Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Trip XI.

____DAY 1: Half -way to Kenora, a message came in changing the delivery to Assonet, Massachusetts from Monday to Tuesday. The 1800 mile trip now had five days in which to be completed. A load of lumber, 200 lbs below the allowed maximum of 80,000 lbs, it took a bit of shuffling of the packs to get the axle weights legal. Then it was off to the border, crossing into the US at International Falls, Mn. Probably one of the strangest border crossings anywhere; trucks cross by using a single track rail-road bridge over the Rainy River with steel plates leveling out between the rails. First night out is at the Nemadji Truckstop at Superior, Wi.
____DAY 2: After a late start, I refuel at the Flying J at Black River Falls where I decide to use my fuel vouchers. I come out of the restaurant paying only $1.53 for a vast ammount of the buffet. Half-way across the parking, I know I have overdone it: again. But I am learning from my mistakes and move the truck to a parking spot closer to the washrooms. Eventually, I think it is safe enough to continue and make it as far as South Bend, In.
____DAY 3: Westwards out of Indiana and into Ohio, Interstates 80 and 90 are the same road, when they split, I have to choose: loop northwards on the 90 or take the more direct 80 route. I take the 80 which is toll-free but does go through New York City. The afternoon temperature rises to 29 degrees C, strangely warm when there are no leaves on the trees and an overcast sky. But a strong wind is blowing from the south, like a hairdryer.
____DAY 4: From Lamar, Pa. the Interstate 80 passes into New Jersey at the Delaware Water Gap and down towards New York, joining the New Jersey Turnpike just before going over the Hudson River on the George Washington Bridge. There is congestion at the toll booth for the bridge but as it is Easter Sunday, traffic is generally light. Across Manhattan, through the Bronx and taking Interstate 95 along the shore into Connecticut. I finish the day at the TA at Brenford, one of the few truckstops on the Eastern Seaboard that doesn't charge for parking.
____DAY 5: It's only two hours drive to Assonet, and although I'm not booked in until Tuesday, I have delivered here before and was unloaded without an appointment. I wait for the early morning rush to subside then cut across Rhode Island and onto Assonet. The guys say they will get to me when they can, I'm unloaded after the shift change.
____DAY 6: A reload comes through mid -morning, from Stafford Springs, Connecticut to Caledon in Ontario; 530 miles. I cut across the wooded hillsides of Rhode Island and Connecticut, a pleasent drive amongest sprawling villages of weather-boarded houses in the classic New England style. The load is 4 excavator buckets from a Ritchie Bros. auction site; easily found due to the bold orange and white flags that always avertise Ritchie Bros. The buckets are going to another auction site in Canada. Can people make a living by buying goods on the internet, shipping them across borders and then selling them again at another auction?
____DAY 7: The route into Canada takes me back west along the Interstate 90 to Buffalo, NY. It's only 2 hours north to Caledon and I arrive mid-afternoon; I'm taking off the chains when: BANG- OUCH, that hurt. My head has been hit harder, but I can't remember when. A big thank-you to the folks at LVG Auctions who searched several First Aid kits to find a sticking plaster big enough to cover the cut. When unloaded, I trundle down to the Husky Truckstop at Mississauga feeling distinctly detuned. Luckily nosing into the last available parking space, I go in search of a nice cup of tea.
____DAY 8: No reload information comes until the afternoon and I'm grateful for a quiet day. It's a load out of Buffalo, just over the border in New York state, going to Saskatoon,; loading Friday. The only place to stop that I can think of is the Bordertown Truckstop at Fort Erie; it will mean crossing at a busy time in the morning but gives me a welcome rest.
____DAY9: The tanks going to Saskatoon take the load height right up to the 13ft 6inch legal maximum. I'm glad to be able to tarp them inside as a strong cold wind blows straight off Lake Erie; by the time I am ready to leave, it has started to snow. Toledo, Ohio was not as far as I thought I would get, It will leave a lot to do if I am to deliver Monday morning.
____DAY 10: The daily average kilometre count for the last few days had not been high. But Saturday needed 1000 kays, the weather had changed to clear and bright, weekend traffic was light and Rogers ,Minnesota was a good place to get to.
____DAY 11: Sunday needed the same effort as Saturday, another thousand kilometres, Minnesota, North Dakota and up into Saskatchewan. Weyburn would leave me with just a couple of hours driving in the morning.
____DAY 12: The tanks were going to a chemical plant being built at Key Lake in northern Saskatchewan, I arrived at the equipment holding yard in Saskatoon at 11.00am. The unloading crane was booked for 13.30, which gave me time to untarp, but the crane didn't show up until gone three o'clock. It didn't take long to lift them off ,but it meant I had missed my afternoon reload pick-up in Prince Albert; one and a half hours drive north.
____DAY 13: The load from PA was empty snowmobile and ATV crates; going back to Steinbach and eventually to Roseau,Mn, home of Polaris. Forty-five, not a full load, and I had them put on 6 high; it was into the wind all the way home to Steinbach.
____Overall distance:-8430 kms.

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