|10314 km.- 13 days.|
____Day 1: Without the benefit of hindsight; any long-haul driver would say that this load should have left yesterday. But it's destined for Florida and cannot be declined. Good miles. I needed a log-hours reset and the truck went into the Peterbilt dealer for some warranty work. So, a Sunday morning start taking me down to Floyd in the state of Iowa.
|St. Louis based Budweiser Clydesdales, travelling in style.|
____Day 2: Pulling into Wayland's Flying'J for fuel; I spy the horse-carrying rigs of the Budweiser Clydesdales, parked beside the pumps. Fearing they may leave before I finish fueling; I grab my camera before filling.
"What the hell do you think you're photographing?" asks an aggressive voice behind me.
"The horses." I reply meekly.
Then the guy climbs into a truck that has been left on the pumps while the driver went into the truckstop. He thought I was photographing his vehicle in an attempt to shame him for selfishly not pulling forward. Then it's on to Webster Groves, on the out-skirts of St.Louis, for the first delivery.
____Day 3: Leaving Antioch, just south of Nashville, it's a long haul across to Ridgeland, South Carolina, for the second drop of joinery. The whole day driving for just one drop; for the last is 300 miles away across Georgia and into Florida.
|A Marmon in the Mirror.|
____Day 4: Independence Day in the USA; so no chance of emptying the trailer until Thursday. Three hundred miles to do and all day to do it. South on Interstate 95 to Jacksonville, passing Daytona and onto Altamonte Springs for an evening firework display.
|Fine copy of a famous old TV Kenworth Aerodyne.|
____Day 5: Unloaded before the heat and humidity builds for fifth consecutive day. Then north, all day, into Alabama for the following days reload at Bay Minette. Interstate 75, before east on Interstate 10.
|Typical Interstate structure from the Mobile, Alabama, area.|
____Day 6: It's furniture, two drops, Calgary and Edmonton, but still only half a trailer load. However the office has found another consignment of furniture for Calgary. Problem: it's 800 miles away at Winfield, Kansas. More than a full days drive through Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Oklahoma.
____Day 7: On the positive side; the Winfield warehouse is open 24/7, so I will get loaded. Then north to the plushest showers on the Interstate; the Petro Stopping Centre at Salina, Kansas. A television screen built in the mirror sure makes it easy to cut your-self when shaving. Onto another Petro for a Saturday night-out at Colby, still in Kansas.
|Amazing showers at the Salina Petro, Kansas.|
____Day 8: Sixty-eight and a half hours out of Niverville and a 36 log-hours reset is needed and Colby is the place. A small Prairie town boasting the biggest barn in the country but not much else. A day of sitting in the drivers lounge watching a never-ending stream of out-of-state plates. Plenty of Americans taking road-trips on the weekend after the Holiday.
|Parked in the scenic Little Belt Mountains, Montana.|
____Day 9: Firm delivery appointments have been made for Wednesday in Calgary; so it needs two full days of driving to get there. Colorado, into Wyoming, then out the other side into Montana. As far as the town of Hardin, just beside the battlefield of the Little Bighorn.
|The view from the top of King's Hill Pass|
Big Baldy Mountain in the distance.
____Day 10: Fuel at Billings, before avoiding the extensive roadworks on the short-cut to Great Falls. West on Interstate 90; then north on Highway 89, through the Little Belt Mountain Range. Splendid scenery in the relentless heat that has lasted the whole trip. A little relief and a screen wash comes with a thunderstorm south of Lethbridge, Alberta.
|Peterbilt 262 with a cargo of marble.|
____Day 11: Calgary deliveries done and onto Edmonton; ready for the final drop on Thursday morning. An early finish at the Flying'J; where I meet up with some old friends from Big Freight. Four trucks waiting to load in the morning for Inuvik, North West Territories. Two thousand miles to the north; deep inside the Arctic Circle; 500 miles of dirt road, the Dempster Highway. Big Freight have put some of their best drivers on the job; Bill Gagnon, former Manitoba Truck-Driver of the Year, and Ed Turner, one of a few people who has driven the Winter Roads to Fort Severn on the shores of Hudson Bay. We all go for dinner at Denny's.
"Do you wish you were coming with us?"asks Ed.
"Yes I do."
|Bill Gagnon and the Big Freight T800s.|
At the start of a trip to the Far North.
____Day 12: The last of the furniture safely delivered and the reload is less than a mile away. Chep pallets for a bakery in Regina. A job I have done before; if I get a move on I can get them delivered today.Which I do; but with only enough time left to park up around the corner.
|Road-trip of a life-time.|
____Day 13: Empty back to the yard to finish my longest trip for Flying Eagle. Very good miles; only spoiled by the hot weather causing an irritating sweat rash between my legs.
____Overall Distance: 10314 km.
|Heading into the storm and a clean windshield.|