Saturday, June 11, 2011

Northern Alberta.

____Day 1: A trailer is coming up from Georgia, loaded with geo-textile lining fabric for a landfill site near Fort McMurray in Alberta. I get going with it after having a couple of tyres changed; they might have done the trip but it's that time of year again: the DoT 3-day Safety Blitz. Along the Yellowhead Trail to Dafoe for a night at the 247 Truckstop in Saskatchewan.
____Day 2: The only address I have been given is: Km 226 on Hwy 881, Janvier. The contact phone numbers go straight to voicemail; so I reach Lac La Biche anticipating four hundred and fifty kilometres of dirt road. But I'm in Alberta's Oil-Patch and a lot of money has upgraded the local infrastructure in recent years; this dirt road has been asphalted. The new truck was saved from the stones.

Janvier Landfill: the big stuff is called in to make unloading easy.
 ____Day 3: The landfill serves the oil industry based at Fort McMurray which is 70 kilometres further north. A tracked excavator soon pulls the big 15 foot rolls out of the trailer and I'm away across northern Alberta to High Prairie for a load of wood shavings; going to Saskatchewan. Loaded and back down to Edmonton; passing the town of Slave Lake, still charred and smelling of woodsmoke from when a forest fire destroyed 40% of the place, just two weeks ago.

The old sawdust truck at Buchanan Lumber, High Prairie. Looks like a Hayes. 
 ____Day 4: At Macklin; the first open scale that I have seen all week, pulls me over for a full examination. As soon as the officer pulls open the hood, he sees that he is dealing with a brand new truck and asks how many kilometres it has done. He goes through the motions and I get a sticker on the wind-shield; telling that all was good and that I needn't be examined again for a month. The wood shavings are going to a Hutterite Colony, near Rush Lake, again no proper address for my new GPS; just directions from a cellphone leading me to a farmyard somewhere behind the middle of no-where. The Hutterites are a radical religious group aligned with the Amish, Mennonites and Mormons. They do use mechanical equipment, unlike the Amish, but don't possess a pallet truck. So the shavings are dragged to the back of the trailer before being lifted off by the skid-steer.

Dragging the pallets back with chains at a Hutterite Colony in Saskatchewan.
 ____Day 5: Eston is quite near the Hutterites place and it doesn't take long to load 800 sacks of coriander that are going to Baltimore, on the US east coast. It's ten days before the load is due to be delivered, so I take it back to the yard at Niverville. Completing the trip with a 1000 kay-day and back in time for the wedding of ex-BFS/now Flying Eagle driver, Kevin, and Melissa, on Saturday afternoon.

At Slave Lake, Some places had lucky escapes.
 ____Overall Distance: 4433 km.

The Amish Question: Where's the fork-lift?

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