Saturday, June 3, 2017

Louisiana Purchase.

An Idea Of Distance.
Ten Day Trip.

____ The first trip using the e-log tablet while still doing paper logs. A lot more office-type work; so I take a passenger with a good grasp of Information Technology and give her the  button pressing job with strict instructions not to forget the all-important work status changes. Surprisingly, the difference between the two sets of figures is never more than a quarter of an hour during the whole ten day trip. A good example of how Ruby Truck Line is an employer who gives plenty of time for their work. The log-book brinkmanship  at Flying Eagle would never have aligned the numbers. But with my present employer I am not taking home the regular bi-weekly pay-cheques of over $2000 and probably won't see such pay-packets in the foreseeable future. Not that I ever ran bent or anything like that.

____ There are three types of driver that falsify their logs. "Innocent mistake" is the one who doesn't know they haave done anything wrong until it is pointed out to them. It may be ignorance of the law, bad mathematics or a lapse of concentration but they gain nothing from it. "Death Wish" is another violator. This driver does not care about the rules and regulations, they just do what they want and will often not even bother to start a daily log-sheet. Disenchanted with the job, problems at home, possible drink and drug addiction; this driver might well have done a good job in the past but now the loss of their licence would be a happy release. The third group and by far the biggest group is the "Percentage Driver." The thinking driver who weighs up the risks of detection against the gains in time and money. The zero% chance of getting caught when unloading-before-logging-on when parked at a customer over-night versus the nailed on certainty of getting done for over-weight at a scale which boasts that they will still be open for the fortnight after hell freezes over. This a driver who will often start to manage his log-book days before when he sees a hiccup on the horizon; but he will be quite liberal with his timings when he has hours to spare. This driver knows the law and just how far he can bend it. What is their chance of getting caught, after all their careful consideration, by an un-expected, out-of-the-blue log-book check when they are bang-to-rights, up-a-creek-without-a-paddle running dodgy? Once in a million miles or every eight years or so. Mr. Percentage will notice a drop in pay with e-logs and the company while notice a drop in their productivity.

____ A bonded load of peat-moss for the Home Depots of Mexico; trouble-free driving with nights-out at Norfolk, Nebraska, Thackerville, Oklahoma, and Encinal, Texas, before unloading at Laredo and finding that a pallet had toppled over at the front of the trailer. Mushroom farms and plant nurseries are never worried about split bags or wonky pallets but when the goods are for resale it's different. Luckily it can be re-built and re-wrapped before I get a clean signature on the bill of lading. Then it is off across Laredo for another bonded trailer; destination Bolton, Ontario.

____ Many people collect souvenirs from each and every state that they visit; for some it is fridge-magnets, for my passenger it is shot glasses. As a token of my appreciation for all her hard work with the e-logs; I swing by Louisiana and Arkansas to add to her collection With a cargo of just 13,000 lbs and a tail-wind; a little bit of non-Interstate driving doesn't add any time or cost to the trip and I enjoy driving new roads. The Indianapolis 500 is underway as we approach; fearing traffic congestion, I stay on Interstate 57 all the way to Interstate 80, south of Chicago. A night at a quiet Sawyer TA as American companies get their drivers home for the Memorial Weekend holiday; before crossing the Bluewater Bridge and back into Canada at Sarnia.

____ By the time I have unloaded in Bolton; the mileage for the 66 hours work in seven days is 3663 miles. As good as it gets. The reload is from Oshawa at 3 o'clock Wednesday afternoon. A wasted day at the Esso Truckstop on Dixie in Mississauga; playing crib with the passenger as thunder-showers come and go. Before loading, there is time for a stroll along the shoreline of Lake Ontario. Birds singing in the sunshine and if you look out across the water you have your back to the General Motors car plant; but can still hear the traffic roar from Highway 401.

____ A cross-country route avoids the GTA rush-hour as we leave with the load for Regina. To New Liskeard as a late setting sun finally out-runs the west-bound truck. The Eleven, all the next day to Nipigon; where a voice from the top bunk wakes me in the morning with "Can you turn the heater on, please." Ground frost as the  temperature has come down faster than a fat kid on a see-saw. It was 38 degrees in Laredo, Mississauga had a high of 30 and the swings and roundabouts of Canadian weather have Steinbach at 33 degrees centigrade by the time the truck is back in the yard. Somebody else can take the toilet rolls to Regina.
Peat-moss pallet needed re-building. [Always photograph any possible damage]

The passenger found this thing washed up on the shore of  Lake Ontario.

Un-exploded bomb? No. Naval flare.

British registered 2011 Daf Horsebox on Highway 11. West of Kapuskasing. Saw it again in Nipigon the next morning.

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