Monday, March 26, 2012


____Day 1: After a 10 day break; I'm back to work with all the snow gone. The hottest March days ever recorded in South-east Manitoba; since records began. A hot load too, 1650 miles to be delivered within three days. Only enough time to dump all my stuff back in the truck before 11 hours driving down to Portage, near Madison, Wisconsin.
____Day 2: A body lying on the Interstate 39 and my first reaction is to look for the motorbike. But it's in a road-works area and is a highway worker. No ambulance or police are yet in attendance; it looks fatal, as everyone is standing well back in a state of shock. Illinois has a 14 year prison sentence for drivers who hit highway workers. I'm in a sombre mood for the rest of the day as I head to London in Kentucky; thinking of two families that have had their lives ruined by the incident.

Long and low Peterbilt 359 with rear window in sleeper.
____Day 3: For me, in real-life, the spectre of death rarely rears it's head and never before on consecutive days. But, just outside of Knoxville, there is an SUV hard up against the concrete wall of the Interstate median. The driver is slumped sideways and motionless: "heart-attack" is the general consensus on the CB. Again, the emergency services have yet to arrive and would-be rescuers find themselves locked out of the vehicle by the automatic central locking system. I bet modern car designers never considered "Death at the Wheel" when they invented that little gadget. Onto Charlotte, North Carolina, for the delivery of the flour; again reflecting on events as I drive Interstate 40 through the Pigeon River valley. Budding leaves and the blossom of Spring in the Smoky Mountains that form the border between Tennessee and the Carolinas.

Unloading loose potatoes from a box van.
____Day 4: It's called "Touch Screen" for a reason; otherwise it would be known as "Thump me until I shatter Screen." Flying Eagle #31 did 5,500 kilometres in the hands of another driver whilst I was away. But the guy badly mis-judged his tender touch of the GPS screen; disabling the sat-nav, the radio and a host of other electronic devices. Most annoying when I come to plot my course to the reload, in Ochlocknee, Georgia. I have come to rely on the GPS to give me an arrival time and the distance to the customer. The four hundred mile dead-head seems to take forever as I cross South Carolina  to the South-west corner of Georgia. Kitty-litter loaded and homeward bound, but only to the top-side of Atlanta before the day's driving hours run out.

Loading cat-litter at a dusty plant in southern Georgia.
____Day 5: A day of heavy thunder showers, as the warm Spring weather piles the clouds high into the sky; but it saves on screenwash as the first bugs of the year appear. The average kilometre count for the trip goes up over a thousand as a full 11 hours at the wheel clocks up over 1100km. But at Wayland, Iowa, I am still more than one day away from home.

Dredging for sand on the Ohio River.
____Day 6: It must be tempting for a family man to put in a big day and get home to their loved-ones and not have to spend another night in the truck, just a couple of hours from home. But, with the border crossing from the US into Canada, it can be risky to break the 11 hour driving rule. Having no reason to get back, I set my sights on Fargo and the Northstar Truck Wash; which is a good move as nobody else is sad enough to want their truck washed at eight o'clock on a Saturday evening. Straight in and out in 20 minutes.
____Day 7: Sub-zero temperatures back in Canada, but the roads are bare and dry. It's nice to get the rig back to the yard looking clean and tidy. All parked-up and finished by 10.30, Sunday morning.
____Overall Distance: 6313 km.

Trailer-load of mature trees going somewhere for re-planting.

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