Monday, February 1, 2016

Truckers And Their Birds.

Left to right: Blue Peterbilt and Green Kenworth.
____ "A dog is not just for Christmas." is often quoted when trying to discourage people from taking on a pet when they can't look after it properly. "A budgerigar is not just for Christmas." is not heard so much. Probably because even an aviary full of our feathered friends from Australia isn't going to feed a family of four. Here at the House of Drivers, there are two budgies that belong to  different drivers, both of whom have now flown the nest; leaving their birds behind. As I am now the sole resident; it has been left up to me to look after them.

____ Their cage door is never closed so Pete and Kenny have the freedom to fly and shit anywhere in the open-plan lounge-diner-kitchen area. When the house was fully, or even partially occupied, the birds always had someone to give them seeds and fresh water. Now it is up to me and a long ten day trip might result in them going without enough food and drink. Luckily, this week I did two shortish trips and managed to get back home between them. But who knows what is next and I can't really refuse to work just because of a couple of birds that aren't mine.

Trip 1

____ "Nothing yet-phone back in an hour." is not the normal style of Penner despatch but I heard it three times on Monday morning before I got instructions to pick up a preloaded trailer from the Winnipeg yard. By the look of the snow in front of the trailer, it had stood there for the whole weekend. Obviously somebody did not show up to take it to Sioux Falls and then on to Eagan, near Minneapolis. Now I have to fly. The best chance of keeping the customer satisfied is to be on his doorstep at 8am Tuesday morning.

Not much room to spare on this loading dock.

_____ From Sioux Falls, South Dakota, it is Interstate 90, east and Interstate 35, north to Eagan. Then a trailer switch at Fridley followed by Interstate 94 to Fargo. Heading for Winnipeg; where I leave the loaded trailer for the customer to unload at his leisure. Back home by mid-day with not enough done to warrant a log-hours reset; so back to the phone-in routine and hope for something that's not so rushed.

Trip 2
____ It looked like it was going to be the familiar routine of running over to Dryden with an empty trailer but at the last minute it all changed. Another no-show, I don't know if the problem was mechanical or physical. This time my rescue mission was a loaded trailer to Portage La Prairie followed by a switch in the same town and a trailer destined for Manawa, Wisconsin. An unloading time booked for 18.00 on a Friday evening would normally mean that I could be sitting for the weekend but not at Penners. After a night at the smart new Loves Truckstop at Fond du Lac; into the heart of Milwaukee for a load back to Winnipeg. I push on, maxxing-out the driving hours at Fargo; where the Petro Stopping Centre now has a Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen: Chicken and Biscuits. Back at the house by early afternoon; after dropping the load at the Winnipeg yard.

Drive-by shot of my favorite bird: the Snowy Owl. OK, it is a long way away but when you have to reach for the camera, switch it on, open the passenger window and keep the rig out of the ditch all at the same time. I don't think it is too bad.

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