Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Last Trip Of 2017.

Nine Day Trip
____ Huntsville, in Texas, is the peat-moss destination as I leave on a Friday with the hope of just doing a quick up-and-down trip that well get me back in time to do some leisurely Christmas shopping. A leisurely start gets me down to the Coffee Cup Truckstop at Vermillion; followed by night-out number two at the Cowboy Travel Plaza. Warmer weather and one of the quietest nights at an American truckstop that I can remember. An early start gives me time to check-out the new Summit Racing superstore at Arlington, between Dallas and Fort Worth; just off Interstate 20. Some sound insulation pads for the Mack from a place that has everything for the custom-vehicle builder.

____ The Pilot Truckstop is just three miles from the peat-moss delivery; I'm back, waiting for reload instructions within an hour of leaving for the drop. Schulenburg is the word I am waiting for. Two hours across country, a heavy load of guar gum for Calgary and a Friday 09.00 delivery appointment. After the last trip to Calgary had me returning to Steinbach before going West; this is not what I was expecting, although it is typical inconsistency from the office. Out comes the road atlas and Wichita Falls looks like the best I can do after I'm loaded.

____ Weather reports show I'm headed into snow-storms, they are coming South to meet me. Crack-on driver and get as much done before the inevitable head-on collision of truck and white stuff. Colorado and Wyoming, no problems; but into Montana and the Interstate 90 starts getting dusted at the Little Bighorn Battlefield. By Billings day light is fading, the snowfall is heavy and the town is grid-locked by the treacherous conditions. On the long climb out of town towards the airport, I am grateful for the heavy load and the traction that it provides. Pitch darkness and a white-out from snow thrown-up from a pair of new Peterbilts. The topped-up trucks came past one of last hills before Billings; they were one light change ahead on the crawl through Billings; now they are struggling for grip as we run the two-lane cross-country route in four inches of fresh snow. Slow going until the junction at Harlowton, where I call it a day and nose-in among the earlier arrivals while the Petes push-on, up and over to Eddie's Corner.

____ The engine idled all night at 800 rpm. Snow had stopped by dawn but it was hard-packed and icy all the way to Grand Falls and Interstate 15 to the border. Calgary had snow flurries as I arrived with plenty of time to spare. Getting north of Fort Worth on the first leg of the trip really payed dividends. Delivery done and the reload is from Edmonton on the afternoon of the last workday before Christmas. A load of paper for Mexico is quickly loaded and I have enough time to get to Saskatoon. It's going back to Steinbach but with the whole Christmas Holiday being forecast to have dangerously cold temperatures; I'm tempted to volunteer that I go direct to Laredo. Back in the yard on Saturday evening with just enough time to get to the liquor store and supermarket. This year I gave booze and scratch cards.

Smart heavy-haul Peterbilt.

The danger of LED rear lights; not enough heat to melt the build-up of snow.

Regular light cleaning is needed on snow covered roads.

The rail-road trestle at Lethbridge, Alberta.

Line-up of old trucks beside Interstate 15, near Shelby, Montana.

Low-level load of paper rolls. About 800 kgs per roll.

Stop sign will be removed when trailer is empty at peat-moss yard.

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