____Day 1: " For fuck's sake; when will this Winter ever end?" Mister Ramsden on the phone; Saturday afternoon, asking about alternative routes to Utah. Friday's freezing rain had stopped him short of Fargo; now blizzard conditions in Montana awaited the flat-deck driver and his urgent jet engine. "Arizona," I suggested and the call dropped-out. I had no trouble making it down to Percival with the usual peat-moss.
|Fine Old-Timer for sale at the roadside.|
____Day 2: Flying Eagle #31 clocks up 500,000 kilometres after coming on the road twenty-three months previously. Much has been written about the reliability of the new low-emission diesel engines with their diesel emission fluid injection and the gas regeneration systems but the 15 litre Cummins in #31 has been just about fault-free. A broken hose clip being the only incident that has halted out-on-the-road progress. Another long day of 1100 kilometres down to the Rest Area on Interstate 45 at Corsicana.
|700 days to do 500,000 kilomtres|
____Day 3: The potting compost packing plant at Huntsville is busy and I'm third in line to be unloaded. It's 11 o'clock before I'm away; heading to Gilmer and a two-thirty loading appointment. Not that I needed to hurry; loading is delayed by the shipper not having the correct delivery address. A bullshit excuse, if ever I heard one. Two packs of steel pipes are loaded by 6 o'clock and they all go home. I bobtail back to the Pilot at Tyler for the night and a brisket sandwich.
|Long pipes make nasty marks when pushed into the trailer.|
____Day 4: No further loading before lunch sees my bobtailing to Walmart for supplies. Walmarts in the US are a lot cheaper than Canadian Walmarts and Walmarts in the southern States seem the cheapest of all. It's a warm Spring afternoon, 30 degrees C, when the trailer is finally loaded; 26 hours after arrival. Enough time to get to Big Cabin in Oklahoma, where a midnight parking spot is assured in the vast truckstop.
|Bodacious: Texas B-B-Q shack that does a mean brisket sandwich.|
____Day 5: Eight foot of empty trailer is filled on the way north at Fort Calhoun, Nebraska. Three hundred boxes of paper plates for Winnipeg and a night at Sioux Falls; ready for an easy drive home.
|Dash-Cam shot of a slippery Interstate 29.|
____Day 6: Winter-Storm Yogi sweeps in from the Rockies, over-night. The drive home is far from easy; driving on hard-packed snow with visibility reduced by blowing snow. Traffic is light, which helps; but at one on-ramp I move over for an on-coming pick-up truck. The insde lane is tricky, the outside lane is treacherous but the pick-up maintains a position alongside the trailer for five miles. Speeding up when I accelerate, slowing down when I slowed and tried to get back on the inside. The situation is only resolved when a vehicle comes up behind. Where I come from we have a name for drivers like this: arsehole. At Fargo, conditions improve; the last couple of hours are completed on dry and bare roads.
____Overall Distance: 5043 km.
|Dash-Cam shot of trailer straddling a six foot deep ditch in the median.|