Saturday, December 24, 2016

Hidalgo and US Highway 281.

6908 kilometres in 8 days.
____ A Winter storm called Decima is scheduled to cross my path somewhere between the Canadian border and the Mexican border as I head south from Steinbach to Hidalgo in Texas. The Friday run down to Vermillion is under clear skies but with a bitterly cold north wind chilling temperatures down to minus 27 C. Only when I park does the snow start; drifting across the front of the idling trucks as they huddle together for warmth. Daylight hours are short as I leave at the crack of dawn; taking the Interstate 35 option where I hope the snowploughs have done their job. Blowing snow mixed with a few flurries; through Omaha, Kansas City and down to Joplin where freezing rain brings everything to a standstill. The Petro Truckstop at Junction 4 on the 44 is an hours crawl from Junction 10. The parking area fills to bursting point as drivers give up on the job and  go to work on the BBQ Buffet in the Iron Skillet restaurant.
Nice new quilted Winter front gets tested by Winter Storm Decima.

____ I wake to find Interstate 44 is moving again and Sunday is an easier day with the strong north winds helping with fuel consumption. It is still freezing but by the time I get to the Flying J at George West; it is only -3. Into the border town of Hidalgo bright and early with the peat-moss, ready for transshipment onto a Mexican trailer pulled by a fellow member of the W900 club. A Kenworth of similar age to #94 but with an overdose of tacky religious bling. I'm just a few hundred yards away from the Rio Grande in an area specializing in the transfer of cross-border goods; my fourth visit to such a town. after El Paso, Eagle Pass and Laredo.
Petro 44 Truckstop, Joplin, in the snow.

____ The reload is from Mansfield, a suburb of Fort Worth, nearly a days run from the southernmost tip of Texas, along Highway 281 and Interstate 35. Synthetic oil and grease for a distribution centre in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. A three day run that sees me on the Highway 281 again in North Dakota. Very windy from the West but an easier run. I am back in Canada by lunchtime on Thursday. A phonecall to the customer assures me that they will take delivery that afternoon. The depot manager stays on the line to talk me into the delivery point; very useful in avoiding weight restrictions and finding an old brewery tucked away behind the vast Moose Jaw goods yard. By the time I go to re-fuel, 70 hours in seven days have elapsed since I set off. An enforced early finish but that enables an early start that sees me running empty back to Steinbach and a reasonable finish on the day before Christmas Eve.

Straight from the Blue Beacon Truckwash at York, Nebraska.

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