Sunday, March 13, 2011

Here we go.

February 19th.

Got my assignment: 16 drops from Coquitlam to Victoria to Comox and places in between. Not bad since the week before was Winnipeg, Brandon, Regina, Calgary and Lethbridge.

It takes two days just to cross Ontario, the most boring leg of the journey. Black spruce and lakes. From west of Ottawa, Hwy 17, it's a single lane highway, 90 kilometers an hour, up and down hills. Yuk. Once I get into Manitoba, it'll get better. Sometime I get stuck behind a car or two that are doing 80kms. Gotta wait until there's a passing lane.

In the early morning I meet up with a colleague going to Saskatoon. News from other truckers and CB chatter: A 24" gas line north of Nipigon has blown,  closing Hwy 11 to Hwy 17. Nearby population has been evacuated. So Hwy 17 is supposed to be open.  By mid-afternoon, we reach White River where we discover that Hwy17 is now closed at that point. Possible five to eight hour wait before anything is reopened. Looking for options... decide to take 631 north to Hwy 11, a 237 km detour. It's that or sit and wait for an uncertain reopening. Also, have to consider delays that this could cause. Choose lesser of two evils. Boss approves, too.

Hum... there is something wrong developing with my signal lights by the time I get to Nipigon. Left flasher is having trouble. There's been a lot of wet weather, lots of salt on the road. There's a short somewhere. Will have to have that looked into. Just a question of when.

Finally! Manitoba. Two lanes in each direction, things flatten out.
Saskatchewan, same thing. Progress. Medicine Hat on day three.
Down thru Lethbridge, AB. Cranbrook, Trail, Grand Forks, Chilliwack, Richmond, Delta. Jump on the Ferry to Victoria. Sit back for an hour and a half and watch the mainland shore recede.

Asphalt for breakfast

It's not for everyone; driving a semi. As you stand beside one of these, they're huge; 71 feet long, 13-1/2 feet high, 102 inches wide. When fully loaded, they can weight up to 80,000 pounds.

For some men I have met, driving a truck is a dream, a new toy, the idea that this would be fun. For women, I really don't know. I suppose that it might be regarded as fun if it wasn't work, a job. It's more than a 9 to 5, that's for sure.  While it is work, there are fringe benefits. You get to see a lot of things. There is some independence, a great deal of responsibility. These will be the chronicles of my travels. Enjoy.