Saturday, August 28, 2010

Trip XXIV.

____DAY 1: The only other time that I went to Morden, Mb. was on a blind date. We went to Assiniboia Downs, Winnipeg's local race track, one Saturday night. When I got the lady home, she turned out to be as fast as any racehorse. Out the car, down the garden path and through her front door before I could shift from drive to park. Out of eight races that night, I picked four winners; you win some, you lose some. This time I'm in Morden for a trailer load of augers, the contraptions that put the grain in grain bins. A damn awkward load that has to have a strap over every single item. Then on to Weyburn,Sk. for a night at the Main Track Cafe, good food and cold beer.
____DAY 2: A 940 mile trip to Linden, Ab. 12,000 lbs and flat terrain, the only problem is the load keeps shifting and the straps come loose. The dunnage is of so poor a quality that the more I tighten the straps, the more it disintegrates; like pieces of over-cooked Canadian bacon. It's a legal requirement that a driver checks a flatdeck load every 3 hours; I'm stopping and messing about every ninety minutes. Linden cannot come soon enough for my liking. I park at the customers premises; ready for an early start to the busy day ahead.
____DAY 3: Breakfast at the Country Cousins Restaurant is a good start, but the three augers are unloaded one piece at a time and laid out ready for assembly; it takes two and a half hours. On the way to the first reload pick-up, the trailer brakes start to hang-on; probably a faulty valve, a problem I know that will quickly worsen. But I have a trick up my sleeve; dump the air in the trailer and apply the spring loaded trailer brakes; then re-apply the air so that the springs release the brake shoes from the drums. This is a separate set of valves and air pipes from the foot brake which has the faulty valve. I am then free to go; until the next time I apply the foot brake. I travel the 50 kilometres down to the BFS drop-yard in Calgary with three dump/re-apply episodes; one on the shoulder and two at red lights. A quick trailer change and the job is back on track. Pick-up 1: 13 pallets of bagged sand and cement. Pick-up 2: a 20 foot long pack of decking; all to be tarped. Just when I'm ready to leave BEEP. Can I preload a trailer for another driver who is running late? I agree, as I often have preloads done for me and it's only 5 miles away. Unfortunately the pick-up reference number I have been given means nothing to the shipper and when I telephone the office, they have all gone home, being one hour ahead on Manitoba time. I leave empty handed, back to my load at the drop yard. Finally when I do get going; the air-conditioning has packed up. I reach Redcliff, where I go and clean up. A young Asian driver tells me to fetch some more paper towel; in the mirror I see a tired, dirty, scruffy, unshaven, old man wearing trainers with coveralls tucked into his socks. I know I should have decked him; but I DID look like a loo cleaner. It had been a long hard day.
____DAY 4: Redcliff, Ab. to Steinbach is as far as I ever do in one day on what is the most boring bit of the Trans-Canada Highway. But I have never had a problem with steering a truck for 11 hours a day. 50,000 lbs and only 3 or 4 down-changes all the way. Back in the yard, I un-tarp, un-strap and put the trailer in the tarp shed to keep dry. A day-cab, local truck will deliver the load to Winnipeg on Monday; I have a load for BC.
____Overall Distance: 2957 kms.

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