Thursday, February 23, 2012

Houston : Whitney and the City.

____Day 1: The usual Friday afternoon visit to the peat-moss mine at Elma; then south, over the border, to Stone's Truckstop at Watertown, South Dakota. On the last leg of the journey, a silver Pontiac Trans-Am comes cruising alongside. Interior light blazing; with the driver stroking the inner-thigh of her red-satin clad right leg. I look away in disgust; glancing at the speedometer where the trip-counter is showing 666.6 km. The little devil !
____Day 2: Breakfast is accompanied with television pictures of Whitney Houston's funeral from her hometown of Newark, New Jersey. The City of Houston, Texas, is my destination for a Monday morning delivery in the western suburb of Richmond. But I don't get far without this year's run of tyre problems continuing with a puncture. It's only a four minute drive from the fuel-stop at Sioux Falls' Flying'J to the service centre at the nearby Pilot; but it's four hours later when I can have it fixed. Continuing to Cherryvale in Kansas and a mid-night finish.
Smart Service Centre but very slow.

____Day 3: A full day's driving, through Tulsa, through Dallas, down to the customer's premises. Dry roads, warm weather, light traffic but an uncomfortable ride.  The same load in the same direction with the same truck as every week; so it must be the trailer. A Wabash instead of the normal Great Dane and a different suspension set-up. A single shock-absorber on each axle might save weight and save money but gives a very choppy ride and a pain in the back for the driver.
Single-shocker set -up on Wabash trailer.
____Day 4: President's Day national holiday, but the plant nursery work-force are in at 8 o'clock and I'm up at the West Houston Flying'J for breakfast before nine. However, a lot of companies are  not working and reloads are hard to find. Then just before noon, I get instructions for a load of plastic granules; going to Winnipeg from Orange, the last town on Interstate 10 before the Louisiana/Texas state border. Loaded before four, then north on US Highways 96, 59 and 71. Winding roads up into Arkansas and a night at Mena.
The popular Peterbilt 379 custom look with deep windshield visor.
____Day 5: The warm weather of the southern States continues until the evening; 1000 kilometres to the north. A night at Vermillion's Caribou Coffee Fuel Stop at Mile-marker 26 on Interstate 29. Truck #31 on Interstate 29; but it could have been Truck #31 on Interstate 31 if the coin-toss had gone the other way. Even -numbered Interstates run West to East; numbers rising from South to North. Odd-numbered Interstates run from South to North with the road numbers counting-up as one heads eastwards. During the construction of 29, it was still undecided if it was going to be 29 or 31.
Most Iowa farms have old trucks working as grain-haulers.
____Day 6: The homeward run is broken up by the  collection of some tractor parts from Grand Forks, North Dakota. Which nearly slips my mind; just like I forgot to put Grand Forks on the map. At only 75 miles south of the border, it delays my arrival back at the yard; when I have to wait two hours for the customs papers to be filed. Back in Manitoba, eight inches of snow have fallen; the biggest covering of the Winter.
____Overall Distance: 5560 km.

Big-sleeper Coronado has radio ham aerial on left-side mirror-arm.

US Highway 75, seamless join onto Interstate 45, southbound through Dallas.

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