Sunday, September 30, 2012

Thousand Island Crossing.

____Day 1: Eastbound on the Trans-Canada Highway, further than the peat-moss mine for the first time this year. Making use of Canada's 13 driving hours-a-day allowance; reaching Hearst, Ontario, late on a Monday evening.
____Day 2: Construction materials for a port on the Arctic Ocean coastline. The ice-pack is creeping south again and soon all the shipping from the Port of Valleyfield will stop for the winter. This is the last week that goods will be leaving and I must not miss the boat. Another long day of driving on the Canadian Shield, through the capital city of Ottawa, after rush-hour, and onto the banks of the St. Lawrence Seaway; ready for an early morning delivery.
Eastbound on Ontario Highway 401: crossed the median and westbound carriageway.
Roberts Turnpike Double buried in soft ground.

____Day 3: The wharfs of the North East Arctic Services have been bustling with activity on my previous visits. But this time it's just one Flying Eagle and the Coca-Cola truck unloading cargo for the last boat of the season. Next drop is Rochester, New York State. Upstream along the St. Lawrence before crossing at the Thousand Island Bridge. Cardboard for place where I have delivered twice before; then it's southwards across New York State on the toll-free Southern Tier Thruway, heading for New Jersey.
Great Lakes Freighter amongst the Thousand Islands of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

____Day 4: An elevated rail-road track with bridge clearances of  12' 6" frustrates my attempts to reach my final destination. Low cloud and drizzle don't help, but eventually I find a 13" 6" route under the tracks; leading me into a run-down docklands just a couple of miles from the Statue of Liberty. After unloading at a builders merchant, I contemplate a visit to the statue; the reload is not until Friday morning and only 170miles away. But it's not the sort of area where a truck could be safely left in the street, also the shitty weather wouldn't make for good photography. Plan B is the Mack Truck Museum at Allentown, Pennsylvania. Not my lucky day; only open Mondays,Wednesday, Friday, 10 to 4.
Steps in front of the steer axle and eight stud wheels.
Don't see that too often.

____Day 5: Cleaning fluid from a York, Pa, factory. Mistakenly loaded onto somebody else's trailer before being trans-shipped onto mine. A three hour un-needed delay to the journey back to Manitoba. But it's a warm autumnal afternoon along the banks of the Susquehanna River; heading for State College and Interstate 80. Fort Wayne, Indiana, at the end of the day.
Statue of Liberty on an island in the Susquehanna River.

____Day 6: Saturday morning traffic through Chicago, fuel and a shower at Black River Falls' Flying 'J. A trouble free run around the Minneapolis/St. Paul ring-road with it's extensive long-term road-works. Onto Sauk Centre and a night at the Truckers Inn.
Village of Genoa City ??? : Somebody should stop and have a word.

____Day 7: Breakfast with Mr. Ramsden at Grand Forks, before he heads down for a Monday 08.00 delivery in Wisconsin. Back in the yard by 3 o'clock.
____Overall Distance: 6234 km.

New addition to  the Flying Eagle Heavy-Haul Fleet : #42
Just waiting for those wide tyres to be fitted to the steering axle.

Have you always wondered what the hourly rate of pay is for this job?
57 miles per hour X 37 cents per mile = $21.09

Sunday, September 23, 2012


____The same trip as a couple of weeks ago when I went to the Great American Trucking Show. Peat moss to Madisonville, Texas, with a reload of Gypsum from Southard, Oklahoma; back to Niverville. No great hurry on this trip so nights-out on the way down at Percival and Anna; Southard and Vermillion on the way back. Left Tuesday; back by Saturday afternoon.
____Overall Distance: 4817 km.

Class 8 Motorhome Conversion on Freightliner Argosy base.

Brangus Bull.

Brangus Females.
____Brangus cattle are a cross-breed of Aberdeen Angus cows and Brahmen bulls; they have been around since the 1940's. I saw this herd just south of Madisonville in Texas; the colour and build of Red Angus with the lop-eared and humped-back features of the Brahman. They are well-suited to extreme heat and humid conditions of Texas. The Brahman heritage gives them good disease resistance while the genes from the Angus gives good beef.

Waking-up next to a Cab-Over : Not done that in a long-time.

GMC 5 Star General.

Magnetic Bolt-Croppers.

____After cutting the bolt-seal at the mushroom compost plant at Madisonville, Texas; I put the bolt-croppers on the under-run bar while I opened the doors and backed on the unloading dock. They were still where I left them when I did a walk-around check at the Oklahoma City TA Truckstop; 350 miles away! Not something to be proud of; as they could have cart-wheeled off and smashed into a following vehicle, but it does show that the billion-dollar investment in the resurfacing of US roads is having an effect.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Day-Ruining Revenge.

____I was given an unjust traffic ticket and fighting it would cost me two trips from Manitoba to Kentucky. It was a $20 fine plus $143 court costs; a lot less than lost wages and traveling expenses. I'm angry about having to accept the situation; also angry about being threatened with jail just because I wanted to read the ticket before I signed it.
____But Kentucky State Police does have a website that gives the procedure for registering complaints about it's officers. Internal Affairs can't doing anything about the ticket and the fine as that is a matter for the courts but they will listen to my complaint about Officer Hunter's threatening behaviour and bullying attitude. So for the price of a stamp; I can now ruin the guy's day just like he ruined mine.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fancy Gap.

___Day 1: My first load of used truck parts to Georgia since January. Leaving on a Saturday instead of a Friday, but still expected to be in Morrow on Monday morning. Highly probable that another driver kicked the job into touch and I'm taking it on at the last moment. With benefit of hindsight; I should have done the same. An early start; getting down to Center Point, Iowa, on the first day.
____Day 2: Just a ten hour break, making for an early finish at Nashville. Enough time to go Downtown for ribs and a beer but another ten break needed if I'm to get to Morrow tomorrow before noon.
Don't Jump Pony!

