Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Taber Sugar.

Three Days on the Snowy Prairies.
____ Six axles in Canada can be loaded to 100,000 lbs and the out-bound load to Swift Current wasn't far from max. At least the blowing snow from the North didn't have much effect on the W900 as we followed a ice-patched Trans-Canada Highway for 800 kilometres of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The first delivery was to an agricultural machinery place directly opposite the truckstop where I stayed overnight. It was good to eat a breakfast and drink from an bottomless cup of coffee as I waited for the lights to come on over the road. Twenty pallets of various oils and greases unloaded off the back and into the yard in a biting wind and a temperature of minus 25 Centigrade.

____ Six pallets left for drop number two at Maple Creek, 108 kilometres further West on the same TCH and selling the same brand of tractor. Then, empty to Taber for a reload of sugar. A time-zone crossing gives me an extra hour as I cross from Saskatchewan to Alberta. Sask don't change their clocks; in Winter they are the same as Manitoba, in Summer they're with Alberta. The sugar is heavier than the oil, good job they had a scale at the beet-factory; the Detroit Diesel needs all of it's 500 horses all the way back to Swift Current for another night-out. For a second night, the truck engine runs all night at a fast idle. The Kenworth doesn't have an "Outside Temperature" gauge but when the exhaust stacks of every truck are leaving huge vapour trails in the twilight then I know that it is below minus 20 and time to keep the motor running. The sunshine of day three fails to make a difference to the mercury; all the way back to Steinbach.

____ Six loads now for the 1998 KW and all of them have been within a couple of ton of the legal maximum. But the old iron doesn't complain; just gulps down another gallon and roars. Fuel consumption seems to be at about 10 to the gallon; ten kilometres to an American, 3.5 litre, gallon. That would be 8 mpg in old money. Not as good as something like a 13 litre Volvo but quite acceptable for a truck that is never going to show you a check-engine light or require a parked-re-gen. I am impressed by some of the Kenworth's attributes, a comfortable driving position, a nice double-sleeper, the excellent eight air-bag rear suspension and plenty of power. But some things leave a lot to be desired; the engine noise in the cab is thunderous and the exhaust stacks block a lot of rearward vision when reversing. They don't have to run up by the cab doors and it seems they are just there to complete the "American Class 8 Iconic Truck" look. When it comes to taking the last vacant spot at a busy truckstop, in the dark, in the rain; I can see myself falling out of love with chrome as I try to reverse in a tight spot. The backing-up will get easier with practice but I do find myself thinking more about where and when I'm going to stop; just to avoid a pain-in-the-arse end to the day. But three trips done now for Ruby Truck Line and just time for one more long one before Christmas.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoy reading your blog very much. Especially as a guy that ran trucks for 10 years. How about some interesting pics of your rig including the interior?