Thursday, July 1, 2010


____DAY 1: With only a five hour drive to the delivery point, I could have got up at 2 o'clock Monday morning and been there by eight. But one of my reasons for coming to Canada was to get away from that regime. So after lunch on Sunday I set off with my steel frame for Whitewood, Saskatchewan; stopping at Brandon for a cup of tea and a donut.
____DAY 2: The agricultural machinery company have been waiting since Febuary for the arrival of my load; a combine harvester is waiting to be rebuilt in time for the forthcoming season. Soon unloaded; I'm heading back to Brandon for a trailer change over. Grain bins going to Yorkton, Sk. Not a long run , only 179 miles, to be tarped as usual. It's a hot and sticky, overcast day; after a welcome shower, I cruise up to Yorkton to finish just before dusk.
____DAY 3: During the night I'm awoken by a thunderstorm, which leaves the nearby grain bin builders yard as a sea of mud. The tarps never touch the ground as I bundle them up as the bins are unloaded; with a smoke tarp strapped over them, I hope for dryer ground back at Brandon. There are still storm clouds at the Manitoba/Saskatchewan border, where a railroad crossing is being repaired leading to an escorted detour along dirt roads; a highway worker has all the safety gear on, hard hat, steel toe boots, hi-viz waterproofs but I wonder how that will protect him from a lightening strike. You wouldn't get me out there in the open waving a 7 foot metal lollipop. Another trailer change for another tarp load, this time 1379 miles, Brandon to Williams Lake, BC. Through to Moose Jaw Sk.for the night.
____DAY 4: Six weeks of storms across the Prairies have left there mark, but no-where more so than at Maple Creek and Irvine. The Sk/Ab border towns suffered most and the Trans-Canada Highway failed to re-open after flooding, so I was forced to go north to Rosetown and then east to Calgary. Crossing the Rockies by the route known to all truck-drivers as "Golden"; not so much named after the town but because of the nearby site of the government scale, notorious for sniffing out over-heating brake pads. I stop overnight at the rebuilt Husky Truckstop, handily placed above the scale.
____DAY 5: From Golden, over the Rogers Pass, through Revelstoke, Sicamous and turning off the major east-west route at Kamloops, heading for Cache Creek. Then Highway 97, the Cariboo Gold Rush Trail, northwards to Williams Lake. Probably the least scenic part of British Columbia but still picture postcard stuff compared to Saskatchewan, if a bit boring with endless woodland on a flat high plateau.
____DAY 6: My steel building is going to be yet another self- storage enterprise, sitting high above the river, overlooking the town and it's sawmills, a building plot to "die for" in some countries will be a row of steel roller shutters. But a good man on a zoom-boom soon has me unloaded. Northern BC should be good for a load of lumber to just about anywhere so I'm not worried about getting reloaded, even if it is Friday. However, other people have other ideas: 2340 miles; collecting a pre-loaded trailer from North Bend, Washington. delivering in British Columbia and Alberta. A days driving empty; running the "Canyon", the route beside the Thompson and Fraser Rivers, a spectacular road swooping and climbing whilst the waters churn and crash endlessly alongside. A new border crossing into the US at Sumas, just 2 miles off the TCH, south of Abbotsford. Across to Interstate 5 and down to Donna's Truckstop, to end the day on the topside of Seattle.
____DAY 7: Thoughtfully all the custom formalities were done by the office on Friday, so it is just a case of chaining down the three aerial access towers and heading back north. Crossing on the Pacific Highway, east to Hope and then again into the Canyon; running upstream and fully loaded. With not a great deal of mileage until the first drop at Prince George on Monday morning ; I park overnight at Cache Creek.
____DAY 8: There is a World Cup match on in the morning, but as I didn't see the last match and England won, I decide not to watch this time in case I jinx it for them. Anyhow I save myself 90 minutes of anguish. Once more into the Cariboo, Williams Lake and northwards to Prince George.
____DAY 9: The medium sized machine is the first off, no problem, and I continue along Hwy 97 heading for Fort St. John. At about the Continental Divide, road improvement work stops all traffic for nearly an hour while rock-blasting takes place. After that it is slow progress as all the traffic is now bunched in a convoy with every shape and size of RV. The management at Fort St. John tell me that for insurance purposes it is my job to unload the biggest of my Genie access platforms. Never haven driven one before, I need their yard man to start it up; but after that, by following his instructions, it drives off quite nicely. Earlier I had received reload instructions that needed me to pick up empty snowmobile and ATV crates; starting with the dealer at Fort St. John. So with one access tower left to deliver, I load 30 crates behind it and head to the next pick-up , down the Alaska Highway at "Mile Zero": Dawson Creek. Minutes too late to load.
____DAY 10: The dealer is opposite Wal-Mart and it's a good job he has room for me to park over night.Wal-Mart's parking lot is full of RVs; 75 year old american couples in $300,000 motor homes towing town cars. It's great to see them doing the Alaska Highway roadtrip, even if their children's inheritance depreciates at every mile marker. Twenty-two crates from Dawson Creek, next Spruce Grove, 600 kilomtres away in Alberta. Twenty-six crates, but time has run out on getting the last delivery done. Blast those highway workers; their Monday morning explosions have cost me big time.
____DAY 11: Everything delivered and everything collected; time to head home. Edmonton is more than one days drive from Steinbach, so it's not worth pushing on regardless, a nice little siesta at Saskatoon, finishing at Yorkton to complete a big circle.
____DAY 12: Just under six hours driving back to base and the storm clouds havn't gone away whilst I have been away. Thunder and lightening ruining many peoples Canada Day holiday. July 1st in Canada, July 4th in the US; a long holiday weekend in North America.
____Overall Distance:- 7456 kms.

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