Friday, June 23, 2017

The Longest Of Days.

Ten Day Trip.
____ Accidents caused by texting now out-number accidents caused by drink-driving by 4 to 3. Trucking companies all have a no-alcohol policy and do random drugs and alcohol testing but they still send texts to drivers when they know they are driving. It is pretty much the same as the company buying a driver "One for the road" when they know he has to drive home from the bar. Nobody has ever been prosecuted for buying someone their last drink before an accident or for sending the text before they crashed; but it takes two to tango.

____ A drinking culture at a transport company can cause problems but so can a low alcohol threshold brought on by zero-tolerance of drivers having a beer of an evening. Alcohol has always been part of my life. I was brought-up in a pub where my brother and I shared a bottle of Mackeson stout every night before bed-time while still at primary school. I lived in Bavaria where "Beer is Food" and many work-places have vending machines selling alcohol. In France. I have spent many lunch-times, dining in Les Routiers with fine food accompanied by a glass of vin rouge. To my mind, there is nothing better than knocking the froth off a cold one at the end of a hot day behind the wheel.

____ I also know that excess can cause cancellation; the free-pour Cuba-Libre of Spain and the Ef-Es Controls of Turkey. But a couple of Bud-Lights with a chopped brisket sandwich at the Cowboy Travel Plaza in rural Oklahoma is what long distance truck-driving is all about. The second night-out on a trip to San Antonio with another load of peat-moss. Delivered on a Friday morning before running empty to switch trailers in Laredo. A bonded-load for Bolton, Ontario, a familiar job but without a Louisiana detour. Crossing over into Canada by way of the Blue Water Bridge at Sarnia on the seventh day of the trip.

____ About the worst thing that can happen to a driver who has just done a long trip into the US? To be asked to go "South" again without a log-hours reset. But this is what the office expects me to do after I am unloaded. There is a load  for Winnipeg waiting at Clawson, a northern suburb of Detroit; it has to wait another day before I can legally go and get it. When loaded, I have 5 hours 30 minutes to do the 528 kilometres to the Canadian border at Sault Ste.Marie. A thrash north-bound on Interstate 75, crossing with 2 minutes to spare; slowed only by the 20 mph limit on the Mackinac toll bridge. Once through customs, the more liberal driving hours of Canada allow me to get to White River in a sixteen hour spread-over; all in day-light on the longest day of the year. But I am within a days drive of Steinbach and a city-driver will deliver it on Friday morning.

Stormy night in South Dakota

Tornado warnings from the cell-phone.

Made-to-measure tarp on oversize load.

Another day, another unloading bay.

Useful hours information on tablet.

The locks at Sault Ste.Marie.

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