Sunday, June 14, 2009

Edmonton to Calgary... via Nogales Arizona (part 1)

Monday June 8th 2009

I wake up in the morning after having saturday and sunday off, 20 minutes later getting a call from Darren to meet him at the Shell truckstop on the west end and he'll show me what was fixed on the truck. I get there 45 minutes later, throw my shit into the truck and park my car in the parking lot and give my keys to the cashier inside a sealed envelope for my parents to pick up the car later in the day, as he does not yet have a yard...

I walk back to the truck, just as Darren pulls up, he shows me a few things on the truck that have been fixed, he then tells me that I need to load in 6 hours in Lethbridge, so get going!

The drive to the bridge is easy, with no slow down in Calgary, and I pull into the customer 3 minutes early, take about 3 hours to load, during which time I have the shipper set up my paperwork with Darren back in St.Albert, and he then faxes me the appropriate paperwork to bring the french fries to the Mexican border, there is no manned scales in Lethbridge around 7pm, so I'll need to hope my weights are legal until I can scale my load in Shelby, Montana. I get into Shelby after a five minute delay at the border (SWEET!!!) I scale my load and find out my drives weight is 1300 Lbs underweight, but my trailer is 900 Lbs overweight! So I slide the trailer 3 holes back and weight again to a perfect weight distributed load! I pull down the road a couple more hours to the Dearborn rest area, and call it a night at 11pm, temperature 13c, Great sleeping temperature! 874km driven today

I have a perfect 9hr sleep and head off at 915 in the morning straight south on the I-15, not much happens today, I head into Salt Lake City during rush hour but traffic is realitivity light, and I spend my night on a ramp in southern Utah 23 miles north of Beaver. Another gorgeous cool night for sleeping. 1124 km driven today.

At 8 in the morning I head south to the Flying J in Beaver Utah and fuel up the truck and reefer, then head another 17 miles south and exit at the Utah state highway 20, Its 21 miles long taking me to the US89 south towards Flagstaff, that 21 miles takes me about 35 minutes to drive, with all the hills and steep downgrades, this was what my entire day was going to be like. The rest of the drive in Utah is a breeze, through Panguitch and Kanab, then straight east towards Page, AZ

I should just say here that I have'nt been on this highway from Kanab to Phoenix In about 4 years, and I'll probably never take it again with such a heavy load!

Once I get into Arizona you drive over the Page bridge, beautiful over the Glen Canyon dam over the Colorado river. The scale is on the right hand side and you must slow right down for it, then after that slow down for the actual town of Page, once out of Page I'm climbing again and about 20 minutes later I am doing 65 miles an hour for the first time since entering Arizona... (45 km ago!) At this point I'm reminded of a huge downgrade ahead, so I slow right down and desend it at 30mph, get onto the valley floor and head towards Flagstaff. I pull into the Flagstaff truckstop on the I-40 2.25 hours later after driving through town, at which point I see that Flagstaff was the first city in the world to comply with the dark nights group of people. Huh! So the whole city has low wattage light fixtures. Hope dark nights helped them pay for the upgrade...

Anyways I stay there only for 15 minutes to go pee and grab a Pepsi, then its south again along the I-17 towards Phoenix, the road is straight at 75 mph for a while then you start the desend, slow down to 40mph, get into Camp Verde, then climb at 30mph out of there! AHH I HATE HILLS! Once I summit, Its downhill again into the desert, at again 30-40mph, until I'm finally on flat land driving 75mph towards Phoenix, at rush hour. Traffic there tightens up around the I-10/US60 split, then after that its full speed again into Eloy,AZ where I call it a day, Temp in Eloy is 90f, about 32c, not bad at all, 870km driven today. I sleep with the truck off with no sheets and I surprisingly am comfortable.

The next day I wake up and drive the 2 hours into Nogales through Tucson, head straight for the Mexican border to US customs, have them cancel my travel bond, and head In for 9am delivery, by 11am I'm unloaded. Usually with Mexican loads, they have a trailer that they put the product right back into, not this time however, they put the frozen french fries on the hot dock and left them there... for how long I've no idea! My bills are signed and I head over to the Pilot for a shower and await my next dispatch.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Milton to Calgary, Via Cleveland, Ohio

