Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year Laredo.

Six days at an average of over 900 kilometres per day.
____ After a foot of snow on Christmas Night; Boxing Day was spent shoveling and working-off the excesses of the previous days. So when the  US border re-opened on the Tuesday, there were enormous queues of trucks and cars. All heading South when US Customs didn't think they were going to be busy and were not fully staffed. To make matters worse; I needed a new I94 visa Waiver which added another hour onto the crossing time. It was dark by the time I came to an icy stretch of the Interstate 29 between Grand Forks and Fargo. Three delays within half a day makes me think I'm wasting my time; so I gave up and put into the Petro Truckstop at Fargo for some of Popeye's chicken tenders.

Waiting in line at a snowy 49th Parallel.

____Turned out to be the best thing that I could have done as freezing rain hit the Interstate in South Dakota during the evening. Heavy ice coated everything as it glistened in the low morning sun but the road had been treated wasn't too bad for driving. By Watertown, it was all bare and dry down Salina for the second night-out, although not yet above freezing point. Plus temps came in Oklahoma on Day Three as a busy Interstate 35 rolled into Texas. Saturated traffic through Fort Worth, Waco, Temple, Austin and the over-night halt at San Antonio.

Palm trees of Southern Texas.

____ A couple of hours to do before dropping the bonded load of furniture frames at a customs broker's yard from where it would be taken into Mexico. Five miles along the road in another yard was a trailer loaded with upholstered furniture frames waiting to go back to Winnipeg. Another bonded load with the paperwork already processed; so within an hour, I was northbound, heading for for the Winstar Casino on the Texas/Oklahoma state line. I thought I might be there on New Years Eve but arrived a full day a head of schedule, such was the quick turn-round. Good fish and chips from the restaurant in the "London" section of the city-themed casino calling itself the World's Largest.

Old School-New age : Ruby #94 and Ruby #101

____ From the bottom of Oklahoma, it is two long days' driving back to Steinbach. Not always possible with the Winter weather of the Prairies but I gave myself every chance by getting up to York in Nebraska. On the way, by pure chance, I found myself fueling-up next to Ruby 101 at Tonkawa. Driven by Bob, fellow Brit and ex-Big Freight, and while we chatted, in came Ruby 113; piloted by Neil, also British and an ex-Big Freight driver. They were both headed to Hidalgo, Texas. The last day was a long one but the light load, dry roads and the W900 wound up to 109 on cruise made it easy. Mostly deserted roads and at the border before dark; back to the yard with time to spare.

Dawn : New Year's Day 2017.

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