I had to get some new trousers so off i went to the mall, now by the way i just want to point out how much i hate clothes shopping.
I went into a few shops and eventually found what i was looking for and headed to the dressing room to try them on.
Now i dont know about you but i hate those dressing rooms, its a tiny cubicle with a tiny flimsy curtain to protect your privacy. Well in i went and pulled the curtain, now no sooner had i removed my trousers and shoes (not in that order) than there was a voice from the cubicle next door, here's how the conversation went.
Next door: Hi, how are you
Me: Er Hi.......................
Next door: Hope your not busy i just wanted to chat.
Me: I beg your pardon.
Next door: Perhaps later we could go for a drink.
Me: I dont think so.
Next door: Id really like to get to know you.
Me: (In a loud voice and banging on the side door) Oi you bloody pervert, who the hell do you think you are, you had better get the hell out of here before i call the cops.
Next door: Look im sorry about this but i will call you back later, theres a lunatic next door hammering on the wall and screaming at me, speak to you later, bye.
Oh dear !!!!!
Well my load from Montreal was destined for Vancouver but i was only taking it back to Calgary then hopefully a quick trip down to Lethbridge for a couple of days off then its back out again.
I arrived in the French Canadian city about midday and went straight to the customer's warehouse where i was unloaded fairly promptly. Then i battled for about 45 minutes through the Montreal traffic to the H&R yard only to be told that there was no room for it. I made a quick call to H&R and was told to drop it at another holding yard about a mile away and at the same time got my next job, see paragraph above for details..................
The only trouble was the trailer was still on the other side of the city, i could either wait for a city driver to drop it or i could go get it myself. Well you can guess what i decided and after dropping the origional empty, i was away.
The trailer was already to go so it was just a case of checking it over, getting under it and heading East (oops sorry i meant West).
I didnt get too far that night and pulled in about Ottawa and pulled the curtains for the night. You see the problem was the weekly cycle again, i had only got 11 and a half hours work left each day so i had to plan my stops a bit more carefully.
The next 3 days were pretty unaventful, 90 km per hour thru Ontario then a bit faster the rest of the way. Didnt really see anyone or see anything interesting apart from one exellent supper i had and if remember correctly it was in Cochrane. I wasnt too hungry but i did need something sweet so i went for a bacon and cheese chowder followed by blueberry and cherry pie, all washed down with hot chocolate, cant remember if i mentioned this before but hot chocolate is like chloroform to me, give it about 10 minutes and im in bobo land..............
I got back into Calgary and my next job was waiting for me, running dead-head straight into Lethbridge, that will do nicely thank you. I do have to say that my dispatchers have done an excellent bit of dispaching on this trip, i had my next load instructions even before i was empty all the way round, so if any of you are reading this, thanks again.
Before i got back into Lethbridge i was told that i was doing another mentor trip, this time with a lad who most of you will have written to or read about. Mike Nash (English Mike on the forums) is now over here and part of the Big Red Team, its great to team up with people who you have been talking to for a while, im sure it will be a great trip.
Looks like we will be heading East into Beer City (look it up) and from there who knows, Mike has a blog of his own which you might want to take a look at, its called
Either click on the above link or find the link in my sidebar.
I gave Mike a quick call when i left calgary just to make sure everything was okay. He was in the Sandman so i thought it would be nice to invite him down for Sunday lunch and we could chat in a more relaxed surroundings.
Everything went great till the next morning he keeled over............
Oops i think we poisoned him 8-)
Anyway i know hes okay now coz we just got off the phone and it looks like were hitting the road tomorrow.
I love driving thru Ontario but one thing spoils it, the grafitti on the rocks, why in God's name would anyone want to spoil such a beautiful landscape in their own country.
What i want to show in these pictures is Man's evolution, this is what we call progress.
man has left his mark to identify his territory ever since the day when a caveman called UG discovered that if he shoved his finger up his nose and rumaged around long enough, he would collect enough materials to wipe on the cave wall and stake his territory.
Throughout history people have left signs for others to read long after they have gone, some usefull and some not so useful.
