Monday, September 19, 2011

Counting the Cars on the New Jersey Turnpike.

____Day 1: A light load of cardboard packaging with five drops in the eastern US; leaving Saturday morning for the first delivery at Ogdensburg, NY, on Monday. East on the Trans-Canada Highway into Ontario for the first time since I joined Flying Eagle. A long day on the two-lane highway with the 90 kph speed limit; to Hearst on Highway 11.
____Day 2: Another day of over a thousand kay; with Flying Eagles #31 and #32 running together. Coffee at North Bay, before Keith McLaughlin splits, south, towards a first drop at London. It's the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers; so not the best time to cross into the States with heightened security and long tailbacks being reported on the radio. I park at Prescott; just across the St. Lawrence river from Ogdensburg. Everyone remembers where they were on 11 September 2001; I was re-roofing a barn in the Dordogne, France, and I'm still waiting to be paid for it.

Soot on trailer was not from #31
 ____Day 3: My first time, crossing on the steel-grating road bridge. Only ideal because of the proximity of my first drop. Then from Ogdensburg, west to Rochester for the second before east and a night at Albany. Multi-drop work needs careful consideration in North America; small distances on the map can be huge in the real world; two drops a day is the best I can hope for.
____Day 4: Easthampton and West Springfield are close together in Massachusetts but then the last drop is on Long Island. Mattituck, a town at the rural eastern end of what was once the last British stronghold in what is now the USA. The bridges are all at the western, New York City end of the Island; for $35 I cross into Queens, which along with Brooklyn, make up the two heavily populated counties. Interstate 495 runs the length of Long Island to Mattituck; more like Rhode Island with it's weather-boarded houses in tree lined streets.

Long Island, NY.
 ____Day 5: The Long Island Rail-Road carries more passengers than any other network in North America. It also supplies early morning wake-up calls to sleeping truckers, parked between the tracks and the back gate to my delivery address. But it would be my preferred route into town if I had to commute everyday. Once unloaded; it is nose to tail traffic back towards the Throgs Neck Bridge. The reload is LTL, that is Less Than a Truckload, and the first pick is on Long Island. One pallet from Bohemia, a town in the heart of the aviation industry area that is an important employment sector on the Island. Next two picks are in New Jersey, but not ready until tomorrow. I decide to park at the Vince Lombardi Service Area on the New Jersey Turnpike; an early finish at two in the afternoon. Just as well; the truckpark is full by five.
____Day 6: Vince Lombardi is a handy place to sit and wait; a lot more secure than on the street. It has my favorite Popeye's Chicken and Biscuits; also a nearby park and ride that can easily get you into NYC. Another plus point: it is situated before the toll booths and has both north and south exits from the truck park. In theory; you can come in from the southbound Interstate 95, stay the night and then head back north without paying a toll. With the Elizabeth and Keasbey pick-ups done, I head west hoping to get through Pennsylvania and into Ohio for the last two collections on Friday morning.

Amish taxi.
 ____Day 7: The Amish have a good reputation for manufacturing high quality furniture and both my Ohio pick-ups are at Amish wood-working enterprises. First: flooring from Middlefield at a state of the art factory where they use all the latest electric machinery. Then to Millersburg in Holmes County, the heartland of Amish furniture production; where every farm seems to have a cabinet-making workshop. A busy area of twisting, turning roads; crowded with tourists, seventy-five foot rigs looking for furniture factories and hundreds of horse drawn buggies.

450 Horses overtaking Four.
 ____Day 8: From Fort Wayne in Indiana; now fully loaded, back towards Manitoba. Completing a full circle of the Great Lakes. No need for an hours reset; as the short day in the middle of the week lets me keep running. Not as many hours as I would like; but a trip into Cabelas always passes the time and the price of clothes is so much cheaper in the States.

One that was loaded earlier.
 ____Day 9: From Hasty, back to the yard. The office wants a phone call as soon as I come through the border. It's Sunday but the trailer is going to be de-vanned and my stuff sent on it's way. So an early start to make things easier for everyone. Back on Canadian soil by noon.
____Overall Distance: 6767 km.

Two days driving with a light load and the wind from behind.

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