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Parlez vous Francais?

OK so here I sit just outside of Montreal, awaiting my reload back to Winnipeg.  Dropped my trailer and they told me it will be ready sometime between 10:00pm and 2:00am!  Nice, more night driving!

From Laredo, Texas, I headed north with a load of tomatoes going to Kingsville, Ontario and Montreal, Quebec.  I left the heat of Texas very quickly.  On Monday when I loaded, it was about 90F (32C).  I got loaded finally at about 1:00am after sitting since about 7:00pm and figured enough already and spent the night in a truck stop not far away.  I awoke to a not bad day, seemed like it would be ok, and then I hit the road.  The weather quickly changed, however, and just outside San Antonio, Texas it began to rain.  Man did it ever come down!!!  It was raining so hard at times, that even on full blast, my wipers would not keep the windshield clean.  Of course, all the trucks slowed down, and the cars didn’t!  Saw many in the ditch, saw a big rig on its roof in the ditch also … not a good thing to have to say to dispatch!!!!

It basically rained none stop from that point on, and the temperatures have remained in the 50’s F … which is ok, except for the fact that my damn windshield keeps fogging up!  This was a real pressure load from the start, the company I was delivering to was on the phone to my dispatch 3 or 4 times a day looking for updates on my location.  I pushed really hard to get back on schedule, after having such a bad time getting loaded.  The receiver seemed to think it was MY fault that it took so long to load!!!!!

I finally arrived at the Canadian border on Thursday morning, and couldn’t believe how easy a crossing I had.  I passed him my ID and paperwork, he took a look at it, scanned my documents and passed them back and let me go.  NO QUESTIONS at all were asked!  I am really beginning to question Canadian border security.  I am NOT a problem, but there are many people out there who are, and if they all get through that easy, no wonder we have issues here!!!!!

I got to my first unload in Kingsville, and got unloaded extremely quickly.  I then called my second unload for directions and the guy I spoke to almost demanded that I be there for 7:00am on Friday.  I tried to explain that I didn’t think I could make it due to lack of hours, but it didn’t faze him!  I told him I would do the best I could and hung up.  At that point I was about 7 hours away with only 4 hours left on my logbook!  I didn’t want to disappoint this guy and also didn’t want to piss him off, so I set my mind to it that I would drive and get to Montreal as soon as possible.  Time to hit Timmy’s for some “go juice”!  🙂

Amazingly I made it to Montreal at about midnight after driving well beyond what I should have … I had directions to find the unload spot, but of course construction changes everything, and the exit I needed to take was closed!  My GPS went crazy trying to redirect me back but when you are in a strange city (my first driving trip to Montreal and the first time I have been anywhere except the airport!!!), its really hard to figure out if the route I am being sent back to is “truck-friendly” or not!  Eventually I took a turn around spot and headed back towards my destination.  My GPS seemed to be doing ok, so I followed her instructions, took an exit and ahead of me was a bridge marked “3.8 Metres” … my truck is “4.1 metres” so this was Trouble …with a capital T!!!!  I slowed down to a first gear crawl and went under…waiting for the screech of metal on concrete.  The screech never came…but the “stuck” did!  My trailer ended up wedged under the overpass…I was only going EXTREMELY slow so there was no damage to either …but here I am in the middle of Montreal wedged under an overpass. [SIDENOTE: Just the other day I head a comedian on the radio talking about this exact thing, and when the trooper arrived, he asked the trucker if he was stuck, the trucker replied “No, I was delivering this bridge and ran out of gas!!!!  THAT went through my mind at his point!  END SIDENOTE].  Its a really lucky thing that trucks have air suspension, and its a pretty simple matter to dump the air from the truck and trailer and drop the height a little, and I did just that.  It was enough to get me under the bridge and out of my predicament.  Bet you thought that was gonna end much worse right???  🙂  I’ve never had to do that before though…and hopefully don’t again…but a lesson learned.

So then I finally found my unload location and WOW was it tight!  I couldn’t unload until later in the day, but I figured I would try to get into position, but being tired, the rain coming down, and very tight spot, I just couldn’t do it!  Time to park for the night!  This morning I woke up, went inside and like nothing the guy tells me to back into the dock.  Yeah right!  I struggled a bit, but finally got it all squared away.  NOT easy to do though.  They took off their tomatoes and then I asked for directions to the nearest truck stop to get a little more sleep and catch up on my logbook (read: make me legal!!!!)   🙂  The receiver was trying to give me directions, but his sense of direction was worse than his English …which was pretty bad!  Another trucker overheard and gave me better directions and told me if I could wait a few minutes, I could follow him, because he was going generally in the same direction.  Sounded good to me.

I followed him through some of the tightest corners I have ever taken!  I was curbing with my front and back tires at the same time and signs were jumping out of the way in fear!!!!!  Whoever designed the roads in Montreal, must have taken lessons from the same people who designed the roads in Vancouver.  The major routes are pretty truck friendly, but access roads certainly are NOT!  Add to this, the fact that this was in the middle of rush hour and there were thousands (millions???) of people going the same way!!!  I finally got to a decent route, and found my truckstop, bedded down and got some sleep …I feel a lot better now!

When I woke up, there was a message for me about my reload, so off I headed West (out of Montreal and towards the Ontario border).  I dropped my trailer and here I sit waiting for the call back to work.   I am just hoping all this rain doesn’t turn into snow or freezing rain.  I haven’t seen the sun since early Tuesday morning and its really depressing!  Hopefully as I head out of here, the sun begins to shine again.

Damn, I almost forgot, NO ONE speaks English here.  I went for breakfast this morning, was handed a menu in French, the waitress insisted in speaking to me in French, even though she knew I couldn’t understand or speak it!  I eventually got breakfast and coffee, however.  All the road signs are in French, all the street names are in French … I really feel like I have entered a foreign country, something I NEVER feel when I drive in the USA!

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