The Inuit nations (you may know them as Eskimos) used to leave little piles of stones in the shape of a person to give directions to others who travel after them. You still see them along the highways and they do look quaint, mostly done these days by vacationers and more often done for fun.
Apparently there is a slightler newer tribe called the idiots who tend to use paint to leave their individual mark that informs us that Clay loves Kristy, and Christina is gay. Not so useful information but unfortunately more permenant.
The photos were taken somewhere between Thunder bay and Dryden in Ontario.
I wish i had more time to spend in New England but the clock was ticking and of course time is money. I arrived at the customers location late at night, got loaded and parked up in the nearest truckstop for the night, next morning it was hammer down for the border.
Strangely though i was crossing quite a ways east and i had to cross a few lakes. The roads were all small single carriageways so it was pretty slow going but the scenery was out of this world.
New England in the Fall...............
Says it all doesnt it, even if you have never been there it still conjours up visions of lush green forest, little hamlets with clean white building interspersed with vibrant New England colors. The trees just getting their red, gold and ocre coverings.
And crossing the lakes was fantastic, not so much bridges but it was as though the road had been built right across the lakes. Pretty soon the English signs were replaced by French ones as i passed thru into Quebec and the last leg of this particular stage of the journey into Montreal.
Words just dont do it justice so just enjoy the pictures.
Okay we left off sat in a TA truckstop in New Jersey, contemplating taking a 53 foot trailer onto the streets of New York City......................
Well it was an early start, i checked the truck over at 04:00 and pointed 2148 East towards the Big Apple. The first thing i noticed was the banter on the radio (CB). Lots of people were calling other people alot of naughty names and it sounded like everyone wanted to kick everyone elses asses. Very nice, i thought, welcome to New York.
So its right what they say about New Yorkers, best be on my guard, especially since i was going into the Bronx.
My first obstacle was the George Washington bridge, 2 levels and more lanes than you could shake a stick at. It was surprisingly easy especially using TomTom although once in the City it was one eye on TomTom, one eye on the road signs. Anyway i trundled towards the toll boothes, paid my $40 and made the crossing. It took me about another 20 mins to get to the Bronx and scooted down the off ramp and into the mayhem.
I tried to follow the truck route but it seemed to be taking me away from where i wanted to be and i dived down a side street, got on course and made my way to the customer. At the customer i paid another $25 to get into the place (this is insane) parked up and went to find the shipping.
Here is the big surprise, everyone was so friendly and helpfull, and soon i was actually laughing and joking with the guys on the deck, and it was about the usual thing, my accent. Most people thought i was Australian and as usual i was greeted with "Throw another shrimp on the barbie".
It seems the only obusive (to each other) people i encountered were the driveres going in and out of the city, it seemed to be the New York drivers against the non-New York drivers.
I was away from there in about 30 mins and dived back onto the Interstate just as the New York rush hour (???) was building up. The trip north was simple enough and pretty soon i was seeing less concrete and more green. Before long i had crossed into Connecticut and into Massachusetts for fuel then up into New Hampshire for my second delivery.
As i pulled into the customer's yard the computer beeped and my next job came thru. I was so pleased it was into Maine and the load was going to Montreal. This was great news as i could add another 4 states to the list, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont, wow i love New England.
There are a huge number of Brits who's first experience of Canada is thru their Army service. Never did it myself unfortunately and i believe it was mainly for the armoured regiments.
Anyway i regularly drive passed the place so i wandered if any of you recognised any of these pics.
At a first glance i thought it said Home Brewing School
Tonight i dined in New Jersey, in a Travel Centers Of America to be more excact, in a place called Columbia to be completely excact.I mention it coz the food was great, there was a roast something or other, somethings liver and somethings baked legs (chickens i think) there was 3 types of maccaroni and the mashed potato was very mashed and very potatoey. I love liver anyway so i was happy and there were just enough onions. Personally i think the onion could have been a little more browned but hey, whos being picky.