So its tuesday morning, kinda tired of sitting around waiting for a load, and apparently Darren is too, he calls me at 8am (Alberta time) and tells me to deadhead (drive empty) towards Lorain,OH , a small suburb of west Cleveland. 3.5 hours later I'm crossing into Detroit over the ambassador bridge, I don't need to present any paperwork for customs since I'm empty, she looks at my passport and asks the usual questions, and sends me on my way in record time! I pay the bridge toll ($13.75 usd) and start heading towards the I-75, which happens to be under construction at the moment. So I follow the detour down Detroit streets, man is this city a dump! I finally get on the freeway after driving a few miles along parallel to it, get up to 60mph south towards Toledo,OH.
In Toledo I bump my speed down to 55mph and get onto the I-280 south towards the Ohio turnpike, traffic is light and I'm soon on the turnpike east headed for Lorain. I get to the shipper 2.5 hrs after leaving Detroit (turnpike toll $6.50), they load 15 huge totes of ashphalt emulsion fluid onto the truck, and I'm on my way. I head east towards Avon,OH where the closest pay scale is. I exit and from there it takes me about 20 minutes to drive 1/4 of a mile because everyone in town is heading to the home opener of the Lake Erie Crushers (AAA baseball). I scale my load (legal!) and headout the same way back west towards the turnpike again.
The turnpike speed limit for trucks in Ohio is 65mph, elsewhere in the state its 55mph, so I get to the end of the stateline and pay my toll of $19.75 (more expensive when loaded) and a few iles later stop to pick up my toll ticket for the Indiana turnpike (It would be great if when you pay at Ohio, they'd give you a Indiana toll ticket too, and vice-versa, this way you would'nt have to stop twice within 5 miles...)
I finish up the Indiana toll ($27) and stop shortly after that in Lake Station,IN, which is considered east Chicago.
Tuesday June.2-1018 km driven

I wake up wednesday morning at 645am (Alberta time) and am on the road by 715, follow the I-80 into Illinois and head north on the tri-state tollway I-294, this tollway makes you stop every 10-20 miles and pay everytime, so I'm up to $16 when I get onto the I-290 west (free freeway) and I then enter onto the I-90 west (tollway) which costs me another $13 to the Wisconsin state line. From here there are no more tolls, I drive a few more hours to Black River falls,WI to fuel up at 1245, and get a T-chek for $125 to pay myself back for all those tolls and a few other expenses. I fuel up and head west, I'm two hours from St.Paul (twin cities) and I'll be arriving there just before rush hour. I get into the twins and the traffic is getting tighter and tighter, but I manage to get out of there and I stop in Clearwater,MN for one of their award winning Nelson Brothers sandwiches, Mmmm mmm! Its 70mph in Minnesota and I make it another 1.75 hours to Fergus Falls,MN, where I park at the Bison ranch truckstop, where you can get bison burgers and steaks! I order a bison swiss chesse mushroom burger, medium rare! (yes, I think I am turning into an American) Finish that up, call my sister and then head to bed.
Wednesday June 3-990km driven.

Thursday morning and i wake up at 415 and on the road by 445, I cross into Fargo,ND around 535, slow down for construction and once i clear the city it`s up to 75mph towards Jamestown,ND where i grab some fuel, and then get off the freeway onto the two-lane US52 northwest towards North Portal,SK. By now my truck is making a growling sound when I shift from 4th to 5th gear, I call Darren about it in Minot,ND and he says he`ll bring me into Edmonton after Calgary delivery. An hour and a half after Minot I cross into Saskatchewan with my paperwork being processed (great!) and take the 39 northwest towards Moose Jaw. Stopping in the Jaw for 30 minutes to grab some oil and A&W, I drive another 2.25 hours to Gull Lake,Sk and call it a night.
Thursday June.4- 1176km driven.

I wake up early friday morning at 330, fuel up and am on the road at 4am, get into south calgary for 830 am, and back into customers yard, blind side it in around numerous cars and trucks, get unloaded and call Darren for instructions, he still wants me in Edmonton, but sends me to a place right beside the Deerfoot casino to load some fruitcups for tonight delivery. I`m loaded up by 11 and I get into the west end by 245 after fueling in Leduc and I park it at the Shell on 170th st and 118th ave. Darren comes over to take a look at the truck, and I tell him i`ll be out of it soon, since my sister will be picking me up.
Friday June.5- 784 km driven

Its now saturday and I presume the truck is in the shop getting some transmission work, should be ready to go monday morning.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Scrase trucking, week one

So its friday, May.22, 2009.

