Saturday, August 30, 2014


____ A continuation of last weeks trip with the reels of cable. Two drops in Calgary, with the first delivery scheduled for 06.30 Monday morning. That will be a Saturday afternoon start then. Moose Jaw cuts the distance in half; an early finish in Calgary gives me enough time to go to the casino and make it an expensive day.

The new model Argosy; looking better with a moose bar.

____ Only 4 kilometres between the drops and I'm having breakfast at the Petro Pass, up near Calgary Airport at eight-thirty; empty and ready to wait for my next assignment. Mid-day and a message arrive together; load in Edmonton, in the morning, three drops Alberta and Saskatchewan. Not the real mouth-watering miles that I was expecting as all the waiting around makes me wonder if I'm getting over-looked for the good earning opportunities or if good work is scarce because of the holiday season.

I just caught the front corner of a nice white 386 Peterbilt in this photo.

____ Loaded and away early Tuesday with plastic film in rolls and on pallets. White plastic that the agricultural industry will use to wrap hay-bales, cover silage mounds and store grain in long white bags that lay in the fields. First drop, Marwayne, and thank heavens for cell-phones. Getting hold of hard-working farmers and arranging a rendezvous has never been so easy. As the address on the paperwork was completely different to where the farmer wanted the stuff; I could have wasted half-a-day. Instead, I was in and out in 15 minutes; including a conversation about unsold grain that was still in the farmer's grain bins, the shortage of rail-cars for grain-trains and about how white plastic would save this year's harvest.

The new white sight in the fields of Canada.

____North Battleford; this time an "Ag" merchant. Not enough time to get to the last drop at Hague; so into the Flying'J at Saskatoon. The fourth night of the trip and the fourth 'J; Moose Jaw, Calgary, Edmonton and now the Toon. Not an exciting variation but probably the best showers available at those locations.

____Empty at Hague; then because the rental trailer is going "Off-Hire" at the end of the month; empty back to Winnipeg. The longest day of the trip; where all the others had been of eight hours or less. Nice, laid-back, easy-going trip of 3335 kilometres; back Thursday night, going out again Sunday and earned fuck-all.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Eleven-Seventeen 5131 km.

____A midday start on a Sunday; a late finish will give me the cool of the night but running in the dark is the problem. Ignace to Thunder Bay can be like driving through a zoo and animal strikes peak at dusk. I don't encounter any four-legged friends and reach Santorrelli's Truckstop without incident; ready for the first-drop of a seven-drop trailer-load.

____Most long trips have a couple days that are harder than the rest; on this trip, days 2 and three will make or break it. After Thunder Bay, drop 2 is in Barrie but Sudbury is as far as I get after a long slog along the north shore of Lake Superior. Then an eight hour break before making an onslaught on my remaining customers; Barrie, Scarborough, Port Hope, Belleville and Apsley, where they stay open to six in the evening.

____The reload is cable from Johnstown; then its the long slog back across to Winnipeg. Canada, where there are two seasons; Winter and Roadworks. Highway 17 had plenty of construction on the east-bound journey; Highway 11 matches it on the west-bound route. With 5131 kilometres in six days; its hard work behind the wheel.

Amish haymakers.

Manitoulin Argosy.

Bobtail on-route to a show.

White two-axle bobtail.

Friday, August 22, 2014


Lucky truck that grabbed the last pull-thru
Must have pulled in here at half past two.
A lot have been here most of the day,
Sitting about, no miles, no pay.
I’m driving round in the pouring rain,
When you finish late, always the same.

They never build ‘em big enough,
Just one spot left that’s ultra-tough.
Probably a drivers biggest ask,
I only hope I’m up to the task.
It sorts out the truckers from the rest,
One day it might be part of the test.

Under the gaze of a hundred eyes,
It could take more than a dozen tries.
Not time and place to get it wrong,
Better not have the CB on.
Best to start with the angles right,
We’re talking inches, it’s oh-so tight.

Then above all the noise of fridges’ humming,
A voice at the back; shouts “Keep it coming.”
Getting wet, out there in the dark,
A guardian angel is helping me park.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Assiniboia Downs Horse Racing.

____ A Saturday evening in Winnipeg, Manitoba, from May to September and the best entertainment on offer. Great value, free entry, good food, relaxed atmosphere and betting available from $2 and up. I cannot understand why more people don't go. The grandstand might be 50 years old but there is comfortable seating and flat-screen TVs everywhere. Eight races a night with an average of 6 horses in each. I only get to go about five times a year but usually pick 2 or three winners each visit. Never won big and only drawn a blank on one occasion but always enjoyed it.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Vee-Trip 11280 km.

____ Setting off from Winnipeg at 5 o'clock on a Friday afternoon is probably not everyone's idea of an ideal time to start a two-week long-haul trip; me included. But it does have the one advantage; when I finish work in the dead of night, the heat will have gone from the day and I will get a good night's sleep. That scenario also works well for the second night; but after three long shifts at the wheel, I am in Florida and August nights do not cool-off. Staying hot and humid.

Spotted at a rainy Florida Truckstop.

____Tuesday morning, bright and early; just 18 pallets to come off and I'm northbound heading to Augusta, Georgia. The regular reload for all Payne trucks in the South-East US and with the company contracted to deliver throughout Canada, I get a load destined for the Province of Quebec. A two day run; crossing at the 1000 Island Bridge into Ontario and running up to the Flying J at Lancaster.

____ The two drops just a few miles apart but separated by the city of Montreal and the St. Lawrence River. It's Friday and I need to get  reloaded as well, so waiting for the rush-hour to finish is not an option. The Pont de Champlain is slow but I keep moving; traffic on the bridge is about the same when I come back 90 minutes later; heading back to within a few miles of my first drop for the reload. I told the office that I had enough driving hours to keep working in Canada; but they reload me for North Carolina. Going south will necessitate a log-hours reset before I can legally drive back into the US. So it is back to Lancaster; to sit from noon, Friday, until early Sunday morning.

A freighter going past Montreal on the St. Lawrence Seaway.

____ After a slow start; the Sunday traffic builds as I spend the whole day, southbound, on Interstate 81 after re-crossing at the salad-dressing suspension structure. Harrisburg cuts the distance to Henderson, NC, in half; also there is a lack of truck parking around Washington, the nation's capital. The late afternoon delivery appointment makes the heavy traffic and delays irrelevant. Interstate 95 congestion doesn't stop me getting to the RDC an hour early. Another late finish; this time at Graham, NC. where the Flying J has 250 parking places. I only need one stall and figure there should still be few vacancies even at mid-night.

____ Rock Hill, just south of Charlotte, is where the reload is waiting; a heavy load of chemicals. The same weight as the three previous loads put together. The Cummins has to put in some serious effort as we tackle Interstate 40 and the Smoky Mountains in the dark and in the rain. Tonight's late finish is at London, Kentucky, where I was confident there would be a space.

British registered Old-timer spotted on the Baltimore ring-road.

____ The London Truck and Auto Plaza is one of my regular two-days-away stops. The one-day-away stop is at the Petro, Portage, Wisconsin. Then instead of going home, I go to the Flying J, on the outskirts of Winnipeg; ready for an early unloading in town and an early finish. Happily bob-tailing back to the yard with the knowledge that next weeks trip is to Long Island, New York, followed by three drops in Florida. Sadly, by the time I get home, it has all changed to eight drops in Ontario; starting at Thunder Bay. Time for a beer or two on the deck; me thinks.

View from the 1000 Islands Bridge.