Monday, May 27, 2013

Spanners in the Works.

____Day 1: Spanner number one goes into the peat-moss packing machinery and the plant grinds to a halt with no dirt ready for Thursday's delivery to Madisonville. At four o'clock in the afternoon the office comes up with plan "B." Bobtail down to Illinois and pick-up a new trailer, load it and bring it back to the yard. To make a change from Pembina and the Interstate 29; I go into Minnesota at Warroad and reach Virginia, dodging the endless road-crossing of Whitetail deer.

White Freightliner Cabover at Superior, Wi.

____Day 2: Spanner number two is at Cameron, Wisconsin, on US Highway 53. Banging and clattering from under the hood, together with plumes of white smoke have me anchoring-up on the shoulder. A tow truck takes me and #31 to the local Cummins engine service shop; where late in the evening, the problem is diagnosed as a faulty injector. I head down to the Black Bear Motel for the night, a dingy place with 20 watt light bulbs and brown d├ęcor.

Peterbilt towed in by a Freightliner; so degrading.

____Day 3: Exactly two years since #31 came on the road and this is the first  disabling breakdown in over 530,000 kilometres. With the towing fee, parts and labour; $1600 has to be paid before I am released into the afternoon sunshine. Enough time to get  to Arcola, Illinois, ready for the early morning collection of the Great Dane trailer.

Wisconsin workshop.

____Day 4: Spanner number three is the trailer; no ordinary dry-freight box-van but a very heavy tri-axle fridge with a big tail-lift and numerous extra equipment boxes. The whole tractor-trailer rig weighs in at over 44,000 lbs and makes the collection of 45,000lbs of cargo impossible. In Canada it would be legal to load six-axles up to a maximum of 100,000 lbs; but in the US, the total gross weight must be under 80,000 lbs. The office tries in vain to find an alternative load; it's the Friday before the Memorial Day long week-end and most places are finishing early. I sit around at the Pilot Truckstop at Tuscola until 4 o'clock in the afternoon before I get orders to return, empty to Niverville.

McDonalds new heavyweight addition.

____Day 5: From Portage, Wisconsin, it is a full days drive back home. Easy enough with an empty trailer; but the truck is still not running right. Un-burnt diesel fuel flooded into the exhaust system when the high-pressure injector broke. The electronic sensors on the emission regeneration equipment don't know what has hit them. Orange and red dash-board warning lights come on in increasing frequency; only to disappear when I pull over to investigate. Eventually the engine decides to let me start a manual regeneration of the particulate filter. Something which creates such a high temperature that all the carbon deposits in the ceramic filter are turned to vapour. Thankfully this one and a half hour procedure also rids the exhaust system of the unburned diesel. From then on it is plain sailing back to Canada.

____Overall Distance: 3155km.

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