Sunday, September 28, 2014

Alpharetta Slow.

____ I have blogged about four years of trips since I started and it has been part of my end of trip routine. I did give it a six month break after my sister-in-law died of cancer. I went back to the UK for her funeral and found that my brother was undergoing chemo-therapy; fighting his own battle against the big C. He hadn't told me about it as he didn't want me to worry. Blogging truck-driving trips didn't seem so important.

____ But I've drifted back into writing and the routine. Get home, make a cup of tea, open mail, put laundry in washer, fire-up laptop, make map, transfer washing to dryer, upload photos from camera, write something, fold clean clothes while still warm, publish blog, drink long tall glass of Bacardi and Coke, watch Netflix until I doze-off.

____ This trip was a little different as I came home to some serious plumbing problems in the basement and the laundry had to wait. As I write this; I am half-way through my next trip and having a log-hours reset in  sunny New Brunswick. It's a job to remember much about the last excursion into the US; except that it was a bit like the old Flying Eagle used-truck-parts loads to Atlanta. Three easy days down,  a six hour unload at Alpharetta, reload Newnan for Winnipeg on the Tuesday. Back in the house; Thursday afternoon as the truck went of  for it's 6-monthly safety inspection.

____Overall Distance: 5454 km.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Righting the waiting wrong.

How many hours of every day?
Is given free and taken away.
From a driver’s hard-earned take-home pay.
The company only earns while the wheels are turning,
So the driver only earns when the company’s earning.
But the hypocrites preach “Safety” a lot.
Whilst “Cents-per-mile” is definitely not.
It's a dangling carrot-donkey situation,
Cause of endless stress and frustration.
A full “Pre-trip” has to be done.
But most expect it done for fun.
Log-books should be neat and correct,
But manage your hours to good effect.
Stop on amber and never speed,
But “Hammer-down” when they feel the need.
Will it end with an on-board recorder?
Will it put this mess in order?
With truckers paid for every hour,
From log-on till their evening shower.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Four-Way Flashers In The Rain.

____ Getting out of a warm bed to go home at 5-thirty on a Sunday morning is not the best way to start a trip. After getting my stuff together and bob-tailing halfway across Winnipeg looking for a trailer; it was 10.30 before I got into cruise control, eastbound on the Trans-Canada Highway. Twelve hours later, I was crawling back into bed at Longlac; 1000 kilometres away in the Canadian Shield.

Still standing; Sturgeon River bridge with beams delivered by Flying Eagle Heavy Haul.

____ A similar stint behind the wheel on the Labour Day Holiday Monday put me at the King City On-Route motorway service area, just north of Toronto. After battling with the returning cottage-country traffic from Muskoka, I was ready to battle the commuter rush in the morning. Unloaded, begrudgingly, at Mister Grumpy's furniture distribution company, I had a short wait before the reload at Ajax came through. Wall-plaster to be delivered to Fort Mackay, Alberta, by Friday. I advised that it would be Friday afternoon and the office came back and told me that Monday would be fine.

Mack with solar panels on the hood and roof of the sleeper.

____Then the heavens opened as I headed north out of Toronto in busy afternoon traffic. Why does heavy rain make people drive along with their four-way flashers working? I had slowed down because I couldn't see and was being overtaken by the four-way flashers! Maybe it's their way of saying, "I am a hazard."

____ New Liskeard to the Time Zone Plaque at Savanne on Wednesday had me thinking that I would be home by mid-afternoon on Thursday. Then BEEP; a satellite message asking if I could deliver on Friday; the load was urgent [again]. Mid-day Saturday was the best I could offer; after I'd eased-up when it looked like it was going to be Monday. Hammer down and I was at Syncrude's truck-staging area with an hour to spare.

You don't have to be mad to work here.

____ Now, every product taken onto the Syncrude site has to have an identity analysis data-sheet and my fire-proof wall-plaster did not have the necessary clearance to gain entry. So although it was urgent, they turned me away at the gate. Never mind, a parcel delivery company in Fort McMurray agreed to take it and I was empty by three o'clock on Saturday afternoon; ready to run down to Edmonton for what was left of the Weekend.

Syncrude, Mildred Lake.

____ Who the hell finds reloads for dry freight vans out of the Oilsands? Payne Transportation does and it was a good job they told me about it before I headed-off south. Used Caterpillar parts from the dealer at Fort Mackay; load Monday 08.00. So, two nights in the dirty old town of Fort McMurray; with it's complete lack of driver facilities and it's sky-high prices. To think, I could have had two nights in my own bed. It rained all Sunday with a certain dampness also in the cab; as if someone had been pissing-up my back.

Big old shovel at the free-to-enter Oilsands Interpretative and Discovery Center.

____ And the bloody Caterpillar bits only went to Edmonton! Then it was up to Westlock for some of the plastic grain bags. Three farms in Saskatchewan; thank heavens for cell-phones or I would still be looking for them now. But you do meet some nice people on the farms of the Prairies; so different from those jobs-worth shits in the oil industry. The whole trip ended-up with 8686 kilometres in 11 days; so it wasn't too shabby after-all. Except that it snowed on the way home and it's a sign that Winter is just around the corner.

Old Oilsands bulldozer with radiator on the roof; at Dicovery Center.