• January 2011
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    States I have been to

    37 states so far

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January

Darn it…I had planned on being a little better at this updating stuff, but just can’t always keep up!  So lets see where we are.  Right now sitting in Calgary, AB with a load of cucumbers and peppers all ready to be unloaded tomorrow morning.  I brought this load from Nogales, AZ.  Although it is really warm in Calgary, it is nowhere near as warm as it was in Arizona!  But I guess us tough Canadians can handle a little bit of cold, eh!  😉

Now lets try to update a bit.  After Christmas and New Years was done, I got back on the road in that lousy, noisy, hard to drive rental truck and took it back down to Laredo, TX with a load of (guess what)…PORK as usual.  I was finally able to unload the pork AND get rid of the rental and get back into my Kenworth.  Now all I can hope is that my baby has the bugs out and keeps running for a while.  From Texas I took a load of tomatoes north to Southern Ontario.  I was on a “push” run with the broker calling me each morning and asking where I was, and when I was going to arrive at my destination.  I GUARANTEED him that I would arrive on Thursday evening, around 8:00pm local time.  I really worked to make that time work as I had to fight with some nasty weather (see below).  When I arrived at my destination at about 7:55pm (yeah I was that close on my estimate), there was NOT  A SOUL to be found!  I had called in advance and the broker was supposed to have set up my unload, but the message never got passed down.  After a few calls and residing myself to spending the night in the yard, a supervisor arrived and reluctantly unloaded my truck, stating “we didn’t need this load that badly!”  So much for my rushing to get there!

Ok, now back up a bit to the bad weather part.  On my way down to Texas, at the Texas/Oklahoma border, I ran into a snowstorm!!!! It really was coming down and the flakes were HUGE!  I slowed down to a comfortable 50MPH (80KPH) and continued on.  It was interesting to watch the cars react to the weather though.  Some drivers were crawling along the freeway, in obvious fear, and others seemed oblivious to the weather until a curve would arrive and then they would hit the brakes and continue straight ahead, either into the ditch or scraping the wall or guardrail.  Needless to say, I saw many accidents, none seemed too serious and I was able to avoid them all!  At one point in that week, there was snow in 49 of the 50 states, with only Hawaii being spared.  On my trip back up north to Ontario, I hit snow in northern Texas and never left it.  Through Arkansas was the worst though and I saw many vehicles in the ditch.  I guess I missed the bad storm by one day!  🙂

Ok, so then from southern Ontario, I headed to Mississauga, Ontario to grab my reload back to Winnipeg.  This was a full trailer load, and to be honest, I have no idea what was onboard, except for the fact that it was temperature controlled (reefer running).  Just east of Thunder Bay, Ontario, I stopped for the night at a truck stop in Pass Lake, Ontario.  At some point overnight, my reefer quit running and for some reason this did not wake me up!  Usually the sound of it shutting off instantly wakes me, but I slept through it!  After a call to my maintenance, I was informed to take it to a truck wash and fill the engine with hot water.  It seems that the reefers are freezing up inside due to the mild, cold, mild, cold weather that we have been experiencing.  Amazingly, that actually worked and I got my reefer back up and running and continued on my way to Winnipeg, albeit late for my delivery.

After dropping my loaded trailer, and picking up another empty one, I headed back out on the road, and picked up a load of peat moss (YEA its not pork!!) and headed for Colorado.  This was a nice, easy and relaxing drive and I enjoyed the different scenery.  From Colorado, I had an 800 mile dead-head (empty trailer) run to Nogales, AZ.  I got my trailer inside washed out and tested my reefer to make sure it worked and all seemed good.  I spent the night just about 1/2 way between Tucson and Nogales, because I really don’t like to spend too much time in the border city.  In the morning, I started my reefer to pre-cool my trailer and the trouble began!  The reefer would NOT run now!  Again, I called maintenance and they began the search for a repair shop, but advised me to drive to Nogales.  Just after arriving there, I got a call from them telling me that the repair shop was in Tucson and I would now have to drive BACK up there to get my reefer fixed!  ARGHHHHHHHH!

So back on the road I went, luckily the repair shop was not too busy, and I was able to get it fixed pretty quick.  A fuel solenoid had failed and I was also low on freon.  With both of those problems fixed it was back to Nogales to get my load!  By this time it was getting pretty late in the day, so after loading it was time to call it a night.  I knew the route I had to take and didn’t feel like driving it during night hours, so I figured an early night and early morning start were in order.

My route back to Calgary, took me through the Glen Canyon, which is just east of the Grand Canyon and is really a beautiful trip.  This is my second time through this area and I enjoyed it a lot more this time, as I felt a whole lot more confident.  The last part of the trip was different from the last time I passed through this area though and took me onto a narrow two-lane highway with sharp curves, high climbs, and switch-backs, that really challenged me, but I found it really enjoyable!

Its amazing, however, how quick the weather changes once you cross the mountains.  On the eastern side of the mountains it was about 25C, while on the western side it dropped to about 4C and the ground was covered in snow!!!!  For the most part though, the snow was in the fields and ditches, except for this morning, as I was driving through the mountain passes in Montana.  At one point the road was snow and ice covered, and I almost had to put chains on at one point, something I am dreading, because I have never installed tire chains and am not sure if I know how to do it!!!!

When I reached the Canadian border, I was told to back up to a door, open up and go inside.  Once inside, a border official asked me a bunch of questions and then told me they were going to search my truck and trailer.  She asked me if I knew what they were looking for, and I replied “I imagine you are looking for drugs.”  She replied, “Drugs is one thing, but also illegal weapons, animals, child porn, or public security items”, and then asked me if I had anything onboard that she needed to know about!  Since I have none of the above, I said no!  She told me to sit in the waiting room and the search began.  After about 45 minutes, my name was called, and she told me to have a safe trip!  Now I am 100% in favour of better border security, but wish they would leave me alone since I know that I am not doing anything illegal!!!

Anyway, I made it to Calgary and now I hope that I get an easy unload in the morning, and get reloaded back to Winnipeg so I can take a few days off.  Its time to get out of this truck, since I have been on the road since just after New Years!

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