____Day 1: Peat-moss to Texas; New Summerfield, just a couple of miles south of the regular Troup delivery. Not quite so cold as in previous weeks but that means there is a greater risk of snow; and Winter-storm Orko is on its way towards North Dakota. But I am ahead of the game and reach Percival, Iowa, after a trouble free run down the Interstate 29.
____Day 2: Orko traps one Flying Eagle in Grand Forks and one in Fargo but I get my early morning pictures of eagles flying before I continue down to Henderson, Texas. Stopping at Joplin for fuel and a shower on the Sunday afternoon.
|The eagles beside Interstate 29|
____Day 3: Off-loaded and off the two-hundred miles across Texas to Temple for the reload. Four pieces of machinery that make a battery-changer; a device for swapping the power-packs of fork-lift trucks so that they don't have to stand around while they are being recharged. This one is for a RDC in Calgary and I am instructed to take it direct to Alberta. Just the sort of job that I did with a flat-deck for Big Freight; but so much simpler with a van. I'm reminded of the nightmare attempt to tarp a lip-stick packaging machine but I am northbound just after lunch; making good progress in heavy rain before it turns to snow near Amarillo.
____Day 4: Snow covered roads slow the Texan traffic more than it would drivers in Canada; so I have to be content with slow progress until Colorado, where the roads are dry and bare. A night out at Johnson's Corner keeps me on track for a Thursday afternoon delivery; weather permitting.
|Jesus Christ is not a truckstop, Amarillo, Texas.|
____Day 5: Johnson's Corner to Eddies Corner, independent truckstop to independent truckstop and a day's work that I have done several times before. A Level 3, DoT paperwork inspection at the Wyoming/Montana State border delays me by 30 minutes and from then on snow flurries sweep across the wild open countryside with increasing severity. The last ten miles, on a shoulder-less two-lane highway, are in white-out conditions. The windshield wipers are overwhelmed, the headlights are dimmed by a build-up of snow, there are no tracks to follow and none of my long line of followers wants to come past and show me the way. The neon oasis of the isolated truckstop cannot come soon enough.
|Gobbler's Knob Rest Area: that's what the sign says.|
____Day 6: The snowploughs have been through during the night and the snowfall has stopped. The road is hard packed snow and some trucks are running chains; but the hills between Eddies and the interstate at Great Falls have all been sanded. I can relax and leave my chains safely stowed away in the equipment store back at the yard. It's two-thirty by the time I reach the RDC on the north side of Calgary. The arrival of the battery-changer causes confusion at the security checkpoint where no-one has English as a first language.
"Battery-changer. Yes. But is it fresh or frozen?"
Eventually the maintenance department come to my rescue and their speed of unloading puts the regular receiving-dock workers to shame. Down to the south side of Calgary for a night at the Flying'J when empty.
____Day 7: From my working-hour allowance of 70 hours in seven days; I have seven and a half hours left for Friday. Enough to drive down to Lethbridge and load some sofa-beds; which then leaves me just enough to get to Swift Current in Saskatchewan. The rolling week then gives me back the hours that I worked on the first day of this trip. Eleven and three-quarters; which will get me back to base on the eighth day.
____Day 8: After a fuel stop at Moose Jaw, freezing fog closes in on either side of Regina. But as dawn breaks, the fog lifts. The light load of furniture helps for an easy final leg to the triangle. I'm home by mid-afternoon and ready for Dave Caldwell's 50th birthday party. Dave has always been a strong supporter of the blog; I'll take him a book as a present.
____Overall Distance: 7575 km.
|Dave's present; he's mentioned in the book so he should be pleased.|