2. Never feel lost in an unfamiliar city. You are. Get used to it.
3. Never drive into a situation you can't drive yourself out of.
4. A soft shoulder IS something to cry on, if you let your wheels drift onto it & get pulled over onto your side.
5. Signal early & often.
6. If in doubt, don't. Big trucks make big mistakes.
7. Don't hit stuff with your truck.
8. As much as you may really want to, do not drop golf balls out of your window when being tailgated by some fool with his high beams on.
9. There are 2 people in the world you can't get away with lying to, your mom and a State Trooper. They just know...
Fantastic a flat battery, the fitters came over pretty quick and the problem solved. When the A/C was fixed they also fitted a new inverter which was great. What wasnt so great was the fact that they never switched in on so over the next few days the fridge drained the power ou tf the battery. When i turned up there wasnt even enough power to kick the tripak over. Never mind its all sorted now.
Anyway, after the boost it was a quick scoot up to Cargills at High River, swap an empty for a meat load and back down bto the border. It was too late to cross last night so it was a night at Milk River and an early start this morning. I got to the border at 07:30 and joined the queue of trucks waiting to get thru.
I was the third reefer thru so clearing customs was quick and also no queue at meat inspection. I grabbed some fuel and 2 corn dogs at Shelby in Montana then headed East to the Flying J at Beach in North Dakota where i am now. I have a little confession to make, as well as having those 2 corn dogs this morning, tonight i had 2 tins of stew, a kabob and another corn dog., so much for the diet !!!
The pictures are of scenes along the Highway 2 which goes East from shelby in the general direction of Beach. There are fascinating little towns and equally fascinating names like, Malta, Kremlin, Circle and Wolf Point.
I also saw some dinosaurs on the hill.
Yes we have had snow, the temp drops, the snow falls then it warms up again, go figure....
Out and about on the freeways is a different matter, if you are in the mountains in either Montana, North California or especially in British Columbia then expect snow on the ground, however on the Praries or in middle america its just warm. In Nevada, Arizona and Central and Southern California it is still quite hot.
Im sure over the next month the temps will drop and the sever weather warnings in the mountains will start flashing and some mountain roads start closing temporarally. This is where it starts affecting earnings.
Obviously speeds have to be lower and if a road or mountain pass closes you are waiting around which means no pay. I am guessing but i would say the best runs then are the ones that stay away from the mountains.
I carry snow chains on the truck but i havent used them, as soon as any interesting stories come up you can be sure i will be reporting them in the blog.
- Name and address of shipper (sender)
- Date & time of collection
- Trailer number, temperature and reefer mode.
- Name and address of consignee (reciever)
- Date and time of delivery
I then look at the map and see if its possible to be in the 2 places, considering, time, distance, road conditions and my available working hours, if all is okay then i commit to the job and relook at how i am going to do it, this is where the laptop and Microsoft Streets & Trips comes into its own.
I program the route in and it tells me the distance and time. I have already got Flying J's programmed in so i can see them along the route, i pick out the ones that are about 10 hours or about 500 to 600 miles apart and those are going to be my nightly stops. Sometimes a Flying J isnt convenient or its off route or its too close or just too far away. I then look for other options, these would be Pilot, TA or another Travel Plaza and i always try to use the ones that i carry rewards cards for as this is how i get all these free showers and coffees. Another thing to concider is how busy the Plaza gets, some of them you can get a parking space 24-7, others are full by 18:00.
The most critical stop is the last one, i always like to get within 100 miles of my delivery location, and closer the better, this is the one i aim to be at the night before the delivery, i will always try to get to a propper Plaza so i can get a shower, shave and good brush up so you look smarter where you turn up at the customer, this is one of the differencies between a good driver and a bad driver.
Another concideration is your fueling stops, i dont worry too much about fueling where i pull up for the night, i plan my fuel stops separately and yes you guessed it, i try to fuel at a J, this isnt always possible so next choice is Pilot and TA after that, i always try to keep 2 showers on my J card.
The H&R trucks dont have large fuel tanks, the reason being it wastes valuable cargo weight on the drives and steers and we dont always get too much choice when and where we can fuel and here is the reason.
North America has 2 types of gas station, retail for car drivers and Cardlocks for commercial traffic. We have a girl back at the office whos sole job is to search for the cardlocks with the cheapest fuel and she unlocks them and those are the ones we have to use, our sattelite gives us a list of all the available ones, listed alphabetically by State or Province.
Anyway, here is a couple of pics from my last stop in California, this is where i stayed the night before my delivery, the town is called Barstow.
Barstow is about 100miles East of Los Angeles, its a medium sized town by California standards, very windy and dusty, a real desert type atmosphere, the J was quite good, clean showers and restrooms, shop was well stocked and the staff very polite and helpfull.
A nice place.