Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Mack In A Million.

4559 km in 6 days.
____ An empty trailer to Dryden starts a trip that I have done before in its entirety. Then I switch for a really heavy one and go to the border at International Falls. Highway 502 which is nearly 200 kilometres of pure Canadian Shield; no houses, no traffic, just rock, trees and lakes. I wonder how long this route is going to be usable as we enter the Winter season. This time it is bare and dry but it could be unwise to use it in bad weather. I reach Minong in Wisconsin for the night; home of the Links family and their beef jerky empire.

____ South into warmer temperatures, first to Troy in Illinois; then an early Saturday delivery in Jackson. Instant reload information sends me south to Olive Branch, a few hundred yards south of the Tennessee/Mississippi stateline. On my previous visit, I was loaded and away within an hour: not this time. Three Penner trucks have arrived for two available loads and I draw the short straw. It is a 27 hour wait; Sunday afternoon before I am on my way.

Cab-over beside the Interstate 55 in Missouri.

____ But every cloud has a silver lining and I have an opportunity to call in at a rural fire hall to look-over a fine old Mack fire-rescue truck. Twenty-five years old with just 22,000 miles on the clock. Three hundred and fifty horse-power with a five speed Allison automatic transmission, 4000 lbs winch, 15 kilowatt generator and automatic snow-chains. Something that would make a unique motor-home conversion.

____ A light load of just 11,000 lbs helps for a good run back to Manitoba. Twenty-seven minutes to get shot of 22 pallets. A warm spell brings temperatures to positive degrees but makes for a mucky truck. Luckily the workshops also have a wash bay and screen-wash in bulk. A mid-week finish, a hours reset and out again on maybe the last trip before Christmas.

Built in 1989 in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

22713 miles.

Mack R688FC with bodywork by Saulsbury.

4000 lb Electric Winch on front bumper.

Allison Transmission shifter and plenty of extra switches.

No clutch; just two buttons for air-horns and siren can lead to noisy mistakes.

Even has a built-in wine-rack.

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