Friday, May 2, 2014

Idle thoughts

Isn't ironic that Russia is crying foul:

From a BBC news report:
"Russia has called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council. Moscow has said the use of the Ukrainian army against its own people is "leading Ukraine to catastrophe"."
When the Syrian President used his army against his nations people, what is the difference? As the crisis was happening and continues to happen, Russia consistently obstructed any intervention. Now that the shoe is on the other foot.... are we crying wolf here? Duplicitous standards, eh Ruskies!

At last

Ok, so it's been a while. That's life. It's been busy.

Last Tuesday, I was on my way back through St Louis, Missouri and the sky was black. It was the middle of the afternoon and the street lights were on. Gives you an idea of what was in store. The recent spat of weather systems that frequent the central US this time of year were on my mind as I dodged super cells. Fast moving systems warned about, with wind gusts up to 70 mile per hour, golf ball size hail, flash floods. Enough to blow a semi over easily. Fortunately, I got caught with only 40 mph winds and pea size hail and lots of heavy rain. Nature is fascinating though. As I drove along I-70 from St Louis, Mo, I watched both the traffic and the weather. To the north-west of me, the sky/horizon line was indistinguishable. Little cars were hiding under overpasses. They hydroplane more easily than a truck weighing 50K.

I have several weather radios on-board so I keep track of my location and listen for the warning tones that NOAA provides for alerts. I also have an phone app called RadarUS provided by NOAA, so I can visually track storms versus my destination.

I do have a dash cam but by the time I got to review the storm files, they had been over-written due to lack of memory. (a 3 minute clip takes 340 mb, total memory is about 72 minutes). So unfortunately for now, there are no clips to post with this update. I need to get a bigger SD card for that. They're pricey so this will have to wait for now.

This week, it's back to Memphis, Tn with a group of my buddies ( 3 of us in this convoy).

Meanwhile, I'm moving to new digs at the end of the month. Those who read this on a regular basis will already have the change of address notifications. Those who don't read this, don't need to know.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sun and asphalt

It's been a long time since I wrote something here. Readers have probably given up looking at the same old posts. So it's time, I guess, to tackle the task of writing something meaningful. Perhaps... or at least, ramping up.

Driving destinations have improved a bit since late 2013, I was getting a lot of western Canada and eastern US seaboard runs. Western Canada becomes "my turn" so to speak due to the "fair weather drivers" not wanting to go out west in winter. "Hey! take the good with the bad", I say. Bunch of sissies .  While these are not my preferred destinations either, particular eastern Pennsylvania and Rhode Island in the states, Winnipeg in Canada but I do them. Roads in north-western Ontario can be a drag and it's nice to visit the moon scape in Sudbury. Routes through central and southern US are much better, both in remuneration and enjoyment. Truck stops are more numerous, roads less congested and parking at days end more available with destinations usually on the outskirts of major centres.

The last trip took me through Georgia, Florida (gulf coast), Alabama, Mississippi through and to little towns. Warmer weather, 25˚C in South Carolina falling to 4˚ further south west. Facebook friends were not amused since they were still in the deep freeze. So sad! :-p

This coming week is a return to central Alabama. One destination going and returning. I should be back by Friday if all works out.

Bella continues to ride in her preferred spot; on the bunk, looking out the side window. 

Roads that suck: 
I-75 North from Ohio to Michigan (mile marker 18 or so)
I-94 East from Indiana to Michigan 
I-49 Wisconsin north of Milwaukee to Green Bay

Random thoughts:
None for now, stay tuned.

Friday, June 7, 2013


Well, now!

Between being out west, Calgary, Denver, in the last six weeks, I've neglected my audience... what's left of them. There are diehards that still visit and let me know that they are disappointed not to find something new.