Anyway heres whats happened so far on this little escapade into the Dirty Side, and no before any of you mucky devils thinks this is a story about lot lizards, the dirty side is CB slang for the East Coast, as opposed to the Shakey Side which is the Pacific Seaboard. Not sure where those names come from, the dirty side could be a reference to the number of lizards...........
With the Shakey side, there are the same number of lot lizards but they are a lot older........
No, stoppitt, that is sick (unless you are into Octaganarian Commercial Company I guess) and please before this post spirals right down into the gutter, dont nobody mention the fact that OCC could take their teeth out............................
Okay, so here i am in New Juysey, oh, isnt that where some guy shoved cotton wool into each cheek and exclaimed "Huh!, you disraspect me, you disrespect my family"
Right seriously now, I am in a TA and i got about 8 hours before i set off again into the Bronx to make this first delivery, its only about an hours drive but i was a bit concerned as this will be the first time ive come off the interstate in NY City. I phoned up the customer this morning to get directions in, this guy n an italian accent answered and exclaimed "You want directions, you wanna piece o'me you douche bag?, you disrespect me, you disrespect my.......................................
Then a spluttering noise like someone choking on a piece of cotton wool.
Actually no he didnt really say or do that, i just made it up but it sounded more interesting than "Come off at ïntersection 5, turn right then left, then left at the lights and we are on the right, see you in the morning"
So thats about it, to summerise, liver & onions, eighty year old lot lizards, douche bags and cotton wool.
Im tired and rambling, heres some pictures to look at.
Oh hang on, stop, stop, I SAID STOP ALREADY!!!!!............................
I almost forgot, had a phone call off Jim (from Iowa) Gorgone, he read that i was East bound and we met up for lunch at the Flying J in Gary Indianna (just below Chicago for the geographically challenged). Jim it was great to meet up with you again and thanks for the advice on the bronx.
Actually the advice was, "there are lots of low bridges and structures but ignore the signs coz they are usually wrong, and hey, dont worry, it'll be okay".
Thanks Jim i dont know how i would have managed without you.
Only joking Jim, hope we are buddies now and i can get away with saying things like that!!!
on a straight road, i wasnt quick enough the first time
to snap it but got the recovery on the return journey
Well i had my days at home and as you probably read i put then to good use, Jan and I managed to spend all of one day in the garden. We weeded a patch out on the front, levelled it all out and laid some gravel, that should make it a bit more easy to manage, just a spray of weedkiller every month or so.
The electrician dug a nice trench thru the middle of the lawn so that had to be sunk back down to ground level and reseeded, that was a major headache so cheated by manoevering the car into the back garden and drove over it a few times, the neigbours must have wandered what those strange English people were doing. We also went out and collected a load of firewood so we can have some nice real fires down in the den when the weather turns cold.
So with all the homey stuff done it was time to turn my attention back to trucking. I phoned in to get the details for my next little (did i just say little 8~) ) jaunt.
I got my run starting the following morning, a 2 hitter, first one in the Bronx in New York City and the second one 200 miles north in New Hampshire. So it was a bobtail round to the customer to collect the trailer and a 4 hour wait for paperwork, that was not good as i was hoping to cross the border and clear meat inspection before they closed.
Never mind, i crossed the border and parked up to wai till the inspection house opened this morning. I was first thru and was soon on my way, unfortunately i had to fuel up at Shelby, i really hate going in there as they are so slow and crap, i think ive yet to get out of there in less than half an hour. Id better not say too much about the diabolical service or useless staff or the fact that i have yet to find a card reader that works as i think there is an article about me in either the next issue of the Pilot magasine or the month after. One saving grace about the Town Pump (Pilot) setup at Shelby is the restaurant round the back, if you ever get chance try the liver and onions (if you like liver of course) it is fantastic.
Anyway, i fuelled up, saddled up and buggered off east. I made one quick stop in Malta to grab a french vanilla coffee then i was non stop to Beach Flying J for fuel, burgers and more coffee. I was a bit concerned when the woman at the gas bar squeezed 3 or 4 burgers before she found one young enough to be eatable, the unsuccesfull ones were transfered to the bin, when she dropped my one on the counter it didnt bounce so i guess it was ok to eat. The coffee was another matter, every time bought coffee today it was luke warm. I shouldnt complain really, thats how i drink it at home, Jan goes nuts at me coz when she makes me a hot drink i never drink i till its nearly cold. It just makes me the person i am i guess hehe.