Get up at my usual 11-noon time, and start looking for jobs on line, thinking it'll just be another hit and miss day. So I'm looking on and I find a newly posted ad with a fax number to send a resume to, so I ask my sister to fax it off to the number and 30 minutes later the guy calls me! "Do you want a job?" "Who's this?" I reply, we start talking and he asks me to come into St.Albert for a road test, I tell him I'll be there in an hour, hang up and go get ready. An hour later we meet up at the Rona where hes parked and he walks me around the truck, shows me everything, then we jump in a head off down the road, My shifting is a little rusty as I hav'nt driven a standard in over a year and hav'nt driven at all since December. Anyways I obviously pass as he hires me and tells me the load has to be in portland, OR on sunday. I go home and tell my family the good news and start packing. (Sorry Karen for missing your 25th, as this was that night). The only downside is that hes a small company, so he dos'nt yet have a yard, so I have my parents drop me off at 9am saturday morning. I get to his house and we fill out all the necessary paperwork, blah blah blah.
He then drives me back to the truck where my stuff already is (thanks mom and dad!) and I do the pretrip and I am off!
So I first drive into Edmonton to the ESSO cardlock on 118th ave. to fuel up, his fuelcard is set up in a weird fashion, so I have to call him 3 times before I am authorized to fuel, with that out of the way I head to Acheson scales to shift my load to get er legal and then head down the road.

Im estatic to find out his truck can do 110kph and later will find out 122 kph! Anyways I make it to Nanton in 4 hours and end my day an hour outside of Spokane,WA on an Idaho backroad.

Day 2 is a short one as I cover only 694km and deliver to the small town of Molalla,OR , which is just south of Portland. It takes an hour for them to start unloading, but then about 15 minutes to take all the peat moss off, I then head to a truckstop on the I-5`and call it a day.

Day 3, drive empty to Stockton,CA, all at 55mph (screw you Oregon, California, and all you other 55 mph for trucks states!) I cover the 969km in 11 hours and sleep at the shipper. nothing interesting happened today, it was a holiday monday and the I-5 was empty.

Day 4, Sit, sit and wait some more, I`m picking up cherries destined for Cambridge,ON but they wont be ready until later that nigh Thats OK, It`ll ggive me a chance to get some tacos (authentic Mexican ones), over the day I proceed to pig out with seven tacos carne asada and one pig tounge taco (tounge meat was minced, tasted like regular pork). Ahh tacos! Anyways after being up all day they finally call me and get me loaded up in 20 minutes, at 1230am. So i pull out of the door and park to sleep.

Day 5, I complete my logbook as to show that I loaded this morning so I can gain a logbook reset of hours, then head north on the state highway CA99 towards Sacramento and follow the signs to Reno and the I-80.
about 4 hours later once I`m passed Reno and Fernley, I open it up to 75mph! I fly across the state, fueling up in Winnemucca and stopping for a drink in Wells. Coming back to the truck in Wells, my truck wont start, I give it 10 minutes and try again... Nothing... huh... I call Darren and he figures its either a fuel problem or a sensor (electrical) problem. I try the truck again and it fires to life. I continue down the road into Utah and stop in Tooele (basically Salt Lake City) Making sure Im at a truckstop just incase the truck acts up again.

Day 6, Wake up at 530am, head inside for a shower and start the truck with ease! Start driving through SLC with no backups in traffic and get into Rawlins,WY to fuel up, I leave the truck runnung just in case... another 6 hr drive and I stop in Elm Creek, NE in central Nebraska.

Day 7, up at 430 for an early start, still doing 75mph until the Iowa border, which is 3 hr drive away. I pull it into the Flying J in Gretna,NE to stop for breakfast(Mmmm, biscuits and gravy...) and my truck wont start again! Im told to buy some ether and fire that into the air intakes, that works and I continue into Iowa (70mph) then Illinois (55mph, screw you Illinois!) flew through south Chicago, into Gary,IN for the night.

Day 8, up at 430 am again today, fuel up and start heading towards Sarnia,ON via Michigan, I get to the border and shut my truck off to talk to the customs officer and present my paperwork. My load is'nt in the system even though Livingston told me it was over the phone... jerk! Anyways I try to start the truck... Argggggg! The bridge authority pulls up behind me to push me out of the way, I then use ether again to start it up, and leave it running as I go inside to get my paperwork redone. Which takes two hours... I then head to Cambridge to unload, they have anti-idiling signs everywhere, as I ignore them completly! 5m (Ontario time) I'm unloaded and I drive the 45 minutes into Mississauga to the Freightliner shop and find out it was a sensor. At 8 am they are ready for payment so I call Darren (6am in AB), hes groggy but happy that its done. It is now day 9 (sunday) and I'm told I'll have to wait until Monday for a reload

Day 10 (monday) Told I'll need to wait until tomorrow, but it'll happen for sure tomorrow, so here I sit in Milton,ON, only good thing is that I'll gain another much needed reset.

All together, he seems like a good guy, trying to start in a very competitive market. I drove 4100 miles (6600 km) in the first week, my second week won't be as good, but it'll still be decent at about 3000 miles.