Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Big Texan : 17 Days - 12585 kilometres.

Load 1 and Load 2.
Load 3 and Load 4.
____ A bitterly cold Super-Bowl Sunday with snow flurries and blowing snow making things difficult on the cross country haul to Saskatoon. Arriving at the Husky Truckstop with just enough time to catch the final quarter and overtime on the flat-screen in the drivers lounge before running the Detroit Diesel all night. Saskatchewan at it's coldest as I deliver the stuff from the last trip and head to North Battleford for the red lentil reload. I once lived with a health food/vegetarian woman and lentils made an all too often appearance on the dinner table. It wasn't the main reason that we split-up; but it was in the top ten. I like these lentils, they come with good miles; delivery is in the warmth of Texas.

____ Heavy snow came to southern Saskatchewan forcing an early finish for a Moose Jaw Monday night. Followed by a full day that got no further than Fargo. Things did improve from there-on and the load for Hutchins, south-east of Dallas, was delivered on time. Onto Load 3; a trailer exchange at Waller with two drops, Edmonton and Burnaby in that order. The trip was going to be a long one; time to decide if was going to take a log-hours reset on the road or if I could keep the driving down to 8 hours a day and roll-over the 70 hours in eight days. Complicated mathamatics when appointment times, the weather conditions and driver preferences are all factored into the equation. I settle a plan that keeps me moving every day at the magic average of eight and three-quarter hours. [ 8 x 8 3/4 = 70 ] Boring.

____ There is no need to ask; you know you are on your way to Amarillo when you come across a never-ending succession of billboards advertising "Free 72 ounce steak." All along US Highway 287, from Dallas and across North-west Texas to the Big Texan Steak Ranch on the north side of Interstate 40, opposite the TA Truckstop. It seems like a Route 66 tourist-trap; eat a 72 oz steak with baked potato, salad and shrimp cocktail plus buttered roll in less than an hour and it is free. Otherwise it costs $72. It is the sort of thing that my brother could do; but I think I'd struggle. But I was put right-off the challenge once I had watched the Youtube video of a young woman eating three 72 oz steaks in less than twenty minutes. What a disgusting waste of good meat; eating with her hands and not chewing a single bite. I settled for Popeyes chicken tenders at the truckstop.

____ I did go over to the Big Texan for the Sunday morning breakfast buffet and the food and service was very good; the fluffiest and lightest biscuits I have had in a long time. Then it was a series of over-night stays based on culinary offerings, all the way to Edmonton, Alberta, on Wednesday morning. Johnson's Corner, just north of Denver. The Town Pump at Billings and Blackjacks at Nisku. The ginger beef at Blackjacks was tough; lets hope it was just a one-off fail, I like place.

____ First drop done in Edmonton with just 8000 lbs left for the second at Burnaby, near Vancouver, and a Friday morning appointment. An easy run across the Rockies with rain most of the way, including another wet and trouble free crossing of the Coquihalla. My only worry was what was going to be the late Friday reload out of southern British Columbia? Answer: Nothing. Run seven hundred kilometres, empty, to Lewiston in Idaho for a load of paper going to Winnipeg. It wasn't ready until Sunday morning so I had most of Saturday at leisure in the twin towns of Lewiston and Clarkston on the border of Idaho and Washington states.

____ At the confluence of the Clearwater and Snake Rivers. Towns named after the leaders of the Lewis and Clark Expedition which camped in the area when they searched for the best overland route that linked the east-flowing Missouri River with the Pacific-bound waters of the Columbia River. A trip of over two years in length; and I was thinking that I was on a long one, at two weeks and counting. When loaded, I elect to run back through the States and get in some good miles; instead of waiting at the nearby border for customs clearance on Monday. A wise move as I'm still waiting for customs to clear the load at Pembina, North Dakota, at Noon on Tuesday when I am only an hour from home.

____ Eventually, I roll through, back into Canada. Noticing a lot of camera crews from television news at the crossing station. Asylum seekers are fleeing the USA and coming into Canada to escape the new directives of the Trump regime. Not again! One of my reasons for coming to Canada was to get away from the nightmare scenario that every cross channel truck-driver has when he comes back through northern France, heading for the ferry or tunnel to England. Now the same situation of illegal immigrants climbing into trailers seems a big threat here in North America.
Big Texan Steak Ranch, good breakfast buffet.
Pump Jacks in North Dakota oil-boom area.
Lookout Pass at the state line between Idaho and Montana on Interstate90
The Clearwater Paper Mill in the valley of the Clearwater River in Idaho.

All the way to Amarillo.

1 comment:

  1. Great blog! I always enjoy reading the eloquent writings of your adventures. Keep 'em coming!