[Date: October 13, 2014 at 10:39:54 PM PDT]
There’s no rant like a late rant. Got home late Sunday night. Not enough energy to drink beer. That’s a tell right there……. Monday will have to do. Short and shorter.
My latest trucking adventure took 8 days from start to finish – Sunday to Sunday. There is a small bit of driving today required to park the reefer unit at it’s new winter storage on Mabel Lake Road, and the tractor will be staying at my house for the present time.
In eight days approximately 110,000 pounds of fruit (grapes, apples, pears) or two reefer loads were delivered to Hutterite colonies in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Quite a few long days. Total distance on the odometer for the deliveries is 6,789.6 kilometers, or 4218.9 miles to Luddites like me. Don’t look too close at my log book……
Dustin’s dad modified the 53 foot Great Dane reefer trailer with 3 doors on the curb side. Essential when fully loaded (end to end, floor to roof!) with grapes, pears, and 7 varieties of apple.
This was the quickest and most efficient run of the three I have driven for Dustin. Don’t know if we can beat this time next year….. Another 60 kilometers and the reefer is parked with the other trailer in Lumby –
Some reflections on the week:
- Truck stops are rare and far between in western Canada. Those that do exist are busy. It is not the service industry it is in the western States where literally hundreds of parking slots and full service for man and machine are available at numerous stops everywhere. When you’ve been trucking for days simple amenities are heavenly: a shower, a shave, a toilet that doesn’t look like the local drug suicide hemorrhaged all over, a sit-down hot meal, a friendly server, Wi-Fi. A break in the monotony of driving 13 hours a day.
- The gravel township and range roads of Alberta and Saskatchewan are better roads than Canada’s premiere highway in B.C. That’s right, highway #1 in B.C. is a joke, and has been for all of my driving life. The first trip I made to B.C. was with my family back in the mid ’60’s. Taking driving shifts with dad on a trip to Penticton. That was about 46 years ago. Golden was “under construction” then. It is now. The Field B.C. hill up to Lake Louise was under construction then. It is now. Three Valley Gap to Malakwa was under construction then. It is now. How much $$$ has been spent repairing these roads over the years must be astronomical. The “Big Hill” at Field is famous in railway lore. The Spiral Tunnels were built to resolve the weather and grade problems the original railbed contended with every season. Construction started in 1907 and the tunnels opened September 1, 1909. They are still in use today, 115 years later. Total cost in the day – $1.5 million Canadian greenbacks. A brief history here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Hill Today, we probably spend $1.5 million Cdn per week on that section “fixing” the highway. At best a “make work project”. At worst, a trucker’s nightmare and a death trap. What I call a CF (that would be “cluster fuck” to the uninitiated).
- The highway infrastructure I traveled in the last 8 days needs maintenance and repair. Over the years the heavy vehicles on the road have become larger and larger. In 1960 the trailers were shorter (40 feet), the trucks lighter, the engines less powerful. There were fewer on the road because there were fewer people. The railway handled a larger portion of the load. Big trucks with large loads (up to 140,000 pounds) are very hard on road surfaces over the 4 seasons. Other than alternate road surfaces this maintenance problem will only go away if the heavies do, too.
- Those annoyingly blinding bright blue lights are dangerous. The amount of glare is unacceptable to me. What is the deal and why are they “legal”? Is a Xenon or HID (High Intensity Discharge) light always the same? As it turns out, it may be me and others like me who share this abhorrence for the blue lights of oncoming traffic: we are different genetically! A quote from an article about the subject, dangling participle and all – “Informal tests by the US Department of Transportation’s Office of Crash Avoidance Standards found that a standard-wattage 9004-type blue headlamp bulb reduced the road lighting ability of a standard headlamp by 67%, and increased glare for oncoming and preceding traffic by 33%. This apparent contradiction arises because of the way the human eye handles light of different colors. The short-wavelength colors (blue, indigo and violet) are very difficult for our eyes to process and focus on.” The entire article is here: http://www.danielsternlighting.com/tech/bulbs/blue/bad/bad.html There are some legal blue-ish lights as identified in the article at this link: http://www.danielsternlighting.com/tech/bulbs/blue/good/good.html but the real issue has two major parts. One, it is a marketing strategy levering on the perception some drivers have that the blue lights are “better”. A quote – “For those who want the best possible performance from their headlamps and are more concerned with their ability to see rather than the appearance of their headlamps, the major bulb companies offer optimized bulbs without the light-stealing blue glass. Narva RangePower+50 and RangePower+30, GE Night Hawk, and Philips Vision Plus, and Osram Silver Star are the ones to get.” Two, there are people who are more sensitive to blue spectrum emissions. From the first link, a quote – “The emerging understanding is that there may be not only a split between the glare-sensitive and non-glare-sensitive amongst the populace, but also among those particularly sensitive to blue, violet and/or near-UV light, and those not particularly sensitive to these wavelengths—with these sensitivities NOT necessarily being linked! This helps explain why some find High Intensity Discharge headlamps menacingly painful and consider them hazardous to share the road with, while others consider them no problem at all.”
- Peterbilt and Caterpillar and Eaton-Fuller are an awesome combination. This 1993 Pete was rock solid for every mile we traveled. The odometer turned over 1.8 million kilometers on my shift. Talked to some Hutterite friends of Dustin’s dad who knew the truck. Glenn used to brag that he had never had to repair the truck engine or transmission. I can’t believe a 3406B (mechanical) could go that far without a re-build so I did some cruising on the Internet. Seems there are a lot of 3406B fans because it was known for durability, tune-ability, not so good fuel economy, and longevity. Some say the best Cat motor (they are probably older fellers). I found one site that claimed with proper maintenance, 2 Million Miles was a possibility. Simply amazing.
- I’m getting older. The long days (16+ hours) wore me down. Even Coca-Cola couldn’t revive me a few times. C’est la vie…….
Off to the Chilliwack Richie Brothers auction tomorrow. Time for bed…….
Words to the Wise Department
“Those who have virtue always in their mouths, and neglect it in practice, are like a harp, which emits a sound pleasing to others, while itself is insensible of the music.”
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
POLITICS, POLITICIANS, WACKJOBBERY, HUMOROUS, STUPID
A very close call………
THE CULTURE (THERE IS ONLY ONE)
Andrew Klavan says Europe is for real:
SUNDAY SERMON (On a Monday)
Today is Monday. George Carlin explains why “Religion Is Bullshit”:
WEATHER (OR NOT)
This week was very nice in Alberta and Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Only on Sunday when we traveled home to B.C. did it start raining. Sunny Alberta skies are always a treat. Same with sunny Saskatchewan skies. Manitoba was Manitoba, and isn’t it a pity. Back in Vernon grey skies. Very autumn like. Warm but cloudy. And so it begins……
Joe (Tired) Mekanic
p.s. Ramirez is never tiring –