____Day 1: "I don't do drugs; so why are they wasting my time by sending me for a pee-test?" Is my and most other drivers reaction when ordered to take a random drugs test. The US government insists that all Canadian cross-border carriers carry out tests on their drivers and it's something that all companies insist that their drivers sign-up to. I signed the paper, so at midday on Friday; I have to grab a coffee and go hacking off into Winnipeg to give a urine sample. Annoying because I had been in the city all morning; waiting for my trailer to be loaded with material destined for Mexico. Eventually away from the yard at two o'clock and down to Vermillion for the night.
|Stretched Studio-Sleeper on Long Wheelbase Kenworth.|
____Day 2: Eagle Pass, Texas, on Monday morning is the aim and to vary the route, this week, I run Highway 75 through the state of Kansas. Not as good as the nearby and parallel 169 but with a good TA at Beto Junction. A truckstop in the middle of no-where but worth stopping because of the first-rate service. In rural areas, staff tend to stay longer at the same job because of limited choice; but experienced staff do a better job and this shows at Beto Junction. Highway 75 through Tulsa and south to Stringtown's Choctaw Nation Casino with their big parking lot.
|Fixins and Texas Trash ????? No idea. Next time I'll ask.|
____Day 3: It's great to drive new roads; but using the same roads every week also has advantages. You can memorize details of places that might be worth stopping at. Such as the Up In Smoke BBQ, just south of Hillsboro on Interstate 35. Bar-B-Que restaurants are the Texas equivalent to the British Fish and Chip Shop; food for the common man, and like the Chippie, if it's a good'un there will be a queue but it will be worth the wait. Up In Smoke is cafeteria style, tray-self-service with paper plates and plastic knifes and forks, but the food is good and portions are generous. A Sunday lunch of ribs, potato salad and coleslaw set me up for the long haul across to the Mexican border at Eagle Pass.
|Typical Cross-Border Mexican Shunter.|
____Day 4: Backed onto an unloading bay overnight; it was 10 o'clock before they started transshipping my stuff onto a nearby Mexican trailer. Dropping a half-full mug of coffee prompted some much needed cab cleaning. But mostly I sat in the warm sunshine, watching two enormous Mexican flags billowing in the breeze and listening to the drone of old Mexican trucks as they came across the Rio Grande. There were no reload instructions ready for me when I was finally empty at two o'clock; but eventually came the order to run to Denton.
____Day 5: Denton, Texas, birthplace of #31 at the vast Peterbilt Assembly Plant; but I'm loading at a nearby industrial park so only get to look over the fence. Replacement teeth for digger buckets; heavy little pallet-boxes that I am very grateful to have loaded when gale-force winds and lashing rain buffet the rig as I head through Kansas in the evening.
|Legendary Kansas Thunderstorm.|
____Day 6: From Salina across country to Murdock, Nebraska, and another collection of organic pet food destined for Alberta. Organic food for pets; although I suppose all pets are organic. Finally, to fill the trailer, six pallets of roller-shutters from nearby Omaha. Then just as it's getting dark, southbound trucks on Interstate 29 are coming along covered in snow. From Sioux Falls, the road is hard-packed snow and ice; the winter-storm has passed but driving is not easy. By Watertown, I have had enough for the day and the lure of a Michelob Ultra is too hard to resist.
|Early Morning Scene at Stone's Truckstop, Watertown, SD.|
____Day 7: Breakfast-time is busy at Stone's truckstop, a full parking lot holds many oversize loads that were forced off the interstate at 4 o'clock the previous afternoon during white-out conditions. Wind-turbine blades heading south, farm and construction equipment Canada-bound; all with permits that forbid travel in adverse weather conditions. They are still sitting it out when I decide to leave; it's still tricky with not much sign of tarmac. But I'm going home and even slow and steady will get my there tonight.
____Overall Distance: 5768 km.
|Old White plugged-in at Murdock, Nebraska.|