So lets go way back to April 28th. I started off to Edmonton via Sault Saint Marie through the dreaded wasteland that is northwestern Ontario until you get to White River and on to Thunder Bay. As described in previous ruminations, this has got to be the most desolate area in terms of population that I have ever traveled through. Imagine that during summer months, all you'd find would be black pine, black flies and lakes. In the winter; ice and snow. Towns, some probably parts of indian reservations, tiny towns far and few between with obvious aboriginal names. The road hugs fairly close to Lake Superior  until Wawa. Rocks, hills, lakes, period. Break down in this area and you'll be there for hours. Just north of the Sault, cell service disappears and for the most part so does radio reception until just outside of T-Bay. You have to rely on the infrequent passings of the OPP. LOL!

So it was in the Sault that a bomb was dropped on me. Not a physical one, just news that I didn't expect. And in an instant, I became, as I like to put it in a somewhat wry fashion, a "newly minted single". My better half decided that it was enough and was leaving. Wow! (a note to reader: the timing wasn't to avoid a face to face conversation. It's just that our paths hadn't crossed in several weeks.)

So... driving through a wasteland and life as I'd known it became one and the same. Needless to say, the following week was a bit rough. Understatement maybe? Not much I can do about it out on the road. But I digress, this is supposed to be about my travels. Anyway, everyone knows by now, so it's old news.

So off west, and the rest became pretty standard and uneventful. Thankfully!  Stops, if I recall were in the PEG (Winnipeg) Brandon, Regina, Saskatoon and Edmonton. And nothing happened. Little traffic, even in town. One would think that people were staying out of my way. Not for any particular reason, mind you. I wasn't out to make an example of anyone.

One strange thing I did notice though. I have an extensive music library and somehow all those songs to whose lyrics I hadn't notices in previous listenings, suddenly came home and hit really low.

On the way back, I crossed back into the states since there isn't much anymore to bring back east from Canada. Seems that things have changed over the years. Businesses don't seem to ship much in our direction. Strange since they "import" a whole lot of stuff from back east.

I ended up in Greeley, CO., I call it a small cow town,  but in reality, it's not that small. It's just I haven't toured it at all. There is one important Truck Stop in Evans, an adjacent town. My met one of work colleagues and that helped past the time. I had to do my log reset and that means 36 hours of non-driving. That also gives me time to do my laundry, restock some of my provisions, walk the dog, clean up my living space and yak with other drivers that come and go on a regular basis. Greeley has several important industries, and  the one I was going to, the biggest; JBSwift for a load of beef going back to Canada.

My original pick up day was supposed to be Friday at 06h00 but wasn't ready until well after 22h00. I wasn't in the mood to start driving that late, having spent the day on stand-by, so I left early on Saturday, destination Montreal with a Tuesday 07h00 appointment.

Often, when animal products are imported into Canada, the CFIA does an inspection at the border, in this case, Windsor. An inspection can take approximately four hours. There is no appointment process so it's a "first come, first served" routine. Frequently there are a dozen trucks waiting in the yard. There they empty the trailer contents completely, what they do inside is a mystery. Maybe they're grilling steaks and sampling the wares, who knows. Since the warehouse is a secure location drivers aren't allowed to even observe the process. Finally, I'm released and on my way.

I arrive in Montreal to find there is major construction (read: closed) on the very route that I need to take to get to my client. I had to re-route through downtown Montreal and parts of old Montreal; narrow streets and finally under a low profile overpass. Just squeaked under that with an inch to spare.

Got the client on time. The 07h00 appointment turned into an 11h30 unload. Go figure! Then, CFIA, on location decides to re-inspect the entire load again. I finally got out of the clients yard at 16h00. The entire day completely pooched! "Well, that it," I say to myself, I'm going home, and it was so good!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Stopping robo-calls


Want to stop or slow robo-calls? "Congraulations! You just won a cruise to the Bahamas."

When you see that strange or non sensical number (for those that have caller ID) pick up but say nothing. It'll disconnect within 5 seconds and so far they haven't called back.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Beware: Windows Computer Center

What a crock of shit this is!

