____ 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.|