Well after all that i made it to Bismark where i am taking a break then tomorrow i will see how far i get. Im starting to use the Flying J less for parking up now, im using the map and TomTom to get that little bit further every day and still manage to find a secure parking place.
Oh well time to push out some zzzzzzzzzz and see what tomorrow brings..............
As i think i mentioned a few weeks ago i have decided to persue an old hobby that i used to enjoy back in the UK and it wes really rekindled because of something i just couldnt get hold of in Alberta and its not something i could pick up while on my travels because of an H&R policy then forbids any kind of alcohol on the vehicle except for whats on the manifest. So that rules out any thing in the States, Duty Free shops or even anywhere in Canada.
Anyway the thing i couldnt get hold of was a decent cider. Back on the rock, Jan and I would enjoy the odd "Scrumpy" in the evening. Now for those of you who arn't familiar with Scrumpy, it is flat and it is cloudy, and it tastes fantastic (We liked Westons, the one in the demi-john).
After looking high and low all we could find was the crappy commercial ones and that "Mangers" or whatever its called is disgusting, we prefer dry cider. I decided to make my own..............
We went into Lethbridge when we got back from UK and i bought all the kit, as we speak ive got a Canadian Lager which is about half way through and a Brown Ale which i started today. We have got an ideal stwore room down in the basement which i have claimed as a brew room, its below ground level and there are no windows so its ideal.
The kits over here are a lot more advanced than back in UK, they are a lot less concentrated and in some kits you actually get the 23 liters of wort in full form which has been taken directly from their own brew.
As well as being a fascinating pastime it also saves money. Concidering Molson beer comes in 355 ml cans so thats about 3 to a liter, i work that out to about $4.12 per liter and thats buying it in a liquor store, go anto a bar and you pay a lot more.
Once i got my kit together (including reuseable bottles and caps) which cost me about $80. My brew works out at $1.50 per liter for a good quality beer, top of the range would probably take it up to $2 per liter and if i wanted to be a real tightwad then i could probably get it down to under a dollar per liter. Oh by the way I make the stuff in 23 liter batches.
Having made a few enquiries i have now located cider kits and i have a few cider recipes so after the brown ale i think we will be looking at some Black Rock Hard Cider then time will be getting short so will need to get some wine on the go, i think it will be a nice Merlot Red first so it will be ready for Christmas, then we can have some good old Glühwein.
All of you ex-military out there who have wintered in Germany will be familiar with the drink but in case you are not here is a brief explanation courtisy of Wiki:
Mulled wine, variations of which are popular around the world, is wine, usually red, combined with spices and typically served warm. In the old times, wine often went bad. By adding spices and honey, it could be made drinkable again. Nowadays, it is a traditional drink during winter, especially around Christmas. In Italy, this beverage is typical in the northern part of the country.
Glögg is the Swedish form of mulled wine, similar to Glühwein in German-speaking countries. Glühwein is usually prepared from red wine, heated and spiced with cinnamon sticks, cloves and sugar. Almonds and raisins are often added to the Scandinavian version, though not to the German.
Now imagine the scene, mid December, quite late in the evening, sat round a blazing fire pit in the back garden with a few friends toasting bratwurst, burgers and marshmallows and sipping hot Glühwein.
Sounds good to me............................................
Hey if it saves money then count me in...............
There is no run for me today so its a day at home, but what does a trucker do when he is stuck at home for an extra day waiting for a load out, on a nice balmy day in Southern Alberta.
He fires up and tests out the wood burning stove that was in the downstairs den when we bought the house.
Now bearing in mind this is 2008 and up until we emigrated we were townies, all we knew about heating the house was switching a switch and paying the bill at the end of the month, when we bought the house we thought "Yes thats quaint", stick some ornaments on it and it will look nice.........
