RHYMES WITH TRUCK

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Feliz Navidad


 ____Day 1: The word "Weekend" seldom exists in the life of a long-haul trucker; substitute "Trip-end." It's "Night-at-home, day-off, night-at-home and go again" as companies try and maximise the productivity of expensive machinery. The thirty-six hour minimum break  can be stretched to forty-something sometimes but this time it's 35 hours 59 minutes 60 seconds and I'm on my way to Laredo with another load of peat-moss. The sooner I leave, the sooner I get back for Christmas. Ploughing the familiar south-bound furrow to Cubby Bear's Truckstop at Norfolk, Nebraska.
____Day 2: The peat-moss is for trans-shipment onto a Mexican trailer and onward delivery to a Mexican mushroom grower; good to know that it's not going to be used for growing dope. An easy Sunday's drive down to the Flying'J at Ardmore; with the only busy roads being encountered at Oklahoma City where Interstates 35, 40 and 44 all merge.
Flying Eagle #31 at the end of another cold Winter's day.
____Day 3: Ardmore is a popular overnight halt for all those trucks that have an early morning delivery in the Dallas/Fort Worth area; less than an hour's drive and a lot safer place to stay. I have a late start, to avoid the rush-hour, last to leave a deserted truck-park in the Monday morning rain. Normally there is very little chatter on the CB radio; just the odd call when it's safe to change lanes: "Bring it over Flying Eagle." To which I drawl; "Pre-she-ate-it." But at Laredo the air-waves are alive; DVDs-15 for $20, trips to Boystown for $25, part-worn trailer tyre for sale, handgun with full clip for sale. Then someone mentions the "N" word and all hell breaks loose. "Meet me on the scale at the Flying'J and prepare to die, bitch." I have a ringside seat and wonder if either is going to take advantage of the available weaponry. Only one guy shows-up and then he goes off on the eight-thirty tour to the Mexican red-light district.
____Day 4: Peat-moss delivered and a reload from less than a mile away; textiles for Calgary. Perfect in every detail; except that there are only 9 pallets. There will be two more collections before the trailer is full. On to Houston and the Brookshire Flying'J where I meet Kathy in Flying Eagle #156; also loading in Houston after running empty from Eagle Pass.
With low-emission exhausts, trucks no longer need the stack up the back.
____Day 5: Straighter than a preacher, longer than a memory: The Texan Interstate 10 runs east from El Paso, 868 miles to Orange. Junction at mile-marker 757 and north, 1 mile; the Mitsubishi fork-lift factory and two machines for Winnipeg. Blocked and chocked inside an hour; then away to pick-up number three. Nine hundred miles away at Fort Calhoun in Nebraska. Driving for the rest of the day takes me to the Belle Plaine service area on the Kansas State Turnpike.
____Day 6: Swift, the huge transport operation from Phoenix, Arizona, has a reputation for hiring a lot of inexperienced drivers and I admit to having been frustrated by their novice antics and bad decision making. I wake up next to a Swift truck with flat batteries but when the driver asks for my help; I give him a boost. The guy has less than six months on the road after 30 years as a prison warder. Over fifty and on a steep learning curve in his new profession; always run your engine before you go to bed if you've been standing all day. But he didn't call the office, he bit the bullet, bought some jump-leads and got it going. He'll probably make a good driver. Out of Kansas, into Nebraska and loaded with plastic and foil food-trays at Fort Calhoun; ending the day at Watertown.
____Day 7: An early start; with the office calling for the swift return of the trailer so that it can be de-vanned on the Friday afternoon. #31 is also due for it's 150,000 kilometre service, which gets started whilst I'm still in the cab; filling out my expense sheet for the trip. Good job they only needed to tip the hood; if they'd tipped the cab, I'd have been writing with my nose pressed up against the windshield.
____Overall Distance: 5880 km.
What's this? Santa Claus delivering presents in a red pick-up truck?

2 comments:

  1. Lol Chris, I've done that, forgot to run engine after sitting in truck all day, but I'm sure it's a lesson learned for him. Drive safe, see you down the road some time.

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  2. Awesome info & Thank you so a lot for sharing this sort of wonderful data.

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