Wednesday, May 4, 2011


____Day 1: On the way to Selkirk for a load of steel blades; the destination changes from Chattanooga, Tennessee,  to seven drops en route to Ohio. Less miles and more work, as the load will have to be re-tarped six times. To compound my unhappiness, there is still  flood water around Morris; sending me on a 200 kilometre detour to the border, via Winkler. Finishing the day at Sauk Center, still three hours from my first drop.
____Day 2: The blades are the replaceable sharp edges of snowploughs and are going to various County Highway Departments in four states. With five hours driving between the drops; I only get two deliveries done on the Tuesday. Le Center, Minnesota and Wautoma in Wisconsin. But multi-drop work always gives you the chance to drive new roads, which is good.

 ____Day 3: From Rochelle, Illinois, to Tinley Park as the rain continues into a second day. Then two drops in eastern Ohio before stumbling upon the TA Truckstop at Lodi. Cutting across country on unfamilar roads can play havoc with re-fuelling; The tanks were getting very low when I came along a side road that crossed an Interstate just at the right time.
____Day 4: The last two drops are either side of Cleveland, then south to Youngstown for the first of two pick-ups for Calgary, Alberta. Steel from Canada to the USA, now steel from the USA to Canada. This time it is tubes; the second lot coming from Shelby, Oh. A good days work with two drops, a pair of pick-ups and back to within an hours drive of Toledo; which is a triumph.

 ____Day 5: A thousand kay day, south around Chicago and up to Black River Falls in Wisconsin. Truckstops are never quiet places; there are always motors running: APU's, fridges and trucks idling. But the noise at the Flying'J sounds like the screaming of a thousand disintegrating bearings; about to send the cooling fan blades through the radiator. The mating call of a pond full of frogs, just over the fence at the back of the trailer.
____Day 6: West-bound all day on Interstate 94; in pleasent sunshine until Jamestown, ND. The lady at the Superpumper Truckstop tells of a blizzard to the north-west and she's right. It's a stuggle all the way to Minot in near whiteout conditions. On the positive side; it's half-past eight in the evening and still light; the first time I've driven that late, in daylight, while it's been snowing.

 ____Day 7: The Schatz Truckstop parking is jam-packed and whilst turning at the bottom of the lot, the trailer wheels drop into some soft ground. As the drive  wheels are on snow, I'm stuck. But the big payload shovel, that has come to clear the snow drifts, soon pulls me out. Much to the relief of the six truckers that I had neatly blocked in. Others had a worse time than I did, but by Weyburn in Saskatchewan, the roads are bare and dry. On to Redciff for the night, leaving just the final three hours for Monday morning.

 ____Day 8: The steel tubes stayed dry under their polythene wrapper, even with the blowing snow. Unloaded and off across town for a load of lumber, going to Manitoba. The fork-lift driver is an old guy and gives the impression that he owns the company and knows what he is doing. But I just know he's got the axle weights all wrong. Most times I'll argue with anyone; but something tells me that this guy could be a problem. So I go off and scale the truck; then armed with the evidence of 1100 lbs overweight on the trailer axles,  I ask him to shift a pack to the front. A  lot of time lost; but enough hours left to get to Swift Current.

 ____Day 9: Prairie Forest Products treat a lot of lumber with preservative and work at it all day long; which is good because there is always somebody to unload a truck. It's a long day, but with just a half-an-hour at Neepawa, I'm back in the Steinbach yard by early evening.
____Overall Distance: 7727 km.

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