____Day 1: Weekend work is a normal part of a long-haul truckers life and as I leave on a Friday; for a Monday morning delivery in Atlanta, Georgia, I can console myself with the knowledge that I won't be wasting all my money on fast women and slow horses. Again. At Rothsay, I meet-up with Mr. Ramsden for lunch; before heading down to Iowa.
|Searcy Volvo 202 with bits of Caterpillar bound for Red Deer, Ab.|
|Gateway Arch at St. Louis; why did I think it went over the river?|
____Day 2: With all the miles that I drive; it is inevitable that there will be occasions when I unintentionally hinder the progress of a fellow traveller. I instinctively know when someone is going to "flip me the bird". To counter this; I slip on my reading glasses, pull down my cap, stick out my chin and lean right forward while white-knuckling the steering-wheel at ten-to-two; eyes front. A black Dodge Charger with all-round privacy glass and 22 inch chrome rims comes alongside with the passenger window descending. But when the irrate driver looks up and sees such a gormless pratt; he knows that any gesticulation would be completly wasted and speeds on: thankful to have escaped without any panel damage. It works well for the old and unshaven. Otherwise, it was a easy days drive down through St. Louis and onto Mount Vernon.
____Day 3: South, through Nashville and Chattenooga; where I avoid the worst of a traffic jam by listening to advice on the CB radio. I don't often have the radio switched on, but with traffic tail-backs, it is the best thing for on the spot information. Through Atlanta at dusk; parking on the unloading bay at the customer, ready for the morning.
____Day 4: Unloaded and breakfast at the Petro Iron Skillet; before loading two roller shutter doors at Lawrenceville. Then an hours drive down to Grffin, to load a 32 litre diesel engine from the Caterpillar parts distribution warehouse. A quick glimpse at the invoice shows that the price is more than the whole cost of my 386 Peterbilt when it was new. The astronomical price of todays earth-moving plant makes me shudder.
____Day 5: Still plenty of room on the trailer and the office is looking for goods going to Alberta; the destination of the doors and the engine. They find nine pallets of aquarium equipment; waiting at Edwardsville, Il. Nearly a days drive, but the shipper is open 24 hours and I get loaded. Northbound out of St. Louis on Highway 61 at the end of the day.
____Day 6: Space for two more pallets; one from Elkhart, Iowa, and one from the nearby town of Nevada. In my quest to drive new roads everyday, I often waste a lot of time on fractured cross-country routes. But this time the Iowa State Highway 163; from Mt. Pleasant, north-west, to Des Moines, stumble across a hidden gem. It looks nothing special on the map but is a well-surfaced four-lane route with no traffic lights or stop signs. Finally fully loaded; as far as Hasty, back in Minnesota.
____Day 7: Although all the consignments are for Alberta; I'm told to bring it back to Niverville. Resetting my log book hours before continuing with the load. A visit to the Northstar Truck Wash at Fargo clears the bugs from the bumper and the new bug deflector on the hood. Also the twenty-four new LED marker lights on the cab get their first taste of a high pressure hose-down.