Thursday, April 22, 2010

Trip XII.

____PROLOGUE: Several people have commented on how my last trip was similar to one done be my good freind Peter Schneider. We both loaded lumber in Kenora for the Eastern Seaboard of the USA. Then reloaded out of Ritchie Brothers' auction sites for destinations in Ontario. Both had load securement problems and took blows to head from our own snipe bars. Peter knocked himself out, went to hospital and had stitches. But a bizzarre coincidence of two very good looking men being scared for life by malfunctioning chain binders.
____DAY 1: For my next trip I get the same delivery address as Peter had on his fateful trip: Baltimore. But from then on the chain will be broken as I already have my reload, resin rods from West Virginia to Winnipeg. It's a tight 3 day run, so after crossing at International Falls, I push on as far as possible; finishing at Bloomer in Wisconsin.
____DAY 2: The leaves are coming out onto the trees, the Harley-Davidsons are coming out of there heated storage and the cone-zones are back on the Interstates. The US Recovery and Reinvestment Programme is throwing billions of dollars at the Interstate System. Anybody who has taken the southbound ramp from Interstate 290 onto Interstate 294 will say,"About time too". 290 is now all torn up and that's the only excuse I need to stay on Interstate 39 at Rockford and loop through Bloomington Il. cutting out all of Chicago. I finish the day at Spiceland, east of Indianapolis.
____DAY 3: Interstate 70 starts at Cove Fort, Utah and goes eastwards through Denver, Kansas and Indianapolis, 3500 kilometres, all the way to Baltimore in Maryland; it should be the only road I drive today. But at Breezewood Pa. the Interstate disappears, hi-jacked by local entrepreneurs. With the help of two sharp bends and some traffic-lights, all vehicles are channelled down a half mile strip of neon, saturated with every fast food franchise and brand of fuel station along with enough hotel beds to cope with an airport full of stranded passengers.
The Baltimore Travel Plaza is only a mile from my delivery point and a handy place to stop; but it has an edge. Downtown, near the docks; I don't see truck-drivers or truck-stop workers standing outside, having a smoke, I see opportunists. Stuart Anderson in C603 is already there with the eight o'clock load, I park next to him, safety in numbers; it's time to sharpen-up security, sharpen the senses and the body language. It's a"TA" truckstop with the "All you can eat-everything-all the time" menu .The very nice waitress insists I have two Southern Chicken dinners. Then she tells the five drivers seated at her counter that her boy freind is a trucker and that he cheats on her; adding that she enjoys cheating on him too. Later she shows us all some glamour shots taken on her camera phone. I'm the first to leave so I don't know who got lucky.
____DAY4: My 7 o'clock delivery is unloaded by half past and I'm soon on my way to Falling Waters WV, a few miles south of Interstate 70 on the famous Potomac River. Arriving at 11 for a 12 noon loading appointment, I'm told that there has been a machinery break-down and my load won't be ready until 6 o'clock that evening. Time to rest up for the long drive back. The load is resin, the same stuff that glues fibre-glass together, the smell is strong and effects the senses. It gets to me a bit while I'm tarping, if you was in a van with this stuff it would knock you out. My 14 hour time limit is up at Breezewood, not a high mileage day.
____DAY 5: A day of a thousand K, a day of Interstates 70 and 74 from Breezewood TA to Bloomington TA. A day of cruise control, scanning the airwaves for "Classic Rock" and scanning the fast lane for "Leg"; damn privacy glass shouldn't be allowed!
____DAY 6: Interstates 39 and 94; soon former BFS driver, Tony Winning comes past in his smart blue and white Volvo. We stop for coffee at South Beloit,Il and then again at Back River Falls Wi. I'm finding it difficult to keep up so we arrange to met at the Truckers Inn at Sauk Center Mn. Wednesday night, there is "All you can eat-Taco Bar"; tasty but messy.
____DAY 7: I first ran with Tony over 3 years ago when we did the "Duffey". Where I led us, fully laden and totally unnecessarily, over the now known to be notorious mountain pass; north of Whistler in British Columbia. He always mentions it. We run back to Canada and I have just enough time to get my load off in Winnipeg before they go home.
____Overall distance: 5454 kms.

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