|10 Day Trip.|
____ The ice rain has stopped by early morning but every surface that has not been sanded is covered with sheet ice. A couple of gritters swing by the travel plaza for coffee and two bull-haulers take advantage of the sanding to pull-out. I follow. The Interstate is driveable but the shoulder is littered with big-rigs, all the way to the Texas stateline. The shut-down of the previous evening left many truck-drivers with no driving hours to move on when things got better. One of the consequences of the new electronic logs that would never have been seen before.
____ San Antonio is as far as I get on Day Three and again an item from the Severe Weather Menu has something in store for me. A thunderstorm at 03.00 hours is still circling at six o'clock; drenching drivers as they go for coffee and aqua-planing muscle-cars into water-filled ditches before dawn. By Laredo, the roads are dry. Into Ruby Truck Line's new trailer yard for a quick switch; a load of fruit drinks for Calgary. Highway 83 to Sweetwater, 84 to Amarillo, 87 to Raton, New Mexico. The same trip as the week before, so to change the scenery, I choose the volcanic black-rock Grande Sierra. But this gives problems at the end of the day; not many truck-stops on the Interstate 25, south of Denver. I reject the tatty Tomahawk; the Love's destination turns out to be "Cars and RV's only." The only Rest Area is closed and I am left with the prospect of a night on an on-ramp. Luckily, the Castle Rock Park and Ride is at my last exit as the clock ticks down to less than 10 minutes.
____ A quiet night with four other trucks and a few visitors for which Park and Ride has a completely different meaning on a Saturday night. North and into colder weather; the liquid cargo is liable to freeze and break the glass bottles. An icy blast greets me in Wyoming and reminds me to start the "Hot Box," a diesel-engined heater that sits at the front of the trailer. Set at 40 degrees Fahrenheit, it cuts in and out for the rest of the journey to Calgary.
____ Drinks delivered and unlike the last trip, there is a reload to go back to Winnipeg. Lentils from a farm, deep in the heart of Saskatchewan. An early morning appointment, seven miles East of Elrose, where the the lentils are augered from a grain bin, into the bagging shed, along the conveyor belt and into the trailer. All 680 of them and it takes all morning. A heavy load with not enough time to deliver into Winnipeg before morning. Luckily, it's a trailer-drop and I can bob-tail back to the yard.
|Ruby trailer line-up in the new yard at Laredo, Texas.|
|Thermo-King Hot Box and control box on the front of a dry-freight box-van.|
|The bob-tail Western Star seemed to have been abandoned.|
|Lentil loading system at a farm near Elrose in Saskatchewan.|