Saturday, April 21, 2018

This Weeks Winter Storm: Xanto.

Nine Day Trip.
____ Peat-moss for Scott`s of Cresson, Texas, one of the major suppliers of dirt for Walmart. Leaving Tuesday with the number one priority of a rendezvous with the breakfast buffet at the Winstar Casino on Thursday morning. A night at the Petromart in Missouri Valley before getting a free nose-bag at on the Oklahoma-Texas stateline; over 55 player-club members only. Then onto Cresson after the Fort Worth early-morning rush has subsided. A busy packing plant in an area where spring planting is in full swing.

____ The reload is from Laredo, appointment 11 o`clock on Friday, so a leisurely run down Interstate 35; empty rather than fully freighted. Into the TA with no need to set the alarm clock. It`s the regular shopfitting trans-shipping bonded warehose; a bonded load for a new supermarket in Saskatchewan, exiting the US through Pembina, North Dakota. Enough time after loading to get back to the Winstar at Thackerville, after battling the busy 35 through San Antone, Austin, Temple, Waco and Fort Worth.

____ Saturday is one long slog; trying to get as far North before I meet Xanto on it`s way South. Omaha is where the snow meets the Kenworth and the wipers struggle to clear the windshield. By Misssouri Valley it is blizzard conditions with reports of Interstate closures in South Dakota. The friendly Petromart Travel Plaza makes a good pit-stop for the night as the horizontal snow flies by and is still flying when I leave in the morning. Running on hard-packed ice and snow into the wind with only three tonnes of cargo soon tensions the neck muscles. But south of Watertown, Interstate 29 turns to the North-West and the wind lays on the side of the trailer. I feel the drive tyres spinning on more than one occasion, back the speed down and hope I don`t catch a strong gust on an extra slippery section. A wind-blown jack-knife is a distinct possibility but I safely reach Stone`s Truckstop and lunch before the road turns back North and going gets better.

____ At the Gas-Trak, Pembina, I call in to collect the faxed lead-sheet needed to cross back into Canada; it`s not there. After a series of text messages; the office reveals that they had me set-up to cross the border at Portal, 281 miles to the West. It`s the first I have heard about it. I have the option to sit at Pembina until Monday morning when the border-crossing can be changed or drive over to Portal and cross there. But when I point out that the exit border for the bond is Pembina and that I told them on Friday to send the fax to the Gas-Trak, all of a sudden it is possible to send the fax to where I am quietly fuming. Maybe they sensed my anger at being parked at the border for 18 hours because of their incompetence. There is not enough time to go home for the night so I try-out the new Flying`J at Ste Agathe.

____ Onto Saskatoon and a Tuesday morning delivery at a storage warehouse where the company is going to deliver the chiller cabinets as and when they are called for. Then wood-chips from Prince Albert and I get it right  this time. To PA and loaded by 1 o`clock, down to Brandon for the night before delivering the load to the Blue Water Truckwash. They wash-out a lot of livestock trailers and supply bales of wood-chips for their next assignments. It`s a regular drop just switch the loaded trailer for an empty and run back to Steinbach.

Still Winter in Missouri Valley, Iowa


Heavy-haul brigade getting ready to leave the Husky at Saskatoon after early morning snowfall.

The full nine days of the trip; mileage and hours.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Winter Storm Wilbur.

Seven Day Trip.
____ Peat-moss, loaded in the morning and ready to leave at 1 o'clock when the customs entry has been done. Leaving Monday for a Thursday delivery in Laredo with a Winter storm warning in effect for South Dakota. The bright sunshine finishes at Fargo and when the Sisseton scale-house is closed, I know it is going to be bad. That weigh-bridge is always open unless the operators feel they might not get home at the end of their shift. Sure enough, the biggest climb on Interstate 29, up to Summit, is a sheet of ice. My badly worn drive tyres spin their way to the top while the windshield wipers become swishing blocks of ice. The Coffee Cup Travel Plaza is the best option in such conditions as the temperature drop to -15C in the gale force westerly.

____ Conditions are still tricky in the morning but the wind is now from the North and I don't need the wipers if I don't go too fast. South of Sioux Falls, the snow turns to slush, by Sioux City the roads are bare and dry. A big second day gets me into Oklahoma, followed by another big hit down to San Antonio and the job is back on track. Off-loaded in Laredo and off to Corpus Christi for the re-load. The loading appointment is for Friday at 10.30 but I roll-up on the off-chance that they will load it on Thursday afternoon. The pigment factory is just a short walk from the beach, the aquarium and the USS Lexington, an open-to-the-public aircraft-carrier. One of the few times that I am disappointed to get loaded early. Back up to San Antonio for a warm night at the TA.

____ Another cold-weather front is coming down across the Mid-west with the promise of freezing-rain. I swerve to the east in an attempt to avoid the worst of it; getting to Joplin in a full day's driving. Five centimetres of snow fall overnight but by Kansas City, the roads are bare and dry with just the threat of yet another storm coming through on Sunday. Back to Summit for another cold night on the high ground of South Dakota before leaving early on the last leg of the trip. The load is for Winnipeg but I take the trailer back to Steinbach and wonder if this Winter will ever end.

The bleak Coffee Cup Travel Plaza at Summit, South Dakota.

Waking-up to snow on the hood at the Petro 44 in Joplin, Missouri.

Seeking shelter from the snow.