Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tip Aberdeen : Reload Suffolk.

____Day 1: After a 36 hour log reset, I'm leaving on a Thursday afternoon to load flour at Portage La Prairie; an hours drive west, on the Trans-Canada Highway. This is the sort of work pattern that a long-haul trucker has to expect in North America. Anything less and a company's profitability suffers as much as a driver's take home pay. When loaded; the truck scales heavy, but as it is the normal payload for this particular job, I will have to go with it. By sliding the trailer axles; the best I can get is a 240 lb overload on the drive axles. But as I have full tanks of diesel, that will soon diminish. Remember to refuel only to 75% capacity. The load is for Maryland, so south to Fargo for the first night.
____Day 2: Delivery is for Sunday, at a bakery in Aberdeen, a 24/7 operation. A full day's drive needed and that gets me to La Salle, Illinois; where something strange happens. I fuel up with my card at the pump with it's attached card reader. But when I go in for the receipt; the Flying 'J denies any transaction has occurred. $500 of free diesel. As my free shower has also failed to register on my loyalty card; I have to pay to get clean but get clean away with the fuel. The first time it has happened in four decades of driving and I only filled the tanks to three quarters full!

Did you know I went to the University of Kentucky?  ...........and bought a sticker.
 ____Day 3: There are enough different fast-food franchises across the US to let you eat at a different one; every day of the year. I'm working on it; but one of my favorites is Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen; chicken and biscuits. Found at most "Travelcentres of America" truckstops. Spicy Cajun chicken tenders, coleslaw, biscuit and sweet iced-tea; all for under $10. The trip is planned by thumbing through my TA directory; letting me finish at Breezewood, Pennsylvania.
____Day 4: Only a short run across the Appalachian mountain chain, down to the Chesapeake Bay area; where I have to wait for a shift change before being unloaded, early Sunday afternoon. Before leaving Niverville, I was given written details of the reload; which is ideal as it is 250 miles away, down the coast at Suffolk, a town in Virginia. Another day, another TA. Richmond for a three-piece chicken supper.
____Day 5: Suffolk is where you would expect to find it; just south of Norfolk. A big peanut-growing area; but I'm after a load of plastic granules; destined for Alberta. Soon loaded, signed, sealed and with just the delivery to do. West, back over the Appalachians, knocking the fuel consumption for six before leveling out at Kentucky.

Big seal for a load of plastic granules : still no problem for your average pikey.
 ____Day 6: Very hot: three digits on the US preferred  Fahrenheit scale. Over a thousand kilometres needed for the next two days. There will be a truck waiting at Niverville to take the load to Edmonton, for Friday morning 08.00 am delivery. My big worry is "Tyres"; high payload, high mileage and high temperatures mean it is highly likely something will go bang. The Peterbilt is still knee-deep in virgin rubber; but the trailer has a couple of retreads that could be on their last trip. Back to La Salle for some more fuel, same fuel card, same pump; but there is a receipt waiting at the fuel desk.  It was worth trying.
____Day 7: Just enough hours left to get back across the border on another hot day. The office phones and says that the Flying'J at La Salle has made contact about some fuel that was not payed for. Somebody must have cross-checked all the diesel sales with the CCTV footage of the trucks at pump 19. But it's not as if I drove away without paying; I stayed the night. The tyres stop the air from showing through; so I'm back in the yard before dark.
____Overall Distance: 6209 km.
Legend has it that the truck was returned in this position after being abducted by aliens. The advertising was added later.

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