____Day 3: The trailer is unloaded in about the same time as it takes me to write down the reload details. Five collections of furniture from the High Wycombe equivalent of North Carolina. I get to the first pick-up, ready for the morning and high hopes of getting all loaded in a day.
Busy Ohio River.

____Day 4: The Genola factory has printed out maps, ready to give to drivers who should be at the Lexington distribution warehouse. By the time I have driven the 26 miles to the correct address; I have missed my 07.00am. booking by thirty minutes. Not happy at 07.30; I am raging mad by the time I get away at two o'clock in the afternoon. There is only enough time to load at High Point before going to Madison and waiting overnight.
Nectarine shaped water-tower.

____Day 5: An office lady greets me with;
"You cannot just leave a message, saying when you are coming and what you are coming to load. It doesn't work like that."
I can't be bothered to argue; so strike back with a slight variation of an old favorite.
"My wife is good friends with the wife of this furniture store owner. He will be very interested with your attitude towards ful-filling his orders. Also the sales office will be interested in his lack of future orders. What's your name?"
Within 20 minutes I'm loaded and off to number 4; across rural North Carolina to Mount Airy. A good, quick pick-up as is number 5 at Galax, Virginia. Homeward bound, but only as far as Wytheville; where a phone call tells me that there is more to load: two hours back south at Winston-Salem. Climbing over the Fancy Gap Pass, for the second time in a day. A gang of loaders stay late to load me. Now fully loaded; I set off again only for driving time to run out before I can get out of N.C.
Map of the Drops and Picks.

____Day 6: Northbound on Interstate75, the trip goes from bad to worse. News of intense police activity at Junction 39 is relayed south by CB radio. All trucks come out of cruise-control and a few pull onto the shoulder to adjust their log-books. I am slowed by a truck coming back onto the highway and as we crest a ridge; there are six trucks on the shoulder, each with a police car parked behind it. I am the seventh rig to be pulled over. My offence: following to close to the truck in front. Measured by laser at 170 feet; where it should have been 250. An operation to catch tail-gating trucks has worked wonderfully well for the police by causing the bunching that they came looking for.
The view from Fancy Gap, Interstate 77, North Carolina/Virginia Border.

____Day 7: Bloomington, Illinois, is just too far for a days driving that would get me home. So I only reach Fargo while thinking all the time about how to maintain 250 feet from the vehicle in front and how impossible it is.
Kenworth Aero-Dyne on Flatdeck Work.

____Day 8: Just four and a quarter log hours left of my weekly allowance and that's what it takes to get me back to Niverville; completing the worst trip for a long time.
____Overall Distance: 6447km.
____Postscript: The ticket. It seems that Kentucky State Police make no allowance for the speed of a truck when measuring with their laser. Less than 250 feet and you get fined $20 and $144 court costs. Pleading "Not Guilty" needs a driver to make two trips to a Kentucky court room, so is not financially viable. It's just another way for them to make money from hard-working drivers.

Big-Lips Ford.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Getting a Ticket : Audio/Video.

____Comments, sympathy and donations to fighting-fund most welcome.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Fat Bastard.

____A trip of five days duration, 1200 miles to Brooklyn Heights, near Cleveland, with some fabricated steel. Tuesday delivery, after the Labor Day holiday. 150 miles across to Columbus for some car-parts going  to Winnipeg. Hitting traffic congestion at Indianapolis, Chicago and Minneapolis/St. Paul stopped me getting back in four days and I had to settle for a night in Fargo with a visit to the Northstar Truck-Wash.
____Overall Distance: 4272 km.

____Very smart cabover spotted as I drove out the Pilot Truckstop at London, Ohio.

____Advertisement by the American version of Britain's Transport and General Workers Union.

____In the 15 months that I've been away from flat-decks, I've put on nearly three stone [40 lbs] and something has to be done. Thankfully, the Truck-Centers of America chain has come to my rescue with the introduction of fitness-rooms at some of their truckstops. On this trip I managed to fit in 2 half-hour sessions on the recumbent bike and the cross-trainer at their Lake Station and Whitestown sites. The work-outs were followed by the free shower that I earned by filling up with more than 50 gallons of diesel. Unfortunately, these same truckstops also have the Popeye's Louisiana Chicken and Biscuits franchise.

____For Roly: Three-axle tipper with no mud-flaps. But where is the "Driver is not responsible for cracked windshields" sign?

____Another shot of that good-looking Kenworth. But don't ask me to justify the gap between the exhaust stack and the front of the fridge.

____That's more like it! I'd love to compare the fuel consumption of the two rigs; carrying the same load on the same road at the same time.

Tennis Seed.

____A five day trip down to La Vergne, just south of Nashville, Tennessee. with a load of grass seed. Over-nighting on the way down at Center Point, Iowa. Two pick-ups from nearby Cookville, then up to Indiana's version of Frankfort for some steel coils. Final pick; one pallet in Chicago before getting up to Fargo for the last night-out.
____Overall Distance: 4647 km.

____Kenworth Cabover; standing bobtail at The Stamart Truckstop in Fargo, North Dakota.

____Field of Tabacco in Tennessee; one of many as I cut across country, northwards from Cookville.

____Buffalo For Sale at Fergus Falls, Minnesota. With a chance to try-before-you-buy at the Big Chief Truckstop Restaurant; just up the Interstate 94.

____Crop-Dusting Sky Tractor.

____For Roly: Twenty-one axle Tipper Convoy.

____On Tow: The World's Largest Pop-Up Toaster.