Thursday, April 17, 2014

Nervous as a Kitten.

____Day One: First load is to the Greater Toronto Area with two deliveries of furniture; just over 2000 kilometres. A two day drive under normal circumstances; but as this is all new, I give myself the comfort of an extra day and leave on Friday afternoon for the arrival on Monday. Picking up the trailer on the outskirts of Winnipeg; I  drive to Dryden for the night.

____Day Two: The bitter Winter of 2014 has frozen the Great Lakes to a record 80% of their area. As I drive Highway 17 to Sault Ste. Marie; Lake Superior is still ice-covered as far as the eye can see and this is in the middle of April. When will the water be warm enough for swimming is anybody's guess. Saturday night at the Husky Truckstop in the Soo.

The Church at Longlac.

____Day Three: The four days of orientation had one big omission: tuition on the operation of the Qualcomm satellite communicator. It's three years since I last used one and  advances in technology have left me behind. So I phone a friend; Mr. Ramsden, who gives me the heads-up on the latest touch screen messaging system. Only problem, the short cable on this thing is like a coiled spring and at every opportunity the electronic box flies out of my hand and onto the floor. A rainy day, driving down to the Husky at Mississauga; not 10 kilometres from the first drop.

____Day Four: Up early, too early, not wanting to mess-up the eight o'clock delivery appointment. Sitting in the truckstop, watching the stationary rush-hour traffic on the nearby Highway 401. Nervous that I wont do 10 kays in an hour, nervous that I will deliver the wrong stuff to the wrong place, nervous because I've had so much dis-orientating instruction; my self-confidence is shot to pieces. But by 12 noon, I have an empty trailer and instructions to re-load at Johnstown.

The Bay Truckstop at North Bay, Ontario.

____Day Five: A few evening snow flurries on my way to North Bay warned me that the run across Highway 11 would not be easy. Sure enough, six inches of the white stuff fell as I pushed on to Kapuskasing and fuel. After that it was bare and dry roads; all the way to Pass Lake and the newest addition to the Flying 'J chain of truckstops.

The ditches beside Highway 11 claim another semi.

____Day Six: An eight-hour overnight break gives me the chance to deliver this load on the Wednesday afternoon. An inter-depot move of cable for one of Payne Transportation's sister companies; Tenold. A cold start at Minus 15 C and the truck is still encrusted with the ice-spray from the day before. I hope it will fall off as the temperature rises; what I don't envisage is part of the front left fender falling off. Burdened by a heavy ice coating, it breaks off with a clatter and slides across the road. Luckily I see it in the mirror and go back to pick it up. With the load delivered, the empty trailer returned; I bobtail back to the yard at Niverville for repairs.

____Overall Distance: 4717 km.
Missing section of front fender: it just fell off whist going along.

Ice encrusted trailer leg and winding handle.


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