Thursday, April 27, 2017

Texas Tag For Tyler

10 Day Trip
____ It's a bad state of affairs when he truck-driver is subjected to more scrutiny and control than a kiddy-fiddler on parole. Rules and regulations are about to be more strictly enforced when electronic logbooks become law in December 2017. Although I drive a truck built before the year 2000 which is exempt from the new mandate; Ruby Truck Line has decided everyone will go onto e-logs. So I'm in the office with two other drivers for an early afternoon training session. A badly presented flat-screen slide-show that went in one ear and out the other. Two of us kept quiet but the other driver wouldn't shut-up. An endless stream of irrelevant, un-interesting stories that doubled the meeting time. I left without my log-in password; so haven't done anything with the new box of tricks. I suppose I'll muddle through when the time comes.

____ Away later than expected, down to Watertown and then Big Cabin; heading for Troup, an old regular from the Flying Eagle days. Swinging by the Soulman Bar-B-Q at Van and getting a chance to to use the Tyler by-pass for the first time with my Texas Tag toll paying transponder. Avoiding the annoying traffic light saturated town before parking at the plant nursery with the peat-moss for the first time in nearly five years.. Shorty: the same fork-lift driver did the unloading before I set-off for Laredo. Over 400 kilometres and seven hours driving before swapping trailers. A load for Ontario; crossing at Sarnia. US Highway 59 to Houston and into Arkansas at Texarkana; proudly proclaiming that it is the future Interstate 69 corridor. The same Interstate 69 that takes me north out of Indianapolis and all the way to the Canadian border.

____ Unloaded at an industrial estate at Bolton, just north of Mississauga, on Tuesday morning before running down to Hamilton for a reload which will always be known as the "Mud-flap Disaster Load." I've ripped-off a few mud-flaps over the years; but never three in one single manoeuvre. A shallow looking muddy puddle had hidden depths and reversing through it ruined my day. I thought I might get a chance to re-attach them but it never stopped raining, all the way to North Bay.

____ Every year has it's "Last Snows of Spring" and I caught the 2017 version on Highway 11 through the Canadian Shield. It started with freezing rain, then ice pellets, a bit of sleet and finally, a full-blooded snow-storm. Everything that can slip down the back of your neck and make your life cold, wet and miserable. Drive it like a Yorkie Bar, one chunk at a time. Cochrane for breakfast, Kapuskasing for a shower, Hearst for coffee before tackling the barren two hundred kilometres to Longlac. Then another 200 kay to Nipigon. Running on hard-packed snow and giving full respect to the swooping curves at the Pijitawabik Palisades.

____ The only positives from a long day are the heavy load, which gives excellent traction, and the long day-light hours. The busy two-lane highway, snow-covered and at night would have been treacherous. A cold night at Nipigon where  I put the winter-front on the Kenworth's grill, hopefully for the last time. For the last six months, it has been on and off more times than a pair of whore's drawers. Snow for most of the way back to Manitoba as I take the trailer back to the yard and leave the mud-flaps with the guys in the workshop.

The e-log and messaging tablet with handy hook for a rubbish bag.

Dickey's is good, but given a choice, I would go to Soulman's every time.

A snowy Highway 11 beside Lake Helen in Northern Ontario.

Ruby Truck Line Number 4

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