Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Trip X.

____DAY 1: After a couple of mild weeks, the temperature snapped down to minus 19 degrees and C596 only just started . Thursday is a tricky day to leave on a tour, it's either a two thousand miler delivering on the following Monday or a local multi-drop load. I land 200 miles , five drops finishing with 2 in Brandon. Ride-on lawn mowers and ATV's calling at Headingley, Portage la Prairie and the only town ever named after a floodlight failure on Tyneside. "Neepawa-Neepawa" chanted the Toon Army. All unloaded by 13.30 and as a reward: 340 miles, 5 drops, tarp load out of Brandon. What I've done to annoy the office; I don't know.
____DAY 2: It's not a good start when the forklift truck is an hour late showing-up at the Newdale site, but after that I just grind out the day, driving, untarping, retarping and driving on. Miniota to Roblin to Gilbert Plains to Laurier. Then it's back to Brandon for a preloaded trailer going to Nebraska and a Monday morning delivery. Another tarp load and my fingers are aching but if I do it Friday evening I can have two days of "No touch freight." Exhaustion arrives with the darkness, I shower then sleep.
____DAY 3: From Brandon, I head eastwards to Winnipeg and then south to the border at Pembina. Busier than usual, with just about every truck having a Monday 0800am delivery somewhere in the Midwest within 1200 miles. Typical Saturday afternoon traffic. My day finishes at Fargo,ND. When fueling, I spot a flat tyre on a drive axle; by the time it's fixed, three hours have been lost. I'm back in the same truckstop as exactly one week before.
____DAY 4: They're back! The stroppy Red-shouldered Blackbirds who live in the long-grassed marshy ditches at the side of the Interstates. There are two types of animal, ones that run away from you and ones that run after you; instinctively everyone knows their place. But not the Red-shoulder; if not bickering amongest themselves, they are fighting with crows, hawks and even mighty eagles. You have to admire their courage; if they were human, they would be truck-drivers.
____DAy 5: It's a half-hour run from my overnight halt at Gretna to the farm at Waverly, Ne. One guy turns up to unload the grain bins; he is so out of condition that I fear his gasping is not going to see the job through and he is only driving the forklift! I leave asap when empty and wait for a reload at the end of the dirt road. BEEP. Preloaded trailer from Valley, Ne. going back to the Steinbach Yard. A pivot irrigation machine in kit form, a regular return load to Canada and one that looks more difficult to secure than it is. I make it as far north as Watertown in South Dakota and a night at Stone's Truckstop.
____DAY 6: The Red River is still determined to become the World's Widest River and as I pass through the flooded landscape of North Dakota, I cannot resist stopping and taking photographs of a truck loaded with irrigation equipment. Love the irony. The crest of the floodwaters is slowly moving north, next week it will be the turn of Manitoba and the town of Morris is preparing itself as I come through on my way to Steinbach.
____Overall distance: 3318 kms.

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