Friday, November 20, 2015

California in Missouri.

3412 km in 4 days.
____Day 1: Peat moss is a poor man's load; the worst rate in the industry. A company only pulls a load of dirt in a van if they haven't got good customers. All the premier hauliers of Manitoba deny that they carry the stuff; yet when you go to load at a peat moss plant, they are all there. Bison lining-up to load alongside Flying Eagle, and Penner too. But if you have a loaded trailer waiting for collection in Missouri; then any load going south is better than sending an empty trailer. The line is long and the loading slow. At the end of a fourteen hour day; I have only reached Fargo in North Dakota.

____Day 2: Interstate 29, all the way to Kansas City. Final destination is California, not the West Coast state but the small town in the middle of Missouri; not the river but the state. I am always fascinated by how places get their names. Apparently unscrupulous guides who led the wagon trains across America set up a California in Missouri in order to hood-wink immigrant settlers. A few weeks travel from the East Coast and there was a big sign saying "Welcome to California." The happy wagoners paid-off their guides thinking they had reached the promised land: job done.

____Day 3: Just two hours of driving across Missouri before I reach the plant nursery and am quickly unloaded. Another couple of hours and I am swapping trailers in Lebanon, the town not the country, just alongside Interstate 44. But no interstate driving until I reach Des Moines, as I cut across the state highways, due north into Iowa. The full eleven hours of allowed driving gets me to the Flying'J at Williams, just close enough to strike-out for home in the morning.

____Day 4: Snow is in the forecast but I am around the Minneapolis ring-road and away north-west along the Interstate 94 before the storm blows. From there-on a strong wind, snow and blowing snow make driving difficult. Not everybody has revived their winter-driving skills. After dark the ditches of Manitoba are littered with headlights shining-out at various bizarre angles. Blowing snow is packed down hard by vehicle tyres giving a sheet of ice to drive on. I creep back into the yard and drop the trailer; somebody else can have the pleasure of taking it to Gimli in the morning.
Wind and snow can soon put a rig in the ditch.

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