Friday, October 30, 2015

Not Enough Hours In Oklahoma.

7504 kilometres - 10 days.
____ The trip didn't start well; a six hour wait to get loaded at Portage la Prairie. Five pallets of my load had gone missing and I sat on the loading bay while they bagged-up replacements. It was getting dark by the time I cleared customs and crossed the border. Fargo was as far as I would go on day one. Destination was Spencer, New York, but even with Tuesday's hiccup, Friday's 9 o'clock delivery was still possible. Wednesday night at Rochelle's Petro Truckstop and Thursday at the Seneca Casino at Salamanca, NY. Interstate 86, the Southern Tier Thruway across New York, doesn't have a lot of truckstops so a casino with a big patch of gravel is the best I can do.
____ Spencer is a very small town in the foothills of the Appalachians, surrounded by copper leaved woodland on a warm autumnal morning. Quickly unloaded and away, on twisting, undulating two-lane roads; across country to the Interstate 81, south into Pennsylvania and onto Hazleton. A trailer change in a chaotic RDC with trailers dropped everywhere. I surprise myself by getting in and out inside 30 minutes. The trailer is carrying two consignments of Christmas decorations for superstores in Ontario; my instructions tell me to take it to the Penner yard in Mississauga.
____ Mississauga on a Saturday morning and another trailer swap. This time  it is a load going to Oklahoma City, 1900 kilometres south-west. Going straight back into the US without having a log-book hours reset can make things tricky but I cannot refuse the load as I do have enough driving hours to legally make the delivery. Problems could come afterwards. But first the load has to have customs clearance. Twice faxing the paperwork for an extortionate cost of $64 and a five hour wait make for a miserable Saturday afternoon. The clock runs out on the driving time before I get the go-ahead.
____ An early start from London, Ontario, gets me to the normally very busy Ambassador Bridge before the Sunday rush. Windsor to Detroit with only 30 seconds at the customs booth must be a record but that was all after I hit a deer. An eight-point white-tail buck on Highway 401. It came out into the slow lane just after a bridge; I didn't get on the brake pedal before I hit it at 100 kph in cruise control. I swear that at the last second, it turned towards the truck and lowered it's head; as if engaging in deer to deer combat. That action probably saved the truck from a lot of damage; the moose bar took the full impact. Normally if a truck hits a big animal; it hits the legs and body comes over the bar and onto the hood. The only damage was a broken lens on a fog-light.

Hefty front-end protection by Herd.

____ The day finished on the outskirts of St. Louis, half-done. The load was due to be delivered on the Tuesday afternoon but I was in the Petro at Oklahoma City by 2 o'clock Monday and that was  after a leisurely look-round in the Petro at Joplin. The driving hours were now getting critical, just three hours for Tuesday; the delivery was done ok but getting to the reload was out of the question. The despatch office knew the situation and booked a late loading time for the next day in Kansas City.

1989 Mack Superliner

____ There is a ball game going on. Kansas City Royals are at home to the New York Mets in the second game of the World Series. The place is buzzing. Strange how I have just come down from Ontario; where the Royals beat the Toronto Blue Jays in the semi-final. I still don't understand some of the finer points of the game but was disappointed that the Blue Jays didn't go all the way. There are three Canadian trucks on the bays waiting to be loaded. I am first away but with limited hours coming back to from the previous weeks driving; I am last one back to the yard. Noon on Friday before I get back to the workshop and tell the guys about the fog-light lens. We all agree that moose-bars are a good investment and that the "Herd" brand is probably the strongest. Shame about the deer but at least it was quick.

On sale in the Petro at Joplin, Missouri, The hard-hat cowboy hat.

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