|12 Day Trip.|
____ An early start, a flowing run through the perennial roadworks on Interstate 35 at Fort Worth and I am down to the TA truckstop at Laredo before dark. Twenty-eight degrees C in the evening calm; sitting back with the windows open and a sweet iced-tea in easy reach. And that is the scenario for the whole of Wednesday; after unloading and running back to the truckstop. I am waiting for a trailer load of supermarket chiller cabinets to come over the Rio Grande from Mexico; expected Thursday at 08.00 hours. A day at leisure, a visit to the TA fitness room, a shower and then it clouds over and rain showers keep away the worst heat of the day.
____ With only four tonnes in the trailer and a destination of Port Coquitlam, British Columbia; it is journey of 4000 kilometres and five days to do it. The sort of run that I look forward to; a bonded load, so Customs are a formality too. Up to Sweetwater TA for a rendezvous with Mr. Ramsden; he's heading to Houston to swap an empty trailer for another BC bound load. That one is not due to be delivered before the following Friday; eight days away. Ruby Truck-Line can never be accused of not giving a driver enough time to do the work.
____ Into New Mexico; a night at Acoma Pueblo aka Sky City, then onto Ogden in Utah and the original Flying'J. It has an adjoining workshop, truckwash and tyre repair facility which is very handy because I wake up on Sunday morning to find a punctured trailer tyre. With no call-out and a patchable hole; $57 is a bargain and only a two hour delay. Then it's Utah to Idaho, through to Oregon and into fog. I constantly check temperatures on my phone's weather app but rarely scroll down for the details. Coming down Emigrant Hill at the Deadman's Pass; I drop into a blanket of thick fog. A surprise and scary too. There are heavily laden, slow-moving trucks descending the twisting Interstate 84. I am coasting down with just a little bit of Jake-brake; far too fast for zero visibility. It might just be one patch of fog or it might extend across the whole of the Columbia River basin; but I've done enough for the day and can stop at the nearby Arrowhead Travel Plaza.
____ The Arrowhead is the third truckstop on this trip that is owned by a Native American tribe. Night-out number two was at Thackerville, Oklahoma, where the Choctaw Nation has one of their thirteen truckstops. The Acoma tribe owns the truckstop at Sky City and the Arrowhead is run by the Umatilla people. All three have adjoining casinos. The fog hadn't gone by the morning and I eventually drove out of it in Washington State and the higher ground around the orchards of Yakima. Through the lands of the Yakama. I find a fascinating history of the First Nations as I travel more and more across America.
____ Back into Canada at the Pacific Highway, then a short run to the Petro Pass at Delta where I find myself parked next to a curtainside trailer. A rare thing in North America, but even stranger to find that the Volvo tractor unit is being driven by another British driver. Ex-Ralph Davies and a few other familiar names; we spend the evening chatting about the "Good Old Days" which we agree were bloody hard work and lucky to survive. Forty minutes in the morning, across to Port Coquitlam where it takes the rest of the morning to unload the eight chiller cabinets. Reload when empty: Edmonton, Alberta, for Monterrey, Mexico.
____ An eleven hour dead-head across the Rocky Mountains, good fuel consumption but I would have like a few tons on the drive axles when climbing the Coquihalla Pass. "Slippery Sections," it said on the matrix panels. No chains needed and through to Kamloops before encountering any snow flurries. A ten hour break at Valemount, then five hours to Edmonton where the twenty tonnes of paper make me feel a lot more confident of traction as the snow fall settles in for the day. By Lloydminster, I am ahead of the snow-loaded weather front but into the icy blast from the North. By Radisson, Saskatchewan, it is minus 20 and a howling gale; the Detroit Diesel runs all night.
____ I pushed on late into the night to make the last day do-able; six hundred miles and 13 hours on the clock. I got home but it was touch-and-go at times. Two weather fronts battling each other across the Prairies as first I had warm temperatures and snow followed by cold winds and ice rain. It alternated between the two, all day as I pushed on relentlessly; trying to get as much done before darkness descended. Starting in the dark, finishing in the dark; bitter cold, blowing snow and still only November. I have brought the trailer back to Steinbach as instructed but I might get it again after an hours re-set and continue with it to Laredo.
|US Army tow-truck; zoom in on the hi-tech door look.|
|Alberta is now having Winter.|
|Scraper on 8 axle rig.|
|Elk in Jasper National Park beside the Yellowhead.|
|Saskatchewan is now having Winter.|
|The Deserts of New Mexico.|
|Price Canyon, Utah, Short cut to Salt Lake City.|