Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Night Shift

The cheapest way to communicate in North America is using 10-4 phones. We have been wanting them for months. What they are is a normal cell phone, but also they turn into one to one walky talkies. Great invention. For $15 on top of your talk package. You get to use the 10-4 feature as much as you like for no extra cost. So I can be in California and Emma can be at home in New Brunswick, and we can talk all day if we wanted for no extra charge. When we was in the shop getting them. I was saying maybe this is a bad mistake, letting Emma be able to get hold of me 24/7 lol

Well I got into 840 at 9pm on Wednesday night. My load was going to Lawrenceville, Virginia again which is 1071 miles, the way they like us to go, and I needed to be there 7am Friday morning. The only way to do it, was doing the night shift. So I set off and managed to get to Milldale in Connecticut by 6am for my well earned rest, then set off again, arriving at 3am ready for my 7am drop, thinking there was going to be a massive queue of trucks waiting to unload. Luckily there was just one and he was collecting so I got off loaded straight away when they came in a 7am. They had already given me my reload in Suffolk, Virginia going back to Quebec. But as normal the trailer needed to be clean and very dry. Now the product I took down, is stored outside and was covered in snow. So the trailer was all wet inside again like last time. So off to wal-mart again for kitty litter to dry it out. Last time I was down there, it was lovely and sunny. Not this time, it was cold and a storm was on its way. Kitty litter gets rid of the excess water, but never dries it completely. So I was going to leave doors open for a while as I was still officially on break till after lunch. Then just as I had finished sweeping the trailer. It started to snow. So I had to shut the doors and hope it would dry in time for my pickup. Then I went back to sleep. When I woke, they had changed my reload to pickup in Hopewell, Virginia, instead going back to Ontario, and the car park was covered in snow, that wet slushy stuff like in the UK. I thought I went south to get away from the snow, not to follow me down lol.

Anyway I gets to my collection. Sits there for 2hour, waiting to load then at 5pm I finally get onto the bay only to be told my trailer was still to damp. Seven hours and still no dryer than when I left it. Lucky they had those diesel heaters. So I asked if I could put one of those in the back and put the shutter down. Another four and half hours later. It is still not dry, but was getting there so they decided to load me anyway. All this time I was not allowed in my cab. I had to sit in this drivers lounge. I was shattered by the time I set off at 10pm. The weather had gone from bad snow to hard rain, washing the snow away. I drove for an hour up to the truck stop for fuel and was going to have an hours sleep so I could drive all night again, but when I laid down, I was not tired, so decided to carry on driving. The rain started to turn to snow again. Buy the time I was half hour up the road. It was coming down fast and I had passed all the truck stops near me. The next one was 100 miles away. What a bummer. All I could do was keep going. If I was in Canada. It would not have been a problem as there would not have been much traffic on the road, and what traffic there was would know how to drive. Not in Virginia, and Maryland. They have not got a clue. They are not used to this amount of snow at once. Up to 42” dropped that night. On some of the un plowed roads. The snow was that high, my front Bumper was pushing through the snow, but I had to keep going to get to that truck stop.

Cars and trucks where stuck everywhere. I managed to snake round them and carry on. One truck looked like he had given up and tried to pull over to the edge of the road and park on the shoulder, only to go to far over and end up leaning over half in the ditch. He just left his lights and flashers on, closed his curtains, and went to sleep.

This plow had spun out and got stuck

In winter they line the roads with these three foot sticks so the plow dudes know where the edge of the road is. I just kept them at equal distance from me on each side, but sometimes the snow was just to deep to see them. So it was hard going. I tried to pull one truck out of the ditch, as a couple of guys that had stopped had got chains in their pickup, I just could not get traction though, so had to leave him where he was. The snow plow dudes where not that good either in Maryland. I had never seen as many plows in one place. I must have had ten around me at one point, and all they could do is follow each other in the same line. What a waist of time that was. 6am I finally reached the truck stop. Six hours to drive 120miles I was not impressed. The truck stop was chocker. Trucks even parked on the fuel island and went to sleep there. I found one spot right at the back. It looked like someone had just pulled out with the fresh tracks, so I tried to reverse in…. not a chance. I could not get a grip. So I turned round and just drove in nose first. Bad mistake. When I got up at 130pm, the snow was still coming down hard and my truck snowed in. not a single truck in the truck stop had moved, as most of the roads was shut anyway, due to accidents or just blockages as trucks had attempted to get up hills and lost traction and blocked the roads off etc.

Most truck drivers leave there engines running when they are asleep. you can tell in the picture which have engines running as there is no snow under the front of the truck.

In the new ones I don’t bother, I just use the bunk heaters to keep warm. So un known to me the snow covering the front of the truck had turned to ice underneath, so when I finally decide to attempt some more driving, as I reverse out. The ice did not want to let the front bumper go and pulls half my licence plate bracket off and cracks the bumper. I was not happy. Luckily I had taken the picture to show you guys how deep the snow was,

so I emailed it to Emma and got her to print it off to prove how I did it. I took some unclear back roads at first to avoid the road closures.

The further north I got. The snow got less and less till I got back into Canada then Toronto was clear thank god.

sometimes trucks have to stop at these places just before a large decent to check breaks.I switched my trailer at Brampton for one bound for Woodstock, and carried on till 5am again, mainly to make sure I could do the last part of the trip in one more day getting me back at 4am this morning. Not without a lot more snow though. The US storm had decided I had not seen enough and followed me up. It started from Montreal and never stopped all the 7 hours from there. Roads was bad again with it been over night driving, but was so much easier to drive on, with no traffic around me and been the dry stuff so managed to scoot along at 55mph most of the time. By the time I had got back, I had covered 2700 miles in the four and half days. Not my usual standard, but not bad to say I had delay after delay.

Well I’m out again tomorrow. I was nearly out again tonight, but the driver decided to carry on. So lets see what I get up to. Have fun till next time.

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