____ Load 1: Flying Eagle Transport used to despatch a truck to do 600 miles a day; where as Penner International reckon on a driver to do 500 miles a day. So every time I leave the yard, I seem to have plenty of time to get to my destination. When the load is going to Nashville; it puts me in a good mood. It is well over a year since I had a night-out in Music City and even though it's going to be a Monday, the place will be buzzing. An easy run down with stops at Duluth and Bloomington before getting stuck into a full rack of ribs at Rippy's. Two acoustic guitarists are taking requests boasting that they know the words and chords to 10,000 country songs; I couldn't name the titles of 1000 country songs. The load is booked in for 7 o'clock in the morning, so I don't stay late.
|Custom Peterbilt at Nashville TA.|
____ Load 2: Eastbound on Interstate 40, Nashville to Knoxville for a trailer switch in Tennessee. A load for Waterloo, Ontario, using Interstate 75 all the way to the Ambassador Bridge at Detroit. But first; a chance to pick up some stuff for the Mack. Fire trucks are not built with with locking equipment cabinets. It makes sense really; you don't want to be fumbling for keys in an emergency situation. But motorhomes are prime targets for thieves and I need everything to be secure. It took a lot of searching on the Internet but eventually I found that I could change the current cabinet handles for lockable ones. Moore Industrial Hardware of Cincinnati is one of the few places that stock these D-ring locks and I am passing within three miles. They aren't cheap but no-one ever regrets buying quality. I come away with 10 keyed-alike locks and a thick catalogue of all Moores stuff. There is still enough time in the day to get back into Canada and a night at London, before turning-up at the customer and finding they can't take delivery. So it's into the Mississauga terminal for a switch for an empty trailer.
|TA, Monroe, Michigan. Popeyes next Timmies, truckstops don't get any better than that.|
____ Load 3: Blowing snow whipped-up by a strong northerly wind makes for a hazardous run to Corunna. There are enough vehicles in the ditch to slow everything down. I am an hour late for the pick-up but a phone call lets them know and it's not a problem. The weather gets better once I cross the Bluewater Bridge at Sarnia. Back into the States for a short trip down to Delaware in Ohio and a Friday morning delivery as soon as possible. Crossing Detroit, north to south, is not a problem in the evening rush-hour. It is now a city of only 700,000 people; shrinking dramatically from 1.8 million in the last sixty years.
|Johnny Cash Museum, just off Broadway, Nashville, Tennessee.|
____ Load 4: The Bowling Green, Ohio, warehouse doesn't stay open late on Fridays but I'm in and out by midday; loaded for Winnipeg. Heading home and as quick as legally possible. Enough hours to get back on Sunday morning after nights at Lake Station, Indiana, and Alexandria, Minnesota. I run short of US dollars after my shopping expedition but with plenty of points on my Flying'J loyalty card, I survive on offerings from their hot deli. Nine days with an average of only 700 kilometres is not good but I did get my locks and that's an unexpected result.
|B B King's Blues Club, just off Broadway, Nashville, Tennessee.|