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.

The only problem with going out west is that there are fewer truck stops as you approach the coast. The one nearest to Vancouver is in Chilliwack, about 100 klicks away. Vancouver Island is the same. You can hide in pulloffs and weight stations, neither have any services should you need them. Toilet, being one.
So Friday, once my drops on Vancouver Island were finished it's off to Nanaimo to the ferry that will take me back to the mainland. This ones' two and a half hours and goes to Delta. Then back to the Chilliwack truck stop and there I stay for the weekend. This allows me to reset my drivers logs; a legal requirement. 36 hours for Canada, 34 for the US. So refuel, shower, laundry, walk the dog, watch TV or read in the drivers lounge. Restock my provisions.
Sunset leaving Nanaimo, Vancouver Island,

Oh yeah, that problem with the lights on my trailer? I had a road service come in and fix that on Sunday. That was before I get tagged for a defect.

Come Monday, Feb 28th, dispatcher has me... To be continued

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