Saturday, January 16, 2010

Trip II

____DAY 1: A load of lumber from Winnipeg to Kansas City, load friday, deliver monday, 829 miles. I'll just do the loading on friday then go back home. It's short lengths of lumber, used for making pallets, so could be big problems and sure enough; pieces of the pack are creeping out even as it's coming down the yard on the forklift truck. My last lumber load had packs 40 feet long and were no trouble, the shorter the pack, the bigger the problem. I decide, there and then, to tarp the ends of the load; 30 minutes now will save the embarassment of playing "pick up sticks" on the Interstate 29 sometime during the weekend.
____DAY 2: Driving due south 500 miles in one day, I expect the temperature to rise considerably. But Steinbach, Mb to Sioux City, Ia takes me from --23 to --18 degrees, most disappointing. A dip in the Jetstream has given Arctic conditions to all of the Midwest.
____DAY 3: A half days driving on Interstate 29 takes me into Kansas City where I grab the last parking spot in the pint-sized Flying J, it's a tight fit which a 53 foot van would want to avoid. But with a 48 foot flat-deck I manage it with a few shunts. As my delivery point is only a mile away, this is the best place to be.
____DAY 4: The pallet lumber is soon unloaded, intact, and I'm straight off to get my reload from Sapulpa, Oklahoma. South on US Highway 71 to Joplin, Mo, then southwest towards Tulsa, Ok. Now I'm driving on the legendary Route 66, probably the most famous Roadtrip in the world. 2000 miles all the way, Chicago to LA. The Roadtrip to do on a Harley, in summer, with a bird on the back. Not that you see any roadsigns indicating "Route 66", its the Interstate 44, but the many roadside advertising hoardings leave you in no doubt. West of Tulsa, I load pipes for Estevan, Sk. At Sapulpa, the loaders charge $50 for pipestakes and $10 a piece for lumber, luckily I had the reload information before I left Canada so I have brought my own equipment. It's getting dark when I have finished loading but it is +7 degrees which is a pleasant change. But it's north to Wichita, Ks and another frosty night.
____DAY 5: After some interstate it's all US highway 81, mostly four-lane and flat, so I make good time in vitually traffic free conditions. Kansas into Nebraska and on into South Dakota as night falls. I park overnight at the Pilot truck-stop in Mitchell, SD, an expansive truck park that can always squeeze in one more.
____DAY 6: Still northbound but now on the US highway 281, its another long day on the Prairies. I cross back into Canada at North Portal, Sk, only half an hour from Estevan. Meanwhile the next assignment has arrived, a loaded trailer awaits at Brandon, Mb, four drops of steel in Manitoba. I will need to maximise my time if I'm going to deliver 4 drops on a friday, getting the first drop done on thursday afternoon seems to be the best plan.
____DAY 7: I have a full breakfast at the Estevan Husky and am at the delivery address at 07.00 am ready for a flying start to a busy day. But the pipe company wants to load all the outgoing pipe before they start unloading, ten trucks and 4 hours later, I leave for Brandon. Towards the Saskatchewan/Manitoba border I encounter freezing fog and at the little scale on Highway 2, south of Brandon, I'm stopped for a Department of Transportation truck inspection. These things come in threes. Undetered, I strap down and tarp the steel, the kind lady in the office phones the first customer and they say if I'm there by five-thirty, they will unload me. And they do. So it's on to Winnipeg for the night and friday now looks a lot easier.
____DAY 8: By 11.30 I am up at Fisher Branch in northern Manitoba, the last drop and a new destination for me. It's nice to drive new roads everyday. Unloaded and back south to Gimli for a reload of empty snowmobile crates in the Icelandic area of Manitoba. The dinosaur machine that masquerades as a forklift truck makes hard work of putting on a few crates. The pipestakes come to the rescue by stopping the crates being pushed off one side as they are loaded on the other. Handy things to carry with you, pipestakes. Back at Steinbach, the place looks like a farmyard with green John Deere tractors being replaced by green Kenworths and haystacks on every other trailer. I have a load of hay leaving sunday for Wisconsin, there is still time to strap and tarp it before going home for a 36 hour log reset.
____Overall distance: 4509 kms.


  1. Hello,
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    Lumber Tarps

  2. Lumber tarps are a vital part of transporting lumber. They keep the wood safe from the elements and keep the lumber from falling out of the truck bed, a serious safety hazard. The right tarp can protect the valuable cargo as well as protecting other travelers.