|Sixteen Day Trip|
____ Baton Rouge on a Friday morning, just a few miles from the plant nursery beside the Big River. Within a mile of the truckstop; I get caught on a 25 ton limit bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway. I tell the police officer that I didn't see the signs until it was too late. Luckily for me, the signs only went up overnight as the bridge had been inspected and restricted just that week; first day was a warning day and no tickets were being issued. Half an hour later, I was stuck in the mud while trying to turn round at the nursery. Four inches of rain had fell in the previous 48 hours. Snow-chains for the first time in 2017 and first time in Louisiana. These things happen in threes; bang. I slip on the muddy step of the truck and gash my knee. The gripping tread on the truck steps has worn smooth after eighteen years of climbing in and out.
____ Out of Louisiana, westbound on Interstate 10, through rice fields and swamps with Popeyes Chicken at every other exit. To Waller, Texas, for a trailer change. Back to Canada with deliveries at Wetaskiwin in Alberta and Vancouver city-centre. North from the new green spring to the brown grasslands, still thawing from the Winter. Early-morning snow at Casper but other-wise easy-going with just 12,000 lbs of cargo. To the first drop by Tuesday afternoon. Then the bad news.
____ Vancouver cannot take delivery until Monday morning. No chance of dropping off the goods anywhere else; so a slow trip over the Rockies after the first eight days of the trip yielded 6400 kilometres. A weekend at Delta, which has a Tim Hortons, the Petro-Pass Fuel card-lock and the Tidewaters pub. Sunday is a day of public transport: bus, tram and Skytrain. I go into town to check-out the delivery address; a church, a few blocks from Stanley Park in a high-class residential area with a Starbucks on every corner. My first "Church" delivery in over forty years of transport industry involvement.
____ But the old Presbyterian church has gone and in it's place a modern complex is being erected. Underground parking, church and community hall on the ground floor, affordable apartments above and rising high into the city skyline. Original thinking for an over-crowded, high-priced metropolis but not much thought given to the delivery of building products. Best plan is to get into the city at daybreak, jack-knife into the back-alley beside the church and hope no truck wants to deliver to the nearby strip-mall. Ten pallets later and back to Delta for the reload. Out of town by noon, loaded for Winnipeg and time to make up for the lost time.
|Ruby Truck Line 94 parked by the levy in front of the plant nursery at Modeste, Louisiana.|
|New style church for the community in Vancouver.|
|Heavy-haul Western Star.|
|Flying the flag with a big sleeper Peterbilt.|
|Red cedar floating beside a sawmill at Delta BC.|
|View from the Alex Fraser Bridge, Delta, BC.|