Anyway after driving passed a sign in Lethbridge yesterday that was offering free firewood. That was it, our heating costs trippled during the Winter last year and everyone loves a real fire, so this morning armed with an arm full of free wood, a box of cook's matches, 2 newspapers and a pair of gormless grins, Jan and I prepaired the fire, tossed in the match.......... and WOW.
It is fantastic and actually controllable (roll on the Winter), so this afternoon we are off out around Raymond to start colecting firewood, ive even got a place put aside behind the garage to store the wood.
By the way we had to come back upstairs now coz its too bloody hot down there...........
It was dropping dark by the time the load asignment came through so it was a twilight dash from Quebec to Ontario and dropped my trailer in the Mississauga yard. It was throwing down with rain and i couldnt see a bloody thing. i took about 3 shunts to get into the hole and what happens next only beggars belief. The yard shunter jumps out of his tug and stands there in the torrential rain watching my blind side for me. As I stopped he was trying to do my landing gear and cables, now how about that for service.
Anyway, once i was disconnected we both stood there in the rain for about quarter of an hour chatting about whether Montanas or Boston Pizza did the best ribs (dont ask !!!). Anyway it was now past midnight and when i got round the Husky it was rammed full so it was a night parked outside the Petro Pass, at least i could get hot coffee in the morning.
Next day i went round to the Husky and parked up waiting for the trailer which should have already been loaded. Not a problem as i had already planned to sample some Polish Hotdogs before i went anywhere.
When i got my hotdogs i was shocked, or perhaps disapointed would be a better word. They were half the size as normal and crap. I was devestated and with a heavy heart devoured them.
Late afternoon and the trailer was ready, i backed under it, did the checks, scaled off and headed North. First night was spent at the Petro in North Bay, second night was in Nipigon, third night was in Virden and i got into Calgary late that afternoon. After chatting with Jason (3045) for about half an hour and Perry (sorry dont know your truck matey) for another half an hour, i got an empty down to the meat plant and a load back down to Lethbridge.
Since i have been back it has been repairing laptops and gardening (mostly gardening) which reminds me, while i was driving thru Ontario they were widening the roads by blasting into solid rock, here are some pics.
Okay time to get back onto topic........................
We got back from UK, i had 2 days at home and it was back to the truck. It seemed like a decent run with one drop in Alma Kansas and another in Amarillo Texas. On the morning Jan and I loaded the truck up and I started the pre-trip while Jan set up the computer, unfortunately we didnt switch it on so it just sat on the bunk.
Eric was slip seating 2148 while i was away and i had asked him to leave it connected up till i got there. I said my goodbyes to Jan, spun round to the scale then headed south. When i got to the border there was a queue so i jumped in the back and switched the computer on.
To my horror it wouldnt boot up and i hadnt got my discs with me, it was too late to get Jan to drop the discs off so that was it, a week without the computer. It wouldnt be so bad but i use the computer for everything, my mapping, recap, internet and loads of other stuff.
Apart from the laptop incident, the first pat of the journey was unaventful tilli got almost to Billings. As i was trundling down the road a flock of pidgeons flew right across my path and i must have hit 6 or 7, it was a complete masacre and a s i looked in the mirror at the carnage behind me, it looked as though i had just driven thru a feathery cloud...............
The coyoties must have eaten well that night......................
A day and a half later i made my delivery into Alma then headed West thru Oklahoma to deliver into Texas. I saw a weird water tower on the way across (oh yes and a huge cross)
The Amarillo delivery was pretty quick, it was just a small company, then the computer beeped and sent me south for a backload. Great i thought, grab the load, head north and get this computer sorted.
This was not to be, my load was destined for Montreal in Quebec so my run turned into a 2 weeker. Anyway i was loaded within 6 hours and on my merry way up to Sarnia, i put a picture of the bridge up. I was 3 days early on the load so the trailer was dropped in the Montreal yard and i grabbed some lunch while i waited for a load to Mississauga where my Alberta bound load was waiting for me.......................................