternoon. From Huntsville to Oklahoma City in the five hours of allowed driving on the Tuesday. But then the two big days come back and I'm up in Winnipeg by Thursday evening for the Friday 0630 delivery. Eleven days and 7609 kilometres.  

Monday, June 13, 2016

Whoosh : Where does the time go.

3990 kilometres - 5 days.
____ Another week whizzes away to be history. Another trip down to Missouri, back up to Illinois and I'm home by Sunday afternoon. It started with the familiar run over to Dryden with an empty trailer. Swap for a heavy one and down Highway 502; across the border at the rail track factory bridge that is International Falls. First night at Moose Lake, followed by another  at Bowling Green amidst the annual DOT safety and compliance blitz on trucks and truckers. Three days of open scale houses and brake checks.

____ Empty at Jackson, Missouri, and I was expecting a run south for the re-load but after a couple of hours of waiting; I got instructions to start out on a 600 kilometre dead-head up to De Kalb in Illnois and a trailer switch on Saturday morning. It is mid-day before I head for home but still have enough hours in the day to make it to Sauk Centre although not much time or energy for a Saturday night out. The trailer goes to Day and Ross in Winnipeg and I go home. Wondering if I'll get some new drive tyres as some of the old ones have started to pell off what tread they have left.