If you get a call from "The Windows Computer Center" and the voice is foreign (like Indian or Pakistani) hang up! It's not from Microsoft. They don't identify themselves as Microsoft.

Read this article:

The joke is on them this morning as I don't use a Windoz based computer.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Western Canada trip

I can't find anything really interesting to say about this trip. Having done it several times already, it has become ordinary.

Started out on the 29th of December in late afternoon. Didn't go too far due to the weather but got to Pembroke, Ontario around 9 PM. The snow and wind made the roads icy and I only had 11K pounds in the trailer. That's light, for those who are not familiar with transport.

Day 2: Pembroke to Wawa.
Pembroke to the Sault isn't too bad. It's just the roads. Winter has done it's work and frost heaves are the flavour of the day. Traffic's light, roads are fair to middling with occasional icy patches. Nothing too challenging but bears watching nonetheless. However, from the Sault to Wawa, over the lake-head... what a dismal piece of road; rocks, the odd frozen lake, black spruce. The odd habitation or hamlet, like White River, Marathon, Schreibner and finally Nippigon, all far and few between. I dislike this road... really. So I just drive to peel away the miles and rid myself of this area. BTW, There nothing like radio or TV thats worthwhile either when stopped. Cell Service; forget it, nothing until you're about 12 Kms from Thunder Bay.
Oh yah, interest of the day, roadside moose, young female I would guess, no antlers, which I chased back into the forest with my horns blaring and a quick fox that crossed my path.

Day 3: Wawa to the Peg
Breaking free of Ontario, finally, I reach the Manitoba border and even though there is little difference in scenery for several mile to go, there is palpable relief. There's hope. The terrain flattens out slowly and the roads improve. Got to wonder. But its cold out here; -26° C and windy, (windchill = -40 something). Fuel up and hunker down for the night. Oops, onboard heater malfunction, unit screams like a stuck pig. Some bearings have worn out and are preventing the unit from achieving its full speed, thus its heat output. Sh*t. Going to have to run the engine just to stay warm for the rest of the trip 'cause the office doesn't like having these units serviced by outside. Understandable because outside service loves to replace the unit rather than repair to the tune of 2 to 3K. Office is advised and says run the engine 'til you get back. One less worry for me. One less delay in having it serviced on my way out.

Day 4: the Peg to Regina
Just a short hop today as my deliveries start tomorrow in Regina. 2 stops then off to Saskatoon.

Day 5, You got it... Saskatoon.
Overnight here with one delivery near downtown. Ez in, Ez out. Off to Lloydminster on the SK side. Town sits the border of AB and SK. Then off to Edmonton for one final delivery. Finished, now find a place to reset my log and we're fine. Dismay truck stop in Edmonton, name of major brand withheld. Note to any visitors: They don't plough snow much out there. Sand and gravel, good for windshields, not!

Saturday & Sunday, Jan 5, 6
Have a new destination: Storm Lake, Iowa. Shortest route required cause I'm empty.... And really light.
This could be interesting if winds pick any further. So I backtrack all the way to Regina and stop in Estavan, SK. Next day, south to Portal, ND. Zig zag south-east through ND, SD, MN, IA. Finally stop in Watertown, SD. Shower, fuel, shopping to resupply on-board food, truck wash cause everything is dirty.

Monday, final leg before reloading; half day of driving. Tuesday is reload day but it takes from 11 am to 4 PM to get load inspected and paperwork issued. (sheesh!) Finally released, 1280 miles to go! Can do in 2 days. Delivery: Thursday. Drive, drive, drive. Arrive at clients place, no one is there though I have an early appointment, they're closed. Advise office, wait until 08h00 they say. I go back to bed. A couple of hours later they arrive, knock on my door. They don't understand why I'm there, they didn't record the appt. Someone screwed up but no problem, We'll take you anyway.

Back at the terminal, pack my gear into the car and go home for breakfast.
Next day, Friday, Norovirus! Fun.